Advertisements

Category: Uncategorized

Jack Pokress celebrates his 100th Birthday, by Neil Miller The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Last weekend,Jackson Pokress turned 100 years old. A milestone very few people reach was celebrated with family, friends, and of course The North Massapequa Fire Department. A parade from many local fire houses went down the street where Jack lives, and neighbors and local political people also joined in the event. Please see the attached gallery of photographs and video to join in the fun of that day!

Jackson B. Pokress, commonly called Jack, was born in Manhattan on June 27, 1920 to Lillian Jackson Pokress and Morris Pokress.  He graduated from the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in 1938 and New York University in January, 1942.  Soon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Jack enlisted in the U.S. Army and after completing Basic Training he asked to be assigned to the Signal Corps so he could use his photographic talents as a combat cameraman.  The Army detailed him to the Army Pictorial Center in Astoria, Queens to train as a motion picture cameraman.  Upon completion of that training he was sent to the China-Burma-India Theater and transferred to the jungle fighting unit Merrill’s Marauders where he documented the Marauders campaign through Burma to expel the Japanese army which had overrun the country.  He was honorably discharged in November, 1945.  During his time in the Army he became friends with boxing heavyweight champion Joe Louis.  
In 1947 he married his wife, Wilma, and raised two sons, Robert and David.  Wilma died in 2001.  During the post war years he produced and photographed several feature motion pictures.  Some of those movies are still available today on Youtube and the internet.  Wheels of Steel was made for the Pennsylvania Rail Road.  Other classics were You’re In the Ring, about boxing and starring his army buddy Joe Louis and Lipstick and Dynamite about lady wrestling starring the lady wrestling icons of the era.  That movie was remade in the early 2000s for general theatrical release updating the lives of the women who starred in the 1949 version.  A movie of personal significance was made about the North Massapequa Fire Dept. titled When Seconds Count.  Jack joined the fire department in March 1956 and is still an active member today after sixty-four years.
The North Massapequa Fire Department  is a major part of the Pokress family life.  He was involved in just about every facet of the fire service but his passion was rescue-first aid.  The fire department had a competition rescue team, The Witch Doktors (yes, with a K). They were prolific winners on the competition circuit nationally and won the New York State Championship five times with Jack as Co-Captain.  He was also a founding member of the department’s drum and bugle corps which won the New York State championship in only its second year of existence.  That corps was also a prolific winner in parades around the state and Long Island.  He served three five-year terms as a fire commissioner and fifteen years as the fire district secretary.  In 1981 he was elected president of the Association of Fire Districts of Long Island.  He was also a driving force in the creation of the LOSAP (Length of Service Award Program) program to provide pensions to volunteer firefighters in New York State and retain members.
Jack took up photography in his teens when his father bought him a Speed Graphic camera.  His passion for photography never waned and has been his profession his entire adult life.  He was the owner, publisher and editor of The Observer newspapers, a chain of weeklies that served the south shore of Nassau County.  He also served on the staff of Congressman Peter King.  
Besides his sons he has three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.  

Advertisements
Advertisements

Jack Pokress celebrates his 100th Birthday, by Neil Miller The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

Last weekend,Jackson Pokress turned 100 years old. A milestone very few people reach was celebrated with family, friends, and of course The North Massapequa Fire Department. A parade from many local fire houses went down the street where Jack lives, and neighbors and local political people also joined in the event. Please see the attached gallery of photographs and video to join in the fun of that day!

