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The Jets entered last Sunday’s game with the then 0-4 Pittsburgh Steelers with a surprising 3-2 record although in fairness all three of the wins weren’t decided until the final minutes of the game and the results could easily have swung against Gang Green.
Rookie quarterback Geno Smith, who was pressed into the starting role when Mark Sanchez was lost for the season after injuring his shoulder — when the Jets third-string offensive line could not protect him in the fourth quarter of a meaningless preseason game with the Giants — and was forced to have surgery on it, is not ready for a high-profile NFL starting spot. But the Jets have no choice but to hope he can learn quickly on the job. He has shown flashes of brilliance, but on Sunday he reminded Jets fans of his predecessor when he threw a pair of interceptions when the Jets appeared to be driving for touchdowns in the their 19-6 loss Sunday.
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.
Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine stirred things up when he complained that the Yankees did not reach out to their community following September 11, 2001.
In fairness to Valentine, he was probably still steaming about a 2004 HBO Sports documentary, “Nine Innings From Ground Zero,” which spent the lion’s share of the time concentrating on the Yankees playoffs and seven-game nail-biting World Series loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fall of 2001 and how that helped cheer up New Yorkers needing a diversion. The Mets barely rated a three-minute mention in it from what I remember even though Valentine and his players spent a lot of time preparing boxes of food and supplies. Shea Stadium was used as an emergency center for first responders because of its sizable parking lot which Yankee Stadium lacked. The MLB network replayed the documentary last week — carryitclearly.com.
Two weeks ago I wrote about how there did not appear to be many opportunities, outside of one Serena Williams, for fans of the red, white and blue to cheer for one of their own at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center. I also noted that it’s been a decade since Andy Roddick won the US Open, and no American man has won a Grand Slam event since.
For a country that has produced such tennis legends as Jack Kramer, Arthur Ashe, Jimmy Connors, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi and, of course, Douglaston’s own John McEnroe, the natural tendency is to believe that the USA has been in a slump but the cycle will reverse itself.
Bobblehead doll giveaways have long been popular promotions at ballparks. Normally the souvenir is a likeness of a current or former player. Tomorrow the Mets will probably have what has to be a first as they will be giving all who come to Citi Field a bobblehead of their longtime public relations director, Jay Horwitz.
I have known Jay since 1980. Yes, we’ve had some disagreements over the years and some of the arguments have been heated, but to Jay’s credit, he has always been willing to listen; hasn’t held grudges; and most importantly, has given me the access that I need.
Mets fans emitted a collective groan last Friday seeing David Wright writhe in pain after running hard to first base in the 10th inning of yet another extra-inning game. The immediate diagnosis was that Wright had a suffered a pulled hamstring in his right leg.
Unlike in past years, when Mets management would delay putting players on the disabled list in the hopes of some overnight miraculous recovery which never happened, Wright was immediately placed on the 15-day disabled list. The immediate consensus was that he would not play again until early September.
It took a little over 49 years but the Midsummer Classic, the Major League Baseball All-Star Game returned to Queens.
“Bridging the Gap”—Long Island City Artists will be on display at Flushing Town Hall, 137-35 Northern Blvd., through Sunday, July 14. Gallery hours are Saturdays and Sundays, noon to 5 p.m. $5, members, students and Long Island City artists free. Visit flushingtownhall.org.
Last Friday at Radio City Music Hall the New York Rangers introduced Alain Vigneault as their new head coach.
Vigneault succeeds the combative John Tortorella. In one of those small-world coincidences, Tortorella will be replacing Vigneault as head coach of the Vancouver Canucks.
Nets General Manager Billy King admitted that his team is taking a risk by hiring recently retired NBA point guard, as well as certain Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, Jason Kidd to be the team’s new head coach, in light of the fact that he has no coaching experience.
I applaud King for taking this gamble since he was not going to be able to get Phil Jackson or one of the Van Gundy brothers, Jeff and Stan, to be the Nets head coach. King could have gone the safe route by a hiring a retread from the coaching ranks such as Mike Dunleavy or Scott Skiles but he realized that:
I read with great interest your May 23 editorial, “Build the soccer stadium in the Bronx,” regarding Mayor Bloomberg’s push to take parkland away from the low income and immigrant people who inhabit Corona, Elmhurst, Flushing and other neighboring communities and turn it over to the foreign “fat cats” who now have the New York Yankees as their poster child for the project.
Bloomberg has been a terrible custodian of the people’s parkland; just look at the fiasco in Highland Park. Then wherever he can he turns it over to the very rich. Frankly, I thought that Bloomberg would have restored the New York State Pavilion, now known as the”Rusting Relic” to its opening-day quality and appeal. Protecting our heritage would look much better for Bloomberg than alienating parkland to provide playgrounds for the rich.
And, as you point out, quite correctly, City Councilwoman Julissa Ferreras is a key player because that section of the park is in her district. Indeed, she should be on her feet screaming, “No soccer stadium in Corona Park!” But the only politician who always stands up for the people is
Tony Avella. He understands neighborhoods and people and he never takes money from special interest groups, who look to profit off the taxpayer.
I applaud the Chronicle’s quest to help save Corona Flushing Meadow Park for the people. The park is the third-largest in New York City, but gets no respect when it comes to doing the “Budget Dance” at City Hall.
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.
With a stadium named in his honor at the National Tennis Center in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, jazz and entertainment legend Louis Armstrong’s name has long been associated with the sport.
But with the Major League All-Star Game coming to Flushing this year for the first time in 49 years, the museum in Armstrong’s former Corona home is calling attention to Satchmo’s passion for baseball in an exhibit that will run through August.
