Nats acquire Hairston from Cubs for minor leaguer (The Associated Press)

CHICAGO (AP) — The Washington Nationals acquired outfielder Scott Hairston on Monday from the Chicago Cubs in exchange for minor league pitcher Ivan Pineyro.

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Scott Hairston, Cubs finalize $5M, 2-year contract (The Associated Press)

MESA, Ariz. (AP) — Outfielder Scott Hairston and the Chicago Cubs have finalized a two-year contract.

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Sports Beat “Mets sign Marcum”

The Mets’ signing of free agent pitcher Shawn Marcum wouldn’t normally generate a headline except that it is big news when the Mets spend money on anyone who has ever played in Major League Baseball. The Mets were the last MB team to sign a veteran free agent this year.

The Mets gave Marcum a guaranteed $4 million contract. As has long been the case with most Mets acquisitions, there are red flags. Marcum did not pitch much last season because of elbow issues. When healthy, Marcum is capable of winning 15 games with a good team such as former club, the Milwaukee Brewers. My guess is that Mets general manager Sandy Alderson is throwing away owner Fred Wilson’s money since (a) Mets pitchers rarely stay healthy and that goes double for reclamation projects such as Marcus, and (b) the Mets offense is so puny it would be hard for any pitcher to post a good record.

While the Mets were welcoming Shawn Marcum they were saying farewell to outfielder Scott Hairston who signed a lucrative free agent contract with the Cubs. Hairston belted 20 home runs in a part-time role, but more importantly, added a much needed touch of veteran leadership to a team bereft of it.

Last Tuesday Major League Baseball held their annual fund-raising dinner for one of its philanthropies, the Baseball Assistance Team which provides financial and medical assistance to those in the baseball community facing hardship. Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain and Mets starter Johan Santana were honored for their charitable efforts although Johan couldn’t make it because of a conflicting commitment in his hometown of Covar, Venezuela.

Also attending the B.A.T. dinner was former Mets pitcher Jon Matlack who was a key contributor to their 1973 “You Gotta Believe” pennant-winning team. I asked Jon if Mets management had contacted him about honoring the 40th anniversary of that team at Citi Field. “I haven’t heard diddly!” Matlack replied with a smile. It sounds like the Mets will do for the 1973 team what they did to commemorate their 50th anniversary last season, basically next to nothing.

Former Mets managers Jeff Torborg and Art Howe were among the many attendees at the memorial service for legendary Major League Baseball Players Association executive director Marvin Miller who died at age 95 this past fall. Both gentlemen managed underwhelming teams but it could be argued that the tenure of either was a golden age for Mets fans compared to what 2013 looks to be for the not so Amazin’s. “Terry (Collins) is going to have his work cut out for him,” was the response of both ex-managers.

Are the Mets’ parsimonious ways affecting the way the Yankees do things? The Bronx Bombers watched Rafael Soriano leave for the Washington Nationals as a free agent. Soriano did a stellar job saving 42 games for the Yankees after Mariano Rivera was lost for the season with that freakish leg injury. That would never have happened if George Steinbrenner was still alive.

Cooperstown mayor Jeff Katz says that his town will not be affected by the fact that no players will be inducted into the Hall of Fame this July according to the Sports Business Journal. Likewise at last month’s New York Times Travel Show. St. Lucie County Tourism manager Charlotte Bireley told me that her area, which is the winter home of the Mets, will not suffer a drop off in tourists in March even though there is understandably little excitement about the team. Both of these folks are either incredible optimists or living in a serious state of denial.

Flushing native and longtime writer of articles in Mets-themed publications, Andy Esposito, is a highly regarded bass player. Andy teamed up with his keyboardist buddy, Joe Piket to compose and record a catchy novelty tune, “Christmas in Reverse.” While there are millions of Christmas songs, this is the only that I know of that looks at the aftermath of the holiday such as the pain of removing the tree and lights as well as the cold reality of when the credit card bills arrive. It’s available on such online music vendors as iTunes and Amazon under the band name of The Joe and Andy Show.

Since 1966 George Kalinsky has been the official photographer for Madison Square Garden but what isn’t as well known is that he is also a painter. George recently donated six gigantic portraits that he created (Knicks legend Walt Frazier, current center Tyson Chandler, Rangers legend Adam Graves, current Blueshirts goalie Henrik Lundqvist, Giants defensive end Justin Tuck, and a tribute to the cast of “The Sopranos”) to the MSG’s Garden of Dreams Foundation whose mission is to help underprivileged kids. Adding even more value to these superb portraits is that the subjects have autographed them. Garden of Dreams will be auctioning off these great pieces of art through Steiner Sports (www.steinersports.com).

