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The Mets Give Back

There is more to the St. Lucie Mets than the games they play on Tradition Field. In exclusive interviews, the players and coaches share their thoughts on both the season and the charitable organizations closest to their hearts.

Brandon Nimmo

This year in Port St. Lucie, his plan is “to get better every day, control what I can control and have fun.”

Position: Outfielder (Center)

Years with the Mets: 3

Career Highlight (so far): This first-round draft pick helped the Savannah Sand Gnats win the championship last year. This year in Port St. Lucie, his plan is “to get better every day, control what I can control and have fun.”

How He Gives Back: Along with supporting the fight against juvenile diabetes, Nimmo is active with the Humane Society of St. Lucie County, which supports the proper treatment of animals.

Something You May Not Know: Why is Nimmo so connected to his cause? A rite of passage in his family is to ride a calf when turning 7 years old. Animals had a place in his heart long before and continue to ever since.

CAM MARON

“I support the Boys & Girls Club because they provide a great environment for our area’s youth.”

Position: Catcher

Years with the Mets: 5

Career Highlight (so far): Just two years after his draft pick, Maron earned the prestigious Sterling Award as a player for the Kingsport Mets in Tennessee.

How He Gives Back: He works with the local Boys & Girls Clubs of St. Lucie County by participating in volunteer events with his teammates throughout the Treasure Coast. “I support the Boys & Girls Club because they provide a great environment for our area’s youth,” he says.

Something You May Not Know: This Hicksville, N.Y., native plays guitar and loves music. He also loves his fiancée, who sang the national anthem at a spring training game this year.

Hamilton Bennett

“We just play and hang out with the kids, making them feel special,” he says. “It is a rewarding experience.”

Position: Pitcher

Years with the Mets: 5

Career Highlight (so far): Back when Bennett was playing at Tennessee Wesleyan College, he threw a perfect game. From a player who bats right but throws left … well, they didn’t see it coming. The pitcher says he’s excited to be back this season so he can continue to live out his dreams.

How He Gives Back: Bennett supports PATCHES, which stands for Pediatric Alternative Treatment, Care, Housing & Evaluation Services. The non-profit agency, with a center in Fort Pierce, helps children challenged by medical conditions to receive treatments and have fun. And the fun is where Bennett fits in: “We just play and hang out with the kids, making them feel special,” he says. “It is a rewarding experience.”

Something You May Not Know: The mustache is where it’s at! His sweet ’stache – coupled with his outgoing personality and silly sense of humor – has earned him the nickname “Mayor of the St. Lucie Mets.”

JOEL FUENTES

“I have a family of my own, and sharing a home with the ones you love is what life is all about.”

Position: Hitting coach

Years with the Mets: 8

Thoughts on the Season: Having played with minor league teams throughout the West Coast, as well as the Atlantic and Central leagues, Fuentes uses his experience to help the St. Lucie Mets be the strongest hitters on the field. “We have a great season ahead of us, and I am excited to be back in Port St. Lucie,” he says.

How He Gives Back: Fuentes, a native of Puerto Rico, supports Habitat for Humanity, which helps low-income residents realize the American dream of homeownership. “I have a family of my own, and sharing a home with the ones you love is what life is all about,” he says. “This organization allows more people to start over. It is always amazing to see communities come together to help others.”

Something You May Not Know: In 2006, he organized baseball clinics in Puerto Rico for children ages 7 to 11. So, if we start seeing talented players following in Fuentes’ footsteps, we’ll know why!

PHIL REGAN

Position: Pitching coach

Years with the Mets: 6

Career Highlight (so far): With 50 years of baseball under his belt, Regan was a starting and relief pitcher for the Detroit Tigers, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and the Chicago White Sox. He even played on the USA Olympic team as a pitching coach in 2000, when they won a gold medal in Sydney. So it’s worth noting that he thinks this year’s Mets pitching is “outstanding.”

How He Gives Back: Living in Port St. Lucie with his wife, Lissette, Regan supports the YMCA and helps to raise money for breast cancer prevention.

Something You May Not Know: Of course you know his nickname is “The Vulture,” right? Fellow Dodger pitcher Sandy Koufax came up with the name in 1966 to honor Regan’s relief pitching in the team’s World Series win. You also may not know that his wife is from Venezuela.

RYAN ELLIS

This season is looking good for the St. Lucie Mets, he says, if the team continues to “play the game hard and be competitive on a nightly basis.”

Position: Manager

Years with the Mets: 9

Thoughts on the Season: With years playing infield for the Vermont Expos and Washington Wild Things under his belt, Ellis turned to coaching full-time in 2005. This season is looking good for the St. Lucie Mets, he says, if the team continues to “play the game hard and be competitive on a nightly basis.”

How He Gives Back: A board member of the BairFind Foundation since it was formed, Ellis is passionate about the mission, which helps find missing children. He seeks “to help those unfortunate families who have to live, for the time being, not knowing where their child may be, and to help give hope and optimism.”

Something You May Not Know: Born and raised in Pittsburgh for the first 35 years of his life, Ellis is a huge Steelers and Penguins fan. We’re guessing his loyalty is split when the Mets play the Pirates!