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Remember This Day And Guidelines Of A Pandemic

This Memorial Day is different as we honor those who served this country and became our fallen heroes. The Coronavirus pandemic has caused the difference.  

Richard Mancuso/The New York Extra/copyright 2020

This columnist roamed around the Pelham Bay community of the Bronx this holiday weekend. There were hardly any American flags in front of homes that are usually evident . Many stores remained closed and the few open used the social distancing guidelines that are the new norm.

Honestly, and to get the point across, people can be ignorant in regard to the meaning of this holiday. Observing social distancing guidelines and wearing that protective face covering to them is denial that we are still in a crisis.

Memorial Day, and those without a backyard have not got the message and ignore social distancing. They congregate outside and in front of buildings.They ignore the safety guidelines which can only lead to more speculation that COVID-19 will not go away.

They seem to ignore that we are in a pandemic. They seem to ignore that we are in a global health crisis. New York City, the Bronx in particular, remains an epicenter.

Numbers may be on the decline but we are still in this. We should be observing the guidelines that have been asked by health and government officials.. 

Pelham Bay Park is a popular spot. They congregate there. Yes, it is difficult to stay in isolation with partial openings occurring in counties of New York, though, this does not define the ignorance of those who ignore the guidelines to stay safe and prevent the spread of COVID-19 to others.

Which brings to a thought about Memorial Day. Yes, it is different this year. Ceremonies to honor those who were brave and sacrificed for this country are few.  Baseball, the national pastime, we are without this Memorial Day. 

But we can pause for a moment and honor those on this day.  

Back in February, and before the norm of our nation changed, yours truly visited Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. On the hilltop viewed the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We viewed in the distance of the Capitol Building.

We walked  up and down the paths, observing the many white gravesites all in consecutive rows. It provided a perspective and always will of those who were brave and sacrificed for our freedom,

The message here is not to forget what this day is about. The other is to have respect for the American flag, regardless of what political affiliation you have. 

And to respect those near you by continuing to obey the guidelines of social distancing and safety.  Remember we are in this together and this Coronavirus pandemic is far from over.

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso


Boxing Notebook During the Pandemic

Stop the madness about Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield returning for another fight that is all good for the nostalgia. It’s not good for boxing and for the safety of these former heavyweight champions of another era.

It comes down to fans and the networks that are hungry for some live boxing. In due time when this coronavirus pandemic is cleared, and safe for all, the anticipated boxing calendar of 2020 will resume.

Boxing fans want to see a Tyson Fury and Deontay Wilder trilogy in the heavyweight division. They crave to see Anthony Joshua defend his part of the heavyweight title.  They want Teofimo Lopez and Vasiliy Lomachenko to fight for the lightweight title.  

A third fight with Tyson and Holyfield? As the late sports scribe Dick Young used to write, “What’s going on here?”

What is going on are any number of possibilities that have come to this point of a nostalgia fight that has no significance for the sport.  One scenario is that promoters and a network want to do this.

A possible and  minimal pay-per-view price, looking to make a quick dollar and taking advantage of doing something for the hunger of fight fans does not help the sport.

The other factors here are Tyson and Holyfield. They need the cash flow. It’s no secret that Tyson is serious and always in a financial hole. It’s also known, Holyfield, is no different when it comes to his finances with a promotion “Real Deal” that went bankrupt. 

The purses and numbers for both would not challenge or equal  Floyd  Mayweather- Manny Pacquiao. Not in the same category of McGregor-Mayweather, Spence and Porter or any of the PBC top welterweights.

So all of this talk is absurd.  In the meantime, Tyson continues to post his workout videos on social media.  Holyfield, if he can be understood, is quietly saying he is ready for a third challenge against Tyson.

What  we have here are two of the iconic and former heavyweight champions with names that are enshrined at the Boxing Hall of Fame. They had their time and are better at promoting the sport.

Though, Holyfield was not successful as a promoter and reportedly is in financial debt which could explain taking a quick payday with Tyson. 

But fighting again, as much as the nostalgia nuts want it, is detrimental to them and the sport. What boxing does not need are two legends over the age of 50 and taking blows to the head. Neither no longer have the skills or stamina that made them two of the top heavyweights in their heyday.

Dangerous would be the punches.  This, according to the medical experts,  is definitely headed to severe and dangerous implications when it comes to taking more blows to the head and areas of the brain.

Studies over the years have indicated a fighter in the ring over the age of 40 is more susceptible when it comes to sustaining injuries to the head and brain.

ESPN and Top Rank have reportedly been close to being cleared to stage three fight cards next month at the MGM Grand Casino In Las Vegas. No fans, testing and temperature checks, a limited number of personnel that would be at the venue.

Live boxing and the current fighters,  give or take that safety is cleared, is a matter of time. Though, it won’t be the same and not the norm before the pandemic hit. 

But Holyfield-Tyson again? Please, give us a break. I won’t watch or care and neither should you. Safety here is the issue. Boxing does not need a disaster and not during this pandemic.

THROWING THE PUNCHES:  A source with the New York State Athletic Commission informed that boxing events in New York State are still a long way from resuming at venues. That same source said that there are no events that have been filed by promoters with the commission.

The state athletic commission that has jurisdiction of pro boxing and UFC events in New York, also has a minimal office staff working remote from home and has furloughed their part time staff.

Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center, the main venues that host major boxing with promoters from Top Rank and the PBC, are also dark and possibly will stay that way during the duration of the Coronavirus pandemic.

Regardless, a partial opening of business in New York would not include the Garden and Barclays Center. The other factor, unlikely, is opening doors and no fans would be in attendance. 

And a major source of revenue for the boxing promoter are gate receipts that pay for athletic commission fees and officials. Also, tickets sold mean revenue and assist with paying purses of the respective fighters that are scheduled to be in the ring.

Top Rank was hoping to promote a major lightweight title fight at the Garden in September that would highlight champions Teofimo Lopez and Vasiliy Lomachenko. Lopez, a popular champion from Hondorus, and residing in Brooklyn, has a huge fan base and a sell-out crowd would be expected. 

Boxing gyms, a major part of the training and the stepping stone, remain closed in the New York City and  tri-state area. That has fighters, trainers, and those who depend on the sport in a bad position.

Published here a month ago, it was stated many gyms would not survive the pandemic and outcomes of the economic crisis they face. In the past week many owners of the gyms said they likely won’t reopen with the overhead.

USA Boxing, a feeder system for the gyms does not have enough revenue to assist with financing which makes it more difficult to reopen. 

Memberships will drop as young and aspiring fighters can’t afford gym dues. The gyms that could reopen will look vastly different with social distancing, and requirements of wearing face masks along with constant sanitizing of equipment and boxing gear will be the new norm.

In the meantime, fans starving for boxing won’t expect any live boxing events in New York State anytime soon,

Comment: Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

Pandemic Notebook: Social Distancing And Restaurants

It all depends on numbers. All of the COVID-19 reports of declines in hospital admissions, unfortunate deaths, and testing are all a matter of listening and understanding what they are informing on a daily basis.

But face the facts here. The Coronavirus and this pandemic are far from over. We are not out of the woods here or there. We are in a crisis of epic proportions with an economy that has declined to almost depression numbers. 

A President in the White House says, we will recover and be stronger. In the meantime, you and I, victims of this ugly pandemic are finding ways to make ends meet. 

And with a majority of states, if not all, slowly opening to some normalcy by Friday, we must keep in mind that health and safety are still a priority. To  prevent a further spread of the virus, as all reports do indicate, the guidelines for safety should still be obeyed. 

Because a second wave is bound to occur, again from reports of the medical professionals, we must not let down our guard and continue to be  on the side of caution.

Sports is no exception. And they can talk all they want about opening the stadiums and venues, and with no fans in attendance, but safety is still an issue for the players and personnel,  That matter is a main issue for Major League Baseball. 

Players and owners are reviewing the protocols as to how baseball can resume and gain some revenue that has been lost with their billion dollar industry.

So we are as a society with the Memorial Day weekend only days away looking at being conscious of safety? Take a look and examine how social distancing and wearing proper face protection is not a part of the norm for many.

My friends and neighbors are in denial about a pandemic that still exists. They are watching the reports and see a public around the country that are ignoring guidelines.

And with New York City, epicenter of this virus, and still in that shutdown, many are ignoring the guidelines.  Nearby suburbanites are also under the impression that the country needs to open. They, too, also ignore the guidelines with social distancing and not wearing face protection .

Up in Putnam County this past weekend, a vicinity where many city dwellers have relocated, near the town of Mahopac, the boats were on the water. There was minimal social distancing and those walking in town were a few without face protection.

No different in the Bronx. Social distancing and no protective masks to cover the nose and mouth areas that are contributing factors to this pandemic when it comes to the spread of COVID-19.

The New York City website,, has a daily and updated listing by zip code of areas and numbers of those tested and infected with the virus. 

Numbers do tell the story here. Despite what is heard, there is a minimal decline in cases though the hospital admissions are on a decline. Though, regardless of what numbers are saying, people are not abiding by the guidelines.

So as a general rule, journalists and citizen in good standing, it is noticed here that the general public wants to see their lives return to normal and many are in denial. They are not helping the situation and increasing the probability of the Coronavirus spread by ignoring the safety guidelines.

My friends this is not over. Despite what you hear about the declining number of cases and deaths, we are still in a pandemic and a health crisis that will not conclude if guidelines are ignored. 

 This writer wears a mask in public, on the sidewalk, in a car, at a store, and continues that social distancing  There is no need to be ignorant. No need to spread the virus to others as one ignores the guidelines. 

We have learned that this Coronavirus is a secret enemy. It has no friends even for the healthy one that claims to be virus free. 

There is no need to congregate in numbers, and if that cabin fever is at a pitch do go out and be safe. Follow the guidelines and stop the ignorance.

We learn from following and covering sports to observe guidelines and it’s all done for a reason to keep things in control.

We must follow those guidelines as this global pandemic is far from over. Be safe. Wear the gloves, masks, and most of all continue to practice that rule of social distancing. 

RESTAURANTS FOR SOME HAD A MODEL: There are many establishments in the food and restaurant industry thay may not recover from the closures and financial losses of this pandemic with or without the assistance from government programs.

Many continued to remain open with takeout and deliveries to make ends meet.  Though, with openings coming slowly, and not with normalcy, that conscious part of the public still has safety concerns and also eating out is not in their economic means.

Those establishments with gates over their property may never see another customer and that is unfortunate. 

A local diner in the Bronx, one that is always full to capacity, is limited to deliveries and very few of the essential staff remain on a limited payroll.

“I don’t see how we can continue to be a fixture in the community anytime soon and we do care about our regular customers,” said the owner of this establishment who requested not to be named.

Though deliveries from the menu have been consistent they don’t envision any sense of normalcy for a long time.

“It will take me years to recover from this and I can see us closing the doors for good and very soon,” one of the owners said.

Yes, the local diner and restaurant, the one out of the neighborhood are a part of the norm and could be different for those that remain open. Social distancing and wearing that face protection will be the new norm when sitting down for a drink or dinner.

Though, some had a model in place for an eventual pandemic or crisis, and others have learned to stay open with take out and deliveries on a day-by-day basis.

“You had to learn on the fly,” said Vito Russo co-owner of Gilligan’s Clam Bar & Grill up in Pomona, New York. 

He said it’s a learning process. The establishment employed a staff of 40 and that has been reduced by half. Russo, like many that have remained open for takeouts and delivery, does hope to reopen soon with a reduction in seating and following the social distancing guidelines 

He has followed the necessary guidelines and continues to do a significant take out business, though the financial losses are no different from the others. 

“You had to follow market trends and as things started to disappear on the shelf  you  had to prepare with what was on longer available,” Russo said.

Time will tell where this goes. But, as the number of restaurant owners said, don’t expect a normal dining experience in New York when visiting establishments that are planning to reopen.

Remember all: Stay safe and follow the guidelines. We are all in this together.

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

Take Your Pick: Players Or The Owners? by Rich Mancuso /The New York Extra/

When boxing promoters begin the process of a mega fight the negotiations of earnings begins at a 50/50 split. There are other elements in the process as they bargain and usually it becomes a 60/40 split with both camps.

With Major League Baseball, and the process of starting an abbreviated season, the process is getting more complicated as it pertains to revenue for the players and owners. 

Blame the baseball politics now on COVID-19 and the pandemic. Boxing, of all sports, well that depends on who you want to believe when the negotiations conclude with their politics. 

Basically, and as you have heard with MLB and the players, this is about economics with the billion dollar owners wanting it their way and the mega million ball players looking at it another way.

And they can’t come to an agreement about a split. 

There is a major division here.  Each day passes with that question of when, where.  How would they commence a different 2020 baseball season with economics as the answer?

Though it should be safe first. with proper testing and protocol to assure that players, coaches, umpires, and other personnel are not at risk of the coronavirus. Instead, it goes back to the question, who wants what? Is it greed of the players or the owners?

Regardless, we all want baseball. We need that diversion. But, this has to be done the proper way, if not there is no way.

A prorated rate of 82 games, projected to be half of the players salaries was negotiated in March with players and MLB and that concludes in two weeks.,  informed by sources in the players union, would need to return that money received if and when an abbreviated season begins and that’s one of the issues that gets more complicated.

And to the multi-million dollar contract player that does not appear to hurt them in the pocket. To the minimal salary player, that amounts to a major difference. To you, the fans, who would be shut out of the ballparks, it’s both parties racking in revenue.

It’s about those hurting and fighting to put food on the table that are more important than baseball and all sports at this point of time. That, my friends, is more important than playing the game of baseball and a labor war that is developing into a clash between billionaires and millionaires.

Safety, though, as one insider said to this columnist is more important.

“Other than filling the pockets of owners who are safe at home watching the games, it is not going to get the economy going or help the blue collar workers who still will not be back at their jobs. If one person, player, a team personnel becomes infected, is it worth it? What’s the hurry?”

“So they put another asterisk in the history books. It will be a flea on a mountain as far as the important things in baseball history.”

Yes, baseball should not be a priority at this point. The issue of economics and position of bargaining with another contract for players and owners is not the priority.

And when some of the top names in the sport offer their opinion, as they did Thursday, believe me, it’s not only about the money, rather the safety of players and their families along with other personnel.

Something is being said that a certain person in the White House is dictating moves telling the owners to get the economy moving. But that is simply my opinion. 

“Don’t know what else they can do with the safety.” said a NL insider.    “Think they will play, but if they don’t adhere to the agreement made in March about prorated the players won’t play.”

In the meantime, there have been discussions of starting a second spring training in a matter of weeks. Players have been informed to stay in shape and prepare. 

One player contacted said, “They are not telling you that they don’t replace the 83 percent of our salaries we spend on hotels and food.” 

Others contacted said, they want to play but safety was more important to them and their families. In other words, money to them is important but not the issue here. A majority, as one said, “are not for this proposal.” 

So payment of a split that would go more to the owners does not seem fair. Then again, we should not be in this discussion when a pandemic has caused many to lose jobs and not knowing what the future holds. 

Players have been informed to not sweat in locker rooms.  Spitting would not be allowed for safety issues, difficult for a ballplayer because they are creatures of habit.  

Teams would play in home ballparks with no fans if permitted. And of course, no fans means revenue lost from ticket sales, concessions, and parking. 

As of Friday, no word about opening up cities that are major markets to baseball  including  New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit. Toronto and the Canadian border is closed, so the Blue Jays would play at their spring training base in Dunedin Florida.

The Mets and Yankees have a reported contingency plan. They could  possibly play home games at spring training complexes in  Tampa and Port St. Lucie Florida.

Designated hitters in both leagues, a 14-game postseason, games against divisional and regional opponents, expanded rosters to 30 as proposed  is not the issue.  

“There is no minor league system,” said the insider.” That could be an issue if a roster player is not available to play due to injury. 

The amateur draft, scheduled for early next month, is also a question and would be reduced to five rounds. The owners did not want that.  

So it is back to this issue of a season or a lost one. The Marlins and Tampa Bay have furloughed most of their employees and suspended their health plans. That is also an issue.

An issue because it has that impact regarding the well being of office personnel, scouts, and those who are the forefront of a Major League Baseball franchise.

 MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said on CNN Thursday night,” And if we don’t play a season, the  losses for the owners could approach $4 billion.”

The owners, he said, feel that it is important for the game to be played. 

Yeah, this isn’t boxing and more complicated for baseball when it comes to a split. Who would have ever thought this would be so difficult? 

Not a player will take less money and that seems to be the overall consensus. If they want to play the economics of this will happen. Remember, though, proper safety protocols are more important.

And more importantly, the general public does not want to hear about who is right or wrong here.  But the owners have the money and can give in if they want their game to be played. 

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

Pandemic Notebook: Face Masks And Dental Emergency

The numbers are indicating there is a decline of the bad news we have been accustomed to hearing the last eight weeks during this pandemic. That  optimism has seen more take to the streets and parks. Sunday, Mother’s Day, the weather made it ideal to go out and stretch.

It was also free giveaway of facial protection in New York City Parks This is the necessity, facial protection, as called for by the health authorities, and like a good giveaway at the ballparks, a hot item as one of those hard to get.

In conjunction with the office of Mayor deBlasio, and city council leaders, rangers at parks situated areas with  lines of distance for the public to receive a packet of five facial masks per person. 

They were not the surgical masks that are needed more for those heroes of first responders, nurses,  doctors. and essential workers. They are a perfect fit and sufficient to help and keep the coronavirus from spreading through contact with others.

So here we were in the Bronx, Pelham Bay Park, noted as the largest open space in the five boroughs with a wide landscape that extends to nearby Orchard Beach.  Plenty of residents that live nearby and from other areas took a walk around the mile track.

They sat on the grass with chairs or got some needed exercise. The football was thrown as some high school players that would be in spring practice sessions took advantage of the good weather.

More important, and so essential, social distancing was practiced. And facial protection was in place.

Mid afternoon and it was a brief walk and the line of  coordinated cones indicated this was the new norm of social distancing. Rangers were stationed at tables and the distribution went without a hitch.

“We distributed many in the first hour,” said one of the park officials.When I asked for another one, this for a neighbor, he said, “Sorry, one per person.”

No problem here. We walked the track a few times and wore the comfortable protection that is sufficient for the face and nose areas.  We stopped and took in some of the needed sun that felt good and everything seemed to be normal.

But this was not normal. Distancing as you walk and talk is not something we in New York are accustomed to doing, and yes, there were some who ignored the guidelines and did their thing as if a pandemic did not exist. 

A space used for exercise and stretching was blocked for use. Nearby, a fitness guru was conducting a private session and using distance the best he could. 

The nearby and dirt ballfields, that would see pickup games, they were not in use on this day. Instead, on the sidelines, one or two would throw the ball back and forth.  

Yes, on a day when baseball would have been played at Yankee Stadium, this was a day to get out and enjoy with social distancing and wearing that proper face protection. 

DENTAL PROCEDURE IN A PANDEMIC:  Many have inquired about seeing a doctor for annual checkups or procedures that have been put on hold due to the pandemic. 

Dental work has also been restricted with the exception of emergency care.  

So, last week this columnist had that emergency with severe tooth pain and the probability of teeth extractions.  Who to call, where to go? The private dentist was not available and cancelled all office visits and emergencies.

The good people at Montefiore Dental clinic, affiliated with the reputed hospital, are one of the private facilities that are open and available for emergency visits at a few locations and nearby in the Bronx.

First step:Make the phone call and hope to get the proper reply. Appointments were available from 8am-1pm. A few questions and late Friday morning it was a go.

Social distancing was the norm here. Enter the lobby, answer a few questions, and after a temperature check for clearance it was sitting in the waiting room. 

Normally, this would be a long wait and seats occupied one after another, but this is a pandemic and five patients was the limit. Seats with signs saying not available and plenty of space for distancing.

Reception area was also cordoned off for distance between the receptionist and patient.  Present your health card, information, and you stretch the arm to avoid contact.

Wait time? Because of the limited number of patients, organized, that agony of getting an x-ray and  sitting in  the chair was rapid and not expected.  

The entire time, with exception of getting the x-ray and procedure, the face mask was in place. 

After a brief consultation, as expected, the teeth were extracted. Minimal pain and like a fighter, I took the punch. Prescriptions for pain and antibiotics and to the nearby pharmacy on site.

So there is help when needed for a dental emergency.  You need to do the research and all medical insurance is accepted. Those, to my understanding, with limited or no health coverage, will not be denied. 

Point here is we are in a pandemic, though in normal times this procedure may have been more difficult towards waiting time and understanding your medical coverage. 

More so, every person in the medical profession needs to get those accolades from you and me. They have been tested. They deserve the praise. They need to be recognized and  honored for taking care of those in need during this time.

And for yours truly, slowly getting back to recovery. Though, when you look at it, things could be worse as we continue to offer our condolences to those who have passed and pray for those who are battling COVID-19.

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

Jimmy Glenn Was Mr. Boxing In His Corner

Jimmy Glenn was associated with boxing as a cut man and trainer. You knew Jimmy,  he welcomed you as family. You didn’t know him and that did not matter. You see he was an original.

NYS Boxing Hall of Fame /Jimmy Glenn and son

Glenn passed away Wednesday night at the age of 89 due to complications from the Coronavirus. He is the latest member of the New York boxing community to pass away from the virus. 

Francisco Mendez and Nelson Cuevas, associated with the Mendez Boxing Gym, in the Flatiron district, passed away the past two weeks Mendez was a role model and established a gym that was considered one of the best in boxing. 

Cuevas, a mentor,  worked many corners for fighters and was the  second father to many of the aspiring fighters that came to him. 

Jimmy Glenn, a friend to many also established “Jimmy’s Corner” a popular bar and meeting spot for those in the fight community. For 47-years, Glenn, would greet and meet and there was always a good story on the agenda. 

But this Coronavirus does not care about those who care. It does not care about those involved with boxing, all sports, or any other industry and is suffering one way or the other.

Enough of that for now, because this is about Jimmy Glenn. He fought his battle to the last night. He was about boxing and those in the sport know how to battle to the last round. 

Though Glenn had some lingering health issues that were under control, he was that warrior we get to know and admire in the sport. He was invincible, would never lose a fight with medical issues, his business, and in a debate about boxing now and then.

 He worked with champions.  Floyd Patterson, Howard Davis Jr., Terrance AlIi, and Mark McPherson. There were many more fighters, too many to mention, who admired his knowledge and passion.  The proud moment was opening the Times Square Boxing Club that eventually closed due to that area of Manhattan going under renovation.

Regardless, you could always, as usual, see Jimmy at his place, He sat outside on a nice day a few blocks from the theatre district.  Inside, behind the bar and holding court on a stool as they discussed the sport he loved it was Jimmy holding court. 

Years ago and after a press conference in Manhattan, with my mentor, Bert Randolph Sugar, boxing historian and author, we visited Jimmy’s Corner. That was the normal spot for Bert and it  was that passion Jimmy had for him. 

There was Jimmy at the bar. He asked, “Hello, I’m Jimmy and you are?” Of course, I could not get a word in. That was Bert Sugar who  made the introduction.

But Jimmy said, “Let the young man speak Bert.” We had a laugh. Jimmy and Bert were good friends and not media colleagues.

However, if you were a member of the boxing media, as the fraternity we were then, the usual stop after a press conference or boxing show at Madison Square Garden was to have a drink and talk boxing with Jimmy. 

Never had a bad word to say about those who had that tarnished reputation in the sport, including Halll of Fame promoter Don King. He admired Mike Tyson and had his thoughts about the exploits of Don and Mike.

Jimmy Glenn always had a good story. He could analyze a championship fight, better than the award winning writers at ringside and the commentators that came into your home and paint a picture.

He would be at ringside at the fights or working a corner for fighters when boxing was a consistent event at Madison Square Garden.

That smile, his generosity. And then the invitation to stop by Jimmy’s Corner when we put the last words on the fight recaps.  It’s not like that in this new era of boxing because they come and they go. 

But you could always find Jimmy Glenn a few blocks away from the Garden. If the Boxing Hall of Fame had his name up for induction that name would be a unanimous selection.

Yes, Jimmy Glenn will be missed. Sorry, I did not associate with him more often. He was not that fighter or big name associated with the sport, instead, he was Mr. Boxing at Jimmy’s Corner.

 He was that original.  Rest In Peace my friend. 

Comment:  Twitter @Ring786 Mancuso

There Are Obstacles And Baseball Should Look At Next Year

“They want to play but there are obstacles”

That quote comes from a high ranking baseball official when asked about the potential or any start to the 2020 MLB season.  He speaks with MLB officials on a daily basis.  

But as each day passes, and as the Coronavirus pandemic continues, chances are the season being played at this point  he says, is “fifty-fifty.” And the obstacles are standing in the way.

From this perspective, and from the latest projections of the pandemic far from over, the 2020 baseball season should be put in the books as no games played, records on hold, contracts up in the air, and start up again next year,

For the well being of players, their families, and a fan base, the best option is look at 2021, though that same official did not offer that ray of optimism about a normal  baseball season next year.

Basically, we have come to realize that things will not be the same if and when this pandemic is in control.  That pertains to baseball, all sports, and everything that was prior to COVID-19.

And if MLB seeks to get their players back on the field, as the official said, “They have a lot to overcome. They could get it done.  But if something  happens it all goes down the tubes.”

Going down the tubes is significant in the event a season begins and proper testing for COVID-19 reveals a player, coach, staff, or officials test positive. That would become the obstacle. 

Any type of abbreviated and different season would be down the tubes, with the worst possible scenario of putting in the effort to start a 2020 season in late June or by July 4th, and then shut down.

“No one knows what’s happening for tomorrow,” said the official.  “I know that MLB is super motivated to play. They really want to play because they will be the only game in town.”

He believes MLB can recoup from their financial downfall. The players are getting paid, though not a full salary, through the end of this month.  The financial burden won;t hurt the player with a mega contract as much as it does with the player making a minimum salary. 

And the few players contacted by The Ny are not in favor of the latest MLB concept of splitting a potential season into three divisions. Nor are they for playing in three venues in the states of Florida, Arizona, or Texas.

They want to see fans in the seats, of course so do the owners. Besides that significant revenue from the various network and regional television deals it is the fans that bring in a significant part of the revenue stream for MLB.

All  of the 30 teams are estimated to be  losing $300 million or more since the shutdown. Four weeks of the schedule, listed as postponements, have resulted in furloughs of front office personnel and major reductions in salaries.

Though the June 10th amateur draft is on schedule, the official said there will be no minor league operations this year. There is talk about an expanded instructional league at some point of six or seven weeks.

 But all of this, like the start of the season, remains to be determined. Tampa Bay is the one team to cut back on their scouting division. Eventually, and after the draft,  scouts currently on staff could be furloughed and analytics will take over. 

Scouts are continuing to conduct evaluations, looking at  prospects, trades, and who is on the bubble from spring training. That is a routine that would be taking place if the MLB season was in progress.

Again, there are obstacles.  And all of the talk, the contingency plans, they don’t move forward without the consultation of  medical authorities at the CDC and others that MLB is in consultation  with on a daily basis. 

Which brings us back to the point of these obstacles. This is not a move to the finish line as to what sport will resume first and how they will do it. It comes down to the safety of the players and others.

It comes down to baseball being played on the field with no fans in the stands. That revenue stream is significant and the issue of no fans could be going into 2021.

It all depends on where we stand with this pandemic, knowing of course that we are not out of the woods.

And as much as there is a buzz of the Yankees, Mets, Red Sox, and Braves in the same division, that would bring television ratings, most of the players that were contacted were not for the concept.

That, the players, is a major obstacle along with how their contracts and reductions of salaries would be impacted due to an abbreviated season. 

It would not be a normal season. And a postseason played in November is not baseball no matter where it is played.  A champion would not come out of a World Series and a Commissioner trophy would be something else.

That **** would have to be placed in the season and how legitimate would be the records? The individual honors of batting champion, MVP’s Cy Young Awards? 

Again, so many obstacles. And from this perspective, as much as I want baseball, it won’t be the same. Call it a day and wait until next year with the hope we can be back to some type of normalcy that is safe and proper for all.

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

For Travis Demetri It’s All About “Do I Ever”

We have all adapted to isolation and coping with the Coronavirus pandemic. Different things at home have become a routine the past seven weeks.  Talking everyday with family and friends via social media provides the comfort we need.

Travis Demetri, he does the same with this adjustment. Though the 27-year old songwriter and entertainer is not traveling around the country and world.  Instead, he is isolated in the Bronx and working on his next projects.

 He has that attitude of an artist.  Born and raised in the Bronx, with a Puerto Rican and Domincan background, Demetri has the looks of an entertainer.

“I am an artist,” Demetri said this week. “I have control of my musical abilty when it comes to the creative process. If I don’t articulate everything, I will go back and record it in the studio.”

Those ideas have culminated in his latest release. “Do I Ever” is his second  single that  was released last week. He wrote the lyrics at home.  The production was completed after months of constant work at a studio in Brooklyn.

“ Do I Ever” is about a break up he says. Yes, a song of thought dealing from experience. 

His ideas of writing and composing are gearing towards another project at his apartment in the Fordham section of the Bronx. But this is about ambition and developing a career. There are goals of joining some of the other elite artists who come out of the Bronx. They, also, had ideas and put them to work.

Two that come to mind are Jennifer Lopez from Castle Hill, and Chazz Palminteri of “The Bronx Tale” from Fordham in the Arthur Avenue Little Italy section of the borough. 

The“Bronx Tale” is down  the road from where Demetri resides and both accomplished artists had a goal. They worked at the craft and in time the doors opened to where they are today. 

“I want to get more involved in the Bronx community, ”Demetri says. “Talking to teens and things like that. I feel like there are a lot of people out there, they still don’t know I’m from the Bronx. That being said, I find ways and obviously show through my work, I am from the Bronx.”

And he looks to get in the spotlight now with this latest release. His first release was “Rock With Me” with a love theme of that one night stand. 

“I want to be showcased at these early stages rather than get a big break,” he says.  The Bronx is the most creative borough in New York.”

Demetri, has a history of dealing with adversity and surviving those early days of growing up in the Bronx. He tackled the issues, remains vocal and outspoken. In many ways, the lyrics and previous roles on camera are Travis Demetri.

“I always wanted to be an entertainer,” he said. “ I was always intrigued with the pop era with the boy bands and award shows. Those things inspired me. I used to tape a pen to my cheek and pretend it was a headset.”

It was three options of either band, chorus, or drama at University High School in Orlando, Florida where he attended.

“ Let me go with drama,” he said with a smile. And more experience came at the American Musical and Dramatic Academy in Manhattan. From there,  more music videos and some roles on camera.    

The era of technology and social media have helped with self promotion. YouTube has also been a tool to propel the career of a young and aspiring artist.

Five years ago, Demetri  got a break in a reality YouTube series “The Circle NYC, about a group of guys in the LGBT community who were part of a cast. Everyone had their own journey and the cameras documented them.

“I  was one of the main cast members and I was very vocal,” he said.

Another role was playing a high school kid in “Steel River” that was dealing with his sexual identity. “ The Davenport Diaries” followed and his character. Jordan, young and ambitous, is still seen on You-Tube.

The character, of course, is vocal and taking control of a Publicity firm owned by a wealthy and dysfunctional family. Filming was done in Washington D.C. for the low budget series  that has become a huge hit on the channel.

But Bronx guys know how to survive in the moment. Travis Demetri would eventually be killed off the series that consisted of characters looking for control and power.

He gets thrown off a  backyard balcony set as a mansion in a scene of a launch party for the Davenport clan. He said, again with humor, seeing himself lying on the ground was a good scene.  

“I really worked hard on that show, ” he said.

Triangle the series helped to propel his popularity. More roles could come down the line, but now it’s all about the music and doing more after this latest release. 

Link to “Do I Ever”

More about Travis: Instagram @travisdemetri  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

Isolation Home Cook Meals And Not in Press Dining Rooms

No sports and isolation. And for a sports journalist there is that adjustment of a different routine. If life was normal at this time a routine would be packing the bag with another day or evening at the ballpark with the Mets or Yankees.

And until further notice there will be no baseball, NBA, NHL, MLS, or any of the other sports we cover and  report this time of year. The Coronavirus pandemic has broken the routine. No ballpark and that means more time at home.

It means using your other skills and making it simple. I always said, “KISS” not the rock band or what we do when not social distancing. No, this means KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID.

And making  it simple is what a sports journalist has to accomplish in the kitchen as this pandemic continues. You see, yours truly has adapted to quick and economical meals the past seven weeks in isolation. 

The press dining room meals are deeply missed. The recipes here are quick, economical, simple, and the way to go. Though, this is not the carved meat and turkey, fresh pasta dishes, chicken, veggies, salads, and different menus at Citi Field.

This is not the well prepared menu that is served in the Sheppard dining room at Yankee Stadium. Not the fresh omelette prepared from Fran. She is the second mom to many of us in the Bronx and a longtime food preparer at Yankee Stadium.

So there is grocery shopping. Put the protective gloves on your hands, wipe the carrier with sanitizer, wear a protective facial mask. Wait in line outside for social distance and enter with your list.

This is the new norm.

Simple down the aisles. Browse for meats, pork chops., chicken, pastas, milk, bread, ingredients, sauce, cranberry sauce, coffee and the creamer. Frozen or fresh vegetables, fruits, oh, don’t forget the desserts. Plenty of cheese, though not good for the cholesterol with the raviolis, is also a quick and good meal on the menu. 

Okay here we go with some of the dishes and the simple preparation for one or two. Much of this is done on a Foreman grill, never using the oven, and more rapid and easy to do in a microwave. Salads prepared in Dole packages that are always on sale. Mozzarella cheese Poly-0 or a fresh brand from a deli that has taste and melts better on grill or in microwave.

Believe me, it works. Give it a try. If this was a ballgame my final pitching line would be: 7 runs, five hits, no errors, If this was a fight at ringside my scorecard would be unanimous decision on all three scorecards.

The Mancuso menu:

Fettuccine Alfredo:  Any brand of pasta. Any brand of fettuccine alfredo sauce. Boil pasta. Heat up sauce in the microwave for 2 minutes. Drain and pour in the dish. Prepare small salad with roasted peppers, mozzarella cheese and Italian dressing

Pork Chops: Inexpensive package of 7, Defrost, wash and prepare on dish. Thow in Foreman Grill and cook well. Add roasted peppers or seasoning to add taste. Side of frozen broccoli in sauce with rice and prepared in the microwave. Open can of cranberry sauce. Salad added to dish.

Cavatelli with sauce: Easy, inexpensive to prepare for two meals. Purchase pound bags of any brand.  Boil for five or seven minutes Drain and put in a pot or big dish. Microwave traditional or mushroom sauce of any brand. Mix sauce and pasta. Throw some parmesan cheese or bits of mozzarella cheese.  Salad on side.

Pork Chop Pizzaiola with sauce: Prepare pork chops out of package with seasoning. Put on a Foreman grill for 15 minutes and as cooking place roasted peppers and tomato sauce and flip both sides. Creamed broccoli, cranberry sauce.  Salad on side.

Chicken Parm with spaghetti: Easy and quick. Chicken cutlets prepared in a packet. Use preferred sauce and mozzarella cheese and cook in the microwave for 10 minutes until the cheese is melted. Boil spaghetti for 10 minutes and pour on sauce.  Salad on side.

Grilled pork chops and spinach: Prepare pork chops. Add some seasoning with roasted peppers and cook on Foreman grill for 10 minutes. Microwave packed spinach for 7 minutes and add some mozzarella cheese to add flavor.  Salad on side 

Rigatoni with Roasted peppers and sauce: Quick and easy. Boil pasta for 10 minutes. Drain, heat or microwave any sauce. Add some roasted or fresh red peppers.  Good enough for two meals with something else.  Salad on the side.

Yes, pasta leads to calories. You can also purchase low calorie pastas and sauce as diet is important. The foreman grill does take out grease and fats.  But in a pandemic who really cares? We are home and without sports all we do is eat.

I have been told the Mancuso menu is healthy.  No need to worry. The cholesterol and sugar are good.  The weight, hey I’m Italian and we like our cheese, pasta, and food!

Most of all, stay safe and well. We are in this together!

Comment:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

Local Boxing Gyms In Last Round For Survival During Pandemic

The fight to overcome the Coronavirus is ongoing and by no means are we out of the woods. For the sport of boxing the fight continues as promoters are in a holding pattern and many not certain about the future. 

For now, though, boxing  is losing the fight and the loss of revenue is extreme.  Among the big four promotions that comprise Top Rank, Matchroom. PBC, and Golden Boy, there have been furloughs of employees that are support staff. 

Shows, until further notice are on hold and have been cancelled through the month of June. The fighters, many who depend on trading fists as their income, they sit on the sidelines as gyms and facilities have shut their doors.

Those in boxing say, they will always fight. However, the fight to open doors again for boxing gyms could have seen the last round. This global pandemic has hit hard and caused economic hardship to those who own and operate training facilities. 

Basically, a boxing gym and the fighters need each other. They work as a team and inside those gyms is where it all begins for the beginner and established professional. 

For now, and until further notice, pro and amateur fighters are finding other alternatives to stay in condition. They use makeshift space in a room or garage as they isolate at home. They are in contact with their coaches that are utilizing technology as remote sessions if and when the sport resumes.

But, this is so much different than being in the gym where the sparring and proper tools for the sport are conducted. The bond with the boxing trainer  and the fighter is not the same without a presence in the gym.

Many of those trainers are also out of work. They pay the rent and bills putting in their time from morning until evening as they continue to develop skills for their fighters.

Last week, headquartered in Colorado Spring, CO, USA Boxing,  a non-profit organization responsible for the administration, development and promotion of Olympic style boxing in the United States, sent an email to over 50 registered boxing gyms located in the five boroughs of NYC and tri-state area.

The emails were also sent to gyms that are registered with USA Boxing around the country.

Their findings did not paint a bright picture for the future. Most, if not all  responded, it will be difficult or almost impossible to open their doors again without appropriate financial assistance from the Federal government.

And as each day passes, with no end in sight with this pandemic, the days of the boxing gym could have seen their last fight.

 “Nobody gets rich running a boxing gym,” said John Guapo Maresca. 

 Maresca, self-employed and in the boxing business for a longtime, opened the doors of Big Time Bouts in his hometown of Cartert, New Jersey last May. Simply put, 35-to 50 aspiring fighters could be shut out from their sanctuary.

He said, the owners of a boxing facility are facing a difficult and tough road, They may never reopen their doors and the government assistance has not been very receptive to his small business. 

“The people who need it the most can’t afford it now, Maresca said about the fighters.” The  gym owners who can help them out, can’t afford it.”

Gleason’s Gym,  in Brooklyn, a boxing  facility with history since 1937. Is one of the last of New York City’s thriving boxing gyms and has been the training headquarters for such legends as Jake LaMotta, Muhammad Ali and Roberto Duran. 

Over 131 World Champions have trained inside the gym that was originally situated in the vicinity of Madison Square Garden. That establishment could last another round as a ton of investors and promoters have been involved there over the years. 

Mendez Boxing, located in the Flatiron district of Manhattan, is another of the main boxing facilities. Not like Gleason’s, that situation is totally different and self supported. Sole partnerships, sponsors. monthly and daily fees from the fighters also assist with keeping the doors open.

Gleason’s and Mendez, because of their reputations and with an array of good trainers, also have become a home for promoters. They use the gym as a venue and promotional outlet with open workouts of fighters that are in town for major promotions at Madison Square Garden and the Barclays Center.

Mendez, according to sources, and with a hefty rent, may have gone down for the count. It is nearly impossible to recover from the financial losses that are attributed to the pandemic which forced closure of all gyms last month in New York City.

On the other hand, Pat Russo, a retired NYPD sergeant and founder of Cops & Kids, is optimistic to keep the doors open with two gyms in Staten Island and one in the Flatbush area of Brooklyn.

The gym in Brooklyn is under reconstruction and that has been pushed back which caused another setback for the kids. 

 The goal has always been  to keep kids off the street after the PAL ceased their boxing programs in 2009.

Russo, too, depends on funding and fundraisers. His annual event for amatuer fighters, in the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden, was cancelled last month. He  is at home and applying for the small business assistance. 

Though that process of applying for assistance is difficult to navigate, and it could be a long time before any of that money comes to the rescue. 

“This is our busiest time, our worst possible time to happen,” he said. For now, 1,000 kids are also at home and looking forward to returning back to the gym.

“We’re very lucky in that we have very generous landlords who donate the space,” Russo said. “ Our landlord gives us the space. We don’t have to worry about rent and utilities. “  

Coaches at Cops & Kids are reciprocated for their time with stipends. But the goal, as Russo says, is to keep the kids busy and off the streets. 

“I don’t Know how you can possibly survive, you go month to month,’ Russo said.  “You don’t have a surplus account. It’s so important that we remain open. Our kids are the poorest that come only because it’s free.”

He added, “It puts them in a better place. We have to remain open.”

And the gyms hope to remain open. But this will be the biggest fight for the sport and everyday is crucial for the boxing gym.

“When this is over I’m done if the government gives nothing,” Maresca said.  “Unless somebody comes out of somewhere to keep me afloat there is no way. “

Comment:  Twitetr@Ring786 Mancuso