Bochy, Leyland name All-Star coaching staffs
Johnson, Collins on NL squad; Ventura, Gibbons picked for AL
If David Wright captaining the Home Run Derby and Citi Field hosting wasn't enough to give Mets fans a treat during festivities for the 84th All-Star Game on July 16, the coaching staff might be the kicker.
Giants manager Bruce Bochy and Tigers skipper Jim Leyland announced their staffs on Thursday, and there's a noticeable Mets connection with each invited member.
Most notable is Mets manager Terry Collins.
Collins, who has posted a 175-210 record since taking over as skipper in 2011, was also a part of the All-Star coaching staff last season when Tony La Russa selected him.
"My whole life's been this game," said Collins. "To be asked to do something like that, I realize it's in New York and that's probably why they asked me to do it. It's an honor. It's a blast. I had a great time last year.
"That the All-Star Game isn't only an exhibition anymore; it means something. It's a lot of fun, and getting in there during batting practice and mingling with the greatest of the greats -- how can you not like that? The fact that it's in New York, it's great. It's special. It's an honor to be a part of that."
It'll be Collins' third All-Star assignment overall.
"I've known Terry for a while," Bochy said. "He's right there [in New York]. It makes sense to take him."
Also on Bochy's staff will be Nationals manager Davey Johnson, who served as the Mets' skipper from 1984-90, leading the Mets to the '86 World Series championship. His 595-417 (.588) record gives him the most wins and the highest winning percentage in club history.
"I thank Bochy for inviting me," Johnson said. "Going back to New York will be a zoo, but other than that, I'm looking forward to it."
Johnson, now 70, was a roving hitting instructor when Bochy was coming through the Mets system as a Minor Leaguer. Bochy said Johnson was instrumental in bolstering his confidence as a hitter.
"From what I understand, this could be his last year," Bochy said. "He has some history in New York, so I thought it would be neat for him to get his accolades."
Bochy's Giants staff -- bench coach Ron Wotus, pitching coach Dave Righetti, hitting coaches Hensley Meulens and Joe Lefebvre, first-base coach Roberto Kelly, third-base coach Tim Flannery and bullpen coach Mark Gardner -- will round out the NL staff, assisting with batting practice and other field duties. They'll be joined by Mets head trainer Ray Ramirez and Nationals head athletic trainer Lee Kuntz.
In the American League, Leyland has invited White Sox manager Robin Ventura and Blue Jays manager John Gibbons.
Ventura, the second-year skipper of the White Sox, spent three seasons with the Mets. He was an All-Star third baseman in 1999, his first of three seasons in New York, and was a part of the Mets' NL pennant-winning club in 2000.
Gibbons will be on his second AL All-Star coaching staff, having last served under Ozzie Guillen in 2006. Gibbons played 18 games for the Mets in 1984 and '86, then spent 1991-2001 working as an instructor, coach and Minor League manager in the Mets system.
"It's a thrill, just to get an opportunity in Major League Baseball to go to a game like that," Gibbons said. "Then to be selected by Jim Leyland, I think the world of him. He's recognized in the baseball world as one of the top ever. His numbers speak for themselves.
"I've gotten to know him over the years, and he has always been very helpful to me if I ever had any questions. So I'm honored, on both ends of it -- the fact to be at the game and then to be selected by him."
Tigers coaches Gene Lamont (bench), Jeff Jones (pitching), Lloyd McClendon (hitting), Toby Harrah (assistant hitting), Rafael Belliard (first base), Tom Brookens (third base) and Mike Rojas (bullpen) will join Leyland at Citi Field. Head athletic trainers Ron Porterfield (Rays) and Rick Jameyson (Red Sox) will tend to the AL All-Star team.