The Week That Was: The Real Mr. Met

     When we hear the term “Mr. Met” it’s understandable that images of a beloved mascot with the big baseball head and Mets uniform come quickly to mind. If there ever was a real person who deserved that moniker it would be Jay Horwitz who has been employed by the team for over 40 years. .

     Horwitz would undoubtedly be richer than Alex Rodriguez if he had a dollar for every time someone asked him to write a book. He finally has penned a memoir rightfully titled “Mr. Met” (Triumph Books).

     Anyone who is expecting a tell-all expose on the Wilpon family who own the New York Mets will be sorely disappointed. Bernie Madoff, the rogue Far Rockaway native financier with whom the Wilpons unfortunately had dealings, is not even mentioned once.

     Jay is understandably more comfortable writing about his own foibles and it’s easy to root for a guy who is the quintessential underdog. He publicly reveals for the first time how he’s blind in one eye and he pokes fun at his less than stellar Little League career and his driving mishaps which had to have been affected by his vision handicap.

     He discusses his obsessive love of sports which, as it is for a lot of us, was a way of bonding with father. Jay speaks fondly of those Sunday afternoons of going to New York Giants football games with his dad, Milton, and he remains a diehard Big Blue fan to this very day. 

     To his credit, Jay admits he overprotected certain players from reporters, especially pitcher Dwight Gooden. He even quotes Boston Globe columnist Leigh Montville who went public with his frustrations with him at trying to get access to Gooden during the famed 1986 World Series.

    Mets players from the ‘86 team were so fond of Jay they voted him a full player’s share which came to $93,000. He was understandably concerned if the appearance of doing so would be unseemly so he asked his mom, Gertrude, for advice. “I didn’t raise a schmuck. Take the money!” she replied and Jay obliged.

    Horwitz is reticent to criticize players (I would loved to have read his thoughts about self-absorbed pitcher Matt Harvey) but he should have brought up the 1993 incident when Bobby Bonilla threatened respected baseball scribe Bob Klapisch. It would have been educational to have a PR director’s take on what happens when tensions flare between the media and a player.

    On the other hand Jay is at ease discussing Mets managers, especially Bobby Valentine, and the work he put in at Shea Stadium in the wake of 9/11. He also reveals how Terry Collins’ philosophy was  to treat every reporter as if he were the sports editor of the New York Times and he did.

     Mets fans will enjoy this book even if it lacks juicy gossip.. 

     The premium cable network/streaming service, Epix, has just debuted a two-part documentary on Laurel Canyon, the hilly neighborhood in western Los Angeles where some of the pop music of the baby boomer generation was created.

      The subject was broached two years ago in a Netflix documentary called “Echo In The Canyon,” that was produced by Jakob Dylan. It was fine but this new “Laurel Canyon: A Place In Time” is vastly superior with its use of rarely seen footage and interviews with the likes of David Crosby, Graham Nash, Steven Stills, Michelle Phillips, Don Henley, and Linda Ronstadt.

      Whereas “Echo In The Canyon” left the viewer thinking that Laurel Canyon’s glory days ended with the Manson Family murders in August 1969, “A Place In Time” shows that the early 1970s were every bit as fertile as the late 1960s thanks to the talents of Jackson Browne, Bonnie Raitt, the Eagles, and Linda Ronstadt.

      Director Alison Ellwood smartly includes plenty of footage of bands as the Flying Burrito Brothers, Love, and Little Feat who did not sell a lot of records during their recording careers but who all have achieved almost mythical status with the passage of time.

      Famed rock photographers Henry Diltz and Nurit Wilde along with former record executive Elliot Roberts (who sadly passed away shortly after this documentary was completed) serve as our tour guides through Laurel Canyon’s musical golden years from roughly 1965 through 1975.

     AT&T, the parent corporation of Warner Entertainment, launched its HBO Max streaming service last Wednesday.

     As its name indicates all HBO cable programming can be found here along with original programming such as “Love Life” starring Anna Kendrick as a grad student in New York City who bounces from one heartbreaking relationship to another. In spite of that downer of a premise the writing is clever and there are plenty of intelligent laughs.

     HBO Max’s “On The Record” is a documentary which has quickly generated buzz because it examines the misogyny that had been commonplace in the hip-hop record industry corporate suite. The main focus is on Def Jam Records founder and Hollis native Russell Simmons who is accused of sexual predatory behavior by a number of female co-workers with the most prominent being his company’s former VP of artists & repertoire, Drew Dixon.

     The biggest disappointment with this streaming service which charges $14.99 per month is the lack of classic television series which were made or distributed by Warner Brothers. HBO Max is the only place you can now watch reruns of “Friends” for the millionth time but it would be fun to see such baby boomer favorites as “F Troop” and “Love Connection” be made available for subscribers.

      HBO Max executives should emulate the way CBS All Access had made so many of the series which aired on the Tiffany Network throughout its history available on demand for its viewers.

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