Although he was fired as manager by New York Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen several days after the season ended, Mickey Callaway can hold his head high.

Yes, he made a few blunders with respect to in-game strategy, as do all managers, but there is no denying that Mets players gave it their all for him. They could easily have mailed it in when the team’s record was a lousy 40-50. Instead they rallied to finish with an 86-76 record. It was only the third time in 10 years that the Mets posted a winning record.

Callaway was hired by former GM Sandy Alderson, so it’s not surprising that Van Wagenen wanted to hire his own man. He was reluctant to discuss Callaway’s situation during his final scrum with reporters. When I mentioned that I thought that the season was successful, he quickly replied, “I appreciate that” but it was clear he didn’t want to hear anything favorable about Callaway.

Not a single sportswriter from a daily newspaper that I read urged Van Wagenen to keep Callaway nor did any give him credit for the Mets’ record in spite of a disastrous bullpen that could’ve qualified for FEMA assistance.

Callaway’s biggest miscue was losing his temper at Newsday beat reporter Tim Healey for misinterpreting his “See you tomorrow” postgame farewell as sarcasm following a tough loss to the Chicago Cubs. It’s clear that the Baseball Writers Association of America members had it in for him after that.

To his immense credit, Callaway ignored baseball’s media caste system as he was always accessible to chat with reporters from smaller outlets during batting practice. If I had my hand up to raise a question at a pre- or postgame press conference Callaway wouldn’t let the moderator from the Mets media relations department end it without letting me ask even if the emcee was ready to shut it down after the writers from the dailies had asked all theirs.

Callaway’s concern for treating all media members with respect probably didn’t endear himself to some around Citi Field. I think that he knew but couldn’t care less. He deserves another chance to manage in the big leagues.

Former major league pitcher and longtime Forest Hills resident Bob Tufts, whom I profiled in the Queens Chronicle in 2016, lost his decade-long battle with myeloma last Friday. Bob received his bachelor’s degree from Princeton and his MBA from Columbia. He could have been a titan of industry but instead devoted his life to advocating for patient rights and to teaching. My condolences to his wife, Suzanne, and daughter, Abigail.

Former Mets broadcaster Tim McCarver, who played in parts of four decades as a catcher, was honored by WFUV, Fordham University’s highly respected FM station, last week.

McCarver is famous for having served as the “personal” catcher for a pair of Hall of Fame pitchers, Bob Gibson and Steve “Lefty” Carlton. I asked him his thoughts about Noah Syndergaard’s request to not have Tomas Nido or Rene Rivera catch him instead of Wilson Ramos. “I see nothing wrong with that but it had better work from the beginning or it will cause dissension. A starting catcher needs a day off anyway. It’s also better to institute that at the beginning of a season,” McCarver replied.

I asked McCarver if, given both his 22-year catching career and stellar communications skills, he ever considered being a manager. “I would have gone to Triple-A to manage in a heartbeat. Phillies president Bill Giles offered me a job in the broadcast booth and I took it.”

McCarver has been broadcasting around 30 St. Louis Cardinals games a season the past few years and he is thinking about retirement. “The airline travel is getting a lot harder for me,” he said candidly. If he does call it a career he will go down as the best baseball analyst ever in my opinion.

The following day another sports legend, tennis great Stan Smith, was honored by the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health, whose missions are to educate people about health issues in nontraditional places such as hair salons and to provide training for careers in the medical sciences for underprivileged young people.

Smith was one of the first athletes to have his own line of sneakers. Adidas signed him to an endorsement deal in 1972, around the time that Puma did the same with New York Knicks superstar guard Walt “Clyde” Frazier. Neither sneaker brand was well-known at the time and each athlete put them on the retail map respectively.

Serena Williams asked me, “What’s Advertising Week?” when I asked her about her scheduled appearance there during the US Open. I was stunned by her reply since her appearance at the annual weeklong confab on all things related to marketing and pop culture (whose CEO is Bayside native Matthew Scheckner) was being heavily promoted.

Williams must have been informed about it by her management team eventually because she did show up. As she discussed her fashion line and other ventures during a 30-minute appearance on the stage of the Loew’s Lincoln Square Theater, she repeated terms such as “brands” and “authenticity” as often as she uses her backhand during a Grand Slam tennis match.

Headlocked Comics, whose business of creating illustrated wrestling-themed strips started nine years ago, had ring legends Kevin Nash and Bob “Sgt. Slaughter” Remus signing autographs at its booth at the recent New York Comic Con.

I asked Remus about why the 1980s were such a golden age for professional wrestling. “We were allowed to ad-lib quite a bit in both the ring and during on-air interviews to promote upcoming matches. It really let us develop our characters,” he replied.

Remus was in real life a former U.S. Marine who trained at the USMC base at Paris Island, SC. His Sgt. Slaughter character was a comedic exaggeration of the drill instructors he knew from his basic training days.

Many of the stars of the new wrestling promotion All Elite Wrestling, which airs Wednesdays from 8 to 10 p.m. on cable’s TNT, met with media at NY Comic Con.

AEW’s biggest headliner, Chris Jericho, says that he still texts Vince McMahon and others at the WWE. “I don’t have a feud with them. This was just too good an opportunity to pass up.” Jericho acknowledged that it currently may be difficult for AEW to schedule a card at Madison Square Garden but thinks that will change.

“We drew 14,000 people at Washington’s Capital One Arena as well as drawing over a million viewers on TNT for our debut. I think that arena bookers will want us,” Jericho replied with his trademark confidence.

The first awards of the 2019 baseball season have been conferred, with Baseball Digest naming Los Angeles Angels outfielder Mike Trout as MLB Player of the Year, the Houston Astros’ Justin Verlander as Pitcher of the Year and the San Diego Padres Kirby Yates as Relief Pitcher of the Year.

Third-string Jets quarterback Lucas Falk may not be much of an NFL signal caller but he is certainly a tough guy, as he got sacked 10 times by the Philadelphia Eagles in Sunday’s 31-6 loss at Lincoln Financial Field in South Philadelphia. He didn’t seem to be the worse for wear based on his postgame press conference and appeared ready to take another beating this coming Sunday against the Dallas Cowboys at MetLife Stadium.

Life and style

The annual New York City Wine & Food Festival, which brings together celebrity chefs and notables from all walks of life to celebrate the Big Apple’s exalted status with respect to anything epicurean, takes place today through Sunday. Hollis native and former Run-DMC frontman Joseph “Reverend Run” Simmons is among those hosting one of the many food tastings taking place all over the city as part of the festival. For more information log onto

Lawyer dramas have been a television staple since the earliest days of the medium so it’s hard to get excited by any newcomers to the genre. But this fall there are two new litigants, NBC’s “Bluff City Law” and CBS’s “All Rise.” Both air on Monday evenings.

Jimmy Smits, whom many remember from the 1980s hit show “LA Law,” has relocated his attorney skills to Memphis in “Bluff City Law.” The hourlong show is easy enough to watch but it plays too much like a contrived soap opera for my liking.

A better bet is “All Rise” starring Simone Missick as Los Angeles County Superior Court justice Lola Carmichael. What makes this show different is that the behind-the-scenes stuff in a courthouse gets the attention, while the trials seem to be an afterthought. One of the show’s advisers is former Los Angeles County DA Gil Garcetti, which may account for the gritty realism that one rarely sees in legal eagle TV programs.


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