The Week That Was: Mets Don’t Trade Jay Bruce Away

     In 1977 Meat Loaf had a huge hit with “Two Out of Three Ain’t Bad” which has become a staple of FM classic rock stations. The song title be true some situations but it wasn’t good enough for the Mets this past weekend as they really needed to sweep the Colorado Rockies, one of the teams that is one front of them for the second and final wildcard berth.

     The Mets thrashed the Rockies the first two games of the weekend series by scores of 14-2 and 9-3 but not surprisingly they got whacked in the finale by Colorado, 13-4. The way things have been going this season the team should think about changing its theme song from “Meet The Mets” to “Never On Sunday” given their dismal 5-10 record on the first day of the week. 

     Mets general manager Sandy Alderson told the media on Friday that the Mets would be looking to shed veterans at the July 31st trade deadline unless the team were to play “exceedingly well” on this homestand. Alderson probably had his secretary hold all calls for the first two games back following the All-Star Game but was probably working the phones frantically following the Mets’ Sunday debacle.

     The Mets have a lot of veteran players whose contracts expire at the end of this season. Alderson would understandably like to get back some minor league prospects from other organizations for these players as opposed to getting nothing in return once they depart at the season’s conclusion.

     The problem is that the Mets have few available chips that contending teams would want outside of relief pitcher Addison Reed who has done an admirable job filling in for the injured Jeurys Familia in the closer role, and outfielder Jay Bruce, who is having a spectacular year and should have been on the All-Star team.

     Bruce struggled last year after the Mets obtained him at the trade deadline from the Reds and Alderson made it no secret to other teams that Bruce could be acquired for a pittance.

     I believed that was myopic thinking in light of Bruce’s career stats. He had spent his first eight years with the Reds and this was the first time that he had been traded. My gut feeling was that like a kid getting used to a new school or neighborhood; he just needed time to relax and get loose. Bruce told me that he felt right home with the Mets following his first spring training in Port St. Lucie.

    Instead of thinking about trading Jay Bruce, Sandy Alderson should think about signing the free agent-to-be to a long-term contract. While the Mets have replacements for first baseman Lucas Duda and shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera waiting in the wings (Dominic Smith and Amed Rosario) there are slim pickings as far as outfield prospects go. Filling Bruce’s shoes won’t be easy.

    New Jersey governor Chris Christie played hooky from the job he will be leaving in January last Monday and Tuesday to audition for Mike Francesa’s slot on WFAN. Francesa will be leaving the station on December 15, 2017.

     I am not commenting on Christie’s political career or policy stances but I thought that the did a terrific job working with Evan Roberts. Say what you will about him but he does speak very well and he’s quite knowledgeable about sports. He also possess a quick wit.

     Social media lit up after Mike from Montclair called into the FAN to berate Christie about using a New Jersey state beach when no one else could during the Independence Day holiday weekend because of a state budget impasse. Christie knew that a call like this was inevitable and he was both unapologetic and aggressive as he labeled upscale but apparently liberal Montclair a Communist town.

    Montclair Mike actually did Christie a huge favor. Confrontation generates buzz and that is a major currency in the world of talk radio. You can be sure that WFAN program director Mark Chernoff, who is a longtime friend of the Garden State governor, took notice and smiled.

     Bob Wolff, the longtime sportscaster, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 96 was too nice a gentleman to be part of what sports talk radio has become. He found it abhorrent to insult anyone.

     Wolff was a consummate pro who could call any sport. Longtime Knicks fans will remember that he was the TV voice of their team during their 1969 and 1973 NBA championship seasons. He chuckled when I told him that the only way that the Knicks could win a future title was to bring him back to the broadcast booth.

     When the Yankees acquired pitcher Michael Pineda from the Seattle Mariners in exchange for then their top catching prospect, Jesus Montero, in early 2012 they though that they had a young ace who they could count on for many years to come.

     While Pineda has shown flashes of brilliance, more often than not his command has been shaky. Even worse, it seems like he always  misses large stretches of the season recovering from injuries. This year has been no different as Pineda will miss the rest of the season recovering from Tommy John surgery.

     Mets pitcher Steven Matz, who grew up in Stony Brook, has left Long Island for Nashville where his fiancee is from.

     Baseball players more often than not don’t get time to enjoy the city that they work in during the season so the All-Star break is a rare chance for them to do just that.

      Mets reliever Fernando Salas told me that he spent his break walking the streets of Manhattan and marveling at the skyscrapers while his comrade in the bullpen, Chasen Bradford, was able to get a ticket to “The Book of Mormon,” which after all of these years on Broadway is still a very tough ticket.

