The Mets went into the All-Star break by winning eight out of 10 on their long homestand, pushing ahead of the Phillies and Marlins into third place in the National League East. Aside from the much-needed wins, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson had to be thrilled from the contributions of three players on whom he has bet a lot of chips: catcher Travis d’Arnaud, centerfielder Chris Young and first baseman Lucas Duda.
Young and d’Arnaud were complete busts the first three months of the season while Duda was continuing his career as the poor man’s Adam Dunn/Dave Kingman by belting home runs but striking out all too often. As the calendar turned to July, however, both Young and d’Arnaud were getting big hits while Duda proved that he could be a contact hitter.
Of course it’s to be seen if the Mets can keep things up for the rest of the season. If nothing else they made Alderson think twice, for now anyway, about getting rid of key players such as Daniel Murphy at the July 31 trade deadline.
Seventeen-year-old Noah Rubin, who won the boys’ tennis championship at Wimbledon, was at Citi Field last week watching the Mets taking batting practice. He is hoping to receive an invitation to the main men’s draw at this year’s US Open at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center but said he is prepared to compete in the wild card tournament at the National Tennis Center, which starts Aug. 18.
He also told me he is well aware of the recent wave of futility in American men’s tennis but is not afraid of the pressure that comes with being the next great American hope.
Noah is from Merrick, LI, but his dad, Eric, grew up in Bayside, and his grandparents still live there. Eric told me his parents pick up the Queens Chronicle every Thursday. Obviously Noah is destined for great things!
If you haven’t gotten the chance to see it, catch SNY’s “Battle of the Broadcasters,” which pits the Mets TV team of Ron Darling, Keith Hernandez and Flushing native Gary Cohen against their radio team of Josh Lewin, Seth Everett and Cardozo High alum Howie Rose in a Mets trivia contest.
What makes it fun is that the show brilliantly spoofs ’70s TV game shows with its low-budget set and canned applause. Host Kevin Burkhardt channels his inner Gene Rayburn of “Match Game” fame as he uses a long thin microphone and wears a garish plaid outfit.
Burkhardt will be joining Fox Sports in LA next year, and his replacement will likely be his understudy, Rego Park native Steve Gelbs, who has proven very capable on Mets telecasts.
See the extended version of Sports Beat every week at qchron.com.
The Mets’ NY-Penn League affiliate, the Brooklyn Cyclones, will hold their second and final matinee of the 2014 season this coming Monday as they’ll take on Williamsport at 11:30 a.m. Seeing a game at MCU Park, located adjacent to the Coney Island boardwalk, is a great way to beat the heat.
The Cyclones got some publicity recently by honoring the 25th anniversary of “Seinfeld,” the show about minutiae that starred Queens College alum Jerry Seinfeld and is still doing well in syndication repeats. It was a nice idea, but none of the key cast members showed up or even filmed a message for fans on the MCU Park scoreboard.
Former Mets reliever and Howard Beach resident Pedro Beato is now with the Atlanta Braves. He has been on the disabled list but is scheduled to return to action after the All-Star Game.
I am not sure if this was timed for the conclusion of the 2014 World Cup, but cable’s El Rey Network has rolled out a Tuesday night action series, “Matador,” about a soccer star who doubles as a spy.