(Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire)
On Monday afternoon Mets manager Terry Collins channeled his inner Harry Truman by articulating the frustrations that most Mets fans felt about Matt Harvey being removed halfway through Sunday’s game with the Yankees. The Mets were winning at the time 1-0 but by the time the game ended they were thumped 11-2.
“Was I disturbed about taking Matt Harvey after the fifth inning? You’re damned right I was!” Collins told the press corps during his 4 PM briefing. He then made it clear that the Harvey handling issue is coming from Sandy Alderson who may or may not be taking his cues from Harvey’s agent, Scott Boras.
I asked him if it was just a coincidence that the Mets’ competitors for the NL East crown, the underachieving Washington Nationals, were suddenly winning just as soon as the Mets started slumping, or was it a case of sharks smelling blood in the water and thus upping their game. Collins concurred that teams can get energized from when the scoreboard gives them favorable news. He then added, “We have to win games plain and simple.”
Collins was articulating the frustration that Mets fans had been feeling for nearly a week. The fans’ reaction to Harvey’s early departure might not have been as vociferous as it was had it not been accompanied by a perfect storm of negative news both before and after. Much to the chagrin of Mets fans, the Yankees always seem to get the better of the Mets in pressurized situations and once again they took the rubber game of the Subway Series. The fact that the Mets couldn’t hit their way out of a paper bag and were so inept in the field against their Bronx rivals was an embarrassment.
It also didn’t help that The Nationals’ hot streak, combined with memories of Mets’ September collapses in both 2007 and 2008, certainly helped darken the mood of many of the Flushing faithful.
What is most irritating about the recent Mets slide is not the fact that they dropped a series to the Yankees who are a very good team battling their division title but rather that they lost 4 out of 6 games to the Miami Marlins. The Amazins’ troubles began a week ago Tuesday when Marlins’ pitcher Tom Koehler flushed them with ease by a score of 9-3 and he also hit Mets outfielder Yoenis Cespedes with a fastball. I am not sure if it’s coincidental but Cespedes, who had become a Mets folk hero since his trade to the team on July 31, went into a deep slump afterwards.
The odds are good that the Mets will clinch the NL East in Cincinnati this weekend but the Phillies’ accounting department will undoubtedly be hoping that things get delayed until next week when the Mets go to Philadelphia since that could mean a ticket revenue windfall for late September midweek games.
Dr. James Andrews, the orthopedist who performed arm surgery on Matt Harvey as well as countless other athletes is profiled in the October issue of Playboy. The article is properly titled “The Most Important Man In Sports.”
It’s still too early to for Giants fans to put up the white flag for the 2015 season but you can’t blame them for feeling really big blue at this point.
Even the most optimistic Giants fan knew that it would be an uphill climb after All-Pro defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul lost his middle finger and part of his thumb stupidly handling fireworks on July 4th. Not surprisingly, the Giants pass rush has been below par although veteran Robert Ayres has played well in the early going.
Of course the difference between victory and defeat generally rests on the shoulders and throwing arm of Eli Manning. In the humiliating opening game, which was unfortunately broadcast on NBC’s “Sunday Night Football,” poor communication and clock mismanagement led to a heartbreaking 27-26 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. A week later, with the Giants up on the Atlanta Falcons 20-10, Eli Manning was sacked by DE Kroy Biermann and fumbled the ball in the red zone. The Falcons quickly marched down the field and score a touchdown to cut the lead to 20-17. You can argue that resulted in a 14-point swing since it sure looked as if the Giants were about to score a touchdown which would have salted the game away.
For Giants fans are looking for a ray of hope, wide receiver Victor Cruz should be back very shortly. Eli having two quality receivers to throw to, Odell Beckham, Jr., and of course, Cruz should help running back Shane Vereen pick up a lot of rushing yards.
Speaking of Odell, check out his humorous Lenovo ad with comedian JB Smoove about creating humorous names for your fantasy football team on YouTube.