“I got my start in Queens drawing sports cartoons at the Long Island Press,” George told me at last Tuesday’s press conference at which the paintings were displayed.

Adam Graves, who is currently an executive with the Rangers, told me that the shortened National Hockey League season will not be subpar since today’s players are faster, stronger, stay in shape all year, and are more aware of nutrition than yesteryear’s players.

Graves may be engaging in wishful thinking here. Last Wednesday, the Rangers won a thrilling game beating the Boston Bruins at the Garden 4-3. The next night they lost 2-1 in Philadelphia to a Flyers team that was playing without many of its stars who were out with injuries. From my vantage point in the Wells Fargo Arena it looked as if the Rangers were sleepwalking through the first two periods.

After the game, confrontational Rangers head coach John Tortorella admitted that his big players did not make any big plays. Then, as per tradition, he took the focus off of his team by attacking the questions of media members as “stupid” before walking away in a huff. Torts’ post-game shtick would be funny if he were a character in World Wrestling Entertainment but it’s thoroughly unprofessional for an NHL head coach.

The Brooklyn Nets are a good team but there are too many NBA team such as the Houston Rockets and the Miami Heat that they haven’t beaten in decades it seems.

Last month CBS held a media day for their Super Bowl XLVII coverage at their Broadcast Center on West 57th Street. Network CEO Leslie Moonves called Super Bowl Sunday the most important day on the television calendar. No other program can get advertisers to happily pony up $4 million for a thirty-second commercial spot. Moonves stated that all ad time had been sold out but added with a chuckle that if a movie company wanted to promote their latest offering that he would find a spot for them if they were willing to pay $6 million for the privilege.

The toughest decision for CBS was deciding which show to air after the Super Bowl. Moonves decided to go with “Elementary,” the updated Sherlock Holmes procedural that stars Jonny Lee Miller as Holmes and Jackson Heights native Lucy Liu as a female Dr. Watson. “Elementary” has been successful but it has not generated a lot of buzz. CBS executives are hoping that it will become a breakout hit that will eventually find its way into syndication as “The Big Bang Theory,” “The Mentalist,” and “Two And A Half Men” because that is where the big money is in television.

Aisha Tyler, one of the co-hosts of CBS’s successful afternoon gab fest, “The Talk,” pointed out that over 43 million women watch the Super Bowl which is twice as many who tune into the Academy Awards.

Kevin Frazier, a onetime ESPN Sportscenter anchor, is currently the host of the syndicated “OMG Insider.” “Shows as “Insider,” “Entertainment Tonight,” “Access Hollywood,” and “Extra” are really ‘Sportscenter” for women,” Frazier told me. I never thought of it that way but he does have a point.

I asked CBS Sports president Sean McManus if his network planned to follow the lead of both ESPN and Fox and start a Spanish language sports network. Sean told me that there are no plans for a CBS Deportes.

CBS missed the boat on establishing a strong cable presence in the 1980s and it appears that the network is blowing another revenue-generating opportunity by failing to cater to the Spanish-speaking sports community.

Although they don’t have broadcast rights to this year’s Super Bowl NBC is using the week to raise the profile of its cable Sports Network. “Crossover,” a daily 6 PM sports and pop culture program co-hosted by former YES Nets sideline reporter and ESPN Sports Nation personality Michelle Beadle and former Boston sports anchor Dave Briggs, is having its debut week with live shows from New Orleans on the NBC Sports Network.

The Super Bowl is television’s biggest event but you are not losing much if you are in your car while the game is going on because Kevin Harlan and Boomer Esiason will be calling the game on the Dial Global Radio Network (WFAN here in New York).

Spike TV, which likes to call itself “a network for men,” has revived “The Joe Schmo Show,” which brilliantly satirizes reality competition series. Ralph Garman, who brilliantly spoofed “Survivor” host Jeff Probst in an earlier incarnation, now sets his sights on Duane Chapman better known as “Dog the Bounty Hunter” in this go-round that airs Tuesdays at 10 PM on Spike. The premise of the show is that the competitors for the alleged big prize are all actors who play stereotypical reality show roles except for one rube (‘the Joe Schmo”) who has no clue that the whole thing is a farce. The schmo thinks that he is participating in a new reality show that will air next season called “The Full Bounty.”

Last week’s “Saturday Night Live,” that featured Maroon 5 lead singer and “The Voice” star Adam Levine as the host, was kind of like the 2012 Jets season. It started out strong and then very quickly fell apart.

