The Yankees’ brand has long been synonymous with victory and the world’s most famous sports franchise has never been shy about spending money on the best baseball personnel available to achieve that goal.
Even their biggest detractors will concede that the Yankees beat you fair and square on the playing field. That is why no one was more upset with Michael Pineda using pine tar than Yankees general manager Brian Cashman was. He is well aware of the damage Pinea’s actions did to the Yankees image.
The Boston Red Sox knew that Pineda was putting a foreign substance on baseballs when they faced him at Yankee Stadium ten days earlier but they elected not to make a big deal about it then. They had no choice last week however when he brazenly placed pine tar on his bare arm for the whole world to see.
The Pineda scandal even had an indirect impact on the Mets. Mike Puma, the New York Post’s Mets beat writer, tried to have a little fun with Bartolo Colon, the team’s fourth starter. Puma wrote that umpires would find peanut butter if they ever searched Colon for a foreign substance.
While Mike was making a joke about Bartolo’s corpulent physique he was also complimenting the veteran pitcher on the fact that he is not a cheater on the field. Mets players did not see it that way however and childishly refused to speak to the media after their 4-3 win over the Miami Marlins last Friday night as long as Puma was in the clubhouse. He graciously diffused the situation by leaving. The players owe Puma an apology for trying to publicly embarrass him by using his colleagues who were on deadline as leverage.
Flushing native AJ Mass was Mr. Met from 1993-1997 and he has just written the definitive book about a subject that surprisingly has not been broached, the history of sports mascots titled “Yes, It’s Hot In Here” (Rodale Books).
AJ talks about his experiences as Mr. Met and is not shy about giving his less than favorable impression of how his old employer treated him. The job of a mascot is physically demanding and yet the Mets would not provide Mass with any health insurance. They also terminated him without giving him a reason.
The best aspect of the book is that AJ chats with the folks who portrayed the Phillie Phanatic, the Phoenix Gorilla, and other mascots. He has few kind things to say however about Ted Giannoulas, better known as the San Diego Chicken.
Astoria resident Luis Collazo will be fighting England’s Amir Khan in a welterweight bout this Saturday night in Las Vegas that will be part of the Marcos Maidana-Floyd Mayweather card and will be broadcast on Showtime PPV.
It has to be tough for Brooklyn Nets head coach Jason Kidd to have a Hall of Fame player on his squad but who no longer has much of a game left. Yet that is exactly the predicament Kidd has faced all season with center/forward Kevin Garnett. It wasn’t that long ago when Garnett was considered one of the NBA’s most intimidating players. Yet last Friday night in Game 3 of their playoff series with the Nets at the Barclays Center, the Toronto Raptors had absolutely no trouble driving to the basket against Garnett.
Making matters worse was that Garnett’s once-trusty outside jumper was not falling for him either. He would up scoring just two points while racking up six fouls in 16 minutes of play. The Nets were able to pull out a 102-98 win because centers Andray Blatche and Mason Plumlee more than made up for Garnett’s poor play.
The Nets brought back their AARP-aged dance crew, the Netsational Senior Dancers, who energized the crowd with their moves to the Contours’ “Do You Love Me” combined with a more contemporary uptempo track that I did not recognize.
Madison Square Garden CEO James Dolan is fighting to preserve the jobs of those loyal to him from new Knicks’ czar Phil Jackson’s axe according to Daily News Knicks beat writer Frank Isola who is rarely wrong on anything NBA-related.
In a world where few corporate big shots show any compunction about laying off employees, it is to Dolan’s immense credit that he is trying to save the jobs of many who have worked hard for him. The funny thing is that many in the public and in the media are acting like the French peasants in Charles Dickens’ “A Tale Of Two Cities” as they clamor for dismissals even if those who would lose their paychecks have little if nothing to do with the Knicks’ success, or lack of it, on the court.
I spoke with former Knicks and current Toronto Raptors guard Steve Novak before the third game of the Raptors-Nets playoffs about his old employer. Novak acknowledged that he still has friends on the team and that he follows the goings-on at Madison Square Garden. I asked Steve what, if any, the media relations department (one of Jackson’s targets according to Frank Isola) has to do with the Knicks’ on-court performance. “My guess is that Phil wants to change the culture and that is why everything is fair game,” he replied.
While James Dolan gave Phil Jackson autonomy to run the Knicks, I have a hunch that he thought that meant hiring coaches and making trades. He did not expect Phil to care about peripheral personnel issues.
I realize that Jackson has understandably been portrayed as a savior to Knicks fans but he has never held a front office position. Yes, he won 11 NBA titles as a head coach but is that accomplishment as remarkable as it sounds when he had the talents of Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen, Kobe Bryant, and Shaquille O’Neal who were in their primes?
Savvy consumer goods companies are smartly targeting female sports fans whose numbers have been increasing exponentially. OPI, a Southern California-based nail care company, has cut a licensing deal with Major League Baseball. The company has just released the MLB Nail Lacquer Collection that allows women the chance to paint their nails in the colors of their favorite baseball teams.
Not be outdone, ARS, a German fragrance company, has created a 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil line of men’s colognes and women’s perfumes.
Queens was front and center at a pair of Manhattan consumer trade shows this past weekend. At the New York Travel Festival, the Queens Economic Development Corporation, Resorts World, and Long Island City’s Z Hotel all had tables. Long Island City was also at the forefront of the Green Festival as two health beverage companies that are based there, Tumeric Alive and Love Grace, had well-attended booths, as did Astoria’s DF Maven which makes dairy-free frozen desserts that taste exactly like ice cream.
You Tube, the division of Google that lets viewers upload their own videos, held a press event in New York called Unleashed. The company brought in three young women, baking expert Rosanna Pansino, makeup artist Michelle Phan, and clothing designer Bethany Mota, all of whose YT channels have gotten millions of views. Based on the number of people who wanted to meet them, it’s safe to say that You Tube is creating a new kind of celebrity for the 21st century.
Phan has started a cosmetics company, Em, that has a distribution deal with L’Oreal while Mota has a joint venture with Aeropostale. Pansino has teamed up with the creators of the video game, Angry Birds, to make a line of best-selling cupcakes.
Last Thursday CBS debuted its latest comedy, “Bad Teacher,” which is based on the hit 2011 movie of the same name. Ari Graynor has taken over the role of self-absorbed bombshell teacher Meredith Davis from Cameron Diaz but nothing is lost in translation. “Bad Teacher” is the best school-teemed comedy since “Welcome Back, Kotter.”
I grew up reading Stanley Bing’s humorous and on-target columns about workplace politics in Esquire. I think that I speak for a lot of us who studied business in either college or grad school by stating that I learned more about corporate culture from Bing’s columns than I did in any classroom.
Bing is the pen name of a well-known Fortune 500 media company executive who has authored a dozen books, many of which were New York Times bestsellers. Since he has undoubtedly been told countless times that he should write a business textbook, he has done just that with his newest effort, “The Curriculum” (Harper Business). Among the topics he covers as part of his “Master of Business Arts” program are the proper hairstyles for executives (hipster ponytails work better in LA than New York); how to use anger for personal benefit; and how to improve the odds of an office romance working out. Stanley has not lost a step over the years!