Sports Beat – Defending Bobby V

Former Mets manager Bobby Valentine stirred things up when he complained that the Yankees did not reach out to their community in the days following September 11, 2001. There is little argument that Yankees players and ownership did reach out to responders and to those whose lives were uprooted at the time.

Bobby was probably still steaming about a 2004 HBO Sports documentary, “Nine Innings From Ground Zero,” which spent the lion’s share of the time concentrating on the Yankees playoffs and seven-game nail-biting World Series loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in the fall of 2001 and how that helped cheer up New Yorkers needing a diversion. The Mets barely rated a three-minute mention in it from what I remember even though Valentine and his players spent a lot of time preparing boxes of food and supplies. Shea Stadium was used as an emergency center for first responders because of its sizable parking lot which Yankee Stadium lacked.

I spoke with Mets outfielder Mike Baxter about his memories of that cataclysmic day on the twelfth anniversary of 9/11. “ I was in an Advanced Placement Psychology class at Archbishop Molloy High School when the planes hit the World Trade Center. No one could believe what was happening,” the Whitestone native recalled.

Just in case anyone was starting to forget about terrorism in 2013, the Boston Marathon bombing was a jolting reminder. The evil allegedly done by the Tsarnaev brothers did not escape the attention of the National Football League. Fans are now prohibited from bringing most bags into stadiums as the NFL will only allow transparent bags for your necessities.

This is a case of overreaching in my opinion. Why can’t security personnel check all bags as they have done in the past? Evildoers will always find ways to commit nefarious acts even with see-through totes.

New Jersey Devils press box announcer Richard Nashmy was ahead of the curve and created a line of durable, thick-polymer clear vinyl tote bags in various sizes a few years ago. If you are planning on going to a Jets or Giants game this year you should check out his company’s website, www.carryitclearly.com.

It’s another meaningless September for the Mets. The fact that they never really had any post-season aspirations this year is the least of their problems. Even if Matt Harvey, David Wright and Ike Davis had stayed healthy the entire season the best that Mets fans could probably hope for would have been third place in the NL East. Nonetheless the weakling lineup that the Mets put together for their four-game series against the Washington Nationals at Citi Field during their last homestand was arguably the most impotent in their history. The Nats did not break a sweat in sweeping the Mets but that wasn’t what was humiliating. During the four games they hit a total of 13 homers while the mighty Mets hit a grand total of 0.

It is no wonder that CBS Radio executives have had their fill of the Mets and were delighted to announce that the Yankees would be replacing them next year on WFAN. The Yankees have always been the more popular team in New York and the Mets’ ineptitude since 2006 has only widened the gap.

Some are wondering about whether CBS is making the right decision since the Mets appear to have more exciting young talent than an aging Yankees team does. My answer to that is to ponder the following. If someone offered you $10,000 to invest in a long-term stock fund, would you choose one that was run by Hal Steinbrenner, Lonn Trost, Randy Levine and Brian Cashman or one that was headed by Jeff Wilpon and Sandy Alderson?

The Jets are probably not going to make the playoffs this year but rookie QB Geno Smith has given Gang Green fans a flicker of hope. Yes, he throws occasional interceptions, misses open receivers, and stays in the pocket holding the football a bit long at times, but he is exciting to watch. He led the Jets to that fluke Opening Day win against Tampa Bay when Bucs defensive end Lavonte David stupidly hit him out of bounds with scant seconds left on the clocks and the Jets were out of timeouts. That late hit penalty set up Nick Folk’s 48-yard game winner.

Although the Jets lost as usual to the New England Patriots a few days later, the score was close (13-10) and Smith was every bit the equal of his counterpart, Tom Brady, that night.

While Jets fans are probably thrilled with Geno, it still would have been better if Mark Sanchez were healthy. When head coach Rex Ryan writes his memoirs he will have to reveal why he put Sanchez into the fourth quarter of a meaningless preseason game with the Giants when the Jets had their third stringers in there. It is not surprising that Sanchez got hurt in that situation and will probably miss the entire 2013 season.

The recently concluded Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week always brings out some sports celebrities. Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist and Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire are regulars. Two weeks ago OKC Thunder All-Star guard Russell Westbrook made the fashion scene as he was undoubtedly trying to elevate his profile for commercial endorsements.

My favorite moment from Fashion Week was being greeted by a pair of Philadelphia Eagles cheerleaders at the GBK Lounge at the Empire Hotel. The girls were modeling their new skimpy uniforms that were designed by Vera Wang.

