Howlin T-Wolf had the privilege of interviewing Jeff Cafarella of Niagara Falls who was Jonny Flynn’s little league coach.
HTW: Jeff you coached Jonny Flynn in little league when he was 11 and 12. Jonny certainly looks like a guy that is just built as an athlete. Can you tell us a little bit about what kind of baseball player and teammate he was?
JC: If you know anything about this kid, you here the same story over and over again….this kid will do anything you ask him to do. He was the leader of the team and stepped up to light a fire under any one’s butt who needed it. He batted 2nd and played shortstop for us both as an 11 and 12 year old and was never once challenged for his spot in the line up or on the field.
HTW: Any particular stories or moments you remember from those teams?
JC: I will always remember meeting this kid for the first time. It was his first year in our league (with his cousin Eric who you will see in MLB one day soon), during our first practice I asked him what position he feels most comfortable at, and his answer is something I never heard before and its an answer I haven’t heard since them. He looked at me and said “Coach, I don’t care where I play, or how much I play, I just ask that I get into the game at some point.” I didn’t know what to say…lol. Needless to say, he never stepped off the diamond or lost his starting spot.
The other memory I will always have is when he jumped over the catcher to win the championship for us! It was a heated game against our biggest rival, and he did everything he could to win the game. He was dead at the plate, catcher had the ball and was waiting for him….all of a sudden, there goes little Jonny jumping over the catch and landing right on the plate!
HTW: How much fun is it to see a hometown kid succeeding at the level Jonny is?
JC: It is amazing. Niagara Falls doesn’t get too much credit or notice except for these past few years with the success of NFHS.
HTW: Niagara Falls might be one of the few places that Jonny could come to Minnesota from where he might be getting a slight upgrade in weather. For those of us that don’t know what’s the weather like in January in Niagara Falls?
JC: January is nice and cold and snowy….Wind-chills can be around -20 degrees at time and the snow is always blowing….There are mornings you walk outside and your nostrils freeze right up!
HTW: The Wolves also signed Jonny’s longtime teammate Paul Harris, another Niagara Falls guy, to their summer league team. I think he’s got a pretty good shot at making the team this season. Any thoughts on Harris and his game?
JC: Paul was the big man in Niagara Falls because he was so much bigger then the kids he played against. He is a good player and can make people around him better. He will work hard on the court, but he has his off nights. But i think if you guys can get Jonny and Paul, you’ll be in for a treat.