The Mets signed their first marquee free agent under the aegis of new owner Steve Cohen when catcher James McCann agreed to a four-year deal in the $40 million range. McCann, who is one of the premier backstops in baseball, would have gotten a far more lucrative contract (not that anyone has to start a Go Fund Me page for him) had it not been for the COVID-19 pandemic.
Landing McCann had to have been especially satisfying for Cohen since his previous team was the Chicago White Sox whose owner, Jerry Reinsdorf, voted against the sale of the Mets from the Wilpons to him and was quite vociferous about it.
Cohen was well aware he was under pressure to sign a top-flight free agent from the Mets fan base and media. His work is far from finished in this area however.
Many Mets fans were hoping their team would have acquired catcher JT Realmuto instead. That’s understandable since they have seen a lot of Realmuto since he has spent his entire career in the National League East as a member of first the Miami Marlins, and most recently, the Philadelphia Phillies. Realmuto is 29 and is a few months younger than McCann.
Realmuto would have commanded a more lucrative contract, which probably wouldn’t have been a big deal for mega-billionaire Cohen, even if did bring the Mets closer to Major League Baseball’s luxury tax for exceeding the salary cap. What had to have been more concerning was reports of Realmuto expressing reservations about playing in New York. He may have said that merely to coax a few more bucks out of the Mets if negotiations ever got serious but it left a bad taste.
Popular 37 year-old lefty reliever Jerry Blevins accepted a minor league deal to return to the Mets after a two-year hiatus. The Mets probably see him as a future executive in their organization more than an addition to their crowded bullpen.
Phil Linz was a member of the fraternity of baseball players who wore both a Yankees and Mets uniform at different junctures in their careers. Linz, a reserve infielder who passed away last Thursday at the age of 81, was one of the game’s great characters.
He is best known for irritating then-Yankees manager Yogi Berra by playing a harmonica in the back of a team bus after the Yankees had lost four straight games to the Chicago White Sox.
A less famous but even funnier story which Phil Linz liked to tell was how he was pulled over by a highway patrolman for speeding. The cop noticed the “corrective lenses” restriction on Linz’s license and asked him why he wasn’t wearing his glasses. “I’ve got contacts, “Linz cheerfully replied. “I don’t care who you know! You are still getting a ticket!” the cop replied.
The writers and cast of NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” were able to troll both Newsmax and the New York Jets last week.
SNL imagined what would happen if Newsmax, which has tried hard to sell the viability of a second presidential term for Donald Trump to its wishful viewers even a month after the election had been decided in Joe Biden’s favor, started a cable sports network. The joke of the “Sportsmax” skit was the commentators treating the current New York Jets as if they’re an NFL championship dynasty.
I was saddened to learn of the passing Saturday of Charley Pride who was the Jackie Robinson of country music at the age of 86 from COVID-19 complications. Charley was also a talented pitcher who had stints with farm teams in both the Reds and Yankees organizations. He was a part-owner of the Texas Rangers. In his younger days he would take part in spring training with them.
It is always interesting to see people develop unexpected second careers. A case in point is Denise Abbott who used to be in charge of media relation for both the Indy Racing League and Professional Bull Riders. As has become an all too familiar storyline, she lost her job when PBR had financial cutbacks.
Undaunted, Denise turned her crocheting hobby into a business as she created Origi-Knits which makes hand-knit sweaters, ponchos, and scarves for consumers. Her oversized scarves, which are comprised of recycled plastics (they also come in wool), will help protect you from the cold weather and a lot of germs/viruses if you properly wear them across your nose and mouth. You can learn more by logging onto origi-knits.com
Home entertainment has always been integral to one’s leisure time but it has taken on added importance in this COVID-19 era. Streaming service subscriptions understandably make for ideal gifts or a way of treating yourself.
Netflix remains the top streaming service for film buffs, but for my money, Hulu gives you the best bang for the buck when it comes to having a terrific mix of theatrical films, classic television and original shows, as well as sports.
CBS All Access has nicely increased its inventory of titles thanks to the CBS merger with Viacom which has added a lot of Paramount Pictures film titles to its offerings to go along with content from MTV, Nickelodeon, BET, Comedy Central, and the Smithsonian Channel.
HBO Max was launched this past May by Warner Media. As one would expect, a large number of Warner Brothers Pictures titles were made available for subscribers to go along with popular TV series as “Friends.” A couple of weeks ago HBO Max announced “Wonder Woman 1984,” which was slated to play only in movie theaters, would run on HBO Max for no additional cost to its customers.
Six weeks after HBO Max debuted, Comcast introduced Peacock, which contained a treasure trove of NBC past and present shows; Universal Pictures titles; and lots of original shows. Unlike other streamers, Peacock was free for all as long as you were willing to watch commercial. For those who prefer ad-free viewing, Peacock offers a premium service if you are willing to pony up for it.
Horror films have always been a secret pleasure for many and if you want to enjoy them in the sanctity of your home check out the appropriately titled Shudder (shudder.com).
If you are an Amazon Prime customer you may not be aware Jeff Bezos’ behemoth company has become a player in the entertainment industry and its streaming service is included in your annual membership fee.
ESPN + allows you to watch live sports as well as replays of countless games. You can view the Worldwide Leader in Sports’ entire “30 for 30″ film documentary library as well as original series as “Peyton’s Places” which is hosted by football legend Peyton Manning whose dry wit makes this series fun.
If you didn’t have enough choices and want to wait until the start of 2021, cable televison’s Discovery Networks will be launching Discovery Plus. Knock yourself out binge watching past seasons of TLC’s “90 Day Fiancee” and “What Not To Wear.”
Photo by Nick Wosika/Icon Sportswire