The news for Jets fans is a lot more sanguine following the Jets’ surprisingly strong performance in Indianapolis Monday night. They outplayed the favored Colts in all facets in their 20-7 win. QB Ryan Fitzpatrick was a master at using up the clock while keeping drives alive with smart play-calling. For the second straight week the Jets defense was able to produce five turnovers. Last year it was the opposing teams that won the interception/fumble battles.
Hall of Fame pitcher John Smoltz was at Citi Field for the first game of the recent Subway Series since the MLB Network had broadcasting rights for it. Smoltz feels that with starting pitchers being carefully monitored for pitch and innings more of a burden will fall on relief pitchers. The result will be that more of them will need Tommy John surgery in the near future.
Yankees lefty Chris Capuano has had a rough 2015 and it started when he pulled a leg muscle covering first base during a spring training game. Capuano is one of the most congenial and intelligent athletes you’ll ever meet (he graduated Duke University with a degree in economics) and he knows that at age 37 the odds are that his big league career is probably coming to an end. He told me that at least one television network has approached him about a career in broadcasting but that he is seriously thinking about going for his MBA degree full-time. My guess is that Capuano will be a Major League Baseball team executive in a few years.
Toronto Blue Jays pitcher Marcus Stroman, who grew up in Suffolk County, suffered a leg injury that sidelined him for most of the season although he has returned to action. Stroman took advantage of his unexpected downtime and returned to Capuano’s alma mater, Duke, to finish the requirements for his bachelor’s degree. “I can’t understand why any athlete would go to Duke without intending to finish,” Marcus told me.
Former Knicks star Bernard King is working on his autobiography that he expects will hit bookstores next fall.
The Islanders traded one of their most popular players, winger Michael Grabner to the Toronto Maple Leafs for a number of minor leaguers. Grabner unfortunately was hurt for a good part of the last two seasons.
The New York Daily News made news recently by laying off a number of big names in their sports department. Allegedly Mike Lupica was let go but his contract runs until the end of the year and I have a feeling that a deal will be cut. News owner Mort Zuckerman likes him a lot even though I doubt that there is anyone who has said in the last decade, “Did you read what Mike Lupica wrote today?”
Although saving dollars was the intent, the News improved its Sunday national baseball column by having the knowledgeable John Harper replace Hall of Fame hack Bill Madden, a guy who always showed his readers that he had a firm grasp of the obvious. He also had a vendetta against Alex Rodriguez who he claimed would never play for the Yankees again after he was suspended last year for PED use. I always thought of Madden as the poor man’s Dick Young except that he did not possess his wit.
The biggest loser, aside from those who lost their jobs from the Daily News’s austerity actions, was the Athletics department at St. John’s University. Roger Rubin, who did a terrific job covering Red Storm basketball, was not spared the ax even though he had a beat as opposed to niche sports columnists as Hank Gola, Wayne Coffey, and Filip Bondy, who also lost their positions despite being very talented writers. The SJU sports information department should be grateful that NY Sports Day does a spectacular job covering Red Storm hoops.
The way things are going there will be a pair of empty chairs on SNY’s 5 PM sports talk show, “Daily News Live.”
Equestrian sports are part of the Olympics so it makes sense that there should be some horse riding competitions that the public could watch. Last week the Rolex Central Park Horse Show made its debut. It would be nice if this becomes an annual event here.
After five years New York Fashion Week left Lincoln Center for various parts of the city. What hasn’t changed is the number of consumer goods manufacturers from all walks of life that try to create buzz. At the GBK Suite, King Features introduced an energy drink that featured the likeness of 1920s cartoon sex symbol Betty Boop while Pilot Pen showed off a dress designed by Nicholas K that was comprised exclusively of Frixion Clicker pen parts. Carmex introduced its latest lines of flavored lip balms. Fashion Week has also become big for the spirts industry. Maven Cocktails debuted its line of ready-to-drink bottles of vodka infused red and white wines.
TV Guide is getting some much needed competition from Entertainment Weekly when it comes to glossy magazine coverage about the new television season. EW does a nice job not only reporting on new shows but on returning ones as well.