WHEN: Tuesday, June 19, 6:30 p.m.
WHERE: at Hunter Wright Stadium, Kingsport
STARTING PITCHERS: Princeton, RHP Miguel Lara; Kingsport, RHP Jose Moreno
FOR THE FANS: First 500 fans receive a K-Mets magnet schedule; $2 Tuesday — $2 hot dogs, soda and beer
KINGSPORT — Cooper Farris knows a lot about baseball. He also knows some about the Kingsport area.
Farris will put his knowledge of both together this summer as an assistant coach for the Kingsport Mets.
Farris has spent 42 years coaching baseball, primarily at the collegiate level.
He was head coach at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College from 1990 to 2009 and managed college summer league teams, including the premier Cape Cod League for 15 summers.
The Cape Cod League is known for producing major league players and Farris did his part to produce pro players while winning three league championships.
“I think there’s about 60 guys in the big leagues right now that I’ve coached,” Farris noted.
Farris’ mother is a graduate of Dobyns-Bennett. His grandmother lived just across the street from the school’s J. Fred Johnson Stadium.
Farris was raised in Mississippi, where his father coached Mississippi Gulf Coast from 1961-1989 before he took over the job in 1990. But he saw plenty of baseball played in Kingsport growing up.
“My summers, I spent two weeks up here and every Christmas up here growing up,” Farris recalled of his trips to Kingsport. “In the summer I used to walk across the street and watch the Mets play at the old stadium beside the school.”
This summer, Farris will have a seat closer to the action with the K-Mets.
“It’s kind of surreal. When they told me where I was going, I couldn’t believe it,” he said.
While he worked as a part-time scout for the Mets for seven years of his tenure in the Cape Cod League, this season marks the first coaching job for Farris in the professional ranks. He will work as a bench coach, assisting K-Mets manager Sean Ratliff in “doing whatever needs to be done,” Farris said.
“I’m kind of the guy who kind of picks up the slack for them,” Farris said. “I help with the hitters some. I’m working with the catchers. Just helping Sean with whatever he needs done.”
Farris is the elder statesman on the K-Mets’ coaching staff. But he said working with Ratliff and the other assistants has been good.
“He’s been really good. He does a great job and he’s got a good idea what he’s going to do and what he wants to do, and it’s really good,” Farris said of Ratliff.
“He’s going to be a really good manager.”
As far as expectations for the K-Mets, Farris said the team has great potential.
“These guys can really compete and they can do some things offensively,” he said. “It’s going to be fun to see what they can do.”