The 1986 Mets are well-known for being flawed characters. The 30th anniversary of the team’s championship season has thrust three of its members, Doc Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, and Lenny Dykstra, into the spotlight this summer albeit for different reasons.
ESPN’s “30 for 30″ film series is certainly the worldwide leader in sports documentaries now that HBO Sports has basically abdicated that genre. Famed comedy film writer and director Judd Apatow did a great job with “Doc and Darryl” which premiered last Thursday.
While the saga of the Mets’ two biggest stars from the 1980s is well-known, Apatow nicely uses clips from both games and network news to show their ups and downs. He has them engage each other at an unnamed Queens diner where they reminisce and clear up some misunderstandings.
Longtime Mets radio voice Howie Rose got off a great line in the documentary when the topic of Gooden and Strawberry’s Yankees careers in the mid-1990s came up. “They looked as out of place in pinstripes as a pork chop at a bar mitzvah,” Rose quipped.
I have my doubts about the veracity of much of Lenny Dykstra’s autobiography, “House of Nails” (HarperCollins) but it is entertaining. In many ways this book reminds me of Chuck Barris’s “Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.”
It strains credibility to believe that Dysktra, who freely admits his obsession with money, would be private investigators $500,000 to get the dirt on umpires’ private lives so that he could blackmail them into giving him favorable calls. His tale about snorting cocaine with Robert De Niro in the Caribbean doesn’t pass the smell test either.
Dykstra enraged many members of the 1986 Mets by implying that manager Davey Johnson was an alcoholic. My guess is that Lenny was pissed at Davey because he platooned him with Mookie Wilson in centerfield and he felt that being a part-time player was costing him his chance to land a lucrative long-term contract.
I once heard him lecture about choosing a stock portfolio a decade ago and it sounded like the double talk that Professor Irwin Corey used to use in his act. Instead of talking about financial statement analysis and market trends, Lenny mumbled incoherently about extraneous things that went into his so-called decision-making.
Dykstra is a straight-shooter at times as he admits that he went into financial ruin by living above his means such as when he purchased Wayne Gretzky’s palatial LA estate for $18 million while not having anywhere near the capacity to pay the tremendous mortgage.
He also is unapologetic about taking steroids as a playing career and even gives performance enhancing drugs full credit for getting him a 12-year Major League Baseball playing career and landing him a lucrative long-term contract with the Phillies.
In fairness, Dykstra has never tried to pass himself off as a role model.
The MLB Network last week debuted an hour-long documentary on Mike Piazza titled “Against the Odds,” in honor of his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame lcated in Cooperstown, New York that will take place this Sunday. Actor Matthew Broderick, who is a huge Mets fan, served as the narrator.
It’s a good quick look at Mike’s playing career and there are even a couple of surprises. Mike reveals that he thought that the Marlins, for whom he played only a week after being traded to Florida by the Dodgers, were going to send him to the Chicago Cubs before they pulled the trigger on the deal that sent him to Flushing. Piazza chuckles that the Marlins still consider him to be an alumnus and invited him to the last game that they ever played at Joe Robbie Stadium.
Bayside High School alumnus Mike Tirico, who was a signature voice for years at ESPN before accepting a very lucrative offer last month from NBC, made his Peacock Network debut over the weekend anchoring the British Open. Europe’s most important PGA event was won by Henrik Swenson of Sweden who edged out Phil Mickelson who made his best showing at a golf major in years.
The next major event for NBC Sports will be the Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro that gets underway August 5. In case you were wondering, NBC will be using 170 different broadcasters to cover the myriad of Olympic events. The network commissioned Katy Perry to compose and sing a new theme song for its coverage called “Rise.”
Contrived sports debates have long been a hallmark of ESPN’s daytime programming but last week it seemed as if every one of their shows asked the question that only truly puerile sports dorks would want to ponder, “Who had a better career: Kobe Bryant or Tim Duncan?”
Both longtime NBA stars announced that they would not be returning for another season. They were both great players who won numerous NBA titles but they did different things on the court and had different teammates.
ESPN’s generally lighthearted annual awards show, the ESPYs, were far more serious in tone this year as LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, and Carmelo Anthony addressed the issues of gun violence and perceptions of police brutality on stage last Wednesday.
Carmelo used social media to implore his fellow athletes not to be reticent when it comes to speaking up on social issues and that they shouldn’t fear losing corporate endorsement deals.
Queens’ own JetBlue Airlines held a press event last week in JFK’s Terminal 5 to tout its new self-tagging bag drop kiosks that will help reduce waiting lines for its customers. Passengers shouldn’t get a false sense of security and come late to the airport. The TSA screening lines are still quite long and there is nothing that JetBlue can do about that.
Last year JetBlue employees used some open space outside Terminal 5 to create a “farm” where they grow fruits and vegetables in crates and they are doing the same this year. All of the harvest will be turned over to various New York City food banks.
Speaking of food, Queens was represented at the 2016 Fancy Food Show held at the Javits Center by Stanley’s Pierogi, which is a Ridgewood institution, and the frozen dessert producer, DF Mavens, from Astoria.
While the attention at that trade show is on cuisine, of course, one of the more interesting booths had nothing to do with food per se. A Canadian company, Caboo, displayed how ecologically sustainable bamboo and sugarcane can substitute for paper when it comes to tissues, disposable towels, baby wipes, and yes, even toilet roll.
I have to admit that I am a late comer to entertainment streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu. Netflix, of course, caters more to movie buffs while Hulu is more cognizant of the traditional TV watcher. Amazon is a mixed bag that includes music offerings.
If you can’t get enough of “Seinfeld” or “Curb Your Enthusiasm” reruns, then you’ll love Hulu’s “Difficult People,” that stars actors Julie Klausner and Forest Hills native Billy Eichner. “Difficult People” has just returned for its second season and it’s once again set in New York as Klausner and Eichner’s self-absorbed characters are still causing cringe-inducing mischief. “Difficult People” has quickly established itself as a leader in cutting edge anti-hero comedy.