Sports Beat “Mets Hope That Fraze Pays”
By Lloyd Carroll
It’s hard to quibble with the Mets’ signing last week of free agent third baseman Todd Frazier with a two-year deal reportedly valued at $17 million.
Let’s face it. Even though his spirit is very willing, his body is not, and so it’s safe to state the David Wright is never coming back.
Yes, Todd is prone to the strikeout, but he does hit with power; knows how to smartly take that extra base; can field with aplomb, and has proven over the years that he can deliver in the clutch. He is also a leader in the clubhouse who enjoys talking to reporters. To borrow a famous Yiddish expression, Frazier is a mensch.
Mets ownership has long been knocked by their fans, the media, and player agents such as Scott Boras for their unwillingness to spend money. This off-season, which has been an eerily quiet Hot Stove season, the Mets have been arguably more active than practically every other team as they have signed free agents Anthony Swarzak, Jay Bruce, and Todd Frazier. While those moves won’t bridge the talent gap with the Washington Nationals, they should help the Mets improve in the standings.
The annual Thurman Munson Dinner, named after the late Yankees captain who tragically died in a private crash in 1979, and has raised over $15 million to assist people with cognitive disabilities, always attracts New York athletes was held last Tuesday at Manhattan’s Grand Hyatt Hotel.
Mets infielder TJ Rivera said that he was happy with his recovery from a torn muscle in his throwing arm. He said that it occurred because of wear and tear going back to childhood. “I should not have thrown those curveballs in Little League!” he said with a chuckle. He felt that his arm will be good as new but admitted that he will be nervous when he has to make his first throw across the diamond.
Carlos Beltran, who recently retired from baseball after a 20-year major league career, stated that he is not happy with how the federal government has responded to helping rebuild his native Puerto Rico following last fall hurricanes which wrecked the island commonwealth. “40% of Puerto Rico is still without power,” he told the press at the Munson Dinner somberly. He then added that he would not attend the White House get-together when the 2017 world champion Houston Astros, of which he was a member, visit President Trump.
Former Giants defensive end Justin Tuck was a Munson honoree as well. He certainly is not wallowing in memories of his Big Blue glory days as he will be receiving his MBA from the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in May. Tuck will be earning more than he did as a very well-compensated NFL player as he will be joining Goldman Sachs after graduation.
Move over, Tim Tebow. The Yankees acquired the rights to Seattle Mariners QB Russell Wilson from the Texas Rangers. Wilson played the infield in both high school and college and was considered a bona fide Major League Baseball prospect, but he opted for the NFL.
Wilson is not giving up his pro football career and is basically coming to the Yankees minor league spring training camp to add a little glitz and to get a different kind of workout than he does during the NFL off-season. It is to be seen whether he wants to play part of the season for the Yankees’ Eastern League affiliate, the Trenton Thunder.
Everyone should have Mets legend Bud Harrelson in their prayers. On Friday, baseball columnist Bob Klapisch broke the story of Harrelson’s recent Alzheimer’s Disease diagnosis. Bud has long been one of baseball’s nicest guys and best ambassadors.
As expected, former Yankees manager will return to broadcasting as he will become an analyst for the MLB Network. There was some speculation that he and former ESPN Sunday Night Baseball analyst and current Yankees skipper Aaron Boone were going to trade jobs. ESPN, however, decided to go with one of Girardi’s former players, Alex Rodriguez, instead.
Royal Wine Corporation out of Bayonne, New Jersey, sponsored the annual Kosher Wine & Food Expo last Monday. Yes, there were the expected exhibitors such as Baron Herzog and Carmel, but there were also plenty of wineries from France, Italy, Chile, and many other foreign countries. Contrary to those who associate kosher wine with Manischewitz products, most of the wine I sampled was dry as opposed to sweet. One dessert spirit that stood out for me was fig arak which has a licorice flavor.
Speaking of spirits, Japan’s leading brewery, Sapporo, is introducing its first top of the line dark lager beer to the United States, Sapporo Premium Black.