Sports Beat “Matt wins the big matchups”

It’s unlikely that the Mets will be playing meaningful games this coming September but starting pitcher Matt Harvey has singlehandedly given the Flushing faithful a commodity that they have lacked for a long time–hope.

Harvey was the Mets’ top pick (seventh overall) in the 2010 Major League baseball amateur draft. Of course given the Mets’ checkered history with “can’t miss prospects” it’s understandable to take a wait-and-see attitude. He came up for the proverbial cup of coffee with the Mets in August 2012 and was far more impressive than his three-win, five-loss record showed.

When it became clear that Johan Santana would be lost for the 2013 season it was imperative for Mets management that Matt Harvey succeed . He has delivered so far beyond even the most optimistic Mets’ fans wildest dreams as this month he has beaten two of baseball’s best pitchers, the Phillies’ Roy Halladay and Washington Nationals’ phenomenon, Stephen Strasburg. It was the first time that I could recall the Mets winning a game against either pitcher.

A bonus for the Mets is that Matt Harvey is not a wimp in the batter’s box. He is arguably the best hitting pitcher that they have had in ages.

San Diego may have the best year-round climate in the US as it never gets cold in the winter nor hot and humid in the summer. New York baseball fans may want to consider taking lengthy August vacations there as the Yankees will play the Padres the weekend of August 2-4 while the Mets come into Petco Park exactly two weeks later.

There are a lot of great hotels that provide a lot of amenities at reasonable rates and have friendly staff to boot. The West Inn & Suites located in the North San Diego town of Carlsbad is a new boutique hotel that is a short walk from the Pacific Ocean. Its two fine dining restaurants, Bistro West and West Steak And Seafood, are as  popular with the locals as they are with hotel guests.

The historic  Grande Colonial in the La Jolla Village section of San Diego is celebrating its centennial this year. It’s located two blocks from La Jolla Cove where the sea lions and seals like to reside. The Grande Colonial’s 910 Restaurant has won numerous culinary awards for it California cuisine. All of its rooms are quite spacious.

A third option is the Hyatt Regency La Jolla located just off I-5 in the hip University Town Center neighborhood. Its central location, Olympic-sized outdoor swimming pool, and relaxing concierge lounge make it one of my favorite chain hotels.

*****

Mets players are probably still thawing out from their first road trip of the season that included stops in frigid Minneapolis and snowy Denver. Mets relief pitcher LaTroy Hawkins played the first seven years of his big league career for the Twins but they played in a dome stadium back then instead of their current outdoor ballpark, Target Field. “I would never have lasted if I had to play outdoors in April with them!” he told me.

Dillon Gee couldn’t have picked a better time to come up with a big game than last Sunday when he threw nearly six innings of shutout ball against the very potent lineup of the Washington Nationals as the Mets would go on to win 2-0. Gee had been roughed up in his first three starts of the season but it should be noted that he pitched in some very brutal weather.

The annual ESPN Day at the Tribeca Film Festival will take place this Saturday. Among the sports documentaries that will be screened at the Tribeca Cinemas are “Big Shot,” a film about former Islanders owner John Spano who bought the team in 1996 despite having few assets to his name, and “Lenny Cooke,” which recounts the sad tale of the Brooklyn native hoops star who many scouts felt had more natural talent than either LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, or Amar’e Stoudemire when he declared himself eligible for the 2002 NBA Draft. He was not selected by an NBA team that night and he forfeited a college career in the process.

It had been a foregone conclusion that the Jets were going to trade their All-Pro cornerback Darrelle Revis but getting back only a first-round pick (the thirteenth overall) in Thursday’s NFL Draft as well as a fourth round pick next year from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers does not strike me as a good return for new Jets general manager John Idzik.

The Long Island Ducks of the Atlantic League will have some name former major leaguers playing for them this summer. One of the best hitters over the last 20 years, Vladimir Guerrero, will be trying to make a career comeback as will pitcher Dontrelle Willis and former Mets catcher Ramon Castro.

Pat Summerall’s stentorian voice and no-nonsense erudite play-by-play broadcast style disproved the myth that former athletes could only be used in limited game analyst or pre and post-game roles. He was also the first sports anchor on WCBS-AM when that station switched in 1967 from music to the all-news format that continues to this day. Pat had been in declining health in recent years so his passing last week was not unexpected. Nonetheless he will be missed.

The Rangers have been a disappointment in this shortened NHL season but they may be turning things around at the most important time. They looked quite sharp Sunday in defeating the New Jersey Devils 4-1 at the Garden which eliminated the team from Newark from the playoffs. The Blueshirts are holding on to the eighth and final seed in the Eastern Conference as they head into the final weekend of the regular season.

The media will understandably remind all of us about what happened in Boston last week when the New York Marathon comes around next November. There is no way that safety can be guaranteed against psychopaths on a 26.2 mile outdoor route. Law enforcement officials will do their best and we should do ours as well by not cowering in fear and living our lives to the fullest extent.

Hot cereals such as oatmeal tend to be eaten more in the winter than other times of the year. Nonetheless the cardiovascular benefits that come from quality organic oatmeal from brands as Better Oats and One Degree should not be forgotten about in warmer weather. Both Starbucks and Jamba Juice sell oatmeal in their stores if you are out of the house.

As a kid I loved  Cheez Doodles. It is still a guilty junk food pleasure. A cleverly named company from Connecticut however, Sneaky Snacks, has created a healthier alternative with its White Cheddar Baked Super Puffs that are lower in calories and contain more fiber and protein.

Even well-known liquor companies are realizing that more of us are watching our weight. Smirnoff has introduced a Sorbet Light of fruit-flavored vodkas that it is touting as “reduced calorie.” I guess if you can have light beer than why not reduced calorie vodka?

