(David Pokress/Sportsday Wire)
Friday , July 31, is the annual deadline for baseball teams to make trades. Generally the wheeling-dealing involves baseball’s have and have-nots in the standings. The teams vying for baseball’s post-season obtain veteran players from those clubs who are basically telling their fans, “Wait till next year.” The teams who are out of contention are happy to shed significant payroll for the last two months of the season and they usually obtain minor league prospects in return.
Ever since Citi Field opened six years ago, the Mets, as their fans are painfully aware, have been sellers of talent at the deadline. This is perhaps as good as any indicator that our Flushing heroes are making progress because for the first time since Sandy Alderson has been the Mets general manager the Amazin’s are buyers rather than sellers as July comes to a close.
The Mets suffered back-to-back embarrassing losses last week which had to have spurred Alderson to act earlier than he might have.
The Mets blew a 3-1 lead in the eighth inning of their rubber game with the NL East-leading Washington Nationals in DC last Wednesday as Bobby Parnell quickly gave up three runs. The Mets went meekly down in the top of the ninth which was reflective of their puny offense this season.
The following night the Mets returned to Citi Field to face the Dodgers and one of the best pitchers in the business today, Clayton Kershaw. The Mets were blanked 3-0 but what really angered their fans was the fact that the 4 and 5 hitters in their lineup, John Mayberry and Eric Campbell, weren’t even hitting .180, which is pathetic for any big league batter. Given the fact that they were hitting against Kershaw their averages dropped even further by the time the game ended.
Alderson realized that even with the Mets’ superb young starting pitching, their sickly offense was making them a laughingstock. He made a deal the next night with the Atlanta Braves who sent them two well-regarded, albeit long in the tooth, major leaguers–Kelly Johnson and Juan Uribe. Both gentlemen were hitting in the .270 neighborhood which made them Hall of Famers by Mets standards.
Getting both Johnson and Uribe should help the Mets achieve their first winning season since Citi Field opened and that should be a minimal goal this year. At the very least, the duo, aided by the hitting of just called-up rookie outfielder Michael Conforto, helped the Mets salvage a split of their four-game series with the Dodgers.
Sandy Alderson has been reluctant to make splashy trades and my guess is that even if he obtains another veteran hitter, he will not be giving up any of the team’s highly touted pitching. Impatient Mets fans will not to hear this but Alderson is better off waiting until the winter meetings if he’s going to trade a young pitcher.
What no one has mentioned about the trade in which the Mets acquired Juan Uribe and Kelly Johnson from the Braves is that it would seem as if the one-time arch rivals of the Mets have put up the white flag for this season even though they were only 4 ½ games behind on the Mets in the standings as of Sunday.
Wayne Randazzo, who is in his first year doing the pre and postgame shows for the Mets on WOR (710 AM), has done an excellent job filling in for Cardozo High School alum Howie Rose whenever he misses a broadcast.
The Mets are having a canned food drive in their continued effort to defeat hunger. The team will give a voucher for a pair of tickets to select games the rest of the season for those who bring ten cans, packages, jars, or boxes of food. Donations will be accepted this Friday and Saturday at Citi Field when the Mets take on the Washington Nationals in what has to be described as one of the biggest series that the Mets have ever had at Citi Field.
Cable’s BET Network and the National Basketball Players Association took a page out of ESPN’s ESPYs with their own entertainment extravaganza called “The Players Awards” that was held at the Rio Hotel in Las Vegas.
Former Philadelphia 76ers point guard Allen Iverson, who has reportedly lost nearly all of the millions of dollars of assets that he accumulated during his career, gave a moving speech in which he paid tribute to his wife, Tawanna. It’s no secret that they have had well-reported ups and downs but they have stayed together through thick and thin.
The best entertainment was provided a singing/dance troupe called Fifth Harmony who were clearly modeled after the Pussycat Dolls.
Licensing is a key reason why owning a sports team in one of the big four major leagues is the equivalent of printing money. You can buy M&Ms, Tervis plastic ware, and Skinit cellphone protectors with your favorite Major League Baseball team’s logo.
Whoever handled the postings for the Chicago Cubs social media certainly has a great sense of humor. When Cole Hamels of the Phillies threw a no-hitter against Chicago at Wrigley Field on Saturday, the Cubs twitter feed simply stated, “Cubs lose to Phillies 5-0. (Cubs centerfielder) Dexter Fowler walked twice.”
Summer is great for barbecues. If you are a hamburger aficionado who is tired of bland ketchup like kind served up by Heinz, Hunt, and Del Monte, try Traina Foods’ Sun Dried Tomato Ketchup.
Hot weather like what we are currently experiencing is the ideal time for ice cream sundaes. Bosco, the syrup manufacturer beloved by baby boomers, has added a pair of new flavors: sea salt caramel and mocha.
If you are a fan of brewing your own iced tea, Tea Forte out of Concord, Massachusetts has created a line of teas that are meant to served cold as opposed to heated.
With tea becoming increasingly popular expect Starbucks to start expanding Teavana stores around the country although it’s doubtful that Teavana’s retail presence will be as ubiquitous as Starbucks.
Since the start of the 21st century coconut water has quietly become a very popular summer beverage. Brands as Zico, O.N.E., and Vita Coco have been the leaders in terms of market share but based on my taste buds Harmless Harvest and Harney’s (best known for their teas) produce better tasting coconut water.
Rent.com, which has hired comedian JB Smoove to be its spokesman, is using comedy as a way to show off luxury apartment buildings to prospective renters.. Last week they held an outdoor comedy show on the rooftop of a Manhattan residential building. My guess is that they will do the same soon in booming Long Island City which has become a favorite neighborhood for millennials.