The dreadful 2017 season mercifully ends for the Mets this Sunday in Philadelphia and it’s a safe bet to say that a major revamping of the roster will be in order. Some players will be traded; some will not be tendered contracts; and finally, some will leave as free agents.
Popular Mets infielder Jose Reyes will be a free agent after Sunday’s game but he has repeatedly stated that he would like to finish his career in Flushing. Given his horrible first two months of the season where he struggled to hit. 100, it didn’t appear that the 34 year-old Reyes would be a Met by the All-Star Game let alone in 2018.
It has never been Jose’s style to feel sorry for himself and he eventually busted out of his slump; in fact he was one of the Mets’ most reliable hitters in the second half of the season.
Even though he turned 34 in June he was one of the few Mets to avoid serious injury during the season.
It would be foolish for the Mets not to re-sign the versatile Reyes. He has proven that he can play second and third base besides his accustomed shortstop. He has even played the outfield.
Even more importantly, Reyes is a leader in the clubhouse. He has taken pride serving as a mentor to Amed Rosario, the Mets’ shortstop of the future. It’s very easy for players to hide from the media before a game yet Reyes is always at his locker and available to talk to journalists in both English and Spanish. Leadership is crucial in a clubhouse in a sport whose season is quite long. With veterans Neil Walker, Jay Bruce, and Curtis Granderson having been dispatched elsewhere by general manager Sandy Alderson in low-return trades, let’s just say leadership is not currently bountiful in the Citi Field home clubhouse.
Sandy Alderson generally holds a press briefing the first game of a homestand and this past Friday, which marked the start of the Mets’ last seven games at Citi Field for the season, was no exception.
I asked Alderson if it’s fair to evaluate the Mets’ field manager and coaches given the inordinate number of man-games lost because of injuries to many of the team’s best players. “I never use injuries as an excuse. We need to address why those injuries occurred as well as other reasons for our disappointing season.”
He said that the fate of manager Terry Collins and his coaching staff would be revealed right after the end of the season but it was clear that he wasn’t offering anything resembling a vote of confidence.
Alderson added that other personnel changes would be announced as the off-season progresses. I would take that to mean that he is looking to replace the team’s trainers and strength coaches.
Count former Mets first baseman and current SNY team broadcaster Keith Hernandez as an advocate for having all Major League Baseball teams revive Old-Timers’ Day. Only the Yankees have an annual ceremony to honor their alumni.
“I can’t understand why teams don’t honor their history,” he told me and then added that it’s a great way to unify different generations of fans.
Our conversation grew out of a discussion that we were having about how he, and his Mets broadcast partners Ron Darling and Gary Cohen love to show off baseball card collections from yesteryear when the Mets are getting badly thumped in a recent game with the Phillies. “We’ve done three in-game baseball card segments this year. The viewers seem to really enjoy it,” said Keith.
The Jets ended speculation in convincing manner that they would go winless this season by defeating the Miami Dolphins 20-7, in their home opener last Sunday. The Jets played as good a game as I have seen from them in years but it also seemed as the Dolphins figuratively failed to show up.
After the game I asked Jets head coach Todd Bowles if he was relieved to get this first victory after hearing all of the dire predictions about this team. He replied that he wasn’t thinking about that and added that his players weren’t motivated by all of the low expectations for them this season. I have doubts that he was being completely truthful.
Jets starting outside linebacker Josh Martin is one of the few alums from my alma mater, Columbia University, to play in the NFL. Not only was he happy that the Jets posted their first victory of the season but also that the Columbia Lions have started the 2017 season with a 2-0 record, something that happens as frequently as a solar eclipse.
I asked him if his teammates ever poke fun at his collegiate choice. “All the time!” he said with a laugh.
It’s clear that Knicks general manager Scott Perry, like his predecessor Phil Jackson, wanted to get rid of Carmelo Anthony in the absolutely worst way before Monday’s Knicks media day and that is exactly what he did. The Knicks certainly did not get anything close to resembling commensurate value.
I am surprised that Melo would agree to waive his no-trade contractual clause to play in Oklahoma City. Yes, they have a fine team but it’s a very small market and a conservative town to boot.
Former Knicks and current Chicago Bulls center, Robin Lopez, had a clever riposte to President Trump withdrawing the invitation to the NBA champions, Golden State Warriors, to visit the White House. “Soon he won’t be able to visit the White House either!” he quipped.
