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This day in Sports, April 8th,by Neil Miller The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

04/08/04 devils vs flyers #15 lagenbrunner celebrates a #16 hrdina Neil Miller/The NY Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020
04/08/05 #3 Stephan Marbury was high man for both teams tonight with 29 pts Neil Miller/The New York Extra/The NYExtra.com copyright 2020
04/08/06 capitols vs islanders uniondale ny#39 Rick Dipietro makes save in the 2nd period Neil Miller/The New York Extra/The NYExtra.com copyright 2020
04/08/07 Baltimore Orioles Vs. New York Yankees @ Yankee Stadium Yankees Andy Pettitte delivers in the 6th inning as a relief pitcher. Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020
04/08/12 Chicago Bulls Vs. New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden New York Knicks small forward Carmelo Anthony #7 reacts after hitting the game winning three point shot to defeat the Bulls 100-99 in overtime. Neil Miller/The New York extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020
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Logistics Say MLB Plan To Resume Can’t Be Possible

Logistics say that Major League Baseball games being played in Arizona  will be difficult to save the 2020 season. In other words this is complicated towards gearing for a June 1 start.

Lets be realistic here. The Coronavirus Pandemic has not reached that Apex. That is  a word we have all become accustomed to hearing and opinions vary as to what account is reliable.  It’s a day-by-day basis and of course safety is the issue.

You hear the word safe. You hear about keeping distance and staying home as we play baseball and sports to provide that diversion. Major League Baseball , though, with a plan to have all 30 teams play ball in Arizona in reality is a delusion.

As of Tuesday, and after a reported proposal was made Monday, their goal was to find a way to salvage the 2020 season. MLB reportedly is looking at all options with contingency plans, if anything, the idea has fans and the baseball world talking.

They, like me and you, want the season to start. Again, with a national health crisis, and never at this magnitude, we leave decisions to the medical authorities. Until they say otherwise normal business will not proceed. 

So with players and personnel, all home and in isolation, where do we go from here?  Reportedly, the MLBPA and MLB are in talks. Don’t expect any agreement and anytime soon. 

And a prevailing attitude here is this will go nowhere. It is just a buzz to keep fans interested. Major League Baseball, the owners, yes they are losing significant revenue. In the end, they will recover with their losses as owners have that security to do so.

If you ask this observer, after speaking to players and others involved in the game, the logistics are easy to understand and safety is the first issue as to why this proposal is absurd. 

Players are getting paid for two months as per agreement. The contracts for the most part are secured, but they are getting hit in the pocket and not getting the full.  

Locally, and with New York as the epicenter of this Coronavirus, don’t expect baseball in 2020. Regardless if the numbers go down, Citi Field and Yankee Stadium will remain dark. It is simple to understand that we are at risk even when this crisis abates and with no vaccine in site. 

The Mets have scattered to their homes around the country. Their spring training and minor league complexes  in Port St. Lucie Florida is closed. Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Dom Smith, Marcus Stroman, they are across the state in Tampa and finding a way to stay in baseball shape.

J.D. Davis, after a light workout Monday, packed the car with his wife and began their cross-country drive home to Elk Grove California. He, like other players, contacted by NYExtra.com had doubts about the MLB concept. 

J.D. Davis at the Thurman Munson Award Dinner /Feb 6 2020/neil Miller/ The New york Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020

“It would be interesting, don’t know if it’s doable.” Davis said as he continued his journey across Texas.

There are concerns about placing 30 teams in hotels, limited number of venues that are minor league complexes, and summer weather extremes of heat in the desert.

“It’s such a big group to quarantine,” he said.  

There is that possible risk of a player or two testing positive for the virtus. In that unlikely event it would be players, families, a member of the coaching staff, umpires, stadium staff, and all  under quarantine. If so, the season is halted and it’s a question of why the risk?

“If the rosters expand, too many numbers, too many people,” Davis said. “All I can do is keep my body in shape and be ready if we get the call as if this was the offseason.”

And players would need another two to three weeks of spring training. You have to get them in place with many in Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. 

Though, Davis would not commit to saying yes or no to the MLB plan. He had yet to read any of the proposed formats. Some of the formats to save the season  would include no fans, players keeping distance, no use of the dugouts, a robot umpire at home plate, and numerous double-headers of seven inning games. 

None of this seems logical, And how would owners divide any revenue? Gate receipts and concessions are a major revenue source. Television networks would fulfil their billion dollar agreements with MLB, but the assumption is this would be at a lower scale.

05/18/16 Washington Nationals vs NY Mets at Citifield Queens NY Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez #47 pitches in the 4th innning Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020

“ Not logical, not making sense,” said White Sox pitcher Gio Gonzaelz when reached by phone at his home in the Miami area. “The world is out as a whole right now. It’s scary. It’s not fun. They don’t know how far this is going to go.  We all love baseball and want to be realistic.”

He added there is also that concern about a quarantine. “What am I going to do with my kids, my family? I’m not a robot, I’m not a lab rat.”   

Yes, the logistics of this are a concern. And with minor league systems also dark the need for a roster spot may not be possible in the event a player or two goes down with an injury. 

In the end, MLB is looking to provide that diversion. It worked after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. But this is so much different. We are fighting a war that has no remedy at the moment.

As one high ranking scout, also sitting on the sidelines said, “logistically it’s trying to go to the moon in a volkswagon  Too many obstacles.”  


Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

A Holiday Prayer, by Neil Miller, The New York Extra,TheNYExtra.com, additional reporting and editing by Toni Hoyos

As the spring holiday season approaches, we as a community need to give thanks for the blessings we have, even in this time of peril.

The covid-19 pandemic has swept across the globe sparing little in it’s path. The where, whys and hows of it’s origin and how it’s being handled should be put aside for the present time so that we may survive and thrive after this darkness.

As a Jew, this season brings thoughts of the last plague in Egypt, death surrounded the Hebrew slaves yet God spared them as the Angel of Death passed over their homes.. This thought is inescapable, as much as Easter, when Christ rose from the dead and was resurrected to new life, we should all look forward to the day of release, and celebrate a new spiritual life, with more love, tolerance and understanding.

So, when all our favorite restaurants, clubs and music venues return, and the time to rejoice has come, remember as we have that first meal, drink or dance, lets all thank God for the gifts of life.

This day in Sports,April 6th,by Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

04/06/06 Washington Capitols vs New York Islander/Neil Miller/The New York Extra copyright 2020
04/06/06 NY Islanders vs NY Rangers @ MSG: /Rangers win 3-1 over the Islanders #68 jagr failed to score his 53 record goal, here being stopped by #39 dipietro and guarded by #14 campoli Neil Miller/ The New York Extra copyright 2020
004/06/10 NY Yankees vs Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Boston Ma neil yanks #62 Joba Chamberlain reacts after getting the final out in the 8th inning Neil Miller/The New York Extra copyright 2020
4/06/13 Charlotte Bobcats Vs. Brooklyn Nets at Barclays Center: Brooklyn Nets center Brook Lopez #11 reverse dunks the ball during the third quarter. Neil Miller/The New York Extra copyright 2020
04/06/24 NYPD vs NYFD hockey game at Nassau coliseum Both teams fight in a bench clearing brawl in the 2nd period NYFD #10 Joe Sanger throws punches in the 2nd period Neil Miller/The New York Extra copyright 2020
04/06/16 Houston Astros vs N.Y.Yankees at Yankee Stadium Bronx N.Y.New York Yankees lead 12-6 after 5 1/2 innings New York Yankees starting pitcher Ivan Nova #47 pitches in the 6th inning Neil Miller/The New York Extra copyright 2020
04/06/18 Baltimore Orioles vs New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium Bronx NY New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge #99 hits an rbi single in the rd inning Neil Miller /The New York Extra copyright 2020

This day in Sports, April 5th, by Neil Miller,The New York Extra, The NYExtra.com copyright 2020

Fordham In Search Of New Athletic Director

Fordham University Director of Athletics David Roach, who has served in collegiate athletics for 45 years, announced his retirement today effective June 30, 2020.

Credit Fordham Athlectics

 “After much thought and reflection, I have decided to retire at the end of June”, said Roach. “It has been an exceptionally satisfying and rewarding forty-five years in intercollegiate athletics, and I am incredibly grateful for all that my time in athletics has given me.  It is far more than I ever imagined. “

Fordham University and all NCAA collegiate sports programs suspended their spring schedules as the Coronavirus Pandemic was brought to attention last month. Roach was at the Barclays Center and watched the Rams win their first round Atlantic-10 men’s Basketball Conference game over George Washington.

 “Fordham and its student athletes are deeply grateful to Dave for his eight seasons of leadership on and off the field,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of the University. “I know the Fordham community joins me in thanking Dave for his long service, and in wishing him a joyful retirement.” 

Roach is completing his eighth season on Rose Hill. Under his guidance, the Rams have enjoyed on-field success with 12 Atlantic 10 titles along with one Patriot League championship. Over that time, the Rams have made 16 NCAA appearances and women’s basketball competed in four WNIT bids..

Fordham sent three teams to the NCAA Championships in 2013-14 for the first time in school history (football, women’s basketball and softball) and followed that with three more in 2014-2015 (football, men’s soccer and softball) and again had three teams advance in 2019 (women’s basketball, softball and baseball. 

“As both a coach and Director of Athletics I have had the privilege of working with excellent staff, outstanding coaches, and exceptional student-athletes,” said Roach. “Over the years, I have often been asked which athletic moments are the most memorable. It’s never been one game, one championship or one season.  The thrill for me has been the satisfaction of having been a small part in helping young adults develop, graduate, and find success as they pursue their talents and passions.”

 Roach has also served as athletic director at Colgate University (eight years) and Brown University (14 years). Prior to moving to the administrative side, Roach served as head swimming coach at Tennessee (1986-1990) and Brown (1978-1986). Roach was inducted into the Rhode Island Aquatic Hall of Fame in 1988, the Brown University Hall of Fame in 1989 and received a Springfield College Distinguished Alumnus Award in 2018.

He was recently appointed to serve on the Lake Placid 2023 World University Winter Games Organizing Committee. 

“I would like to thank Fr. McShane and Senior vice president Jeff Gray for believing in me and giving me the opportunity to lead Fordham Athletics,” said Roach. “I have enjoyed working with everyone at Fordham and I’m especially proud of the staff and athletic department we have in place. “

” We have a phenomenal staff both as professionals and as people. Our coaches have always kept the student-athlete first and foremost in everything.  I will mostly miss the Fordham student-athlete who has always represented Fordham so well on and off the field of play. Go Rams!” 

Comment:Ring786@aol.com Twitter@Ring786  Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

This day in sports

The New York Extra’s on going photo review

04/04/03 Devils vs Rangers #11 Mark Messier is held off by #27 Scott Niedermeyer as he tries to put a shot on goal in the first period Neil Miller The New York Extra
04/04/07 Tampa Bay vs Yanks Fans line up at ticket window after game is cancelled today due to rain out Neil Miller/The New York Extra
04/04/10 Mets David Wright at batting practice today Neil Miller The New York Extra
04/04/11 Boston bruins Vs. New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden Rangers win 5-3 #22 brian boyle, rear, celebrates the 2 period goal of #38 mike Sauer with #10 Marian Gaborik late in the 3rd period Neil Miller The New York Extra
04/04/13 Nit final Iowa vs Baylor at msg Baylor Bears celebrate their win in the NIT tonight with the championship Award Neil Miller The New York Extra

This day in Sports

A new series of photographs by the staff of the New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

04/03/17 Atlanta Braves vs New York Mets at Citifield Queens NY/ photos by Neil Miller/The New York Extra New York Mets starting pitcher Noah Syndergaard #34 pitches in the 3rd innning
04/03/11 Cleveland Caverliers Vs. New YorkKnicks at Madison Square Garden, Neil Miller The New York Extra Knicks Carmelo Anthony goes up for a shot during the first quarter.
04/03/11 Cleveland Caverliers Vs. New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden, Neil Miller The New York Extra Knicks / Amar’e Stoudemire rebounds the ball as Cavs Baron Davis tries to steal it during the third quarter.
04/03/11 Detroit Tigers Vs. New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium Neil Miller /The New York Extra/ Yankees relief pitcher Joba Chamberlain bites his glove after giving up a run in the 9th inning
04/03/11 Detroit Tigers Vs. New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium Neil Miller/The New York Extra/ Yankees Mark Teixeira is greeted in the dugout by his teammates after he scores on his solo homer in the third inning.
04/03/13 Pittsburgh Penguins vs ny rangers at msg neil miller New York Rangers lead 3-0 after 1 period of play New York Rangers right wing Ryan Callahan #24 tries to get around Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Chris Kunitz #14 during a Pittsburgh Penguins powerplay in the 1st period
04/03/12 New York Rangers vs. Philadelphia Flyers at Wells Fargo Center Philadelphia PA Neil Miller/The New York Extra Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Kimmo Timonen #44 checks New York Rangers right wing Marian Gaborik #10 during the third period. The Rangers defeated the Flyers.

APPETIZERS FOR A LAZY DAY

BROCCOLI PATTIES AND OVEN BAKED PLANTAIN FRIES

Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Nowadays I have much more time to spend cooking. I’m trying to limit exposure and only going to the supermarkets when necessary, getting what I can find then using it all up! I was in a snacky mood wanting something different. I had one green plantain thinking i would make tostones but decided to try making oven baked plantain fries (which I have not done before). There was also a nice large crown of broccoli that needed to be used. Alright how about some broccoli patties? Sounds good to me!