Fox Sports 1 has done a nice of getting out of the ratings gate strong. The wannabe chief competitor to ESPN raided Bristol for a pair of its popular female personalities, Erin Andrews and Charissa Thompson. Both ladies are fine sports anchors but there is no doubt that Fox executives are hoping that the “babe factor” will deliver male viewers. Will Sage Steele be jumping ship next?

Posted under Archbishop Molloy High School, Arizona Diamondbacks, Bobby Valentine, Hbo Sports, League Fans, Lloyd Carroll, Manager Bobby Valentine, Mets Outfielder, Mike Baxter, Molloy High School, National Football League, New York Mets, Nine Innings, Placement Psychology, Psychology Class, September 11 2001, Shea Stadium, Thick Polymer, Top Story, Transparent Bags, Twelfth Anniversary, Yankee Stadium

Sports Beat “Wright’s injury hamstrings Mets”

Mets fans emitted a collective groan last Friday seeing David Wright writhe in pain after running hard to first base in the tenth inning of yet another extra inning game for the Amazin’s. The immediate diagnosis was that Wright had a suffered a pulled hamstring in his right leg.

Unlike in past years when Mets management would delay putting players on the disabled list in the hopes of some overnight miraculous recovery which never happened, Wright was immediately placed on the 15-day disabled list. The immediate consensus however was that he would not be playing again until early September.

You can’t blame the Mets for being cautious with their superstar. Although he is younger than Derek Jeter, the team does not want to risk having their captain try to return to duty only to watch him reinjure himself the way the Yankees captain did. Unlike the Yankees, the Mets have no shot at playing in the post-season so it makes total sense for Mets executives to be ultra conservative when it comes to handling their best player who earns $20 million annually.

The silver lining about Wright’s injury is that it opened up a roster spot for outfielder and Whitestone native Mike Baxter who was unfairly sent down to the Mets’ Las Vegas AAA affiliate in June when team executives reached their patience level with struggling first baseman Ike Davis. General manager Sandy Alderson wanted to make it look like he was instituting a team shakeup to lessen the spotlight on Davis’s failure.

Alderson and manager Terry Collins were infatuated with the alleged talents of young outfielder Jordany Valdespin to Baxter’s detriment. While Valdespin did deliver a few clutch pinch hits, he infuriated teammates with his hot-dogging style which included standing at home plate marveling a home run he swatted in the ninth inning. If that wasn’t bad enough, his team was losing 7-1 at the time which is not exactly a great time for showmanship.

The next day, to no one’s surprise, a Pirates pitcher hit him in the back. Jordany publicly sulked because his teammates did not storm the field in his defense and even seemed to back the Pirates’ decision to nail him.

Valdespin was eventually demoted to the Las Vegas 51s. Last week, word came back that he was back to his old tricks as he stood in the batter’s box admiring a home run he swatted against the Sacramento River Cats. The opposing pitcher naturally drilled Valdespin the next time he batted.  This time however he got support as his manager, fiery Wally Backman, led Valdespin’s teammates onto the field for a brawl to show support. Both Valdespin and Backman drew one-game suspensions. The word is that Sandy Alderson wasn’t very happy.

*******

The Time Warner Cable-CBS dispute is the latest battle between a television network and a cable/satellite provider when it comes to carriage rights fees.

Time Warner Cable claims that it shouldn’t have to pay CBS to air its programs because it’s a broadcast network that airs its shows to the public for free. CBS argues that Time Warner Cable pays cable networks such as ESPN $6 per subscriber and that puts it at a disadvantage when negotiating sports rights fees. CBS is still smarting at how ESPN was able to outbid it for US Open rights beginning in 2015.

Time Warner removed CBS-owned stations from its lineup last Friday at 5 PM even though the Tiffany Network was willing to have its shows air over TWC systems while the two sides were negotiating.

Why was Time Warner Cable so eager to pull the plug on CBS? My guess is that TWC executives figured that August is the slowest time in the television industry since primetime shows are generally in repeats and that there are few marquee sports events.

In terms of using a prize fight as an analogy, Time Warner Cable executives were hoping to score an early knockout and have CBS settle on terms favorable to their side. If this dispute is not settled by early next month, CBS will get the upper hand for the middle rounds because it has the rights to National Football League games. They would really be in the driver’s seat if the New York Jets had a decent team but that will not be the case in 2013.

