Sports Beat “Neither A Buyer Nor Seller Be”

July 31 is the Major League Baseball trade deadline. This generally has been the week on the baseball calendar when contending teams try to acquire a veteran player that they believe will help them win a World Series by trading highly regarded prospect or two to a team whose season pretty much ended long ago. The down-on-the-luck team gets to sell images of a rosy future to a downcast fan base as well as getting to shed high-salaried contracts.

For the past five years it was understood that the Mets would be talent sellers at the trade deadline inasmuch as they were so far down in the standings that it was conceivable that they could lose 100 games. They have managed to avoid that ignominy that last five years but they have not had a winning season since moving into Citi Field five years ago.

The Mets’ record stood at 50-55 as they finished up their most recent road trip that featured stops in San Diego, Seattle, and Milwaukee. The Mets acquitted themselves decently as they split the ten games away from Citi Field. Considering how awful they have played on their first road following the All-Star Game break in past years, this was cause for rejoicing.

While the Mets have played better this year, Mets general manager Sandy Alderson, who has proven adept at avoiding big trades, should stay the course at least until the season is over.

I realize that many Mets fans are chomping at the bit for a big trade given their team’s miserable performance combined with few name acquisitions during the Obama administration (I’m not blaming the president for their woes but merely pointing out a timeline here).

Yes, I remember the Miracle Mets of 1969 and the “You Gotta Believe Mets” of 1973. I also know Yogi Berra’s famous “It’s not over till it’s over” line. The Mets appear to be moving in the right direction but the odds are that they won’t be playing this October. If the Amazin’s do prove me wrong then it’s only right that it be with the players that they currently have.

The last thing that the Mets fans want to experience again is what happened a decade ago at the trade deadline. The Mets were six games out of the wild card race on July 31, 2014 when then general manager Jim Duquette, with pressure exerted on him by Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon, traded highly touted pitching prospect Scott Kazmir to the Tampa Bay Devil Rays for over-the-hill starter Victor Zambrano. The Mets got next to nothing out of Zambrano while Kazmir has had a productive pitching career albeit with some bumps along the way.

There was a pair of “Gotcha!” moments in the sports media last week. One involved former NFL head coach and current NBC “Football Night In America” host Tony Dungy and the other involved Hollis native and ESPN personality, Stephen A. Smith.

Dungy made headlines in the sports pages when he said that he would not have drafted University of Missouri defensive end Michael Sam who is hoping to be the first self-admitted active gay player in the National Football League.

The gut reaction was to label the genial Dungy a homophobe but that would be an incorrect assumption. He made it clear that he believed Sam’s sexuality should have no bearing on his football career. Tony was concerned that the media hoopla surrounding Sam would detract a team that he may have been coaching from focusing on what needed to be done for the upcoming season. Head coaches take training camp seriously and want nothing but football on the minds of both the players and the media. My guess is that Dungy wouldn’t have drafted a player who might have been dating, say, Lady Gaga for the same reason.

Stephen A. Smith took a lot of heat for his remarks concerning Baltimore Ravens’ running back Ray Rice who was suspended for a mere two games for physically attacking his wife. The initial hysteria was that Smith, on his ESPN morning debate show “First Take,” believed that Rice’s wife bore some of the responsibility for her husband’s disgraceful behavior.

Watching a replay of Stephen A.’s comments revealed nothing of the sort. He was merely stating that it’s not a good idea for either party in a heated argument to escalate things and that it is wise to try to look for a way, if possible, to try to restore calm. It’s hard to argue with that.

Talk about a chip off the block. Spira Footwear CEO Andy Krafsur revolutionized the running shoe industry by placing springs in the heel so that there is less stress on the foot on impact. His 13 year-old son, Neil, is continuing the family entrepreneurial spirit with his invention, Pocket Hat.

Neil noticed that runners frequently had no place to put their valuables or even their mp3 players. No runner wanted to be weighed down by fanny packs and other belt devices. He always liked baseball caps and he designed a fashionable cap with zippers.

Kohl’s is going back to the early days of football in America this holiday season as it will be selling replicas of the old unpadded leather helmets and soft pigskin footballs.

There is a website for everything. Knowing that most men hating buying undergarments of any type,, will send guys new underwear and socks every month. Yes, it’s a subscription to Fruit of the Loom, Jockey, and Hanes. Is this a great country or what!

If you are looking for a healthy snack idea, both Chicken of the Sea and Starkist are making pouches of tuna that are easy to carry and open and satisfy hunger better than junk food.

Shake Shack is getting some competition in the affordable gourmet hamburger market. A Canadian chain, Big Smoke Burger, has opened its first New York restaurant on 7th Avenue between 14th and 15th Street. And yes, they serve milk shakes as well.

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