The broccoli patty recipe was made up according to what was in my fridge. I decided to use 2 organic carrots, had no onions but found a medium sized shallot, grated pecorino romano cheese, a couple baby peppers and eggs.

I rinsed the broccoli, cut into chunks using the stem part also (no waste), wash carrots, peel if you want (vitamins in skin), destem baby peppers and peel shallot. Add to the food processor, pulse to a finer consistency rather than chunky but not mush. You will need to do a couple batches. Once processed empty into a large bowl, add 1/2 cup grated cheese (helps to bind), a few turns of the black pepper mill and I needed to use 4 eggs. Mix together well. I did not add salt because of the cheese, instead sprinkle on salt if desired after cooked. Put the bowl in the refrigerator while you preheat pan. I used a copper infused fry pan. Add oil to cover bottom of pan, I was out of avocado oil so I used coconut oil. Place a large tablespoonful of mixture into pan flattening down lightly, as many as your pan accommodates, don’t crowd pan. Fry until brown then flip over gently with a spatula. When ready place on a wire rack. Return bowl to refrigerator in between frying batches.

Time for the plantain fries. To peel first cut off the ends then make a slit running down the length of the pantain careful not to hit the flesh. I actually make 3 slits down the raised seams on the plantain. Peel by hand or I prefer to use a butter knife along the slits and pry off. Once peeled cut into 3 equal chunks then slice each chunk into fries. Place in bowl, add about 1 tablespoon melted coconut oil, season to taste. I tried salt, pepper. onion and garlic powder. I wanted to keep it simple for my first time, see how they come out then adjust accordingly for future recipe. Mix together then place on a baking sheet, put in a preheated 425 degree oven. Turn after 12 minutes, cook about 8 more minutes.

You can serve these with just about any dipping sauce of your choice. Using what I had on hand, I mixed some Mr. Peppers hot sauce into Primal Kitchen avocado oil real mayo. I like a little kick! It was great with both of them but particularly the plantain fries!

All in all I was happy with the outcome. Next time I will do the broccoli patties using an onion instead of a shallot. Felt like I missed that oniony flavor. Or try using both. I’m definitely doing the plantain fries again (as in buying several on my next shopping spree!). One plantain did not go very far, my boyfriend enjoyed them too. I liked the spices that I used for the plantain recipe but going to also add some paprika next time, how can that be bad! Thanks for looking in, let’s make the best of what we have and all be safe and healthy!

The “REAL” Salt Shack, Beautiful Long Island, the second in a series of photographs for the Enjoyment and Zen of our readers by Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

The “REAL” Salt Shack

Surfer’s shack in between Tobay and West Gilgo Beaches/Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com cpoyright 2020

Today’s location brings us to the South Shore beach between Tobay and West Gilgo. Even in the summer, east of the concession stand at Tobay is a peaceful and mostly not overly crowded area. As you get closer to West Gilgo, there’s a favorite spot for surfers. It’s here we find the “real” Salt Shack, a cooperative created over the years by surfers and beach lovers. No one really seems to know exactly how or when it came to life, though there are some vague online posts here and there. Engraved in the drift wood of the shack are lovers messages, words of encouragement, peace and love of life. A simple basic structure where one can leave their mark.

Beautiful Long Island

First in a series of photographs for our readers enjoyment and peace of mind by Neil Miller

Today’s photo installment is at Shu Swamp Preserve in Mill Neck. A short ride up Route #107 to Chicken Valley Road leads to this private North Shore Park. Peaceful, with many nice walking trails, this pretty park gives you a nice dose of Zen. Good for families, couples or solo, FYI no bikes or pets.

SUNDAY “ISOLATION” SAUCE

COMFORT FOOD FOR A RAINY DAY by Toni Hoyos/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Neil Miller/The New York Extra/The NYExtra.com

Here we are on this rainy Sunday practicing social distancing with no place to go. Thus let the cooking begin! I needed to utilize what was on hand so I foraged the kitchen to see what was in stock. The man was craving comfort food. Found 2 different jars of tomato sauce and one bag of pasta. Luckily there actually was meat in the house, bingo! Sunday Sauce! Something I hadn’t made in years, hopefully the touch was still there.

Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

I had 2 lbs of grass fed beef chop meat and a 6 pack of Premio sausage. Open and rinse off sausage, pat dry with paper towel and place on small sheet pan, set aside. For the meatballs I used a medium onion and 3 cloves of organic garlic which I pulsed a few times in the food processor. I added that to the chop meat in a large bowl along with 1 large egg, dried basil, dried parsley, salt and pepper to taste. In lieu of breadcrumbs I used 2 slices of whole wheat farmhouse bread soaked in almond milk which I shredded by hand into the chop meat mixture. Once again I was utilizing what was available to me in the house, normally I like to use fresh herbs when cooking and I improvised with the bread and almond milk, you can use any milk, bread or breadcrumbs. Mix by hand until everything looks incorporated (but do not overmix) and form into meatballs of your size choice, place on lightly greased sheet pan and spritz with oil (I used avocado oil). Place meatballs on bottom rack of preheated 400 degree oven and sausage on top rack. Cook sausage for about 12 minutes, turn over, cook about another 12-15 minutes. Flip meatballs with a metal spatula after 20 minutes and cook an additional 15-20 minutes until brown.

To start the sauce I pulsed a medium/small onion, 4 cloves of organic garlic and a small organic carrot which I sauteed in a large sauce pot using organic extra virgin olive oil over medium/low heat. Sautee approximately 5 minutes stirring when needed, adding more olive oil when needed. I’d say I used about a 1/3 a cup of oil if not a little more. Once sauteed I added the 20 oz jar and the 24 oz jar of tomato sauce to the pot then added in the meatballs and sausage. At this point it looked like there wasn’t enough sauce in the pot to cover the meat so I went searching in the cabinets to see what I could find. Found 2 8 oz cans of Best Yet no salt tomato sauce,added them to the pot along with a cup of water. Sprinkle in some dried basil (about 1 teaspoon) and let simmer for at least 2 hours stirring gently every 15-20 minutes.

Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

I have to tell you the aroma of that sauce cooking was delectable, heavenly! A scent to soothe the soul. I just wanted to grab a chunk of bread and dip it in the sauce!

Once the sauce is ready make your pasta according to directions, drain, place into a large pasta bowl or return to cooking pot, toss with cooked sauce, plate and serve. I served it with salad and olives. If I say so myself it was delicious, guess I didn’t lose my touch Hope you enjoy it as much as we did, Bon appetit!

The New Norm As We Adjust To The Pandemic

Monday, March 30, 2020: We begin the third week of this Coronavirus Pandemic and isolation period. From this perspective, it has been difficult with adjusting to a new lifestyle of staying  home and following procedures to stay safe.

With no sports, a lifestyle here that is a daily ritual, that called for adjustments. Social distancing, washing the hands more often, taking a quick walk to buy essentials, return home, and discover those other things to pass time are a new routine.

Today, this means another day without baseball and Game 4 off the schedule at Citi Field. The Mets were scheduled to open a three game series with the Phillies Monday night.

Instead of  preparing the bag for work with necessities of pens, laptop, notepad, information about the teams, a new routine is viewing news and updates regarding the Pandemic on CNN, Fox, local channels. Editors are revising their game plan and we are told to write about a virus and different routines that has put us in unchartered territory.

Tell you the truth, and as much as this sounds off the chart, I would rather be at the ballpark in a few hours after crossing the Whitestone Bridge from the Bronx to Queens. Seeing Citi Field and entering through the Gil Hodges Press Gate would be the routine.

Taking the press elevator, saying hello to security and stadium personnel, watching batting practice on the field by the dugouts, talking to the players, eating a press dining room meal with colleagues, and back to the press box should be the routine.

All ending with a visit to the clubhouses for postgame quotes. And the final culmination is writing,  filing that deadline content, returning home, with a similar routine the next day if there was not a postponed game that was caused by inclement weather this time of year.

Baseball is a long season. The routine for the players is the same for us in the press box. We are known as those creatures of habit. 

Instead, we are home. Isolation, if adjusted right, becomes a routine and time passes by with some writing, cleaning the closets, watching classic sports highlights. Calling and texting more with family, friends, and neighbors, and we should do that more often with no excuses for a crisis to do so.

Yes, we are a changing society and it came faster than a speeding bullet and strike of lightning.   So, up here in the Bronx, in proximity of Pelham Bay Park, it is quiet. 

The streets are quiet. Usually this is a boisterous neighborhood with traffic, honk of car horns, sirens of first responders and residents going about their business. Instead, there is silence and dark of one business after another with locks and chains on the door.

 Essential stores and pharmacies are open.  Restaurants, open during limited hours, have a reduced staff and there for takeout orders, Chairs and tables are uplifted to show they are following regulations of a city in a state of emergency.

You don’t know many, but now we all know each other. We are, as they say, in this together and sharing thoughts about this Pandemic is a form of therapy with different opinions and how we are adjusting to this new norm.

And with exception of the elevated and noisy 6 train, running on a limited schedule, that is the only sound of a neighborhood. Tell you the truth, a quiet neighborhood, without that constant rumble of a train, is good for the hearing.

Buses also are empty as one passes on a normal route. Boarding from the back and not the front, is no longer fare evasion but this is a Pandemic and people are staying home.

So why venture out? 

“Need to take that walk and stretch the legs,” said a quiet couple. “We keep our distance from others. We are making the adjustments.”

They wear the protective gloves for the hands and faces are covered with the masks which is also the  new norm. But, they, like many, don’t want to compare this to being a prison in our homes. Unfortunate, though, this crisis has left no other options but to stay home and be safe.

The new norm is also cooking the meals at home. Forgot to mention, writers are creative and that also applies to those skills in the kitchen. The baked ziti was good, so was a home cooked and good steak the night before. 

However, we would rather have baseball now. We would prefer watching all sports this time of year instead of catching up with a favorite TV series on the networks. 

Oh, the season finale of “The Walking Dead” will have to wait. Next Sunday night the series goes to pause with a penultimate episode as post production was stopped due to the Pandemic. 

And in many ways some have compared this adjustment to living in the walking dead,  with many theories, though we should not make that comparison.

But this is the new norm. The adjustments are necessary as the goal is to get that number down of coronavirus cases. Follow the procedures and in a matter of time we can slowly get back to normal.

Share your routine with others. Social media can be a good thing and we are hearing about the new routines.  Important as always, STAY SAFE. We are in this together!

Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786  Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

Get Well Soon, Mr. Dolan; Then Sell the Knicks

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

File Photo Neil Miller/The New York Extra/The NYExtra.com

The most disliked man in metropolitan area sports has tested positive for the most insidious virus in most of our lifetimes. James Dolan, owner of the Knicks, Rangers and The Garden, became one of about 60,000 New Yorkers to have contracted this disease.  That number grows as I type.

It is not some karmic justice that Dolan has COVID-19. It’s a sad, unfortunate coincidence.

Some feeble-minded fans have taken to social media, which at times serves as the cesspool of society, to express their glee. Which means this is an ideal opportunity for a COVID-19 realty checkpoint.

This consists of my knowledge of this coronavirus: It has no agenda but to thrive, which means finding as much sweat, saliva spit and snot as possible and hitch a ride from person to person. It does not ask for, or even has any interest in, a person’s ID – rich, poor, tall, short, white, black, blue collar, white collar, no collar.

It has no conscience. Neither do some Dolan haters.

If you’ve visited this space you know we have no love lost for Dolan. We’ve asked Knicks fans to boycott. When that didn’t have the desired effect, we suggested fans appeal to Dolan’s love of the Knicks and try to convince him to sell for the good of the team. That, too, has not succeeded.

We will continue to try to be an agent for change.

In fact, we think the sooner he sells the Knicks, the quicker the team’s fans and, possible Dolan himself, will find happiness. He can enjoy their future success just like any other fan.

But only someone lacking in soul, like the virus itself, wants to see real harm come to Dolan. He is, after all, a husband, father of five, son, musician and absolutely incompetent owner when it comes to the Knicks.

Yet on the same day that the Knicks announced on Twitter that Dolan had tested positive it was reported by The New York Post that the owner had established The MSG Relief Fund to keep paying venue employees at least through May 3. Initially funded with a $1 million donation from the Madison Square Garden company and matched by the Dolan Family Foundation and a $300,000 from the MSG team.

I couldn’t care less if this is all one big tax deduction. It’s a right thing to do and Dolan did it.

Look, it’s fine to find some humor in this coronavirus plague. Humor is good medicine. Trevor Noah’s joke, that even COVID-19 doesn’t want anything to do with the Knicks, is true comedy.  So is his mission to make Social Distancing an Olympic sport.

When it comes to feeling happy that Dolan has the virus takes away our essence as humans, which just might be COVID-19’S end game. Here’s our message to Mr. Dolan:

Get well soon. Then sell the team.

HIS BEST ASSIST: Former Knicks point guard and Coney Island native Stephan Marbury is trying to secure the purchase of 10 million N95 masks for hospital workers and first responder. After a 14-year career in the NBA, Marbury’s professional and financial careers got huge boosts in the Chinese Basketball Association.

