The Week That Was: Cespedes Opts Out

     Few good things have happened to the New York Mets in Atlanta over the last 25 years if not longer. This past weekend may have taken the cake.

     Getting swept by the Braves is almost par for the course so what was most newsworthy was mercurial outfielder Yoenis Cespedes going AWOL Sunday as he failed to show up at Sun Trust Park.

     The Mets sent out a press release during the game in which they indicated they had no idea where he was or the reason for his absence. It wasn’t until after the game when Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen revealed Cespedes’s agent had informed him he had decided to opt out of his contract because of concerns about COVID-19. Since Cespedes’s contract expires at the end of this season it’s safe to say he’s played his last game as a Met.

     Cespedes is 34 years old and so his concerns about catching the coronavirus are understandable. Many other professional athletes have made similar decisions and more will continue to do so. Seeing the number of baseball players and other team personnel who have tested positive for COVID-19 has to be unnerving to any major leaguer.

     The proverbial $64,000 question is obviously “Why didn’t he inform Brodie Van Wagenen, who was once his agent at CAA, before the game and allay a lot of worries such as the possibility of meeting with foul play?”

     Van Wagenen refused to answer that query but beleaguered rookie Mets manager Luis Rojas admitted “We all know how Cespedes is” in his Sunday postgame press conference.” While the Mets will miss his home run power, they surely won’t miss his marching to his own drummer shtick which doesn’t mesh well in a team sport. 

     Hours before the Cespedes no-show drama unfolded, Brodie Van Wagenen fortuitously made a trade with the San Francisco Giants to obtain 29 year-old speedy centerfielder Billy Hamilton who has always given the Mets fits as an opposing player.

     President Trump last month announced he’d throw out the first pitch before a game scheduled to take place at Yankee Stadium on August 15th. That was news to the New York Yankees since they never invited him. Trump eventually canceled his appearance. Given the status of their putrid bullpen, the Mets should consider inviting Trump to throw some pitches in a real game as a reliever.

     The New York Post’s Mike Puma was the only Mets beat writer to fly to Atlanta this past weekend for the Mets-Braves series. He deserves combat pay for both traveling to a COVID-19 hot spot and for watching the Mets play in person. 

      Yankees Spanish radio play-by-play voice Rickie Ricardo did a nice job filling in for John Sterling last week on WFAN. He displayed an easy-going conversational style as well as good chemistry with Suzyn Waldman.

       Few, if any, have logged more radio broadcast hours than the iconic “Cousin” Bruce Morrow. It was sad news when world filtered out last week that he, and his current employer, Sirius XM, could not agree on terms for a future contract.

    Morrow had been hosting “Cousin Brucie’s Rock & Roll Party” on Saturday evenings for the past 15 years on Sirius XM’s 60s on 6 channel. Before the advent of satellite radio, he had long stints at WNBC, WCBS-FM, and most famously WABC., which is still considered the gold standard in Top 40 radio history.

     Last year supermarket magnate, and rumored New York City Republican mayoral candidate, John Catsimatidis bought WABC. At the time he cited his love for the 50,000-watt AM powerhouse station from his days as a teenager listening to such fabled air personalities as Harry Harrison, Ron Lundy, Dan Ingram, Chuck Leonard, and of course, Bruce Morrow.

     WABC has been a talk radio station since 1982 although it did have a Saturday night oldies show hosted by Mark Simone about 15 years ago. Catsimatidis should think about bringing Cousin Brucie back home.

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