Carroll: A Cold Dose of Wright Reality

    Two weeks ago Mets manager Terry Collins was clearly uncomfortable discussing the surgery that his third baseman David Wright had that day to repair the bulging discs in his neck. When I asked Collins if the procedure would permanently resolve the neck problem, akin to repairing a hernia, or if would be a chronic problem as per Wright’s back stenosis, he replied, “I don’t know I am not a doctor!” I later asked if the neck issue would create a domino effect on Wright rehabilitating his balky back, Collins snapped “I didn’t ask questions. I am not a reporter!”
David Wright returned to Citi Field last Thursday to get reunited with his teammates and to meet with the press. Wright, who was gaunt and unshaven because of the neck surgery in which the physicians had to enter through the throat area, described the harrowing procedure in terms that would probably make some medical students squeamish.
Wright spoke about how the surgeons had to take bone marrow from his hips and place it in his neck as well as inserting a metal box with screws there. He also acknowledged that having quality of life was of greater concern than the future of  his playing career. He did express confidence that he would have the ability to play again although it wouldn’t be this season.
It instantly became clear to me why Terry Collins responded to my questions with wiseguy answers two weeks earlier. He surely must have known how serious Wright’s condition was and wanted to give him a chance to process things before he revealed anything to the press.
The Mets captain knows that he’s facing a very uphill climb as far as playing baseball at the highest level goes. He said that he didn’t begrudge the Mets if they look at Cuban slugger Yuliensky Gourriel as an option to replace him and that he is rooting for Jose Reyes to do a great job in his stead.
While there is a “Wright should retire” sentiment being expressed by some, and David himself may come to that conclusion, there is nothing wrong with him wanting to resume his career if that serves as motivation to undergo the painful physical therapy that he will need.
David was able to keep his sunny disposition in spite of his physical predicament. When someone asked if he thought that his mere presence would give his teammates a lift, David quickly replied, “Of course it should. I’m a great guy!” He said that he’d attend as many Mets games as possible but that he couldn’t sit in the dugout because his relative immobility would make him a sitting duck in the event of a foul ball hit there. I told him that I’d save him a seat in the press box. “Hell no!” he said with his trademark hearty laugh.
The Mets certainly buoyed their supporters by unexpectedly sweeping a four-game series against the Chicago Cubs last week at Citi Field including beating their two best pitchers, Jake Arrieta and Jon Lester. The sweep came right after they dropped every one of their three games in D.C. to the Washington Nationals so the good results couldn’t have come at a better time for the Amazins.
There is a famous golf expression that states however that you drive for show but putt for dough. The same can be said for beating teams that are not in your division versus the ones that are. Unfortunately the Mets have not played well against their competitors in the National League East. They have not discriminated as they have struggled against the two teams who figure to battle them down to the wire, the Washington Nationals and the Miami Marlins, and they have not played well either against the weaker clubs, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Atlanta Braves.
Once again the tandem of Howie Rose and Gary Cohen defeated a pair of fans in a Mets trivia battle on the annual SNY special, “Beat The Booth.” Even if you are not a maven on Mets history, the show is a lot of fun as it nicely borrows and spoofs classic TV game shows as “Family Feud” and “The $10,000 Pyramid.” Host Chris Carlin nicely channels his inner Monte Hall and Bob Barker.
My suggestion to SNY executives is to have a Mets trivia show on during the off-season in which Mets fans can compete for cash prizes. SNY has a paucity of quality programming once the Mets stop playing.
Delta Airlines, which has more gate slots at LaGuardia Airport than any other airline, is the official airline of both the Mets and the Yankees. Every Friday between now and Labor Day, Delta will be offering a variety of prizes including free tickets to Mets and Yankees games as well as vouchers for airline tickets anywhere in the continental United States and Canada. You can enter by going on Twitter and [email protected] ; then provide the hashtag #DeltaGoFridays; and finally, describe the reasons why you need a vacation. Since it’s Twitter you have to do so in less than 140 characters.
It was only fitting that the greatest hot dog eater in history, Joey Chestnut, was able to regain his yellow mustard belt at this year’s July 4th Coney Island Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, which coincided with Nathan’s centennial. Chestnut easily dethroned his rival, Matt Stonie, by devouring 70 hot dogs in 10 minutes to Stonie’s 53.
It looks like rookie Carmen Cincotti, from Mays Landing which is just outside of Atlantic City, will be a legit challenger to both Chestnut and Stonie next year as he placed third. Thankfully perennial third place finisher, Tim “Eater-X” Janus, did not participate this year.
ESPN, which calls itself the Worldwide Leader in Sports, only showed the Coney Island event live at noon on its digital platform, ESPN3, as it waited until three hours later to televise it.
Frankly, they should be ashamed of themselves. I get the fact that they have to show Wimbledon tennis but did we have to hear Hollis native Stephen A. Smith bloviate on NBA star Kevin Durant’s decision to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder for the Golden State Warriors on ESPN2? I would rather have heard the humorous carnival barking of longtime Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest emcee George Shea.
It was a nice touch by Sirius XM’s 70s on 7 station to celebrate the 40th anniversary of America’s bicentennial by playing both the big and small chart hits from 1976 during the three-day holiday weekend. It would be nice if they examined a year during the “Me Decade” with that same kind of depth at other times on that satellite radio station. The bicentennial musical look-back was a reminder of why people wanted satellite radio in the first place. Too often however Sirius XM’s decades channels sound just like their CBS and I Heart terrestrial radio counterparts.
Three cheers to ABC for its Sunday night revival of  “Match Game.” Although the show started on NBC in the 1960s with Gene Rayburn as its straight-laced host where contestants were asked to fill in the best answer to a sentence in a serious manner, most baby boomers remember the version which ran on CBS in the afternoons in the mid-1970s in which Rayburn would act more like a master of ceremonies at a burlesque show than a traditional game show host. The sentences contestants were asked to fill in were basically double entendres. The current version, in which Alec Baldwin hosts, pushes the envelope even further. ABC’s censors will have their work cut out for them.
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