When the Mets decided to enter into the Kaz Matsui sweepstakes, a lot of things had to happen. They had to engage the help of the other Wilpon son — Bruce, married to the daughter of Japanese billionare Kenshin Oshima — and Leon Lee, the father of then-All Star first baseman Derrek Lee.
As a thank you, Lee was hired to manage the Single-A Brooklyn Cyclones in 2004. Jeff Wilpon ran the Cyclones then, and when Fred Wilpon’s pride and joy was faced with a tough situation, he dealt with it swiftly.
On April 8, Lee was arrested for indecent exposure in a hotel after seeking to quiet a noisy late-night crowd that was disturbing his team.
The NY Times’ Lee Jenkins detailed the way in which he was treated here - http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/02/sports/baseball/02lee.html?pagewanted=2&_r=0&ei=5090&en=063dccf0be18fe8f&ex=1267419600&partner=rssuserland
Another version of the story is here, including a description — which I can confirm because I was covering the Brooklyn Cyclones at the time — of how Jeff Wilpon handled the situation.
Lee pressed for more than a year, costing him thousands of dollars and his baseball good name, just to get a court date to clear his name. The charges were dropped in 2005.
It’s a good thing for Jeff Wilpon that he doesn’t work for Jeff Wilpon…
I can’t predict what’s going to happen, he’s a different guy. He has the strongest desire I’ve ever heard about not ending his career without making it in New York. That’s motivation. I have high regard for what he has left. I think he will be an important addition to this club. He has one wonderful, smart and strong-willed wife, she loves Greenwich, where they live. She’s ecstatic. She wants to be here. They want to be here. It makes a difference. He’s going to live in Greenwich when he’s through playing. So he has a lot of motivation.” – Fred Wilpon, on the return of Bobby Bonilla to the Mets in 1999.
My nephew Kevin Walker, a senior starting WR / PR for Plainedge, and his teammates are facing Lawrence at 2pm later today at Hofstra, as for the third straight postseason Lawrence and Plainedge will meet to decide the Conference III Nassau championship.
One of my favorite players of all time, former Atlanta Falcons great and Pro Bowl running back had this to say to Kevin and the team via Twitter
— Jamal Anderson (@jamthedirtybird) November 23, 2013
Here’s a preview from MSG Varsity:
When I was a young boy growing up on E.39th Street in Flatbush, most of my days were spent on wondering if the Mets dealing Tom Seaver to the Reds was somehow my fault. Perhaps if I had spoken directly to M Donald Grant, I could have told him that Doug Flynn would never hit a lick, Steve Henderson was simply not good enough, Dan Norman a suspect, not a prospect and that Pat Zachry was made of paper mache.
Why the passion? Blame my dad. After his first two sons showed little interest in sports, let’s just say that when I started to mime swinging a bat at two years old, he knew he’d have someone to watch a game with. Not that he loves me any more than he does my brothers or sister (he doesn’t; he’s a great dad to all of us), he just knows that when he wants to know who the Mets are planning on using as their left-handed specialist, he knows who to call. Otherwise, I’m just one of his four kids. That’s fine with me.
Maybe one of the reasons that my father is such a good one is because he grew up with nothing at all.
Ron Healey spent most of his childhood at St. Vincent’s Home for Boys. My siblings and I don’t know much about those days for a myriad of reasons, not the least of which is that he likely doesn’t remember them too fondly.
Most of what I know about his times there are the good things; playing ball with his buddies like Hank, Sep and Sarge, and getting to – on the weekends – go to their houses from time to time for a taste of a real home. I’ve often wondered what that must have been like, having to go back to the darkness after a glimpse of the light. But to his credit, and my everlasting gratitude, he never complained about it, never was consumed with bitterness about it, and sure as hell never took it out on any of us. He was adamant that his kids would have everything he didn’t.
For him, not being far from the shadows of Ebbets Field was an escape from loneliness. Cheering for his Brooks was probably the greatest joy he experienced during those dark days. It was during those rare afternoons of getting to go to a game that more than likely turned mere fandom into baseball fever.
He handed down that wonderful gift to me, the love of the Great Pastime, and it’s the main reason you’re reading these words right now.
Whether it was his story of running into a young, athletic “guy who looked like a ballplayer (Willie Mays) so we ran after him and got his autograph” or his taking me and my buddies (when he really couldn’t afford to do) in the 1974 Dodge Dart (Special Edition) to see the dreadful post-Seaver Mets of the late 70′s, I was hooked and hooked early.
My dad’s a Mets fan these days (and has been since the Dodgers left Brooklyn), and he still won’t read (or says he doesn’t) read anything I write about the Yankees. “I hate the Yankees,” he says, quite matter-of-factly, as if it were a natural state. “I want them to lose every game they play.”
It’s quite possible he might not read this, but I suspect that even if this piece was about the Bombers, he’d sneak a peak to see what his “Markito” has written.
We still talk as much baseball as we ever did. He probably watches as many (if not more) games than I do, and given the fact that he’s a dead-ringer for Terry Collins, the Mets manager, I think he roots for the Mets just a little bit harder lately.
I don’t love my dad because we share a love for baseball. I love my dad because he went from being an orphan with nothing, to loving and supporting a family all of his life. He was a rough and tumble street kid that was never ashamed to hug his kids. Despite having a really good city job, still went to night school to get his degree from Brooklyn College, because he wanted to instill in his children the value of a college education.
