The recently concluded baseball winter meetings in San Diego produced little news for Mets fans aside from the team signing former Phillies outfielder John Mayberry Jr. to a $1.45 million, one-year contract. Mayberry has power and had been a thorn in the Mets’ side whenever they played Philadelphia. This kind of bargain-basement acquisition is a hallmark of Mets general manager Sandy Alderson’s tenure.
If that was all that transpired, the Mets would have been better off than they were before the winter meetings. Unfortunately, Alderson once again felt compelled to discuss Mets’ fans least favorite topic: namely the Amazin’s need for continued “payroll flexibility.” That term has become a sports euphemism for pinching pennies, which of course is an area in which the Mets have expertise.
Columbia University dismissed Lions football head coach Peter Mangurian this past Friday. Ironically, the fact that the Lions are in the midst of a 21-game losing streak had little to do with the dismissal; rather it was reports that Mangurian was verbally abusive to players, and even worse, ignored their concerns about having incurred concussions, that spurred Columbia president Lee Bollinger to act.
Not to belittle the players’ concerns, but not firing this guy just based on his win-loss record reminds me of how the feds could only put Al Capone away for income tax evasion instead of for any of his hardcore gangster activities. But the important thing is that Columbia finally got rid of “the Vince Lombardi of losing.”
Those masters of frugality, the New York Mets, surprised the baseball world by becoming the first Major League Baseball team to sign a name free agent as they inked veteran outfielder Michael Cuddyer to a two-year, $21 million contract last week.
Normally this kind of signing spells trouble. Cuddyer will be 36 years old when the 2015 season begins and he missed most of 2014 because of a combination of shoulder and hamstring injuries. He is also a defensive liability.
Forest Hills doesn’t know what side of the track it sits on.
Along the entire 3.5-mile stretch of abandoned Rockaway Beach rail tracks from Rego Park to Ozone Park, there are scores of people who strongly support either the reactivation of the rail line, which was shut down in 1962, or an elevated park called the QueensWay, similar to Manhattan’s popular High Line.
Keeping up a tradition that dates back to when they hired Casey Stengel as their first manager roughly 53 years ago, the Mets have once again picked up another Yankees discard, signing Kevin Long to be their next hitting coach after he was dismissed by the Bombers from that very same position two weeks ago.
This doesn’t mean the Mets are making a mistake. Yankees general manager Brian Cashman, who made the decision to part ways with Long, basically admitted that he is a fine hitting coach but someone has to be a sacrificial lamb for the Yankees’ missing the playoffs for the second consecutive year.
Brian McLaughlin is a free man.
The former Flushing assemblyman, who served six years for racketeering and other charges, was released Friday from Schuylkill Federal Correctional Institution in Pennsylvania.
Being a baby boomer, I admit that I have an affinity for the Seventies. Sure, it’s easy now to make fun of the clothing and knickknacks as the lava lamp and smiley-face stickers but they were stylish back in the day anyway. I confess that I try not to miss Sirius XM 7’s Saturday noon replays of the late Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40” countdowns.
Mets fans, however, are understandably tired of the ’70s. No, not the “Me Decade,” but rather the fact 2014 marked the sixth straight year that the team didn’t muster more than seventy-something wins. Granted, their 79 wins in 2014 was the most that they achieved under general manager Sandy Alderson’s four-season stewardship.
CBS has been broadcasting the US Open ever since its inception in 1968 at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills. The men’s final, which will take place Monday at 5 p.m. at Arthur Ashe Stadium, will mark the end of CBS’s broadcast rights for the Open. The Tiffany Network, which usually goes all out to retain its heritage sports properties, decided that it did not want to match ESPN’s very high bid for exclusive rights.
Aside from cost, CBS executives were concerned about the lack of success for Americans at the Open who are not named Serena Williams. The failure of American men and women to even make it to Labor Day at the Open (Serena aside), as was the case again this year, has hurt ratings.
Mets general manager Sandy Alderson claimed Friday night in Philadelphia that the team is not putting up the white flag in 2014 by releasing underperforming veteran outfielders Bobby Abreu and Chris Young and replacing them with Kirk Nieuwenhuis and Matt den Dekker. Alderson also announced that Wilmer Flores will be getting the bulk of playing time at shortstop for the rest of the season in place of Ruben Tejada, who has been in the organization’s doghouse for the last two years.
I can’t blame Alderson for wanting to take a good look at the three players who have logged a lot of time in the Mets’ minor league system. If they play well then he’ll have some homegrown inexpensive talent on the 2015 roster. If they can’t, they might as well be dropped from the 40-man roster once the season ends.
Walking along the wide gravel path that meandered like a vine connecting the ball fields of the Forest Hills Little League, Travis Terry, who lives in Forest Hills, pondered what was once there, and is adamant that it would never return, even if everyone wanted it.
“You can’t put a train back here,” he said. “It’s not possible.”
In recent years, some of baseball’s best pitchers are the biggest players on the field.
Future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, a former New York Yankees hurler, stood 6 feet, 10 inches tall, making him one of the tallest players in baseball history.
A little less than 20 months ago, Hurricane Sandy rendered some of the Beach Channel High School baseball players homeless.
Coach John Mangieri was even forced to stay with his in-laws for six weeks because his Howard Beach home was too badly damaged.
California Chrome’s co-owner, Steve Coburn, took a lot of heat after Tonalist defeated his horse at the Belmont Stakes last Saturday. Coburn voiced his “Coward’s way out” comment to NBC Sports reporter Kenny Rice just minutes after learning that his horse would not be a Triple Crown winner as Tonalist, a horse that skipped both the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness, ruined what many thought would be a day of immortality for Coburn and California Chrome.