If your new year’s resolutions included eating healthier, here are some ideas. Better Oats’ Oat Revolution is a better tasting oatmeal than those from either Quaker Oats and H-O and has a measuring pouch so that you don’t dilute it by adding too much water. Oatmeal has lots of Omega-3 vitamins that promote heart health. Polar Seltzer comes in many refreshing flavors, has zero calories and does not have the aftertaste that most diet soft drinks do. Finally, Dr. Lucy’s cookies are gluten-free and less caloric than those made by mass producers such as Nabisco.

Posted under Alberton, Assistance Team, Charitable Efforts, Covar, Fred Wilson, Hailstone, Johan Santana, Lloyd Carroll, Major League Baseball, Medical Assistance, Milwaukee Brewers, New York Mets, Outfielder, Philanthropies, Reclamation Projects, Sandy Alderson, Th Anniversary, Top Story, Winning Team

Scott Hairston: Drawing Interest (Rotowire.com)

Update: The Yankees are reportedly interested in Hairston, but he may prefer to re-sign with the Mets, where he would play nearly every day, ESPN New York reports.

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This post was written by Yahoo! Sports - MLB - New York Mets News on December 23, 2012

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Sports Beat “Mets off-season begins”

With the 2012 season now history the Mets look ahead to 2013. General manager Sandy Alderson makes no secret that the first order of business is to sign Cy Young Award candidate RA Dickey and third baseman, and far more importantly franchise face, David Wright to long-term contract extensions.

Alderson should also budget some funds for free agent-to-be outfielder Scott Hairston. On a team infamous for its collective lack of home run prowess Hairston belted 20 dingers playing more or less in a parti-time role. Although known for his bat more than his defense, Scott was very reliable with glove. He was also a go-to go for the media to speak with before and after a game, after losses as well as wins.

Manager Terry Collins announced that every member of his coaching staff will be returning. Given the team’s bullpen woes, shoddy defense, and anemic hitting which led to the traditional second half of the season blues that Mets fans have become all too familiar with, I am not sure that this is a good idea. Granted, coaches can only do so much, but the Mets’ decision to maintain the status quo reinforces the impression that the acceptance of mediocrity is an ingrained part of their corporate culture. In contrast, the Phillies, who made a late dramatic push for the playoffs but fell short, fired three of their coaches the last day of the season.

A number of Mets fans became nervous reading an article in the New York Times this past Saturday about their beloved team talking to banks about refinancing their long-term debt. Given the post-Madoff financial fallout, consternation on the part of aficionados of the Amazin’s is an understandable gut reaction, but this is a non-story. All enterprises routinely refinance long-term liabilities.

Track and field legend and Jamaica High School alum Bob Beamon was one of many celebrities to lend their support to the Buoniconti Fund to Cure Paralysis dinner at the Waldorf-Astoria last month. “I am not happy about Mayor Bloomberg’s desire to close Jamaica High School,” he told me. On a more upbeat note, he was excited about a rumor that the school was going to name its outdoor track facility after him this spring.

Is it possible that the operators of the world’s most famous thoroughbred racetrack, Churchill Downs in Louisville, are jealous of Aqueduct? Ryan Jordan, the general manager of Churchill Downs, was one of the many movers and shakers at the annual Sports Business Journal’s Sports Marketing Symposium held in Manhattan last week.  He told me that it was imperative for the home of the Kentucky Derby to have a casino since they are legal across the Ohio River in Indiana and that’s killing his track’s revenue.

In a split that is becoming increasingly more apparent in the national Republican Party, the family values advocates are at odds with the pro-business wing of the Kentucky GOP and that the values crowd is winning according to Jordan and that’s why gaming has not come to Churchill Downs.

World Wrestling Entertainment was a co-sponsor of the Sports Marketing Symposium and they used the conference to promote the benefits of being part of the upcoming Wrestlemania that will take place in MetLife Stadium next April.

The company brought one of its best known grapplers, John Cena, to press the flesh and to help promote that the WWE has a new television partner, the Ion Network, which will broadcast “WWE Main Event” every Wednesday night. The WWE’s “RAW” will continue to be seen on USA Network on Monday nights while “Smackdown” will do the same on Fridays on Syfy.

Speaking of television, Mario Kreutzberger better known to nearly everyone as Don Francisco, the host of Univision’s “Sabado Gigante,” was honored last week at the American Museum of the Moving Image to commemorate his 50th anniversary of being on television. “Sabado Gigante” has logged more than 2,600 episodes which is more than the WWE, “The Simpsons,” “Gunsmoke,” and “Law & Order” combined according to the Univision public relations department.

ESPN the Magazine polled the rank and file of Major League Baseball, the NFL, the NBA, and the NHL to see where they stood politically. Hockey players were the most liberal on the issues of gay marriage, abortion rights, and the legalization of marijuana while baseball players were the most conservative. The vast majority of all professional athletes surveyed were supporting Mitt Romney over Barack Obama.

