Former New York Met Frank Catalanotto is a busy man these days. Whether he’s attending one of his four daughters’ sporting events or speaking to local little leagues, the Smithtown, Long Island native has been adjusting to life after his playing career.
Though he was a Yankee fan growing up, Catalanotto thoroughly enjoyed his time last season with the Mets. He just wishes it could’ve lasted longer.
“When I made the team I was ecstatic,” said Catalanotto. “I knew I was at the end of my career, and I didn’t know how long it would be, so I cherished every moment.”
Catalanotto found himself in a difficult position last season. The team was heading in a different direction and could not offer Catalanotto enough playing time for him to get into a rhythm. Though he had been a platoon player for much of his career, his at-bats with the Mets were way too spread out.
“Getting ready at the drop of a hat is kind of tough,” said Catalanotto.
Despite his offensive struggles last season, Catalanotto made a living with his bat. He developed a strong mental toughness in the minor leagues that transcended to the majors.
He kept a book that detailed each of his at-bats. While in the on-deck circle, he was totally focused on the pitcher, trying to see if he tipped any of his pitches.
“Once you get in the batter’s box, you shouldn’t be thinking,” said Catalanotto. “I got to a point where I could think, but not over-think it.”
In a memorable example while with the Toronto Blue Jays, Catalanotto noticed that then Texas Rangers pitcher R.A. Dickey—before he developed his knuckleball—was telegraphing his pitches. Every time Dickey’s mouth was open during his delivery, he’d throw a changeup, and every time his mouth was closed, he’d throw a fastball. It was these little things Catalanotto noticed that led to his .293 career batting average.
“Thinking away from the game is great and is one of the reason I stayed in the big leagues so long,” said Catalanotto.
These days, Catalanotto is preparing to head to Italy with former Met great Mike Piazza to help coach the Italian national team.
“That fulfills that void left in baseball,” said Catalanotto. “To be able to get on the field and help the team, that’ll be great.”
He said he wouldn’t rule out coaching in the big leagues at some point, but for now, he’s content spending time with his family.
Catalanotto also started his own foundation—the Frank Catalanotto Foundation—to benefit the research of the Vascular Birthmark Foundation. His oldest daughter was born with a birthmark but was cured with help from the institute.
Additionally, he runs Prospect Sports summer baseball camps for youth players in the Long Island area.
Catalanotto’s foundation will be hosting a golf outing at Cold Spring Country Club on Monday, October 3rd to raise money for vascular birthmark research. Sponsorship opportunities are available, and the cost per foursome is $1,600. Call 516-393-5870 to participate in this worthy event.
Follow Catalanotto on Twitter @fcat27.
Follow Jim Mancari on Twitter @JMMancari.