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Queens Chronicle

Needless Big Headache For Big Unit

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Posted: Thursday, April 6, 2006 12:00 am

Randy Johnson may be one of the most surly, unpleasant athletes to ever be around, but that does not condone the back page tabloid frenzy that was unleashed last week when it was discovered that he has a daughter out of wedlock with whom he supposedly does not maintain a relationship of any sort. While this is hardly laudable, it is sadly not an uncommon story, particularly in the world of professional sports, and it is certainly not a news story in a sophisticated market such as New York. Both the Daily News and the Post should have left this story for the reporters from the National Enquirer.

I am not sure what George Mitchell, the former senate majority leader, will discover as baseball’s independent steroids fact finder, but the fears that he might not be impartial because he has a limited partnership interest in the Boston Red Sox and has served on the board of directors of ESPN is misplaced. Few ever questioned Mitchell’s integrity when he was in the Senate and the income he makes from attending a board of directors meeting or from his largely ceremonial equity in the Red Sox, is immaterial to a man of his stature.

Politics is having an effect on sports in Washington, D.C., the way few would have imagined when the year began. According to the Sports Business Daily, one key reason that ticket sales are down for baseball’s Washington Nationals is because few politicians or their aides want to be publicly seen at a game sitting next to lobbyists in light of the Jack Abramoff scandal. Lobbyists have sizable economic clout when it comes to entertainment expenditures in our nation’s capital.

Adam Rubin, the Mets beat writer for the Daily News, has written his first book, titled “Pedro, Carlos And Omar” (Lyons Press). While it is a fine recap of the 2005 Mets season, we don’t get any extra insights or quotes from Pedro Martinez, Carlos Beltran and Omar Minaya that we should expect, given the book’s title.

Not helping matters is Mets radio broadcaster and Cardozo High alum Howie Rose’s quote claiming that “this book will put you in the middle of the Mets clubhouse.” Having been in the middle of the Mets clubhouse on more than one occasion I can tell you that Howie is being a bit effusive here. For example, Rubin neglects to mention how the Mets VP of media relations, the legendary Jay Horwitz, was more than a bit overprotective of Martinez as he would routinely shoo reporters away from his locker area. The funny thing is that Martinez enjoyed the interplay with the media, and contrary to reports stemming from Boston, was an affable guy to be around.

Mets fans are hoping that the 2006 season will bear a strong resemblance to that of 1986 when the Mets won their second—and so far last—World Series. Major League Baseball Productions and A&E Home Video have just released a DVD, titled “The New York Mets: 1986 World Series Collector’s Edition,” a nine disc set that includes every inning from that memorable seven game match up with the Boston Red Sox, as well as that marathon 16 inning game in the Astrodome in which the Mets beat the Houston Astros to win the National League pennant.

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