New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso punctuated his superb rookie season by smacking his 50th home run. No Mets player in the 58-year history of the franchise has ever reached that plateau.
Mets general manager Brodie Van Wagenen deserves credit for making the decision to not have Alonso start the 2019 season in the minors as a way of delaying the time he can become a free agent.
Last year Mets management refused to call up Pete Alonso from their Las Vegas AAA team for that very reason last September. Alonso did make it to Citi Field a year ago but it was to accept the Sterling Award which is given to the top ballplayers in the various Mets farm system teams from the just-completed season.
Alonso showed the same poise at the Sterling Awards media session last September that we’ve all come to know. “Given all that I’ve read about you, it sounds like we’re going to be seeing the second coming of Babe Ruth next year,” I joked with him. Alonso, well aware of the hype, laughed and said “I can only do what I can do.”
While Pete Alonso has become synonymous with lots of long homers, he has shown that he can for average and to all fields. He has also worked hard on his defense so that he’s now an asset and not a liability in the field.
The Babe would be proud of him.
I spoke with former New York Yankees outfielder and current YES Network broadcaster Paul O’Neill last Friday which was the day after the Yankees clinched the American League East title. O’Neill certainly enjoyed a lot of clubhouse celebrations his career and I asked him it would be difficult for the Yankees to play them out the rest of the regular season.
O” Neill articulated the company line of how the Yankees needed to keep winning in order to finish with the best record in baseball and thus have home-field advantage throughout the postseason.
“Having home-field advantage is a big deal for fans, media, and obviously a team’s accounting department, but is it really important to major league players?” I asked him. O’Neill showed great political skill in not answering my question but his knowing grin confirmed that it isn’t.
Ron Swoboda, Ed Kranepool, and Art Shamsky were panelists at the Paley Center for Media’s salute to the 1969 Miracle Mets last Thursday night.
Swoboda surprised many by saying that he considered Jerry Koosman and not Tom
Seaver to be that team’s leader. He also complained that the National League Championship Series with the Atlanta Braves, the first in MLB history, gets short shrift.
I asked Kranepool if he’s worried about a letdown come 2020. “Nobody’s going to want to talk to us!” he laughed.
Speaking of the Paley Center for Media, it is hosting a free exhibit saluting the National Football League’s centennial. You can take selfies with the Vince Lombardi Trophy which is presented annually to the winner of the Super Bowl as well as in front of a uniform from your favorite team.
I don’t know which is more impressive: the New York Giants rallying from a 28-10 deficit to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win 32-31 in Tampa with QB Daniel Jones making his NFL debut or the New York Jets losing to the New England Patriots 30-14 but still covering the Las Vegas point spread with third-string QB Lucas Falk at the helm.
Pitcher Michael King was one of a number of minor leaguers who were called up by the Yankees to spend the month of September with the big club. I asked King, who played for the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders if the Barre in Wilkes-Barre is pronounced “Barry” or “Bar.” “I lived with two cousins in Wilkes-Barre. One pronounced it “Barry” and the other “Bar,” he said with a smile. I guess it’s like the old chicken and the egg riddle as it’s a question that probably won’t ever be settled.
Yankees reliever Stephen Tarpley told me that he is a distant cousin to the late Roy Tarpley who was a very good player for the Dallas Mavericks in the mid to late 1980s before having his career tragically derailed from substance abuse.
Backup first baseman Mike Ford has delivered some big hits for the Yankees this season and he is a graduate of Princeton University where he studied history and economics. Ford told me that he greatly preferred the study of macroeconomics which looks at the aggregate behavior of consumers, businesses and the government on the economy as opposed to microeconomics which looks at the individual behavior of consumers and businesses when it comes to profit maximization.
I told Ford that I was an economics major at Columbia and preferred microeconomics which I believe has more relevant accounting and business concepts. “It’s funny how students who like macroeconomics tend to dislike micro and vice-versa,” he replied. It never crossed my mind before but he’s probably right.
Youth leagues have long sold products to raise funds for uniforms, equipment, and travel. The Rosedale Pop Warner football program has partnered with a Midwest gourmet popcorn company, Double Good, as a way of raising revenue.
What makes this a 21st-century story is that youngsters no longer have to go door-to-door for both getting sales and delivering the product. Double Good provides a smartphone app so the need for both knocking on doors and the need to gather inventory is eliminated. The company ships the product directly to the customer. I hope that an app doesn’t replace the old school lemonade stand.
Video gaming has become so huge that it has become a competitive sport in its own right. E-sports have developed stars and have received lots of big-name corporate financial backing. At last week’s Toy Insider Holiday of Play press event, a Canadian company, Arcade 1 Up, is trying to bring back the simpler days of the 1980s when we were happy to drop quarters into machines that let us try our skills at Pac-man as well as video games based on “Star Wars” and “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.” They are manufacturing home console versions of these pre-E-sports classics. No coins will be needed.
With the Jewish New Year celebration of Rosh Hashanah arriving next week, legendary Katz’s Delicatessen in the Lower East Side is shipping meat platter favorites like brisket, pastrami, and corned beef all over the world. You can also come into their store on Houston Street for both takeout and sitdown.