Marbury teamed with Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams to help with delivery arrangements. Marbury reportedly will purchase the masks at cost ($2.75) as opposed to $7.50 retailers have been trying to rip off the city.

 “At the end of the day, I am from Brooklyn,” Marbury told The Post in a telephone interview from his home in Beijing. “This is something that is close and dear to my heart as far as being able to help New York.”

The Options For The Mets Without Noah Are There

Noah Syndergaard became the latest victim of a hard thrower that was added to the long list of Tommy John surgery. With baseball on hiatus, and with a season that is yet to be determined, this is the proper time for recovery.

#34 Noah Syndegaard at spring training 2020/Neil Miller/ The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Though the circumstances, for Syndergaard, for all of us, was not expected. If anything, this Coronavirus Pandemic that has caused a shutdown for baseball works to an advantage of the Mets.

It works, also, to the advantage of Chris Sale and  the Boston Red Sox. Their ace left hander was shut down last week and will undergo ulnar collateral ligament reconstruction surgery to his left elbow.

Another Tommy John surgery procedure, thnis time for Syndergaard and Sale. That adds to the growing list of 25 of the hardest throwing pitchers since 2018 In that group, 11, for Tommy John surgery.

“THE HUMAN ARM , ELBOW, ETC. WAS NOT MADE TO DO WHAT THEY DO.”

Yes, they were not made to throw with that consistent rate of 100. Not for a fastball, slider, curve, or any pitch. The arms, elbows, can only take so much.

The Mets did not expect this. Neither did the Red Sox. This has become an epidemic for pitchers, and for baseball the shutdown can give some time to think about ways to change the statistics.

The game, as insiders say, can’t have enough pitching at this rate. So, unless the habits change, just like we have adjusted  with this Coronavirus Pandemic, there will be more of the Tommy John situations in the long run,

So the Mets are now in this adjustment, unexpected, and it’s more than assuring their roster is safe and healthy from the Coronavirus. They need another arm to fill the void. If and when this season begins, curtailed or not, there are options. 

And like the Red Sox, without Sale for 12-18 months as a recovery period, pitching is that commodity. You never have enough and the Mets at one time had that viable option to replace a starter in the rotation that went down.

We saw that over the years with the Mets, once an organization that had the top pitching prospects in the game. Matt Harvey, Jacob deGrom. Zack Wheeler, Steven Matz, and Syndergaard.

Oh, by the way, Syndergaard joins that list of former or Mets pitchers that are on that list of Tommy John surgery. Wheeler, now with the Phillies, and you wonder if the Mets should have granted him the contract.

But that was then. This is now. The Mets don’t have the organizational depth with pitching as they once built under previous GM’s Omar Minaya and Sandy Alderson, many that were  traded for position players and deals that have not gone to their advantage. 

The options for the Mets, we will get to that in a moment as to how they can fill the void with the absence of Noah Syndergaard, who was to follow deGrom in the rotation.

Opening Day, tomorrow, was for deGrom. Syndergaard was to follow Saturday at Citi Field. Many connected with baseball, including yours truly, were tabbing the Mets as a favorite to win the NL East with that duo in control.

They were headed to the postseason, perhaps a NL wild card, because Degrom and Syndergaard were that one-two in the rotation. You can’t get any better than that.

Jake DeGrom at spring training 2020/Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

The numbers tell the story. And back-to-back Cy Young awards for Jacob deGrom, you don’t need a better example. Syndergaard, developed a slider with velocity, and it was all good until the unexpected developments of Tuesday. 

Perhaps, Max Scherzer and Stephen Strasburg, duo of the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals, are just as good. 

But that old adage of, “you never have enough pitching” pertains now for the Mets.  

So where do the Mets go from here? Assume there is a resumption of baseball activities, to be determined if and when, there are options for the Mets to fill the void.

Matt Harvey? One insider said the Mets are not exploring a reunion with the Right-hander. “A Dark Knight” reunion in Flushing is not going to happen,” he said.

Harvey, without a team, brings that baggage and the insider said he observed a fastball that had no command last year  with the Angels. Harvey, then, gave up four home runs in a May start against the Twins. The $11 million dollar investment,  10 starts, a 7.50 ERA.

Though no fault of the Mets in parting ways with Wheeler, now with the Phillies, that looms to now be a major void in their rotation. Then again, it’s the business of baseball.

And a rotation now of deGrom, followed by Marucs Stroman and Steven Matz does not look bad.

GM Brodie Van Wagenen, to his credit, went with depth this offseason with additions of Michael Wacha and Rick Porcello to one-year contracts.. 

Yes, there was that competition for  two starting spots, Now, the three-way competition between Matz, Wacha, and Porcello is answered. 

As the insider said, about Porcello, from watching him up close in Grapefruit League play, “The movement of his curveball and the fastball looked like he could be headed to a comeback year.” 

So assume again, and this is speculation. that Porcello and Wacha have comeback years after allowing a combined 57 home runs in 200 innings with the Red Sox and Cardinals. The Mets were seeing the difference, down in Port St. Lucie, before baseball suspended operations.

There are very few and better options to replace Noah Syndergaard. The Mets don’t want Seth Lugo, projected to come out of the pen, to be that other starter unless they have limited options.

“I could see David Peterson get a shot at a spot,” the insider said about the Mets first round draft pick in 2017 who was slated to start at Triple-A Syracuse.

Walker Lockett, was not expected to make the 26-man roster. Corey Oswalt was not high on the depth chart. Erasmo Ramirez, the 29-year old right-hander and eight-year veteran, signed to a Minor League contract, could be in the mix.

“Saw him throw eight good innings in spring games and will tell you his command of his fastball and slider got some attention,” said the insider. 

So much as their minor league  pitching depth has gone from top to bottom, Van Wagenen, and the 20 other GM’s are never prepared to find a viable arm that goes down unexpectedly.

We have learned Tommy John surgery is successful  The Mets will get through this with some options. Noah Sydergaard, from baseball standards, is young and strong to make a comeback.  

The options are there for the Mets. But no surprise, they will miss the void of the guy they call “Thor.”

Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

Music,Love and Healing,This is how we Roll with out Rock

How the power of music saves our souls, by Neil Miller /The New York Extra/The NYExtra.com

The usual suspects enjoying a summers night at the Salt Shack Neil Miller/The New York Extra/The NYExtra.com

It’s March 24. And usually ,in a spring frame of mind, all of us involved in the Long Island Music Scene , are pulling out our calendars, looking at Sherri’s Scene, and Ira’s List , and planning our opening day at the Salt Shack, our memorial day weekend at Jones beach ,Woodstock at Old Bethpage and our 4th of July on the East End. Evenings at Freeport , Lido Beach, and Patchogue also fill our minds with anticipation.

Neil Miller /The New York Extra/The NYExtra.com

But stuck in the blue and harsh reality of the pandemic now on us, what gives us strength is what lies ahead. We hope that the virus goes away soon, and that it doesn’t hurt our famlies , our friends, the community that we live in. All we want is to have a big party as soon as it’s clear. We crave to hear The Murphy’s,Wonderous, 45 RPM, Streetfighter, The 70’s Band, The Mystic , The Almost Brothers , and Desert Highway.

Woodstock Festival, Old Bethpage .2019 Neil Miller/The New York Extra/The NYExtra.com

Our strength lies in the love and passion for the music on the Island( and other places too), and the the joy that we draw from being with our friends “.The coming summer will take away the pain of right now for all involved the club owners, the bartenders, the musicians, and all the people that make it work. Stuck in the present vacuum of no live shows, lets all hang tight and hope things return to normal soon!

SOCIAL DISTANCING by Toni Hoyos /The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

AN OBSERVATION ON COMPLIANCE OR DEFIANCE

Maintaining a distance of at least 6 ft between each other,,,something we are not used to doing, something that is not our norm but something that is mandated due to the coronavirus pandemic. Something we all must heed in order to flatten the curve, help prevent a breakdown of our healthcare system and keep ourselves and others safe. This is serious business , have Long Islanders rose to the challenge?

On my strolls throughout various Nassau county parks most everyone seemed to be upholding the distance directive. Families with children were together while keeping away from others. Couples out walking, those on bicycles all seemed to be allowing space for each other while trying to be “normal” in an “abnormal” situation.

I encountered more of the same compliance in assorted supermarkets. Many people darned masks and gloves. A few like myself also had Lysol wipes on hand to clean the shopping cart (a very hot commodity at the moment). For the most part everyone was respectful of keeping their distance in the aisles, waiting on line and not encroaching on someone while they were shopping in a certain area.

I did however find those defying the rule in a certain store on Old Country Road in Plainview. I do not know if it was cultural or just plain disregard for others. I do know it was very uncomfortable to witness, unsafe and just stupid. I did hear someone mention the 6 foot distance but no one moved. I couldn’t get out of there fast enough.

This is a difficult scary time for all of us but we must join together for the good of everyone. Practice social distancing, be respectful of others and keep ourselves and loved ones SAFE. If we don’t it will get much worse before it gets better.

The Season of the Asterisk Claims Mets Syndegaard Pitcher

ROBBINS NEST

#34 Noah Syndegaard pitches in spring training of 2020 Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

By Lenn Robbins

Let’s be honest. This 2020 MLB season, if it’s ever played, is going to come with an asterisk.

If a player gets off to a horrid start, (asterisk!) it’s because spring training was halted, throwing off his rhythm. If a player hits 25 home runs in, say, an 80-game season (asterisk!), fans will wonder if he could have kept up that pace.

Every accomplishment or failure will come with an asterisk: Yankees win the World Series – * season shortened.

It’s a can’t win season. Same with the NBA and NHL and all the other seasons that have been interrupted by this plague known as COVID-19. The season of the asterisk is the tertiary damage of the novel coronavirus.

Years from now, any athlete that misses this season won’t be differentiated from athletes that play.

So, although Mets pitcher Noah Syndegaard will not pitch in 2020 because he needs Tommy John to repair an acutely torn UCL with acute compression of the ulnar nerve, it’s the perfect season to miss. The season with the asterisk.

Don’t be mistaken. This is a sad turn for the Mets pitcher who has teased us with his Viking god-like physical stature and power pitching. It’s a sad turn for the Mets who still might be considered a playoff team but that road just got more daunting.

It’s not as if Syndegaard had a choice. The injury needs surgery and it needs it now. If all goes well, Syndegaard could be back on the mound by June of 2021.

Boston’s Chris Sale also will have Tommy John surgery. According to ESPN’s Jeff Passan, Sale decided to have his surgery now to avoid missing significant time in 2021.

It doesn’t matter. Five, 10 years from now, the empty stat line for Syndegaard and Sale won’t warrant a second glance. This is the season of the asterisk.

COOKING WITH LEFTOVERS

MAKING THE MOST OUT OF WHAT YOU HAVE by Toni Hoyos/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Now’s the time to try and utilize what we have and not be wasteful. People are not working, money is tight, stores are not fully stocked and who the heck wants to keep making trips to the supermarket. So I looked into my fridge to see what was hiding in there. Found some leftover asparagus, half of a large cooked sweet potato and a couple tablespoons of roasted red pepper. Hence the idea of an omelette was born!

I diced up a small red onion, sauteed it in a pan for a few minutes with some ghee. Then diced and added in the leftovers, asparagus, sweet potato and roasted red peppers. Let cook for 2 minutes then sprinkle with Trader Joe’s taco seasoning, stir and add 4 organic/pasture raised eggs. Cook over med/low flame for a few minutes then flip over with a spatula. Cook for 1 additional minute. Plate it. I found some green and Kalamata olives in the fridge along with some scallions. So I diced them up and scattered on top of omelette. It was pot luck and really yummy. I was quite pleased with the outcome!

Is Fantasy Football Being Optimistic for an NFL?

Let’s get right to it.

This shelter in place deal stinks. We are social creatures forced to behave in an antisocial way. It stinks. I can pet my neighbor’s dog but can’t shake hands with said neighbor. I’m washing hands so often I will never sing, “Happy Birthday,” again.

One of the ways to cope is fantasy. This morning I fantasized that it wasn’t a Sunday in COVID-19 March, rather a Sunday in vaccine October. NFL season. Glorious NFL season.

Which team will be the most fun to watch:

The Arizona Cardinals, with Kyler Murray throwing to DeAndre Hopkins, Christian Kirk, Larry Fitzgerald and a tight end to be named later?

Or, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers with Tom Brady throwing to Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and O.J. Howard?

In fact, I’m willing to purchase a separate NFL South Division RedZone so I can see Matt Ryan throwing to Julio Jones, Calvin Ridley, Todd Gurley II and TE Hayden Hurst, and Drew Brees throwing to Michael Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders and Alvin Kamara?

Or Patrick Mahomes throwing to Tyreke Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mercole Hardman, Travis Kelce and Damien Williams.

Or Jarrett Stidham or Brian Hoyer throwing to tripled teamed Julian Edelman? (I’ve waited almost two decades for this)!

Or Dak Prescott throwing to Amari Cooper, Michael Gallup and Zeke Elliott?

Or Mitch Trubisky throwing to the yard marker? Or is that Nick Foles?

Or, don’t dismiss this one, Phillip Rivers throwing to T.Y. Hilton, Zach Pascal, Parris Campbell and tight end Jack Doyle?

Or, Deshaun Watson throwing to? It’s not fair. It’s just not fair.

Or Josh Allen hopefully throwing to Stefan Diggs, John Brown, Cole Beasley and Devin Singletary?