Jackson B. Pokress, commonly called Jack, was born in Manhattan on June 27, 1920 to Lillian Jackson Pokress and Morris Pokress.  He graduated from the prestigious Stuyvesant High School in 1938 and New York University in January, 1942.  Soon after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor Jack enlisted in the U.S. Army and after completing Basic Training he asked to be assigned to the Signal Corps so he could use his photographic talents as a combat cameraman.  The Army detailed him to the Army Pictorial Center in Astoria, Queens to train as a motion picture cameraman.  Upon completion of that training he was sent to the China-Burma-India Theater and transferred to the jungle fighting unit Merrill’s Marauders where he documented the Marauders campaign through Burma to expel the Japanese army which had overrun the country.  He was honorably discharged in November, 1945.  During his time in the Army he became friends with boxing heavyweight champion Joe Louis.  
In 1947 he married his wife, Wilma, and raised two sons, Robert and David.  Wilma died in 2001.  During the post war years he produced and photographed several feature motion pictures.  Some of those movies are still available today on Youtube and the internet.  Wheels of Steel was made for the Pennsylvania Rail Road.  Other classics were You’re In the Ring, about boxing and starring his army buddy Joe Louis and Lipstick and Dynamite about lady wrestling starring the lady wrestling icons of the era.  That movie was remade in the early 2000s for general theatrical release updating the lives of the women who starred in the 1949 version.  A movie of personal significance was made about the North Massapequa Fire Dept. titled When Seconds Count.  Jack joined the fire department in March 1956 and is still an active member today after sixty-four years.
The North Massapequa Fire Department  is a major part of the Pokress family life.  He was involved in just about every facet of the fire service but his passion was rescue-first aid.  The fire department had a competition rescue team, The Witch Doktors (yes, with a K). They were prolific winners on the competition circuit nationally and won the New York State Championship five times with Jack as Co-Captain.  He was also a founding member of the department’s drum and bugle corps which won the New York State championship in only its second year of existence.  That corps was also a prolific winner in parades around the state and Long Island.  He served three five-year terms as a fire commissioner and fifteen years as the fire district secretary.  In 1981 he was elected president of the Association of Fire Districts of Long Island.  He was also a driving force in the creation of the LOSAP (Length of Service Award Program) program to provide pensions to volunteer firefighters in New York State and retain members.
Jack took up photography in his teens when his father bought him a Speed Graphic camera.  His passion for photography never waned and has been his profession his entire adult life.  He was the owner, publisher and editor of The Observer newspapers, a chain of weeklies that served the south shore of Nassau County.  He also served on the staff of Congressman Peter King.  
Besides his sons he has three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.  

All MLB Needs is a Trip to the LLWS in 2021 The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

Some people feel reborn every morning when they hear the sound of birds chirping and doves cooing. Dave Belisle prefers the crack of the bat and thump of the ball as it hits the glove.

08/25/09 soth shore little league at world series williamsport pa south shore enjoys an after game pizza party at lemade stadium last nite Neil Miller The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020

Belisle gets to hear that cacophony of baseball sound every spring, summer and fall. His property backs up to three diamonds in Cumberland, R.I. – Little League, softball and regulation.

You might remember Belisle. He was the head coach of the Cumberland American Little League team. After a heartbreaking 8-7 loss to Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West squad in a 2014 Little League World Series elimination game, Belisle gathered his distraught players in short right field and delivered as heartfelt and uplifting post-game talk you’ll ever hear.

08/25/09 soth shore little league at world series williamsport pa south shores gathers in the outfield with coach mike zaccarela Neil Miller The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020

 “It’s been an incredible journey,” Belisle said. “We fought. Look at the score, 8-7, 12-10 in hits. It came to the last out.  We didn’t quit. That’s us! Boys, that’s us!”

There will be no Little League tournament this year, which means the single best American sporting event of the summer has been victimized by the coronavirus.

“It’s the kids I miss,” said Belisle. “All ballplayers feel same way. They get to play the game they played with their buddies forever. It’s the practice and preparation. It’s the unity. They take pride they have putting on that jersey and playing the game with buddies that will be lifelong friends. That’s what I miss.”

I won’t miss major league baseball, which will begin “Spring Training” Wednesday, barring another possible virus delay. I’ll watch MLB’s 60-game season, because there’s little else for a sports fan to do but it will be background noise.

How I would trade the Little League tournament for MLB. It’s amazing each summer to watch 12-year-olds play the game at such a high level, with such discipline and so much more.

Little League is running it out every time a bat hits a ball. It’s pitchers shaking hands with the batter they just hit. It’s players not arguing with umpires. It’s teams shaking hands after games, often with the players from the winning side consoling those from the losing team.

