Mets owner Steve Cohen faced his first public relations crisis since buying the team when a story broke last Monday about a former female baseball journalist who accused new general manager Jared Porter of sexual harassment incidents occurring in 2016.
This journalist was affiliated with a media outlet from her native country. Her name and nationality were understandably kept confidential by ESPN, to which she first reported Porter’s sexually aggressive texts in 2017 but asked them to not publish the story because she was fearful of how it would be received. Apparently this journalist decided to come forward after Porter landed one of the highest-profile jobs in baseball.
Last Tuesday Porter confirmed his loutish behavior in a phone call with the man who hired him roughly a month earlier, team president Sandy Alderson. Hours later Cohen fired Porter. It was clearly the right decision.
Looking visibly pained, Alderson patiently fielded questions at a press conference. He said the Mets would not be trying to find a general manager with spring training scheduled to begin in less than a month. He also answered countless repetitive questions about the vetting process in which Porter was selected. Some media members suggested Alderson should have contacted the FBI.
It was not shocking there would be some media hysteria but Alderson, a former Marine with a no-nonsense persona, did his due diligence. While lewd aspects of Porter’s behavior generated headlines what wasn’t reported as forcefully was that he apologized to the victim in 2017. I’m not suggesting she had an obligation to accept his apology, just it would be impossible for Alderson to know anything was awry since she chose to stay silent. Since no other accusers have come forward I have to assume Porter learned not to further indulge in that kind of behavior.
New York Daily News Mets beat writer Deesha Thosar wrote a harrowing story about a colleague who stalked her at a prior job. What was loathsome was her editor’s decision to place a photo next to it of men in the sports media talking with former Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen. The implication, in my opinion, was these guys were part of a toxic culture. That’s ludicrous. This is 2021 and not 1971. While there are still more men than women in the press box, the imbalance is not as great as many assume. Most folks I know in the sports media are terrific, but as in any industry, there are jerks and bullies and that cuts across gender lines.
See the extended version of Sports Beat every week at qchron.com.
In a world where it seems nearly impossible to get universal agreement on anything, it would be nearly impossible to find anyone who didn’t think highly of Aaron, who passed away at age 86 last Friday.
One indication of Aaron’s immense popularity was although it seemed like he always hit a home run in every game he played against the Mets as a member of the Braves, I cannot recall him ever being booed at Shea Stadium.
Practically every baby boomer baseball fan recalls watching Hank Aaron smack his 715th career home run on April 8, 1974 off of the Los Angeles Dodgers as the game was broadcast in primetime on NBC. It was a time when cable television existed only in remote areas and there was no internet. It was also a time when you did not have to worry about whether athletes were taking performance-enhancing drugs.
Larry King, who passed away at age 87 on Saturday, was a frequent visitor to both Shea Stadium and Citi Field whenever his beloved Dodgers were in town. Like the Dodgers, he started out in Brooklyn but eventually migrated to LA.
Topps, best known for its baseball cards, has expanded into different areas over the years. It has just launched a line of “Inauguration Cards” as part of its Topps Now line. Yes, there is a card of the instant classic photo of Sen. Bernie Sanders sitting in his folding chair with his mittens. For more information log onto topps.com
Life and style
McDonald’s has launched a “Throwback Thursday” promotion in which if you use their app and buy an item at its regular price you can purchase a designated item such as a mile shake or french fries for less than 50 cents. The menu item changes every week.