Or Sam Darnold throwing six more touchdowns than interceptions?

Or Lamar Jackson throwing, to himself?

Or Jared Goff throwing for 78 yards two weeks after throwing for 517 (both losses)?

Or Ryan Tannehill completing 70-percent of his passes with a quarterback/interception of better than 3-to-1? Ryan Tannehill?

Or Derek Carr throwing to Nelson Agholor? Ha. Ha. Ha. Ha.

Or Aaron Rodgers throwing to anyone at any time from any place on the field?

Or Drew Lock throwing for a passing rating of 48.2 yet going 4-1?

Or Tyrod Taylor hoping the Chargers pass on quarterback in the draft?

Or the Redskins passing on a quarterback because, well, they’re the Redskins?

Or a healthy Teddy Bridgewater getting his much-deserved chance to be a starter and having a weapon as versatile and potent as Christian McCaffrey?

Or Kirk Cousins posting his sixth straight season of 3,600 yards or more without getting to an NFC Championship game?

Or 23-year-old Joe Burrow throwing to 32-year-old A.J. Green?

Or Russell Wilson throwing to Tyler Locket, DK Metcalf and Greg Olsen?

Or Jimmy Garoppolo throwing for 165 yards one week and 349 the next?

Or Daniel Jones throwing from an upright position?

Or the warrior known as Matthew Stafford throwing to Marvin Jones, Kenny Golladay, Danny Amendola and T.J. Hockenson.

Or Ryan Fitzpatrick playing catch with Tua Tagovailoa?

Or the Pittsburgh Steelers throwing a Hail Mary in the 2nd round of the draft?

Or Carson Wentz throwing to Zach Ertz or Dallas Goedert, or to Dallas Goedert or Zach Ertz?

Or Baker Mayfield throwing 21 interceptions and dropping 42 verbal farts?

Or Gardner Minshew II throwing to, uh, how ‘bout that draft?

Or Patrick Mahomes throwing to Tyreke Hill, Sammy Watkins, Mercole Hardman, Travis Kelce and Damien Williams? Wait. Didn’t we write that already?

O.K. how about this?

Training camp to open this summer giving all of us sports-starved fans hope of watching the NFL in the fall. Amen.

Covid-19 on Long Island

The things that have to be done to protect Long Islanders by Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

As the 2nd week of the pandemic effects Long Island, it’s time to demand from our representatives that these following items become law to protect the welfare of ourselves and family.

#1 An immediate halt of real estate taxes until the crisis is over.

#2 The guarantee of utilities, gas, electric, cell service and cable service for all, until the end of the crisis.

#3 A plan by the state and federal government to fund an emergency food plan so that families food needs are met.

#4 Planned shopping days for communities so that everyone gets a fair share of goods, with limits on items per visit.

#5 An immediate halt on all payments of car loans, credit card bills and insurance payments for 90 days without penalty.

These items are of the utmost importance to the wellbeing of the Island and Nation until the crisis of covid -19 ends.

Difficult Without Sports But There Are Options To Our Isolation

Yes, this is difficult. We are home and staying safe. We are dealing with a Coronavirus pandemic and making that adjustment. This was supposed to be the first weekend of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament. 

We were five days away from Opening Day of the 2020 baseball season. Instead, at Citi Field, a makeshift hospital and relief center is being planned

We are without sports.  We are adjusting to viewing daily updates from the White House, your Governor, and Mayor. We are isolated and hoping this crisis will pass soon.

Saturday and Sunday, and next weekend,  CBS Sports is televising memorable games from past NCAA tournaments. MLB Network, the regional networks, are also replaying memorable games.

The baseball fix in New York includes a Mets marathon on SNY. The Yankees showing their classic series on YES, and audio feeds of the Michael Kay sports talk show on ESPN Radio.

The NBA and NHL channels also do their part to keep us entertained. 

How the WWE will stage WrestleMania, a reformatted two day event, and with  no fans at their Orlando performance center in two weeks will be interesting and different. 

WrestleMania, a highlight show on the wrestling calendar for the WWE and fans, was supposed to be held before 75,000 or more at Raymond James Stadium, Sunday April 5 in Tampa .

Instead, the evening before, with reportedly some taped matches, will highlight the mega event. No pyro, no fans, and matches scrapped. Pro wrestlers are making the adjustments and it will be similar to a rehearsal or audition they have experienced before gaining their stardom to the top.

We are in this together. And, said here again, sports are not the priority here as much as the world of fun and games would be a diversion from this crisis that confronts our world and nation.

So without sports, there are some options as we continue to isolate in our homes. This past week, in between some writing and dealing with the isolation, there were some good options to get your fix.

Sports books, the classic events and movies to pass the time are becoming a norm.  Though there is nothing better than viewing a live event, and we could be without that for the next few months,  .

 Any hope for the start of the 2020 season is not anytime soon. The hope, as can be determined, MLB season openers are on hold at least to June.

And that is being optimistic, all depending of course on how long the Coronavirus Pandemic abates. Talking to numerous sports personnel over the past few days, and the overall opinion is MLB and other leagues will await the first move of the NBA when it comes to resuming their schedule.

Why the NBA? The National Basketball Association was the first to shut down and seem to be at the forefront of taking control. Other sports leagues will follow their path. 

In addition, with the 2020 MLB season, players would need another two-week spring training period for conditioning and the schedule would need a major readjustment. That means doubleheaders that are rare on a schedule and a shortened season which are not the norm.

Again, that is speculation as we go day-by-day with this crisis and hope for the best.

Pitchers were at the point of throwing at speeds where they should be. The hitters, always behind the pitchers, they will need more time to catch up and that is usually the case during a normal spring training period..

Let’s say 81 games or fewer, instead of a regular 162-game slate and no All–Star game. Players would get paid when the season begins. 

Now, as understood, the MLBPA and  owners are working out details of the specifics as to their contracts and payment and pertaining to  details about pay scales in cases such as a national state of emergency.

The other sports will deal with specifics, perhaps not as complicated for the NHL and Major League soccer.  Boxing will resume with lucrative network deals and promotions at Top Rank, PBC, Matchroom, Golden Boy, and others.

They  will saturate the market with events every weekend for the boxing fan as the non mainstream fighters train at home and await their next payday. Most, if not all of the boxing gyms have been closed due to the pandemic.

The Kentucky Derby, Masters Golf Tournament, major events on the spring calendar, have announced they are rescheduling their major events to a later time.  

Still up in the air is how the USTA will handle the U.S. Open In Flushing Queens. That was scheduled for the later part of August. 

In the meantime some books to suggest to get your fix:

  • Staying Positive The Story of The Real Paul Banke (Boxing)
  • Once There Were Giants. The Golden Age of Heavyweight Boxing (Jerry Izenberg)
  • Inside Pitch. My Life As a Major League Closer (Skip Lockwood)

More to come in the coming days as we go through the pile with some of the best books and classic sports to view.

Most of all be SAFE! We are in this together and will get back to normal in due time. 

Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

Made In China, Part 2 Deceit, Disease, and Death

Paying the price.A Deal with the Devil. How corporate greed, profits, and Chinese manipulative practices, endangers the security of our country and the world.An Editorial by Neil Miller/Publisher,The New York Extra/ TheNYExtra.com.With additional reporting and editing by Toni Hoyos.

As our country grapples with the Chinese virus pandemic, it’s time to stop avoiding blame of the Communist Chinese government, and time to examine some of the events that have led us to this point.

Specifically, it is the worlds acceptance in succumbing to the lure of cheap and inferior products of drugs, steel and other essential goods. This has amounted to a “Deal with the Devil”. They say money is the root of all evil, well then we have pimped ourselves to China all in the name of big business and money , to a country that manufactures our medicines, antibiotics and the raw materials needed to make medicines. 81% of the API (active pharmaceutical ingredients) are said to come from China. A Dept of Commerce study found 97% of all antibiotics in the US came from China. China’s poor quality control, substandard doses and low budget for research and development lead to major concerns over the safety and efficacy of these medications. Unfortunately fraud and manipulation of quality data is still widespread. Corporate profits and stock indexes came before national security and health.This is only one example of how Communist China works.

By outsourcing these important goods, not only have we put our American workforce in dire jeopardy, we have also allowed our country to be open for possible blackmail by the Communist Chinese if we act against their purposes.

With the ” one world ” scenarios, and the influence of the Chinese in our economic, educational and cultural world, it leaves us open to spies in our midst. Just last week a Harvard professor was arrested for lying to the government and Harvard about his involvement in a Chinese program for which he was paid for . There were also ties to a Bio lab, in of all places Wuhan,China. Also arrested were 2 Chinese nationals, one an officer in the Chinese army, the other charged with attempting to smuggle 21 vials of biological research out of the US to China. What the Chinese can’t buy with money they try to steal in regards to sensitive research and development.

This brings up the point of the source of the current pandemic, the 2nd major killer virus exported from China . Sars, and now Chinese coronavirus. They started with ties to bats that crossed over to other animals, then to humans. The current virus is the same. As noted in the 1st part of this series, the current food practices of some Chinese, caused the explosion of the current plague.

I have been accused of being a racist and a xenophobe. I am neither, and admire the work ethic, intelligence and contributions of Chinese Americans. Their dedication to family values that they bring to our way of life as Americans is admirable. We all reject racism of ethnic backround, color, religion and country of origin. However the facts are inescapable. There are many ideas how the virus came to be in the Wuhan wet market. Some say it was a natural transmission between infected animals, some say there’s a more sinister reason.

Several rumors have it, that the Wuhan super lab had an accident and it leaked out. Another rumor has it that lab animals infected with disease were sold by lab staff for money to local food vendors. Neither of these have been proven one way or the other by the Communist Chinese. In fact,the words of doctors and researchers were stifled in order to prevent another horrible Chinese embarrassment.

Whatever the truth is, and hopefully after this catastrophe there will be a world wide police inquiry, the one thing we can be certain of is this, the customs of the local Chinese population, along with the fact that the Chinese government never closed these markets nor helped to change their cultural food habits, has led directly to this 3rd , and most deadly outbreak.

How long will it take to confront the Communist Chinese government, with total world outrage, to end these pandemics? The answer is” Our Deal with the Devil” stops us. It is time to exorcise the demon, and make him repay the world for the deceit, disease and death it has brought to the world, and to retake our economic independence back.

When Sports Goes to the Dogs We All Win

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

The next time I read about a professional athlete under contract for say, $12 million per year who wants to renegotiate, I’m going to introduce him to Thomas Waerner.

Waerner, aka The Ice Warrior, is the winner of the 2020 Iditarod Trail Sled Race (just the Iditarod to us groupies). He and his League of Extraordinary Dogs completed the 1,000-mile course in nine days, 10 hours, 37 minutes and 47 seconds, give or take a couple of snowdrifts.

He received the winner’s purse of about, wait for it, $50,000, and possibly a pickup truck. More on that later.

You read that correctly: not five million, or $500,000, rather $50,000. And the truck. Don’t forget the truck. More on that later.

To recap, Waerner traversed the 1,000-mile, brutally cold, windswept journey in nine days, 10 hours, 37 minutes and don’t forget those 47 seconds. Upon crossing the finish line in Nome, Alaska and receiving his bounty, The Ice Warrior, boasted:

“This is a money-spending sport!”

Clearly, these Iditarod athletes are a different breed.  And we’re not talking about the dogs.

Despite repeated satellite phone calls and carrier pigeon messages that went unanswered, we believe the dogs’ purse was a chewy toy and nine days, 10 hours, 37 minutes and 47 seconds worth of free Purina Dog Chow as their winner’s purse.

None of the dogs complained.

Because of the Covid-19 virus, which has canceled sporting events all over the world, the Last Great Race on Earth as it’s known, got more media coverage than it has in decades.

It was one of the lead sports stories (one of the only stories) on the 5 p.m. news -in New York. Officials asked fans not to fly to Nome for the finish. We were unable get a non-stop from New York to Nome.

“We mushers are so lucky that we are in our own world,” Waerner told reporters. “We don’t think about anything.”

Probably not enough time to entertain idol thoughts when your sport consumes nine days, 10 hours, 37 minutes and 47 seconds to win.

Of course, the Ice Warrior knows he couldn’t have done it alone. He thanked his 10 dogs, petting and rubbing each. The dogs received a hot snack, which sources told TheNYExtra.com, was a double Shake Shack cheeseburger with grilled onions, and a side of cheese fries.

Still, we’re reminded that success can lead to greed. His lead dogs – K2 and Bark – declined to comment, however, sources say K2 is looking for an increase to K1 and Bark wants to change his name to Loud Bark.

Their agent, Brian “Family Guy” Blue was vague when asked about his client’s demands.

“This has never been about the money,” Blue said. “My clients just want to be shown the respect they’ve worked so hard for and the sacrifice they’ve given to this team.”

Waerner threw his support behind his four-legged friends who dragged his rear end for nine days, 10 hours, 37 minutes… He said that K2 is, “the inside engine that never stops,” and Bark is, “the one just charging through everything.”

Waerner won his first Iditarod in only his second time competing. Three-time champ Mitch Seavey finished second about five hours behind. He will earn about $43,000 for the finish. No truck.

Waerner will have to pay about $20,000 in taxes in Norway on the prize money and about the same for the truck, usually a Ram 2020 4×4 Pickup. But on the Monday before the finish, Fiat Chrysler announced it was dropping its sponsorship. Truck?

