Super Bowl weekend tends to obscure personnel moves made by Major League Baseball teams unless they happen to involve the biggest of names. Mets general manager Sandy Alderson re-signed free agent relief pitchers Jerry Blevins and Fernando Salas as well as inking veteran pitcher Tom Gorzelanny to a minor league deal.
While most fan and press attention focused on what the Mets were going to do with their crowded outfield and specifically the future of Jay Bruce who was acquired from the Reds at the July 31st trading deadline, the bullpen was an even bigger concern.
MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred has dragged his feet on this but it seems to be a certainty that Mets closer Jeurys Familia will be suspended for at least some part of the 2017 season because he was arrested on a domestic dispute charge in Fort Lee last October even though the Bergen County DA ‘s office dropped the charges.
With proven veterans as Blevins and Salas joining Addison Reed in the Mets’ bullpen, and assuming that they all stay healthy, the Mets should be able to withstand a roughly 30-game suspension for Familia. That is what Aroldis Chapman received for what appeared to be a worse situation so I can’t imagine that Familia’s punishment will exceed that amount.
There may even be a silver lining in the cloud for Mets fans in that Familia may be fresher down the pennant race stretch and post-season if the Mets are fortunate to get that far. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell making Tom Brady sit out four games for his role in “Deflategate” certainly did not ruin the New England Patriots’ season.
Sandy Alderson’s signing of Tom Gorzelanny won’t generate a lot of buzz but it’s the kind of low stakes move that has paid dividends for him in the recent past. I remember watching Gorzelanny pitch very well for some very bad Pirates teams when he first came up and that’s why his won-loss record was nothing special in the first part of his career. With a little luck Gorzelanny can assume Bartolo Colon’s old role as a sixth starter and occasional reliever.
Mets utility infielder Wilmer Flores became the first Mets player to have to go through the arbitration process with management on a new contract since 2008. Flores wanted $2.2 million while the Mets countered with an offer of $1.8 million. The $400,000 difference is coffee and cake money by Major League Baseball compensation standards.
Although we’ll never know exactly how the negotiations went, common sense says that one of the two parties must have said “Let’s split the difference and call it $2 million even.” My guess is that Wilmer’s agent did that and that Sandy Alderson decided to hold firm at his last offer. Flores won the arbitration case and will earn $2.2 million in 2017.
We know that President Trump campaigned to make America great again so it would make sense for him and his advisors to come up with a game plan to make American track & field great again.
ThisSaturday, track’s most prestigious event, the Millrose Games, in which the world’s best compete in such events as the high hurdles, discus throw, pole vault, and of course running will take place at the Armory in Washington Heights.
The Millrose Games started in 1908 and from 1914 until 2011 they were held at Madison Square Garden on a Friday night in February. The games were moved out of the Garden to The Armory up in Washington Heights in what seemed to be a moved dictated by economics on the part of the Millrose’s governing body at the time, USA Track & Field. The New York Road Runners recently took over management of the Millrose Games.
Sure, attendance had been decreasing over the years at the Garden but it always drew at least 10,000 spectators. The sports marketplace is a crowded one but individual sports as professional tennis and golf always have always done well here so there is no reason why an event that attracts the best athletes in that sport into the biggest market in the US should be such a hard sell.
Just speaking from a media perspective, one major reason is that the USATF failed to invest in their own product.
They never seemed to go out of their way to promote their stars. For example Olympic gold medalist Matt Centrowitz will be running to defend his 2016 Wanamaker Mile championship. Only a diehard track fan would possibly think that Centrowitz is a household name.
Legendary New York Post sports columnist Jimmy Cannon once famously said “If it ain’t catered, it ain’t covered” when he was asked about how newspapers decided which events merited print attention. I can recall all too many Millrose Games lunchtime pre-event press conferences where sportswriters were lucky to get a bottle of water. (And to show track officials that I am not picking on them I stopped covering the WNBA’s New York Liberty this past year because they weren’t even providing water to the media.)
Track and field is a great sport. The Millrose Games deserve better. If you can’t make it to the Armory on Saturday, NBC will be televising it live from 4 to 6 PM.
There was surprisingly little news from either Patriots or Falcons players during the week run up to Super Bowl LI. There was a lot of attention paid however to the Budweiser commercial that would air during the game. Actors recreated August Busch’s emigration to St. Louis from his native Germany. The ad, while nicely produced, would not have generated much attention had the NFL’s “Big Game” not occurred two weeks into the Trump administration where immigration has been a very hot topic.
The NFL Super Bowl halftime show that features a musical act that nearly everyone in the free world has heard of even if they aren’t familiar with the vast majority of songs. Lady Gaga certainly fit the bill and she gave the most acrobatic spectacle in Super Bowl history and one of the best ever overall in my opinion.
The National Football League has quietly gone into the entertainment industry beyond just its production of the annual Super Bowl intermission. Its very profitable On Location Experiences subsidiary (musician Jon Bon Jovi is a minority investor) arranges private concerts and catering at NFL stadiums throughout the year.
If there is any quarterback who can lead his team back from a 25-point deficit with little more than a quarter left in the game, it’s the Patriots’ Thomas E. Brady, a fact that forlorn Jets fans have known for years and something that will haunt Atlanta fans for years.
The annual trade show dedicated to the behind-the-scenes of attorneys, Legal Tech, took place in New York last week.
One company that stood out was My Broadcast Studio whose spokesperson was Beth Karas who worked for years as a correspondent for the now-defunct Court TV. Karas told me that more and more law firms are creating TV studios complete with Teleprompters and green screens. A lot of criminal law firms are apparently following the leads of such television shows as “Bull” and the old James Woods CBS show that I loved from a few years ago, “Shark,” and prep witnesses before they take the stand by using an in-house television production facility. Needless to say, a lot of those cheesy personal injury TV commercials are produced in law firm offices as well.
The annual Kosher Wine & Food Expo will take place on Monday evening, February 13, over at Chelsea Piers’ Pier 60. Kosher wine has expanded well beyond Manischewitz and Kedem and the vast majority of what is produced is not as sweet as one would imagine based on those famous brands.
Yes, Israel has its share of wineries but top notch kosher wine is produced all over the world. For more information log onto kwfeny.com