It’s fans sliding down hills on cardboard boxes. It’s communities from Cumberland, R.I., to River Ridge, La., and Curacao to Tokyo being galvanized by their children and their neighbor’s kids. That’s what I will miss this summer.

According to an ESPN poll, baseball fans overwhelmingly (77-percent) approve of the 60-game season, with the Yankees and Nationals playing as per the NY Post. The poll might need an asterisk, like the Astros 2017 World Series title, because the worldwide leader in sport televises its fair share of MLB.

Don’t be mistaken. We’re not comparing Little Leaguers to MLB pros. We’re asking, when does the game that little boys play with so much joy and passion, get so polluted by contracts and vesting and revenue sharing?

“The only thing that gets in the way of baseball is money,” said Belisle. “Not when you’re in Little League. There is no money. It’s just the game.”

Is it as sad and complicated as money – the scorching hot animosity that exists between owners and players? Is it knowing that MLB and the MLBPA will sue each other with allegations of bad faith negotiating? Is it knowing there likely will be another Texas death match negotiation when the collective bargaining agreement expires after the 2021 season?

So many MLB players made it through the Little League World Series – Michael Conforto, Todd Frazier, and Gary Sheffield. When did it stop being a game and start being a business?

As naïve is this is, for the owners, did it ever stop being a business and looked at as a game? A beautiful game.

Its pace allows fathers and daughters, mothers and sons, friends and relatives to add to the emotional quilt of their relationships while watching America’s pastime. Heck, just sharing a bag of peanuts and a cold beverage can get you a long way.

Here’s a thought, again albeit naïve: Next August, when the LLWS returns, a group of owners and MLBPA executives should sit together in Williamsport, Pa. and watch the 12-year-olds work their magic. If that doesn’t save MLB, maybe nothing will.

“It’s the best of times,” said Belisle. “I feel for the kids not getting to experience that. I feel for the communities that put so much into it – vacations, school, it’s all baseball, doing something together. You make memories on and off the field.

“The boys of summer. That’s real.”

Williams Has The Capacity To Make Further Impact

By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/TheNewYorkExtra.com

credit twitter

If the Mayan calendar is correct and the end of the world occurs within the next two weeks, it will be ashamed for Jets’ fans who didn’t see a second season of defensive coordinator Gregg Williams.

For the, the best is yet to come. Forget the Mayans. Are you ready for some more Williams-defensive football?

Williams took over the reign last season and tuned up a relatively solid unit from former head coach and fellow defensive guru Todd Bowles. The 61-year-old’s hire raised some eyebrows, but the longtime controversial, colorful and animated coordinator and former head coach easily could be considered the team’s MVP last season, waving his magic wand through an injury—riddled season on his side of the ball.

The Jets played with a non-descript contingent that featured just lone and deserving Pro-Bowler Jamal Adams and transformed them into the leagues’ seventh overall defensive battalion. More important, they allowed just over 86 yards rushing per game that placed them first in the AFC and second overall—yes, first and second – and 17th against the pass.

The defense’s performance and his rise back into the spotlight diffused took away some of the glare from first-year head coach Adam Gase’s critics.  

Remember, this was defensive secondary that saw their cornerback situation have as much traffic as a typical five o’clock on any major thoroughfare in the tri-state. Starter Trumaine Johnson was a bust, injured and benched, and fellow starter Darryl Roberts was inconsistent and hobbled all season. Rookie Bless Austin and former Saint Arthur Maulet eventually panned out as the most productive pair.  Williams infused the likes of unknowns Kyron Brown and Maurice Canady along with veteran Nate Hariston to add to the effect. Brian Poole became a stellar nickel back.

Adams and Marcus Maye stayed the course at safety, and free-agent Matthias Farley made the most of this short time.

Up front, Williams elevated the stats of once-project Nathan Shepherd into a weekly, solid run-stopper. Underrated Steve McLendon and Henry Anderson played through injuries and developed the rotation. Top pick Quinnen Williams showed some flash, but depth reduced the pressures around him.

