In all likelihood the ranks of the unemployed in Queens will increase by one on Monday when the Mets will announce that Manager Jerry Manuel’s contract will not be renewed. While Manuel’s fate is pretty much sealed, the status of General Manager Omar Minaya is not as clear-cut.
While many understandably frustrated Mets fans want a total housecleaning, I hope the team will let Minaya fulfill the remaining two years of his contract with his duties intact.
Minaya, who grew up in Corona, is quite personable and easy to root for. What many fans and media forget is that he acquired such marquee players as Carlos Beltran, Pedro Martinez, Billy Wagner, Francisco Rodriguez, Johan Santana and Jason Bay when seemingly everyone was clamoring for them. Yes, he may have been generous with Luis Castillo’s four-year, $26 million contract, though the second baseman has been more productive than most give him credit for. There’s no arguing, however, that Minaya’s re-signing of Oliver Perez to a three-year, $36 million pact is to the Mets what “Heaven’s Gate” was to United Artists and the Edsel was to the Ford Motor Company. That fateful decision may do him in.
Mets pitching legend Tom Seaver returned to Queens last Wednesday for the “Teammates in the Kitchen” event held at Citi Field’s Delta 360 Club that benefitted both the Queens Economic Development Corp. and the James Beard Foundation, whose mission is to promote culinary arts education, as befitting its famous namesake.
These days Tom Terrific is busy making his GTS Cabernet Sauvignon at his Napa Valley vineyard. Seaver is not looking to compete with Mondavi or Gallo as he says that he only produces 600 cases of his wine annually. When I asked Seaver if he was more nervous the first time he took the mound at Shea Stadium or when he sent his first case of wine to market, he did not hesitate to say, “Definitely pitching, since I couldn’t control the ball once it left my hand. I could at least taste my wine before anyone else could.”
“We beat ourselves!” is a sports cliche that players on losing teams frequently utter. In the case of the Giants last Sunday it was actually true as they lost 29-10 to the Tennessee Titans. The Giants’ defense more often than not held the Titans’ offense in check while the Big Blue offense seemed to have no trouble moving the ball up and down the field. So why the lopsided score? The Giants committed three turnovers at the most inopportune times, five personal fouls and penalties galore.
After the game, Giants all-pro defensive end Justin Tuck said the referees caught the Giants retaliating against Titan instigations they missed. But he conceded that in a sport as physical as football it’s tough to tell where hard-nosed play ends and cheap shots begin.
Congratulations to one-time Springfield Gardens High School star Anthony Mason, and to St. John’s University alum George Johnson, on being inducted into the New York City Basketball Hall of Fame last week. Both had solid NBA careers.