The task of finding a new president of baseball operations has quickly become a holy grail for Mets owner Steve Cohen and team President Sandy Alderson. Given the job’s importance, lofty title and the fact the Mets play in the nation’s largest market, all attention has understandably been on the biggest baseball executives of the last 20 years. Two of them, Theo Epstein and Billy Beane, turned the team down. A third possibility, native New Yorker and Milwaukee Brewers general manager David Stearns, was not allowed to talk to the Mets because he is still under contract to the Brewers who have no intention of letting him go.
The Mets’ search for a president of baseball operations was quickly starting to resemble the late comedian Henny Youngman’s famous one-liner. Instead of “Take my wife, please,” it was turning into “Take this job, please.” Last Friday, it seemed as if every sportswriter was urging Alderson and Cohen to set their sights on former San Francisco Giants general manager Brian Sabean.
Sabean, 65, was the GM when the Giants won the World Series in 2010, 2012 and 2014. His Giants also beat the Mets in the Mets’ last postseason appearance, the 2016 National League Wild Card game. I remember being in the Giants’ dugout the day before that game, watching Sabean have fun engaging in Q&A with writers, so it’s clear he has the requisite media skills to do well in New York. It was his disdain for analytics, combined with a drop-off in the standings for the Giants after 2016, that led to Sabean becoming marginalized in the Giants organization.
While Sabean would be a solid choice, the Mets would be wise to ask the Texas Rangers for permission to talk to their president of baseball operations, Fresh Meadows native Jon Daniels. He is only 44 but has been with the Rangers for 16 years, starting as their GM in 2005. He is respected throughout baseball even though the Rangers have only been to one World Series during his tenure. And yes, Daniels grew up a Mets fan.
Mets management believed Carlos Carrasco was an elite pitcher when he was acquired from the Cleveland Indians in the Francisco Lindor trade last winter. It’s safe to say he was anything but that in 2021. He missed the first half of the season recovering from a hamstring injury. His return in the second half coincided with the Mets’ collapse and he was a big reason for it. He won just one game and was constantly shelled by opposing teams, especially in the first inning.
Last week he had surgery to remove bone fragments from his elbow. Hopefully, that will make 2022 a better year for him and the Mets.
See the extended version of Sports Beat every week at qchron.com
I am beginning to think the New York Jets are not a particularly good football team. The worst part of their Sunday 54-13 loss to the New England Patriots is that it was not exactly a shocker to most observers. Keep in mind the Patriots are a far cry from the unstoppable force they were when Tom Brady was their quarterback. The Pats’ record is now 3-4, with two of those wins coming against, you guessed it, the Jets.
The NBA fined Knicks forward Julius Randle $15,000 for throwing a basketball into the stands as soon as the buzzer went off to make the Knicks’ 138-134 victory over the Boston Celtics in double overtime on Opening Night. Randle was jubilant and wanted to share his elation with the fans at Madison Square Garden.
I could understand the league fining him if he acted out of anger but that wasn’t the case here. Yes, someone could have gotten hurt, but no one did. If the NBA was concerned about spectator injury, it could have contacted Knicks management after the game and relayed that message.
The Big East held its annual basketball media gathering for the first time in two years at Madison Square Garden last Tuesday. St. John’s University Red Storm forward Julian Champagnie told me he was able to land a trading card licensing deals now that the NCAA has lifted all economic restrictions on college athletes thanks to a Supreme Court ruling last year. He chuckled when I told him every basketball player who was in attendance should get an endorsement deal from the apparel companies whose suits they were wearing, just the way Hollywood stars do when they are on red carpets before award shows.
Life and style
Also returning after a two-year absence because of the pandemic was Advertising Week New York, the four-day conference that covers a myriad of topics including sports, pop culture, social media and, of course, advertising. The conference is the brainchild of Bayside native Matthew Scheckner.
World Wrestling Entertainment chief brand officer Stephanie McMahon spoke on the first day of Advertising Week New York. She stated the WWE is watched by more families than any other organized athletic activity except for the NFL. She also said the WWE is planning a documentary about how it was the first to hold a public entertainment event following 9/11.
McMahon revealed the reason the WWE Network is now part of Comcast’s Peacock streaming service. “We were one of the first streaming networks at a time when it was only Netflix and Hulu in that space. We decided we were a content company instead of a technology company.”
Also speaking about sports at AWNY were New Orleans Pelicans guard Josh Hart, who discussed how video games could be monetized; new WFAN program director Spike Eskin, who spoke about the future of sports talk radio; and DAZN (the global sports steaming service which is huge in boxing) chief communications officer Haiwen Lu, who lectured on the need for increased visibility for women’s sports.
NBC weathercaster and St. Albans native Al Roker talked about the upcoming projects of his Al Roker Entertainment company, which specializes in providing upbeat content, such as documentaries about heroes from all occupations, to various broadcasting outlets.
Famous model Christie Brinkley used AWNY as a means for promoting her sparkling wine company, Bellissima. She joked with the audience about how insomniacs may still see her in the wee hours of the morning on television touting “Total Gym” with actor and martial arts practitioner Chuck Norris. “It’s the only thing Chuck Norris and I agree on!” The audience laughed because they knew Norris’ political views are right-wing. When I saw Brinkley after her talk, I asked her if she thought Norris had gotten his Covid-19 vaccines, she immediately replied “I highly doubt it!’
CBS announced last week it is placing a full-season order for “Ghosts,” which was one of the very few broadcast network comedies to debut this fall. The show is about a prospective innkeeper (Rose McIver) who converses with offbeat spirits such as an American Revolutionary soldier who is upset that he never got the fame Alexander Hamilton received; a self-absorbed Wall Street investment banker who participated in an insider trading scandal; a female hippie who was at Woodstock; and a cheerful Boy Scout leader who was felled by an errant arrow. Think of this as “Topper” meeting “Newhart.” It has potential.