Sportsbeat – 7/17/12

       Although he doesn’t get the attention that RA Dickey or Johan Santana gets, Dillon Gee has been a very reliable starting pitcher who always keeps his team in the game and generally goes deep into it taking pressure off of the Mets beleaguered bullpen. That is why the Mets’ chances of a post-season berth took a huge hit when it was revealed during the All-Star break that Gee had to have an emergency procedure to remove a blood clot in New York and then follow-up surgery a few days later in St. Louis to ensure that it didn’t recur.

The Broadway show “Rock of Ages” may have indirectly saved Gee’s life. When I asked Dillon just after the Mets lost to the Cubs 7-0 to mark the unofficial end of the first half of the 2012 season if he planned to return to his home in Fort Worth during the break, he said no. “My wife and I had such a great time discovering all that New York had to offer (including seeing the 80s jukebox musical) that we decided to catch some Broadway shows and visit some museums.” Thankfully he was able to have the blood clot treated immediately in New York since he did not leave town the way most players do during the hiatus. It would have been disastrous if Gee had felt numbness and tingling on a jet en route to DFW Airport. Hopefully, Dillon and his wife will  catch the theatrical productions he missed during the All-Star break during his recuperation period.

You would have thought that National League manager Tony La Russa was an Al Qaeda sympathizer given the level of vitriol he took from Mets fans and the New York sports media for not having RA Dickey start the All-Star Game. La Russa’s idea of having Giants catcher Buster Posey handle his SF teammate Matt Cain for three innings made a lot of sense.

RA Dickey did get to enjoy an appearance on CBS’s “The Late Show” the day after the All-Star Game. David Letterman did a pretty good job catching RA’s knuckler without the benefit of a mitt or shin guards.

Reggie Jackson wisely went into damage control mode by apologizing profusely to A-Rod for questioning his Hall of Fame credentials, as well as to those enshrined members who he feels are not worthy of baseball’s highest honor, after insulting them in an interview with Sports Illustrated. It never dawned on Jackson that he was merely a better version of Dave Kingman, who to his credit, had a knack for hitting home runs at dramatic times.

What Reggie should have decried was why it took so long for the late Ron Santo to finally being enshrined in Cooperstown. When I was growing up the two best third basemen were Brooks Robinson and Santo. No one else was close.

I remember the first time that I met Mr. Jackson. When I approached him for a quick question, he grabbed my press credential and stared at it to see whether I was worthy of having a dialog with him. I told him that I was a member of the NTBBWAA (Not The Baseball Writers Association of America!) From what I heard, this is typical of Reginald.

Congratulations to current Fox Sports as well as former Mets, broadcaster Tim McCarver on his admission into the Baseball Hall of Fame. McCarver is one of the few baseball players to have been in the big leagues for parts of four decades. Tim is so well known for being an insightful analyst that it’s easy to forget how good player he was.

I remember interviewing then Pittsburgh Pirates manager Jim Leyland in the 1990s and the topic of pressurized situations came up. “Being able to feed your family and put a roof over their heads is pressure, not winning or losing a baseball game,” he said. I thought of his sage advice when I was watching the superb HBO documentary, Lost on Long Island, which dramatically told how the recession has taken a scary toll on a lot of us in these parts.

It is going to be Miami vs Miami on premium cable in August as HBO will be bringing its cameras in cinema verite form to cover the Dolphins training camp for its annual Hard Knocks series while Showtime will do the same for the Marlins who will take part in the second installation of The Franchise.

If you are a baseball fan who enjoys a hearty laugh be sure to pick up a copy of Bruce Nash and Allan Zullo’s The Baseball Hall of Shame (Lyons Press) which is a collection of humorous stories about the best practical jokes, loudest player/manager-umpire arguments, most blatant cheating, and bonehead plays in baseball history.

According to the National Enquirer, Kris Kardashian Jenner put pressure on the Los Angeles Clippers to sign her son-in-law, South Jamaica native Lamar Odom, so that it would make it easier for another season of E!’s Keeping Up With The Kardashians. Odom is married to Khloe Kardashian. It’s hard to fathom why the Clippers would worry about Kris Jenner but in Hollyweird anything is possible.