BET, the leading African-American cable television network introduced its fall programming last week to media and advertisers last week. To promote its fledgling Centric Network, which you can think of as a soulful VH-1Classic, BET executives brought out legendary singer Chaka Khan who can still hit the high notes to “Tell Me Something Good” as if it were still 1975.

A new show, “Strive To Thrive,” starring the attractive husband and wife team of Boris Kodjoe and Nicole Ari Parker, will try to educate the public on how to live healthier lives through proper nutrition and realistic exercise ideas. Kodjoe is one of the stars on BET”s biggest hit, “The Real Husbands of Hollywood,” that brilliant parodies the Bravo Network’s endless “Real Wives” franchise.

Posted under Baseball Amateur Draft, Baseball Fans, Checkered History, Cold In The Winter, Cup Of Coffee, Fine Dining Restaurants, Hotel Guests, Johan Santana, Lloyd Carroll, Major League Baseball, Major League Baseball Amateur Draft, Mets Fans, New York Mets, Roy Halladay, Starting Pitcher, Time Hope, Top Story, Washington Nationals, Wildest Dreams, York Baseball

Yankees and Mets Fans Root for their Heroes at Grand Central Terminal

New York, NY—Thousands of local baseball fans who were unable to take advantage of the opportunity to see the Mets and Yanks compete in the second installment of the 2012 Subway Series during the weekend of June 22-24 were able to share in the fun and excitement.

For the third consecutive year, Delta Airlines, the official airline of both teams, sponsored a fin filled extravaganza of baseball related activities. This year’s location is Vanderbilt Hall in Grand Central Station.

From Thursday through Sunday on this scorching weekend, thousands of baseball fans, New York City students waiting for their final day of the school year on Wednesday, tourists and commuters traveling to and from their place of work were able to focus their attention on New York’s two major league franchises.

The festivities kicked off with an appearance by a fan favorite of each club, Johan Santana of the Mets and Mark Teixeira of the Yanks. The two were greeted and congratulated by fans for their career successes. Each was also present to encourage support for their respective foundations, the Johan Santana Foundation and Harlem RBI.

A superstar for each team, Curtis Granderson and David Wright, led fans in a version of Yankees/Mets Password on Friday morning.

The skipper of each of the home teams spoke positively in an interview that was viewed and heard by onlookers and reporters. Terry Collins spoke on Thursday afternoon and Joe Girardi on Friday afternoon.

Younger children will be entertained by mascots, Mr. Met on Saturday and Fudgie the Whale of Carvel will be dispensing ice cream treats on Sunday.

Visitors who prefer to engage in physical activities will be able to swing the baseball bat in a batting cage. There are also interactive games. Those who would like to remember the visit can take photos at a photo booth.

On Friday and Saturday evenings, the Subway Series contests can be viewed on a large screen in the area. Giveaways will be dispensed to those who remain to watch the games.

Attending a Subway Series for anyone who does not currently have a ticket may not be possible, but those who wish to be involved in the excitement can go to the delta dugout at Grand Central Terminal.

Posted under Baseball Bat, Baseball Fans, Career Successes, City Students, Curtis Granderson, David Wright, Delta Airlines, Grand Central Station, Grand Central Terminal, Grand Central Terminal New York Ny, Interactive Games, Joe Girardi, Johan Santana, Mark Teixeira, Mets Fans, New York Mets, Photo Booth, Subway Series, Third Consecutive Year, Top Story, Vanderbilt Hall

This post was written by Howard Goldin on June 23, 2012

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Shame On MLB For Denying The Mets

The look on John Franco’s face pretty much told the whole story.

The lifelong New Yorker and former Met, just had disgust on his face when asked about Major League Baseball’s decision of not letting the Mets wear their first responders hats during the game.

“It’s up to you guys to say something about it,” he said to the media, knowing that’s the only way his opinion will be heard.

Ok, so let’s say something.

Shame on MLB for denying the Mets a chance to honor the first responders on 9/11 in a way of their choosing. And the lame excuse of uniformity by MLB VP Joe Torre just doesn’t cut it.

”Certainly it’s not a lack of respect,” Torre said. ”We just felt all the major leagues are honoring the same way with the American flag on the uniform and the cap. This is a unanimity thing.”

Oh come on, Joe. Say it ain’t so.

Seeing the Mets out there wearing the first responder caps allows all baseball fans to harken back to the days following the attacks. It reminds us of how we all felt during those weeks and then how the Mets defied baseball back then and wore those caps for the rest of the 2001 season.

But this is a different Met club. Unlike their counterparts from 10 years-ago, these Mets are generally younger players, who are pretty much happy to be in the big leagues. Manager Terry Collins is a company man, unlike Bobby Valentine, who had a certain rebellious side to say the least.

Then there’s the owners indebtedness to MLB. Back in 2001, Nelson Doubleday could just write a check to cover any losses and the Wilpons were still on the Madoff gravy train.

Now, everything has changed.

MLB, though, should have recognized a Met tradition and allowed the club to play an otherwise meaningless game with the hats. Yesterday was a day of honor, but the league made it a day of shame.

Maybe next year, MLB will realize the error of their ways and realize the other slippery slope out there. By not allowing this, it slowly takes away the remembrance of baseballs role in the aftermath.

And that’s the real shame. The NFL allowed sideline coaches and players a chance to wear those hats. MLB should have done the same.

Posted under American Flag, Baseball Fans, Bobby Valentine, Company Man, Disgust, First Responder, Gravy Train, Harken, Indebtedness, John Franco, Lack Of Respect, Lame Excuse, Major League Baseball, Meaningless Game, Nelson Doubleday, New York Mets, Rebellious Side, Slippery Slope, Top Story, Unanimity

This post was written by Joe McDonald on September 12, 2011

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