When Howard Beach’s Pia Toscano was surprisingly voted off “American Idol” last Thursday, in spite of all of the insider scuttlebutt that had her as the sure winner, it wasn’t the only time last week a safe bet in South Queens suffered a surprise loss.
That same illusion of inevitability appeared to exist in the thoroughbred world as Uncle Mo, owned by Middle Village native Mike Repole, founder of Vitaminwater, Energy Kitchen and Pirate’s Booty, was being touted as the favorite for the Kentucky Derby. Uncle Mo was even drawing comparisons to such past Triple Crown winners as Secretariat and Seattle Slew.
The Wood Memorial, held last Saturday at Aqueduct, is considered a preview of the Kentucky Derby. Uncle Mo went into the Wood as a 1-9 favorite. A funny thing happened, however, as he struggled to finish third, proving again that there’s no sure thing in the sport of kings. Repole better hope that Mo simply had an off day and will live up to the hype in Churchill Downs next month.
The Mets didn’t brighten the mood around here last weekend either, as they lost two out of three to the Washington Nationals, probably their chief competition for the NL East cellar. Not only did the Mets lose to less-than-stellar opponents, they displayed the same ineptitude in the field and on the base paths that we saw all too often last year.
It’s too soon to pass judgment on first-year Mets manager Terry Collins, but it is clear that he needs to work on his grammar as he constantly used the word “good” in his sentences when he should have used “well” at his press conference following the Mets’ desultory home opener. To be fair to Collins, this is a common malady in baseball parlance. I asked pitcher Chris Young, a Princeton graduate (one who’s pitched very well for the Mets so far) if he might give Collins tips on grammar. “I had better leave that task to someone else!” Young wisely laughed.
Last Sunday, Mets announcer Gary Cohen said that Ron Darling has more career wins than any other Ivy League alumnus. In my opinion, the term “alumnus” strongly implies that one graduated from the college in question. Darling attended Yale but did not complete the requirements needed for his degree.
With a batting order that includes hitters like Robinson Cano, Mark Texeira and A-Rod, you’d think the Yankees couldn’t care less about manufacturing runs the old school way. But last Thursday, Yankees centerfielder Brett Gardner reached first on a single, stole second, went to third on a ground out and then scored on a sacrifice fly. That was the difference in the Yankees’ 4-3 win over the Twins. “We work on that kind of situational hitting all the time” said Yankees Manager Joe Girardi. Are you listening, Collins?
The Rangers sure like to make their fans reach for the antacids. Last year they missed out on the NHL playoffs by losing to the Flyers in Philly. This year they just managed to grab the last playoff spot on the last day of the season when they beat the Devils.