The Week That Was: Bob Costas & Mike Weisman Are Hall of Famers

         Astoria native and longtime NBC Sports signature air personality Bob Costas has won countless Emmy Awards and has long been a favorite of viewers because of his erudite manner that is never condescending.

         Although he has been part of NBC’s coverage of such marquee events as the Olympics, NBA Finals, Stanley Cup Final, Triple Crown horse racing, and the Super Bowl, Costas has never hid the fact that his first love has always been Major League Baseball. In recent years Costas, who still looks amazingly boyish despite turning 65 this year, has cut back his workload at NBC but he isn’t slowing down as he can frequently be seen on the MLB Network.

      Bob Costas achieved his ultimate dream as it was announced last week that he is the recipient of the Ford C. Frick Award which means that he will be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame next July for his well-respected broadcasting career.

      What is unusual is that most past recipients of the Frick Award have been longtime broadcasters for a particular team a la Vin Scully and the Dodgers. The only team for which Bob ever served as the home broadcaster was the Spirits of St. Louis of the defunct American Basketball Association in the mid-1970s.

       When Bob Costas was anchoring major events for NBC Sports his producer for a good chunk of them was Flushing native and Queens College alum Michael Weisman. It was Weisman who was at the helm for the 1986 World Series when the Mets won the 1986 World Series in a thrilling seven games.

       Michael Weisman was inducted in to the Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame last Tuesday night. It was an overdue honor for a man who has been part of TV sports for over 50 years.

       Mike hasn’t been afraid to venture out of his sports comfort zone as he produced Pat Sajak’s 1989 late night talk show; Jane Pauley’s syndicated daytime talk show; and he had a year tour of duty producing MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” He deserves an Emmy Award for lifetime achievement.

       Bill Raftery, the beloved CBS and ESPN college sports analyst, was also inducted into the 2017 Sports Broadcasting Hall of Fame. Bill’s longtime play-by-play sidekick, Forest Hills High alum Ian Eagle, couldn’t be present at the ceremony but he broke up the audience with some behind-the-scenes stories about Bill in a video tribute. For years the best part of watching a New Jersey Nets game was enjoying the unpredictable patter between Ian and Bill.        

     Other inductees were Lesley Visser, who was one of the first female sports air personalities in what was, and still is, primarily a male-dominated field; and signature ESPN personality Chris Berman, who is best-known for the clever nicknames that he bestowed upon athletes.

     The Knicks ruined Carmelo Anthony’s return to Madison Square Garden Saturday night as they defeated his current team, the Oklahoma City Thunder, 111-96. In a classy move, the Knicks presented a video tribute to Carmelo before the game and fans gave him a standing ovation. Of course once the game began Melo was treated like any other opponent and that is how it should be.

     The game was broadcast nationally on TNT not just because of the “Carmelo comes back” storyline but also because of the Thunder’s two other star players, Paul George and Russell Westbrook. The player who outshone all of them however was Knicks forward Michael Beasley who scored 30 points and made Knicks fans forget about the injured Kristaps Porzingis and Tim Hardaway,Jr. for one night anyway.

   Beasley has never lived up to the hype of being the second player chosen in the 2008 NBA Draft. He has bounced from team to team but he may be a rare case of an NBA late bloomer.

     The Jets’ 31-19 loss to the New Orleans Saints was expected. The Saints have vastly superior talent even if the Jets had the services of QB Josh McCown who is out for the rest of the season with a broken hand.

     Jets backup QB Bryce Petty showed that he can throw the ball down the field but as former QB Ray Lucas pointed out on the Jets’ SNY postgame show, Petty was tentative and that resulted in either knocked down or incomplete passes.

     It’s tough for a backup QB who has been on the bench for most of the last two seasons to develop perfect timing right away. This coming Sunday’s game with the LA Chargers will be Petty’s third straight start and my guess is if he doesn’t look sharper then he won’t be in the team’s 2018 plans.

     One longtime Jet who is certain not to return in 2018 is defensive tackle Mo Wilkerson who was prohibited from traveling with the team to New Orleans because he was late for a team meeting. Two weeks earlier Jets head coach Todd Bowles benched Wilkerson for the first quarter in their game with the Chiefs for the same infraction.

     Former Yankees catcher Jorge Posada and his wife Laura have worked tirelessly over the last three months to do anything in their power to help people in their native Puerto Rico recover from the devastation of Hurricane Maria. Last week they teamed up with Wicked Cool Toys as the suburban Philadelphia manufacturing company donated 10,000 toys to be distributed to kids on that American island commonwealth through the Posadas’ Puerto Rico relief foundation.

     Food growers around the United States gathered at the Javits Center last Wednesday for the annual New York Produce Show. One of the exhibitors was Jamaica-based Farmland Dairies which was offering samples of that perennial holiday favorite, egg nog.

     The holiday season means that Thomas’s cranberry English muffins and bagels are available. I am not sure why the company doesn’t bake them all year long.

     Winter means that the demand for soup is increased. Campbell’s is reaching out to those of us who are either to busy or lazy to do anything but stick something in a microwave oven with their new meat-filled Chunky Maxx soups which come in a ready-to-serve container. For those who don’t mind heating soup on a stove, Campbell’s new YES! line of soups contain various combinations of healthy vegetables such as tomatoes, quinoa, kale, lentils, and red beans.

     Krazy Glue had a one-day pop-up store in Greenwich Village as a way of reminding consumers that it can help if they get gifts that require assembly or hanging. The company showed how by using just a few drops of Krazy Glue to a ceiling medallion one can keep items of up to 1,000 lbs. suspended in the air.    

     Companies are coming up with apps for smartphones and tablets for almost every conceivable purpose. A company called Velocity Black has an app that will be able to get you reservations in exclusive restaurants or hard-to-get tickets for shows and concerts. It’s not aiming for the average Joe as it costs $2,400 to get this high end concierge service.

     Likewise KLM Airlines is working with Google Home on an application where it helps you pack your bags by giving both whether information and various do’s and don’ts. At least this one is free.

     Stanley Bing has long been one of my writers. I always enjoyed his monthly Esquire Magazine column in which he satirized workplace culture long before anyone ever saw a “Dilbert” cartoon. He would write about such things as where to stand and not stand during an office party if you wanted to move up in a company. It was humorous but there was more than a grain of truth to what he wrote.

     He has written several fiction and nonfiction books over the years and his latest, “Immortal Life” (Simon & Schuster) falls into the fiction field but given the way technology works it may not be considered fiction in a few years.

      Bing’s protagonist is Arthur Vogel, a captain of industry who has purchased eternal life. The gimmick is that he is able to transfer his brain and soul to a younger host body. The problem becomes when the new body doesn’t quite accept Arthur’s old way of life. This is an intriguing read.

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