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Category: baseball

2020 Yankees Already Haunted By Injury Demons

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

Derek Jeter used to joke that there were ghosts in the old Yankee Stadium. Those apparitions apparently have found their way across the street. Only now they haunt the home team.

File Photo /NeilMiller/The New York Extra

Yankees manager Aaron Boone revealed Thursday that pitcher Luis Severino has been shut down due to right forearm soreness and a loose body in his elbow. Severino of course, missed almost all of last season with rotator cuff inflammation and a lat strain.

 Any pitcher that has had a loose body in his or her throwing elbow knows this can become problematic at any time.

This alarming development comes almost two weeks to the day that the Yankees announced James Paxton would miss three to four months after undergoing a microscopic lumbar discectomy to remove a cyst.

 Any pitcher that has had back pain knows this can become problematic at any time.

File Photo ?NeilMiller/The New York Extra

And let’s not forget that Domingo German, who exploded on the scene last season, is suspended until June 5th for domestic violence offenses.

As we know, any man that has been found to be a domestic violence offender is capable – some would say prone – to committing such heinous acts again.

We are still more than a month away from opening day and the Yankees are already down two-fifths of their starting rotation (Severino and Paxton) and a valuable swing arm in German.

Never has spending $342 million on a free agent pitcher, Gerrit Cole, seemed like such a valuable signing. Paxton’s injury is more straightforward in terms of recovery than Severino but back injuries are always disconcerting. Severino, 26, is compiling a thick medical file.

08/15/19 Cleveland Indians vs New York Yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny #17 aaron boone takes #57 chad green out of the game after giving up 5 runs in the 1st innning

Boone said Severino’s latest injury activated after last start of the 2019 season, which was Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. General manager Brian Cashman said that Severino twice flew from his home in the Dominican Republic to New York to undergo two MRI exams and one CT scan. None of tests revealed any sign of serious injury.

Severino received anti-inflammatories upon arriving at spring training. He began by throwing only fastballs and sliders, but when he started to integrate his changeup, the pain returned.

“It’s Sevy, and there’s this discomfort that’s been off and on that’s continued,” Boone told reporters at George M. Steinbrenner Field. “That’s certainly concerning. We’ll just have to see how this continues to declare itself.”

The Yankees set an MLB record last season by having 30 players make a combined 39 trips to the injured list. They overhauled the training staff after the season in the hopes of keeping players on the field.

It’s early but the Yankees seem to have picked up where they left off. And that’s downright scary.

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Dwight Gooden Continues His Recovery and Hopes The Same For Baseball

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

Rich Mancuso/The New York Extra

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

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

Rich Mancuso /The New York Extra

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

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

The synapsis:

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Forgive,” Gooden said.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

More info about Eric Kussin: eric@wearreallalittlecrazy.org  #Same Here

Comment: Ring796@aol.com  Twitter@Ring786 Facebook.com/Rich Mancuso

Yoenis Cespedes Was Silent And We Need To Get Answers

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

1969 Redux – Are the Mets Poised For an Amazin Year?

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

We’re still smack in the dead of another bizarrely warm winter and with the way things are going we certainly could see snow on March 26, when the Mets host the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals.

File Photo Neil Miller/The New York Extra

It’s at this time of the year that the Gregorian calendar goes out the winter. The Mets held first full team workout today. Spring feels a little closer.

If you’re a Mets fan, you can’t help yourself. It’s in your DNA.

File photo Neil Miller /The New York Extra

Despite all the ridiculous chapters in Mets history, even recently: Yoenis Cepesdes breaks his ankle in a tangle with a wild boar; the sale of the team is deep-sixed at almost the 11th hour – again; Carlos Beltran doesn’t get to manage even one spring training game – Mets fans believe that this will be the year.

The feeling here is that this emotional state of being, call it the Miracle Syndrome, began in 1969, the greatest year in Mets history and one of the most amazin runs in sports history.

You know the story. You witnessed it yourself or heard it from your father or grandfather or uncle.

The Mets, who began their residence in Queens by losing 120 games, were nine and one-half games behind the Cubs in mid-August.

The rest is mystery.

Behind one of the great pitching staffs in baseball history the Mets overtook the Cubs and upset the mighty Orioles in the World Series.

There was no time to prepare for such exuberance. Teachers stopped classes and put radios on their desks for all to listen to playoff games. A city riddled with crime and graffiti needed a salve if not a savior, the Amazin Mets came through.

No wonder that no matter the number of broken dreams and tear-stained jerseys, Mets fans remain more exuberant than a rooster in a henhouse.

Which brings us to 2020, 51 years after the Miracle Mets. As was the case in 1969, when the Mets actually finished the previous season with some success, the 2020 Mets were in the 2019 playoff hunt until the final weeks.