In Williams’ 3-4 alignment, the linebacking core was his strength. However, it will be his biggest puzzle to piece together in 2020.

James Burgess, Neville Hewitt, B. J. Bello and Blake Cashman all excelled. Burgess had 80 tackles and Hewitt had 75 stops with three sacks, while Bello and Cashman were both productive in their shorter stints.

Consensus stud C.J. Mosley was gone in the first game against Buffalo last year and fellow starter Avery Williamson was lost in the preseason. Sack leader Jordan Jenkins – eight of the team’s 35 – was brought back from free agency. In addition, the Jet added former Raven Patrick Onwuasor, who had 8.5 sacks over the last two years.

Williams also has third-round pick and highly touted safety Ashtyn Davis to roll the dice with in situations.

While he and Gase will need a sharp eye for roster spots, Williams surely still will have the luxury of some intricate scheming. When the focus is narrowed in early September, it will be interesting.

The key, once again, will be keeping his platoon healthy. If so, it likely won’t be “The Sack Exchange” of years past, but it will be an all-out front led by one of the game’s finest defensive minds who will have Jets’ fans checking the late-season calendars.  

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”  https://song.link/DoIEver

More about Travis: Instagram @travisdemetri

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

USA Gymnastics Falters With Its Bogus Settlement Offer

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

  In my first job at Greenwich Time, I had the bright idea of climbing up on a balance beam after a meet featuring the Greenwich High girls’ gymnastics team, a state power at the time.

 Upon getting to my feet I looked down and froze.

“How the hell does one get down, no less attempt to walk?”

That was the day I gained a full appreciation for the courage of gymnasts. And last Friday was the day I grew to fully despise the organization known as USA Gymnastics.

The organization released its proposed settlement in one of the most despicable sexual predator cases of all time.

Former Michigan State and national team doctor Larry Nassar, who is accused of having molested at least 250 young women, girls and one young man, pled guilty to seven counts of sexual assault of minors, three counts of sexual assault and possession of child pornography.

Nassar is now locked away for the rest of his life, which is not nearly a harsh enough punishment. He should be subjected to the Ludovic technique on a weekly basis for the remainder of his days.

One would think that the governing body of USA Gymnastics, which allegedly knew about the monster in its midst but dragged its elephant feet for years in a heinous attempt to protect its now sullied name, would realize upon being outed that there was only one course of action to take: Do everything (everything!), to help every athlete whose body and soul was desecrated by Nassar.

Instead USA Gymnastics offered the following proposal:

Women who were assaulted at the Olympics, world championships, national team training camps and national team events would receive over $1.25 million in compensation.

But for those women who were considered “non-elite” athletes, yet were still sexually abused at USA Gymnastics-sanctioned events, they would receive $508,670, less than half the “elite” athletes.

But wait, it gets worse, much worse. Athletes abused at non-USA gymnastics locations would get less than $175,000, while victims’ whose claims were brought by a shareholder, often on behalf of a corporation, would receive only $82,550.

Of course the proposal would also release the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committees, former USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny, and former national team directors Bela and Martha Karolyi from all claims, according to ESPN. Penny was arrested on a separate charge for tampering with evidence.

Let us boil this settlement down to its most pathetic base.

A non-elite athlete is valued as a human being far less, and therefore could not have been as horrifically violated, as an elite athlete. Thus, they should receive less compensation. If your daughter happens to be one of the millions of gymnasts participating in the sport at non-USA Gymnastics locations, the governing body of the sport is telling her she holds some tertiary rank as a human being.

There is a lot of legal wrangling and financial shenanigans that go on in these types of mass tort cases. For example, when USA Gymnastics filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December of 2018, one of its explanations for doing so was that the action would, “expedite resolution of claims,” according to a statement from the organization.

Here we are, a year and one-half later, and there is no resolution. The proposed settlement is lacking in empathy, decency and remorse. It’s as if USA Gymnastics refuses to accept the enormity of this nightmare and its failure to protect its athletes.

Truth be told, the filing was a defense against the U.S. Olympic Committee, which is seeking to decertify USA Gymnastics, which has taken “Public Relations 101” steps such as seating a new board.

