The All-Star Game four-day respite couldn’t have come soon enough for our Flushing heroes. Yes, the Mets have had even by their standards an incredible amount of injuries to frontline players this year. However as former Jets and Giants head coach Bill Parcells once famously stated, “You are what your record says that you are!” Unfortunately the Mets’ record is a very disappointing 39-47.
I was listening on the radio to yet another desultory performance by the Mets this past Sunday as they lost 6-0 to the Cardinals in St. Louis. The Mets radio team of Josh Lewin and Wayne Randazzo (Howie Rose got an early jump on the All-Star Game hiatus by taking the weekend off) understandably tried to put the best spin that they could by saying that a lot of the injured Mets are very close to coming off of the disabled list and thus a reason for second half optimism.
The reality is that while it will be nice to see some household names back in uniform again at Citi Field, the odds are that the ship has sailed as far as the 2017 season is concerned.
There is no guarantee that returning players will be able to shake off the rust and be able to perform at the level that is expected of them. Yoenis Cespedes recently returned to action after missing a lengthy period of time recovering from yet another quadriceps injury. He hit a pathetic .130 (6 for 46) with no extra-base hits in his first 11 games back.
There’s also no assurance that the returning players will stay healthy for the rest of the season. I’ve lost track how many times Matt Harvey has been on the disabled list over the last 1 ½ years. The times that he has pitched he has generally been a shell of his once dominant self when Mets fans wore “Dark Knight” paraphernalia and declared any day that he was due to start a “Harvey Day.”
Lewin and Randazzo also pointed out that the Mets will kick off a ten-game homestand starting Friday, July 14. The Mets have not exactly been world beaters at home but knowing that the July 31 trade deadline is looming may light a fire under at least a few of the players that want to stay in New York.
While it’s unreasonable to expect the Mets to reel off a long winning streak there is one area where they can only improve. The defense has been porous for a team where that was supposed to be a strength. Let’s also not forget the mental errors in the field and on the base paths that don’t show up in the box score.
It would also be nice if Mets hitters used the entire field instead of trying to pull the ball in every at-bat.
The documentary “Mike & The Mad Dog” which premiered at this past April’s Tribeca Film Festival will debut Thursday on ESPN. The title refers of course to Mike Francesa and Christopher “Mad Dog” Russo who were the WFAN afternoon drive team from 1989-2008. In the fall of 2008 Russo departed the FAN for Sirius XM where he was given a king’s ransom and his own channel, “Mad Dog Radio” on Sirius XM.
Francesa and Russo were a very good team because they established clear identities. Francesa played the short-tempered know-it-all straight man while Russo, with his Rod Stewart-like hoarse voice, was the unpredictable cackling man-child who was the perfect foil for him.
“Mike & The Mad Dog” nicely collects testimonials from athletes, colleagues, and radio competitors. It also takes pains to show that Francesa and Russo, like many partnerships, had their ups and downs in terms of their off-air interactions over the years.
Speaking of ESPN, my favorite sporting event on the Worldwide Leader of Sports is the annual Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest held in the heart of Coney Island every July 4th.
Joey Chestnut, the Michael Jordan of competitive eating, won the yellow mustard belt for the tenth time in the last 11 years as he devoured 72 wieners. Interestingly, the man who gave him the biggest challenge was not Matt Stonie, who upset him in 2015, but rather Carmen Cincotti who downed 62 hot dogs. Cincotti qualified for the big event by winning a preliminary hot dog eating contest held at Citi Field on June 18.
I wonder who the Knicks were competing against for the services of free agent Tim Hardaway, Jr. upon whom they lavished a $71 million, four-year contract.
Popular Brooklyn Nets public address announcer Dave Diamante who has been with the team since Barclays Center opened in 2012 announced two weeks ago that he won’t be returning as his boxing commitments and other businesses were leaving him very little free time.
The Nets will be hosting tryouts for Diamante’s replacement at Barclays Center next Tuesday, July 18. No previous experience is required.
Scientific studies have shown that cherry juice has a lot of medicinal benefits including reducing inflammation and speeding up muscle recovery. Cherry juice producers as Red Jacket Orchards, Cheribundi, and Cherrish should send samples to Mets trainer Ray Ramirez to dispense to Mets players. Like chicken soup, it can’t hurt.
Ramirez might also be interested to learn of a new bottled water company based in LA called Oxigen. The company had a booth at the recent Fancy Food Show held at the Javits Center, claims that it contains more oxygen than ordinary waters which helps muscles recover from both fatigue and injury faster. The term that the company uses is “activated stabilized oxygen” to describe what makes it different, from say, Aquafina and Poland Spring.
Being an old school guy I still get a kick out of listening to sporting events at night by pulling in out-of-town sporting events on my AM radio. The catalog company Hammacher Schlemmer sells a Superior Tabletop Radio which is great for picking up radio stations at night from even more than 1,000 miles away from Queens. It is also very good at picking up FM stations from distant places better than nearly every radio out there. A further bonus is that it displays the name of a song and the artist since radio air personalities rarely do that.