If things were to really drag on through late September it would be a draw because CBS needs distribution for its fall primetime shows to succeed while Time Warner would certainly lose a lot of customers to upstart challenger Verizon Fios if viewers can’t see their old favorites or be denied the opportunity to discover the network’s new shows.

The last time Time Warner Cable customers lost a favorite channel was when the company and MSG Networks could not agree on a deal and the channels that broadcast Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, and Devils games were pulled for 48 days. Both MSG and TWC ran acrimonious ads accusing one another of outrageous greed and negotiating in bad faith. Today Time Warner Cable is a major sponsor at Madison Square Garden. Go figure.

I wonder if former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher has offered to arbitrate this dispute since he is both an NFL analyst for CBS Sports and a spokesman for Time Warner Cable as is evident from those annoying ubiquitous commercials.

Posted under Aaa Affiliate, Amazin, Collective Groan, David Wright, Derek Jeter, Early September, First Baseman, Hamstrings, Inning Game, Lloyd Carroll, Mike Baxter, Miraculous Recovery, New York Mets, Ninth Inning, Patience Level, Pinch Hits, Sandy Alderson, Showmanship, Top Story, Writhe In Pain

This post was written by Lloyd Carroll on August 4, 2013

Tags: , , , , ,

Sports Beat “Wright’s injury hamstrings Mets”

Mets fans emitted a collective groan last Friday seeing David Wright writhe in pain after running hard to first base in the tenth inning of yet another extra inning game for the Amazin’s. The immediate diagnosis was that Wright had a suffered a pulled hamstring in his right leg.

Unlike in past years when Mets management would delay putting players on the disabled list in the hopes of some overnight miraculous recovery which never happened, Wright was immediately placed on the 15-day disabled list. The immediate consensus however was that he would not be playing again until early September.

You can’t blame the Mets for being cautious with their superstar. Although he is younger than Derek Jeter, the team does not want to risk having their captain try to return to duty only to watch him reinjure himself the way the Yankees captain did. Unlike the Yankees, the Mets have no shot at playing in the post-season so it makes total sense for Mets executives to be ultra conservative when it comes to handling their best player who earns $20 million annually.

The silver lining about Wright’s injury is that it opened up a roster spot for outfielder and Whitestone native Mike Baxter who was unfairly sent down to the Mets’ Las Vegas AAA affiliate in June when team executives reached their patience level with struggling first baseman Ike Davis. General manager Sandy Alderson wanted to make it look like he was instituting a team shakeup to lessen the spotlight on Davis’s failure.

Alderson and manager Terry Collins were infatuated with the alleged talents of young outfielder Jordany Valdespin to Baxter’s detriment. While Valdespin did deliver a few clutch pinch hits, he infuriated teammates with his hot-dogging style which included standing at home plate marveling a home run he swatted in the ninth inning. If that wasn’t bad enough, his team was losing 7-1 at the time which is not exactly a great time for showmanship.

The next day, to no one’s surprise, a Pirates pitcher hit him in the back. Jordany publicly sulked because his teammates did not storm the field in his defense and even seemed to back the Pirates’ decision to nail him.

Valdespin was eventually demoted to the Las Vegas 51s. Last week, word came back that he was back to his old tricks as he stood in the batter’s box admiring a home run he swatted against the Sacramento River Cats. The opposing pitcher naturally drilled Valdespin the next time he batted.  This time however he got support as his manager, fiery Wally Backman, led Valdespin’s teammates onto the field for a brawl to show support. Both Valdespin and Backman drew one-game suspensions. The word is that Sandy Alderson wasn’t very happy.

*******

The Time Warner Cable-CBS dispute is the latest battle between a television network and a cable/satellite provider when it comes to carriage rights fees.

Time Warner Cable claims that it shouldn’t have to pay CBS to air its programs because it’s a broadcast network that airs its shows to the public for free. CBS argues that Time Warner Cable pays cable networks such as ESPN $6 per subscriber and that puts it at a disadvantage when negotiating sports rights fees. CBS is still smarting at how ESPN was able to outbid it for US Open rights beginning in 2015.

Time Warner removed CBS-owned stations from its lineup last Friday at 5 PM even though the Tiffany Network was willing to have its shows air over TWC systems while the two sides were negotiating.

Why was Time Warner Cable so eager to pull the plug on CBS? My guess is that TWC executives figured that August is the slowest time in the television industry since primetime shows are generally in repeats and that there are few marquee sports events.

