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Tag: baseball

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A prorated rate of 82 games, projected to be half of the players salaries was negotiated in March with players and MLB and that concludes in two weeks. 

Thenyextra.com,  informed by sources in the players union, would need to return that money received if and when an abbreviated season begins and that’s one of the issues that gets more complicated.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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There Are Obstacles And Baseball Should Look At Next Year

“They want to play but there are obstacles”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This day in Sports, April 28th, by Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com

04/28/05 L.A. Angels of Anahiem Vs. New York Yankees @ Yankee Stadium : Yankees #55 Hideki Matsui flies out in the first inning. Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020
4/28/06 – toronto blue jays Vs. New York Yankees @ Yankee Stadium yanks losing 5-2/ #51 williams hits into inning ending double play Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020
04/28/07 Boston Red Sox Vs. New York Yankees @ Yankee Stadium Neil Miller: Yankees pitcher Kei Igawa delivers in the first inning. Igawa replaced starting pitcher Jeff Karstens after Karstens was hurt in the first inning. Neil Miller The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020
04/28/09 new york rangers vs washington capitals @ verizon center washington dc game #7 rangers are defeated 2-1 and are out of he playoffs ranger #30 lundqvist shakes hands with #8 ovechkin at the end of he game tonite Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020
04/28/12 Stanley Cup Eastern Conference semi finals game #1 Washington Capitals vs New York Rangers at msg : Washington Capitals defenseman John Erskine #4 checks New York Rangers left wing Mike Rupp #71 into Washington Capitals goalie Braden Holtby #70 causing New York Rangers left wing Mike Rupp #71 to get a call for goaltender interference during the first period. Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020
04/28/13 toronto blue jays vs New York Yankees at yankee stadium New York Yankees win 3-2 on this 2 run homer by New York Yankees first baseman Lyle Overbay #55 in the 7th inning Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020

This day in Sports, April 15Th, by Neil Miller/The New York Extra/The NYExtra.com

florida vs mets mets lead 2-0 after the 1st inning/ #48 Aaron Heilman starts for the Mets tonight Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com/copyright 2020
04/15/06 penquins vs islanders//uniondale ny/islanders win 5-4 in the shoot out/ #28 wyatt smith put a shot on # 31 caron as #87 crosby tries to stop him neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020
4/15/06 – Milwaukee Brewers Vs. New York Mets @ Shea Stadium / Mets willie randolp and rachel robinson at pre game today Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020
04/15/09 carolina hurricanes vs new jersey devils eastern conference quarter finals devils win 4-1 #30 Marty Brodeur makes a stop in tonights game Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020
04/15/11 ny rangers vs washington capitals verizon center washington dc eastern conference quarterfinal #19 ruslan fedotenko gets a high sticking penalty in the 2nd period leading to a cap goal Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020

Logistics Say MLB Plan To Resume Can’t Be Possible

Logistics say that Major League Baseball games being played in Arizona  will be difficult to save the 2020 season. In other words this is complicated towards gearing for a June 1 start.

Lets be realistic here. The Coronavirus Pandemic has not reached that Apex. That is  a word we have all become accustomed to hearing and opinions vary as to what account is reliable.  It’s a day-by-day basis and of course safety is the issue.

You hear the word safe. You hear about keeping distance and staying home as we play baseball and sports to provide that diversion. Major League Baseball , though, with a plan to have all 30 teams play ball in Arizona in reality is a delusion.

As of Tuesday, and after a reported proposal was made Monday, their goal was to find a way to salvage the 2020 season. MLB reportedly is looking at all options with contingency plans, if anything, the idea has fans and the baseball world talking.

They, like me and you, want the season to start. Again, with a national health crisis, and never at this magnitude, we leave decisions to the medical authorities. Until they say otherwise normal business will not proceed. 

So with players and personnel, all home and in isolation, where do we go from here?  Reportedly, the MLBPA and MLB are in talks. Don’t expect any agreement and anytime soon. 

And a prevailing attitude here is this will go nowhere. It is just a buzz to keep fans interested. Major League Baseball, the owners, yes they are losing significant revenue. In the end, they will recover with their losses as owners have that security to do so.

If you ask this observer, after speaking to players and others involved in the game, the logistics are easy to understand and safety is the first issue as to why this proposal is absurd. 

Players are getting paid for two months as per agreement. The contracts for the most part are secured, but they are getting hit in the pocket and not getting the full.  