At a press conference held at Brooklyn’s Borough Hall, Deron Williams denied that the extra year at $20 million that the Brooklyn Nets could offer him that the Dallas Mavericks couldn’t was a factor in his decision to re-sign with them. He admitted that he couldn’t blame people for having doubts about the veracity of that statement. Williams cited the team’s acquisitions of forward Gerald Wallace and shooting guard Joe Johnson, as well as his relationships with  head coach Avery Johnson and general manager Billy King as the reasons behind his decision.

The Knicks are certainly the AARP’s favorite team after agreeing to bring back center Marcus Camby to spell Tyson Chandler as well as signing point guard extra ordinaire and sure of Hall of Famer Jason Kidd. Head coach Mike Woodson is praying that Kidd can act as a mediator and distribute the ball so that Carmelo Anthony and Amar’e Stoudemire can play as a cohesive unit.

Crocs, the Colorado-based company that is best known for its plastic beach clogs and for its support of professional volleyball, is celebrating its tenth anniversary. It is expanding into golf shoes as well as the casual dress variety.

Comedic actor Rob Riggle killed as host of this year’s ESPYs.

It was very patriotic of Ralph Lauren to rescind their decision to have the suits worn by Team USA at the Olympics made here in the good old USA instead of China where nearly everything on this planet is made. I can’t help but chuckle however at the notion of our best athletes wearing those dopey berets. I don’t think that the late Sgt. Barry Sadler (“The Ballad of the Green Berets”) or Prince (“Raspberry Beret”) would approve!

Leave it to MAXIM to get to the heart of why we should watch the London games aside from enriching Comcast (the parent company of NBC who has the broadcast rights) as they highlight the “hottest girls of the Olympics.” Among those getting gold medals for sexiness are hurdler Lolo Jones, soccer player (Alex Morgan; sorry Hope Solo!), marathoner Kara Goucher sprinter Natasha Hastings (USA), cyclist Victoria Pendleton (UK), swimmer Stephanie Rice (Australia) and javelin thrower Leryn Franco (Paraguay).

The temperature outside may be stifling but that did not stop SNOW Magazine from having their annual “Snow Biz” trade show at the Mandarin Oriental Hotel at Columbus Circle. Telluride, Colorado was promoting its ski resorts while a new boutique hotel in Park City, Utah, the Sky Lodge, was there as well.

There were the usual assortment of high-end parka makers such as KJUS and M. Miller as well as a newcomer on the opposite end of the economic spectrum, Bootights, a hosiery company that is marketing obviously to women but also hoping to entice male hunters and skiers as a less bulky alternative to thermal underwear. Real men can wear tights indeed!

Mayor Bloomberg’s rants about sugary drinks may be well-meaning but there are a lot of us who detest the taste of sugar-free/diet drinks. Finally beverage manufacturers are smartly coming up with some middle ground options. Tree Top has come up with a line of reduced sugar juices while Starbucks has just launched Refreshers, a lightly sweetened juice-based drink whose 12-ounce size has a caloric count of only 40 to 60 depending on whether you choose the lime or hibiscus flavor. It would be smart of Snapple to produce a reduced sugar line of tea drinks although I have to admit that their Diet Peach is pretty good.

Sirius XM’s Scott Engel will be one of the speakers at the 2012 Fantasy Football Fest taking place at the Atlantic City Convention Center August 18 and 19. Among the NFL notables who will be taking part are Phil Simms, Joe Montana, Joe Theismann, Michael Vick, Lawrence Taylor, Tony Dorsett, and Tony Siragusa. There is no word yet as to whether Engel, who prides himself on being the #1 fan of the rock band KISS, will be appearing in Gene Simmons drag!

WFAN did a nice job bringing back many of their old air personalities a couple of weeks ago as they celebrated their silver anniversary. They overlooked however our own Rich Mancuso, who along with Jody McDonald, hosted the area’s only pro wrestling radio show in the wee hours of Sunday morning for three years. The FAN would be smart to revive Rich’s show.

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