Sports Beat “WFAN Boots Mets”

There has been a lot of guessing as to which station will broadcast the Mets next year with the ESPN or WOR being the most likely suitors. While either outlet would probably pay the Mets the $6-$7 million that WFAN was, there may be a more profitable alternative for the team.

Mets executives should look into buying broadcast time on WBBR (1130 AM) which has a strong 50,000-watt signal. Local sports fans have gotten to know WBBR as the place to hear their favorite team if there is a conflict such as when ESPN is broadcasting a Knicks game and there is a Rangers game taking place as well or when WFAN is broadcasting a Devils game and the Nets are playing simultaneously.

By purchasing the time from WBBR, the Mets can keep all of the advertising revenue that they can generate. It would also help if they could have a winning season for a change.

In a season full of low points, the Mets may have reached a new low on Sunday in a game that they wound up winning. The Mets’ offense was its usual anemic self against the Miami Marlins who have a far worse record than the Mets. There was no score going into the bottom of the twelfth inning.

Shockingly, the Mets loaded the bases with nobody out. Certainly even they would find a way to finally get a run across. That quickly appeared to be wishful thinking as Zach Lutz hit into a weak force play at the plate and the following batter, Andrew Brown, did the same. Instead of boos there was derisive laughter coming from the stands. I have heard many sarcastic  Bronx cheers at a ballpark but I can’t remember hearing so many fans laughing at their favorite team as if they were watching a Mel Brooks movie. Fortunately catcher Travis d’Arnaud hit a ground ball that snuck past the shortstop’s glove for a game-winning single to spare the Mets further humiliation.

After the game I asked manager Terry Collins if his team’s offensive ineptitude and the fans’ chuckling was dispiriting. “Well, we had four rookies in the lineup today and you have to look at the process. For example, if they are working the count and swinging at good pitches,” he said. It is hard to blame Collins for setting the bar as low as possible given the talent that he has at his disposal.

Davey Johnson, who was the manager when the Mets won their second and last World Series championship in 1986, and is currently the Washington Nationals manager will be leaving from that post at the end of the season. Although he is 70, Johnson insists that he is not retiring and would like to manage in the Australia. “I have always been intrigued by Australia and I have never been there,” he told me.

Johnson was an early adapter of using computers to assist in making strategic baseball decisions. “I studied those old programming languages FORTRAN and COBOL,” said Davey who has a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Trinity University. He offered a sympathetic laugh when I told him of the frustrations that I had with those old keypunch input cards that FORTRAN required back in the late 1970s.

PBS broadcast a superb documentary last week on Billie Jean King to coincide with the 40th anniversary of her “battle of the sexes” match against 55 year-old Bobby Riggs that was held at the Astrodome in Houston. The United States Tennis Association had a terrific exhibit on the match that truly put women’s tennis on the map at the American Express pavilion at the recent US Open.

It is a long season so Giants fans should not despair that their team lost the Manning Bowl last Sunday and are now 0-2. Now if they lose next week in Charlotte to the Carolina Panthers I give Big Blue fans permission to start panicking.

The general consensus was that the Buffalo Bills, who have more serious quarterback issues than even the Jets do, would be the one team in the AFC East that the Jets would finish ahead of in the standings.

The Bills are not going to be pushovers when the Jets face them at MetLife Stadium this Sunday. Like the Jets, they lost a close one to the New England Patriots and this past Sunday they edged out Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers, 24-23.

Jets QB, rookie Geno Smith, by very definition, is a work in progress. He is going to have to get more receptions from wide receivers Stephen Hill and Clyde Gates, neither of whom has proven to be a big playmaker. It would also help if Santonio Holmes’ foot was healthy this Sunday.

The annual New York Bar & Restaurant Show held at the Javits Center, always one of my favorite trade shows to attend, rebranded itself with a new name this year, the Holiday Buying Show. The majority of exhibitors are small spirits companies that are looking to make a name for themselves such as a Greek liquer company, Ya Mastiha, and a Minnesota- based alcohol manufacturer, Phillips Distilling.

There was no shortage of vodka companies. Golia, a vodka made in little-known Mongolia, is trying to establish name recognition by having lounges at both the Prudential Center for New Jersey Devils games and at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center for Flyers and 76ers contests. My favorite-named liquor company was Balls Vodka whose owner, Yoav Sisley prides himself on being a big sports fan.

Every year it seems like New York Fashion Week is less about clothing and more about celebrities and lifestyle products. For example, Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook, who is one of the NBA’s elite players, was visible at a number of runway shoes. While he may sincerely enjoy the world of fashion my guess is that he wants to raise his profile for corporate endorsement consideration before the NBA season gets underway. He is well aware that he is at a disadvantage playing his home games in the NBA’s smallest market.

Among the other companies that set up splashy booths around town during Fashion Week were Pilot Pens who showed off their erasable gel rollers, Ebay; Pinch Me, a company that purports to send free samples to those who give them data over the Internet; Birchbox, a subscription service that delivers a monthly surprise box of products for men and women; and Skinny Girl, one of many low calorie energy health bars that try to get recognition at Fashion Week. And of course, as per tradition, Mercedes-Benz showed its latest models at Lincoln Center.

New York Fashion Week is normally the kickoff of autumn festivals in New York. Coming up next week is Advertising Week. That will be followed by New York City Wine & Food Festival, the CMJ Music Festival, New York Comic Con (which is not related to the famous summer San Diego entertainment confab although like its West Coast counterpart does cover a lot of pop culture), and a pair of television festivals, Paley Fest and the New York Television Festival.

