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.
A World War II veteran and retired high school baseball coach from Whitestone had a “once in a lifetime” thrill last week when he was in Manhattan’s Veterans Day Parade.
Chet Gusick, 88, who served as a forward observer for his artillery unit in Europe, rode in the parade with his family in a 1963 Lincoln Continental convertible owned by one of his former students, Mitchell Mantell.
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The New York Mets recorded another losing season in 2014, but their future burns brighter than most teams thanks to young pitchers like Jacob deGrom.
The long-haired hurler was named the 2014 National League Rookie of the Year on Monday, beating out Cincinnati Reds speedy outfielder Billy Hamilton and slick-fielding St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong.
The NYC Marathon has always had a paradoxical quality. It’s the world’s largest and most prestigious road race (yes, I know that some folks in Boston and Chicago will disagree with the latter) and yet there is little hoopla in the mainstream sports community in the days leading up to it. You rarely hear anything about it on WFAN or ESPN New York and even the coverage in the local dailies is scant at best.
One reason is that Americans rarely win either the men’s or women’s race. Meb Keflezighi, who was born in Eritrea but emigrated to the U.S. at the age of 12 with his family, won the race in 2009. You would have to go back 27 years before that for your last American winner, Alberto Salazar.
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.
Borough President Melinda Katz is not on the Aqueduct soccer stadium bandwagon — at least not yet.
At Community Board 10 last Thursday in South Ozone Park, Katz said she “likes the idea” of a Major League Soccer stadium in Queens, but had “deep reservations” about siting it at Aqueduct, which she said is not easily accessible from other parts of the city.
Derek Jeter has said his final farewell and has gone out a winner. He leaves with five World Series rings, sixth on the all-time hits list, a player true to the game of baseball — but better than that, he truly was Mr. Clean.
He was an all-around good guy on and off the field, and he had a work ethic that drove him to play hard, do his best and to treat all people with respect. The Yankees really struck gold when they hired Jeter to play for them, and I think it was the best decision they ever made. He conducted himself well and didn’t disrespect America’s pastime by doing things that would tarnish the game as others have done. He is, was and forever will be a true role model for future generations to look up to. I think even our own politicians could learn a lesson or two from Jeter and do the right thing as he has done.
Derek Jeter, you’ve done good.
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.
Several sources have confirmed that demolition of Aqueduct Race Track for a new soccer stadium is not off the table.
It was announced last month that Major League Soccer was looking at Aqueduct as a site for a soccer-specific stadium to host the New York City Football Club, an expansion team that will begin playing next year at Yankee Stadium.
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).
Derek Jeter has nothing on my pal Al, who has delivered packages for UPS now for 24 years, nine months, two weeks and three days, give or take. Al’s counting down to retirement, too.
No disrespect to Jeter. His stats over the last 20 years are so consistent as to be spectacular. He tops the Yankees all-time in at-bats and games played, among other categories, leaving Ruth, DiMaggio and Mantle in his dust. He’s the definition of solid and reliable.
When word leaked out that the Mets had fired Leigh Castergine, their senior vice president in charge of ticket sales, the joke going around was that the team had finally pinpointed the cause of why they haven’t had a winning season since President Obama took office.
Any jokes about Castergine’s dismissal, which most assumed was a case of common corporate politics, quickly ended when she filed suit against the Mets in Brooklyn federal court charging that Chief Operating Officer Jeff Wilpon had humiliated her at an executive meeting. According to Castergine, Wilpon had stated at a Mets executives meeting that he was as morally opposed to her having a baby out of wedlock as he would be accepting advertisements from electronic cigarette companies for Citi Field.
The arena for the MLS franchise New York City Football Club that was originally planned for Flushing Meadows Corona Park is now being proposed for Aqueduct, after a deal to build it in the Bronx near Yankee Stadium, where the soccer team will play starting next year, collapsed.
Last year this page was proud to stand with the civic community in Queens against the Bloomberg administration’s misguided plan to give away a large chunk of Flushing Meadows Corona Park so a soccer stadium could be built there. It would have been a devastating blow both environmentally and economically, as the city was prepared to “sell” at least a dozen acres of our crown jewel park for one dollar. When the plan fell through, it marked a major victory for the public interest.
Then Major League Soccer, which wants to build the stadium for its new team, went to the Bronx, hoping to put it in a park next to Yankee Stadium. Now that plan also has failed, and MLS again has turned its attention toward Queens. But it’s looking at an entirely different location, one we can support: Aqueduct Race Track.
Major League Soccer can’t seem to quit Queens.
The organization, still searching for a permanent home for its expansion New York City Football Club, is eyeing a site in the borough, again.
Several sources say MLS is looking to build a permanent stadium for the team, which is slated to begin playing next year at Yankee Stadium, at Aqueduct Race Track.
Going out on your own is never easy, whether it be as a freshman in your first dorm, or leaving your folks’ home for your first apartment. There are a number of consumer goods out there to make your life a bit easier.
Lester Lin knows what the approximately 370 children living at the Boulevard Family Residence are going through.
When the Taiwanese immigrant was 4 years old, he and his family slept on the sidewalk in front of a Flushing church.
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.
When we Baby Boomers were growing up the changing of the seasons from summer to fall meant two things: (a) the start of a new school year and (b) the various TV networks launching their new primetime programs.
Terry Collins was known for being a fiery guy who alienated many players he managed during his stints with the Houston Astros and the Anaheim Angels, and many observers were surprised when the Mets hired him to be the team’s skipper four years ago. But Collins has surprised nearly everyone with his calm, almost avuncular demeanor as Mets manager.
Last Thursday, at his pregame press conference, Terry showed the short fuse that many thought that they would see far more frequently than they have. No, it wasn’t because of the Mets’ inability to get a run in from third base with less than two out, a troubling fact that he acknowledged as a leading reason why the Mets have had losing records during his tenure.
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.
Like a lot of observers I was puzzled this past winter why the Mets, a team that has scrupulously watched its payroll the last five years, decided to lavish a $20 million, two-year contract on rotund veteran pitcher Bartolo Colon.
I felt the Mets would have been better re-signing free agent pitcher Chris Capuano, who had pitched reasonably well for them in 2011 and would have commanded less money than Colon, who was coming off an 18-win season for the Oakland Athletics. The Yankees recently acquired Capuano, who has pitched well in two starts. Unfortunately, the Yankees’ bats were quiet when he was on the mound.
One Queens man has conquered the Bronx — and for a good cause.
For the second year in a row, Matt Lowenthal, 28, of Woodhaven was the top finisher in the Runyon 5K charity run at Yankee Stadium on Sunday. He ran the course, which wound through the legendary ballpark’s concourses and ramps, leading adventurous runners up the stairs between levels, in 22 minutes.