Locally, and with New York as the epicenter of this Coronavirus, don’t expect baseball in 2020. Regardless if the numbers go down, Citi Field and Yankee Stadium will remain dark. It is simple to understand that we are at risk even when this crisis abates and with no vaccine in site. 

The Mets have scattered to their homes around the country. Their spring training and minor league complexes  in Port St. Lucie Florida is closed. Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, Dom Smith, Marcus Stroman, they are across the state in Tampa and finding a way to stay in baseball shape.

J.D. Davis, after a light workout Monday, packed the car with his wife and began their cross-country drive home to Elk Grove California. He, like other players, contacted by NYExtra.com had doubts about the MLB concept. 

J.D. Davis at the Thurman Munson Award Dinner /Feb 6 2020/neil Miller/ The New york Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020

“It would be interesting, don’t know if it’s doable.” Davis said as he continued his journey across Texas.

There are concerns about placing 30 teams in hotels, limited number of venues that are minor league complexes, and summer weather extremes of heat in the desert.

“It’s such a big group to quarantine,” he said.  

There is that possible risk of a player or two testing positive for the virtus. In that unlikely event it would be players, families, a member of the coaching staff, umpires, stadium staff, and all  under quarantine. If so, the season is halted and it’s a question of why the risk?

“If the rosters expand, too many numbers, too many people,” Davis said. “All I can do is keep my body in shape and be ready if we get the call as if this was the offseason.”

And players would need another two to three weeks of spring training. You have to get them in place with many in Puerto Rico, Venezuela and the Dominican Republic. 

Though, Davis would not commit to saying yes or no to the MLB plan. He had yet to read any of the proposed formats. Some of the formats to save the season  would include no fans, players keeping distance, no use of the dugouts, a robot umpire at home plate, and numerous double-headers of seven inning games. 

None of this seems logical, And how would owners divide any revenue? Gate receipts and concessions are a major revenue source. Television networks would fulfil their billion dollar agreements with MLB, but the assumption is this would be at a lower scale.

05/18/16 Washington Nationals vs NY Mets at Citifield Queens NY Washington Nationals starting pitcher Gio Gonzalez #47 pitches in the 4th innning Neil Miller/The New York Extra/TheNYExtra.com copyright 2020

“ Not logical, not making sense,” said White Sox pitcher Gio Gonzaelz when reached by phone at his home in the Miami area. “The world is out as a whole right now. It’s scary. It’s not fun. They don’t know how far this is going to go.  We all love baseball and want to be realistic.”

He added there is also that concern about a quarantine. “What am I going to do with my kids, my family? I’m not a robot, I’m not a lab rat.”   

Yes, the logistics of this are a concern. And with minor league systems also dark the need for a roster spot may not be possible in the event a player or two goes down with an injury. 

In the end, MLB is looking to provide that diversion. It worked after the tragic events of September 11, 2001. But this is so much different. We are fighting a war that has no remedy at the moment.

As one high ranking scout, also sitting on the sidelines said, “logistically it’s trying to go to the moon in a volkswagon  Too many obstacles.”  


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

Sports Is Dark As We Await The Outcome Of This Coronavirus Crisis

Wednesday evening we left the Barclays Center in Brooklyn after the first round of the Atlantic-10 Basketball championship tournament. I had this empty feeling with the increased cases of the Coronavirus.

File photo Neil Miller/The New York Extra /copyright 2020

And then it happened. Sports were shut down. Not just the NCAA conference tournaments. Not the NCAA Mens and womens basketball tournaments of March Madness, but all sports.

One-by-one. The NBA, NHL, MLS, boxing, golf. And the anticipated start of Major League Baseball has been pushed back for two weeks, but that is just an estimate.

The start of the 2020 Major League Baseball season could be on hiatus and longer than that two week time period. 

It will take time to adjust as arenas and stadiums go dark. This is a circumstance, from this perspective, worse than the events and aftermath of September 11, 2001. Worse, because it has impacted you, me, the city of New York, the world.

The difference, an impact for a long period of time as we adjust. 

It’s about the individual well being of all. We can’t fight a virus that is not under control and this comes as the sports analyst and by no means is this writer a medical authority or pretend to be. 

It’s common sense and listening to the authorities that advise how to deal with this situation. But sports is on the sidelines. We are looking in, making adjustments, hoping for the best. 

