I have a feeling that Mets COO Jeff Wilpon must have been pumping out Twisted Sister’s “We’re Not Gonna Take It” in his office when he decided to withhold payment on ace reliever Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez’s contract after he injured his thumb in a Citi Field altercation with his prospective father-in-law.
The Players Association immediately challenged Wilpon by filing a grievance. The odds are the union will win because (1) it’s won cases for players involved in even stranger incidents than K-Rod’s; (2) the grievance undoubtedly will point out that a pitcher’s fingers take a lot of wear and tear through the nature of the profession; and (3) the pressure of being a closer in a big market is stressful and the union could say his outburst was based on the frustrations he and the Mets were having. Psychiatric woes should not be treated with less seriousness than physical ones.
The Mets probably know they’re going to lose in arbitration but what do they care? The worst-case scenario is that they have to pay him according to his contract. Wilpon, who is undoubtedly frustrated by the lack of production from such highly compensated players as Carlos Beltran, Jason Bay and Oliver Perez understandably wanted to vent some steam and send a message about accountability.
Last week the Yankees kicked off their second annual HOPE Week — HOPE as in Helping Others Persevere and Excel — the brainchild of team PR director Jason Zillo. The project gives those who are physically or economically challenged a chance to interact on a personal level with Yankees players, and has been cited by no less than President Barack Obama.
HBO Sports made the right decision in choosing the Jets as the NFL team to follow in training camp. Rex Ryan has become a national celebrity for his liberal use of salty language, and nowhere was that more apparent than in the first episode, when he outlined his goals for the season at a team meeting.
I asked Rex, after the Jets’ first preseason game, a 31-16 loss to the Giants, if he had patterned his speech on that of Alec Baldwin’s character in 1992’s “Glengarry Glen Ross.”
“Well, I don’t see a lot of movies,” he said, but then added, “OK, if you want to go with that it’s all right with me,” more or less confirming that he had seen the flick.
Tiger Woods will try to resuscitate his career at The Barclays at the Ridgewood Country Club in Paramus, NJ, which gets underway today. The Barclays is the only PGA Tour event in the metropolitan area this year. New Jersey Transit will offer free shuttle bus service from its Glen Rock train station.
One of the great sports bargains is going on at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows now through Sunday as many of the world’s best tennis players are trying to qualify for slots at the U.S. Open that begins Monday. Admission is free.
The surprise withdrawal of last year’s U.S. Open men’s champ, Juan Martin del Potro, should make things easier this year for both Rafael Nadal and 2009 runner-up Roger Federer.