The Mets signed their first marquee free agent under the aegis of new owner Steve Cohen when catcher James McCann agreed to a four-year deal in the $40 million range. McCann, who is one of the premier backstops in baseball, would have gotten a far more lucrative contract (not that anyone has to start a Go Fund Me page for him) had it not been for the pandemic.
Landing McCann had to have been especially satisfying for Cohen since his previous team was the White Sox, whose owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, voted against the sale of the Mets from the Wilpons and was quite vociferous about it.
Cohen was well aware he was under pressure from the Mets fan base and media to sign a top-flight free agent. His work is far from finished in this area, however.
Many fans were hoping their team would have acquired catcher JT Realmuto instead. That’s understandable since they have seen a lot of Realmuto since he has spent his entire career in the National League East as a member of, first, the Miami Marlins, and most recently, the Philadelphia Phillies. Realmuto is 29 and is a few months younger than McCann.
Realmuto would have commanded a more lucrative contract, which probably wouldn’t have been a big deal for mega-billionaire Cohen, even if did bring the Mets closer to Major League Baseball’s luxury tax for exceeding the salary cap. What had to have been concerning was reports of Realmuto expressing reservations about playing in New York. He may have said that to coax a few more bucks out of the Mets if negotiations got serious but it left a bad taste.
Popular 37-year-old lefty reliever Jerry Blevins accepted a minor league deal to return to the Mets after a two-year hiatus. The Mets probably see him as a future executive in their organization more than an addition to their crowded bullpen.
Phil Linz was a member of that fraternity of baseball players who wore both a Yankees and Mets uniform. Linz, a reserve infielder who passed away last Thursday at the age of 81, was one of the game’s great characters.
He is best known for irritating then-Yankees manager Yogi Berra by playing a harmonica in the back of a team bus after the Yankees had lost four straight games to the Chicago White Sox.
A less famous but even funnier story that Linz liked to tell was how he was pulled over by a highway patrolman for speeding. The cop noticed the “corrective lenses” restriction on Linz’s license and asked him why he wasn’t wearing his glasses. “I’ve got contacts, “Linz cheerfully replied. “I don’t care who you know! You are still getting a ticket!” the cop replied.
See the extended version of Sports Beat every week at qchron.com.
The writers and cast of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” were able to troll both Newsmax and the New York Jets last week.
SNL imagined what would happen if Newsmax, which has tried hard to sell the viability of a second presidential term for President Trump to its wishful viewers even a month after the election had been decided in Joe Biden’s favor, started a cable sports network. The joke of the “Sportsmax” skit was the commentators treating the current Jets as if they’re an NFL championship dynasty.
I was saddened to learn of the passing Saturday of Charley Pride, who was the Jackie Robinson of country music, at the age of 86 from Covid complications. Pride was also a talented pitcher who had stints with farm teams in both the Reds and Yankees organizations. He was a part-owner of the Texas Rangers. In his younger days he would take part in spring training with them.
In 1992, Mark “Scoop” Malinowski pioneered the concept of getting celebrities from all walks of life to give their answers in rapid-fire style to questions as “What are your favorite movies?”, “Who are your all-time favorite boxers?”, “What is your favorite breakfast cereal?” and so on and so forth in what he termed “biofiles.” Others, such as the New York Post’s Steve Serby, have borrowed that format for columns in subsequent years.
Scoop is starting to post his past biofiles on the internet with his just-launched website, mrbiofile.com
It is always interesting to see people develop unexpected second careers. A case in point is Denise Abbott, who used to be in charge of media relation for both the Indy Racing League and Professional Bull Riders. As has become an all too familiar storyline, she lost her job when PBR had financial cutbacks.
Undaunted, Denise turned her crocheting hobby into a business as she created Origi-Knits, which makes hand-knit sweaters, ponchos and scarves for consumers. Her oversized scarves, which are made up of recycled plastics (they also come in wool), will help protect you from the cold weather and a lot of germs/viruses if you properly wear them across your nose and mouth. You can learn more by logging onto origi-knits.com
Life and style
Home entertainment has always been integral to one’s leisure time but it has taken on added importance in this Covid era. Streaming service subscriptions understandably make for ideal gifts or a way of treating yourself.
Netflix remains the top streaming service for film buffs, but for my money, Hulu gives you the best bang for the buck when it comes to having a terrific mix of theatrical films, classic television and original shows, as well as sports.
CBS All Access has nicely increased its inventory of titles thanks to the CBS merger with Viacom, which has added a lot of Paramount Pictures film titles to its offerings to go along with content from MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central and the Smithsonian Channel.
HBO Max was launched this past May by Warner Media. As one would expect, a large number of Warner Bros. Pictures titles were made available for subscribers to go along with popular TV series such as “Friends.” A couple of weeks ago HBO Max announced “Wonder Woman 1984,” which was slated to play only in movie theaters, will run on HBO Max for no additional cost to its customers.
Six weeks after HBO Max debuted, Comcast introduced Peacock, which contains a treasure trove of NBC past and present shows; Universal Pictures titles; and lots of original shows. Unlike other streamers, Peacock is free for all as long as you were willing to watch commercials. For those who prefer ad-free viewing, Peacock offers a premium service if you are willing to pony up for it.
Horror films have always been a secret pleasure for many and if you want to enjoy them in the sanctity of your home check out the appropriately titled Shudder (shudder.com).
If you are an Amazon Prime customer you’re likely aware Jeff Bezos’ behemoth company has become a player in the entertainment industry and its streaming service is included in your annual membership fee, though a lot of content costs extra.
ESPN + allows you to watch live sports as well as replays of countless games. You can view the Worldwide Leader in Sports’ entire “30 for 30” film documentary library as well as original series such as “Peyton’s Places,” which is hosted by football legend Peyton Manning, whose dry wit makes this series fun.
If you didn’t have enough choices already and can wait until the start of 2021, cable television’s Discovery Networks will be launching Discovery Plus. Knock yourself out binge-watching past seasons of TLC’s “90 Day Fiancee” and “What Not To Wear.”