NY Sports Day
Lloyd Carroll

The Week That Was: The Mets Are Dominant In DC

Neil Miller/Sportsday Wire

     The Mets erased a lot of the disappointing 2017 season last weekend when they swept the three-game series from the Washington Nationals at Nationals Park.

      Considering how the Washington Nationals have kicked sand in the collective faces of the Mets over the last decade (2015 was a notable exception) it’s completely understandable that many Mets fans thumped their chests on Monday morning. Never mind that two of the games were decided by one run and that Sunday night’s was a twelve-inning affair. Wins are wins.

      One veteran radio sports reporter compared the Mets’ big weekend in the nation’s capital with when the Mets took three games in April 1986  from their then chief rival in the National

League East, the St. Louis Cardinals, and how that set a tone for that magical season. The Mets spent most of the ‘80s playing runner-up to the Cards, just as they did in the ‘90s to the Atlanta Braves, and in recent years to these Washington Nationals.

      Everyone needs to take a deep breath before getting too giddy. What happened 32 years ago cannot be considered to be an augur of how things will go this season. First, it’s very early. Secondly, the Nationals will be in Flushing the early part of next week for a three-game series and it’s very conceivable that they could turn the tables on the Mets.

      The best news of the Nats’ series was the solid five-inning outing turned in by Steven Matz on Saturday. Matz had no command of his pitches in his previous start, a 5-1 loss to the Phillies at Citi Field and was gone after four very shaky innings.

     The bad news was that Matt Harvey resembled the medicore pitcher we have seen the last couple of years as he was roughed up by Bryce Harper and most of the other hitters in the Nationals’ lineup.

      Of course no one has had a rougher start that Yankees outfielder Giancarlo Stanton whose propensity to strike out and occasionally excite with a few moonshot homers, has reminded longtime area fans more of Dave Kingman rather than the reigning National League MVP who Yankees general manager Brian Cashman acquired last December from the cash-strapped Miami Marlins.

      Stanton has been lustily booed by the Yankee Stadium faithful but that may be counterproductive. It’s not easy to start over with another team particularly when you go from one of the most anonymous teams in sports to the most successful and scrutinized in sports history. Stanton will be fine once he gets to feel more at home. 

     It has been quite awhile since a horse that won the Wood Memorial held the first Saturday in April at Aqueduct each year won the Kentucky Derby. This year’s winner, Vino Rosso, will try to break the jinx.                         

      A trio of sports bio flicks have come out recently and they include a dramatization of legendary Penn State football head coach Joe Paterno and documentaries of curmudgeonly men’s college basketball head coach Bobby Knight and wrestler Andre the Giant.

    Al Pacino certainly looked like Joe Paterno in “Paterno” which HBO debuted this past Saturday evening. Unfortunately that is the best that I can about the docudrama. Director Barry Levinson focused on a week in November 2011 when the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal was breaking news. Pacino’s Paterno is basically a doddering old mumbler whose mind is laser-focused when it comes to drawing up game plans for a college football team but is out of it when it comes to every other aspect of life. We also learn nothing about his knowledge, or lack of, when it came to his old assistant coach’s off the field proclivities. Riley Keough (Elvis Presley’s granddaughter) is not very credible as Sara Gamin, a local newspaper reporter who broke the Sandusky story.

      HBO’s sports division did a better job with “Andre the Giant,” which looked at the life of one of the most famous wrestlers of all-time, 7’4,” 500 lb. Andre Roussimoff from France better and understandably known as Andre the Giant.

      A number of world Wrestling Entertainment luminaries including Hulk Hogan and company CEO Vince McMahon reminisce about the gentle giant as do filmmakers/actors Rob Reiner and Billy Crystal who discuss Andre’s supporting role in the 1987 film, “The Princess Bride,” for which he received generally good reviews.

      We learn that Andre suffered from Acromegaly, a disease in which pituitary gland hormonal disorder that leads to extraordinary growth and elongation of extremities, the nose, and various bones. If left unregulated, early death is a certainty. Andre, who was in serious pain most of his life, chose for some unknown reason not to seek medical help for it. 

     “The Last Days of Knight,” a documentary about Bobby Knight’s dismissal as head coach of the Indiana University men’s basketball team in September 2000, is the latest installment of ESPN’s “30 for 30″ documentary series. Director and narrator Robert Abbott does a very balanced job showing the pros and cons of Knight’s personality but ultimately his temper got the best of him. A video from 1997 where it appears that Knight is choking one of his players, Neil Reed, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.

     “The Last Days of Knight” will only be shown only on ESPN Plus which is ESPN’s first pay streaming service. Company executives are hoping that enough consumers will pay $4.99 a month which will give them access to every “30 for 30″ film on demand as well as other historical ESPN content and even some live games including Ivy League football. The Worldwide Leader in Sports just announced that Kobe Bryant will be producing and hosting “Detail,” a basketball analysis program for ESPN Plus.

       A couple of weeks ago I reported on how Citi Field has become a favorite spot for foodies whose interest in baseball is marginal at best. The Yankees haven’t been slouches in the epicurean department either. NYY Steak is back for its tenth season at the “new” Yankee Stadium, and Melissa’ s Farmers Market, where you can enjoy fruits, vegetables and salads is arguably the healthiest food kiosk in the big leagues. The Yankees may have the most exotic restaurant in the majors as King’s Hawaiian, which offers all sorts of delicacies from the Aloha State, has just opened at the stadium.

    Staying with  foods, with the winter reluctant to leave our area even though the calendar says it’s April, soups are getting some extra attention from me. If you are looking for homemade soups from upstate New York, try the lobster bisque, carrot ginger curry, kale quinoa, or cauliflower cheddar soups from Pika s Farm Table (pikasfarmtable.com).

   Speaking of cauliflower, Baldor Foods has come up with some interesting and healthy ready to serve dishes as Chili Cilantro, Moroccan Spiced, and Tabouli Style cauliflower rice packages that are part of its Urban Roots line

   Honest Tea is celebrating its 20th anniversary with a line of organic teas that contain only 70 calories and come in glass bottles. Among the flavors are “Just” Green Tea, Mango Mate Black Tea, and Lemon Maple Grove Black Tea,

    Finally, if you are looking for a healthy and tasty snack that is a literal mouthful to say try Setton Farms Pistachio & Blueberry Infused Cranberry & Coconut Chewy Bites (PistachioChewyBites.com) 

     The annual Montreal Jazz Festival will take place from June 28 through July 7 making it a perfect place to get away if you want to take a long Independence Day weekend (July 4th is not a holiday in Canada but July 1st, Canada Day, is) As has long been the case with jazz festivals, there will be concerts from a few pop/rock artists such as Seal, Boz Scaggs, and George Thorogood and the Destroyers to go along with those from such bona fide jazz luminaries as the Archie Shepp Quartet, Chris Botti, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and Al Di Meola.       


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