After an extended spring training in Florida, the 2019 edition of the Kingsport Mets will be back in the Tri-Cities to prepare for the Appalachian League season.
The rookie league club of the New York Mets is scheduled to begin its season on Tuesday at Greeneville, with the home opener for the K-Mets scheduled for June 20 at Hunter Wright Stadium against the same Greeneville Reds.
Kingsport finished last year with a 34-37 mark and was runner-up in the league’s West Division.
The K-Mets advanced to the Appy League divisional playoffs before losing a best-of-three series to eventual Appalachian League champion Elizabethton.
Kingsport enters season play next week with one of the most experienced coaching staffs in the league.
Coaching legend Rich Donnelly heads up the new staff in his first season as K-Mets manager.
Donnelly was third base coach for 29 seasons in Major League Baseball, including 1997 when he was a coach for the World Series champion Florida Marlins.
The 72-year-old Donnelly has also served as a coach for the Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers, Milwaukee Brewers, Colorado Rockies, Pittsburgh Pirates and Texas Rangers.
The Kingsport coaching staff also includes former major league pitcher Jerome Williams, who retired as a player last season.
His last appearance in MLB was 2016 with the St. Louis Cardinals. In his 11 years in the major leagues he also played with the San Francisco Giants, California Angels, Chicago Cubs, Rangers, Washington Nationals and Houston Astros.
Williams will be working as the pitching coach.
Kingsport’s new hitting coach will be former major leaguer Mariano Duncan.
Duncan comes to the Mets after spending previous seasons in the Detroit Tigers and Cubs organizations. He spent 12 seasons in the major leagues playing for the Dodgers, Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies and New York Yankees.
He won World Series rings as a member of the Reds in 1990 and the Yankees in 1996. He also was on the National League championship team in 1993 with the Phillies.
LOTS OF FUN
In addition to baseball, Kingsport fans will have plenty of things to enjoy while watching the Mets.
“(Sales and Operations Manager) Josh (Lawson) and I have worked really hard this off-season to enhance the experience you have when you come to the ballpark,” said K-Mets General Manager Brian Paupeck. “We’ve added some great promotions like Firework Fridays and teamed up with Goodwill for Family Night at Hunter Wright.
“We’ve also added a handful of new concession items to the menu this season. We are looking forward to an exciting season of K-Mets baseball.”
Other featured promotions include:
* Bobblehead Giveaway on Aug. 24 features the K-Mets giveaway of Mets MLB star Jeff McNeill bobblehead dolls.
* Dollar Thursdays will feature $1 hot dogs, $1 beers and $1 sodas.
* Family Night features a family pack of four game tickets, four hot dogs and four sodas for $24 on every Monday. Also featured will be a buy one, get one free ticket with any item donated to Goodwill.
* Senior Night will be held each Wednesday night, when tickets for seniors will be $3 and senior discounts will be available at the concession stand.
In addition to the normal food fare at the concession stand, Paupeck said this season’s concession menu items will include loaded fries, barbecue pork nachos, tacos and fries in a cup.