The transition to do other things is here. There always will be things to write about. Pick up a book, watch a classic movie. Check on family, friends, and neighbors.

And in due time, like all bad situations, this will pass. The Coronavirus and implications will become history, talked about for years to come, and we can resume our daily routines.  

But, New York City in that state of emergency will not have a complete shutdown. A source, within New York City Government circles informed this columnist that a shutdown will not occur unless Coronavirus cases reach the thousands .

Thankfully, we are not at that point of this crisis. And hopefully we won’t get there.

In the meantime, the world of fun and games, sports as it is called, is on hiatus.

Down in Port St. Lucie Florida, at the New York Mets spring training complex, spring training games have been suspended. The game of baseball is in suspension.

“Obviously with the sensitive information , we have to take extra precaution,” said the Mets’ J.D. Davis.

 He continues  to stay prepared with the entire Mets contingent and hopes that the crisis will pass so the 2020 season can commence.

“As a team, we will continue to get ready for the season,” Davis said. “It’s definitely different. And we have to improvise to get better everyday and be ready. We don’t know the future, however, we have to have the mindset that we are having our opening day in two weeks.”

He said, the details are still coming in to players and personnel. Meetings are ongoing to answer any concerns with questions.

“Hopefully, in the next couple of days, we will have a better understanding on where to go from here,” Davis said.

That understanding could mean  the players leaving Florida, Or, they head to their respective homes or come up north to their seasonal homes in New York. 

The Mets season opener was two weeks from yesterday. It is assumed , when MLB resumes, that the team will still have their season opener at Citi Field.

Friday afternoon, the Yankees also remained in place down at their spring training facilities in Tampa. Similar to the Mets ,they are in a holding pattern. 

The team  released a statement to update fans and the media. They were scheduled to open the season at Baltimore two weeks from yesterday.

“The Yankees fully support this decision and will continue to proactively monitor current events in conjunction with medical experts, government officials and Major League Baseball,” said the statement.

The  statement continued “We recognize that our great fans have a variety of questions. However, given the unprecedented nature and fluidity of what is taking place, we appreciate your patience as we diligently work through the many aspects and details of this continually evolving situation.”

In the meantime stadium workers are also victims of this Coronavirus pandemic. Concession workers and security personnel at Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, Madison Square Garden, and the Barclays Center will lose a substantial part of their income.

The players will still get paid. though reductions will come to their contracts as it pertains to a national emergency when games are suspended. According to an agreement with owners and players.

But those who secure and provide at the venues, they will be hurt in the pocket.

“Understand, but safety does come first,” said a long time concession worker who works at Citi Field and Yankee Stadium They earn from the individual vendors that have contracts with the teams.

With March Madness gone, and with sports in the dark, the waging of sports is also taking a hit. That industry, too, is in a holding pattern and this time of year the NCAA Tournament does see sports wagering at a peak.

The NCAA and with a loss of games will lose millions with the CBS and Turner television contracts that deliver these games to us. The eligibility of senior student-athletes, many who missed an opportunity to compete for a championship, reportedly will be extended. 

Boxing promoters have cancelled their shows around the nation. Two in New York City in the span of four days, promoted by Top Rank and ESPN were called off Thursday evening.

The events were scheduled in the Hulu Theatre at Madison Square Garden. Initially, when the crisis in New York unfolded, fans were banned from events scheduled for Saturday night and St. Patrick’s Day evening. 

Thursday, Top Rank had a final press conference at the Garden. The fighters, officials, and personnel were there and the shows were still a go. 

Later, the New York State Athletic Commission got the call form Albany. The commission, that regulates boxing was informed to consult with Top Rank and cancel the shows for the safety of personnel and the fighters. 

The Garden is dark, could be for months, and with a state of emergency,  events with 500 people or more is a risk. The Theatre is in that category of risk. 

Millions of dollars are being lost. The estimates and figures will continue to pile as this crisis continues and when it is finally resolved.

Yes, sports are in the dark. Even media, many who depend on income to report the games and events will see cutbacks and a loss of income. 

Realize, we must stay safe. Take caution. The sports world will resume. And hope the Coronavirus, like a bad hurricane, will fly out to sea.

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

COVID-19 CAN STEAL OUR SPORTS BUT NOT OUR SOULS

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins/An editorial by The New York Extra,Editor – in- Chief

COVID-19 is a thief.

It has no conscience, no empathy. It will steal the most precious heirlooms – family and health – if we allow it.

