Last Saturday was one of the more fun days as the Mets held one of their two “Bark at the Park” promotions (the next one is Sept. 22), when dog owners could not only bring their pets to the game but walk them around the perimeter of Citi Field as well. Jon Kerber of the Mets PR staff announced during the game that 429 dogs came out to watch the Mets beat the Giants 5-4 in a rather bizarre game.
The overall goal of the promotion was extremely worthy — raising funds for the North Shore Animal League, as well as finding homes for stray canines.
Last year Mets relief pitcher Bobby Parnell adopted a dog at Bark at the Park Day.
“My wife warned me not to do it again,” he laughed when I asked him if he would consider a second adoption.
Two of Parnell’s bullpen mates, Ramon Ramirez and Manny Acosta, were seen after the game filling out paperwork and talking to North Shore Animal League officials as they were adopting a pair of adorable puppies.
Mets manager Terry Collins must have felt like he was in his own version of “Dog Day Afternoon” for reasons that had nothing to do with puppies. His team, which had lost four straight games, appeared to be on the verge of finally snapping that streak after Giants hitter Brandon Belt launched a very catchable high pop-up with two outs in the ninth inning. But Mets rookie centerfielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis misplayed the ball, and it fell for a game-tying double. The Mets came back to win in the bottom of the frame, however. As Shakespeare famously wrote, “All’s well that ends well.”
I asked Collins at his post-game press conference if he was concerned that the game would have been a season-defining one had the Mets lost.
“At this level you are going to have games where you escape death and others where you get shot,” he said as he tried to downplay the potential negatives. I wonder if former Mets, and current Red Sox, skipper Bobby Valentine was that philosophical after watching his team blow a 9-0 lead in losing to the Yankees 15-9 late Saturday.
One of the early season’s upbeat, and yet underreported, Mets stories is the fine job catcher Josh Thole has been doing with his bat and calling games for his pitching staff.
Baseball commissioner Bud Selig was one of the dignitaries on hand at the Metropolitan Museum of Art for MLB’s Autism Speaks fundraiser. He confirmed that no announcement has been made for the location of the 2013 All-Star Game but did not dispute the notion that Citi Field is the favorite for the midsummer classic.
Congratulations to Cardozo High and Queens College alum Howie Rose, the longtime Mets radio voice, who will be inducted into the Jewish Sports Hall of Fame this Sunday in Commack.
Both the Daily News’ Filip Bondy and the Post’s Phil Mushnick covered the New Jersey Nets in the late 1970s when they played in Piscataway as the Meadowlands Arena had yet to be completed. It was hysterical reading their reminiscences of the strange occurrences that always seemed to happen to the snake-bitten team in their respective papers last Sunday. Things don’t appear to have changed much as the ever-losing Nets will be our neighbors this fall playing at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.
Celebrity lookalikes have long been a regular feature of Phil Mushnick’s columns so here is my offering: Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia and British action movie star Jason Statham.
In honor of Earth Day, the Ford Motor Company and the ecology website shft.com (whose cofounder is actor Adrian Grenier, best known for his role as Queens native and film star Vincent Chase on HBO’s “Entourage”) held a press event in Manhattan last week to tout how the Detroit automaker is using recycled materials in its vehicles. CEO Bill Ford admitted that when he was growing up being ecologically conscious meant giving up comfort and performance, but said that because of technological breakthroughs that is no longer the case. Interestingly, auto racing vehicles have been using recycled materials for years because they are lighter, which means that they can go faster.
His first visit to Citi Field certainly did not get the hype that Jose Reyes’s did, but Angel Pagan said all the right things to the press last weekend as his current team, the Giants, took on the Mets.
“I loved playing for the Mets and was surprised that they traded me,” Pagan said. “I understand that it’s a business and they needed bullpen help.”
Asked if he would like to return to the Mets, Angel smiled and added, “Well, I will be a free agent at the end of this season!”
The Tribeca Film Festival, along with partner ESPN, will be hosting their annual sports film day this Saturday. As I mentioned in last week’s column, “Knuckleball,” a documentary featuring Mets pitcher RA Dickey and former Yankee as well as “Ball Four” author Jim Bouton, will be shown.
Another film that I am looking forward to is “Broke,” which examines the inordinate number of professional athletes who wind up penniless despite having earned millions during their playing careers.