The recently concluded baseball winter meetings in San Diego produced little news for Mets fans aside from the team signing former Phillies outfielder John Mayberry Jr. to a $1.45 million, one-year contract. Mayberry has power and had been a …
Columbia University dismissed Lions football head coach Peter Mangurian this past Friday. Ironically, the fact that the Lions are in the midst of a 21-game losing streak had little to do with the dismissal; rather it was reports that Mangurian was verbally abusive to players, and even worse, ignored their concerns about having incurred concussions, that spurred Columbia president Lee Bollinger to act.
Not to belittle the players’ concerns, but not firing this guy just based on his win-loss record reminds me of how the feds could only put Al Capone away for income tax evasion instead of for any of his hardcore gangster activities. But the important thing is that Columbia finally got rid of “the Vince Lombardi of losing.”
The National Hockey League gave the New York Rangers good reason to give thanks last holiday weekend, scheduling away-and-home matinee games with the Philadelphia Flyers, who played like turkeys. The two wins were a needed boost for the Blueshirts, who so far this season have not played like the team that went to the Stanley Cup Final six months ago.
The Flyers were so awful at the Wells Fargo Center last Friday that the home crowd started booing early in the first period and never let up. They were a pathetic 0 for 6 on the power play. And the Rangers added insult to injury on the last one. Even with one less player on the ice due to Chad Kreider’s four-minute penalty for high sticking, the Rangers nailed a shorthanded third-period goal as Rick Nash scored on a three-on-one breakaway to put the puck past hapless Flyers goalie Steve Mason. Flyers fans exited in droves at that point. The final was 3-0.
Sports are like icebergs.
What a sailor sees sticking out of the water as he navigates is only a minute piece of a much larger mass, the vast majority of it remaining unseen by human eyes scanning the surface.
For the third time in Citi Field’s six-year history, the Mets have altered their ballpark’s dimensions. This time a good chunk of the right field wall was brought in an average of 10 feet.
While moving in the fences would seem counterproductive to a team that lives and dies by its pitching, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson believes the changes will yield a net benefit to the Mets. Apparently his thinking is that Mets pitchers can shut down opposing hitters in even a bandbox while the visiting teams’ mediocre pitchers have looked like the second coming of Cy Young against our Flushing heroes because of the spaciousness of Citi Field.
If there’s ever a time for a team to struggle, it’s early in the season, regardless of sport. You have the entire year to analyze your roster, assess where your problems lie and make the appropriate changes. Simple enough.
For the sake of every St. John’s fan, let’s hope the Red Storm are, for the most part, over their early season growing pains as they begin to navigate a tough stretch of games this coming week.
Those masters of frugality, the New York Mets, surprised the baseball world by becoming the first Major League Baseball team to sign a name free agent as they inked veteran outfielder Michael Cuddyer to a two-year, $21 million contract last week.
Normally this kind of signing spells trouble. Cuddyer will be 36 years old when the 2015 season begins and he missed most of 2014 because of a combination of shoulder and hamstring injuries. He is also a defensive liability.
The 2014-15 NBA season is only two weeks old, so it’s obviously impossible to forecast any long-term trends but our local NBA teams appear to be serious works-in- progress.
My gut feeling is that the Knicks and Nets will be battling each other for the eighth and final playoff spot in the NBA Eastern Division. Frankly, I wouldn’t be surprised if both teams wind up on the outside looking in on the postseason come mid-April.
The NYC Marathon has always had a paradoxical quality. It’s the world’s largest and most prestigious road race (yes, I know that some folks in Boston and Chicago will disagree with the latter) and yet there is little hoopla in the mainstream sports community in the days leading up to it. You rarely hear anything about it on WFAN or ESPN New York and even the coverage in the local dailies is scant at best.
One reason is that Americans rarely win either the men’s or women’s race. Meb Keflezighi, who was born in Eritrea but emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 12 with his family, won the race in 2009. You would have to go back 27 years before that for your last American winner, Alberto Salazar.
Keeping up a tradition that dates back to when they hired Casey Stengel as their first manager roughly 53 years ago, the Mets have once again picked up another Yankees discard, signing Kevin Long to be their next hitting coach after he was dismissed by the Bombers from that very same position two weeks ago.
This doesn’t mean the Mets are making a mistake. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who made the decision to part ways with Long, basically admitted that he is a fine hitting coach but someone has to be a sacrificial lamb for the Yankees’ missing the playoffs for the second consecutive year.