“Broke,” a documentary about how all too many well-compensated athletes wind up bankrupt which made its debut at the 2012 Tribeca Film Festival, was broadcast by ESPN last week as part of its “30 for 30″ documentary series. Among the reasons cited for these chronic financial woes were a “keeping up with the Joneses mentality;” family and friend pressures to provide support; a failure to grasp the reality that high earning years are limited for most athletes while not preparing for a life outside of sports; a tendency to erroneously think that they can master the business world the way they can the ball field which leads to falling prey to get-rich-quick schemes; affairs with too many women and out-of-wedlock children; and finally, everyone’s favorite bogeyman, the Internal Revenue Service.

The Giants manhandled the Cleveland Browns 41-27 last week in a game that was not as close as the score indicated. Big Blue actually spotted the Browns a 14-0 lead in the first five minutes before deciding that it was time to play.

The Browns have the youngest team in the NFL and are starting more rookies than any other squad. Running back Trent Richardson and wide receiver Josh Gordon are exciting playmakers while time will tell if Brandon Weeden is a stud or just the latest in the long line of quarterbacks who never worked out for the Browns.

What was bothersome about watching the Browns was their seemingly low football I.Q. as evidenced by the numbing amount of dumb penalties and poor clock management. With less than a minute remaining in the first half, the Browns had the ball on their own 15 yard-line. Rather than run one play and see if they could pick up enough yardage to take a shot at scoring or otherwise just run out the clock, the Browns kept using timeouts and incurring penalties while gaining no yardage. The end result was that the Browns helped the Giants get an easy field goal as time ran out in the half. CBS Sports NFL analyst Dan Dierdorf rightfully tore into the Browns coaching staff while even normally taciturn Giants head coach Tom Coughlin couldn’t help but smile about the gift he got from the Browns in his post-game press conference.

LeBron James may have riches and an NBA championship ring but he has never had a personal cheesecake from Junior’s that every Nets player and coach received at the team’s media day at the Barclays Center on October 1.

Forward Gerald Wallace lamented the fact that he will not be able to enjoy his first love, fishing, while playing for the Nets. Someone should take him out to a pier in Broad Channel or Howard Beach.

Veteran guard Jerry Stackhouse has joined the Nets as he’ll be beginning his eighteenth season in the NBA. “I am not ready to retire although I would like a coaching position when I do,” he told me during media day. He is thrilled to join the up and coming Nets although he admitted that he has more in common age-wise with the Knicks who have fellow old warhorses Rasheed Wallace, Marcus Camby, Kurt Thomas and Jason Kidd on their roster. “I may hand them applications to join the AARP when we play them during the pre-season,” Stackhouse laughed.

Jockey, long known for its undergarment products, is moving into the athletic apparel market that is now being dominated by Nike, Reebok, and Under Armour. The company signed Jets QB Tim Tebow this past spring to help the brand get off the starting ground and Jockey promises to have t-shirts and shorts in retailers as Modell’s, Bob’s, the Sports Authority, and Dick’s by March.

Single-serve coffee units have become an increasingly popular part of the java sales market. Eight O’Clock Coffee, which has inked Boomer Esiason to be its spokesman, has joined Green Mountain and Starbucks in the heated competition for K-cup sales.

Good job on the part of the male sports world to raise both funds and awareness for the treatment of breast cancer. Last Sunday every NFL team, as well as the sportscasters covering the NFL from all of the various networks wore pink ribbons, gloves, and hats. Baseball had done a similar promotion earlier. The WWE also helped out this week as John Cena appeared at the Sports Marketing Symposium decked out in pink. In addition, New Balance is creating a running shoe where a good chunk of the revenue will be going to the Susan G. Komen Foundation, the nation’s best known non-profit dedicated to eradicating breast cancer.

Sadly, breast cancer has struck close to home. Shannon Forde who has been a part of the Mets public relations team for the past 20 years, was diagnosed this past August with Stage 4 breast cancer. On November 1 a fund-rasing dinner will take place at the Westmount Country Club in Woodland Park, New Jersey. A number of former Mets have agreed to appear and lend their support. For more information about attending, log onto www.hopeshinesforshannon.com.

Posted under Amazin, Beloved Team, Bob Beamon, Buoniconti Fund, Contract Extensions, Cy Young, Cy Young Award, David Wright, Dingers, Financial Fallout, Gut Reaction, Jamaica High School, Lloyd Carroll, Long Term Liabilities, Mets Fans, New York Mets, Ra Dickey, Sandy Alderson, Top Story, Waldorf Astoria