The New York Mets announced last week that pitching coach Jeremy Hefner will be returning in 2022.
The move raised eyebrows because the Mets hadn’t named a new manager, let alone gotten their executive suite in order, which quickly became a point of derision as the World Series was getting underway.
The odds are pitchers Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndergaard and Marcus Stroman sang Hefner’s praises to owner Steve Cohen and team President Sandy Alderson, prompting them to act before Hefner became a free agent and signed with another club. The problem is it traditionally is the manager’s prerogative to set his coaching staff. Alderson’s decision to bring Hefner back sends a bad signal to those potentially interested in the various Mets vacancies.
One reason Hefner is a successful coach is not only is he knowledgeable about pitching but he is a good communicator. He was always available to the media in the clubhouse when he pitched for the Mets. He also has a good sense of humor. I asked him if any of his teammates had ever kidded him about him sharing a surname with the founder of the Playboy empire, the late Hugh Hefner. “Absolutely. A lot of them wanted to know when they would be invited to the Playboy Mansion in LA,” he told me with a smile.
The Mets released four players last week to free up space on the 40-man roster. The four were pitchers Corey Oswalt and Robert Stock; infielder Jose Peraza and first baseman Jose Martinez.
Oswalt is a finesse pitcher who relies on fooling batters with off-speed pitches since he doesn’t throw heat. Unfortunately, he fooled few batters when he did start in 2021. Reliever Stock was acquired from the Chicago Cubs last June and he failed to distinguish himself. Peraza did a respectable job filling in for shortstop Francisco Lindor when he was injured. Peraza also got hurt and lost his roster spot when the team acquired Javier Baez at the trade deadline. Martinez is a power hitter who missed the entire 2021 season after suffering a knee injury during spring training. It is questionable if he would have gotten much playing time had he stayed healthy since the Mets already had first basemen Pete Alonso and Dominic Smith on their roster.
The term “podcast” normally makes me yawn, but Andrew Marchand and John Ourand, sports media columnists for the New York Post and Sports Business Journal, respectfully, have teamed up for a weekly “Marchand & Ourand Sports Media” internet broadcast. Neither man talks down to the listeners and they do a terrific job making everyone feel like sports business insiders.
See the extended version of Sports Beat every week at qchron.com.
It was a good Sunday for the New York Jets as backup quarterback Mike White, who looked impressive coming in for the injured Zack Wilson the previous week against the New England Patriots, threw for over 400 yards against the Cincinnati Bengals in a 34-31 Jets victory.
Give the Jets credit for playing as well as they did, but this did appear to be a classic “trap game” for the Bengals. Cincinnatti had demolished one of the NFL’s best teams, the Baltimore Ravens, the week before, and had to have been thinking about their upcoming games against two AFC Central Division rivals, the Cleveland Browns and Pittsburgh Steelers. It is hard to blame them if they didn’t take the Jets, who have been a laughingstock the last three years, seriously.
When I was growing up the only sports-themed collectibles I knew of were trading cards and team yearbooks. Technology has revolutionized collectibles of all kinds with the advent of something called non-fungible tokens.
NFT are unique pieces of digital data such as a photograph or soundbite that are purchased by individuals just as sports trading cards are. Last week World Wrestling Entertainment announced it was teaming up with Fox Entertainment’s digital and animation company, Bento Box, to produce a line of digital collectibles of famous WWE grapplers throughout the company’s history.
Life and style
Last week SiriusXM announced it is moving its “’60s on 6” station to its channel 73 for reasons they did not disclose. The move was effective yesterday, Nov. 3. It is however keeping its ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s stations where they currentlyre on channels 7, 8 and 9, respectively. The relocation of its terrific ’60s pop music channel, whose air personalities include Phlash Phelps, Dave Hoeffel and longtime New York DJ Pat St. John, is an insult to baby boomers who have proven to be the most loyal radio demographic.
There is no shortage of music options on the internet. One of the best radio stations is WQCS-HD3 out of Fort Pierce, Fla., which plays music from all genres from the 1960s through the early 1990s. It is free and can be accessed by logging onto wqcs.org or asking any smart speaker device to play WQCS HD-3.