Being a baby boomer, I admit that I have an affinity for the Seventies. Sure, it’s easy now to make fun of the clothing and knickknacks as the lava lamp and smiley face stickers but they were stylish back in the day anyway. I confess that I try not to miss Sirius XM 7’s Saturday noon replays of the late Casey Kasem’s “American Top 40″ countdowns.
Mets fans however are understandably tired of the 70s. No, not the “Me Decade,” but rather the fact 2014 marked the sixth straight year that the team didn’t muster more than seventy-something wins. Granted, their 79 wins in 2014 was the most that they achieved under general manager Sandy Alderson’s four-season stewardship.
Alderson was recently awarded a three-year contract extension but my guess is that had little to do with results and more to do with the troubled Mets’ ownership’s desire to stay in the good graces of Major League Baseball Commissioner Bud Selig and his successor, Rob Manfred. Sandy is the ultimate MLB insider and I have gone on record stating that Selig insisted that Mets CEO Fred Wilpon hire him when he fired Omar Minaya after the 2010 season.
It will be interesting to see whether Alderson sits pat this off-season and merely tries to sell his fan base on the Mets’ current roster. He has been playing up the fact that Matt Harvey will be back in the starting rotation next spring after recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2015 as well as touting his other young hurlers as Zack Wheeler and possible Rookie of the Year Jacob deGrom. Expect Sandy to tell the media that he’s confident that he expects the team’s two highest paid players, David Wright and Curtis Granderson, to have better seasons in 2015 than they enjoyed in 2014 although Grandy did hit 20 homers albeit with a low batting average. The bottom line is the Mets’ lineup needs at least one new bona fide hitter.
Prior to Friday’s Astros-Mets game, outfielder Bobby Abreu met with the media to announce his retirement. Abreu missed the entire 2013 season because no team wanted his services even though his statistics are Hall of Fame-worthy. “I worked hard to get back to the big leagues so that I could go out on my own terms,” he said. The Mets would be wise to add him to their coaching staff considering what a great mentor he’s been to their young Hispanic players.
I’d like to thank a terrific lady who made going to Citi Field a truly enjoyable experience no matter how poorly the home team was playing. Regina Corker once again did a great job running the press dining room making sure that the cuisine was both delicious and nutritious. Considering that Aramark is the Mets’ food provider, Ms. Corker is a miracle worker.
I have frequently criticized Matt Harvey for his arrogance but I had no problem with him being at Yankee Stadium Thursday night for Derek Jeter’s final game at Yankee Stadium. Harvey’s one mistake, and yes it was either from arrogance or stupidity, was not to clear it with Mets management first. The odds are that the Mets would not only have let him go to the Bronx but might have even asked him to officially represent the organization that night.
The best present that Jeter got on Thursday night came from Orioles reliever Evan Meek who served up a batting practice pitch to him in the bottom of the ninth inning that Derek hit sharply into right field for a game-winning hit that further burnished his legend.
Baltimore manager Buck Showalter also generously played a part in the happy ending as well by pitching to Derek instead of walking him which would have made for sounder strategy if he was serious about winning the game. My guess is that with the Orioles having already clinched the American League East title, Showalter was more concerned about getting his team out of Yankee Stadium with more rest than playing extra innings. The old cliche about losing the battle to win the war was apropos here.
You have to wonder if that nightmarish second game of the season, where the Jets blew a 21-3 second quarter lead to the Packers at Green Bay is going to haunt them the rest of the season. The team gave away their next game to the Chicago Bears the following Monday night and then followed that stinker at MetLife Stadium with a 24-17 loss. to yet another National Football Conference Central Division team, the Detroit Lions last Sunday.
The game was never as close as the final score would seem to indicate as Gang Green trailed by two touchdowns for most of the second half. Geno Smith managed to limit his turnovers this game but he threw an ill-timed fourth quarter interception that had fans rushing out of MetLife.
The Jets defense did a nice job keeping Lions star receiver Calvin Williams in check but had no answer for Jeremy Ross who made big yard-gaining catches over the middle of the field on third down countless times.
Rangers goaltender Henrik Lundqvist gave up two goals with the first two shots that he faced in the NHL preseason opener against the New Jersey Devils last Monday at Madison Square Garden but quickly recovered to look like his old self. It has to be hard for Lundqvist and the Rangers to get motivated to play again a mere three months removed from their Stanley Cup Final appearance.
Ski Vermont, the trade association of the Green Mountain state’s various resorts, made their annual trip to New York last week to meet with the media. Sam von Trapp, the owner of the Trapp Family Lodge, and a descendant of the Von Trapp family of “Sound of Music” fame, admitted that he did not watch last December’s live revival of the musical that starred Carrie Underwood and Stephen Moyer that aired on NBC but stated that any “Sound of Music” publicity probably helps his resort. “The truth is that I would rather discuss our slopes, cross country skiing opportunities, our farm, and our brewery than ‘The Sound of Music,” he said.
Mea culpa time. Last week I wrote about AstraZeneca teaming up with the Mets to host Cholesterol Awareness Night. I wrote that fans lined up to have their HDL and HDH levels checked. I chose the wrong letters. It should have been HDL and LDL levels. Anyway, here is hoping that Cholesterol Awareness Night becomes an annual event.
A San Diego company, Hips Sister (hipssister.com) has created an elastic belt with pockets that is a sleeker version of those bulky fanny packs. It’s perfect for jogging if you are wearing gym pants that don’t have pockets, or even if they do, you don’t want to weigh them down. They have a version of their product for guys called the HSX.
The skin care industry which used to make products strictly for women is finally recognizing the male consumer. SPAdet (spadet.com) has introduced Body Buffer that relieves irritations and dry patches that frequently occur after working out. Likewise its Castile Foaming Soap removes dirt, excess oil and/or sweat without drying out your skin as most other soaps do. Another company, Piperwai, has come up with a chemical-free natural deodorant that is comprised of charcoal that stops the bacteria which cause odors from forming. It’s a good product for those who have sensitive skin and are prone to rashes.
Olive Garden has taken a lot of digs over the years from fans of Italian cuisine, particularly in big cities with Italian-American populations as New York, Philadelphia, and Boston, for its limited menu. The company has heard its detractors and has introduced a number of new dishes such as Papardelle Pescatore (frutti de mare a.k.a. shellfish served over pasta), Garlic Rosemary Chicken, Spicy Calabrian Wings, and for those watching their calorie intake, Chicken Abruzzi, which is grilled chicken breast served over kale, beans, and garden vegetables served in a broth. Oh yes, despite rumors that it would end this popular promotion, unlimited soups and salads are still available at Olive Garden.