In an interview with ESPN the Magazine during his 2013 rookie season Matt Harvey declared that he wanted to have a career just like Derek Jeter’s. Harvey was impressed with the way the Yankees captain handled himself on and off the field, particularly with the attractive women that he has been linked with over the years.
This past September Harvey infuriated a lot Mets fans, and probably a lot of Mets executives as well, when he attended Derek Jeter’s final game at Yankee Stadium.
Harvey’s appearance in the Bronx that night may have been more for business reasons than for hero worship. The irony here is that Yankees fans may have more reason to be irate with their beloved Captain more than Mets fans had with Harvey.
Derek Jeter’s most visible project since retiring from the Yankees has been the launch of The Players Tribune, a website that allows players to communicate their thoughts directly to their fan base without having to deal with traditional media.
Just before the start of the latest round of the Subway Series I received an email from a powerful New York City public relations firm informing me that Matt Harvey had written (probably with the help of a ghost writer) an article on pitching for theplayerstribune.com. The PR firm, not the same one that the Yankees use incidentally, identified Harvey as the Players Tribune’s New York City bureau chief.
Derek Jeter, who had always been very selective when it came to off-the field appearances, was a key part of ESPN’s recent E:60 documentary about Matt Harvey, “The Dark Knight Rises.” Jeter of course spoke glowingly about him. When you couple that with Harvey’s honorary Players Tribune title, you clearly get the impression that the future Hall of Famer is bequeathing his title of “most important New York baseball celebrity” to Matt Harvey.
Like Jeter, Harvey has an endorsement deal with Nike. If he continues to pitch the way he did on Saturday against the Yankees, I would n’t be surprised if the Yankees captain lobbies Nike CEO Phil Knight to give him his own apparel line.
One of the most famous lines in the 1988 classic film, “Bull Durham,” was when Kevin Costner’s character, Crash Davis, said “You don’t mess with the streak!” I asked a number of Mets players if they did anything superstitious during their recent 11-game winning streak such as eating the same thing every day. “If players do have rituals then they tend to keep that to themselves,” said Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer.
The personable Cuddyer is well-known for his love of magic and for performing card tricks for teammates. I asked him, with full pun intended, if the Mets’ great April was an illusion. “I sure hope not but I guess we’ll find out,” he said with a chuckle.
The Yankees held a press conference late Friday afternoon to announce the formal retirement of Bernie Williams who hadn’t played a game since the end of the 2006 season. Bernie had never formally signed retirement papers but the real purpose of the event was to promote the upcoming May 24 Bernie Williams Day when the Yankees will retire his number and install a plaque in his honor at Monument Park.
Yankees general manager Brian Cashman introduced Bernie as a key member of the “Fab Five.” That was Cashman’s way of knocking the far more popular “Core Four” term that meant Derek Jeter, Jorge Posada, Andy Pettitte, and Mariano Rivera but excluded Bernie Williams.
I asked Williams if he was rankled by the “Core Four” concept. He tried to be upbeat and diplomatic but it was clear that he always felt slighted by it.
As adept at playing jazz guitar as he was at patrolling centerfield, Williams told the press that he is now a full-time college student at the Manhattan School of Music.
Is it my imagination or does it seem that the Atlanta Hawks-Brooklyn Nets NBA playoff series has gathered a collective yawn from the New York sports media and the public? It’s never easy for the Nets to get attention in a Knicks town (no matter how poorly they are doing) but they have had the misfortune of having their first-round playoff series that same that the Rangers and Islanders had theirs and while the Mets and Yankees, who are both playing sound baseball, were meeting in the subway series.
All of the attention about Bruce Jenner’s transgender issues has made it easy to forget what a great athlete he was. His winning of the decathlon gold medal at the Olympic Games in Montreal in 1976 was perfectly timed as America was celebrating its bicentennial. Incidentally one of Jenner’s fellow American Olympians was Forest Hills High School alum Ernie Grunfeld who was on the ‘76 gold medal-winning basketball team.
While ABC garnered sky-high ratings Friday night for Diane Sawyer’s two-hour interview with Bruce Jenner simply called “The Interview,” the big winner may be cable’s E! Network which handles all things Kardashian and apparently will now handle all things Jenner as well as it will have a weekly reality series about Bruce’s gender transition. E! is one of the many networks that are run by NBC Universal Cable whose CEO is Hollis native Bonnie Hammer.
The Canadian Tourism Commission and its numerous members made their bi-annual appearance in New York to meet with media last week.
Toronto will certainly be active when it comes to sports tourism. The Mets will be playing there June 15-19 while the Yankees will travel north of the border August 14-16. In between, the Pan American Games takes place July 10-26. The Pan Am Games offer nearly all of the sporting events that you would find at the Olympic Games but the competing nations are all part of the Western Hemisphere.
Niagara Falls, Ontario is renown for being home to the world’s most famous waterfalls. Hornblower Cruises has replaced the Maid of the Mist on the Canadian side of Niagara while Maid of the Mist continues to run boats on the New York State side of the falls. What isn’t as well known however is that Niagara Falls, Ontario is home to two terrific public golf courses which Niagara Parks officials say do not get long wait times.
You can walk over the border at Niagara Falls but make sure that you bring your passport. The Seneca Hotel & Casino located on the New York State side of Niagara Falls has all of the amenities that you would expect from a casino that is just barely over a decade old and it’s located near the Niagara Falls Aquarium.
Canada has no shortage of fishing spots. For those who like traditional fishing, Lake Louise located just south of Banff, Alberta, is stocked with trout in the summer. Alberta’s largest city, Calgary, is one of the few urban areas in North America where you can find fly-fishing, as you will see many folks wading into the Bow River with their rods.
Whistler, British Columbia, which is home to numerous ski resorts switches to becoming a paradise for mountain bikers and hikers in the summer. Whistler is located a few hours’ drive from the Okanagan Valley which is Canada’s answer to Napa and Sonoma because of its plentiful vineyards.
Wines are generally best enjoyed with either meat, poultry, or fish dishes. If you don’t want a full meal try something as simple as pairing vino with pieces of bread dipped in low fatty acid extra virgin olive oil such as Kaldi where the olives are all picked in Greece. Greek olives are less pungent and have a far milder taste than their American cousins.
The days of having to go to a sports pub in Manhattan to watch a sporting event if you were out for the night are a thing of the past. Last Friday night I watched the NBA playoffs at one of the area’s best Japanese restaurants, Haru Gramercy. Haru’s chefs have introduced new dishes as charred beef tenderloin, Guinea pepper ceviche, and grilled lamb sirloin as well as well as popular summer cocktail options as Black Sapphire and their high-end strawberry margarita.
Congratulations to Channel 47 which is celebrating its 50th anniversary. It’s hard to believe that there wasn’t a Spanish language television station in New York until it went on air on what was then cutting edge technology, Ultra High Frequency television. Ironically its most popular show in its early days was professional wrestling.
When I was going to college in the mid to late 1970s one of my favorite television shows was “The Gong Show” that was hosted by the irrepressible Chuck Barris. It was a brilliant sendup of amateur talent shows from radio and TV’s past such as Ted Mack and Major Bowes. The gimmick of “The Gong Show” was that most of the acts were terrible and were thus “gonged” off the show by any or all of the three celebrity judges.
Last month Gene Patton, better known as “Gene, Gene the Dancing Machine,” (he was a stagehand who Barris would bring on stage to move his body to Count Basie’s “Jumping At The Woodside” and the studio audience would go wild) passed away at age 82. Two weeks ago, Milton DeLugg, who conducted the band on the show, passed away at age 96.