The Week That Was: The Upstate New York Mets

The Mets have moved their AAA team from Las Vegas to far closer upstate Syracuse. This will allow them to bring up players a lot quicker because they’ll only be an hour flight away on JetBlue.

      The Mets’ 25-year commitment to Syracuse is a boon to New York State summer tourism as Mets fans will have an additional reason to visit the Finger Lakes region. The National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is nearby as well.

      My thanks to Far Rockaway native, SiriusXM NFL radio host, and  editor-in-chief of Jets Confidential, the must read monthly newspaper for Gang Green fans, Dan Leberfeld for quoting me on how Jets running back Isaiah Crowell should report the fine he received from the NFL on his tax return for pantomiming rubbing his derriere with a football after he scored a touchdown against the Browns in Cleveland during the third week of the season.

    Crowell received an endorsement deal from Dude Wipes, a toilet paper startup, for his actions. One of the owners of Dude Products, its parent corporation, is Dallas Mavericks CEO Mark Cuban who discovered the company while doing ABC’s “Shark Tank.” 

      Get ready for spring professional football. At the last week’s Neulion Sports Business Journal  Sports & Media Technology Conference former NFL QB and executive Oliver Luck (yes, father of Colts QB Andrew Luck) is now the CEO of the revived XFL that will begin play in February 2020 spoke and indicated that the new XFL will differ markedly from the 2001 version. “Vince McMahon conceded that the quality of play on the football field left something to be desired and that it will be more family friendly,” he stated.

     Luck said that there were enough quality football players who may not have been good enough to make an NFL roster but they deserve a chance to play professionally. He also said that the XFL will have less dead game time as timeouts and the play clock will be shorter. And yes, each player will have his own surname on the back of the jersey instead of some bizarre nickname as the fabled “He Hate Me.”

    There will be another spring pro football league launching even before the XFL does. The Alliance of American Football, an eight-team league, will begin play on February 9, 2019 which is one week after the Super Bowl. There are no teams in the Northeast with most of them being in second-tier, warm weather markets as Orlando, San Diego, Memphis, and Birmingham.

     Before writing off the AAF as a schlock operation it should be noted that it has signed such former NFL coaches as Mike Martz, Mike Singletary, Dennis Erickson, and Steve Spurrier. Longtime NFL executive Bill Polian will be acting as a de facto commissioner. The games will be televised on cable’s CBS Sports Network. 

     My guess is that the AAF and XFL will eventually merge.

     Speaking before of CBS Sports, its NFL on CBS anchor team: Boomer Esiason, Phil Simms, James Brown, Coach Bill Cowher, and Nate Burleson will be hosting a meet and greet dinner and drinks “tailgating”event at the PlayStation Theater on Friday night, November 9th. Contact the Playstation Theater for more details.

      UFC founder Dana White stated at the Neulion SBJ Sports Media & Technology Conference that he was depressed when he sold his mixed martial arts league to William Morris Endeavor for $4 billion. That may seem like a very strange statement but the UFC was his baby and he did not want to just sit in a mansion counting his money.

     WME has wisely agreed to let him continue to run UFC and Dana is certainly not coasting, He told the conference attendees that his latest project is to create a line of UFC branded gyms where someone can learn all of the facets of mixed martial arts or just work out as they would in any other facility.

     You have to feel for Giants running back Saquon Barkley. Even if he proves to be a modern day Jim Brown, Giants fans and the media are still going to insist that Big Blue GM Dave Gettleman should have drafted a QB with the second pick in the 2018 NFL Draft.

    Barkley and beleaguered Giants QB Eli Manning last week took part in a financial literacy seminar at MetLife Stadium geared towards high school students and which was sponsored by VISA which has made financial education a part of their corporate mission for years. VISA and the NFL recently commissioned  a video game entitled “Financial Football”          

     After cutting their sports staff to the bone, the Daily News smartly reversed course and added Wallace Matthews to be its chief columnist. Wally is always a fun read and never talks down to his readers by regurgitating the obvious; consistently beating up the usual suspects; or protecting sacred cows.

      Happy 90th birthday to Yankees legend, Hall of Fame pitcher, as well as Astoria native, Edward “Whitey”Ford.

     Tourism representatives for the Florida panhandle cities of Fort Walton Beach and Destin were in town last week to bring awareness to the fact that while neighboring cities as Mexico Beach and Panama City were devastated by Hurricane Michael their cities were completely spared and are open for business. Northern Florida is the one part of the Sunshine State where the late fall and winter are considered off-season so there are lodging bargains to be had here. Another bonus is that the seafood is arguably the best in the southeast.

     The largest American vegan food festival, the Seed Food & Wine Festival (, will be taking place in Miami from November 7-11. Carnivores are advised to delay a trip to the Miami area until February 20, 2019 when the next South Beach Wine & Food Festival gets underway.

     Turning from food to laughs, the annual New York Comedy Festival will be taking place at various venues from November 5-11. Cable’s TBS, whose brand is based around comedy and whose motto is “Very funny,” is a sponsor of the NYCF so it’s not surprising that their last night talk show host, Conan O’Brien , will be doing standup at the Beacon Theater on the Upper West Side.

     Political satirist Bill Maher, best known for his must-watch HBO Friday night show “Real Time,”  is passing however on this year’s New York Comedy Festival. He had normally played Carnegie Hall during the NYCF. Maher just celebrated his 25th anniversary of hosting intelligent and often controversial television panel shows with a special on HBO that premiered last Friday.

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