The first two months of his presidency have not been easy for President Trump whose favorable public opinion rating stands at around 35% of the electorate according to recent polls.
President Trump has been criticized for his refusal to take part in two April rituals in Washington. He won’t be attending the annual White House Correspondents Association Dinner at the end of the month and he won’t be tossing out the ceremonial Opening Day first pitch at Nationals Park. While one can argue about the White House Correspondence Association event, in my mind he made the right call about not visiting Nationals Park.
First and foremost, Pres. Trump is a proud Queens guy. The first ballpark where he should throw out a ceremonial first pitch as our 45th president is at Citi Field.
I remember meeting him back when he was simply known as “The Donald” and his wife Melania when they took in batting practice before a game at Shea Stadium. Melania was very approachable and she admitted that she did not know much about baseball but wanted to learn more.
Sure, President Trump is controversial and there are a lot of things with which I vehemently disagree with him even though I am a Republican, but he is both our president and the only one who was ever born in our borough. The Mets should invite him to visit Citi Field.
Will he get booed here? Hey this isn’t one of his political rallies, so the answer is yes. On the other he hand he can win the crowd over by reminding all in attendance that whether you are a Democrat or a Republican the one thing that we should all be saying is “Let’s go, Mets!”
I remember asking him before he was about to be roasted at a Friars Club event about whether being from Queens is an advantage because you learn to have a tough skin growing up here. “Being from Queens is always an advantage!” he replied. He should remember his own advice.
Major League Baseball is obviously on the forefront of the minds of sports fans this week but this is also a busy time in the NFL as the College Football Draft will take place in Philadelphia at the end of the month while free agency is underway now.
The Jets suffered through a miserable season in 2016 so it’s understandable as to why general manager Mike Maccagnan and head coach Todd Bowles weren’t interested in bringing back quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick and his underwhelming understudy, Geno Smith, in 2017.
The conventional wisdom was that the Jets would give a shot for the starting job to one of the two young quarterbacks on their roster. Bryce Petty was selected out of Baylor in 2015 and Christian Hackenberg who had a very good career at Penn State was drafted last year. After all, as long as Tom Brady is calling the signals for the New England Patriots while Bill Belichick is his head coach the Jets are never going to win the AFC East, so why not give the kids a chance to get their feet wet while there are virtually no expectations?
Apparently Maccagnan and Bowles still wanted the team to have a veteran passer on their roster and a strong argument can be made for that line of thinking. Signing free agent QB Josh McCown, who was the starting QB for the Cleveland Browns, who were one of the few NFL teams worse than the Jets, is a head-scratcher however.
OK, let’s give this guy his due. You have to possess skills in order to play 14 seasons in the NFL but he has never won anything. The only way McCown will ever see the Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio is if he buys a ticket for admission.
The daily newspapers had fun over the weekend with the Quinnipiac University poll which showed that the Mets edged out the Yankees for the honors of being the most popular baseball team in town. The Yankees admittedly don’t have the household names that they once did with the retirements of Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Mark Teixeira over the last two years and that certainly affected the results. Yankees fans shouldn’t fret however with the young talent that is in their pipeline. Nonetheless, the Mets organization deserves kudos for recovering from the Bernie Madoff debacle which wasn’t that long ago.
Casey Stengel managed the Yankees to five straight World Series wins and was the beloved first manager in Mets history. Former Yankees executive and respected baseball writer Marty Appel has written a terrific bio titled “Casey Stengel: Baseball’s Greatest Character” (Doubleday). You’ll enjoy the many anecdotes, some are well-known while others are more obscure, as well as the inside stories that Appel provides on the “Ol’ Professor.”
Major League Baseball lost a superb executive over on Sunday with the passing of Katy Feeney who was a frequent presence in the Citi Field press box. Katy was the daughter of longtime of New York and San Francisco Giants executive Chub Feeney and served in a variety of roles including public relations and team scheduling.
Unlike a lot of officials in the baseball industry who love to create media caste systems, Katy was always welcoming to smaller outlets and would go out of her way to make sure that the little guys in the media got access to jewel events as the All-Star Game and World Series as well as calling on them to ask questions at press conferences at those events.
An annual downside of the end of spring training is that it means the end of the line for a lot of familiar names who were trying to hang on for another season. The Yankees released former Mets pitcher Jon Niese as well as Nathan Eovaldi whose considerable pitching talent was done in by a variety of injuries. The Washington Nationals released veteran reliever Joe Nathan who played his college baseball at Stony Brook.
Could Alex Rodriguez be baseball’s answer to the ubiquitous former NFL star Michael Strahan? A-Rod will have a very visible role on Fox’s baseball telecasts this summer. Last week he co-hosted an episode of ABC’s “The View” and was quite charming. He certainly has both the looks and poise to be a media star.
Alex has also been a favorite of supermarket tabloids lately because he has been spotted with actress Jennifer Lopez. J-Lo grew up in the Bronx and is not surprisingly a huge Yankees fan. Her former husband, Marc Anthony, was a diehard Mets fan. I guess mixed baseball marriages are hard.
George Kalinsky has been the official photographer at Madison Square Garden for nearly half a century and has taken pictures of nearly every athlete, performer, and political official during that time. To appreciate his artistry visit his updated website GeorgeKalinsky.com
Knicks rookie center Marshall Plumlee took a number of computer science courses as a student at Duke University and he will be perfecting his skills this summer as an in intern in the information technology department of the National Basketball Players Association.
It’s no secret that left-leaning cable network MSNBC has far more female than male viewers. In an effort to attract more guys, the network has recently unleashed promotional spots that utilize “Meet The Press” host Chuck Todd on a basketball court acting like a referee, and Chris Matthews commenting outside the ring in a boxing gym where pugilists are going at it, as metaphors for how MSNBC covers politics. Todd and Matthews are understandably deemed to be the two network personalities who can appeal to sports fans who may even be politically conservative. The same cannot be said however for Lawrence O’Donnell, Chris Hayes, and Rachel Maddow who are wisely not being used for this ad campaign.
The annual optical trade show, Vision Expo East, which last year had Shaquille O’Neal attending as he debuted his line of eyewear, did not attract too many celebrities this year. The biggest bold-faced name there was MSG Knicks sideline reporter Jill Martin who emceed an optical fashion show. Jill was actually a good choice since she has been wearing glasses on camera before it became chic.
On the sports front, Oakley and Nike are the Coke and Pepsi of the athletic performance eyewear market and both companies had large photos of their various sports celebrity endorsers.
On a more serious note, macular degeneration has become a bigger issue than ever as baby boomers enter their senior years. Health supplement companies as MaxiVision, Nordic Naturals, MacuHealth, and Fortifeye were promoting tablets and gelcaps that purportedly strengthen the eye by having such ingredients as Omega-3s and luteins. Fortifeye CEO and Florida optometrist Dr. Michael Lange told me that a number of prominent vitamin brands tout that their products contain lutein but that they have at best trace materials which don’t even reach the bloodstream.
Is it my imagination or does it seem that every other week there is a different country music awards TV show?