In terms of using a prize fight as an analogy, Time Warner Cable executives were hoping to score an early knockout and have CBS settle on terms favorable to their side. If this dispute is not settled by early next month, CBS will get the upper hand for the middle rounds because it has the rights to National Football League games. They would really be in the driver’s seat if the New York Jets had a decent team but that will not be the case in 2013.

If things were to really drag on through late September it would be a draw because CBS needs distribution for its fall primetime shows to succeed while Time Warner would certainly lose a lot of customers to upstart challenger Verizon Fios if viewers can’t see their old favorites or be denied the opportunity to discover the network’s new shows.

The last time Time Warner Cable customers lost a favorite channel was when the company and MSG Networks could not agree on a deal and the channels that broadcast Knicks, Rangers, Islanders, and Devils games were pulled for 48 days. Both MSG and TWC ran acrimonious ads accusing one another of outrageous greed and negotiating in bad faith. Today Time Warner Cable is a major sponsor at Madison Square Garden. Go figure.

I wonder if former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach Bill Cowher has offered to arbitrate this dispute since he is both an NFL analyst for CBS Sports and a spokesman for Time Warner Cable as is evident from those annoying ubiquitous commercials.

Posted under Aaa Affiliate, Amazin, Collective Groan, David Wright, Derek Jeter, Early September, First Baseman, Hamstrings, Inning Game, Lloyd Carroll, Mike Baxter, Miraculous Recovery, New York Mets, Ninth Inning, Patience Level, Pinch Hits, Sandy Alderson, Showmanship, Top Story, Writhe In Pain

Right now the outfield combination is a guess that works for the Mets

New York – Friday night at Citi Field in the New York Mets outfield, Mike Baxter got the start in right field, Lucas Duda was in left, Jordany Valdespin in center. It has been common not to expect the same everyday outfield combination in the lineup put together by manager Terry Collins.

It could cause some issues, but not in the Mets clubhouse. Everyone seems to be content with their playing time. What matters most, Collins is trying to find the right combination that can produce some runs in the lineup. And, if Valdespin keeps coming off big, as he did Wednesday night with a walk-off game winning grand slam home run, he could be in the outfield every day.

However, Collins will not commit to who plays where. As he makes out the lineup a lot has to do also with righty against lefty, and who may have the upper hand. Except Mets fans are becoming acclimated to seeing Valdespin come up big, who can also fill some holes in the infield.

“I took the one guy who has a .400 on base in Mike Baxter and said if we can get him on, we got a guy at number 2 who can handle the bat, and hit behind runners, and hit in the holes and bunt and do the little things,” commented Collins about inserting Baxter in right at the top of the order Friday night.

Baxter was followed in the order by Ruben Tejada, Daniel Murphy, and David Wright, and then came Duda.  The Mets come to the ballpark and it does matter where, when, or if or not they are in the lineup.

The outfield has learned to work as a unit and in the end it comes down to winning ballgames.

Yes, Sandy Alderson, the general manager suggested to Collins to insert Wright fifth in the order.  The Mets captain, before getting injured, drove home 10-runs in the World Baseball Classic. The outfield, though, that is the discretion of the Mets manager.

“He led off for us last year, he knows what he is doing,” said Collins about inserting Baxter in that role Friday night as the Mets dropped the first of a three-game series to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Baxter struck out once and went hitless in four at bats. In the third inning, he also lost a ball in right field that was ruled a double of the bat of Lance Nix.

“It was the twilight out there, hard to read,” commented Baxter about the mixed ball. He said it had nothing to do with the limited playing time out in right, or coming off the bench as a role player.

As for going hitless at the plate, Baxter and the Mets can blame Phillies starter Kyle Kendrick who shut out the Mets for the first time this season limiting them to three hits. Kendrick did not allow a runner to second base after the first inning.

Simply put, Collins is aware that he has to get his guys playing time and find a proper role for them. Baxter, as with rookie Juan Lagares, will get the time. The 24-year old Lagares of the Dominican Republic was called up from Triple-A Las Vegas Tuesday and recorded his first Major League base hit coming off the bench.

The attitude of Lagares, it fits in with the rest of that crowded outfield. “I am going to try and be here and do whatever they need me to do here, come here to work hard everyday  ” he said after getting his first start in center Wednesday night against the Dodgers.

