Sportsbeat – 6/23/2012

Was anyone really surprised that a jury found Roger Clemens not guilty on all counts? The government’s chief witness, Brian McNamee, is the personification of the term “reasonable doubt.”

My gut feeling is that the feds knew that they weren’t going to get a conviction but merely wanted to punish Clemens by making him sweat for the last four years as well as destroying both his chances for the Hall of Fame and for future corporate endorsement deals.

Jason Bay is one of the most likable and approachable athletes that I have ever met. Jason clearly has not lived up to the expectations of the Mets brass as well as his own and his latest concussion will make it even harder for him to do so assuming that he won’t be forced to retire.

There was a lot written about how boorish fans were booing Bay after he failed to catch Jay Bruce shot down the left field line that went for an inside the park home run. Yes, there was booing but it wasn’t directed at Bay. I was sitting in Section 320 at Citi Field, and from there as well as other parts of the ballpark, it was impossible to see what was going on in the left field corner. Fans did see Jay Bruce, who is not exactly a gazelle, round the bases without breaking a sweat. The boos came from what initially appeared to be a lack of effort to get the ball back into the infield from those who could not see the entire field. When Bay walked across the field as he was being removed by Terry Collins I only heard polite cheers and clapping for him.

It was a busy time for Long Island colleges at Citi Field during the last homestand as the Mets saluted both the Hofstra women’s softball team that went undefeated during the regular season (David Wright tried to catch Pride pitcher Olivia Galati’s knuckleballs during pre-game warmups) and the Stony Brook Seawolves who made it to the College World Series against all odds before being knocked out by both UCLA and Florida State.

Speaking of knuckleballs, RA Dickey looks to be legitimate contender for the Cy Young Award as well as being a certain All-Star this year. The Mets though did him no favors when they tried to have MLB change the Rays’ BJ Upton’s first inning hit against him into an error on David Wright so that RA could get an ex-post facto no-hitter. Considering that they received an incredible break when Carlos Beltran’s line drive that nicked the left field line was called a foul ball helping to preserve Johan Santana’s June 1 no-hitter, the Mets’ actions can only be classified as chutzpah.

Mets first-round draft pick Gavin Cecchini met with the media before the Mets dreary loss to the Reds on June 15. He entered the press conference room at Citi Field wearing a Mets jersey that had a number 2 on it. I casually mentioned to him that there is another shortstop in the market that has worn that number for years and inquired if his choice of a uniform number was a coincidence. “Derek Jeter is my favorite player of all-time!” said Cecchini as he went on to enthusiastically list many of the Yankees captain’s attributes. “Can we strike that off the record” immediately quipped Mets GM Sandy Alderson.

Also making a promotional appearance at Citi Field was 2012 Masters champ Bubba Watson who threw out the first pitch before the first game of the Orioles-Mets series. Watson claims that he never had a golf lesson in his life and I asked him if he has gotten any hate mail from local club pros who make their living giving lessons to duffers. “Hey, I never said that others couldn’t benefit from lessons!” he chuckled. He added that he is looking forward to competing at The Barclays which will be held at Bethpage Black the end of August.

Last month I wrote about Marty Appel’s delightfully breezy encyclopedia of Yankees history, Pinstripe Empire (Bloomsbury). Bronx Bombers fans will be delighted that they can pick up another addition to their baseball library. Dave Anderson, one the best sports columnists in New York newspaper history, is the editor of The New York Times Story of the Yankees (Black Dog & Leventhal) that is a compendium of Times articles about the team from 1903 through spring training 2012. It’s fun to read Murray Chass’s account of how Yankees pitchers Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich switched wives in the spring of 1973 in what is in my opinion the biggest trade in baseball history.

You can tell that the Olympics must be drawing near. Kellogg’s has just released Corn Flakes packages with American gold medalists from past games on its boxes. My box had Summer Sanders on its cover.

File this under the “Who knew?” department. According to the oversized glossy, Los Angeles Confidential, Scott Caan one of the stars of CBS’s Hawaii Five-O, is a competitive surfer who donates a lot of his time to Surfers Healing, an organization that teaches autistic children to ride the waves.

