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Paul LoDuca Interview

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Aces Over Brooklyn

LoDuca Finally Plays in Brooklyn

 

By Patrick Hickey Jr.

garythomaspaulloduca.jpg
LoDuca went 2-for-5 in two games with Brooklyn

Born in Brooklyn and having played the past season and a half in Queens, one would assune that Mets catcher Paul LoDuca would have fond, long-time memories of his hometown. However, up until Aug. 24, the former-All Star had never played a game in Brooklyn, as his family moved to Arizona when he was a toddler.

 

“It feels really neat to get a chance to play in Brooklyn. I have a lot of family here; my uncle lives about two miles from here (in Bensonhurst) actually,” said the 35-year-old LoDuca, who is hitting .269 with 41 RBIs. “I got a chance to see him and a lot of other people I haven’t seen in a while. It was really great to have them all here today.”

 

Playing in two games for the Brooklyn Cyclones as part of a re­hab assignment after he strained his right hamstring on Aug. 12, the veteran went 2-for-5 with a homer and a walk.

 

LoDuca’s focus during his time in Coney Island was on getting in his swings and making sure he was ready to help the Mets stave off the surging Phillies and at­tempt a repeat as National League East champions.

 

“These guys are all over the place,” he said. “I’m still getting my timing back and haven’t seen much live pitching lately, but I still noticed it. I could have walked two or three times today, but I wanted to swing the bat. I think I’m 100 percent now and I really want to get back and do what I was doing before.”

 

Rather than go through the mo­tions like most big leaguers trying to get back in shape, LoDuca was thrilled to play in Brooklyn and share his knowledge with his tem­porary teammates.

“This is a great atmosphere,” he said. “These kids don’t know it, but it only gets downhill from here. When I was first coming up, I could count how many people were in the stands. It doesn’t get much better than playing in a place like this when you’re just coming up.”

 

While the Cyclones would lose both games that LoDuca played in, the veteran believes he was re­juvenated by his stay in Brooklyn and only sees good things from them in the future.

 

“This team has so much tal­ent. It was really cool hanging out with them; they asked me so many questions. It makes me remember how I felt when I was chasing this dream. This is something that I’ll remember for a while. Seeing how much fun they have was a lot of fun for me, I needed it,” said Lo­Duca, who received a standing ovation every time he stepped to the plate. “I just told Fonzie (‘Clones manager Edgar Alfonzo) that they’ll start winning again as soon as I get out of here. I’m just a jinx I guess.

Photograph for this article was taken by Gary Thomas

To comment on this article, e-mail Mr. Hickey @ Patrickhickeyjr@yahoo.com