The dogs were heard whimpering.

“I was looking forward to doing a Nome bar crawl in that truck,” said K2.

“We should renegotiate,” said Bark.

Oh man.

Mets Fans Know Exactly How Pats Fans Feel Today

ROBBINS NEST

East Rutherford, N.J., Monday, October 21, 2019. Patriots QB Tom Brady looks to pass to tight end Ben Watson, right. (Photo by David L. Pokress,The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com)

By Lenn Robbins

The beauty and curse of being a sports fan is that you never forget some days.

June 15, 1977. I was working a summer job at a pool club Canarsie when the news began to spread. Unbelievable news in the sense that it simply could not be true. It was unbelievable. Then it became friggin’ unbelievable! And then all sight and sound became a jumbled cacophony. Everything happened in slow awful motion.

The Mets were trading Tom Seaver.

It couldn’t be true.  But that night, there was the most Amazin of Mets crying on television. We cried, too. It was dubbed the Midnight Massacre and surely thousands of Mets fans felt a piece of themselves get killed that night.

Patriots fans woke up Tuesday morning to their own version of The Seaver Nightmare: There will be no Brady sequel.

Brady announced he was ending his 20-year marriage in New England, with Boston, with Patriots Nation. He’s packing up his six Super Bowl rings, four Super Bowl MVP trophies, three NFL MVP awards and deflated balls and heading to where?

Tampa? Some nice beaches for sure, but it pales in comparison to the culture of Beantown and the close-knit community that is New England.

San Diego? Can’t beat the weather but the Chargers have flipped that city the birdie by moving to Inglewood and sharing a stadium with the Rams. Nothing like eight road games and eight neutral site games to end your career.

Chicago? Wonderful second city with an odd attempt at pizza, but if Brady wants to win another ring, the Bears don’t have better weapons than the Patriots. And Chicago’s line was rated 29th in the league in 2019 meaning Brady might want to pack his Cape Cod Beach Chair.

You know what? Who cares?

It doesn’t matter where Tom lands. It’s where Tom is leaving.

Mets fans didn’t care what team their Tom had been traded to. Cincinnati? Where? What? They were despondent that No. 41 would be wearing a different jersey, dazzling another fan base, making hitters look the fool.

Of course, there are differences between their Tom leaving and our Tom leaving although both moves were tied to free agency, the bane of every sports fan everywhere. Never again can fans embrace a player as theirs. Just ask Cavaliers’ fans.

Seaver was already in a brutal, year-long conflict with owner M. Donald Grant over the direction of the team. He was livid the Mets did nothing to improve the roster after a new Collective Bargaining Agreement was reached the previous summer. He wanted to remain a Met but felt he couldn’t under Grant’s penny pinching and elitist attitude.

Brady, knowing a new CBA would likely be reached this year, insisted the Patriots deal he signed last season prevented New England from slapping the franchise tag on him. When the new CBA was approved on Sunday, Brady was a free agent. He wanted to find another home.

In about as brutally timed announcement as imaginable, Brady took to Twitter on a St. Patrick’s Day like never before. Bars and pubs are closed because of Covid-19. There’s not even a place to drown one’s sorrows with other mourners!

You know what? Who cares?

Patriots fans know one brutal truth today – their franchise is done. The Greatest of All Time is leaving. New England is just another team on the NFL map.

Sure, there will be storylines to follow: Is Jarrett Stidham the answer? Is Phillip Rivers a good stopgap for a season or two? Is the replacement in the upcoming draft and will the Pats will make a stunning deal to move up?

You know what? Who cares?

This is not to say we feel bad for New England. Hell no. It just means Mets fans know the feeling that Pats fan are experiencing today. It will never be forgotten. They’ll never forget where they were today. It’s a wound that never heals.

Free Agency Mayhem: Call it the No Figurin’ League

ROBBINS NEST

Credit Twitter

By Lenn Robbins

Now that the National Football League Players Association agreed to a deal put forth by the owners, this is the perfect time to consider a new definition for the NFL acronym.

Based on what has happened immediately after the deal was announced, how about No Figurin’ League.

Consider these transactions:

The first reaction to the DeAndre Hopkins deal was this was a scam designed to get one to read one of those “20 Worst Trades in NFL History,” which this now qualifies. 

The Texans sent DeAndre Hopkins, one of the top three wide receivers (Hopkins, Michael Thomas, Julio Jones) and a 2020 fourth-round pick to the Cardinals for running back David Johnson, a 2020 second-round pick, and a 2021 fourth-round pick.

Hopkins, 25, is in the prime of his career. His deal has (interrogate his agent on this one), three years and about $42 million left (about $14 million per season), which is a bargain.

Consider Amari Cooper, a fine WR but not in Hopkins’ class, signed a  five-year,  $100-million deal to remain a Cowboy on Monday. Odell Beckham Jr. earns about $18 million per season. The Giants got a 1st-round pick, a third-round pick, and Jabrill Peppers for OBJ so Dave Gettleman padded his resume on this one.

Hopkins is Deshaun Watson’s favorite target, a player who dictates defensive coverages, and has missed just one game due to injury. The man’s a warrior.

Johnson was a great all-round back – in 2016. He amassed 2,118 all-purpose yards and scored 20 touchdowns. Over the next three seasons he tallied 2,191 all-purpose yards and 10 touchdowns.

He missed almost all of 2017 with a wrist injury and has had knee injuries. He’s 28, close to the outer edge for running backs, and carries cap hits of $10.2 million in 2020 and $7.9 million in 2021.

 The Cardinals had essentially moved on from him after placing the franchise tag on RB Kalen Ballage. Johnson was there for the taking at maybe a conditional fifth-round pick, probably lower.

So why would Houston coach and de facto GM Bill O’Brien make such a move?

Is it that he had already traded away first round picks in 2020 and 2021 and desperately wanted to get back into the top of the draft? He craves a bell cow back in the era of quarterbacks? In a draft loaded with WRs there might be a good one available in the second round?

The Cardinals now have an elite WR for young QB Kyle Murray. They have a valuable, extra fourth-round pick. This also makes the one-year $11 million deal for Larry Fitzgerald more beneficial. The combination of Murray, Hopkins and Fitzgerald is reason to purchase Red Zone.

This deal might be remembered as O’Brien’s Alamo.

TRICK QUESTION: Yep. Ryan Tannehill, the 31-year-old, one-year wonder never posted a rating of higher than 93.5. The Dolphins had to pay $5 million of the $7 million they owed Tannehill to get the Titans to take him off their hands.

The Titans are built around the human battering ram known as Derrick Henry, which means Tannehill isn’t asked to win games, just not lose them. He did that very well for the majority of one season after replacing Marcus Mariota.

But riddle me this. Tannehill is guaranteed $62 over three years, more than some guy named Russell Wilson, who is the focal point of Seattle’s attack.

Tannehill or Wilson? Umm.

DEXTER LEONARD INTERIORS – The Giants are expected to tag DT Leonard Williams, who they acquired from the Jets for a 2020 third-round pick and a 2021 conditional fifth-round pick.

The feeling here has always been that Williams is a very good interior lineup who never fulfilled the expectations that come with being the No.6 pick in 2015. We also feel compiling dominant DL depth is paramount.

The Giants now have the 25-year-old Williams alongside the 22-year-old Dexter Lawrence. It will cost $15.5 million to see if Dexter Leonard Interiors pays off.

BRADBERRY THEATER – After the Hopkins theft, no deal was going to move the needle much but the Giants signing of Carolina cornerback James Bradberry to a three-year, $45-million deal was smart. Really smart. Gettleman knows the 26-year-old from his Carolina days, where he was the Panthers best defender last season. Like this move a lot.

EXPENSIVE FLOWERS: Ereck Flowers didn’t block a daffodil with the Giants as a tackle. As a guard, he was solid for the Jaguars. This landed him a three-year, $30 million deal ($20 million guaranteed) with the Redskins, who rarely gets it right. Would have been more optimistic about this working out if offensive line coach Bill Callahan, hadn’t left Washington for Cleveland.

THE CALLAHAN EFFECT: The Browns, roommates with the Redskins in mismanagement, are taking a chance on Titans OT Jack Conklin, one of the best in the game – if healthy. He’ll benefit from Callahan and possibly by having a mobile QB in Baker Minefield, uh, Mayfield.

WINNERS – Every franchise not named Texans.

Tight end Austin Hooper leaves the downward trending Falcons for the possibly ascending Browns and gets $44 million over four years, making the third or fourth best tight end (maybe) the highest paid at his position.

The Baltimore Ravens, who just keep getting it right. They signed Mark Ingram last season. This year they acquired Jacksonville DE Calais Campbell, who we have loved since he played for The “U.” The Ravens gave up a fifth rounder for the 33-year-old Campbell, who’s coming off a 75-tackle. 6.5-sack season. They got that fifth rounder by trading backup kicker Kaare Vedvik (they felt comfortable with that Justin Tucker guy) to the Vikings. Vedik became Campbell.

Kirk Cousins gets another two years and at least $56 million to get the Vikings to the Super Bowl. He has topped the $100 million mark. It’s good to be the Kirk.

Ravens II – Baltimore traded backup TE Hayden Hurst and a 2020 fourth-round pick to Atlanta for a 2020 second and fifth-round pick. With the emergence of Mark Andrews and backup Nick Boyle, the Ravens could afford to lose Hurst. It remains to be seen what the Ravens turn those two picks into but we’re betting in their track record.

LOSERS – Bill O’Brien. With every deal he has more people wondering if he has pictures of Houston owner Janice McNair.

Janice McNair – see above.

Deshaun Watson – see above.

Jacksonville Jaguars defense – Oh how the mighty have fallen, been traded or released.

The Chicago Bears keep throwing good money after bad. The blundered horrifically by taking QB Mitch Trubisky with the 2nd pick in the 2017. Since then they’ve been throwing money at the problem, such as signing TE Jimmy Graham to a two-year deal with $9 million guaranteed.

WINNER OR LOSER? Byron Jones – In 1996 the Cowboys lost CB Larry Jones, the Super Bowl MVP, to free agency when he signed a five-year, $12.5 deal with the Raiders. He never lived up to the deal. Jones, with just two interceptions in 79 games, got a five-year $82.5 million deal from the Dolphins. The 27-year-old wins. Do the Dolphins?

J-E-T-S – anyone heard from them?

We Are Coping Without Sports And So Is The Impact To Many

I am okay here in the Bronx and taking precaution.

Yes, we are changing routines and isolating and in due time this Coronavirus crisis will pass. So, before I head to a scheduled doctor appointment that was on the docket, here we go.

Sports are dark. My livelihood, as with others in all walks of life, has been disrupted. Sports have always been a diversion from a crisis but not now. We need to adjust, adapt, come together as a community.

You see, as the medical professionals handling this crisis say, we could be in this for the long haul. Adapting to no sports is an adjustment and you learn to do other things in the safety and comfort of your home.

Catch up on some reading. I have finished reading two books that were half way in.  Watch classic movies and relive the sports classics that are the alternative programming on various sports networks. 

 Of course, I will admit, “The Walking Dead” episode Sunday night had some shocking developments and outcomes. Though. admit. not the proper program to watch with our society in a crisis and keeping up with a television series did not change the routine. 

And reacquaint with your loved ones. We do tend  to get lost with our love and passion for sports. 

The only sports programming, and limited, bowling tournaments and NASCAR.  The NFL, the only sport in the offseason with their new labor agreement , trades, and free agency. 

Well, that is the only bit of news to talk and write about as Major League Baseball facilities are closed and the 2020 season is pushed back further into late May or June.

As Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen said, “This is bigger than baseball.” Indeed, baseball and all sports is not the priority now, The specifics of schedules, not just with baseball, will be determined. The economic impact, of course, will be huge.

The sport of boxing has come to a halt, and at a time when major fights have been put off the schedule. Top Rank, Premier Boxing Champions, and Matchroom Boxing, among the big three promotions, stand to lose a significant amount of revenue and at a standstill with new subscribers to their networks. 

Talent, the fighters, many who depend on a purse, are basically at a standstill and out of work as boxing gyms have closed their doors. The streaming networks  ESPN, DAZN, have to readjust when the sport resumes. 

According to a source, FOX Sports and Showtime, a major part of the boxing schedule, will be forced to double up shows on weekends which is good for the boxing fan. But, too much saturation of the sport, at the same time, could work to a disadvantage when the sport resumes with the chaotic rescheduling of fight cards. 

According to the promoters, all ticket orders will be refunded from the original point of purchase.   And for fans, many with a economic loss due to the Coronavirus pandemic, paying for the network streams could become a financial burden. 

“The health and safety of the boxers, fans, and those working the events are of utmost importance to us,” said Tom Brown, President of TGB promotions and lead promoter of the cancelled PBC shows. 

He added, “We are all disappointed and as we get more information we will address future events.”

And this goes beyond the major sports leagues and promoters.. The little guy and personnel. They secure safety of venues, ticket sales personnel, concession workers, vendors, and more feeling the impact of a sports shutdown.

They, too, are taking a hit and realizing safety is first. Many are paid seasonal, and a six month baseball season does pay the bills. Some security personnel, on a full time basis, have been asked to stay home.

“It will be a hardship,” said a seasonal worker that is employed as one of many security personnel at Citi Field and Madison Square Garden. It is expected with federal funding they will recoup some of their losses.

Some also will be able to qualify for unemployment insurance as seasonal employees at the ballpark qualify.

Regardless, sports in the dark is having that type of impact.

Impact of sports programming also is being felt with broadcast talent and production personnel. They are employed as freelancers and sitting on the sidelines. 

They, the freelance talent, will sustain a financial loss.  So, basically the impact is all around the sports industry. We as a society are all feeling the impact and need to adjust.

In the days and weeks to come, we will try on these pages to provide readers as to how this impact of the Coronavirus is having an impact. The impact on all walks of life no matter what you do.  

You see, it’s not just about sports going dark. It’s a nation, a city, and some points of the world all in that readjustment period of time. 

We are in this together. BE SAFE!

Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786  Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

The Killer among us, lack of Moral ,common sense and responsible actions endanger us all on Long Island

An editorial by Neil Miller,publisher,The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Ok guys, I like my drink and a dance as well as the next person, but it’s time to cut the crap and start acting like the adults we are. The lack of common sense actions of those on Long Island threatens the old and at risk in our population.

We have all read on line, and in conversations, “I’m going to live my life and to Hell with Corona Virus!” , it is a recipe for disaster for us all. We need to give up our entertainment pleasures for 2-3 weeks to, “flatten the curve”, so we all don’t become geometric carriers that infect our people.

By failing to do so, we jeopardize our mothers, fathers, the old and compromised in our community. And here’s the punch line, CAN YOU LIVE WITH YOURSELF, KNOWING YOUR A PARTNER IN MURDER? Long Island it’s YOUR turn to save a life. Stay out of the bars, the movies, theatres, clubs, restaurants or any large gathering place. Keep your children at home. Be safe and healthy, Neil Miller ,publisher, The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com.

ESCAPING COVID19: SHIELDED FOR A DAY

A FEEL SAFE HAVEN By Toni Hoyos, Editorial Advisor, TheNew York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Video of visitors to Jones Beach State Park 03/15/2020 Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Blue skies, sunshine, mild temps and low winds, the perfect winter day for a stroll on the boardwalk at Jones Beach State Park. An ideal place to walk, see the ocean, feel the sun on your face breathe fresh air and feel shielded from coronavirus. At least that was the general consensus among those walking the boardwalk.

Ginger Bonner,a Bellmore N.Y. resident, At Field 6 Boardwalk, Jones Beach State Park, 03/15/2020 / Neil Miller/The NewYork Extra/TheNYExtra.com/copyright 2020

Ginger Bonner from Bellmore felt the boardwalk was a “Corona Free” place” and expressed her feelings about the coronavirus pandemic had changed “I’m not the same person I was last week” and now she wasn’t taking it so lightly.

Field 6 parking lot was full on this beautiful Sunday. Families, couples, bicyclists, kids on scooters, all were out on the boardwalk holding hands, talking and smiling. The outdoor open area was one where you could breathe freely and feel secure.

Alison Lubell, Manhattan, and James Hammond, London England, at Field 6 ,Jones Beach State Park, 03/15/2020 /Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com /copyright 2020

Manhattan resident Alison Lubell was happy to be out on this “gorgeous and beautiful day” and felt people needed to be “aware and responsible”. James Hammond hailing from London England felt the situation was “fanned 80% by the media and 20% concern” he said “being on the boardwalk sure beat the subway crowds” which he found to be terrifying.

Jones Beach video of Alison Lubell and James Hammond /Neil Miller/ The New york Extra/TheNYExtra.com/copyright 2020

Tony and Pat Brinkmann of Sayville were enjoying the “fresh air and sunshine”. Tony expressed he felt it was a safe environment and that’s why they came today, there was “plenty of open space to not be crowed by people”.

Tony and Pat Brinkmann from Sayville N.Y. at The Field 6 Boardwalk ,Jones Beach State Park, Neil Miller/The NewYork Extra/TheNYExtra.com /copyright 2020

Video of Tony and Pat Brinkmann, at Jones Beach Boardwalk 03/15/2020 Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com /copyright 2020
Video of Ginger Bonner,Bellmore N.Y. Jones Beach State Park Boardwalk ,03/15/2020 Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

The coming weeks will tell what lies ahead concerning Covid19. In the meantime the smart and responsible thing to do is limit your exposure, the tried and true method of wash your hands don’t touch your face and social distancing. This is for the good of all and will help prevent what could have a devastating effect on our healthcare system. The opportunity to be outside on this beautiful day yet feel safe was one many of us took today.

Iona Just Became on the Best Basketball Labs in the Nation

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

The Gym Rat Coach is back.

Back in the metropolitan area where his love affair with basketball began. Back in the college ranks, which he is more suited to than the NBA. Back in the gym of a small Catholic college not that different from his prep days at St. Dominic of Oyster Bay.

The shock is where Rick Pitino has resurfaced.

It is not the NBA, or a power five school, or a Big East school such as Providence, where he first garnered national attention. Iona College, a birthplace of college basketball coaches, announced Saturday that Pitino, one of the most polarizing figures in the game, will coach the Gaels next season.

It immediately makes Iona’s games and practices must-see basketball. On and off the court, Pitino stirred the pot with his, how do we phrase it, passionate and competitive nature.

Those traits helped Pitino win two NCAA titles, a Greek Cup and Greek Basket League championship and transforming the 1988-89 Knicks into the Bomb Squad, the most exciting show in the NBA.

His high-strung persona also found him embroiled in an alleged pay-for-play scandal at Louisville, a lawsuit against the university and Adidas, an extortion case in which a Pitino admitted to having an extra-marital sex with a woman who tried to extort him, and almost started a Civil War in basketball-crazed Kentucky by winning NCAA titles at with the Wildcats and then Cardinals (vacated).

But what can never be questioned is Pitino’s standing as one of the greatest innovators and motivators in the game. His before and after records are astonishing:

BU was 10-15 before Pitino arrived; 17-9 in his first season. Kentucky was 13-19; 22-6 in Pitino’s second season. The Knicks were 24-58 before Pitino; 52-30 in his second season. Louisville was 12-19 before; 19-13 the next.

After playing point guard at UMass, Pitino began his coaching career as an assistant coach in Hawaii. The journey led to Syracuse, Boston College, the Knicks, Providence College, the Knicks (head coach), Kentucky, Celtics, Louisville, Greece and now Westchester County.

Iona is in many ways the perfect ending. He has made enough money to not need another big payday. He doesn’t need more validation, yet craves it.

This will be coaching at its purist – college players who have not been fawned over since they were in junior high.

Pitino takes over for Tim Cluess, who missed this season with illness. Cluess had followed in the footsteps of Jim Valvano, Tim Welsh, Jeff Ruland and Kevin Willard – Iona coaches that won and went on.

“My passion in basketball started in New York and will end there at Iona College,” Pitino said in the statement. “Tim Cluess has done a spectacular job creating success and a winning spirit. I wish Tim a speedy recovery and Iona will always cherish his accomplishments.

“At Iona, I will work with the same passion, hunger and drive that I’ve had for over forty years. There is a real professionalism in how things are run here and this is a very tight, strong community.”

True. The Westchester County college has a rabid fan base that enjoys heated rivalries with Fordham, Manhattan and other Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference schools.

It isn’t hard to imagine him leading the Gaels into next year’s NCAA Tournament and scarring – if not upsetting – a much higher seed. Pitino took the Friars to the 1987 Final Four.

Will he have that level of success at Iona? Doubtful. But the Hynes Center just became one of the top basketball labs in the country.

Sports Is Dark As We Await The Outcome Of This Coronavirus Crisis

Wednesday evening we left the Barclays Center in Brooklyn after the first round of the Atlantic-10 Basketball championship tournament. I had this empty feeling with the increased cases of the Coronavirus.

File photo Neil Miller/The New York Extra /copyright 2020

And then it happened. Sports were shut down. Not just the NCAA conference tournaments. Not the NCAA Mens and womens basketball tournaments of March Madness, but all sports.

One-by-one. The NBA, NHL, MLS, boxing, golf. And the anticipated start of Major League Baseball has been pushed back for two weeks, but that is just an estimate.

The start of the 2020 Major League Baseball season could be on hiatus and longer than that two week time period. 

It will take time to adjust as arenas and stadiums go dark. This is a circumstance, from this perspective, worse than the events and aftermath of September 11, 2001. Worse, because it has impacted you, me, the city of New York, the world.

The difference, an impact for a long period of time as we adjust. 

It’s about the individual well being of all. We can’t fight a virus that is not under control and this comes as the sports analyst and by no means is this writer a medical authority or pretend to be. 

It’s common sense and listening to the authorities that advise how to deal with this situation. But sports is on the sidelines. We are looking in, making adjustments, hoping for the best. 

The transition to do other things is here. There always will be things to write about. Pick up a book, watch a classic movie. Check on family, friends, and neighbors.

And in due time, like all bad situations, this will pass. The Coronavirus and implications will become history, talked about for years to come, and we can resume our daily routines.  

But, New York City in that state of emergency will not have a complete shutdown. A source, within New York City Government circles informed this columnist that a shutdown will not occur unless Coronavirus cases reach the thousands .

Thankfully, we are not at that point of this crisis. And hopefully we won’t get there.

In the meantime, the world of fun and games, sports as it is called, is on hiatus.

Down in Port St. Lucie Florida, at the New York Mets spring training complex, spring training games have been suspended. The game of baseball is in suspension.

“Obviously with the sensitive information , we have to take extra precaution,” said the Mets’ J.D. Davis.

 He continues  to stay prepared with the entire Mets contingent and hopes that the crisis will pass so the 2020 season can commence.

“As a team, we will continue to get ready for the season,” Davis said. “It’s definitely different. And we have to improvise to get better everyday and be ready. We don’t know the future, however, we have to have the mindset that we are having our opening day in two weeks.”

He said, the details are still coming in to players and personnel. Meetings are ongoing to answer any concerns with questions.

“Hopefully, in the next couple of days, we will have a better understanding on where to go from here,” Davis said.

That understanding could mean  the players leaving Florida, Or, they head to their respective homes or come up north to their seasonal homes in New York. 

The Mets season opener was two weeks from yesterday. It is assumed , when MLB resumes, that the team will still have their season opener at Citi Field.

Friday afternoon, the Yankees also remained in place down at their spring training facilities in Tampa. Similar to the Mets ,they are in a holding pattern. 

The team  released a statement to update fans and the media. They were scheduled to open the season at Baltimore two weeks from yesterday.

“The Yankees fully support this decision and will continue to proactively monitor current events in conjunction with medical experts, government officials and Major League Baseball,” said the statement.

The  statement continued “We recognize that our great fans have a variety of questions. However, given the unprecedented nature and fluidity of what is taking place, we appreciate your patience as we diligently work through the many aspects and details of this continually evolving situation.”

In the meantime stadium workers are also victims of this Coronavirus pandemic. Concession workers and security personnel at Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden, and the Barclays Center will lose a substantial part of their income.

The players will still get paid. though reductions will come to their contracts as it pertains to a national emergency when games are suspended. According to an agreement with owners and players.

But those who secure and provide at the venues, they will be hurt in the pocket.

“Understand, but safety does come first,” said a long time concession worker who works at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium They earn from the individual vendors that have contracts with the teams.

With March Madness gone, and with sports in the dark, the waging of sports is also taking a hit. That industry, too, is in a holding pattern and this time of year the NCAA Tournament does see sports wagering at a peak.

The NCAA and with a loss of games will lose millions with the CBS and Turner television contracts that deliver these games to us. The eligibility of senior student-athletes, many who missed an opportunity to compete for a championship, reportedly will be extended. 

Boxing promoters have cancelled their shows around the nation. Two in New York City in the span of four days, promoted by Top Rank and ESPN were called off Thursday evening.

The events were scheduled in the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden. Initially, when the crisis in New York unfolded, fans were banned from events scheduled for Saturday night and St. Patrick’s Day evening. 

Thursday, Top Rank had a final press conference at the Garden. The fighters, officials, and personnel were there and the shows were still a go. 

Later, the New York State Athletic Commission got the call form Albany. The commission, that regulates boxing was informed to consult with Top Rank and cancel the shows for the safety of personnel and the fighters. 

The Garden is dark, could be for months, and with a state of emergency,  events with 500 people or more is a risk. The Theatre is in that category of risk. 

Millions of dollars are being lost. The estimates and figures will continue to pile as this crisis continues and when it is finally resolved.

Yes, sports are in the dark. Even media, many who depend on income to report the games and events will see cutbacks and a loss of income. 

Realize, we must stay safe. Take caution. The sports world will resume. And hope the Coronavirus, like a bad hurricane, will fly out to sea.

Comment: Ring786@aol.com/ Twitter @Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

COVID-19 CAN STEAL OUR SPORTS BUT NOT OUR SOULS

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins/An editorial by The New York Extra,Editor – in- Chief

COVID-19 is a thief.

It has no conscience, no empathy. It will steal the most precious heirlooms – family and health – if we allow it.

Already it has stolen all of our spring conference tournaments, the NBA, the NHL, Spring Training, and pushed back Opening Day, soccer and tennis matches. You name a sporting event, chances are it’s gone for the foreseeable future.

New York, NY. Thursday, March 12, 2020. Big East commissioner Val Ackerman announces the cancellation of the Big East Tournament during halftime of the St. John’s-Creighton game. St. John’s vs. Creighton at Madison Square Garden.

“I’ve got to tell you, it breaks my heart,” Big East commissioner Val Ackerman said Thursday after canceling her conference tournament midway through the St. John’s-Creighton game. “This is the greatest college basketball tournament ever. But we respect the decision of authorities. We’re very mindful about what’s happening nationally. We do not want to be imprudent as it relates to the safety of our participants and our fans.

New York, NY. Thursday, March 12, 2020. Nick Rutherford of St. John’s drives to the basket while defended by Jett Canfield (10) and Mitchell Ballock of Creighton. St. John’s vs. Creighton at Madison Square Garden.

“And it’s terrifying, frankly, what’s evolving here as the science and the assessments of the science are progressing. And I don’t think any of us know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”

We don’t.

It was disheartening to turn on the TV at 7:00 p.m. and not to choose between the ACC and Big East tournaments.

It was jarring to receive texts from my Rutgers students asking what would comprise the midterm exam now that there is no Selection Sunday to cover.

It was surreal walking into my CVS and seeing empty shelves where there had once been five brands of toilet paper.

And yet all of us can be the lucky ones.

As I passed a neighborhood schoolyard, I saw a father and his junior high school aged daughter shooting hoops. A couple of friends played ping pong. A group of grade school kids played pickup basketball. Couples and families and friends strolled to the rhythm of their own laughter.

It is not the fault of COVID-19 that we have been increasingly isolated by the greatest communication tool in history – the Smartphone.

It is not the fault of COVID-19 that streaming has replaced conversation at the dinner table.

It is not the fault of COVID-19 that texting is replacing talking as the favorite means of communication for teenagers.

COVID-19 can push us further apart or we choose to draw closer together.

We can mourn the loss of sports, or we can try to help low-wage workers whose income is dependent on taking tickets or serving hot dogs or cleaning arenas.

We can mourn a spring without NCAA and conference tournaments, or we can support all of the seniors who will miss a chance to make a priceless memorial.

We can the mourn the possibility that we might have witnessed the end of some of our favorite professional athlete’s career or we can hold on to the memory of the joy they provided.

This is what we can make sure COVID-19 doesn’t take. As social animals, we need each other. We need compassion and empathy. We might not be able to congregate in large numbers but we can offer large and open hearts.

Many around the world have lost friends and family. COVID-19 will take more lives. It will take more sports. But it can’t take our souls. That’s worth any sacrifice we have to make.

Silent Spring

The possible loss of beloved Long Island Music Scene by Neil Miller/The New York Extra

As the spread of Corona Virus creeps into every part of our life on the Island, none is so painful to local music lovers as the possible loss or reduction in the music scene as we know it.

What we do know as of today, is Gov. Cuomo has now stopped gatherings of any group over 500, and those places under 500 have to cut the amount of people attending by 50%

What does that mean for us as of today? No Coliseum , NYCB Music Fair , The Space, The Tilles Center, and perhaps Nutty Irishman, Mulcahy’s, 89 North among others. And if the ban continues, add The Salt Shack, The Boatyard, and Lido Beach as well.

The smaller venues like KJ Farrells, The Warehouse, Sunset Grill, Beau’s and others will stay open for now, but with reduced music fans. All we can do is pray for the health of our country and Long Island and that this terrible time of disease goes away as quick as it came.

Why St. John’s Just Became Mike Anderson’s Team

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

St John’s #30 LJ Figueroa clebrates after sinking a 3 point basket late in the 2nd half tonight

Nolan Richardson, creator of “40 Minutes of Hell,” once said this about his former player, Mike Anderson:

“There are those that play to play and those who play to win, and Mike was playing to win in every ball game.”

Mike Anderson ,in tonight’s opening game of he Big East/Neil Miller/The New York Extra/copyright 2020

For the first 20 minutes of Wednesday night’s opening round game of the Big East Conference Tournament, Anderson’s St. John’s team was playing (pathetically) to play. In the second half, the Red Storm played like their coach, erasing a 15-point second half deficit with a 23-0 closing run to storm past reviled rival Georgetown, 75-62, in The Garden.

St John’S #30 LJ Figueroa pulls down a rebound in the 1st half tonight Neil Miller/The New York Extra/copyright 2020

“It’s an unbelievable feeling,” said forward LJ Figueroa, who had a game-high 22 points. “Coach always emphasizes we’re never out of game. We just go out there, play as hard as we can. I mean, honestly, I don’t think anybody knew on the court that we were on a 23-0 run. It just felt like we were out there having fun, and that’s how it’s supposed to feel.”

It was the biggest come-from-behind victory for The Johnnies in 41 years of conference tournament play, an impressive achievement for Anderson, who is in his first season in Queens. He assembled this team on the fly after getting the job in mid-April.

The Big East announced that it will limit attendance for the rest of the tournament because of the spread of the coronavirus. Each team will receive an allotment of 200 tickets per game.

St. John’s is not the most talented team in the Big East but you could do worse walking down a dark alley with these guys by your side. Even after missing their first seven shots of the second half (and committing one turnover) the Johnnies, continued to play to win after falling behind 48-33.

When Georgetown’s Terrell Allen made a layup with 6:31 left, the Hoyas had repulsed a couple of St. John’s mini runs and coach Patrick Ewing seemed to have his team in control with a 62-52 lead. They didn’t score again.

“I thought the last six minutes was a classic,’’ said Anderson.

Not for Georgetown.

“It still doesn’t feel real, to be honest with you,” said guard Jagan Mosley. “After their, I guess, 20-0 run, it kind of still hasn’t hit me that the game ended like that.”

St. John’s forced 10 straight misses and four turnovers. The Hoyas finish 15-17 unless they get a bid to minor postseason tournament.

St. Johns’ 17-15 will face top-seeded Creighton (24-7) at noon Thursday in what will be a near-empty Madison Square Garden. DePaul (16-16), a 70-65 winner over Xavier (19-12) will face Villanova.

St. John’s scorched the Bluejays, 91-71, on March 1st. It was Creighton’s worse conference loss of the season. Creighton will be without guard Marcus Zegarowski who will have surgery on his right knee to repair a torn meniscus suffered in the regular-season finale.

But for one night Anderson should cherish the night they went from playing to play to playing to win.

Fordham Advances As A-!0 Tournament Begins

Fordham was the last and 14th  seed in the Atlantic-10 Basketball Championship that commenced Wednesday at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. Prior to their game, 12th seed George Mason advanced in the opening round with a 77-70 win over 13th seed Saint Joseph’s

03/11/2020 Fordham Vs. George Washington at Barclay Center: Joel Soriano during game. Photo by Joseph E. Amaturo

This first day, though, that belonged to the Rams. And they did not resemble a team that finished last in the conference, 2-16, 6-12 overall. Fordham took comamnd early and advanced to the second round with a commanding 72-52 win over 11th seed George Washington. 

Thursday night, Fordham will try and keep this going as they oppose 6th seed Duquesne, the finale of six games that tips off at 8:30PM

So, for the first time in five years ,the Rams have advanced to the second round. Then, in 2015,  Fordham lost to VCU under coach Tom Pecora.

And for coach Jeff Neubauer, this is the first time in five years he and his Rams’ are moving on in the tournament.

Realizing this conference is one of the elite in the NCAA, and with Fordham the extreme underdog, this win was special. Of course if they advance Thursday, then there will be talk about Neubauer and his Rams playing the Cinderalla story.

Aso realize, Fordham, should they advance, would get one the top seeds in the tournament. Top seed Dayton, also ranked third in the nation, begins their run to an NCAA championship with a noon game Friday.

“The goal of any coach, more importantly of any team is to play  the best basketball of the year and that was my message to this team after the game,” Neubauer said. “W’eve been building to this moment at the offensive and defensive ends.”

He said, “This is the best game we’ve played.”

The reality is, Fordham has been an improved team as the season came down the stretch. They also took three games from GW this year, including the tournament win Wednesday,

And the difference maker has come from a freshman Joel Soriano, who got more playing time. Sophomore forward Onyi Eyisi went down with a foot injury in mid February.

Soriano, 6-11, from Yonkers, adds that versatility. He came into the game recording a double-double in four of his past five games. He got the Rams going and put their first two points on the board.

Soriano finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

“When we recruited him, its obvious he’s going to be a terrific player ,:” Neubauer said. “It took him a little time to adjust to the divsion 1 level.   Onyi, got hurt giving him the oportunity and he seized the opportuity.”

He has been a major part of the Fordham offense. He can also grab the rebound.  

“A major reason we played well down the stretch,” Neubauer said about his freshman. And that the Rams did, play well. Beleive it or not, Fordham could have won 12 of the 16 games they lost, and that includes a 10-game losing streak down the stretch.

“Rebuilding my confidence each and every game,”Soriano said.  “Work and shoot the ball. Before the game we talked about this. We got the first one.”

Fordham looks like a team with momentum. Now the task is meeting Duquesne. The Rams lost in overtime, 58-56 on the road in their first meeting back in January. Three weeks ago, in their second meeting up at Rose Hill, the Rams made it close and lost it down the stretch 59-54.

But Thursday evening in Brooklyn, the difference could be Soriano. It could also come from the continued consistency of Jalen Cobb (15 points Erten Gazi (12 pointsO and Antwon Portley who added 10. 

“He’s been shooting the ball well from three, a big reason why we are playing well,” Neubauer said.

 Now the attention turns to Duquesne, a quick turnaround that surprised Neubauer. He said it will be an interesting matchup for Soriano.

“It will be interesting because Duquense is a paint team, they play close to the basket as they can. And other things effectively they do is the offensive rebound.  

And the short turnaround, said Neubauer, really is not a concern. Fordham has played a night after day this season In Jamaica.  But the coach was caught off guard.

He said, “Iiterally had no idea what time we played tomorrow, was shocked . Our guys will be very happy more than 24 hours to play our next game.. We’ve been through this.’’  

“We didn’t beat Duquesne, but our guys really fought and competed  overtime and one or two possessions at home. Will be a great game. a battle. It helps us.”

And the Rams have that momentum That is the key.

ADVISORY FROM THE ATLANTIC 10 CONFERENCE:

CORONAVIRUS CAUSES REMAINDER OF TOURNAMENT TO BE PLAYED IN EMPTY AREA: The Atlantic 10 Conference announced tonight that the 2020 Men’s Basketball Championship at Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY., will be played without fans and spectators for its remaining games.

Beginning tomorrow, all remaining contests in the championship will be restricted to teams, network television, working media, essential personnel, and team affiliated families/guests. First round games were played today (Wednesday, March 11) at Barclays Center, with George Mason defeating Saint Joseph’s 77-70, and Fordham topping George Washington 72-52. 

“Although this was a difficult decision it’s imperative that the Atlantic 10 act in the best interest of our student-athletes, teams and member institutions. This is a very unique and serious situation given the global impact of COVID-19, and as disappointing as this is for our fans and spectators, this decision had to be made,” states Commissioner Bernadette McGlade. “I want to thank everyone who is and has been supporting our basketball programs this season and encourage all to tune in to our games on our television partners.”

Thursday’s games and Friday’s quarterfinal contests will be televised on NBCSN and accessed digitally on the NBC Sports App, starting at noon. Saturday’s semifinal contests will be aired on the CBS Sports Network, beginning at 1 p.m., and Sunday’s championship game will be televised on CBS at 1 p.m.   

Comment:Ring786@aol.com  Twitter @Ring786  Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

The Hall Has What it Takes to Cut Down the Nets

ROBBINS NEST

File photo /Neil Miller/ The New York Extra/copyright 2020

By Lenn Robbins

The time between the end of the regular season and the beginning of conference tournament play is a little like the NFL Combine: Players that have had solid seasons are stripped to their undies while scouts try to find flaws.

No wonder why Seton Hall coach Kevin Willard is in damage control.

The Pirates had, by any measure, a terrific season. They went 21-9 overall and grabbed a share of the Big East regular season title at 13-5 with Creighton and Villanova.

They did this despite losing top scorer Myles Powell for a couple of games with a concussion and versatile forward Sandro Mamukelashvili for 10 games with a broken wrist. The Pirates beat Maryland and snapped a 17-game road losing streak at Villanova.

Heckuva year.  Until the final week.

Villanova edged Seton Hall, 79-77, in The Prudential Center. Then the Pirates got drilled 77-60 at Creighton. Had Seton Hall won either of those two games they would have claimed their first outright league title since 1993.

While the Pirates sat in a funereal visiting locker room in Creighton’s CHI Health Center, the Bluejays, who claimed the No.1 seed in the Big East Conference Tournament, partied with their fans and cut down the nets.

Seton Hall had gone from the team to beat to the team that couldn’t close it out.

“I wish I could bring my kids out here right now because they’re cutting down the nets and I’ve got 13 kids who think they failed miserably,” Willard told reporters after the game. “I just tried to tell them, this is an unbelievable accomplishment.

“Yes, we had a chance to win it outright, we had two chances and it didn’t come through for us, but to take away from what this team has done and what this team accomplished, it would be a big mistake.”

This would be another mistake: Picking against the Pirates to win the Big East Conference Tournament which begins Wednesday night in The Garden. St. John’s (16-15) and Georgetown (15-16), two of the most storied teams in the league, tip off at 7 p.m. followed DePaul (15-16) vs Xavier (19-12).

