Former Batterymates Bocchino, Mora Reunite as Coaches for Cards
By Richard Kaufman
The relationship between pitcher and catcher is unique in the game of baseball. Referred to as “battery mates”, the two must be in sync and on the same page if they want to accomplish their goals.
So when Greenwich High varsity baseball head coach, Mike Mora, a former pitcher for the Cardinals in the late 1980’s, was looking to fill out his coaching staff for the 2019 season back in February, he knew right where to turn.
“I reached out to [former State Rep.] Mike Bocchino and asked if he wanted to come help out,” Mora said. “I love having him around. He’s great for the guys, he’s great for the morale. He’s the best.”
Bocchino, who was Mora’s catcher at GHS when the two attended high school together, accepted Mora’s offer and is now a fixture at Cardinal practices and games as an assistant coach. “He’s brought intensity, knowledge, love for the game and passion,” Mora said.
Bocchino jumped at the opportunity to join the Cardinal coaching staff.
“Any way I can help was, to me, an honor to come out. Especially for my alma mater. I love Greenwich High School, I love the town of Greenwich. I bleed Cardinal red through and through, and want to make sure that these guys are successful,” Bocchino said.
Bocchino’s coaching duties are all-compassing, from making sure pitchers are warming up properly in the bullpen, to working with outfielders on fundamentals.
“I’m mainly here for support, and to make sure there’s a coach available to the players when they have a question or if we see something that went wrong we can address that so Mike [Mora] can manage a game,” Bocchino added. “It’s a big aspect and very important for a head coach to be able to concentrate on the game and not have to worry about the little things.”
Quad-captains and seniors, Jackson Blanchard and Stephen Bennett, described Bocchino as a valuable asset to the team.
“He’s brought a lot of knowledge. He’s not afraid to pull you aside and tell you what you’re doing wrong during practice,” said Blanchard.
Bennett noted Bocchino’s ability to rally the troops and light a spark.
“Especially in high school baseball, it can be hard to stay into the game for all seven innings. I think he kind of helps bring the enthusiasm that sometimes we have and sometimes we don’t. He’s good at picking up when we’re not into the game and pushing us in the right direction,” Bennett remarked.
The team has enjoyed hearing old stories about Bocchino and Mora from high school. Bocchino has enjoyed reminiscing, too.
“We sit, we look back, we laugh. We remember the challenges, whether on the football field or baseball diamond, we had to overcome. These kids’ eyes light up when they hear these stories we’ve had together and some of the battles we went through as teammates. It’s a great feeling,” noted Bocchino.
Baseball has always been there for Bocchino, who is a diehard Boston Red Sox fan. He fondly remembers as a kid watching Don Zimmer, a loud and boisterous personality, manage the Red Sox. He also admires current Boston skipper, Alex Cora, who guided the team to 119 total wins in 2018, en route to a World Series championship.
“When you love the sport, it never leaves you,” he said.
When asked if there are any similarities between working in Hartford as a member of the Connecticut State House of Representatives and now coaching baseball, Bocchino spoke about putting in effort, and working together.
“We worked very cohesively as a delegation. I was fortunate to have three fantastic representatives in Livvy Floren, Fred Camillo and Scott Frantz. If we didn’t work together as well as we did, we wouldn’t have been able to do so many of the good things we were able to accomplish,” said Bocchino.
“Baseball isn’t an individual sport. You have to work on every aspect of this game as a team. You win as a team, you lose as a team. At the end of the day, that’s really what counts. It’s putting in the effort together as a cohesive unit. We did that in Hartford and we hope to do that on the baseball diamond.”