But in a matter of time, Collins and the Mets should have that outfield set. In the meantime, when the Mets outfield arrives at Citi Field early Saturday morning for another game with the Phillies, as has been the case, they will look on the board and see if their name is in the starting lineup.

“We will come out tomorrow and give it another try,” said Baxter.

e-mail Rich Mancuso: Ring786@aol.com

 

Posted under Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Dro, Lefty, Mets Clubhouse, Mets Fans, Mets New York, Mike Baxter, New York Mets, Outfield, Playing Time, Right Combination, Ruben, Runners, Sandy Alderson, Tejada, Top Story, Wednesday Night

Sports Beat “Don’t blame David Wright”

You would have thought that David Wright personally affronted some of the New York sportswriters for incurring a rib cage injury while he was playing for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. The gist of the grousing was that Wright should have made his employer, the New York Mets, his primary concern, instead of chasing the glory that comes with being part of an American all-star team in an international competition that is the baby of Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig.

Of course these same media types were relishing how Wright was called Captain America by his USA teammates when he appeared to be completely healthy. Talk about pathetic front-running.

It would be hard to blame David Wright if he was more interested in Team USA’s success than he was in the prospects of the 2013 Mets.  He realized that the stage that he was getting to play on in March would be the biggest one he would see all year with the exception of the All-Star Game. Even the most optimistic Mets fan would concede that it will be extremely difficult for this team to win more games in 2013 than it loses.

Barring a complete disaster of a season David Wright should be representing the Mets at the 2013 All-Star Game slated for mid-July at Citi Field. Tickets are already on sale for the MLB FanFest which will be held at the Javits Center as well as for Taco Bell All-Star Sunday at Citi Field that will feature the Futures Game spotlighting the best minor leaguers as well as a celebrity softball game.

The outpouring of tributes for Jack Curran, who served as head coach of Archbishop Molloy’s baseball and basketball team from 1958 until his death last week, reminded us of how a great teacher can shape lives for the better. Among those who played for Coach Curran were former NBA stars Kenny Anderson, Kenny Smith, Kevin Joyce and Brian Winters as well as current Mets outfielder Mike Baxter.

The annual Queens Half Marathon will take place this Sunday at Flushing Meadow Park. Many of the runners will be raising funds for various charities including the man who will be starting at the back of the pack, Devang Patel of North Bergen, NJ, who will be wearing a white leisure suit reminiscent to that worn by John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever.” Patel will get $1 from the event’s sponsor, US Road Sports & Entertainment Group, for every runner he passes that will go to “Restore The Shore,” a non-profit whose mission is to help the Jersey Shore recover from Superstorm Sandy. Hopefully US Road will help the Rockaways as well.

The Atlantic 10 Conference held their men’s basketball championship tournament at the Barclays Center and it coincided with the last Big East Tournament as we know it at Madison Square Garden.

It was unfortunate that the one New York member of the Atlantic 10, Fordham, did not qualify for the tournament. Had Fordham been eligible, the Barclays Center would have opened the upper level of the arena. The quality of play was quite good. On Sunday the St. Louis University Billikens outlasted the Rams of Virginia Commonwealth University to win the A-10 title.

In a nice touch, the Atlantic 10 and the Barclays Center gave out a lot of tickets to elementary and high school students. For many of them it marked both their inaugural visit to the Barclays Center as well as the first college hoops game that they ever attended. This is the kind of smart marketing that creates future customers.

As has been the case with the Knicks and the Nets, the cuisine served in the press dining room at the Barclays Center for the Atlantic 10 was vastly superior to that doled out at Madison Square Garden for the Big East Tournament.

The St. John’s Red Storm made their annual  cameo appearance at the Big East Tournament as they were eliminated by a mediocre Villanova Wildcats team on Wednesday night. Even the Columbia Lions were able to beat Villanova on their Main Line suburban Philadelphia campus earlier in the year to give you an idea of how far their basketball program has fallen.

The only good news for the Red Storm last week was the announcement that freshman forward JaKarr Sampson was named the Big East Rookie of the Year. The Red Storm’s Mo Harkless won the award last year and then declared himself eligible for the NBA draft where he was selected in the first round by the Philadelphia 76ers before being dealt to the Orlando Magic. Sampson, however, is expected to return to St. John’s in the fall.

Former Nets and Knicks television analyst, as well as former NBA All-Star, Kelly Tripucka was at the Barclays Center broadcasting the Atlantic 10 semi-finals and championship game for Dial Global Radio.

