The Week That Was: The Yankees Mounting Injuries

     The injury bug, which the Mets know all too well from, seems to have traversed the RFK Bridge, The Yankees knew from the end of last season that they would be without shortstop Did Gregorius. They did not know however that by the end of the midpoint of April they’d also be without the services of Gregorius’s replacement, Troy Tulowitzki, as well as third baseman Miguel Andujar, outfielders Aaron Hicks, Jacoby Ellsbury, and Giancarlo Stanton, and pitchers Luis Severino and Dellin Betances. 

     This past Friday night catcher Gary Sanchez was added to the injured list with a strained left calf. Reporters rushed to his locker before the Yankees game with the Chicago White Sox and peppered him with such ridiculous questions as “Does he feel guilty about missing games when so many of his teammates are out of the lineup as well?”

      Sanchez, to his credit, kept his cool and said that it was not his decision but rather that of Yankees management. He was hoping to play through the pain. I asked Sanchez if the thinking was that it’s a long season and that since it’s just mid-April wouldn’t it be better to try to nip a nagging injury in the bud than have it become worse and miss far more games at lesser opportune times? Sanchez concurred with that strategy and Yankees manager Aaron Boone stated that was exactly what the Yankees were thinking at his daily press conference.

     Boone, as expected, said that the injuries are an opportunity for “next man up” and outfielder Clint Frazier has certainly taken advantage of his playing time with his good hitting.

      Frazier was known for his long flaming red hair reminiscent to that of Mick Hucknall, the lead singer of the ‘80s British group, Simply Red,  when he was acquired in the July 31, 2016 deal that sent reliever Andrew Miller to the Cleveland Indians.

     The Yankees make a big deal over grooming when it comes to both facial hair and the length of one’s locks. Clint has complied by cutting his hair but working in a “punk” crew cut over his ears. He told me with a smile that no one from upper management has bothered him about it yet.

      Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge has been following his counterpart in Queens, Mets rookie first baseman Pete Alonso, from afar.”I watched a replay of the long home run that he hit in Atlanta on Thursday. Wow!” he said with admiration. That is high praise coming from a man who is renowned for his prodigious homers.

      Judge said that he doesn’t know Alonso but is looking forward to meeting him when the Subway Series has its first leg at Yankee Stadium June 10 & 11 and expects to be asked to pose with him for photos “I heard that he’s a really good guy,” Judge added.                           

       Former Mets pitcher and current team SNY broadcaster Ron Darling will be away from the microphone for at least a month as her recovers from surgery to remove a mass from his chest. Another former Mets player, Todd Zeile, will be filling in for him.        

       In more upbeat SNY news, congratulations to one of its longtime cameramen, Kenny Kaplan, who was inducted last week into the University of Texas Lacrosse Hall of Fame. Kaplan was a star Longhorns goaltender in the mid 1970s.

        It seems safe to say that a key reason that Chris Mullin, arguably the greatest player in St. John’s University basketball history, has decided to leave as Red Storm head coach is that he did not enjoy a good working relationship with SJU athletic director Mike Cragg who came to the school from Duke University this past October.

      Last week wasn’t a good one either for the greatest basketball player in Forest Hills High School history, Ernie Grunfeld, who was dismissed as president of the NBA’s Washington Wizards after sixteen years there. The Wizards have been a perennial disappointment even though they possess one of the NBA’s best backcourts with guards Bradley Beal and John Wall.

      Grunfeld probably should have gotten canned years ago but he came to the Wizards with a strong resume as an executive with both the New York Knicks and the Milwaukee Bucks. He also enjoyed a solid friendship with Wizards’ owner Ted Leonsis who was basically forced by Wizards fans and the Beltway sports media to fire Grunfeld when the Wizards failed to make the NBA playoffs yet again this season.           

        Every TV sports executive had to have been popping bottles of champagne after Tiger Woods won the 2019 Masters. Woods is to golf tournament television ratings what President Trump is to political analysis TV networks as Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC.

       Showtime’s recent four-part Sunday night documentary series, “Action,” detailed how sports gambling has turned into a legitimate billion-dollar and growing industry thanks to the United States Supreme Court’s decision giving states the right to accept wagers on professional sports leagues and college sports. The show provided an inside look at the media personalities, fantasy sports organization executives such as the CEOs of both FanDuel and Draft Kings, as well as those who allegedly make a living being professional gamblers.

      “Action” was very well-done and is certainly worthy of Emmy consideration. While visiting sports book casinos is a harmless diversion for most, the big question is whether all of this easy access to sports gambling will lead to a spike in addictive behavior. The impending imprisonment of former WFAN morning air personality Craig Carton serves as a stark cautionary tale.

        The Tribeca Film Festival which gets underway next week is showcasing a lot of sports-related films. 

        A Woman’s Work: The NFL’s Cheerleader Problem” examines the financial exploitation that has long plagued what would seem to be on the surface a very glamorous showcase for attractive young ladies.

       Former St. John’s University Red Storm basketball star Felipe Lopez is the subject of “The Dominican Dream” which looks at the unreasonably high hoops expectations people had for him when he was a high school student in the Bronx but how he has still been a success in spite of enjoying just a brief NBA career.

     On a lighter note, a documentary on the annual July 4th Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest, “The Good, The Bad, and the Hungry,” is debuting at the Tribeca Film Festival as well. Expect longtime champ Joey Chestnut to get a lot of screen time.

     “Quiet Storm: The Ron Artest Story” is a documentary about Queensbridge native and former St. John’s and NBA star Metta World Peace (formerly Ron Artest) that premiered earlier in the year at the Santa Barbara Film Festival. The film details his battles with his temper and how anger management is always an issue. It was produced by Bleacher Report and will premiere on Showtime on May 31. I’m surprised that HBO didn’t pick it up since Bleacher Report and HBO are both under the Warner Media corporate umbrella.

     Passover has always meant dietary restrictions for those who observe its eight days but this year there are lot of tasty options that should entice food fans regardless of religious background. Kayco, a competitor to Manischewitz and Streit’s, is the manufacturer of Yehuda Gluten-Free Cinnamon Matzo Squares, Sea Castle Seaweed Snacks, Glick’s Macaroons (which come in chocolate and coconut flavors), and Harrison’s Jelly Rings.

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