The Week That Was: How Will Bro Handle Yo?

    At his introductory press conference last week New York Mets general manger Brodie Van Wagenen said all of the right things with the phrase standing out the most being “sustainable winning.” Considering that the Mets have had far more losing seasons than winning ones that line certainly resonated.

     While a lot has been written about Van Wagenen going from representing players to negotiating against them my feeling is that it’s not the big deal that many think. If anything, his former client Jacob deGrom has to feel far more secure in his long-term future as a Met than he did when the season ended.

     Van Wagenen’s most noteworthy statement was that while most baseball general managers tend to keep a distant relationship with players because of the adversarial actions of salary negotiations and trades, he wants to have solid professional relationships with everyone on his roster. That may just be the agent in him talking right now.

     A major test for Van Wagenen is how he deals with his other high profile former client, the notoriously aloof Yoenis Cespedes. When’s he’s healthy, given the surgery on both of his feet that might be quite awhile, Cespedes is a clear difference maker when it comes to wins and losses. The problem is that he rarely give it his all and his marching to his own drummer act doesn’t foster clubhouse camaraderie which is an important ingredient for winning teams.

     The Mets will be holding their annual winter coat drive on November 14 at their Citi Field team store.. You’ll receive a pair of tickets to a select Mets home game in April or May.

      Long Island City-based JetBlue unveiled its Brooklyn Nets-themed aircraft which the airline has dubbed “BK Blue” at a press event at JFK Airport last week. Former Nets players Albert King and Kerry Kittles joined Barclays Center CEO Brett Yormark at the ceremony.

     Deadspin, the digital sports publication known for its snark, has commissioned its first-ever sports documentary, the cleverly-titled “The Cricket Kings of Queens,” which looks back at the 2017 season of the John Adams High School cricket team.

     The half-hour film does a good job explaining the rules of this British Empire game that is a cousin to baseball. You also get to know the lives of the players who speak freely of their fears of either being deported or having that happen to family members even though it is done with gallows humor.                                 

    The producers of “The Cricket Kings of Queens” are hoping to show it at various film festivals in 2019 including next April’s Tribeca Film Festival.

     As if he isn’t busy enough with his television duties at NBC Sports, Whitestone native and Bayside High School alumnus Mike Tirico is doing a weekly commentary and talk show on the Internet that’s aptly titled “The Mike Tirico Podcast.” New episodes debut each Thursday.

     In light of backup quarterback Kyle Lauletta’s legal woes stemming from resisting arrest following reckless driving in Weehawken, NJ, don’t be surprised if the Giants insert a defensive driving class requirement in all future player contracts.  .

   TNT NBA air personality Craig Sager who lost a valiant battle with leukemia in 2016 was inducted posthumously in Broadcasting & Cable Magazine’s 2018 Hall of Fame induction ceremony last month. Sager was known for his loud blazers and for his interviewing style that always incorporated wit.

     Also honored by B&C was incoming Fox Network CEO Charlie Collier who told me that he grew up, and remains, a passionate Mets fan even though he is part of an ownership syndicate of the San Francisco Giants’ San Jose minor league team.

     The following night the Shadow League, the digital sports publication started by Vibe Magazine founder Keith Clinkscales, honored boxing legend Bernard Hopkins and Fox sportscaster Gus Johnson at their annual awards ceremony. 

     Hopkins, who is currently an ESPN boxing analyst, fought past the age of 50 and has always been known for a good quip. Referring to some of the split decisions that he lost he told me, “Winning comes in many forms. In most of the fights that I lost I still looked the way I did before I stepped into the ring while my victorious opponents looked like they barely survived a war.”

     Former Cincinnati Bengals diminutive wide receiver/kick returner Andrew Hawkins has made the most of his post-NFL opportunities. At the Octagon Sports Marketing Symposium he told the audience that he received a master’s degree from Columbia in 2017 and that he is in charge of business development for LeBron James’ entertainment company, SpringHill Productions. He also does on air work for ESPN. My guess is that you’ll be seeing a lot of him in the near future.

     The New York City Marathon gets scant coverage in the traditional sports media even though it’s 26.2 race through the streets of the Big Apple is one of the most gripping athletic contests that you’ll find. The marathon also generates over $400 million in economic impact for the greater New York area.

       Ethiopia’s  Lelisa Desisa and Kenya’s Mary Keitany won the men’s and women’s races respectively. If Keitany’s name sounds familiar it’s because she had won the NYC Marathon three times previously.

     Among the celebrities running in this year’s NYC Marathon were actress Teri Hatcher, “Hamilton” actor Brian  d’Arcy James, and former Giants running back and current CBS Sports Radio Network morning air personality, Tiki Barber.

     The annual Kids & Family Tech media event held in midtown Manhattan last week and there thankfully seemed to be less emphasis on toys that relied on smartphone apps and more on old school hands-on fun. Examples were Hexbug’s Robotic Soccer and littleBits’ Electronic Music Inventor Kit in which kids can build a miniature guitar.

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