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(NAPSI)—Here’s intriguing news for parents, their young athletes and anyone interested in America’s past and present: The world’s largest youth sports organization is celebrating its Diamond Anniversary. From its humble beginnings in 1939 in Williamsport, Pennsylvania with 30 players to today’s reach of more than 2.4 million players and 1 million adult volunteers in every U.S. state and more than 80 other countries, Little League has continued to thrive by sticking to its fundamental values-community, family, friendly competition, and relationships that last a lifetime.
Little League founder Carl Stotz (middle, back row) and the Lycoming Dairy Little League team pose for their first team photo in 1939, Little League’s inaugural year, in Lycoming, Pennsylvania. (NAPS)
The National Football League generated backpage headlines this past weekend when it was learned that the league is pushing for penalties and possible game suspensions for players who use the “N-word” slur during a game. The NFL was acting primarily in response to such lunkheads as the Miami Dolphins’ Richie Incognito and the Philadelphia Eagles’ Riley Cooper, who brought shame to themselves and the NFL last year by using that disgusting term.
Sorry, ACLU supporters, I support the NFL’s decision in this matter. What wasn’t clear, however, was if NFL referees will have the power to issue penalties for slurs made against other ethnic groups, races or differing sexual orientations. If you are trying to take a principled and responsible stand against prejudice, then you can’t have situations where some groups are protected and others are not.
Ralph Kiner’s passing brought out an emotional response from Mets fans that has understandably been missing since the team moved into Citi Field five years ago. I can vouch for the general consensus that he was a gracious and classy man. Ralph was always receptive to talking baseball and he did not check to see if you were a sportswriter from a big outlet to decide whether a conversation was worth his time. Trust me, that’s not how it is with a lot of broadcasters and sportswriters these days.
Barry Lyons, a third-string catcher on the 1986 Mets, told me one of his greatest thrills as a player was to be a guest on the Mets’ long-running postgame show, “Kiner’s Korner.” When any substitute player got a chance to be the hero of the game, and thus merit an appearance on the show, it was like being inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame for a day.
After all of the consternation about the weather and the first Super Bowl ever held in the New York metropolitan area, it was a pretty decent day by early February standards for all except the Denver Broncos. During Super Bowl week, perceptive lead Fox Sports voice Joe Buck told me that the weather was far worse in Dallas last year. He also pointed out that even though New York had a cold week, the conditions were far better than those in Southern cities as Atlanta and New Orleans.
Giants co-owner John Mara is one of the most accessible and likable sports executives you will ever meet. I was surprised that he wandered through the Super Bowl media party without any aides. “Even if you are not a football fan the energy and excitement of the Super Bowl raises the spirits of everyone living in the metropolitan area,” Mara told me. He concurred with my analogy of how even diehard Democrats enjoyed having the Republican National Convention in New York in 2004.
It was straight out of a Saturday morning children’s television comedy — a man confined to a hospital is able to confound security by the ingenious tactic of switching clothes with one of his visitors and allegedly sauntering right out the door.
Only residents, elected officials and police are not laughing over the fact that Raymond Morillo, who was confined to Creedmoor after completing a sentence for manslaughter and assault, was able to do just that on Jan. 28, and get more than 1,000 miles away before he was caught at a bus station in Memphis, Tenn. the next night.
The two outdoor NHL games at Yankee Stadium involving the Rangers and their two local opponents, the Devils and the Islanders, this past week certainly drew big crowds despite the bone chilling cold of what seems to be an immobile polar vortex. The National Hockey League wisely made the games a de facto part of the NFL Super Bowl Week undercard.
It’s funny how the media has been in a frenzy about what the weather conditions will be like this Sunday at MetLife Stadium ever since the NFL announced that the 2014 Super Bowl would take place in our area, yet there was nary a word about the tundra conditions that fans would have to endure when the NHL announced this Stadium Series last year.
From the perspective of many north and northeast Queens residents, 2013 was a good year for developers and not so great for the average citizen, who had to put up with increased airplane noise, overcrowded schools and more from College Point to Little Neck.
Like any year, 2013 brought many changes, but the overriding story here is Flushing Meadows Park, which has been bombarded on all fronts with some unpopular projects as the New York State Pavilion from the 1964 World’s Fair continues to suffer from neglect.
The Glen Oaks Little League will hold its first of four winter baseball clinics on Saturday at PS 186, 252-12 72 Ave. from 9 a.m. to noon.
Registration for the 2014 season also begins on Saturday. The season runs from April to June. Divisions include pee wee, farms, international and majors. There is also a challenger division for those who are mentally or physically challenged.
With two outs in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the 1986 World Series, Mookie Wilson stepped up to the plate. The Mets trailed the Boston Red Sox 5-4, but with runners on first and third, Wilson had a chance to become a postseason hero with a hit. After a wild pitch allowed the tying run to score and the possible winning run to advance to second base, the game was in Wilson’s hands.
On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Wilson hit a slow ground ball to Red Sox first baseman Bill Buckner.
It took three years and over a billion dollars but the top-to-bottom renovations of Madison Square Garden have finally been completed. The Garden truly has the feel of a brand-new arena, not one that was built in 1968 and had some modifications made to it.