     Bradford grew up in Las Vegas and thus has always had a deep appreciation for all facets of the entertainment industry. Interestingly the Mets’ Triple-A minor league affiliate is the Las Vegas 51s and both he, and Paul Sewald, who also grew up in Sin City, were able to live in their childhood homes while playing there.

     On Sunday the Mets optioned Bradford back to the Las Vegas 51s in order to give yet another chance to perpetually disappointing reliever Hansel Robles.

     You can include Mets outfielder Curtis Granderson in the majority of folks who don’t think that UFC champ Connor McGregor has a chance against Floyd Mayweather. “I’m sure that McGregor learned boxing as part of his mixed martial arts training just as I had to play the infield and pitch as part of my baseball training. Nonetheless, he is going to take on arguably the greatest boxer in history in a boxing match. I don’t see how he can win.”

     Although it got a fraction of the media attention that the Thursday Mayweather-McGregor wrestling-style press conference at Barclays Center received, the Saturday night fight card at the Nassau Coliseum, the first there in over 30 years, was successful both in terms of the gate and the action in the ring. The bouts were also shown nationally on Fox and Fox Sports 1.

     Marcus Browne TKO’d the previously undefeated Sean Monaghan in three rounds while Omar Figueroa did the same to Robert “The Ghost” Guerrero. The results of the headline match was somewhat surprising because Robert Guerrero has gone up against some big names including Floyd Mayweather. Perhaps it’s time for Guerrero to give up the ghost and retire.

     Milwaukee Brewers owner Mark Attanasio grew up in the Bronx and he admitted that he felt like a kid standing in the Brewers dugout at Yankee Stadium just before the All-Star break “I grew up a big Yankees fan. I was at the old Yankee Stadium on Opening Day 1966. I remember sitting in the bleachers and that (Yankees ace) Mel Stottlemyer lost 2-1.” He still referred to the Yankees as “we” which shows that even team owners still have a special place in their hearts for their childhood teams.

      A Canadian company, Rakuten, has an e-reader called Kobo which is challenging Amazon’s Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble’s NOOK for market share. It’s new Kobo Aura H2O model allows you to read your favorite sports books by the pool or the beach without fear because it is waterproof.

    If you are looking for a nearby fun summer getaway get down to the Jersey Shore. You can catch the Phillies’ South Atlantic League affiliate, the Lakewood Blueclaws who play in one of the nicest minor league ballparks around, First Energy Field. A terrific place to stay is the Freehold Radisson which is about 30 minutes to the beach; 20 minutes to Great Adventure; and about an hour to Philadelphia if you want to catch a Phillies game at Citizens Bank Park.

     Toy Insider is a trade publication for all things related to play and they held their annual summer expo last week.

     It was fun to see iconic brands doing well by staying cutting edge. You can now make very sophisticated works of art on an Etch-A-Sketch while Crayola has come up with a coloring brush that only works on their special paper so that kids can’t do mischief on the walls, carpets, furniture, or their clothes. Play-Doh now tries to use its kneading dough to teach kids math and the alphabet. Wicked Cool Toys is reintroducing the beloved animatronic talking bear, Teddy Ruxpin, which made its debut 30 years ago.

    Of course changing times have always meant new products. Play-Doh now has an organic competitor in Green Toys’ Dough Sets whose tactile compounds are comprised of baking flour and not chemicals. Remote control toys have been around since the 1960s but WowWee’s MiP robots take it to the next level. 

     Kids and bicycles have always gone together. When I was growing up Schwinn had a virtual monopoly. These days they are getting competition from upstarts as Tuesday Cycles and Dynacraft.

      Speaking of bikes, NYC & Company, the Big Apple’s convention and visitors bureau is making a hard push to get tourists to visit the more remote island parts of our city this summer such as Randall’s Island, City Island, and Governors Island where bicycle riding is certainly encouraged.

      The hot weather means that nearly all of us sweat off calories even when we aren’t exercising. The good news is that you can have less guilt indulging in desserts. A new company. Sweetaly, has created 3-oz. glass cups of Italian dessert favorites as tiramisu, lemon ricotta cheesecake, chocolate mousse, and two types of panna cotta, cappuccino and sea salted caramel. It’s decadent but at least it’s portion controlled to assuage guilt!

    If you want a healthier snack that is still fun to eat, YumEarth lines of lollipops, licorice, fruit snacks, and gum drops that are free of anything artificial; are free of the best-known allergens; and are a good source of Vitamin C.

     Summer is also a great time to enjoy seafood specialties. Chincoteague Seafood’s Gordon’s Whole Ocean Cocktail Clams is a delightful seasonal treat (log onto for more info.)

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