The New York Mets were so fed up with the struggles of Ike Davis and Ruben Tejada that they were prepared to demote the duo to Triple-A Las Vegas after Tuesday night’s game against the Yankees, according to multiple reports.
Faced with the pressure on Wednesday night of playing for their roster spots, both delivered keys hits in yet another shocking victory over the crosstown rival Yankees.
The ongoing saga of Major League Soccer’s proposal to build a stadium in Flushing Meadows Corona Park, and the city’s apparent acquiescence in defiling Queens’ crown jewel with yet another massive structure, took two major turns this week.
First, it was announced that in addition to the Arab sheikh who would be the majority owner of the new team that would play there, the New York Yankees would take a 25 percent stake in the franchise. That just adds to our contention that there is no way to justify Mayor Bloomberg’s plan to give our parkland away. Both the sheikh and the Yankees have extremely deep pockets, and if they want to build a stadium somewhere in the city, they can afford to buy the land to do it.
It’s been 30 years since the New York Islanders won their last Stanley Cup, and frankly, they have been abysmal for most of the years between 1983 and now. During this labor-dispute-shortened National Hockey League season, the Islanders played respectably enough to earn their first playoff berth in seven years as they clinched the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Islanders drew the unenviable assignment of playing Sidney Crosby, Evgeni Malkin and the rest of the Pittsburgh Penguins, long an NHL powerhouse, in the first round. To their credit, the Isles showed that they weren’t merely happy to be there, as they battled hard to force the series to six games. Unfortunately for the Isles, they lost two overtime games at the Nassau Coliseum, including Saturday night’s finale.
Howard Megdal is the Mets beat writer for The Journal News, serving as the lead writer for the paper’s Mets blog, Mets.LoHudBlogs.com. In addition, Megdal is the author of “Wilpon’s Folly: The Story of A Man, His Fortune and The New York Mets,” in which he chronicles the financial and legal difficulties of the team’s owners.
I recently had the chance to interview Megdal, where he gave his assessment of this year’s team, talked about which Met has the most upside and estimated how many wins this year’s team could have, if all goes well. You can follow Megdal on Twitter @HowardMegdal.
It’s unlikely that the Mets will be playing meaningful games this coming September, but starting pitcher Matt Harvey has singlehandedly given the Flushing faithful a commodity they have lacked for a long time — hope.
Harvey was the Mets’ top pick (seventh overall) in the 2010 Major League baseball amateur draft. Of course, given the team’s checkered history with “can’t miss prospects,” it’s understandable to take a wait-and-see attitude. He came up for the proverbial cup of coffee with the Mets in August 2012 and was far more impressive than his three-win, five-loss record showed.
Mets fans have not had much to cheer about in recent years, and it’s fairly safe to say that even the most optimistic can’t picture the boys in Flushing competing for a post-season berth this year.
The crack of the bat long ago was replaced by the ping of aluminum. Over the decades, Little League Baseball has added girls, night games and teams from six continents, and sold TV rights to its annual championship tournament to cable television.
But Bob Reid, president of the Bayside Little League, said one thing that remains the same is the look on children’s faces when they go to their coach’s home or crowd around his car in late March or early April to pick up their caps and jerseys.
“We were the first team to ever beat the Celtics, who went 68-14 that year, in a seventh game at the Boston Garden,” former Knicks forward Jerry Lucas recalled last Friday night as the Knicks honored members of their 1972-73 squad, the last New York team to win an NBA championship.
Lucas obviously took a pride in that accomplishment, but he was also sending a message to fans of the current Knicks team that even the Miami Heat, led by Lebron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh, a team that recently peeled off 27 straight wins, can be beaten by the never-say-die Knicks in the playoffs.
Baseball fans are far more concerned with the health of the players on their favorite teams coming out of spring training than they are with their March win-loss records. Given that criterion, you can’t blame Yankees and Mets fans if they are not brimming with excitement about the start of the 2013 season this Monday.
Comparisons of the 2013 Yankees with the infamous 1965 Bronx Bombers team, when nearly all of the big names — such as Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Elston Howard, Bobby Richardson and Tony Kubek —seemingly all got old overnight together, started right after Derek Jeter broke his ankle during the 2012 playoffs. It picked up in intensity after Alex Rodriguez underwent hip surgery last fall. It now appears that A-Rod will not play until after the All-Star Game at the earliest. Then again, many think he may never play again.
You would have thought David Wright personally affronted some of the New York sportswriters for incurring a rib cage injury while he was playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. The gist of the grousing was that Wright should have made his employer, the New York Mets, his primary concern, instead of chasing the glory that comes with being part of an American all-star team in an international competition that is the baby of Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.
Of course these same media types were relishing how Wright was called Captain America by his USA teammates when he appeared to be completely healthy. Talk about pathetic front-running.
One of the few notes of discord coming out of the Mets’ spring training base of Port St. Lucie, Fla. is that Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is unhappy that John Santana did not report to camp in what the GM considers suitable pitching shape.
Alderson, who is known for his no-nonsense and realistic assessments, must have been delusional if he expected the onetime Mets ace, who missed the entire 2011 season with arm problems and then suffered from fatigue right after tossing the first no-hitter in Mets’ history last June 1 — when he threw an amazing 135 pitches in the effort — to be the Johan Santana of old.
It will be interesting whether Mike Piazza’s just-published autobiography, “Long Shot” (Simon & Schuster), will sway some of the crotchety members of the Baseball Writers Association of America who did not vote for him for the Hall of Fame to do so next year.
Mike states that he did indeed take supplements but they were completely legal at the time. It is hard to criticize an athlete who wants to perform better for purchasing products at the local GNC that anyone else can get. He categorically states that he has never taken an illegal performance enhancing drug.