As was the case in 1969, the Mets have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndegaard, Marcus Stroman, Steven Matz, Rick Porcello, and Michael Wacha offer dominance and depth.

File photo Neil Miller/The New York Extra New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz #32

The bullpen hopefully has been bolstered. Seth Lugo is proven. Robert Gsellman can swing from starter to pen. The acquisition of Dellin Betances could help. Edwin Diaz can’t be any worse.

File Photo Neil Miller The New York Extra

There are questions, of course, as is the case with most teams at this time of the season:

Luis Rojas seems universally liked in the organization and there’s no doubt he knows the game, but he’s never managed before and he never played in the Majors.

File Photo Neil Miller The New York Extra

Pete Alonso can own this town by notching another 40-plus home run season but opposing pitchers have had an entire winter to study him.

Were the Mets the team we saw in the first half of the season or the second?

08/24/19 atlanta braves vs ny mets at citi field queens ny #20 Pete Alonso hits a 3 run homer in the 5th inning Neil Miller/The New York Extra

 “We agreed on the things we need to do in order to get the edge that we need, as far as being successful this year and to achieve our goal — which is winning,” Rojas told reporters about his message to the team. “We have a lot of competition out there and this is where it starts.”

Yes, this is where it starts every spring for the Mets and their fans. They need the slightest of reasons to believe. This team provides many. Which means it also provides the perfect setup for more broken dreams and tear-stained jerseys.

Paxton And Rotation Void Await Yankees Spring Training Question

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

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

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

So one would say the Yankees will be fine.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“They have depth,’ said the scout.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Who Will Host MLB's 2022 Postseason Show? Don't Ask

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

Ever hear something so preposterous your first reaction was to chuckle? You know, that, ‘Don’t Give Me That BS’ guffaw that conveys the message, ‘Pull the other leg it plays jingle bells.’

Credit Twitter

Like the time the guy at the corner deli who makes your bacon, egg and cheese said that Buster Douglas had knocked out Mike Tyson. Yeah, right.  

Or the time you flipped on SportsCenter and the score read Appalachian State 34, Michigan 32. Must be a misprint.

Or when New York Magazine reported that Angelina Jolie had married Billy Bob Thornton. What?!

Even after there was confirmation that all were true (they were), it still took a day for the news to sink in. That’s how the last 48 hours have been after hearing that Major League Baseball is planning on expanding its playoff format including a national televised show during which the top seed in each league would pick its opponent.

If you think you’ve heard the “No Respect,” card played before, just wait.

Why would a sport so steeped in tradition and history make such a move? Attendance has continued to drop and MLB has decided that the best way to reverse this trend is to go professional wrestling on us.

Commissioner Rob Manfred Mann has been blinded by his own marketing light. He’s decided that the best way to bring more fans to baseball is to turn to reality TV.

As reported by The Post’s Joel Sherman, under the new format, which would go into effect in 2022, the field will balloon from 10 to 14 teams. The team with the best record in each league would get a first round bye.

Those two teams would then pick its opponent – on national TV.  I’m not going to suggest that the sign-stealing league would attempt any trickery but didn’t the Knicks get to pick Patrick Ewing in the NBA’s first draft lottery?

Does the team picking give the team it picks a rose?

This is supposed to attract fans –  The Bachelor, MLB version?

And this doesn’t even address the issue of sub-.500 teams making postseason. Instead of 10 teams making the playoffs, 14 will.

If this format had been in effect last season, the Indians (93-69), Red Sox (84-78), Rangers (78-84) and either the White Sox (72-89) or Angels (72-90) would have been in.

Finishing 18 games below .500 is a lofty goal but somebody’s got to do it.

The NFL hasn’t had a sub-.500 playoff team since 2014, when the 7-8-1 Panthers snuck in. They won their wildcard playoff game, by the way, which should strike fear into any MLB No.1 seed.

There’s nothing better than postseason baseball. The teams that have made it have proven themselves over the course of a 162-game season, ensuring the best get in and usually yielding the best matchups.

Now Manfred wants to add the MLB’s Postseason Selection Show. What’s next, stadium-only betting on each pitch, hosted by Alex Cora, Carlos Beltran and A.J. Hinch?

Don’t give Manfred Mann any more ideas.

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!

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Mets hold Fanfest 2020

The first annual Mets fanfest at Citifield Queens, N.Y. by Neil Miller ,The New York Extra

From left to right,Turk Wendel, Edwin Diaz,Robinson Cano and Jeff Mc Neil load the truck headed of to spring training

This was a great event today for Mets fans. There were choices of batting cage hitting, tours of the stadium,autograph sessions and much more with many Mets players to interact with.

For the media however, this was a banner day to interview many of the Mets stars on the past and current events going into the 2020 season.

Please view the gallery to see some of the images of Mets players.

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