Carroll: Matz More Like It


You could hear Mets manager Terry Collins exhale from Cleveland  after Steven Matz, who was lit up by the Miami Marlins the previous week, pitched seven shutout innings against the Indians Sunday in the Mets 6-0 win.

It was almost Chicken Little-like how many people thought the sky was falling last week when the Marlins sent Steven Matz to a second inning shower after pelting him like a pinata. Some were even suggesting that Matz spend time at the Mets AAA Las Vegas farm team to work on his mechanics.

Now if only Matt Harvey can regain his form and Jacob deGrom’s balky back muscles feel better.

Just as heartening to Collins as Matz’s performance was that the Mets’ bats seemed to wake up on the shores of Lake Erie. Curtis Granderson belted his first home run of the season and that should get him out of his slump.

We may learn something about the Mets in Philadelphia this week. After winning their home opener the Mets lost the other two games of their weekend series with the Phillies. While few predicted that, the Phillies do play hard for their manager, Pete Mackanin. It will be interesting to see whether the Mets, who probably figured the Phils to be patsies, play with more intensity this time around.

September 21, 2001 was the date of the first professional sporting event played in New York, the Braves taking on the Mets at Shea Stadium, after the horrific events ten days earlier. Mike Piazza hit a two-run home run in the bottom of the eighth inning that night that gave the Mets a come-from-behind 3-2 win over their key rival at the time, the Atlanta Braves. Given its historical and emotional context, it remains one of the greatest moments not only in Mets history but in Major League Baseball’s as well.

When I first heard rumors that the Mets had sold the uniform that Mike Piazza had worn that night I attributed that to typical Mets carelessness for the little things. Baseball teams routinely sell game-worn jerseys as well as bats, balls, and lineup cards so I figured that it must have inadvertently been placed in the wrong lot. It’s like when television networks used to routinely erase tapes of popular shows. It wasn’t until this past year that someone was able to track down a tape of the first Super Bowl that was played in January 1967.

I was infuriated to read in Friday’s New York Daily News that Mets ownership willingly had sold the autographed Piazza uniform to a memorabilia auctioneer three years earlier. Yes, we all know that the Mets have had financial issues since the Bernie Madoff debacle came to light in late 2009, but selling such a piece of history for what one assumes was a low six-figure amount, seems penny-ante. The predictable public relations fallout that would occur once it came to light should have made the Wilpons dismiss this quick-buck idea from the get-go.

Fortunately, a trio of investors: Wall Street veterans Anthony Scaramucci and Tony Lauto and according to the New York Post’s Page Six, film director Oliver Stone, stepped in and successfully bid $365,000 for the Piazza uniform and vowed that it will be available to be seen by the public rotating between the 9/11 Museum in Tribeca and the Mets Hall of Fame & Museum at Citi Field. As Shakespeare famously wrote, “All’s well that ends well.”

The Tribeca Film Festival which runs through Sunday will be debuting a documentary on the 1986 Mets that I have a feeling the team’s executives are probably wishing hadn’t been made. “The Best Last Best Plane Ride Ever” looks at how the Mets players celebrated their dramatic six-game win over the Houston Astros in shall we say a rather exuberant manner. The film recreates the three-hour celebration that resulted in the players destroying the interior of their chartered jet.

Other sports documentaries that will be shown at the Tribeca Film Festival are “This Magic Moment” which looks at the 1995 Orlando Magic which went to the NBA Finals and has never come close to returning; “Win!” which details the creation of Major League Soccer’s New York City Football Club; and a look at the Babe Ruth of soccer: “Pele: The Birth of a Legend.” ESPN is a co-sponsor of the Tribeca Film Festival’s sports programs.

Considering it had been banned in New York State since its inception nearly 20 years ago, the signing of the bill that legalizes mixed martial arts by Governor Cuomo at Madison Square Garden last week was surprisingly underreported  by the media. It will be interesting to see how long it will take for Barclays Center and Madison Square Garden to stage their first UFC cards.

It does seem strange that the NBA allowed the Brooklyn Nets to name Kenny Atkinson as their new head coach while he is still an assistant coach with the Atlanta Hawks who were still in the playoffs when the announcement was made on Sunday. Atkinson will stay with the Hawks until they are eliminated from the playoffs.

