Astros lose 15th straight to finish season 51-111 (Big League Stew)

Mercifully, time finally ran out for the Houston Astros, who lost their 15th straight game Sunday afternoon to close a franchise-worst 51-111 regular season. Hey, it could have been worse.
Like a punchy boxer saved by the bell, the Astros won’t have a chance to tie the infamous 1899 Cleveland Spiders for the worst losing streak to end a season – 16 games — in Major League Baseball history. The Astros tried to keep their season going with free baseball, but dropped their finale to the New York Yankees, falling 5-1 in 14 innings at Minute Maid Park .
The Yankees, too, probably felt relief that their season was over. Mariano Rivera didn’t play in the final series, preferring to end his spectacular career at Yankee Stadium on Thursday. Left-hander Andy Pettitte ended his career Saturday with a final solid outing in his hometown. Robinson Cano, a free agent reportedly looking for $305 million, sat out Sunday. And his future isn’t the only unsettled one in the Bronx.
The Astros are another kind of enigma entirely.

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Baseball-Highlights of Thursday’s Major League Baseball games (Reuters)

Sept 26 (The Sports XChange) – Highlights of Thursday’s Major League Baseball games. – - Rays 4, Yankees 0 Mariano Rivera pitched one and a third innings in his final appearance at Yankee Stadium, but it was in a non-save situation as the Tampa Bay Rays completed a three-game sweep with a 4-0 victory over the New York Yankees. After getting the second out in the ninth, long time team mates Andy Pettitte and Derek Jeter walked to the mound and shared an embrace with Rivera. Rivera exited with tears in his eyes, tipped his cap to the crowd and accepted hugs from team. …

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Rivera bids tearful farewell to Yankee Stadium (The SportsXchange)

NEW YORK — Mariano Rivera will not conclude his career with his version of a perfect ending: a shattered bat, a weak grounder and Rivera falling to his knees and being engulfed by teammates as the celebration of the New York Yankees’ 28th World Series championship begins.

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Baseball-Major League Baseball roundup (Reuters)

Sept 20 (The Sports Xchange) – The New York Yankees announced Friday that left-hander Andy Pettitte is retiring at the end of the season. Pettitte retired in 2011 but came back a year later. He is 15-14 with a 3.60 ERA in the past two seasons. Pettitte, 41, makes his next start on Sunday, and that will be his final start at Yankee Stadium. The team is also honoring Mariano Rivera, who is retiring. – - Atlanta Braves outfielder Jason Heyward returned to the lineup for the first time since breaking his jaw when he was hit by a pitch on Aug. 21. …

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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

Baseball-Highlights of Sunday’s Major League Baseball games (Reuters)

(Adds Reds v Dodgers in final par) Sept 8 (The Sports Xchange) – Highlights of Sunday’s Major League Baseball games. – - – - Yankees 4, Red Sox 3 In a crazy ending to a crazy series, Ichiro Suzuki scored the winning run on a wild pitch with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning as the New York Yankees overcame Mariano Rivera’s blown save and salvaged the finale of their series against the Boston Red Sox with a 4-3 victory at Yankee Stadium. …

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Baseball-Highlights of Saturday’s Major League games (Reuters)

(Adds early games) Sept 7 (The Sports Xchange) – Highlights of Saturday’s Major League Baseball games. – - – - Red Sox 13, Yankees 9 Mike Napoli homered twice while Jonny Gomes homered and drove in four runs, leading the Boston Red Sox to a 13-9 victory over the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium. Napoli recorded his 13th career, and third of the season, double home run game. He hit a two-run shot in the second inning and a solo shot in the ninth. Napoli has 18 RBI against New York this season, with eight coming in this series. …

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Sports Beat “Jay gets his day”

Bobblehead doll giveaways have long been popular promotions at ballparks. Normally the souvenir is a likeness of a current or former player. Tomorrow the Mets will probably have what has to be a first as they will be giving all who come to Citi Field a bobblehead of their longtime public relations director Jay Horwitz.

I have known Jay since 1980. Yes, we’ve had some disagreements over the years and some of the arguments have been heated, but to Jay’s credit, he has always been willing to listen; hasn’t held grudges; and most importantly, has given me the access that I need.

There is no doubt that Jay will be enshrined into the Mets Hall of Fame when he retires but that won’t be for another 30 years. Congratulations, Jay!

The most important aspect of Jay Horwitz Bobblehead Day is that a portion of the ticket revenue will be earmarked for the Hope Shines for Shannon Foundation. Shannon Forde, a St. John’s University alumnus, has been working in the Mets media relations department for 20 years. In 2012 she was diagnosed with Stage 4 breast cancer. The costs associated with fighting that insidious disease are staggering. Amazingly, Shannon continues to work with enthusiasm and vigor while raising a family.

The National Hockey League announced that a pair of games involving the three local teams will be played at Yankee Stadium during Super Bowl week. The Devils will play the Rangers in one game while the Islanders take on the Blueshirts in the other. The Rangers will be the visiting team in both contests.

It makes sense that the Devils game would take place at Yankee Stadium since it’s located very close to the GW Bridge, I find it disgraceful that the NHL has turned up its nose at Citi Field.

While I understand the economies of scale of having two games at one venue, Citi Field is adjacent to the Islanders’ Nassau/Suffolk fan base. Queens has more Islanders fans than any other borough including Brooklyn where the team will be moving in 2015. It also would have created more buzz for the NHL to utilize both of New York’s ballparks.

The US Open gets underway at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center on Monday but you can catch some quality tennis there today and tomorrow for free as the US Open Qualifying Tournament for a number of wild card spots will be taking place.

The PGA Tour makes its annual stop in our area as the Barclays Tournament will take place at Liberty State Park Golf Course today through Sunday. There will be free shuttle buses running from the Pavonia PATH stop in Jersey City.

Posted under Blueshirts, Director Jay, Economies Of Scale, Fan Base, Forde, Grudges, Gw Bridge, Hall Of Fame, Insidious Disease, Lloyd Carroll, National Hockey League, New York Mets, No Doubt, Public Relations Director, S University, Stage 4 Breast Cancer, Ticket Revenue, Top Story, Two Games, University Alumnus, Yankee Stadium

Baseball-Highlights of Saturday’s Major League Baseball games (Reuters)

Aug 10 (The Sports Xchange) – Highlights of Saturday’s Major League Baseball games – - Detroit Tigers 9, New York Yankees 3 Alex Rodriguez did not play for the New Yankees, who were on the receiving end of a powerful hitting performance by the Detroit Tigers at Yankee Stadium. Torii Hunter fuelled a 17-hit attack by Detroit with three hits, including a three-run homer, as the Tigers cruised to a 9-3 win. …

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Baseball-Highlights of Friday’s Major League Baseball games (Reuters)

Aug 9 (The Sports Xchange) – Highlights of Friday’s Major League Baseball games: – - Yankees 4, Tigers 3 The New York Yankees beat the Detroit Tigers 4-3 in the 10th inning, but without any help from Alex Rodriguez. It was the first home game for embattled third baseman Rodriguez since he decided to appeal his 211-game suspension for being involved with the Biogenesis clinic. Rodriguez heard a mix of boos and cheers from the crowd and went 0-for-4 with three strikeouts that resulted in loud boos from portions of the 46,505 fans comprising the fourth sellout of the season at Yankee Stadium. …

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