Already it has stolen all of our spring conference tournaments, the NBA, the NHL, Spring Training, and pushed back Opening Day, soccer and tennis matches. You name a sporting event, chances are it’s gone for the foreseeable future.

New York, NY. Thursday, March 12, 2020. Big East commissioner Val Ackerman announces the cancellation of the Big East Tournament during halftime of the St. John’s-Creighton game. St. John’s vs. Creighton at Madison Square Garden.

“I’ve got to tell you, it breaks my heart,” Big East commissioner Val Ackerman said Thursday after canceling her conference tournament midway through the St. John’s-Creighton game. “This is the greatest college basketball tournament ever. But we respect the decision of authorities. We’re very mindful about what’s happening nationally. We do not want to be imprudent as it relates to the safety of our participants and our fans.

New York, NY. Thursday, March 12, 2020. Nick Rutherford of St. John’s drives to the basket while defended by Jett Canfield (10) and Mitchell Ballock of Creighton. St. John’s vs. Creighton at Madison Square Garden.

“And it’s terrifying, frankly, what’s evolving here as the science and the assessments of the science are progressing. And I don’t think any of us know what’s going to happen tomorrow.”

We don’t.

It was disheartening to turn on the TV at 7:00 p.m. and not to choose between the ACC and Big East tournaments.

It was jarring to receive texts from my Rutgers students asking what would comprise the midterm exam now that there is no Selection Sunday to cover.

It was surreal walking into my CVS and seeing empty shelves where there had once been five brands of toilet paper.

And yet all of us can be the lucky ones.

As I passed a neighborhood schoolyard, I saw a father and his junior high school aged daughter shooting hoops. A couple of friends played ping pong. A group of grade school kids played pickup basketball. Couples and families and friends strolled to the rhythm of their own laughter.

It is not the fault of COVID-19 that we have been increasingly isolated by the greatest communication tool in history – the Smartphone.

It is not the fault of COVID-19 that streaming has replaced conversation at the dinner table.

It is not the fault of COVID-19 that texting is replacing talking as the favorite means of communication for teenagers.

COVID-19 can push us further apart or we choose to draw closer together.

We can mourn the loss of sports, or we can try to help low-wage workers whose income is dependent on taking tickets or serving hot dogs or cleaning arenas.

We can mourn a spring without NCAA and conference tournaments, or we can support all of the seniors who will miss a chance to make a priceless memorial.

We can the mourn the possibility that we might have witnessed the end of some of our favorite professional athlete’s career or we can hold on to the memory of the joy they provided.

This is what we can make sure COVID-19 doesn’t take. As social animals, we need each other. We need compassion and empathy. We might not be able to congregate in large numbers but we can offer large and open hearts.

Many around the world have lost friends and family. COVID-19 will take more lives. It will take more sports. But it can’t take our souls. That’s worth any sacrifice we have to make.

Bombers Ready to Blast Away in Tiny Wembley

Robbins Nest

NY Yankees file photo nysportsextra Neil Miller 2019

By Lenn Robbins

  The Yankees arrived in England with their bats, gloves, helmets and, ‘ Streak.’

  It stands at a mind-boggling 29; 29 straight games in which the Bronx-to-London Bombers have hit at least one homer. You’ve got to pack an extra steamer trunk to haul that MLB all-time record overseas.

NY Yankees file photo nyspotsextra Neil Miller 2019

 Remember, this is a team that has been without several of its biggest bats for long stretches. Giancarlo Stanton, who recently came off the injured list after having played just nine games, is heading back with what has been diagnosed a strained posterior cruciate ligament (PCL) in his right knee.

  Stanton had only been back for five games but it was enough time for him to become a part of The Streak by hitting his first homer of the season. Stanton, who has 306 career homers, went 6-for-22 (.273).

  “Frustrated for him knowing how much he’s worked to get back and the couple of setbacks he’s had along the way,’’ Yankees manager told reporters after Wednesday night’s 8-7 win over the Blue Jays. “Felt like he was starting to get in a groove with us a little bit. We got to deal with it and hope to get him right at some point.”  

  Boone said that point wouldn’t be until August. The home run bashing will have to continue without Stanton and across the pond. It shouldn’t be a problem.

NY Yankees file photo nysportsextra Neil Miller 2019

  Wembley Stadium has been transformed into a minor league stadium for the first MLB game to be played in Europe. The centerfield wall is a mere 385 feet from home plate, which is 20 feet shorter than at Yankee Stadium.