Fast food chains are always prominent at the annual International Franchise Expo that was held two weeks ago at the Javits Center. This year numerous fitness centers led by Lucille Roberts, Crunch, and Club Metro were looking for new partners as were countless frozen yogurt franchises that have not yet made it into the Long Island market.

If you can put with the heat and humidity of a Miami summer, the Turnberry Isle Resort is including free golf as part of its packages now through September 30. The Turnberry course is a favorite of Michael Jordan.

Summer and skiing don’t go together except in Chile where our summer is their winter. There are many ski resorts near the Chilean capital of Santiago. Chile is also known for its fine red wines. Its Pinot Noir can give Pacific Northwest vintners a run for their money.

If you are a longtime pro wrestling fan, make sure to pick up a copy of Greg Klein’s “The King of New Orleans” (ECW Press) which is the definitive biography of the late Sylvester Ritter, better known as the Junkyard Dog. Klein not only looks at the life of wrestling’s first African-American superstar but also gives an insider’s view of the various wrestling circuits of the 1980s and early ‘90s.

Adam Sandler’s latest film, “That’s My Boy,” is painful to sit through but Jets head coach Rex Ryan proves to be a natural actor who is a Tom Brady-Bill Belichick hero worshiping Patriots fan.

If you have ever wanted to learn how to fly but had no idea of how to get started, log onto that is operated by Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. There is a list of reputable flight schools in our area.

The recent heat wave is a reminder of the importance of wearing sunscreen to prevent both sunburns and possible skin cancer problems later. While we tend to slather the Coppertone on our shoulders and back we tend to forget our lips. RAMY Lip Oil created by Manhattan spa owner and personal care products entrepreneur (as well as Forest Hills High School alum) Ramy Gafni is a smart way to prevent blisters and more serious problems.

A fun way to beat the evening heat if you are in Manhattan this summer is to enjoy a cocktail at a rooftop bar. The Gansevoort Hotel on Park Avenue and 29th Street and the relaunched Copacabana on 47th Street just off of 8th Avenue both have spacious open air lounges that are great for both relaxing and conversing.

If you remember hacky sack, that bean bag that got kicked around like a soccer ball, there is now Myachi, a hand sack game that requires as much if not more dexterity.

Actor/musician Marc Anthony has done well with his eponymous clothing line that is sold exclusively at Kohl’s. Anthony’s collection of collared polo shirts are perfect for either the golf course or the tennis courts.

Former Mets and Yankees pitcher Dwight “Doc” Gooden will be signing autographs on Saturday evening, June 30 at beautiful First Energy Park in Lakewood when the Phillies’ South Atlantic League affiliate, the Lakewood Blueclaws take on the Hagerstown Suns. Be sure to hit the Jersey Shore during the day (please no Snooki jokes!) for a very memorable and pleasant day.

Incidentally the 2013 South Atlantic League All-Star Game will be played at First Energy Park next June a month before the MLB All-Star Game is played at Citi Field.

Granted, Cinco de Mayo was two months ago but Partida Anejo Tequila with its citrus aroma is a perfect summer drink when served iced cold.

Likewise, a good summer snack that is light but nutritious is Laughing Cow’s snack-size Mini Babybels. They have no preservatives, aren’t very caloric and are a good source of calcium and protein.

It was only a matter of time until online videos received award recognition. The Vimeo Awards have quickly become the Academy Awards of the You Tube generation. “The Dark Side of the Lens,” a short video on surfing the Pacific, won the Vimeo for best sports action video at a ceremony held at NYU a couple of weeks ago.

Most sports team trainers are content to serve their teams. John A. Galluci has been one of the New York area’s most respected sports trainers and is formerly the head trainer for New York Red Bulls. Galluci is also an entrepreneur as he has opened a number of JAG Physical Therapy centers in New Jersey to help both serious athletes and weekend warriors to recover from injuries.

If you are looking for intriguing summer reading, pick up Steve Berry’s The Columbus Affair (Ballantine Books). Surprisingly little is really known about “the man who discovered America” but Berry uses a number of facts and rumors (Such as old Chris was secretly Jewish but understandably feared the Inquisition. Religious tolerance was not the strong suit of his financial backers, Spain’s King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella) to propel his view of Columbus. Because so much can’t be proved, Berry calls his book a novel to keep the history fact checking dorks at bay.

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