A lot has been written about the pair of pathways known as “The Chase Bridges” located near the Garden’s ceiling, which allow patrons to walk from the 31st Street side to the 33rd Street side and back without missing any of the action. They are an architectural wonder as they are virtually undetectable looking up from the courtside seats. You have to climb up a few stairs from the Garden’s ninth floor, known affectionately as the “blue seats” since back in the day, to get to these bridges. Amazingly, the bridges don’t block the vision of anyone sitting on the upper level.
The Mets’ 3-2 come-from-behind victory last Sunday afternoon at Citi Field to close out the 2013 season meant that the team wound up in third place in the National League East with its 74-88 record. That wasn’t a cause for anyone to be popping champagne in the clubhouse, but considering that many believed the Mets would be battling the penurious Miami Marlins all season for the cellar, it was a major accomplishment. Hardly anyone had predicted that the Mets would finish ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies. Of course, that’s more of an indictment of an aging, overpaid and underperforming Phillies squad than it is a tribute to the Mets.
Nonetheless, Mets manager Terry Collins, who rightfully received an extension on his contract Monday, sees finishing third as an important launching point for the 2014 Mets. “I told Sandy after we swept the Phillies down there last weekend that we were going to overtake them in the standings,” Collins proudly said in his postgame press conference, referring to general manager Sandy Alderson. “This is important to us.”
A lot was made of Andy Roddick’s retirement last year, since he remains the last American man to win a tennis Grand Slam event: the 2003 US Open. What got surprisingly little play when he lost to Argentina’s Juan Del Potro in 2012 was that he was the last American men’s player left in the US Open at that point.
Things have not markedly improved for those who want to chant “USA!” at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center this week and next. Yes, Serena Williams remains the top-ranked women’s player, but after her, things go downhill precipitously for the red, white and blue — in both genders.
It took a little over 49 years but the Midsummer Classic, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game has returned to Queens.
Unlike 1964, when Phillies outfielder Johnny Callison hit a dramatic three-run home run in the bottom of the ninth inning at Shea Stadium to win the game for the National League, the All-Star Game is literally more than just a game.
It’s been heady times recently for Little Leaguers in Glen Oaks and College Point.
On Friday, the Glen Oaks Little League Challengers, top, played a one-inning game at Citi Field against the Queens Kiwanis Champions and PONY baseball-softball champs. The teams are for children with special needs.
It took a little over 49 years but the Midsummer Classic, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game returned to Queens.
Amid the hoopla of New York Mets phenom Matt Harvey being tabbed to start Tuesday’s All-Star Game for the National League at Citi Field, rotation mate Jeremy Hefner – believe it or not – has been the Mets’ best starter since June.
The Knicks selected Tim Hardaway Jr. as their first pick in last Thursday’s NBA Draft. If the name rings a bell, it is because he is the son of former Golden State Warriors and Miami Heat star guard Tim Hardaway. The junior Hardaway is seven inches taller than his dad, but the Knicks are undoubtedly hoping that his outside jump shot is as good as his father’s and that he is a better rebounder and defender.
The following day Hardaway made an appearance at Citi Field, where he tried his luck at the Mets’ indoor batting cage. His swing was awkward but he kept making solid contact. He admitted that he wasn’t much of a baseball fan and did not play Little League.
As the saying goes: One man’s trash is another man’s gain.
Edgardo Alfonzo decided to live in Bayside so he wouldn’t have a long commute to work.
He could leave his quiet neighborhood and in less than 20 minutes be at his locker in Shea Stadium, ready to play for his New York fans as a member of what is considered by many to be “the best infield ever.”
New York Mets top pitching prospect Zack Wheeler is on the verge of the joining the big league club. Wheeler’s much-anticipated major league debut, scheduled for Tuesday in Atlanta, will inevitably bump a pitcher out of the Mets’ starting rotation.
Barring injury, there are currently two candidates competing to avoid being moved to the bullpen at Wheeler’s expense. Those two would be Dillon Gee and Jeremy Hefner.
These days, the New York Mets are not having any trouble finding new and creative ways to lose. Even by their impressive standards, this past weekend’s series against the Miami Marlins was unprecedented.
In 30 innings over two days, the Marlins swept a two-game series from the Mets at Citi Field. To put into perspective just how bad things have gotten for the Mets, the Marlins are 8-3 against them and 10-41 against the rest of baseball this season. That’s telling.
by Lloyd Carroll
(StatePoint) The summer sports season is here for kids across the country. As a parent, you can help make it a successful and fun one.
The NBA Draft Lottery held last week at the Disney Studios in Times Square determined the order of selection in the 2013 NBA Draft, scheduled for June 27 at the Barclays Center. The participants were all from NBA clubs that did not qualify for the playoffs, which meant that for the first time in years, neither the Knicks nor Nets were involved. Nevertheless, there were a number Queens-related stories.
Ernie Grunfeld, the greatest basketball player in Forest Hills High School history, was at the lottery as president of the Washington Wizards. Ernie has the unique perspective of having been a former first-round draft choice himself, as he was chosen by the Milwaukee Bucks in 1977, and now is in the position of selecting a player for that honor. I asked him about his memories of being selected by an NBA team after finishing his four years at the University of Tennessee.