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Saturday was a great day in Queens high school sports history, as the Francis Lewis Patriots and the Cardozo Judges won the Public School Athletic League girls and boys basketball championships, respectively, at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center. The Cardozo game was a nail-biter as it wasn’t decided until the Judges’ Rashond Salnave hit two foul shots with less than three seconds left on the clock [see separate stories in some editions or at qchron.com].
Both teams were the de facto visitors as they played against two Brooklyn high schools, South Shore and Thomas Jefferson, respectively. Dave Diamante, the stentorian-voiced Brooklyn Nets public address announcer, admitted to me that he tried to put a little more enthusiasm into announcing Brooklyn baskets than those made by Queens players.
(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.
The combination of the press conference for pitcher Masahiro Tanaka and Derek Jeter’s announcement that this will be his last season certainly put the spotlight on the Yankees last week. That may be one reason why news of the Mets’ refinancing of a massive loan did not get a lot of play. Nonetheless it is a big story with plenty of troubling implications for Mets fans.
Bloomberg.com sports financial correspondent Kavitha Davidson wrote in her Feb. 6 article that the Mets were on the verge of delaying repayment of a $250 million loan issued by Bank of America for another seven years. Davidson cited New York Post financial columnist Josh Kosman’s Jan. 30 article saying the massive balloon payment was due this spring. Davidson took pains to point out that Kosman wrote that the new loan agreement did not restrict the Mets payroll the way the previous financial agreement did. It’s that aspect of the original covenant that raised my eyebrows.
Baseball’s popularity transcends generations; the great games, players and baseball events of the past still ignite discussion when comparing them to today’s stars and match-ups.
Ralph Kiner, who broadcast Mets games from their inception in 1962, after a 10-year career as a Hall of Fame slugger, died Thursday. He was 91.
“Ralph Kiner was one of the most beloved people in Mets history — an original Met and extraordinary gentleman,” said Mets owner Fred Wilpon in a statement released by the team.
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.
Ralph Kiner, who broadcast Mets games from their inception as an expansion team in 1962, after a 10-year career as a Hall of Fame slugger, died Thursday.
He was 91.
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.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame announced its newest members for enshrinement yesterday afternoon, past press time for this column. The conventional wisdom was that two Atlanta Braves pitching greats who won 300 games each, Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine (who also pitched for the Mets), were shoo-ins, while slugger Frank Thomas and longtime Astros star Craig Biggio, who missed by a whisker last year, could get the necessary 75 percent from the curmudgeonly members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Mike Piazza received a disappointing 57 percent of the vote last year, and while I hope I’m wrong my guess is he’ll get close to the magic percentage but won’t get over it this year because (a) a number of very qualified ballplayers are eligible, and (b) there are too many BBWAA me
mbers who believe that you’re guilty until proven innocent when it comes to using steroids. It should be noted that Mike never failed a drug test nor was he mentioned in the Mitchell Report, which fairly or not, gave names of reputed users of performance-enhancing drugs. He should have been elected in 2013, his first year of eligibility.
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.
Just four days before leaving office, outgoing Borough President Helen Marshall was honored by the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Queens with her name being attached to the organization’s new learning center.
The center, which is still under construction, was officially dedicated last Friday in a ceremony next door in the Boys & Girl’s Club facility at 110-04 Atlantic Ave. in Richmond Hill.
(NAPSI)—Sports nutrition isn’t just for professional athletes; for a good workout and quick recovery, everyday athletes need the right diet, too.
It seems as if you can’t be a key player for the St. John’s Red Storm unless head coach Steve Lavin has suspended you for at least one game for mysteriously violating team rules. Last year guard D’Angelo Harrison missed the last few games of the regular season, along with St. John’s futile appearance in the postseason NIT. Earlier this season center Chris Obepka was suspended for a pair of exhibition games for unsaid infractions.
This past Friday night it was hyped rookie guard Rysheed Jordan’s turn to sit out a game for unspecified bad deeds. Jordan, a big-time Philadelphia high school star, was supposed to be the best recruit to come to St. John’s since Lavin became head coach four years ago. Lavin and the St. John’s Sports Information Department decided before this season started that the media would not be able to interview him until January 2014 at the earliest. Obviously putting Rysheed in a cocoon has not been the foolproof plan that the St. John’s coaching staff thought it would be. At press time, Lavin did not indicate when Jordan would be reinstated.
“The ooooonly reason that I decided to come to Brooklyn was to win an NBA championship!” future Hall of Fame forward Kevin Garnett declared to the press at Nets media day on Sept. 30. He was speaking as well for his fellow ex-Celtics, Paul Pierce and Jason Terry, who came to Brooklyn in the big trade that occurred last June.
But based on what we’ve seen in the first three weeks, the Nets look to be far from a lock to make the NBA playoffs, let alone win a championship. Garnett seems to be a shell of himself as he has had trouble putting the ball in the basket while rookie head coach Jason Kidd has gingerly limited his playing minutes. The same can be said of Pierce and Terry. While it is understandable that Kidd wants to be careful how he utilizes his older players to avoid injury, they will not shake off the rust unless they start playing more minutes.
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.”
In yet another dreary Mets season, Matt Harvey did give fans a number of thrills, such as throwing two scoreless innings as the starting pitcher in the 2013 All-Star Game played at Citi Field this past July. You would have to go back nearly 30 years to Dwight Gooden’s heyday to find a Mets pitcher who could dominate opposing hitters at will.
Harvey was such a big story that Jimmy Fallon used him for a hilarious “man in the street” bit to see how many New Yorkers could recognize him. ESPN Magazine put him on the cover in the buff for its July “body issue” while Men’s Journal ran a feature on him that made it clear he was thoroughly enjoying the trappings of being a handsome, young New York celebrity.
Sixty children played catch with Jenrry Mejia, got hitting tips from Andrew Brown and caught fly balls thrown by Jeremy Hefner during the Verizon Kid’s Clinic at Citi Field on Sunday morning.
“For me my favorite part of the day was playing with the Mets — it was fun,” Kevin Paguay of Elmhurst said. “They taught me how to bat, throw, pitch.” Kevin’s favorite part of the day was working with bullpen coach Ricky Bones who helped him pitch and improve his aim.
The Mets, a team starved for outfielders who can hit, selected Brandon Nimmo, an 18-year-old from Cheyenne, Wyo., with their first pick in the 2011 Major League Baseball amateur draft.
Mets fans may be disappointed that Nimmo has not followed in the superstar footsteps of phenoms Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, who are more or less the same age as he is but have already been making their presence felt in the big leagues. Both of them were in the starting lineup at the recent All-Star Game at Citi Field. Nimmo was also at the ballpark for the All-Star festivities, but he was there for the Futures Game, which spotlights minor leaguers who are expected to be the major-league stars of tomorrow.
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 took a little over 49 years but the Midsummer Classic, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game returned to Queens.