Kelly told me that he was disappointed that the MSG Network decided not to renew his contract and subsequently replaced him a younger version of himself, former NBA star and Long Island native Wally Szczerbiak. I have not seen enough of Wally’s work to make a judgment on his work, but I have always enjoyed what Tripucka brings to a broadcast. He never sugarcoats anything when the home team is playing lousy and explains hoops strategies in a way that a laymen can easily understand.

NBA Hall of Famer Rick Barry made a personal appearance at the 2013 Vision Expo East, the annual trade show for the optical industry held at the Javits Center. Rick was one of the great free-throw shooters in history and he was a practitioner of doing them underhanded. I asked him why no one shoots them like that anymore.

“There are a lot of reasons. No one knows how to teach the wrist action that is needed. Another factor is that it’s not considered macho in today’s image conscious NBA.” He then added that any pro player should be able to convert 80 per cent of their foul shots. According to Barry, the NBA average is around 75%.

Other athletes who appeared at various booths at the show were Hall of Fame third baseman Cal Ripken, Jr. and former Yankees centerfielder Bernie Williams.

Washington Nationals pitcher Gio Gonzalez was the runner-up to RA Dickey for the National League Cy Young Award this year. He has also always had an interest in fashion and has started a t-shirt manufacturing company called House of Leagues.

Another young apparel company, Sportiqe, which created those “Hello Brooklyn” t-shirts that a lot of Nets fans wear to the Barclays Center, has created t-shirts that combine the Grateful Dead logo with the names of NBA teams. The company must have had NBA Hall of Famer and renowned “Dead Head” Bill Walton in mind.

New Era has long been the leader in Major League Baseball-branded clothing. They have introduced a new line of zippered hoodies with oversized team logos that are perfect to wear to the ballparks during the chilly first month of the season.

The company has found many ways of monetizing the baseball cap by turning it into a fashion statement. Its new 9Fifty Snapback line features team names in large capital letters made with elaborate multi-colored stitching.

At the recent Toy Fair 2013 held at the Javits Center board games were surprisingly starting to make a comeback. USAopoly, which made its name in the game biz by creating sports team versions of the classic board game Monopoly, is now reviving the popular ‘80s game Trivial Pursuit with a “Classic Rock” edition which quizzes players on band members, album covers, touring trivia, and stories behind hit songs.

Levy’s Rye Bread had a famous advertising tag line, “You don’t have to be Jewish to love Levy’s!” The same can be said for Passover foods. Manischewitz is introducing Organic Spelt Matzoh and Gluten Free Crackers for the holiday which begins Monday night. If you are looking for a snack alternative to macaroons, the company is producing boxes of Chocolate Walnut Biscotti and Milk Chocolate Almond Buttercups.

A healthy choice to put on your morning bread or matzoh is California almond butter which is tastier than peanut butter;  better for your cholesterol than regular butter; and has far less sugars and carbohydrates than jams or jellies.

Posted under Archbishop Molloy, Brian Winters, Celebrity Softball Game, Commissioner Bud Selig, David Wright, Kenny Anderson, Kenny Smith, Kevin Joyce, Major League Baseball, Mets Outfielder, Mike Baxter, Mlb Fanfest, Nba Stars, New York Mets, New York Sportswriters, Top Story

Santana no-hitter one of those good moments for a Mets fan

There I was, night off from the ballpark, listening and watching my favorite  alternative rock band “Weezer”  in Atlantic City New Jersey in the Bogata Hotel showroom. It was planned, the birthday gift from three weeks ago. What wasn’t in the plan was Johan Santana throwing a no-hitter at Citi Field on the first day of June.

A Friday evening at Citi Field where, I would usually be situated, upstairs in my perch in the comfortable press box, but the first no-no in New York Mets history, 50-years of futility and I was not there to see it.

Yes, frustration. And moments after Mets SNY Television voice Gary Cohen said after being questioned, ‘did he ever think it would happen, his response, ‘No, but now it has’ Weezer would finish their last number.

That number, “Say it Ain’t So.”

But it is true. After 8,020 games, Mets radio voice Howie Rose, and fans of the second baseball team in New York, can now say, the New York Mets have made baseball history. They are no longer one of two teams to not have a pitcher throw the illustrious no-hitter.

It is so, and the San Diego Padres have that lone distinction.

