Bock’s Score: Comings and Goings in the Sports World

Sometimes, the world of sports can get a little quirky. Sometimes, it can get very quirky. And sometimes, it can get quirky in more than one place at the same time.

There was the other day when the New York Mets hired a new general manager with zero front office experience and the city of Cleveland cleaned out coaches of its NBA and NFL franchises.

On the same day.

Brodie Van Wagenen is the new general manager of the Mets, a job he qualified for by being a player agent and negotiating salaries for his clients with the previous Mets administration.

That means he will argue against the salary demands of Jacob de Grom and Noah Syndegaard after arguing for them.

Strange world, no?

Van Wagenen made headlines last July when the Mets were struggling through what seemed an endless summer. He demanded that the team either sign a contract extension for de Grom right then and there or trade him.

The Mets were so impressed with the agent’s demands that they did neither. And now he is the team’s general manager.

Strange world, yes.

Then we have the Cleveland catastrophe.

Three years ago, with LeBron James dominating, the Cavaliers won the NBA championship. They paraded through downtown with their trophy, celebrating their triumph and right in the middle of the festive moment was coach Tyronn Lee, grinning from ear to ear and waving to what had been a championship-starved crowd.

James hung around for a while longer and then bailed out this season, signing with the Los Angeles Lakers. The Cavaliers responded by losing their first six games and then losing their coach, who was summarily fired, ostensibly for not being able to win without King James.

Now if James was still playing for the Cavaliers, would they have lost their first six games and would Lee still have a job? One can only speculate.

Then we have the case of the sad sack Cleveland Browns. They hired Hue Jackson as coach three years ago and the team immediately went into a tailspin of historic proportions.

The Browns went 1-15 in Jackson’s first year and then a perfect 0-16 last season. That’s 1-31 over Jackson’s first two seasons on their sidelines. The Browns remained committed to him, however, and it paid off this season when Cleveland tied the season-opener against hated rival Pittsburgh and then won two games in the first half of the season, beating the woebegone New York Jets and the Baltimore Ravens.

Instead of celebrating the improvement, the team fired the coach.

The dismissal came after the Browns lost their second meeting of the Steelers. That, apparently, is a capital crime in Cleveland.

Want proof?

Check out the resumes of the last five coaches fired by the Browns before Jackson. Romeo Cremel, Eric Mangini, Pat Shurmur, Bob Chudzinski and Mike Pettine were each dismissed after the season’s second game against Pittsburgh.

Is that bad Karma? Maybe. Maybe not. But it certainly qualifies as quirky.


About the Author

Hal Bock

Hal Bock is a contributor with NY Sports Day. He has covered sports for 40 years at The Associated Press including 30 World Series, 30 Super Bowls and 11 Olympics. He is the author of 14 books including most recently The Last Chicago Cubs Dynasty and Banned Baseball's Blacklist of All-Stars and Also-Rans. He has written scores of magazine articles and served as Journalist In Residence at Long Island University's Brooklyn campus where he also served on the selection committee for the George Polk Awards.

Get connected with us on Social Media