Posted under Advertising Revenue, Broadcast Time, Force Play, Lloyd Carroll, Mel Brooks, Mets, New York Mets, Rookies, Shortstop, Top Story, Watt Signal, Weak Force, Wor

Mets Feeling Izzy after 6-3 loss to Braves

New York- There was no comeback in the cards for the New York Mets (26-31) on this night as they dropped a 6-3 heartbreaker to the Atlanta Braves (32-26) on Thursday night baseball at Citi Field. New York lost for the fifth time overall, and for the fourth time on their current 10-game home stand, when leading after seven innings.

New York has gone from the slogan “You’ve got to believe” to “You never know what is going to happen.” As bad news broke for many Mets fans after the game as third baseman David Wright is expected to be out three more weeks due to the fracture in his spine.

General Manager Sandy Alderson sat in front of the Metropolitan Area reporters and broke the news, “David didn’t have any X-Rays or any additional test, but due to the nature of the original picture that we took the doctors recommended that he remain inactive from baseball action for another three weeks.” He continued by saying, “

Wright had this to say of his trip to the doctors today, “The doctors obviously know what they are doing. There is only so much you can do when a specialist says that you need to do something. I was hopeful that the healing process would have started sooner, but it was wishful thinking on my part.” He continued to say, “In the end they are looking out for my best interest, it is better that I take these next three weeks off and completely heal versus going out there and hurting myself again.”

Atlanta struck for the first run of the game in the bottom of the second inning as Freddie Freeman started the frame by lacing a single to center field. Braves right fielder Joe Mather plated the first run by driving a single past Jose Reyes for the 1-0 lead.

New York answered back in the bottom of the fourth inning as Reyes would energize the team by ripping a triple (9) to center field. Carlos Beltran brought the shortstop home on a single to right field. Jason Bay worked out a walk before Daniel Murphy gave New York a 2-1 lead on a single to left field. Angel Pagan drove home the third run of a game with a single to center for the 3-1 lead.

Atlanta remained quiet with their bats until the top of the eighth inning when Met killer Chipper Jones struck for his fifth home run of the season as he lifted one to left field in the top of the eighth inning. The third baseman took a 2-2 fastball and ripped it over the left field wall to make the New York lead 3-2

Starting pitcher Jonathon Niese was able to record his seventh strike out of the game by getting rookie first baseman Freddie Freeman to swing at a fastball in the top of the eighth inning for the second out of the game. It was after that out that Manager Terry Collins made a call to the bullpen, before exiting Niese got a nice ovation from the 28, 301 in attendance.

Sadly for the Mets fans a hard hit ball by the Braves shortstop Alex Gonzalez could not be fielded by Jose Reyes, which allowed the Braves to tie the game up at 3-3. Isringhausen was finally able to record the final out by getting the Atlanta right fielder Joe Mather to swing at a cutter to end the inning.

On the miscue in the infield the shortstop had this to say, “I tried to do the best that I could to make that play. I did everything I could and will do everything in my power to make that play the next time out.”

Collins made another move calling in closer Francisco Rodriguez to try to stop the bleeding. The move was unsuccessful as Atlanta turned the tables on the Mets on this night. Replacement outfielder Eric Hinske lifted a home run (6) over the right field wall to give the Braves the 4-3 lead, to open the dam of offense for the Braves.

Isringhausen and Rodriguez combined to allow four runs, three of them being earned runs tonight. Over the last 12 games Mets relievers have an ERA of 10.57

Rodriguez had this to say on his effort tonight, “I need to go out there and be more aggressive; I need to make these pitches count. I am not happy with my effort tonight at all, I didn’t get it done there are no excuses with my performance tonight.”

Left fielder Martin Prado doubled (17) to center field to set up a runner in scoring position for the ever-so-dangerous Chipper Jones. The Braves third baseman struck out swinging, to leave the stage set for catcher Brian McCann. In a surprising move the Mets decided to intentionally walk McCann to get to Freeman.

After the game the Mets skipper Terry Collins had this to say on the move, “According to the scouting reports McCann is the hottest guy on the team so you have got to get someone else to beat you aside from their hot hitters.”

Freeman made the Mets pay for that move by lacing a double (14) to left center field, giving the Braves the eventual 6-3 victory.

Niese had this to say of the tough loss, “This is a really tough loss for our team tonight; this is why baseball is a beautiful game though. It is a collective effort out there on the field every night and obviously we weren’t able to get it done.”

Atlanta had some bad news injury wise on their end as center fielder Jordan Schafer bunted a ball right into his upper lip and nose area; he was taken to a hospital for x-rays and was replaced by Hinske who had the momentum-changing homer in the top of the ninth inning.

These two teams will go at it again for Game Two on Saturday, as it is righty-versus-righty as Dillon Gee (5-0, 3.83, ERA) takes on Jair Jurrjens (7-1, 1.51 ERA). First pitch is slated for 7:10 p.m.

Posted under Atlanta Braves, Baseball Action, Carlos Beltran, Daniel Murphy, David Wright, Fifth Time, Healing Process, Heartbreaker, Izzy, Jason Bay, Jose Reyes, Mather, Mets Fans, New York Mets, Night Baseball, Sandy Alderson, Top Story

This post was written by Stacy Rae Podelski on June 4, 2011

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