Sections

April 6, 2015 / Sports

Opening say! Coney Island’s Nelson Figueroa takes the mic to talk Mets

Brooklyn Daily
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:

Former Brooklynite Nelson Figueroa pitched for the Mets from 2008–2009, and now returns as the studio analyst for SNY’s pre- and postgame shows. As part of our Opening Day Package (which includes this story), we checked in with Figueroa about growing up in Brooklyn, the transition to on-air commentary, and getting called out by iconic Mets fan Jerry Seinfeld.

David Russell: Jerry Seinfeld tweeted that he was unhappy with Bobby Ojeda leaving. Was that a welcome back to New York of sorts?

Nelson Figueroa: It was my very first welcome back, and I don’t think I could have asked for anything better.

DR: How influential was growing up in Brooklyn and playing at Lincoln High School in Coney Island?

NF: That’s where the dream started, and it was just a dream at that time. I won a PSAL title at Yankee Stadium. That would have been enough for most kids. I wanted more. Brandeis University gave me a chance for the Mets to see me. (Former Mets scout) Paul Baretta drafted me. Growing up in Brooklyn as a Mets fan, it was always a dream to play with them. I was with them in Spring training [1995]. Even if I never made it, I’d always have that. I put on the jersey 13 years later. [Figueroa pitched for Arizona, Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Pittsburgh and overseas before returning to New York.]

DR: You were involved at the radio station while at Brandeis. Did you have any idea that this was what you wanted to do after you retired?

NF: I got my education at Brandeis. I got my degree, but there were no specific plans for life after baseball. I thought I’d always be involved, even if that meant coaching after my playing days ended. I didn’t know about the possibility of doing TV work. It’s the best of both worlds. I have a new career but I’m able to stay connected to baseball and with the Mets.

DR: What have you learned at SNY that surprised you?

NF: It’s not as easy as it looks. There are so many little details. I have no professional training and guys like Gary Apple, Steve Gelbs and Ron Darling make it look so easy. I watched Darling and Keith Hernandez play baseball and now I’m seeing them talk about it. Bobby Ojeda did this and I watched a lot of video clips of the way he presented himself and expressed himself. Ojeda would get to the studio at 1:30 for a 6:00 show. The SNY family spends more time together than with their real families. We’re like a family. There’s such a tight-knot bond and such a great fraternity to be a part of. If there are any issues, I’m able to reach out to Darling. I grew up watching him and at random times of the day I’ll call him and talk baseball.

DR: You were involved in a trade for Curt Schilling and you’re the first Mets pitcher to throw a complete-game shutout at Citifield. What’s it like being the answer to some obscure sports trivia?

NF: There’s that, and being one of the players that had all the vowels in his name. I had no choice in that one. And I’m a 20-game winner in the big leagues. That could get me some perks. It took me 11 years to get it, but 20 wins is 20 wins.

Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
Today’s news:
Share on TwitterTweet
Share on Facebook
Subscribe

Don’t miss our updates:


Reasonable discourse

Comments closed.

First name
Last name
Your neighborhood
Email address
Daytime phone

Your letter must be signed and include all of the information requested above. (Only your name and neighborhood are published with the letter.) Letters should be as brief as possible; while they may discuss any topic of interest to our readers, priority will be given to letters that relate to stories covered by The Brooklyn Paper.

Letters will be edited at the sole discretion of the editor, may be published in whole or part in any media, and upon publication become the property of The Brooklyn Paper. The earlier in the week you send your letter, the better.

Keep it local!

Stay in touch with your community. Subscribe to our free newsletter: