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Mets Camp: Davis Expected To Be Okay And Tebow Hits A Home Run

Lakeland Fla. –  J.D. Davis became the first casualty during the Mets spring training camp Tuesday afternoon.  He left the game against the Tigers in the fifth inning after diving for a ball at third base and jammed his left shoulder.

Neil Miller/The New York Extra

An MRI is scheduled for Wednesday and the Mets will await the results.  Davis, slated to be the starting left fielder on Opening Day, could see some playing time at third base for manager Luis Rojas.

When questioned, Davis said to “I think it’s minor. Just achy and tight. Right now. We will see tomorrow.”

Neil Miller/The New York Extra

The Mets are hoping for the best. Last season, Davis, the surprising acquisition from the Houston Astros, hit .307 with 22 home runs in 453 at bats.  He had some lapses in left field and this offseason worked on correcting the flaws.

In the lineup, the Mets are that much better. Davis can be a cog at cleanup or batting third.  In the event of a setback pending the MRI, there are some positives. 

Yoenis Cespedes is working his way back to the lineup and that adds some depth for a Mets team that is in discussion as a possible winner of the NL East.

To win the division, or take a NL wild card, they will need the consistency of Davis in the lineup and on the field.

“It was a little bit of pain,” Davis said. “But it’s fine now. 

The MRI is precautionary and to assure there is no structural damage. The Mets have not had a share of any injuries since the start of camp. Most of the emphasis has been Yoenis Cespedes. 

Since his off-season run-in with a boar, their high profiled player with a restructured contract, has been on the field. Stretching, running, throwing in the batter’s box, and all looks good for Cespedes. 

That leads to optimism that the name of  Yoenis Cespedes will be in the lineup or off the bench in the first few weeks of the season. Davis also said he is not concerned this will be a setback. Again, the MRI will confirm more. 

“Three out of ten,” he said about the concern level.

And the Mets are hoping for a ten.  In the unlikely event that Davis is out for some time, the Mets, with  depth, could go with Dominic Smith in left. He is slated to get playing time off the bench and possibly backup Pete Alonzo at first.

Neil Miller/The New York Extra

THE LAST TIME FOR TEBOW? Tim Tebow hit his first home run in Mets camp Tuesday. It was his first ball hit out of the yard in his fourth spring training invite with the Mets.

And this could be his last hurrah. Time is of the essence. Tebow, 32- years of age, is not getting any younger when it comes to baseball standards to achieve his goal of being on the Major League level. 

 He signed as a Minor League free agent in September of 2016, and hit .163 last season for Triple A-Syracuse before sustaining a laceration to a finger that curtailed his time. The year before, at Double-A Binghamton it was a broken wrist that ended his season.

“I had a chance to see a few and just tried to be tight and on time,” Tebow said about the home run in the Mets 8-6 spring loss to the Tigers. 

The Mets have tried the Tim Tebow experiment and at times it has been a marketing ploy. After seeing some success at Double-A Binghamton, and a 2018 Eastern League All-Star spot, there was speculation  in 2018, when rosters expanded, that Tebow would make his Major League debut at Citi Field.

But that never transpired which leads to 2020 as being his last opportunity. With the Mets set in the outfield, and the game getting younger, that leaves Tebow with limited time to make the jump to the big leagues.

“I feel like I’m seeing the ball pretty good,” Tebow said.

He has been reaching base in three Grapefruit League games, walks, and of course the home ball that got the crowd popping in Lakeland. You see, Tim Tebow has always been that role model and fans do gravitate to him.

In the end, a roster spot, even with an extra man at 26, may not be enough. Tebow, though, is content and will continue to fulfill his goal as that two-star professional athlete.

“The good athlete that he is, and as coachable as he is, he’s going to keep improving in every area,” said Mets manager Luis Rojas.

And for Tom Tebow, that’s as good as it gets. 

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso


Dwight Gooden Continues His Recovery and Hopes The Same For Baseball

Doc Gooden has battled the demons with a history of alcohol and substance abuse. There are setbacks and the Cy Young Award pitcher of the Mets, who had a revival with the Yankees, is still coping and in therapy.

Rich Mancuso/The New York Extra

Late last year, Gooden, was arrested, not far from his home in Piscataway, New Jersey.  He was driving, incoherent, and pulled over by police officials. 

 For Gooden, who has been in and out of rehab the past few years, this was another setback. The demons still haunt the All-Star pitcher. perhaps, as many say, the best Mets pitcher next to Tom Seaver.

Rich Mancuso /The New York Extra

But for those who care, and many do, Dwight Gooden is fighting those demons and helping others to deal with alcohol, substance abuse, and the awareness of mental illness.  

Tuesday night, at the Regal Theatre in Times Square, there was Doc. He was part of a panel after viewing a screening of  “The Way Back” a Warner Brothers film starring Ben Alfleck that hits the screens on March 6th.

The synapsis:

Jack Cunningham (Ben Affleck) once had a life filled with promise. In high school, he was a basketball phenom with a full university scholarship, when suddenly, for reasons unknown, he walked away from the game, forfeiting his future. Now years later, Jack is spiraling down, triggered by an unspeakable loss, and drowning in the alcoholism that cost him his marriage and any hope for a better life. When he is asked to coach the basketball team at his alma mater, which has fallen far since his glory days, he reluctantly accepts, surprising no one more than himself. As the boys start to come together as a team and win. He would relapse, was dismissed as the coach, and entered therapy.  

“Mine was drugs, his was alcohol, the same thing,” Gooden said. 

The real Dwight Gooden, he  was speaking from experience. He bonded with Eric Kussin, Founder and CEO of “We’re All A Little Crazy” an organization that takes a message across the board in getting the message towards mental health awareness and substance abuse. 

They go under #Same Here.  Gooden, has made another rebound and is doing well. Next week, the Mets will welcome him for a week at their spring training complex in Port St. Lucie Florida. 

 He could relate to the trials and tribulations, a basketball coach, fighting the demons and  using sports as an outlet. There was a correlation here, Gooden and baseball as his outlet. This coach and basketball as the outlet.

“Getting back to something he truly loved,” Gooden said.  “ He had to fill that void. Once he went to treatment, he found peace and a way to forgive himself with alcohol.”

“Forgive,” Gooden said.

 He has seen that with family, friends,  more so, after his latest setbacks. Getting out there to the public, as he did Tuesday night, is the Dwight Gooden approach to feeling better and informing those about a way to seek help.

They relate to the athlete. They relate to the  exploits of Dwight Gooden. They understand the demons, a part of mental illness that are a part of the drug and alcohol abuse syndrome.

“With me spending time with my kids and grandkids, I can be there with my grand kids,” Gooden said. “That is part of his outlet. So are school activities, or sports.” 

So, Dwight Gooden continues with his recovery. He remains a part of the Mets family and baseball is his passion. This recent signal-cheating scandal, that has rocked Major League Baseball, is causing opinions and lots of that controversy.

The game could be in trouble. Dwight Gooden with 16- years of stardom and the accolades has his opinion.

“Cheating always been a part  of the game,” he said. “Technology,  unfortunately, makes it tougher with cameras and all that stuff. During my time third base coach, first base coach, tried to get the signs and motion to the hitter.”

That wasn’t fair, and cheating for the most part is a part of every sport if they don’t get caught red handed.  But the use of technology made it easier for the Houston Astros. 

By all means, this story is far from over. It has more drama than the upcoming Presidential election, and has the attention with a 2020 season ready to commence in five weeks. 

“For me, I’m ready for them to move on from this,” Gooden said.

Technology or not, hitters have a way of knowing what a pitcher is going  to throw. Gooden, discounts all of the buzz about that Jose Altuve walk-off home run off Aroldis Chapman.

The home run of 2019, not 2017, put the Astros in the World Series. The buzzer, Gooden has no theory. The Yankees, according to Gooden, did not hit  and that was a main cause for another postseason series loss to the Astros.

“Good hitters know what you are going to throw,” he said.  

Ask Gooden, the late Rusty Staub, on opposite sides, could always hit a Dwight Gooden heater. At that time, Staub, told Gooden, he was tipping those pitches.  

Years later, though, it’s technology that has caused all of the turmoil. It’s not getting the signs from a coach from that first or third base side. And it has nothing to do with tipping the pitches.

So, Dwight Gooden,and his recovery continues. Baseball had a setback and will eventually recover as the game did once with a nasty steroid scandal. 

Dwight Gooden, he  continues to love the game. That is his outlet.

More info about Eric Kussin:  #Same Here

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

Yoenis Cespedes Was Silent And We Need To Get Answers

“Not today, not tomorrow, not at all this year.” 

File Photo /Neil Miller/ New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes #52

Welcome to the 2020 baseball season of Yoenis Cespedes. Yes, those were his comments, Monday, when he emerged on the field down in Port St. Lucie. He saw the media and those were his first comments in over a year.

Nothing new, and of course nothing gained. This is the world of Yoenis Cespedes. This is common ground for the Mets high profiled player that will play out the final year of a contract that was restructured.

File Photo /Neil Miller/ New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes #52

So there was nothing interesting or new to report. Yoenis Cespedes, was himself and there should be no shock. However, he owes Mets fans more about today, tomorrow, and the months ahead. 

File Photo /Neil Miller/The New York Extra/ New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes #52

He said, “I don’t want to,” when asked for some comments. And from all indications, unless Cespedes, needs to acclimate again, we will never get a response about the new contract and incidents with wild boars at his nearby ranch that resulted in a fractured ankle

Before that, multiple surgeries to remove calcification from two heels. And all of this was unexpected. We needed more explanations and that hardly came. 

From the beginning, when he arrived in New York, the July 31, 2015 trade deadline, this has all been about Yoenis Cespedes. He hardly gave the right words, then, in a productive second half of the season that helped the Mets to the World Series. 

And he was a loss for words, after re-signing with the Mets, a lucrative three-year $75 million contract a year later with an opt out.  

And then more a loss of words, recurring injuries, that kept him off the field. His last game with the Mets, July 20, 2018, before the restructured contract from $26.million to $ 6 million with incentives.

We still want to know his outlook for 2020. How will Yoenis Cespedes work his way  back into a Mets lineup that could use his bat. Left field, first base? Off the bench?

Position and where in the lineup will be determined, a task for rookie manager Luis Rojas. Attitude and avoiding the media, a task. The frustration for yours truly and those who cover the Mets on a daily basis leaves room for more questions.

But nothing new, except this is the big market team. New York, and with a big market player that will eventually have to come out of hibernation and answer the questions. 

Most of all, Mets fans do deserve to get the answers. This was the high profiled free agent they wanted. The Wipons, they can;t be blamed. They pursued and signed the player, a free agent sort of a bust along the lines of Mo Vaughn and other bad contracts that arrived in Flushing.

So, don’t blame Fred and Jeff Wilpon here. They made the move, but it backfired.  But, Yoeneis Cespedes has to speak. Eventually he will. 

What is more important, and hoped, is a healthy Yoenis Cespedes on the field. In the  lineup, if productive, the Mets will be that much better and in the hunt for a division title or wild card spot.

 Luis Rojas, in the meantime, will do the talking for Yoenis Cespedes. The manager has a first hand look at the mood and updates where his high profiled player stands.

“It’s a big day for him,” said Rojas. “He joined the guys and that’s where our focus is going to be with him. He’s being able to progress into playing at some point. We don’t have a timetable. That’s our focus right now.”

But, Yoenis Cespedes will never help his cause, more so with the media, if he refuses to face the media. More importantly, the responsibility to answer comes with being that big time player in New York.

Over the years, Alex Rodriguez, amidst the controversy, would duck the media numerous times in a clubhouse across town in the Bronx with the Yankees. 

We adjusted then, Eventually, A-Rod would face the music, and In so many ways that was worse with a steroid controversy, At the time, a complicated contract, highest in the game, made it more difficult to get the answers.

However, through it all, Yoenis Cespedes, is no Alex Rodriguez. One World Series with the Mets, that was Cesepdes. Production on the field that came from A-Rod and a 2009 World Series for the Yankees. 

But the mood and character of the players, very similar, in a city of New York that expects a high profiled player to live up to the contract and face the music, either good or bad.

Tuesday is another day, Yoenis Cespedes will be on the field down In Port St. Lucie.

Not today, not tomorrow, not all year, is not what we want to hear.

Comment:  Twityer@Ring786 Mancuso

Inside The Business: Warriors Of Wrestling

WrestleMania season of the year is here. Yeah, that’s a yearly WWE event and equivalent to Super Bowl Sunday for a pro wrestling fan. This time of year the aspiring pro wrestler begins to get that bug.

 There are a few good training grounds for beginners in the New York City area. Those who rent space and own facilities are prepared for the rush. After  WrestleMania Sunday, the inquiries begin.

Like boxing, after a major blockbuster, there is an itch to get started. 

“They come and go,” Joe Bellini said about students who give it a try at his Warriors Off Wrestling training space in the Fun Station USA entertainment  facility located on Victory Boulevard in Staten Island. 

 He got that itch as a youngster and later got trained by WWE Hall of Famer Johnny Rodz in Brooklyn at the legendary Gleasons Gym. But after working the independent circuit, and not getting the big contract,  it was time to stay in the business.

For a fee of $150.00 per month, no down payment, 25 students that are regulars get the opportunity to perform in front of a crowd. They show their skills at monthly shows with schools and churches as venues in the New York area.

Yes, this is a training ground. But they perform as good as some of the talent seen during nine hours of televised pro wrestling per week. 

“We drill,” says Bellini.  “Film how to take a shoulder tackle, walking through footwork.  Real big here on safety and fundamentals. They come from Brooklyn, the Bronx, New Jersey and Staten Island.”

This week the next step was in progress for Warriors Of Wrestling (WOW) as they are known. They  are preparing for their next show March 6th, at Saint Finbar’s Catholic Church, a parish on Bath Avenue in Brooklyn.

And it does not matter how many are there because the students of the craft, talent in the ring, get another opportunity to showcase their skills. It’s not WWE talent and the names  Brock Lesnar or Roman Reigns.

They go by the names of Mike Harvey, Tony Booze, Vinny Pacifico. There are a few females also, not the WWE Diva, but looking to go that route.

On the March 6th show, former WWE superstars,  Gangrel and Demolition will be in the ring. They, of course, will be giving the WOW talent that significant boost of confidence and some tips of the trade.

And this is a business. Again, not the WWE, but training  grounds like this and you never know what the future holds.

“Hard  to run a show and put on a match,” Bellini said in between training a group about the holds and submissions.  “I have to worry about everybody, the doctors, the athletic commission.”

The New York State Athletic Commission does not license the talent. In years past they made sure to collect revenue on those fees. Instead, they charge promoters to run a small show. 

Bellini, in other words, does not make a profit. He will be at the venue in a few weeks  there to promote his students and provide them with exposure.

“They kill us,” he said about the commission and their fees.

 Understand, though, a licensed and experienced doctor must be present for safety precautions. In years past, tickets were accounted for with a manifest and that is a thing of the past. Regardless, organizing a small show, assuring that everything is properly in place, that is a major task.

So at the training facility, in the far end is a wrestling ring. You hear the pounding of bodies hitting the mat. And watching these guys take those bumps is a part of their game

They get bruised, injured. One student watched the training. On the sidelines,similar to a ballplayer, he is itching to get back in the ring in a few weeks after sustaining an injury to his shoulder.

Out of character, they are like you and me. All pro wrestlers are in a way considered athletes with an understanding this is also known as sports entertainment. They follow a script and at times will deviate.

They learn  in their training facilities. Outcomes of what to expect in a few weeks? That  remains to be determined. This is pro wrestling and anything is possible which adds to the suspense.

And  it all starts for Warriors Of Wrestling  at Fun Station.

Contact WOW for more information about training and upcoming shows: Warriors of

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso


Paxton And Rotation Void Await Yankees Spring Training Question

With James Paxton the Yankees are that much stronger with their starting rotation. He is the first and early casualty injury and out of the rotation for what is expected to be four months with spinal surgery to a herniated lumbar disc.

File photo Brian Cashman /Neil Miller/The New York Extra

You can say this is not a good start for the Yankees with pitchers and catchers reporting to Tampa. And  a record number of injuries last season, the Yankees were able to win 100 games, and get to the ALCS. 

So one would say the Yankees will be fine.

You can also say, the Yankees are deep without Paxton. You can say the Yankees with Geritt Cole are in a deeper position with their rotation.

Not bad with Cole, Luis Severino, Masahiro Tanaka, and J.A. Happ. But they still need a number five starter and avoid the opener that became a constant last year..

 But this latest injury, and  by all standards, should not hinder their rotation. Though, there is the concern that the absence of Paxton will have an impact based on his finish in the second half last year with a 3.82 ERA,

And it is a blessing that the Yankees did not trade Happ, a  subject of trade talks this off-season.

GM Brian Cashman will be looking in.  That Number 5 spot in the rotation will become one of the few decisions to determine before Opening Day in seven weeks.

“There’s a competition now for whoever wants to step up and take it,” Cashman said.

The prevailing thought, and heard often, the Yankees could go with top prospect Deivi Garcia, or, 27-year old Jordan Montgomery. A longtime scout, and with knowledge of the Yankees, said that either would be the option.

But there is that caution with Montgomery. The 27-year old lefthander was limited to four innings last year after his recovery from Tommy John surgery.

“Montgomery is there but with that eye of caution,” he said. The obvious concern is the four innings after his recovery from  surgery and being placed in that fifth role.” 

With that being said, and with the loss of Paxton, there will be that question and who gets the fifth spot? One thing we know is the Yankees never fall short in getting their needs.

The thing here, it is not easy to fill a void in the rotation, more so with the unexpected circumstances of Paxton. The Yankees, though, saw that void last year without having  the availability of Severino until September.  

This year could be different with the addition of Cole, but that’s one part of the equation. You can’t expect Cole to duplicate his Cy Young Award season and be the complete piece every fifth day but the expectations are riding on him. 

 Manager Aaron Boone said about Montgomery “ He had a really good off season. He has proven himself at this level.”

Assume the  Yankees decide to slot in Montgomery as the beginning option. They can also put Garcia in the pen. Remember, also, this is a 26-man roster now.

Garcia or Montgomery could change roles, all depending of course on what transpires in those early season games of April. There is always a need to carry an added pitcher and with the roster expansion this could lead to more possibilities.

“They have depth,’ said the scout.

He mentions Jonathan Loaisiga, the 25-year old right-hander, 2-2 with a 4.50 ERA in eight career starts, 5.13 ERA in 16 relief stints  with the Yankees. Loaisiga, starter or could be dispatched out of the bullpen, and that is part of the depth.

Luis Cesa, “Capable and can give the Yankees some innings before going to the pen,” he said  Cesa, 27, has 234 innings on his resume and the most experience among the options.

Also,  24-year old right-hander Michael King, in the Yankees minor league system,  has developed a reputation for throwing strikes and getting the ground ball out.

Waiting, Domingo German, the most reliable Yankees starter last year. He has to fulfill a domestic violence suspension and won’t be available until June. 

So, yes, the loss of James Paxton will have an impact. But from the looks of things it’s not all that bad for the Yankees and this number five slot. 

Of course the expectations are Severino, Tanaka, Haap, and Cole will get it done.

In the meantime, filling that void for James Paxton will be one of the few storylines in the weeks ahead down in Tampa.

Comment”  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

Defense And No Offense Again For Fordham in Conference Loss

Again it was the Fordham defense that made it a game against Richmond up at the Rose Hill Gym Saturday afternoon. Similar to other outcomes it was the Rams inability to score that led to a 59-53 loss.

File photo /Neil Miller/The New York Extra

Fordham lost their fourth straight. It wasn’t their defense as they held Richmond, a team that can score, to 23 points in the first half. But as the conference schedule winds down, Fordham 7-15 overall, 1-9 A-10, can’t get both sides of the game on the same page.

Coach Jeff Neubauer, he  is looking at a way to get this offense going.  It has to be more than one that is open for the shot. It has to be making those baskets in a league that thrives on offense. 

Regardless, this was your typical brand of Fordham basketball. Yes, defense is good, Fordham leads the A-10 in scoring defense and is ranked 16th in the NCAA.

“Defensive effort in the first half is never perfect, but it’s amazing that’s what it’s gotta be,” Neubauer said.  “That’s who we are. Second half still good but needed to be amazing in the second half.”

He was referring, though. to that second half and inability to score.  Antown Portley scored 12 points, Ty Perry added 11 and Jalen Cobb 10. They have been part of the mix.

But the Rams need more. If not, all that defense won’t be enough to escape a bottom seeding next month in the conference tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

 Portley, in his last four games after sustaining an early season injury to his leg, has scored 37 points.  But the senior- guard can’t do this alone with a need for others to get the offense going. 

Neubaurer, has always looked at Portley to take that open shot. Part of the Rams second half eight-point run, that gave them a 44-36 lead, was a run to the basket for Portley.

He also found an open and  converted a 3-pointer beyond the arch. Again, if it wasn’t for the defense, the final outcome could have been wider.

“Good to have him back,” said Neubauer. “His minutes helped. He’s one of our better players. We are a better team when he makes the shots.  We encourage in general that the ball moves.”

This is not to say that the Rams are overmatched. With their defense they have been in games. Last Saturday, at  8th ranked Dayton, it was a game before losing 70-56. 

“We play as a team,” Neubauer said. “When you gave a guy with creativity it makes us better.”

Portley has that creativity.

But this Richmond team, striving to move up the standings in the conference, they have it all.  They have deep scoring and that ability to stop a run at the right time 

Jacob Gilyard scored 23 points on 7-of-11 shooting. Blake Francis added 18 points for the balanced Spiders offense. 

The Spiders have won three straight, 17 of their last 18 meetings against Fordham, that included an elimination game at Barclays last March in the A-10 Tournament.

“Their style  for us to hold them to 59, there’s a lot of good defense in there but not enough for us to win,” Neubauer said. 

No, not enough Saturday to win a conference game. And with time running out the Rams are destined to finish last or next to last in the conference. The defense has been consistent the last seven games but  that offense has to chime in.

 If not,  it will be the same story Tuesday night at Davidson.

“We have to find  more baskets somewhere in our roster,” Neubauer said. “ More open looks. I’d like to see more guys produce more.  We need everyone to play a little better.”

He wasn’t kidding. Because at Rose Hill this has become a defensive game and you can’t win games in this conference without the offense.

Comment;  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

These Will Be The Wilpon Mets And For a Long Time More

So what was going to happen was not with the Mets. The Wilpons sale to Steve Cohen is no more and the questions will continue as to why this deal went the other way.

Neil Miller/The New York Extra

You see, deals like this are difficult to understand. You put a billionaire hedge funder, Cohen, to the front.  And then there are Fred and Jeff Wilpon, who would be in the outfield and looking in within five years.

Of course as of now,  a sale of the Mets is a dead issue. The Wilpons will be at Citi Field Opening Day, March 26th. Steve Cohen, with his money,  a long time Mets fan, will be among the fans in the seats.

So, Cohen, took off on his yacht and left from Flushing Bay. The Wilpons, they will remain in control and seek another way to sell their interest with the Mets. 

But, as one insider said Thursday, “Take away the Mets from Jeff Wilpon and he will be a lost puppy.”

According to that  insider, Fred, the elder statesman, could go either way with this. Jeff, with his proficiency to be hated by Mets fans, well he is their biggest fan, He has a difficult time with that inevitable point of no longer having control.

And my friends this is about control. Take away the Mets from Jeff Wilpon, he is that lost puppy.

Have we not seen this mess more than once with the Wilpons ? It’s becoming old news in their so-called quest  to sell shares or a majority of them to an outsider.

File photo Neil Miller/The New York Extra

So, Fred and Jeff Wilpon, Saul Katz, and those in the hierarchy are making the Democrats in Iowa look like wizards.  The Mets move on and prepare for the start of the season in 49 days.

MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred, would not fault the Wilpons. And, despite reports, Steve Cohen had minimal influence in day-to-day operations with the Mets.

Could have been another few years before Cohen’s 80 percent and $2.6 billion had any influence on spending.  But now it’s back to square one for the Wilpons.

And the prevailing questions, if you can get the answers, do the Wilpons want to sell as part of their Sterling corporation?

“Sterling intends now to pursue a new transaction and has engaged & Company to manage that process.” a statement released by the Mets Thursday afternoon.

Believe the statement if you desire. And any impending sale is not happening anytime soon. This is a process and Major League Baseball is very involved and the proper foundation must be in place.

Steve Cohen, unless a deal can be restructured, he is on the sidelines. “I gave it a shot,” he said.  

Not what Mets fans wanted to hear Thursday when this all came down. Social media was buzzing and fans wanted the Wilpons to go. They want an owner who will spend.  They want to see that balance go their way when competing with the cross-town Yankees for the big time player.

 But, they have to wait. And this time the wait for their dream to rid the Wilpons of control could continue for another five years, because this is how long it takes to assume control of a Major League Baseball franchise.

This is not like purchasing real estate, a new car, or winning the lottery.

Then again, these are the New York Mets and a team with two new managers in a span of three months. Mets fans will say their team never gets anything right and all they want is a winning team.

Enough to digest the past few months with Carlos Beltran here and gone, and Luis Rojas an immediate replacement as the manager. Time to move on and get ready for pitchers and catchers in a few days down in Port St. Lucie. 

Neil Miller/The New York Extra

That is the emphasis for GM Brodie Van Wegenen, manager Luis Rojas and his coaching staff. 

Nothing has changed at Citi Field. Front office and Citi Field personnel are going about their business and preparing for Opening Day.

But one thing is certain, the Wilpons are still in control of the Mets. And they are not going on that yacht out of Flushing Bay anytime soon.

Comment:  Twitter @Ring786 Mancuso

J.D. Davis Reflects On Thurman Munson Award

Thurman Munson was a leader on and off the field and 40 years after his untimely death his legacy is constantly remembered.  Tuesday night at Chelsea Piers, the annual Thurman Munson Awards dinner continued to live that legacy.

The 40th Thurman munson Awards Dinner press conference From Left to Right Lou Piniella,Gleyber Torres ,Diana Munson,John franco ,J.D Davis, and Nancy Lieberman /Photo by Neil Miller /The New York Extra

This annual event raises money to support the AHRC New York City Foundation. The organization assists children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

Diana Munson /Neil Miller/The New York Extra

“I am most proud of the money we raised ,” said Diana Munson . “To be a part of it has meant a lot to my family.”

Widow of Thurman Munson, the  Yankees Captain and catcher, has also kept that legacy going with the Thurman Munson Award. Professional and Olympic athletes are recognized for their accomplishments and contributions to the community.

“It’s truly a tremendous honor,” J.D. Davis said.

J.D.Davis /neil Miller/The New York Extra

 The Mets outfielder and third baseman was honored along with Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres, former Yankees outfielder and manager Lou Piniella, former Mets captain John Franco ,and Nancy Lieberman of basketball fame.

They all spoke about Munson. A week or so after the untimely death of Kobe Bryant, they also did not forget his legacy.  

So this was not only about baseball and basketball.  Over the years, those who have been honored at this event have been role models. They have exemplified the good character and dedication of Thurman Munson.

“I was a 90’s baby, unfortunately, I never saw him play,” Davis said. “But when I got the call that I was being honored, I knew who he was. How big of an icon he was in New York. I was pretty humbled by it.”

Davis, may not become that icon, but has those qualities to exemplify all the Thurman Munson attributes do fit his character.  

Last season, he had that breakout year with the Mets  and has adopted New York City as that second home. Davis, this off-season, made several trips to New York from his home in California for charitable events.

Quickly, Davis, has adapted to playing ball in this town.

There is the  understanding of  that significance of being in the spotlight and playing baseball in New York. Thurman Munson, when he donned the Yankees pinstripes also knew that giving back to the community was important. 

So, J.D. Davis, along with the others are not recipients of this award because of their name. They are special and are doing something significant as athletes here.

More than baseball or other sports they play for a living, It’s being role models off the field.

Of course, baseball was the talk and prior to the speeches and recipients getting the Munson honor. There was no talk about the recent baseball scandal, no discussion about the Mets ownership change that is in jeopardy.

Though, Piniella, always a good piece for conversation, did say that technology was good for baseball.

And for J.D. Davis, this could be the first of many more awards to come. Assume the Mets provide that opportunity for Davis, to be a vital cog in their plans going forward, helping the community will also be in his plan.  

And there is every intention of Davis being in that lineup often, in the outfield or at third base.

He is excited about the upcoming season, and prepared this off-season to get better by watching film. He dropped seven pounds and worked on various ways to get better in the outfield.

“ Reconnected with Luis Rojas,” he said about his new manager, the former quality control coach who  was by his side in the dugout last year.

J.D.Davi /Neil Miler/The New York Extra

There are those Thurman Munson qualities on the field for J.D. Davis. He has adapted after coming from Houston as the unknown player last season, possibly the best acquisition for Mets  GM Brodie Van Wegenen.

“Coming here to New York with these guys, with these teammates and coaches, showing your personality  showing you a little bit of flair, playing the game right,” he said. 

He got that right. Because, in New York, playing here is about doing the right thing and also being a part of the community. We always saw that in Thurman Munson.

And the best way to have fun, as Munson always said, was win ball games. The Mets won 86 games last year and made a postseason push in the second half. 

 Davis, and the Mets  are anticipated to win ball games this coming season.  They also don’t know what to expect from Yeonis Cespedes with a contract that was restructured and coming off surgery.

And then there is this part about J.D. Davis, that talk of getting better.  He reminds you so much about the qualities of Thurman Munson.

“Little ways, better at bats,” he said.  “Taking notes about failures and what I’ve learned.”

Sounds a lot like Thurman Munson.

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

He Was "The Grandy Man" Curtis Granderson Calls It A Career

He Was “The Grandy Man” In New York

File photo Neil Miller/The New York Extra

Curtis Granderson called it a career Friday. Those who know the seven-team,  38-year old All-Star, are in agreement. Curtis Granderson, the good guy is bound to be seen around the game in some capacity.

 There will be baseball in some capacity for the veteran of 16 years.

Basically, the  three-time All- Star, has more to offer and most baseball personnel feel the same way. The familiarity was New York and Granderson, and that connection was  here playing with the Yankees and Mets 

File photo /Neil Miller/The New York Extra

The “Grandy Man” as known, is suited for another role. Broadcast booth, advisor to an upper office, a commitment to helping kids in the community who play the game, are possible.

You see, Curtis Granderson was that baseball player, easily a fan favorite.  Good teammate in the clubhouse, and media friendly leaves little room to debate. 

You could always get the proper quote from Curtis Granderson, all you have to do is ask those who covered him on the New York baseball beat.

We were patient. Curtis Granderson may have been the last to leave the clubhouse in the bowels of Yankee Stadium and Citi Field, and the deadline pressure to get the story did not matter.

No, because,  deadline was thrown out the door. We needed those quotes, the knowledge, and analysis before he exited the clubhouse door. 

The  baseball fraternity, at times with huge egos, and that was not a trait of Curtis Granderson. And a transition from player to broadcaster, in the studio or booth, will be easy with some prior experience working postseason games for TBS or ESPN.

That first time in New York, four seasons with the Yankees,  Granderson, made that impact as a leader in the clubhouse. The trade to the Yankees, more about a three team-trade, Max Scherzer, going to the  Diamondbacks from the Tigers.

He was that All-Star, and with the Mets, one of their high profiled free agents who also became that veteran and leader in the clubhouse. 

One of those postseason runs, 2015, was memorable.  Granderson, in his second World Series, helped the Mets as they came up short to the Royals. 

In essence,  Granderson was the team player. He would strike casual conversation and cared about the well being of 24 others in that room they call the clubhouse.

“Purely a good guy,”: Carlos Torres said.

Torres, was a part of that Mets pitching staff in 2015, a key cog of the championship run out of the bullpen. The manager then, Terry Collins, relied on his bullpen.

Spot starter, long relief, closer, Torres would have his moments. The bad moments, and there was Curtis Granderson by his side in the dugout.

“As a guy period, he was a phenomenal man and teammate,” Torres said from  his home in Kansas. “Someone who would help a rookie or veteran equally.”

He added, “Curtis was well spoken and would talk baseball as much as complex social economical issues just as casual conversation.”

Granderson, in his career played 2,057 games. He totaled 1.800 hits, 344 home runs, 154 stolen bases. 937 RBI and 1,217 runs scored, and  with 95 triples was the Major League active leader,

A career with the Tigers, Yankees, Mets, Dodgers, Blue Jays, Brewers and Marlins, does not have Hall of Fame numbers. 

Most Valuable Player to baseball and the community, that was Curtis Granderson. And his commitment to kids, that continues with the “Grand Kids Foundation.”

“I had a girlfriend years ago from Chicago,” Torres said. “She actually asked me to thank Curtis because he donated millions to schools in Chicago.”

No, we have not seen the last of Curtis Granderson.

 “Thank you to Major League Baseball, MLBPA (Major League Baseball Players Association), my teammates and coaches, front office staff, members of the media, partners, and the fans for the ride of a lifetime,” Granderson said in a statement. 

And we can say, from a distance or personal standpoint: Thank You Curtis Granderson!

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

Offense Not Defense Is Issue For Fordham

Fordham took St. Bonaventure to overtime Wednesday night up at Rose Hill. Coach Jeff Neubauer, after a 62-55 loss in overtime, said his team played their best game of the year. 

credit Robert Cole

But it was the Fordham defense that kept them in this one.

The Rams lead the Atlantic 10 in scoring defense and rank 15th in the NCAA and that came up strong again allowing the Bonnies to 21 points in the first half.

The offense was a difference which attributed to this loss, and In this conference, you need to score. The Rams scored 22 points in the first half, were 19-for- 58 from the floor, 12-for-33 when shooting for three.

Saturday, Fordham scored  a season low 39 points in a loss at Saint Louis.  

“Our biggest offensive challenge is we cannot make two point baskets,” Neubauer said. “ 

 And making those baskets are so important in the A-10, a high scoring league.

credit Robert Cole

Fordham dropped their seventh game in their last eight. Their overall mark is 7-13, and the Rams  stand next to last in the Atlantic 10 Conference at 1-7.

Saturday, they travel to  Dayton (18-3) the top scoring team in the conference, ranked 7th in the nation. So, the Rams will need to score and not rely solely on their defense.

But the Rams did step up and send the game into overtime. Antwon Portley, limited in his second game back  from injury, forced overtime with a running one-handed shot with 2.8 seconds left.  

He also had a key 3-pointer down the stretch that tied the game at 53. 

Thing is, the Bonnies got the ball and made their shots, outscoring Fordham 9-2 in the extra period. Dominick Welch, a career high 22 points made three free throws that got the Bonnies a two-game sweep against the Rams this season. 

Again, the Rams need to convert their baskets. Though, Portley, does help with his return to the floor. 

“He made clutch shots; that’s who he is,” said Neubauer.

Despite those offensive struggles the Rams in three prior games saw their freshmen and sophomores account for 82.6% of their scoring, 138 of 167 points. 

Neubauer said about this loss, “The offensive rebounds we gave up,  hard to win, 12 rebounds in 25 minutes.” 

And if there is any chance of giving Dayton a game, Fordham has to score.  Their defense has not been the issue.

Neubauer was asked about that Dayton game that awaits. Saturday. He said it will be  a challenge.

“Good challenge as a team and as a coach,” he said.  “ My feeling is that tonight is that game we’ve played really talking about our defense. Our defense had gone to an amazing level.”  

Another conference loss for Fordham. But one they hope to build on with Dayton.

Comment:  Twitter @Ring786 Mancuso