As for the victims, here’s their choice: accept the reprehensible offer and try as best as possible to move forward and heal. Or, reject the offer and sue, which could take years to work its way through the legal system.

Maybe we need to consider tiers for those in charge of USA Gymnastics:  Those at the top are Tier 1 lowlifes. Those in middle management are Tier 2 creeps.

Of course, USA Gymnastics can change all that by having the courage and concentration it takes to do a backflip on a balance beam by coming up with a sincere and empathic settlement. Something tells me they won’t.

Inside The Business: Warriors Of Wrestling

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“ 

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

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

Neil Miller/The New York Extra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

File photo Neil Miller/The New York Extra

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Neil Miller/The New York Extra

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

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

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

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

A Good Day For the Knicks? Yes!

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

It comes with an understandably fair bit of trepidation for any Knicks fan embrace what just occurred on February 6, 2020. There have been so many horrific trades and free agents busts that just the thought of the Knicks making a deal is enough to trigger deep breathing exercises.

But this time the president-less Knicks made what seems to be a slam dunk transaction, sending veteran forward Marcus Morris to the Clippers in exchange for former St. John’s star and Queens native Moe Harkless, a 2020 first round pick and a 2nd-round pick.

The happiest man might be Leon Rose who reportedly will be hired as franchise’s next prez. He gets another first-round and second-round pick and a talented 26-year-old forward with upside.

The Knicks traded away a very solid player and person in Morris, who is 30 and a free agent after the season. But a first round pick and a younger forward that could start immediately at the 3 is a win-win. Morris goes to a playoff-bound team.

Good for him. Good for New York.

The Knicks now have two 1st-round picks in 2020 and two second-round picks, courtesy of the Willie Hernangomez trade. The Knicks have two first round picks in 2021, courtesy of the Kristaps Porzingis trade.

After his rookie season, we railed that The Unicorn was not a foundation player to build a champion around. Every month that belief gets reinforced. He continues to be physically fragile, not necessarily his fault, and is one of the most narcissistic players to come out of Europe, which is his fault.

The Knicks also have another 2nd-round pick in 2021 as part of Hernangomez deal. They’ll have two first-rounds picks in 2023, when the second pick from Dallas for KP arrives.

One of the only smart, no less sane thoughts to come out of The Garden of late regarding the Knicks is a commitment to hoard No.1 picks. This becomes even more prescient with the expected decreases in the salary cap and luxury-tax threshold.

Add in these assets with Rose and here’s where it gets a little scary: A hoard of draft picks combined with an elite agent. Do we dare get excited? Yes!

Look at what former agents turned executives Bob Myers did in Golden State and Rob Pelinka has done with the Lakers. This doesn’t mean Rose is a slam dunk. Myers learned the ropes from Larry Riley and Pelinka sat at the knee of Magic Johnson. That’s like getting tutored by Newton in physics.

Rose, however, will have GM Steve Perry to bounce ideas. Since Rose has yet to be officially hired and Steve Mills thankfully is no longer at the controls, we can credit today’s trade to Perry.

There’s another reason to feel good about this day and that is Rose. He might be able to get a table at Rao’s these days but not because his father handed him a fortune and said, ‘Go Forth and Double the Family Fortune.’

He’s a South Jersey guy who got degrees at Dickinson College, a cool liberal arts school, and at Temple law, in the heart of blue collar Philly. His first job was as an assistant prosecutor in Camden County, which has never been dubbed the vacation capital of the New Jersey. His first clients were Philly guys such as Lionel Simmons and Rick Brunson.

The only damper on the day was owner James Dolan’s decision to issue the following statement:

“We are actively looking for a new President of the New York Knicks and hope to conclude the search as quickly as possible,” he said. “I am not selling, but I am determined to find the right leader for the Knicks who will ensure the long-term success of the team, just as we did with the hiring of Rangers President John Davidson.”

If Dolan won’t sell, maybe he won’t meddle. In that case, maybe the record will show that February 6, 2020 was the best day Knicks fans had in a long time.