Forest Hills native and Brooklyn Nets TV play-by-play broadcaster Ian Eagle will have a new partner this year as Sarah Kustok moves into the analyst’s chair after five years as a Nets sideline reporter on YES telecasts.
Sarah becomes the first woman to serve as a full-time TV analyst for an NBA team. My guess is that it will be a seamless transition for her. Viewers know that she is well-spoken and knowledgeable. She also had an outstanding career as a shooting guard for the DePaul University women’s basketball team.
Former Rangers forward Brian Boyle who is now a member of the New Jersey Devils was diagnosed with leukemia during a routine preseason medical exam. Boyle has always been accommodating to both fans and the media. Hopefully he’ll beat this dreaded disease.
I was saddened to learn of the passing of one of my favorite professional wrestling personalities, Bobby “The Brain” Heenan, whose quick wit and sarcastic humor was a key reason for the growth of the WWE in the 1980s.
Heenan occasionally wrestled in the ring but he was best known for being the mouthpiece as “the manager” for villainous wrestlers known in the trade as “heels.” One of those heels was the late “Ravishing” Rick Rude whose shtick was to be the WWE’s version of a Chippendale dancer. Heenan would escort Rude into the ring and then choose a “lucky lady” in the audience (an actress plant naturally) to receive a passionate smooch from him. He would inevitably rile the crowd up by asking them who wanted a kiss from Rude and then would inevitably insult them. My favorite was when he deadpanned, “Sorry, not you mister!”
There is of course no way that the WWE would allow that type of politically incorrect banter to happen today. RIP, Bobby.
It wasn’t that long ago that the television industry and the glitz that comes with it, such as splashy premieres, took place strictly in Los Angeles. While the lion’s share of the primetime programming is still filmed on the lot sound stages of major film studios, New York City is home to more television production than ever before.
Even LA-based networks executives and the producers of shows made on the west coast now feel that they have to make some presence in our town. That explains why there are now three major TV autumn events that now take place in the Big Apple.
Tribeca Enterprises, the organization that sponsors the Tribeca Film Festival every April, debuted in a rather low-key manner this past weekend the Tribeca Television Festival. Even though this was its first year, the muscle of Tribeca Enterprises (one of whose principals is Robert De Niro) was evident as it hosted panels for Fox’s “Gotham;” a pair of ABC programs”Designated Survivor” and the new “Ten Days In The Valley;” FX’s Peabody Award-winning comedy “Better Things” starring Pamela Adlon and produced by Louis CK; and the reboot of NBC’s “Will & Grace.”
New York Comic Con, which now draws more customers than its more famous and unrelated San Diego namesake, takes place at various venues around town from October 5-8. It has become a key promotional stop for smaller cable networks. AMC helped create buzz for its very successful “Walking Dead” franchises here. IFC is doing the same with its cult horror comedy, “Stan Against Evil.” The El Rey Network is hoping for the similar results as it debuts a new comedy-action animated series, “Explosion Jones,” at NYCC.
NYCC is also on the radar screen of streaming services. There will be panels for Hulu’s “Future Man;” Amazon’s “The Tick,” Crackle’s “Supermansion: Drag Me To Halloween;” and the one that will surely draw the biggest crowd, CBS All Access’s “Star Trek: Discovery.”
The granddaddy of them all is the New York Television Festival (nytvf.com) which began in 2005 and takes place this year from October 23-28. While there will be splashy events such as screenings and panels for HBO’s gritty “The Deuce,” CBS’s update of “SWAT,” and TBS’s “Lost” spoof, “Search Party,” what distinguishes the NYTVF from its competitors is that it showcases pilots from aspiring television showrunners.
CBS announced that it will broadcast a new one-hour animated special, “Michael Jackson’s Halloween” on October 27 that will feature music created by the late superstar. A new Jackson compilation, “Scream,” (Epic/Legacy Recordings) has just been released.
Editors Showcase is a quarterly food and beverage media trade show in which new products are unveiled. Ocean Spray, producers of all things cranberry, will begin making a line of cranberry-infused bottles of water called PACT. Lifeway, the leading producers of the yogurt-like drink, kefir, will soon have Elixir, a line of lightly sugared sparkling waters. Think of it as a cross between seltzer and soft drinks.