Recently, The Westword was able to sit down with Mets bullpen catcher Dave Racaniello to discuss the team’s amazing run in 2015, his experience at Westhill, and what he loves most about his job. Racaniello is a busy man, having to catch multiple guys every night, including Jeurys Familia, one of the most dominant relievers in Baseball. Not only did he attend Stamford Public Schools, but his dad still works at one of the local middle schools.
The Westword (WW): What years did you attend Westhill?
Dave Racaniello (DR): I attended WHS from 1993 to 1996
WW: What was your experience like at Westhill?
DR: I have many, many great memories from my days at Westhill, and many more friendships that continue on today.
WW: Who was your favorite teacher and what was your favorite class?
DR: Frank Donatucci was our baseball coach, and also a guidance counselor at WHS. Even though he wasn’t technically my guidance counselor, I leaned on him too many times to remember for countless school, and life lessons. His influence on my life is something that is hard for me to put into words.
WW: Did you do any after school activities?
DR: I played baseball for four years, one year of football and one year of basketball. Looking back now, I wish I had played more sports, but at the time baseball was all-consuming of my everyday life.
WW: Did you grow up a Mets fan?
DR: I actually grew up a Yankee fan, but the tides began to shift towards the other side of town when Don Mattingly retired in ’95 and Bobby Valentine was hired as Mets triple-A manager in ’96.
WW: What’s it like being the bullpen catcher for the 2015 National League Champion New York Mets?
DR: My first season as bullpen catcher was in 2000, the year the Mets and Yankees played in the world series. Reaching the world series again this past season was a bit more special because of the relationships that I have formed with current coaches and players. Also because of some of the tough, lean years that this current team worked through and ultimately overcame.
WW: What’s your favorite part about being on the team?
DR: This team for the past few years has had a tremendous group of guys. No matter what job you have, when you work with good people it makes life that much more fun, and I could not say enough about the group of players and coaches we’ve had the past few years.
WW: What’s it like to watch this pitching rotation day in and day out?
DR: I’ve said many times how fortunate I feel to be able work so closely with a pitching staff as talented as this one. Hopefully when we look back one day they will be compared to some of the great staffs to ever pitch in this game.
WW: Toughest part about the job?
DR: There are not many aspects of my job that I would consider tough. But there is a lot of throwing involved, and it’s not rare for my arm to sometimes get sore. Well worth it though!
WW: Best part of the job?
DR: Best part of the job for me is simply to still be able to put on the uniform and make a living as part of a baseball team. I can’t say enough of how great the New York Mets have treated me these past 15 years and it is such an honor to wear that jersey everyday.
We wish Dave and the Mets good luck for the rest of the 2016 season!