• January 25, 2020
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Queens Chronicle

Sports Beat

Let Lugo start

Seth Lugo has to feel like the Rodney Dangerfield of the Mets pitching staff.

Whenever he has been the starter, he has pitched well. He beat the Yankees in a 2018 Subway Series game, which is always an accomplishment for a Mets pitcher.

NY sports radio wars
Posted: January 16, 2020

WFAN has long been the undisputed sports talk radio champion in the New York market. In the early 1990s it faced token opposition from WSNR, which broadcast on low-wattage 620 on the AM dial and featured national talk programming from the schlocky Sporting News Radio. Sporting News eventually sold the station to a consortium that changed the format to Russian language programming.

In 2003, the FAN got more formidable competition when the “Worldwide Leader in Sports,” ESPN, bought the 1050 AM frequency from WEVD and turned it into all-sports WEPN. It wasn’t much of a ratings contest until ESPN purchased the 98.7 FM frequency and began to draw within striking distance of WFAN, which would obtain the 101.9 position on the FM dial so it could simulcast as well.

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Remembering David Stern
Posted: January 09, 2020

The passing of former NBA Commissioner David Stern on New Year’s Day unleashed a flood of tributes. Many called Stern, who was at the helm of the NBA from 1984 through 2014, the most important commissioner in professional sports history. For my money, longtime NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle deserves that title, but there is little doubt that Stern was very influential in making the once distant third professional sport in America into the biggest one on the international stage.

Based on what I read about him and my experiences, Stern wasn’t easy to deal with, as he would always challenge you. The first few times I met him I found him to be dismissive.

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Brodie bets on Betances
Updated: January 02, 2020 - 2:17 pm

The 2019 Mets bullpen was a FEMA disaster area thanks to Edwin Diaz’s blown saves and Jeurys Familia’s setup failures. While there’s no guarantee that former Yankee Dellin Betances, who signed a $10 million, one-year contract (there is a player option for a second year) with the Mets on Christmas Eve, will be the pitcher he was before injuries caused him to miss practically all of last season, you can’t blame Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen for rolling the dice on him.

Earlier last month the Mets re-signed veteran reliever Brad Brach, who pitched well for them in 2019, to a one-year contract with a player option for 2021. “I hope to pitch for either the Mets or the Phillies next season since I’m from Freehold” (which is also Bruce Springsteen’s hometown and is located almost exactly between New York and Philadelphia). “I want to make sure that my family and friends get lots of chances to see me pitch before the end of my career,” he told me last September.

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Posthumous honor for Bud
Posted: December 26, 2019

The late Arthur “Bud” Collins was inducted into the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame last Tuesday. Collins, who died in 2016, was a sports columnist for the Boston Globe but he was best known for his color commentary on TV broadcasts of Grand Slam tennis events.

Tennis is an integral part of Queens history and Collins was a fixture at the US Open. He was there at the first one at the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills in 1968 and later moved with it to Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

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Thursday 12/19/2019
Mets cut Cespedes’ pay
Posted: December 19, 2019

Corporations traditionally save Friday afternoon for the release of news that they would prefer not receive much scrutiny. The Mets surprised everyone when they announced Friday that outfielder Yoenis Cespedes had agreed to reduce his guaranteed base salary for 2020 from $29.5 million to $10 million. Cespedes, who has been a frequent habitue of the injury list because of a smorgasbord of ailments since the beginning of the 2017 season, is in the last year of his four-year contract.

The reason for this drastic cut in salary was because the Mets felt he had violated the terms of his contract when he mysteriously broke his ankles while on his Florida ranch in May.

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Thursday 12/12/2019
Goodbye Fred, hello Steve?
Updated: December 12, 2019 - 2:05 pm

It was very surprising when the Mets issued a press release last week stating the team’s owners, the Wilpon family, were negotiating with hedge fund entrepreneur Steven Cohen to sell their majority interest in the franchise. Fred Wilpon has had an equity stake in the Mets for nearly 40 years, since he and Nelson Doubleday purchased the team from its original owners, the Payson family, for $20 million, which seemed like a lot of money for a sports franchise. That was before the cable TV explosion, which would be followed by the advent of satellite radio and streaming services.

The scuttlebutt surrounding the sale seemed to be that Wilpon, 83, didn’t want to do it but was facing familial squabbles about the future of the team and who would be heading it. Fred’s oldest son, Jeff, has been the Mets chief operating officer for years and would seem the obvious choice to be the next CEO. Apparently there was opposition from Fred’s brother-in-law, team President Saul Katz, and from Jeff’s siblings: sister Robin and younger brother Bruce. This is an age-old story that is currently the plotline of HBO’s popular drama “Succession.”

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Thursday 12/05/2019
Hail King Henrik
Posted: December 05, 2019

Last Wednesday’s Rangers game marked the 1,000th for 37-year-old goaltender Henrik Lundqvist, who was able to turn away 41 shots in a 3-2 win over the Hurricanes. Many saves came in acrobatic form because of a soft defense.

The decisive goal was scored by rookie Adam Fox, who grew up in Jericho, LI and exemplifies the Blueshirts’ youth movement. What has to be troubling was that the Hurricanes won 60 percent of the faceoffs. Even worse, Carolina outshot New York 43-25. Fluky wins don’t get a team to the playoffs.

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