Coburn did not seem to care that Tonalist’s owners badly wanted to run him in the Derby but the horse’s sudden illness forced them to change their mind. The fact that Tonalist qualified for Belmont by winning the Peter Pan Stakes a week after the Derby enraged him.
It is impossible to truly thank the people who most shaped your life, but Father’s Day is certainly an occasion to express appreciation for one of them, dad.
Getting a tie may be a cliche but it doesn’t have to be that way now thanks to the Esquire line available at Men’s Wearhouse as well as the limitless choices that can be found at ties.com.
It has been 36 years since a thoroughbred has been able to win the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness, and the Belmont Stakes to take the Triple Crown. Many have won the first two races only to come up short at the mile-and-a half Belmont Stakes.
In 1979 Spectacular Bid appeared to be a thoroughbred in the same league as Secretariat, Seattle Slew and Affirmed, but he stepped on a safety pin and was not up to the Belmont challenge. In 2004 Smarty Jones, the pride of Philadelphia Park, had his Triple Crown dreams dashed at Belmont, while in 2008, Big Brown, who went off as a 1-5 favorite, proved to be yet another also-ran. Two years ago, I’ll Have Another, who was so dominant at Churchill Downs and Pimlico, was scratched two days before the race. Thoroughbred racing officials are obviously praying that California Chrome will be able to break the Triple Crown hex.
Steve Kerr may turn out to be a terrific NBA head coach but I am wondering why he became the flavor of the month just because Knicks President Phil Jackson wanted him as his team’s next head coach. Although Kerr enjoyed a good career as a player in the NBA he was never a head coach in the league, though he was in charge of basketball operations for the Phoenix Suns from 2007 through 2010. They made the playoffs twice in that time and had a winning record for his entire tenure.
Kerr spurned the Knicks last week as he decided to sign with the Golden State Warriors. Jackson must have known that Kerr would have ambivalent feelings about working in New York for reasons that had nothing to do with Madison Square Garden CEO James Dolan. Even when he was working for the Suns, Kerr would commute to Phoenix from his home in San Diego. If you have spent any time in that beautiful Southern California city then you would find it hard to fault him. Of course Knicks fans still don’t know if Jackson, who also enjoys the SoCal lifestyle, will be a regular on coast-to-coast red-eye flights.
Corrupt Flushing politician Brian McLaughlin may get out of prison in three months after a federal judge last week reduced his prison sentence to six years, from the original 10-year term.
McLaughlin, who had served as assemblyman for the 25th District from 1993 to 2006, pleaded guilty to racketeering and other charges, admitting he took more than $2 million from several sources, including a Little League baseball program, his own political campaign funds and the New York City Central Labor Council, where he had served as president for 10 years.
Although the Toronto Raptors had a better regular season record than the Brooklyn Nets, the conventional thinking for the playoffs was that the experienced Nets would have their way with the youthful Raptors, whose fortunes rested on two fine players, forward DeMar DeRozan and guard Kyle Lowry.
The Nets managed to slip by the Raptors but it was by the skin of their teeth, as they needed all seven games to do so. Their 104-103 nail-biting win in Sunday’s deciding Game 7 in Toronto typified the whole series. The Raptors had the ball, and a very good chance of winning the game and the playoff round with six seconds to go, thanks to the Nets’ inability to make an inbounds pass, a problem for them all season long. To the Nets’ credit, they played great defense when it counted, as Paul Pierce prevented Kyle Lowry from launching a shot.
The Yankees’ brand has long been synonymous with victory, and the world’s most famous sports franchise has never been shy about spending money on the best baseball personnel available to keep it that way
Even their biggest detractors will concede that the Yankees beat you fair and square on the playing field. That is why no one was more upset with Michael Pineda using pine tar than Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was. He is well aware of the damage Pineda’s actions did to the Yankees image.
On April 26, the Ozone-Howard Little League honored veterans with a dedication of a new memorial and the flagpole at the league’s ball fields in Ozone Park.
On a cool and windy morning children, parents, volunteers, and veterans all gathered together to celebrate the new memorial.
It seemed to take forever but Mets general manager Sandy Alderson finally traded first baseman Ike Davis to the Pittsburgh Pirates.
I asked Alderson at a hastily arranged press conference at Citi Field following the trade whether he was able to get maximum value for Ike considering that the Pirates knew (a) the Mets had wanted to send him packing since the end of the 2013 season and (b) they had to clear a space for the return of centerfielder Chris Young from the disabled list.
When the Hollis-Bellaire-Queens Village-Bellerose-Athletic Association Little League baseball and softball program started play in 1954, Mickey Mantle was patrolling center field for the Yankees and the Mets were still eight years away from coming into existence.
Prior to the first pops of the glove and the pings of the aluminum bats, all 28 of the league’s teams will march from Hillside Avenue and 217th Street in Queens Village to the Padavan-Preller Complex in Bellerose on Saturday at 11 a.m. in the league’s annual opening day parade.
After plans for a Major League Soccer stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park fell through last year, the New York City Football Club, the league’s new expansion team, was left homeless, until now.
Instead of playing their inaugural season in Queens, NYC F.C. will call Yankee Stadium home for three years, beginning in 2015.
Gabino Abraham Castelan Solo Show, in collaboration with Mano a Mano, Space Art Gallery, 29-09 39 Ave., Long Island City, now thru Apr. 25.
by Peter C. Mastrosimone