NBA legend and TNT basketball analyst Shaquille O’Neal signed autographs and posed for photos at the annual optical trade show, the International Vision Expo, that took place at the Javits Center. Shaq was unveiling his eyewear line that is being distributed by Zyloware, an optical company that got its start in Long Island City. He was wearing his stylish eyeglasses as he greeted attendees. I didn’t have the heart to ask him if he would have shot his free throws better had he worn them while he was playing.

The athletic performance eyewear industry is a very competitive one. Oakley is the unquestioned leader but they are getting increasing competition from Gargoyles, Bolle, Costa, and Marchon’s Nike Eyewear line.

Liberty Sport, the company that made those “Fred Flintstone” prescription goggles famous, is now making glasses designed for batting helmets as Little League season has gotten underway. Liberty hasn’t forgotten adults. Its Switch line uses magnets to allow you to use the same frame to effortlessly pop different lenses in and out which is great if your prescription changes or if you want to go from sunglasses to clear lenses.

One of the contestants on Fox’s new Thursday 8 PM reality show, “American Grit” is Mario Robinson who is a personal trainer from Jackson Heights. “American Grit” is an amalgam of “Survivor” and “American Gladiator.” The gimmick is that four co-ed teams consisting of four players compete in grueling paramilitary competitions in the wilderness. The winning team splits $1 million. Taking on the Jeff Probst role is longtime World Wrestling Federation straightlaced hero, John Cena, who has nicely carved out a secondary career as a film actor.

The annual Green Festival Expo, which is always scheduled a week ahead of Earth Day (April 22) also took place at Javits Center last weekend. It seems as if the emphasis at the Green Festival Expo has shifted from ecology to healthy eating. Astoria’s DF Mavens was giving out samples of its dairy-free frozen desserts, while Grimmway Farms, Southern California’s answer to our own Red Jacket Orchards, was letting consumers sample their various organic juices. Red Jacket Orchards incidentally just debuted its latest juice line, Black-N-Blue Stomp, which is a blend of blackcurrant and blueberry juices.

There is no doubt that we are getting smarter about what we are eating and drinking judging by the number of companies that have sprung up in recent years. The Healthy Brands Showcase, that was held in midtown Manhattan for media the week before the Green Festival Expo, had a lot of exhibitors who produced food and beverages that are not only good for us but taste good as well.

Brad’s Organics, founded by Brad Smith, seeks to be an online competitor to Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s and claims that its prices are 30% cheaper than their brick and mortar competitors. Brad’s jars of almond and cashew butter were tasty as were its yellow corn chips and salsa. Another option for those who want to spread something on their bread besides butter should try Soom Foods’ sesame tahini. If you need an energy boost, try Soom’s chocolate spread.

If you like soft drinks that are not diet but aren’t overly sugary either, you are finally having more choices thanks to companies as Gus’s and Jones. Another company, Sipp Beverages ( is taking things a step further by creating lines of sparkling organic fruit beverages. The company takes pains to avoid calling their drinks “sodas” but you can think of them as soft drinks for adult palates.

Passover wines, for better or worse, were known for being as sweet as soft drinks, thanks to best-selling brands Kedem and Manischewitz. After attending last month’s Kosher Wine & Food Expo at Chelsea Piers I am happy to report there are dryer options at affordable prices from vintners as Baron Herzog, Baron Rothschild, and Carmel.

I’ll always have a soft spot for Manischewitz macaroons but if you are looking for more  kosher for Passover snack options, as well as for the rest of the year, Kew Garden Hills-based Pereg Foods ( offers plenty of choices.

Two terrific food festivals loom on the horizon. The annual Queens Economic Development Corporation’s “A Taste Of Queens” takes place at the Hall of Science in Flushing Meadow Park on May 3. The Village Voice will be sponsoring its first-ever Brunch Eats at the Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum on May 11. The Village Voice’s Choice Eats event at the Metropolitan Pavilion that was held on March 11 was an epicurean delight.

Philadelphia’s Lucky Vitamin ( is hoping to be the Amazon of the health foods and supplements industry. They have their own private label for goods for those looking for bargains as well as selling well-known brands in a variety of categories.

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