Sportsbeat – 10/1/11

No one will ever confuse Jose Reyes with Ted Williams when it comes to achieving batting average milestones. On the last day of the season, Jose Reyes asked manager Terry Collins to take him out of the game, after leading off with a bunt single. There was nothing physically wrong with Jose. He simply did not want to risk lowering his batting average and letting Ryan Braun slip ahead of him.

At his post-game press conference Collins made it clear that it was Reyes’s call and added that he couldn’t quibble with fans who were upset with his decision or media who would criticize him for what was clearly a cowardly albeit effective strategy.

Of course you can’t blame Terry Collins for holding his tongue and not telling Reyes to man up. He was well aware of his impending free agency and you can imagine that neither Reyes nor his agents would look favorably on returning to Citi Field at even a penny less than what other teams would be offering him if he made Reyes stay in the game and it cost him his understandably coveted batting title.

Collins also displayed a ton of class after Game 162 by walking into the Mets clubhouse and shaking hands with both his players and the media who regularly cover the team. Jerry Manuel never did that.

The Mets and the Yankees got into a bit of a territorial skirmish when The Star-Ledger revealed that the Mets denied the Yankees’ request to allow them to move their AAA team for year to Newark while their Scranton home is being refurbished. Considering that Newark could certainly use the jobs and the visitors that minor league baseball can provide, the Mets’ veto comes across as petty.

There may be more to the story however. It has been reported that a few years ago the Mets were willing to allow the Yankees to place minor league teams in Westchester and New Jersey to their hearts’ content if the Yankees were to allow the Mets the same courtesy for Long Island and southern Connecticut. The Yankees supposedly rebuffed the Mets’ proposal and that the Newark veto was payback.

One Mets executive who asked for anonymity was less than happy about how things are going for the team in the Garden State. “The Yankees already have a minor league team in Trenton and now they want to have one in Newark. What does that do for us?” he fumed. This same executive conceded that the Mets fan base has eroded in the central New Jersey counties of Middlesex and Monmouth ever since the Phillies placed their South Atlantic League franchise in Lakewood a decade ago

Phillies slugger Ryan Howard had his team’s beat writers laughing the last Sunday of the season after the Phillies beat the Mets 9-4 to snap an eight-game losing streak. “You can tell the fans to get off the bridge. We finally won a game,” he said with the same trademark grin that he uses in his Subway commercials.

he stunning wild card collapses on the parts of the Red Sox and Braves make those of the 1964 Phillies, 2007 & 2008 Mets look like small potatoes in comparison.

I was skeptical about the Alex Gibney documentary, Catching Hell, which examined the 2003 Cubs playoff game where it appeared that fan Steve Bartman prevented outfielder Moises Alou from catching a ball that was drifting into the leftfield stands. Alou blew a gasket and the Cubs proceeded to unravel as the Marlins went onto win Games 6 & 7.

The reason that I was less than enthused was that it was supposed to be completed a year earlier as part of ESPN’s 30th anniversary 30 for 30 documentary series. ESPN delayed its debut until last April so that it could be part of the Tribeca Film Festival. In addition, Bartman is as reclusive as the late J.D. Salinger and Howard Hughes were. He has never spoken to the media and he did not make an exception for this ESPN documentary.

I am happy to report that Catching Hell is terrific. While most of the attention is on how the city of Chicago collectively lost its mind as they wrongfully vilified Bartman, Gibney looks at other scapegoats, most notably Bill Buckner, one of the best hitters to ever play the game but is lamentably remembered for Mookie Wilson grounder going through his legs in Game 6 of the 1986 World Series. Fox broadcaster Steve Lyons reviewed the infamous ball that Bartman tried to nab and shows that he was far from being the only Cub fan to instinctively seek out a souvenir at a most inopportune time. ESPN finally debuted Catching Hell two weeks ago and I am sure that they’ll replay it.

The New York Television Festival held last month is where producers of programs show off their pilots to entice broadcast and cable executives. One of the more humorous clips shown was that of a show called “Sports Battle” in which three pre-teens, Aidan, Anthony and Tommy, furiously debate sports topics. WFAN, WEPN and SNY executives looking for future hosts should check this one out.

I am not sure if the Rangers and Knicks (if they actually play this year) will be better but the food at Madison Square Garden certainly will be. The Carnegie Deli and Hill Country Barbecue will have outposts at MSG and there will be catering kiosks from such renown restaurateurs as Drew Nieporent, Jeremy Marshall and Jean-Georges Vongerichten. Incidentally, just down 8th Avenue from the Garden, the legendary El Cid Restaurant offering Iberian cuisine has reopened under new management.

HBO boxing analyst Larry Merchant got off the best line of the year from a sportscaster to an athlete when he told Floyd Mayweather that he would kick his ass if he were 50 years younger following his controversial bout with Victor Ortiz. HBO executives tried to downplay the Merchant-Mayweather confrontation because they don’t want to upset Floyd, their pay-per-view meal ticket. What HBO execs don’t get is that Mayweather is a WWE fanatic and loves this kind of stuff. Mayweather and Merchant could be even more fun than Ali and Cosell.

Sports paintings and photography deserve more respect in the art world than they receive. Two of the best in sports art, Adam Port and James Fiorentino, held gallery shows in Manhattan a couple of weeks to raise funds for the Ronald McDonald House and Michael J. Fox Foundation respectively.

Spa Week gets underway October 10-16. Spa treatments as facials, manicures and massages can be obtained at a huge discount but not every spa in our area is participating. Check out the website for participating providers.

Men are catching up to women when it comes to wanting to both look and feel your best and that is why more spas are catering to guys. Shiseido, the Japanese cosmetics company, realizes that and has come up with a pair of skin products, Revitalizing Cream and Regenerating Serum, that is as popular with men as with women.

Desk lamps are one of those items that you never think about until you need one. Home Depot has a good selection of desk lamps that don’t take up a lot of space and throw off bright energy-efficient lighting thanks to Philips’ LED bulbs.

About the Author

Get connected with us on Social Media