Seton Hall, the No.4 seed, opens Thursday night against Marquette (18-12). The Hall won both regular-season games, 69-55 and 88-79. A third win (not easy) would set up a likely semifinal round rematch with Nova, the No. 2.

The Pirates are the pick because of their experience, toughness, defense and the ability of Powell to turn a game. That’s what it takes to cut down the nets.

One Shining Moment Meets One Empty Dome

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

Can you imagine, “One Shining Moment” played in one empty dome?

March Madness with no crying fans? Or euphoric fans? Or any fans?

Imagine it.

 As much as the oft-misguided overseers of the NCAA are hell bent on playing their cash cow known as the NCAA Tournament before full houses, they can’t ignore what’s taking place in every major sports league and around the world. Doors are closing to fans because of Covid-19.

Which would mean what for a Big Dance that’s shaping up as one of the most unpredictable of all time? Wagering mayhem.

In no way are we making light of this pandemic that has every reasonable person questioning how to live his or her life today, tomorrow, a month from now. There is much we don’t know about this global health threat other than it has killed thousands and dramatically affected the quality of life around the globe.

But fans or no fans in the arena isn’t going to stop the millions of dollars wagered on the Big Dance. Here’s where it gets tricky.

If the season were to end today, Gonzaga would get the No.1 seed in the West Region as per noted Bracketologist Joe Lunardi. The Bulldogs would play their first two games in Spokane, giving them a huge home court advantage.

Unless, of course, there are no fans in the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. There goes that home court edge. What’s to prevent a much-maligned Arizona team (the No.8 seed), which lost by four to the Zags earlier this season, from extracting some revenge?

The same holds for Kansas, which is projected to be the overall No.1 seed playing in Omaha. The Jayhawks might not need much fan support to get past No.16 Winthrop but we could see a very physical Houston team giving Kansas fits.

By this reasoning, this would be the Tournament of Upsets. No home crowds for the top seeds equals more opportunity for the underdogs. Or would it?

Consider this scenario: When Loyola of Chicago became the fourth No.11 seed to advance to a Final Four, the Ramblers started their run in Dallas, where Texas Tech, a No.3 seed was only school to have a home court advantage.

But the Red Raiders, who advanced to the regional final in Boston, would never have faced the Ramblers, who won the South Region in Atlanta. The six other teams in Dallas all got behind Sister Jean-led Loyola-Chicago.

The same held true in Atlanta where the Ramblers two opponents – Nevada and Kansas State – had no geographic advantage. The Georgia Dome became Chicago South, especially after K-State ousted Kentucky.

We see this all over the nation every time a “Cinderella” shows up. The crowd backs the underdog. It’s what March Madness is all about. The Ramblers earned their four wins but would they have gone as far as they did without enjoying the mojo as the fan favorite? Doubtful.

By that logical reasoning, this should the Tournament of Favorites. Without the dual burden of being the higher seed and facing a crowd darling, the superior teams should prevail.

This is March Sadness – having to consider the ramifications of empty arenas when filling out your bracket or laying a wager. But you better consider it. Because you know the oddsmakers in Vegas already have.

March Madness begins in earnest this week in the metropolitan area. Here are our picks:

Atlantic 10 Conference – Dayton. No one else is close.

American East – Vermont, see Dayton.

Big East – Seton Hall. Talent, toughness, experience – the league recipe for success.

Big Ten – Michigan State. See Seton Hall.

Colonial Athletic Association – Hofstra. The Pride is playing its best defense of the season.

 MAAC –  Siena. The best point guard in the league, Jalen Pickett, is the difference.

Northeast – Robert Morris. Home court advantage.

Dayton Top Seed Favor As A-10 Tournament Tips Off In Brooklyn

Welcome to March Madness.  Wednesday afternoon at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, the march to the “Final Four” of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament begins for the Atlantic -10 Conference. And there is a good chance that Dayton University could reach the Final Four at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta Georgia.  

One thing is certain, Dayton is favored to win the tournament and move on.  And unless an upset occurs, which happens in March, that should be the plan.  The Flyers, 2020 Atlantic 10 Regular Season Champion and No. 3 ranked team in the nation, will be the No. 1 seed.

With all 14 conference teams that qualify in the conference tournament it’s Dayton that stands out. They have it all with the offense, defense, and have been ranked in the Top 10 AP poll all season.

They have been here in the past and they know how to play in Brooklyn. They have won two conference championships at Barclays which propelled the Flyers to advance to the “Elite 8” of the NCAA Tournament in  2013-14.

The Flyers registered a league-tying 18 wins and secured only the fourth unblemished conference record (18-0) in A-10 history. After their season finale. Dayton locked up their third regular season title in the last five years  at home against Davidson and received one of four double byes in the A-10 Championship.

It will be difficult to stop the offense. Obi Toppin improved his chances of winning the national player of the year award after scoring 23 points on 10-of-11 shooting and grabbed 12 rebounds in the regular season finale.

Toppin, a forward was named the Atlantic 10 Conference Men’s Basketball Player of the Year while his coach Anthony Grant was voted A-10 Coach of the Year by opposing coaches. Toppin,  averaged 20 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.2 assists per game, while shooting 63.3 percent from the field, which ranks fifth nationally.

Dayton shot 72.3 percent (34 of 47), the second-best percentage in school history. It tied the A-10 field-goal percentage record set by Duquesne (34 of 47, 72.3) against St. Bonaventure on Feb. 23, 1991.

In addition to Dayton, second-seeded Richmond (14-4), No. 3 Rhode Island (13-5) and No. 4 Saint Louis (12-6) earned byes into the quarterfinal round of the championship. Dayton plays at noon on Friday, followed by Saint Louis at 2:30 pm. Richmond opens the evening session at 6:00 pm and Rhode Island will play in the last quarterfinal at 8:30 pm.

Seeds five through 10 earn byes into the second round and will play Thursday on NBCSN. St. Bonaventure (11-7) is seeded fifth and will play the winner of No. 12 George Mason (5-13) and No. 13 Saint Joseph’s (2-16) at 2:30 pm Thursday. 

Mason and the Hawks will meet Wednesday in the first round at 1:00 pm on ESPN+. Saint Joseph’s earned the 13 seed by virtue of a head-to-head tiebreaker with Fordham.

Fordham, the local team in the tournament, would need to pull the upset. After another dismal season, the Rams will play the second game. The game between the Colonials and Rams will tip off at 3:30 pm on Wednesday on ESPN+.

After a season ending 65-61 loss to George Mason Saturday afternoon up at Rose Hill the Rams finished last again the Atlantic 10 Conference. It was another dismal season for the Rams, 8-22 overall, 2-16 in the conference.

Erten Gazi scored a career-high 22 points and had six rebounds for Fordham,  Antwon Portley added 11 points, and Joel Soriano had 10 rebounds and three blocks for Fordham in the season finale. 

 “We’re excited to head into Brooklyn on Wednesday to open the Atlantic 10 Championship,’ said coach Jeff Neubauer. “ It’s a new season and we have to get ready to play our best basketball of the year. We have been playing better lately and I hope that translates into a good performance at the Barclays Center.”

 But the Rams are not expected to advance to the championship final set for Sunday, March 15. They do have the distinction of leading the conference in scoring defense, among the top 10 leaders in the NCAA.

And the last four games the Rams got production from Josh Colon and Joel Soriano.  Soriano, the freshman forward has come off the bench and got the late season starts. He  recorded 14 points and 15 rebounds to carry Fordham to a 63-52 win over George Washington last  Wednesday night, breaking the Rams’ 10-game losing streak.

Colon, the junior guard, got better in the last five games and scored a career high 17 points against GW.

The Rams had a private practice the past two days as their campus up at Rose Hill in the Bronx has been closed due to the outbreak of the Coronavirus.

Other players to watch during the next few days could make an impact. Joining Toppin and Gilyard on the All-Conference First Team were Jalen Crutcher (Dayton), Fatts Russell (Rhode Island), Kyle Lofton (St. Bonaventure) and Jordan Goodwin (Saint Louis). 

The All-Conference second team consisted of Kellan Grady (Davidson), Marcus Weathers (Duquesne), Blake Francis (Richmond), Grant Golden (Richmond), Hasahn French (Saint Louis) and Mitchell. Jon Axel Gudmundsson (Davidson), Trey Landers (Dayton), Jeff Dowtin (Rhode Island), Osun Osunniyi (St. Bonaventure), Ryan Daly (Saint Joseph’s) and Perkins made up the All-Conference Third Team.

The 2020 Championship begins Wednesday with two first-round games that will be streamed on ESPN+. Thursday features four second-round games and the quarterfinals are Friday. Thursday’s and Friday’s games will be carried by NBCSN. Semifinals begin Saturday at 1:00 pm on CBS Sports Network and the Championship final is Sunday at 1:00 pm on CBS Sports. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster.com.

Let the Madness begin in Brooklyn.

Comment: Ring786@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786  Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

Desert Highway plays K.J. Farrell’s, by Neil Miller /The New York Extra

What is it about bands that play at K.J.’s? It just seems to bring out the best in a band and in a crowd. And that was the story Saturday night 03/07/2020.

Neil Miller/The New York Extra/copyright 2020

The first set contained Eagle’s favs of Witchy Woman, Lyin Eyes, and Peaceful Easy Feeling. Also played was Runaway, the old Bonnie Raitt hit, and Boys of Summer.

The second set just kicked butt with Hotel California, The Long Run and Already Gone. The band of Richie Naso , lead guitar, Mike Green, guitar/vocals, Reggie Bell, keyboards, Edgar Bettancourt guitar /vocals, and Larry Lipman , drums and /vocals just smoked the crowd with terrific solos, great vocals, and altogether a very tight and fun performance. A must see! Please visit their web site,deserthighwayband.com for future dates.

86th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade 2020 by Toni Hoyos ,The New York Extra

Can you imagine 86 years! What a wonderful tradition for the town of Huntington. Started in 1930 by the Huntington Ancient Order of Hibernians [AOH] they have generously organized and paid for this event every year since [except during WWII]. Leading the parade was this years Grand Marshal AOH long time member the Honorable W. Gerard Asher.

The Hon. W. Gerard Asher/Neil Miller/The New York Extra /copyright 2020
The NYPD Emerald Society P&D/Neil Miller/The New York Extra/copyright 2020

Several traditional pipe and drum corps were in attendance including the Emerald Society of NYPD, AOH Huntington and Saint Anthony HS South Huntington to name a few. There was also a motorcycle escort, talented bagpipers and several other entertaining bands.

Street vendor/Neil Miller/The New York Extra/copyright 2020

Thousands of spectators lined the streets of the parade route commencing at Huntington train station proceeding down New York Avenue and Main Street. Push cart vendors selling festive St. Patrick’s day goods, hats, light up necklaces, horns, balloons, flags etc. and of course hot pretzels for a tasty treat. A family friendly, pet friendly event for all to enjoy. Need I say the many restaurants and pubs were open for business and booming! Oh and there was Guinness, lots of Guinness.

David Bayley, uncle and Nick Jr. Godfrey/Neil Miller/The New York Extra/2020
Above gallery ,Happy parade viewers enjoy the parade/Neil Miller/The New York Extra /copyright 2020

So next year grab your date, the family, friends, cousins and even Gramma with a folding chair and come on down to Huntington for a fun filled day. We are all Irish on Saint Paddy’s Day!

Aaron Judge’s Rib Injury is a Concern of Biblical Proportions

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

The troubling part of great expectations is the slow dissent into the possibility of greater disappointment.

06/18/19 Norfolk Tides Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at PNC Park Wilkes Barre Scranton Pa Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders right fielder Aaron Judge #99 at batting practice/Neil Miller/The New York extra/copyright 2020

Friday was another day of disappointment for the Yankees with news that Aaron Judge has a stress fracture of the first right rib. Manager Aaron Boone told reporters in Tampa that surgery is not off the table.

Let’s consider where the Yankees were in mid-December and where they are now:

Gerrit Cole/Neil Miller/The New York Extra

They had just signed Gerrit Cole away from the Houston  Astros, giving them an ace of aces, a Game 1 starter, a losing skid ender, a pitcher who possesses a $324 million arm and a master brain. The one glaring hole in their championship plan had been filled in extraordinary fashion.

Meanwhile, their top contender in the AL, those same Astros, were exposed as low life cheaters. Although no players were penalized, the pressure Houston will face every day of the season could break them by the All-Star break.

The Boston Red Sox came to the realization that any franchise that tries to go dollar for dollar with the Yankees does so at its own financial peril. They traded Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers.

It was as if the highway to the World Series contained one Heavyweight Occupation Lane for the Yankees and the rest of the AL can get jammed up on the rest of the road. (The Dodgers their owns lane in the National League).

Now suddenly the Yankee’s express lane is starting to look like the Cross Bronx Expressway with a pothole here a stalled car there and an 18-wheeler belching more smoke than a coal plant.

James Paxton needed back surgery. Luis Severino underwent Tommy John surgery. Giancarlo Stanton got injured – again. This time a calf muscle.

Now Judge might have to have surgery and lose that rib. He’s on the brink of going from Aaron to Adam in what could turn out to be a disappointing season of biblical proportions for Judge and the Yankees.

Opening Day is three weeks away. Is Disappointment Day that far behind?