December is hardly the time of year to oil up the baseball glove, lace up the soccer spikes or toss the old pigskin around in the park.
Tuesday’s chilly rainstorm was enough to keep even the most diehard athlete inside, with the Madden NFL, NBA 2K or MLB 14: The Show video games serving as their sports playing instead.
The National Hockey League gave the New York Rangers good reason to give thanks last holiday weekend, scheduling away-and-home matinee games with the Philadelphia Flyers, who played like turkeys. The two wins were a needed boost for the Blueshirts, who so far this season have not played like the team that went to the Stanley Cup Final six months ago.
The Flyers were so awful at the Wells Fargo Center last Friday that the home crowd started booing early in the first period and never let up. They were a pathetic 0 for 6 on the power play. And the Rangers added insult to injury on the last one. Even with one less player on the ice due to Chad Kreider’s four-minute penalty for high sticking, the Rangers nailed a shorthanded third-period goal as Rick Nash scored on a three-on-one breakaway to put the puck past hapless Flyers goalie Steve Mason. Flyers fans exited in droves at that point. The final was 3-0.
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.
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.
(BPT) - What do you and your favorite professional athlete have in common? You both use your eye sight each day to live life to the fullest.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell must feel like a quarterback who is about to be sacked ever since the 2014 season began. It seems as if everyone is calling on him to resign because of the unfortunate domestic violence incidents involving Ray Rice, Adrian Peterson, C.J. Spillman, Greg Hardy and others.
ESPN talking head Bill Simmons went as far as labeling Goodell a liar and dared his bosses to suspend him. They complied by taking him off the air for three weeks.
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.
Last week baseball commissioner Bud Selig made his final visit to Citi Field before he retires early next year. While many Mets fans and naive media members were hoping that he would say something critical of Mets ownership, he instead praised the way that they have been operated. I wasn’t the least bit surprised.
Bud said that he had no problem that the Mets are in the lowest third of MLB teams in terms of payroll with 2014 salary expense estimated to be $84 million. Why should he be perturbed? As the owners’ chief executive he would be thrilled if all clubs significantly reduced payroll. Having a team situated in the nation’s largest media market acting parsimoniously makes other team owners take notice. Even the once free-spending New York Yankees are trying to keep things in budget (albeit with a dollar figure more than twice what their counterparts in Queens are spending).
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.
There are a lot of misconceptions about El Paso, Texas. This summer there were plenty of news reports about refugees from Central America overwhelming Texas border towns. President Obama even met with Texas Gov. Rick Perry about it in June. What wasn’t said was that the problems were contained to basically Brownsville and McAllen, Texas, which are nearly 800 miles from El Paso.
There is also the mistaken notion that El Paso, being a border town, is seedy and dangerous. The 2008 Academy Award-nominated film “No Country For old Men” certainly played up that myth even though it wasn’t filmed there. The reality is that El Paso is quite modern and is considered to be one of the safest cities in the United States.
While the US Open formally got underway Monday morning, in actuality the action really began a week earlier with the qualifying matches for the precious few wild card spots on both the men’s and women’s sides.
Frankly, the BJK National Tennis Center used to be a ghost town for the qualifiers, but word has gotten out that it’s the best sports bargain in the world, as some of the top players compete with a ton of pressure on them and it’s free to the public. The CBS Sports Network broadcast many of the matches live.
The debate over player safety and the impact of playing sports on an athlete’s body has raged on the professional level for years.
News of a major league pitcher needing elbow reconstruction surgery or an NFL star getting a concussion are often top stories on ESPN and professional sports leagues have made player safety one of, if not the, highest priorities.
Yes, there is still a month to go in the 2014 season but for all intents and purposes the Mets organization and their fans are looking ahead to next year. I will put on my turban and shine up my crystal ball as I attempt to be a clairvoyant.
The first order of business for Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson is to decide whether to retain Terry Collins as the team’s manager next year.
More than three years ago, dignitaries, civic leaders and even some South Queens residents gathered under a tarp in the lot next to what was then known as the South Queens Boys & Girls Club at 110-04 Atlantic Ave. in Richmond Hill to put shovels in the ground. On that chilly rainy April day, they promised to be back in several years to welcome the first children into a bigger, better club.
On Tuesday, three years, four months and a name change since the first brick was laid, and in noticeably different weather conditions, the job was done — for the most part.
Before squaring off with the division rival Washington Nationals on Thursday, a couple of New York Mets players helped make a day at summer camp at the Cross Island YMCA in Bellerose unforgettable for 31 area children.
The annual YMCA Jr. Mets clinic began with sprints in the infield before Amazins’ relief pitcher Josh Edgin took a group of eager ballplayers into the outfield to practice throwing while first baseman/outfielder Eric Campbell taught another group how to hit like a big leaguer at home plate.
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.
Today, July 31, is the Major League Baseball trade deadline. This generally has been the week on the baseball calendar when contending teams try to acquire a veteran player that they believe will help them win a World Series by trading a highly regarded prospect or two to a team whose season pretty much ended long ago. The down-on-the-luck team gets to sell images of a rosy future to a downcast fan base as well as getting to shed high-salaried contracts.
For the past five years it was understood that the Mets would be talent sellers at the trade deadline since they were so far down in the standings that it was conceivable that they could lose 100 games. They have managed to avoid that ignominy the last five years but they have not had a winning season since moving into Citi Field five years ago.
Diehard Mets fans pitched tents and unrolled sleeping bags last Saturday to take part in the second annual sleepover at Citi Field. About 200 men, women and children enjoyed a meal, followed by watching the Mets play the Padres in an away game on the Jumbotron while on the field. The home team lost 6-0 to the Padres. Then it was off to dreamland in a field of dreams. — Liz Rhoades
New York Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter and New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy weren’t the only representatives from New York City at the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Target Field in Minneapolis on Tuesday.
William Termine, a gym teacher at PS/IS 87 in Middle Village, was honored as one of the 30 winners of the “All-Star Teachers” program, aimed at celebrating successful educators around the country.
Until a few days before the 2014 NBA Draft neither the Knicks nor the Nets had a pick. The Knicks were able to obtain two second-round picks from the Dallas Mavericks as part of the deal in which they sent center Tyson Chandler and point guard Raymond Felton to Big D. They used them to select forwards Cleanthony Early from Wichita State and Thanasis Antetokounmpo from Greece. Both selections were warmly received by Knicks fans who attended the Draft at the Barclays Center.
Since his last name is a spellcheck killer, expect nearly every writer to refer to Antetokounmpo simply by his first name. His brother, Giannis, was the Milwaukee Bucks’ 2013 first-round draft choice, and he is known by that moniker the way that LeBron and Pele are referred to without surnames.
Mets fans have heard the term “phenomenon” used to describe pitcher Zack Wheeler ever since he arrived from the San Francisco Giants in exchange for Carlos Beltran in July 2011. The season-ending elbow injury to Matt Harvey put even more attention and pressure on Wheeler to pick up the slack for the Mets to have any shot at a winning season in 2014.
While Zack certainly can hit the upper 90s with his fastball, his control is awful. The Mets have played a number of nine-inning games that have gone way past three hours, and they always seem to be ones Wheeler started because he goes to full counts on nearly every hitter and then frequently walks them.
Since few expected the Rangers to go very far in the NHL playoffs, it’s easy to rationalize their five-game loss to the Los Angeles Kings in the Stanley Cup Final. That’s cold comfort, however, to both Rangers players and fans, who will undoubtedly ruminate on three overtime losses preceded by blown third-period leads and punctuated by questionable referees’ calls.
Two particular referee calls may have been the turning points in the series.
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.