Mike Baxter, the kid from Queens, crashed into the center field wall on the warning track to keep the suspense going. The Carlos Beltran ball that hit the chalk beyond third base appeared to be an extra base hit. The umpire, according to replays may have got it wrong.

To Mets’ fans, and to Santana, the call went their way. The no-hitter is in the record books and well deserved for a pitcher who many said was finished.

It was back in late March. Santana was not supposed to come north with the team at the end of spring training. The comeback from shoulder surgery, which shut Santana down all last year, was slow and cautious. However, it was soon, according to Santana, working according to the plan.

That plan, which was heard since his opening day start in early April, was continue to make adjustments as this Mets team had trouble scoring runs, but staying competitive. Then the last three starts you sensed the plan was ahead of schedule.

Santana was throwing more pitches, going deeper into games. The changeup was effective, so was the slider. The fastball was getting close to his velocity, clocked close to 90, or more.

The manager, Terry Collins was more concerned about the pitch count. Last Saturday, at Citi field, Santana threw 94 pitches, the complete game shutout over the San Diego Padres. Collins let him continue, as he did Friday night with a career high 134 pitches, concerned about the shoulder.

After that sixth inning, Collins asked Santana, “How do you feel?” The ace, who said afterwards, he came to New York “to win a championship for the organization and fans,” told his manager, ‘I feel good, let me continue.’

It was a momentous occasion for a franchise that has been troubled with financial issues .And nothing has seemed to go right since that last game of 2006, when Beltran struck out with runners on base, at Shea Stadium, in game seven of the National League Championship Series.

That was against the same St. Louis Cardinals who go in the record book as victims of the Santana no-hitter.

It was the first and real significant moment at Citi Field for Mets baseball. Santana erased the close calls of Tom Seaver, the last Mets pitcher to take a no-hitter into the ninth inning. The first one, of three close calls, a perfect game broke up by Jimmy Qualls of the Chicago Cubs in 1969.

It will be remembered what Johan Santana did Friday night. The umpire, Adrian Johnson, at third base, may have missed that Beltran call in the sixth inning. But that does not matter now. Johan Santana may have put the New York Mets back on the map with that outing on the mound at Citi Field.

Just hope “Weezer” does not get in the way again for another possible and maybe another no-hitter in New York Mets baseball history, or perhaps another first, a perfect game as they go into game number 8,021.

E-mail Rich Mancuso:  Ring786@aol.com

Posted under Alternative Rock Band, Band Weezer, Baseball Team, Bogata Hotel, Carlos Beltran, Gary Cohen, Hotel Showroom, Johan Santana, Mets Fans, Mets Team, Mike Baxter, New York Mets, Radio Voice, Rich Mancuso, San Diego Padres, Sny, Top Story, Warning Track

This post was written by Rich Mancuso on June 3, 2012

Tags: , , ,

Audio: Johan’s No-No

The Curse Is Over! Johan Santana pitched the first no-hitter in Mets history against the St. Louis Cardinals with the Mets winning 8-0. The story of the game, of course, was Santana, who threw a career high 134 pitches for his second shutout in a row.

Below is reaction from the clubhouse.

Johan Santana

David Wright

Josh Thole

Mike Baxter

Mike Matheny

Jose Oquendo

Carlos Beltran

Adam Wainwright

Posted under Bob Trainor, Carlos Beltran, Clubhouse, Curse, David Wright, Game, Johan Santana, Jose Oquendo, Josh Thole, Mike Baxter, Mp3 Audio, New York Mets, Pitches, Shutout, St Louis Cardinals, Top Story

This post was written by Bob Trainor on June 2, 2012

Tags: ,

Audio: Mets Walk Off to 4-0

Daniel Murphy’s walk off single completed a Mets comeback over the Washington Nationals by a score of 4-3. The game was highlighted by Mike Pelfrey’s 5 2/3s inning effort and rook Kirk Nieuwenhuis’s first career home run into the Mo’s Zone.

Below is Bob Trainor’s audio.

Kirk Nieuwenhuis

Mike Baxter

Mike Pelfrey

Ian Desmond

Davey Johnson

 

Posted under Bob Lazzari, Daniel Murphy, Mets, Mike Baxter, Mike Pelfrey, Mp3 Audio, Nbsp, New York Mets, Rook, Score Game, Top Story, Trainor, Washington Nationals

This post was written by Bob Trainor on April 10, 2012

Tags: