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

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

Danny Garcia Made His Statement In Brooklyn At Barclays

 Danny Garcia hopes to be fighting more this year and the Two-division world champion scored a dominant unanimous decision over Ivan “El Terrible” Redkach Saturday night at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn. A top three welterweight, Garcia needed to make a statement.

And it was that statement  of needing the win to be next in line for eight-division champion Manny Pacquiao or Eroll Spence Jr. 

You see, those names were the target before Saturday night. However, Spence, on the comeback trail, after sustaining numerous injuries back in September in a single car accident that nearly took his life, was the lucrative opportunity.

Pacquiao, on the other hand, was not on his fight schedule with those responsibilities as the Senator from the Philippines.

So, Garcia took this fight and was fully aware of the implications. He was successful in his eighth appearance at Barclays, the cost for a fighter has highling as the main event in Brooklyn. 

Garcia (36-2, 21 KOs) was sharp from the outset, finding a place for his right hand against the aggressive southpaw Redkach (23-5-1, 18 KOs). Garcia kept Redkach weary of his offense by punctuating his combinations with his signature left hook.

Will it be Spence or Pacquiao after this win?

“Either or ,” said Garcia. “Either of those fights I would like to have. My style looks great against both fighters.”

That style is fighting a southpaw and one of the reasons why Garcia chose Redkach.  It got him prepared for that next step to reclaim a major title at 147.

Spence is the unified champion and Pacquiao holds rights to the WBA title. Terence Crawford, holds the WBO title and could be the best pound-for pound in boxing.

But a potential fight with Crawford, promoted by Top Rank and ESPN, would be more difficult to arrange with Garcia under the PBC banner. But this is boxing and a fight like that could be done. 

Anything is possible down the line because in the end promoters need to provide the best fights for fans with the various streaming networks and money that is dominating the sport. 

With that, and a Danny Garcia win, the welterweight division does become more compelling and there are any number of scenarios that await the boxing fan,

This is a welterweight division that reminds you of an era with Marvin Hagler, Sugar Ray Leonard, Thomas Hearns, and Roberto Duran. That was an era when boxing was highlighted with mega events in Las Vegas and the beginnings of HBO and Pay-Per-View events. 

And Danny Garcia, now a seasoned veteran, is still in that mix among the best fighters at 147.

“I’m not going to lie, I felt good, but I didn’t feel my best,” Garcia said. “I did lose a lot of weight for this fight, so maybe that played a factor. From a long layoff, and just losing so much weight. I lost about 25 pounds in eight weeks.”

After 12 rounds of action, the judges were in agreement, giving Garcia the edge by final scores of 118-110 and 117-111 twice. At ringside this observer scored it 117-111 for Garcia.

Perhaps, not the best win for Danny Garcia, but he did what had to be done. 

So, Danny Garcia is on this mission again to be the best welterweight. He has that persona and many believe the Philadelphia product is far from done and that first step was accomplished in Brooklyn Saturday night…

Co-Main Goes To Hurd: The co-main event featured former unified champion Jarrett Hurd returning to the ring for the first time since losing his titles to score a unanimous decision over Francisco “Chia” Santana in their 10-round super welterweight contest.

“We’ve moved on from the Julian Williams fight,” said Hurd. “We came out here, we had a long layoff and we got the job done.”

This was Hurd’s first fight with his new head trainer Kay Koroma, who he trained with in Colorado, taking him away from his home in Accokeek, Maryland for the first time leading up to a fight. Hurd looked to show off improved defense and use his height and reach advantage to dominate with his jab.

“There was definitely no frustration in there,” said Hurd. “We didn’t want to go toe to toe and we didn’t want to make this a risky fight.”

Hurd was able to control much of the fight from the outside, landing 80 jabs throughout the fight, connecting on 22%. He also proved elusive in the ring, allowing Santana to only land five jabs throughout the fight. 

Santana was able to impose his style at different points though, closing the distance on Hurd and peppering him with combinations punctuated by straight right hands.

Santana’s style however left him vulnerable to Hurd’s counters, which he took advantage of most clearly in the fifth round, countering with numerous straight right hands that rocked Santana consistently. Santana’s 737 punches thrown out paced Hurd’s 684, but Hurd’s 34% connect rate was superior to Santana’s 13%.

Hurd continued to use his feet and evade the charging Santana, before he eventually punctuated his performance by dropping Santana in the closing moments of the fight, first hurting him with a left hook and then putting him on the mat with an uppercut.

“In the last round I wanted to come forward and close it hard, but I got a little bit careless for a second,” said Santana. “In boxing you have to stay focused for every second of every round. He caught me with a good shot.”

Santana was able to make it to his feet and see the final bell, but Hurd was the victor on all three cards, by scores of 97-92 and 99-90 twice.

“We want the belts,” said Hurd. “We want the best. I’m not exactly sure what’s going to be the next move, but we want the belts.”

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

The Right Choice Was Luis Rojas But Time Will Tell

Luis Rojas is a manager and in the spotlight. That unexpected Mets’ vacancy occurred with the departure of Carlos Beltran. Now, sooner than expected, Rojas at 38, becomes the second youngest manager in baseball.

Luis Rojas /Neil Miller/The New York Extra

So there was, Rojas at Citi Field Friday afternoon. He put on the jersey with Number 19.  Seems like yesterday, Carlos Beltran was doing the same thing.

And this will not be that difficult transition for the Mets. Rojas, was the supposed runner-up to succeed Mickey Callaway. He was the quality control coach last season and that familiarity was a helping hand.

Brodie Van Wagenen/Neil Miller/The New York Extra

“We got to promote one of our own to be the leader and face of our Major League team,” said GM Brodie Van Wagenen.

Again, it was familiarity with the roster and organization . That leads to optimism and a positive point as to why, Rojas, the 23rd manager in Mets  history was a good choice,

Luis Rojas /Neil Miller/The New York Extra

Perhaps, Buck Showalter or Dusty Baker would bring that experience as tenured managers and who knows they may have come with a hefty price.

But with little time to spring training, and a coaching staff in place, it made perfect sense for the Mets hierarchy to go this route.  

First impressions at  his introductory press conference, well there was confidence from the new manager. Thank you to everyone that got him to this level after 13 years in the Mets organization as a coach in their minor league system

Thank you also to his family.  His father, Felipe Alou (former player and manager) and Moises, his half brother and one-time player with the Mets.

He learned from them. 

“I think every single thing has led to this,” he said. “From conversations with my relatives to the experiences in the Minor Leagues and winter ball. There have been a couple of championships as a manager and a coach. Those are the things that we can employ and use for our team.”

And time will tell, is Luis Rojas the proper choice to take over a Mets team that is expected to contend?

Credit/Neil Miller/The New York Extra

 Mets CEO Jeff Wilpon, said the new manager has the skills. 

“ Very good skills and he will be an excellent manager,”Mets CEO Jeff Wilpon commented to THENYEXTRA.

It also goes to Rojas’ advantage, knowledge and working with Pete Alonso, Jeff McNeil, Amed Rosario, and many more of this young Mets core. 

 He inherits a roster that should contend with three All-Stars, in Alonso, McNei,l and Jacob deGrom the two-time NL Cy Young Award winner.

So this manager will be tested in the first few months. Like Beltran, he will be reviewed and that comes with those daily meetings prior and after a win or loss with the media.

First impression, with notepads and microphones, Luis Rojas was brief and to the point.  Dominican born and proud, he went with the flow. Those in game decisions will be determined.

However, a consensus among baseball personnel, including those who have worked with him in the Mets system, all said this day was coming. But this first managerial job came sooner than expected.

“A baseball rat, excellent poise, demeanor and professionalism,” said Tom Gamboa, a former manager with the Brooklyn Cyclones Mets Penn League affiliate.

Gamboa added “I thought he might be Major League material someday but surprised it happened so fast at age 38. Great potential. Only lacks Major League experience but he has managed McNeil, Rosario and Alonso.”

And those words of poise and demeanor, all attributes that remained during this rapid search for a new manager.

Are the Mets in the proper direction with Rojas? He signed a multi-year contract that is assumed to be three years, and that should be ample time to take this team where they want to be.

Mickey Callaway was supposed to be the proper manager to get them there and to a World Series.  There was Carlos Beltran with the unfortunate circumstance of a baseball cheating scandal that got in the way.

Now, this Mets team belongs to Luis Rojas. He is expected, as the manager for Brodie Van Wagenen, to be the guide and at the forefront of assuring the Mets get to that championship level.

“I will lead this team into success,” said Rojas. 

And of course, time will tell. But we have to give the new Mets manager a chance in the months to come.

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

Not Unanimous For Derek Jeter But The Hall Of Fame Is

File photo/Neil Miller /The New York Extra

One vote. That denied Derek Jeter as a unanimous selection to the National Baseball Hall of Fame and that should not matter. So fans that are outraged about Jeter not joining Mariano Rivera, his teammate, back-to-back as unanimous choices need to take a break.

Derek Jeter, unanimous or not, is one of a kind and there was never a doubt when his eligibility came for the call to the hall  Perhaps, not the greatest shortstop, or Hall of Famer, but one of the best of the modern baseball era. 

Here are some of the accomplishments:

A five-time World Series champion.  He is the Yankees’ all-time career leader in hits (3,465), doubles (544), games played (2,747), stolen bases (358), times on base (4,716), plate appearances (12,602) and at bats (11,195). 

His accolades include 14 All-Star selections, five Gold Glove Awards, five Silver Slugger Awards, two Hank Aaron Awards, and Roberto Clemente Award. Jeter was the 28th player to reach 3,000 hits and finished his career ranked sixth in MLB history in career hits and first among shortstops. 

The Yankees retired his Number 2. He was the longtime face of the franchise and part of that “Core Four” and four straight World Series championships under manager Joe Torre.

“”A Derek Jeter comes along once in a generation,” Torre said in a statement. “It was a true privilege to watch Derek and to be his manager for 12 years. To this day, he still calls me ‘Mr. Torre.’ Today, it is a pleasure to say, ‘Welcome to the Hall, Mr. Jeter!’ You did it with class and grace.”

This writer does not have a vote in the Hall of Fame balloting. If so, Jeter gets a vote here as a first ballot Hall of Famer. He was the epitome of a New York Yankee and an asset for the game of baseball.

More than his credibility, which was never an issue, the unanimous vote would have been  icing on the cake. Derek Jeter, though. played the game and did his business as that longtime 20-year shortstop for the New York Yankees.

The Hall of Fame was never in the picture. He made this a Hall of Fame career. 

Though the persona and character of a player should have no impact on the vote for enshrinement, Jeter, could be an exception. His teammates, prior, during, and after the championship years all saw this coming.

The opposite players on the field all saw this coming. And that word respect, all  for Number 2, they will be there with Jeter up in Cooperstown in July.

“It’s going to be a very special day standing next to Derek in Cooperstown this summer,” Mariano Rivera said in a statement. “ He had such a deep desire to win, and that singular commitment to his team is what made him so special. Derek prided himself on being a consistent presence.”

He added, “ No moment was too big. He was fearless, and he was the type of leader we knew we could count on year after year. I feel so fortunate that he was a teammate and friend for my entire career, and I congratulate him on this great honor.”

 Rivera will hold that distinction as the first unanimous player voted into the Hall and there may not be another one, that is, unless another Derek Jeter or Mariano Rivera comes along.

And with the media that respect was also a part of Derek Jeter on and off the field, tough the writers who get this privilege look at the numbers and contribution for Hall of Fame credentials. 

“The Captain” of the Yankees was always available after a loss. There was always time to answer the questions, the last one reporter to ask always got the proper response which also defined his leadership in the Yankees clubhouse.

Off the field, Derek Jeter went his business. You never heard about controversy, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time.He represented the Yankees pinstripes and all in good standing.

A managers type of player. And for the media, their type of player. Recall after the Yankees bitter 2001 World Series loss to the Diamondbacks, after Luis Gonzalez got that hit through the infield off Mariano Rivera in Phoenix.   

In the visitor’s clubhouse, at his locker stall, there was Derek Jeter. In that quiet and hush Yankees’ room, after contemplating the loss with his head bowed  and a bat by his side, , Derek Jeter was ready to talk,

Like all baseball players who talk after a bitter loss, he said “This is baseball.”  But, Derek Jeter offered more than that standard quote. He was the person offering a perspective with minimal talk about analyzing what went wrong.

It was a simple conversation. This was a part of the moment and showing that baseball is a game. Recall,  as we all do, that was a year of baseball coming off the tragic terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.

That was Derek Jeter. The person and baseball player that you could never criticize. No ego to him and a team player.

His day arrived. The attention will be about Derek Jeter in the months ahead and we will never get tired of cheering the newest Hall of Fame inductee.

Unanimous or not and well deserved. One of a kind is Derek Jeter. And, he continues to make an impact as co-owner of the Miami Marlins.

But there is that distinction over many who played the game and that is the Hall Of Fame.

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

Mets Move On Without Beltran As Damage Control Begins Also For MLB

File photo Brodie Van Wegenen /Neil Miller/The New York Extra

Direct your attention to Carlos Beltran, the Mets, and baseball hovering over a dark cloud. The game is in trouble and this baseball cheating scandal is far from over.

Beltran, the lone player implicated with that 2017 Astros’ championship team, is no longer the manager of the Mets, a brief tenure that stands second in the annals as the shortest reign, next to Wally Backman who lasted four days with the Diamondbacks.

But the Wally Backman situation was different, taxes and personal issues. The Carlos Beltran situation was being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and one of the culprits that has put Major League Baseball in a bad situation.

And all of this will be discussed in years to come, and technology advancement, attributed to three managers losing jobs, is another issue and one that baseball has to address as they try and recover from this black eye.

But the reality now, and for the Mets, they are without a manager. They were supposed to have Carlos Beltran for three years, maybe more, to guide them to a championship. 

Beltran, a choice of GM Brodie Van Wegenen, will resurface and perhaps as a manager, He is tarnished as much as the game is. You can rule out a potential Hall of Fame induction in a few years when his name comes up for consideration,

In essence, this scandal of cheating to steal signals from opposing pitchers, is difficult to digest. Baseball fans will forgive to an extent and only because they want their team to win.

Except, cheating, as was with the steroid scandal, the Pete Rose gambling issue, and the Black Sox scandal, is hard to tolerate. 

The billionaire dollar industry, as baseball is, got them caught. It cost AJ Hinch, Alex Cora, and now Beltran their jobs. It will be difficult to recover for them, even if they deny they were culprits to get their team wins and collect more of that revenue that is always available.

So the Mets, and unexpectedly, once again are on a managerial search. They want to move on and get by this black eye, Though, again, Carlos Beltran was a culprit in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The search is on as the healing begins.

 Mets Gm Brodie Van Wagenen, said Thursday afternoon on a conference call with media, “I don’t think the values we that we’re looking for have changed.”

He said, “This team is one that we believe in. This team is one that we believe can contend and we want to make sure that we have the right support around them to achieve their success.”

Carlos Beltran was the one to do that. The former and popular player, forgiven for making that last out in the 2006 NLCS at Shea Stadium, was the perfect candidate in a long managerial search to succeed Mickey Callaway.

Thing is, there are 28 days before pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie and that does not leave much room to anoint a new manager. Last thing the Mets want is entering spring training without a leader.

But they did not expect this turn of events. Even as the day transpired, Wednesday into Thursday morning, there was that slim chance, Carlos Beltran would survive this scandal.

He wasn’t the manager that was implicated, one of the players that reportedly orchestrated this cheating scheme in his final year as an active player on that 2017 Astros team, and now  a negative part of the baseball annals.

And this is no longer an issue as to how the Mets handled this. Did, Brodie, a key part of  the hiring process, have knowledge that Carlos Beltran was a part of this scandal?

That issue was clarified as no, according to a timeline that the GM outlined on Thursday.  But, Beltran, as is, may not have taken all of the skeletons out of his closet.

So, the prevailing question now, as the Mets go forward, who is the next manager and when will that come to fruition?  We know, this process will be rapid. There is precious time with that timeline drawing in on spring training. 

The next manager has to have the same goals and guidelines.

 Who will that be? Luis Rojas, Eduardo Perez, Buck Showalter? Tony DeFrancesco, who managed the Mets’ Syracuse Triple-A affiliate was in place as the first base coach. 

He is not a logical choice, interim manager for the Astros and prior to Hinch and that 2017 team, and the Mets would not want to go that route. Hensley Meulens? He was appointed bench coach, for Beltran, with no previous managerial experience.

Fiel photo Terry Collins/Neil Miller/The New York Extra

Terry Collins, a longshot, even if it became an interim basis. He could leave the chair for David Wright, a fan favorite who goes by the book, but Collins and his days as an active manager are over.

File photo David Wright /Neil Miller/The New York Extra

Yes, lots of damage control that will be difficult and more so for Major League Baseball.  The Mets will overcome this adversity that was not expected.

The unfortunate thing, we never will see how good a manager Carlos Beltran could have been.  Greed, though, and technology with a billionaire dollar industry of Major League Baseball got in the way,


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Beltran May Be Safe But Needs To Answer

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Carlos Beltran is guilty. So are dozens of others among the 2017 Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox players involved with the sign-stealing situation that has rocked Major League Baseball. He was instrumental in discussing the scheme to stealing signs from the opposing pitcher that was attributed to technology.

Yes, technology is the culprit and so is Beltran.  However the findings and determination of MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred said, “Assessing discipline of players for this type conduct is both difficult and impractical.”

Mandfred added, “I am not in  position based on the investigative record to determine with any degree of certainty every player who should be held accountable.”

The accountability cost Astros’ general manager Jeff Luhnow and manager AJ Hinch their jobs and suspensions. Speculation is Alex Cora,  bench coach under Hinch, also a culprit, will lose his job as manager of the Red Sox.

And the players associated with this have that protection of their union. The Astros’  2017 World Series championship stays in the record books. Findings and repercussions around the Red Sox will not nullify their championship of 2018.

The Mets have not commented about Beltran. The rookie manager will surely have to answer a ton of questions when pitchers and catchers report to Port St. Lucie in four weeks.

And the last thing the Mets don’t need is for  this situation to linger. Modern technology has caused this dilemma, the game of baseball has changed, and that has to be addressed.

But Carlos Beltran has to answer the questions, and  unless Major League Baseball says otherwise, he has to face the music. 

The prevailing question, as this investigation continues to unfold that caused the latest black eye for baseball, what’s next? Does Carlos Beltran avoid suspension? Is Beltran safe?

As of Tuesday, the Mets are not commenting.CEO Jeff Wilpon and GM Brodi Van Wagenen are scheduled to appear Thursday morning in Port St. Lucie to officially announce a change to the name of the Mets’ spring training complex and they could avoid the questions.

There are numerous current and former players associated with the Mets manager and they are not commenting. So we are all in the dark with this.

And this is expected to continue as the dark eye for baseball. The newest scandal goes in the books as a substantial issue and in the categories with the steroid scandals, Pete Rose, and the Black Sox era.

Where does Carlos Beltran stand? Unless, the Mets believe that Beltran and his association with this are detrimental and a distraction, his position is safe. The Mets do not need further distractions as they prepare and expect to contend with a new season on the horizon.

Though, to put this to rest, Carlos Beltran will need to answer the questions. He is no longer a player and now a part of management. He needs to answer to clarify his role and admit to the mistakes.

Now, on the other hand, Alex Cora up in Boston is the predicament. If the further findings of the commissioner go further, if the Red Sox follow the role of the Astros and dismiss Cora, then the Mets are put in a position.

Carlos Beltran could survive this, or the Mets can decide to make a statement and reprimand their new manager. In other words, the Mets could have the final decision.

Beltran, not receiving favorable headlines,  can deny he was wrong. But the findings of this investigation are saying otherwise.

In the best interest for the Mets and for their fan base, Carlos Beltran must respond.and the best approach is to make a statement in front of the cameras and notepads.

Either way, Carlos Beltran will be writing out the Opening Day lineup for the New York Mets, regardless of this black eye and being a culprit to this mess.

The damage control for Major League Baseball is now the issue. This will not go away, and the technology experts that have control will need to improvise their system and assist with the damage control.

This was bound to occur as stealing signals and signs have always been a part of baseball but not at this magnitude, Carlos Beltran can provide some closure.

It’s closure for the Mets and for Beltran’s reputation as that “Mr. Good Guy” in baseball, and for the fans here in New York.

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Third Base Is Position To Watch For The Yankees

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Gio Urshela and the Yankees reportedly agreed to a one-year contract of $2.475 million on Friday which was the deadline for arbitration eligible players.  For Urshela, with that breakout year in 2019, and unexpected as the unknown player, a well deserved deal.

So the Yankees will go into spring training with an interesting situation.  Urshela provided that unexpected production in the lineup who became a highlight reel at third base. 

 Miguel Andujar, recall,  a Yankees “Baby Bomber” came up short in 2018 for AL Rookie Of The Year honors but a season ending injury to his shoulder gave, Urshela the opportunity in 2019. 

The Yankees got a pleasant surprise from Ursehla, the 28-year old and part time player acquired from the Cleveland Indians. He Completed the season batting .314 in 132 games, 21 home runs, and 74 RBI in 132 games. 

All good of course. Urshela was one of the sparks for a Yankees roster that sustained numerous injuries and he filled the void under a contract that paid him a Major League minimum salary of $555.000.

 GM Brian Cashman has assured, Andujar is not out of the picture. In other words, and assuming Andujar is healthy, he will be in the mix at third base but it will be his job to win. This is certain to be a storyline going into spring training and something that will transpire.

Andujar, from reports out of the Dominican Republic, has resumed throwing and fielding. He has reportedly recovered from surgery to his right shoulder. The 24-year old appeared in 12 games last season.

While Andujar has to prove that this will be a comeback, and time will tell, the Yankees also have options. They have that flexibility to pull off a trade, even though, Andujar, and his value has diminished on the market due to the inactivity.

Regardless, of the trade talk and speculation, Miguel Andujar remains in the plan. The value of Urshela is also significant and he could be used as a designated hitter or off the bench.

So where does this stand? Do the Yankees bank on  a healthy Miguel Andujar and use Urshela to their advantage?

Manager Aaron Boone and some of the Yankees’ staff  plan a visit to the Dominican Republic in the next few days and gather a further evaluation.of Andujar.

“We believe he is going to be totally healthy as we enter Spring Training and good to go,” Boone was quoted as saying this week. 

And from the reports, Andujar has been taking ground balls and throwing.

“He’s good to go right now,” Boone said. “We feel like he’s in a really good spot physically. We’ll get to spend a little bit of time with him and put our eyes on him a little bit.”

Again this is a good sign. And, unless an offer is too enticing  for the Yankees, that would get them something valuable in return, expect a nice battle to determine who will start at third for the Yankees come Opening Day.   

Brian Cashman, a believer in both,  has said that third base for now is in the hands of Ursehla. And when it comes to making contact at the plate, Urshela and Andujar hit the ball on the screws.

Consistently hitting the ball on the screws is part of the equation and the Yankees interest in DJ LeMahieu was drawn, in particular,  by DJ having the highest percentage of hard hit balls in the game.

Though the ground ball rate was above average.  The same applies to Andujar and Urshela. 

Said a high-ranking baseball official, “The ALCS with the Astros showed that Ursehla was one of two Yankees with DJ that the Astros played straight up. They shifted effectively on the rest of the lineup.”

And when you come down to it, that’s what makes this a great situation for the Yankees.   So let the battle begin in four weeks or so when Aaron Boone begins his third season as the manager.

It could be a job that Miguel Andujar has to battle for. Then again, either way, third base, designated hitter, or even the outfield for Gio Urshela is not a bad option.

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