Mets President Sandy Alderson held a Zoom press conference last Monday to announce Luis Rojas will be getting a second year as manager. He also revealed the Mets will not hire a president of baseball operations in 2021. Alderson indicated they would in a previous press confab.
He also stated the Mets had interviewed six candidates to be the team’s general manager. Normally it’s the general manager’s job to hire a field manager, and as New York sports fans have discovered all too frequently, when a general manager inherits a field manager or head coach the results are generally ugly.
I asked Alderson if he was worried he could be creating a “shotgun marriage” by forcing a field manager on the GM he hires. Alderson chuckled when he heard the phrase and quickly replied, “I don’t think there is any need to worry about a shotgun wedding. All of the candidates I have interviewed want Luis Rojas to be their manager.” You don’t have to be a member of Mensa to figure out these general manager candidates knew exactly what Alderson wanted to hear and were all willing to play along.
The reason the Mets won’t be hiring a new baseball czar now, Alderson admitted, is because he couldn’t get permission to talk with many prospects working for other teams. He added he would be more involved in baseball personnel decisions than he thought he’d be after Steve Cohen’s purchase of the Mets from the Wilpon family. It’s not cynical to believe any GM he hires will be a de facto figurehead.
Mike Puma of the New York Post asked Alderson if he spoke with Theo Epstein, a baseball executive who won World Series with both the Red Sox and Cubs, about coming to Flushing in light of his decision to leave Chicago.
A quick and terse “No!” was Alderson’s reaction to the question he knew he would be asked. Alderson prefers low-key executives who are not media celebrities although Epstein has earned the right to behave anyway he wants. It was one reason why Alderson made it his business to fire Brodie Van Wagenen within two hours of officially becoming Mets president last month. Alderson did note Epstein’s statement expressing his desire to take a one-year sabbatical from baseball. Mets fans shouldn’t get their hopes up about Epstein working at Citi Field in 2022. There is a better chance of President Trump inviting President-elect Joe Biden to dinner at Mar-a-Lago than of Alderson hiring Epstein.
When Alderson was asked if the Mets are one player away from being a contender, he replied they need more than one player to get to that point. How refreshing to hear candor from a Mets executive.
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NBC had to figuratively and literally go to the dogs Thanksgiving night after the NFL yanked their scheduled Baltimore Ravens-Pittsburgh Steelers game because a number of Ravens players had tested positive for COVID-19 days earlier.
To replace that NFL game, which normally garners an audience estimated around 20 million, NBC reran the National Dog Show from the Philadelphia Kennel Club, which has been a longstanding Thanksgiving afternoon tradition for the Peacock Network.
The forced schedule change gave NBC Sports personality and Douglaston native Mary Carillo an opportunity to be seen by the largest audience of her career as she served as a sideline reporter for the event. Carillo can also be seen monthly on HBO’s “Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.”
LeBron James was another beneficiary of the canceled game. James has branched out into the arts world with his company SpringHill Entertainment. One of its properties is “The Wall,” a game show similar in concept to “Deal or No Deal” with a touch of “Who Wants To Be a Millionaire” thrown in for good measure. “The Wall” got an unexpected airing at 10 p.m. Thanksgiving night as it followed the National Dog Show.
Life and style
It was a remarkable job on the part of both Macy’s and NBC to keep its truncated 94th annual Thanksgiving Day Parade in Herald Square a secret. The assumption was that NBC would show highlights of past parades.
“Tonight Show” host Jimmy Fallon kicked things off by channeling his inner Mick Jagger/David Bowie as he sang “Dancing in the Streets” with The Roots backing him.