Carroll: A Royal Challenge

The Kansas City Royals are the only impediment between the New York Mets and a parade down the Canyon of Heroes. Although they don’t have a lot of household names, the Royals are a very, very good team. They don’t make a lot of mental or physical errors and they don’t strike out a lot.

The Royals came within an eyelash of winning the 2014 World Series as they lost to the San Francisco Giants in seven games. I asked Mets manager Terry Collins after his team worked out Saturday afternoon at Citi Field if that’s an intangible asset for KC. Collins emphatically agreed as he outlined how they will be familiar with all of the World Series trappings such as Monday’s media day where every uniformed member of the Mets and Royals will have to be available to the press for Q&A.

Royals owner David Glass has been very averse to investing in payroll but has been fortunate that his general manager Dayton Moore has been able to create a pipeline of talented players from their minor league system. Mets CEO Fred Wilpon, even in the aftermath of the Bernie Madoff scandal, has looked like George Steinbrenner in his prime when it comes to spending for players compared to Glass.

It’s no knock on Wilmer Flores but it’s safe to say that the Mets will miss the sure and steady presence of Ruben Tejada at shortstop. As most know, Tejada was lost for the rest of this season with a broken leg after the Dodgers’ Chase Utley slid hard into him in Game 2 of the National League Division Series.

Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy, who has become Superman during the post-season with his home run-hitting prowess, was asked about how his life has changed in the last two weeks. “Well, I get recognized a lot more wherever I go,” he answered with a smile.

David Wright was one of four Mets who appeared on ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live” last Friday night. Although he lives in Los Angeles now, Kimmel is a Brooklyn native and a huge Mets fan. He picked a fortuitous week to have his show return to his home borough for tapings.

I asked Wright that if the Mets beat the Royals would he want to host NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” just as Derek Jeter did shortly after the Yankees won the 2009 World Series if asked by “SNL” majordomo Lorne Michaels. “Well, it is a little out of my comfort zone but I’d be willing to do it,” he said.

Wright prefaced his answer by saying that he has received a lot of perks playing for the Mets such as getting the best seats for concerts and Broadway shows to meeting famous folks from all walks of life. Mets management would be wise to use David’s words when pursuing future free agents.

Billy Joel was performing his monthly concert at Madison Square Garden last Wednesday night when the Mets beat the Cubs to win the National League title. Joel, a big Mets fan, pounded the ivories of his piano to perform a rousing rendition of “Meet The Mets.”

The Giants took advantage of the fact that the Dallas Cowboys were without both QB Tony Romo and star wide receiver Dez Bryant as they defeated them by a score of 27-20.

The Jets may have a new head coach in Todd Bowles but it was the same old story as far as Gang Green’s fortunes against Tom Brady and the New England Patriots went as they lost 30-23. That loss means that the Jets will at best be fighting for a wild card spot in the post-season.

Although it has been 21 years since we lost tennis legend and humanitarian Arthur Ashe it’s safe to say that few have forgotten his legacy. Shortly before his untimely passing in 1993, Ashe created the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health which had two missions: (1) to encourage careers in health professions for minority students and (2) educating people about health issues such as cancer, heart disease, and diabetes in neighborhood retail establishments as barber shops and nail salons.

Last Wednesday, the AAIUH held their 21st annual fund-raising dinner. The organization’s longtime chairman, obstetrician and East Elmhurst resident Dr. Edgar Mandeville, announced his retirement. Among the sports notables who attended were former Knicks player and broadcaster Cal Ramsey and Olympic silver medalist fencer Tim Morehouse.

The Texas Department of Tourism came to New York last week to meet with media. The Dallas suburb of Irving is the home of the PGA Tour’s Byron Nelson Golf Classic every April. The tournament is held at the Four Seasons Hotel & Resort’s golf course and the fall is a great time to play the same links that Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson, Jordan Spieth will in less than six months.

Irving has long been home to the training center for the Dallas Cowboys but America’s team is moving north to up-and-coming Frisco, Texas. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones always thinks big and he is building an entertainment center, hotel, and shopping complex that will surround his team’s practice facility. The Texas Rangers top minor league team plays in Frisco as does Major League Soccer’s Dallas FC.

Houston will be hosting the 2017 Super Bowl and Pearland, a rapidly growing town on the Gulf Coast located near Texas’s largest city, wants to draw tourists by promoting itself as a less costly alternative as well as one that is closer to Southeast Texas’s beautiful beaches that are now recovering after getting pelted by the remnants of Hurricane Patricia.

Queens has long been the international borough and finally a European tourist board has taken notice. On Friday, the Wales Tourism Bureau held a press event at the Snowdonia Restaurant in Astoria to promote the majestic beauty of that part of the United Kingdom as well as its top brand of sea salt, Halen Mon, which is used by top restaurants for slated caramel desserts. The Snowdonia is New York’s only Welsh pub.

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