“I don’t mind that all,” Judge quipped. “I’m looking forward to it.”

 Judge could have been speaking for the entire team. It hasn’t been one, two or three sluggers carrying the Yankees during The Streak.

Thirteen different bombers have gone yard. There have been 15-multiple home run games. Sanchez has led the team with eight home runs in that stretch.

NY Yankees file photo nysportsextra Neil Miller 2019
NY Yankees file photo nysportsextra Neil Miller 2019

  He has 23 of the Yankee’s 134 homers on the season, one less than newly-acquired Edwin Encarnacion. Twenty different Yankees have homered on the season.

  “It’s kind of what we do, we hit home runs here,” Aaron Hicks recently told reporters. “That’s kind of how we score runs. We’re in a great spot right now. We’re scoring runs. We’re doing it as a team, which is huge. Top to bottom is doing damage and that’s what we need.”

  Much will be made of this historic trip on which the Yankees will play the rival Red Sox twice. If a lot of long balls are hit some might say they should come with an asterisk because of the small dimensions of the stadium. And if a player, heaven forbid, suffers a significant injury, this entire baseball-in-Europe thing will take a hit.

  Right now, this is a great prelude to Wimbledon and a terrific chance for the Yankees to expand their brand. Even beginner baseball fans dig the long ball.

  “I know the boys are excited and we can’t wait to get over there,” Judge said. “We get the chance to spread the game of baseball and meet some new fans.”

  And keep ‘The Streak’ alive.

Meet the Mets: The NY Baseball Team You Don’t Want Your Kids to Watch

Mets GM Brodie Van Wagenen file photo Neil Miller nysportsextra copyright 2019

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

Let’s put aside Mickey Callaway’s 114-127 managerial record. Let’s put aside his baffling decisions about using relievers. Let’s put aside what names he puts on a lineup card.

Mets manager Mickey Calloway nysportsextra copyright 2019

Let’s focus on what the beginning of the week revealed about the Mets.

Despite bringing in a new GM, former agent Brodie Van Wagenen – a move that was met with praise for its out-of-the-box thinking – the Mets made a mockery of how the franchise likes to present itself.

 From Mr. and Mrs. Met, to the Big Apple that rises out the hat when the Mets hit a home run, to its quaint “Meet the Mets” jingle, the Mets and Citi Field is supposed to be a place where a family can bond over baseball.

 But now the Mets have a manager that calls a reporter a “m—–f—–,” and a pitcher, Jason Vargas, that threatened the same reporter, saying “I’ll knock you the f— out, bro,” according to a Yahoo Sports account.

 This came Sunday, after a crushing 5-3 loss to the Cubs. It matters not what you think of the media. No one should feel their safety is in danger while doing his or her job.

 Callaway apparently doesn’t get that. Vargas doesn’t get it. And since the ‘f%%k stops at his feet, Van Wagenen doesn’t get it. If he did, then these words never would have come out of the manager’s and player’s mouths on Monday, the first time they met the media after Sunday’s embarrassing behavior.

  “Obviously, for things like that to happen, it’s always a misunderstanding,’’ said the skipper.

Vargas reportedly told reporters that what happened was, “an unfortunate distraction.’

#44 Jason Vargas file photo Neil Miller nysportsextra copyright 2019

Misunderstanding? Distraction? No, ‘I’m sorry?”

 The Mets fined each $10,000 according to reports. And apparently someone in the organization got to Callaway because later on Monday, the media was called back to the manager’s office where he apologized.

 That orchestration seemed as sincere as the workers in the fragrance department that shove cardboard-scented colognes and perfumes at you.

 The week continued to get worse for the Mets. They got bludgeoned by the Phillies,13-7, and then the NY Post reported that Van Wagenen is the de facto manager, telling Callaway when to remove his starting pitcher.

 It’s a great news story but it’s deflected attention from what should matter most to the Mets:

  They have a 44-ear-old manager that has to be told to apologize and pitcher that believes threatening a reporter with a physical harm is a distraction.

 This is all under the watch of the rookie GM, that knows a lot about contracts but doesn’t know what the Mets are – a family-friendly baseball team in Queens. Perhaps we should ask Van Wagenen what to say to 10-year-old Johnny when he asks his father, ‘Daddy, what’s a “m—–f—-?”