I could go on and on. But all I really want to say is, Happy 75th birthday, Pop. You’re the best.
And thank you.
The great Victor Rojas always deserves a read, especially this post
Originally posted on The Spoils:
Every time I hear or read about a former MLB player passing away, I feel as though I’ve lost a family member. I don’t know what it is but inside, I’m at a loss. I become reflective about the person, their accomplishments as well as the interactions I may have had with them. If for whatever reason our paths hadn’t crossed, I cycle through the memories I do have based on the things I’ve seen, read and/or experienced.
Another thing that happens when a former player passes away is I immediately call my dad. Even in this day in age where news is disseminated as quickly as a flash of lightning, it just seems like the news travels more like the pony express when it comes to my parents and I always feel compelled to keep them up to speed. I’m not sure it’s just because I want him to…
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The lack of attention by every media outlet in this town, save Newsday, is appalling. Recently started reading this excelent SNY.tv blog “Islanders Point Blank” and found out it’s a great read. You will too. Hockey is back!
Originally posted on Islanders Point Blank:
Saturday the Islanders kick off their season against the Devils at the Coliseum. It’ll be an odd season with 48 games over a three and a half month span that are played exclusively against Eastern Conference teams. The Islanders are, yet again, looking to make a jump to a point where they will be competing for a playoff spot at the end of the season. The team is coming off another disappointing season where they placed 14th in the Eastern Conference and more than a dozen points out a playoff spot.
To be competitive this year, they’ll have to do it by beating their Atlantic Division foes, finding a defensive core that stays healthy and keeps the team competitive, and finding secondary scoring from someone, anyone.
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I was doing some research yesterday and I came across a couple of stories, one written in 1985 and one in 1986 season, indicating that Tom Seaver — the only current Hall of Famer wearing a Mets cap in Cooperstown – almost became a Yankee.
Tom Seaver, who had his greatest success in New York with the Mets, is about to return to the Big Apple–this time as a New York Yankee.
A source in the White Sox organization revealed that Seaver will be sent to the Yankees in a deal for Brian Fisher, a 24-year-old relief pitcher.
Of course, he wound up going to the Red Sox instead, and if not for a late-season injury, would have pitched in the 1986 World Series against his former team.
Matt Cerrone from MetsBlog.com adds his thoughts to the Mets FanFest idea…
Originally posted on Metsblog:
In a post to Gotham Nation, Mark Healey advocates for a Mets Fan Fest, which would be similar to what the Reds have been doing for their fans since 2001, all in an effort to bring fans and players together, build momentum, sell tickets and promote the coming season.
Mark is right, and there lots of fans who have been pushing the same idea, as you can see by following #MetsFanFest on Twitter.
According to their team’s website, RedsFest is described as:
“Redsfest is the official annual winter warm-up of the Cincinnati Reds. Traditionally held in early December at the Duke Energy Convention Center, this event features games and activities for kids of all ages, including interaction with past, current and future stars of the Reds.”
This past Redsfest included: Player autographs, photographs with players, an indoor baseball field where players give lessons, a celebrity…
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Originally posted on Gotham Nation:
“If you have contempt for the people you are writing about, you probably shouldn’t be writing about them.” – Al Cohn, Newsday, retired.
I’ve met some great people in my life, and have learned a great deal from many of them.
My dad taught me to let other people tell you how good you are at something.
My wife has taught me that unconditional love, loyalty and commitment is priceless.
Some of my ex-business partners taught me that you have to be careful who you trust.
My journalism career has been equally educational, and generous people from all walks of media have served as mentors, both intentionally and by mistake.
Brian Orefice taught me accountability and how to cultivate my passion, and Justin Einhorn explained — very patiently — that every sport is worthy of the same editorial effort.
But Al Cohn, through one of his former students, Wallace Matthews…
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As we get closer to the naming of the All-Time Gotham Baseball Team, to be announced at an upcoming event at Foley’s NY, which was named Best Baseball Bar in NY by Gotham Baseball magazine back in 2011, we do have a few selections that need to be made.
The ballot for catcher was very difficult to create; some fans will be irritated with the exclusion of Mike Piazza from the ballot, while others might be surprised that Hall of Fame catcher Bill Dickey is absent as well. Piazza was one of the great offensive players the Mets ever had, true, but Carter’s handling of the Mets pitching staff gave him the edge to our panel of experts. As for Dickey, Berra was simply a better player.
The rest of the ballot is even more subjective than the rest of the entire ballot, and probably will be split along fan loyalty lines, but we have been surprised by this type of voting before. In any event, we’ve allowed each ballot to have a write-in option, so if we’ve omitted any candidate for any spot, fee free to do so.
No Durocher? No Hodges? No Joe McCarthy?
Some will say that the greatest GM in Mets history isn’t even on this list, but I’ll let the ones who think that write in his name. As for Chub Feeney, though he never actually held the title of GM for Horace Stoneham, someone had to run things while Stoneham was “in his cups”.
I figure the owner’s ballot was going to create some controversy as well. No Big Stein? The O’Malley? REALLY? Hard to argue with results. This is “pro” sports.
Finally, ever team needs a home. Which legendary ballpark would you choose to have this legendary team play in?
And that’s that.
Please share this ballot with your baseball-loving friends!