Tag Archives: Baseball

Channel View HS baseball advances to PSAL championship game at Yankee Stadium


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre


After years of disappointment for the Channel View High School baseball team, players are now confident that “no one can swim with the Dolphins.”

Despite three previous winning seasons, including one tied for the conference title, the Rockaway team was a one-and-done squad in the playoffs each year. And even though they finished first in the Queens B South conference this season (14-2 PSAL), they faced doubts of their chances in the postseason. The Dolphins knew they would sink, not swim, in the playoffs this year again if they didn’t step up.

“Other teams, rivals, even the school doubted us at first,” senior infielder Sergio Galdamez said. “They said we wouldn’t past the first round. But look at us now — we’re in the championship.”

Channel View proved the critics wrong with four consecutive wins in the postseason, including three against higher-ranking teams, to reach the PSAL Division B championship game at Yankee Stadium on June 12 against five-seeded Bronx High School of Science. The Dolphins are like a fish out of water as they make their way to uncharted territory, but players believe they’ll be ready for the final game.

“I don’t want to think about being nervous,” said senior Kely Aponte, the team’s ace who will pitch in the championship game. “I want to stay confident to go out there and do what I do.”

The championship game is also a déjà vu moment for Channel View head coach John Mangieri, who won a city title at Yankee Stadium when he played for Archbishop Molloy 20 years ago. Mangieri said he’s excited to see his players living a dream that he has been through before.

“Four years ago this program had kids with no gloves, kids showed up in jeans,” Mangieri said. “These kids will have lifelong memories, and win or lose they are champions in my book.”

 

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens, Bronx borough presidents make edible wager on Subway Series


| aaltamirano@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/ File Photo

The stakes are going to be deliciously high when the New York Mets and New York Yankees take the field during this year’s Subway Series.

Queens Borough President Melinda Katz and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. are wagering an assortment of foods, each from their respective boroughs, based on the results of the four-game series taking place from Monday, May 12 through Thursday, May 15, the two announced Sunday.

If the Mets win more games than the Yankees, then Diaz will send Katz a sample tray of empanadas from Babalu on East Tremont Road and a dozen cannolis from Egidio Pastry Shop, located in Belmont, the Bronx’s Little Italy.

But if the Yankees win, Katz will send Diaz a tray of sandwiches from Leo’s Latticini, also known as Mama’s of Corona. For dessert, Katz will also send pastries from the Omonia Café in Astoria.

“Queens offers an incredibly diverse array of cuisine and has some of the best restaurants in the city, so Borough President Diaz is in for a real treat if the Yankees manage to win the series,” Katz said. “But I fully expect the Mets will win and that I will be enjoying some delicious food from the Bronx.”

Both stakes will be paid out if the two New York baseball teams split the four game series 2-2.

“We have great culinary options in The Bronx, so a Mets victory would certainly be a treat for Borough President Katz,” Diaz said. “But the Yankees are the greatest franchise in baseball history, and I’m sure their decades of dominance will continue through this week.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Zip code analysis shows Queens baseball fans prefer Yankees


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

After a recent poll found that Queens baseball fans prefer the Yankees to their hometown Mets, a New York Times analysis by zip code shows the Bronx Bombers are the favorite team throughout the city.

Using aggregated data provided by Facebook, the Times’ The Upshot created a “geography of baseball fandom” across the nation.

The interactive map allows readers to examine top teams by zip code or county. It was “created using estimates of team support based on how many Facebook users ‘liked’ each team in a zip code,” according to The Upshot, then an algorithm was used to “smooth the data and fill in gaps where data was missing.”

Throughout Queens people preferred pinstripes, with the “one small Mets bright spot” being the area in the borough surrounding Citi Field, The Upshot said:

“Facebook users had the courtesy to prefer what some call the Evil Empire at a slightly reduced rate relative to its advantage elsewhere in New York.”

But in the Citi Field zip code, 11368, the map shows that there are still only 25 percent Mets fans versus 53 percent Yankees fans.

According to the analysis, in more than 98 percent of zip codes in the nation the Yankees were favored over the Mets.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Commodores catching fire with win over Wildcats


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

No one needed to remind Bayside Commodores outfielder Julian Rodriquez what a big moment it was when he came to bat in the fifth inning against John Bowne on Monday.

The Commodores were leading the Wildcats 3-1 when Bowne’s freshman pitcher, Elvis Torres Devargas, started to lose control.

He walked the bases full, and Bayside coach Pat Torney turned to Rodriguez, a sophomore who didn’t have a single hit for the season in seven at bats, to pinch hit. Rodriguez’s at bat defined Bayside’s season. The Commodores have lacked offense against the conference’s top teams early in the season, resulting in a slow start.

But in this situation, Rodriguez smacked a double to drive in three runs and lead Bayside to a 9-4 victory over John Bowne. The Commodores (3-4 PSAL) are now hoping that with the win over the tough Wildcats (5-2 PSAL), they can continue the offense and turn around the season.

“We are starting to hit,” senior Elijah Leerdam said. “We weren’t hitting much before. Last game we didn’t come through for [our pitcher].”

Before the holidays, Bayside suffered a devastating 5-3 defeat to John Bowne, the conference’s second place team, after the team’s ace Jeremy Arenas pitched eight innings. Before that the Commodores dropped a pair of embarrassing losses to the perennial conference champs, the Benjamin Cardozo Judges, by a combined score of 27-0.

But the Commodores aren’t going to see the Judges again for the remainder of the season. And here they were with another opportunity to top the Wildcats, if only they could keep up the offense. Rodriguez waited patiently for Torres Devargas to throw a fastball down the middle of the plate, and blasted the double over the center fielder’s head, unloading the bases.

“I had to come up big,” Rodriguez said of what he was thinking while at the plate. “I was a little nervous at first, but then I just made contact with the ball and it went far.”

Arenas gave up three runs in the bottom of the inning, but held the Wildcats for the remainder of the game. He pitched a complete game with three strikeouts in the Commodores’ most impressive win of the season.

The team moved into a three-way tie for fourth place in the Queens A East division, and they believe if they can continue to pick up the bats like Rodriguez did, they might be able to pull this season out of the gutter.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Mets roll back ticket prices for 50th anniversary of Shea Stadium


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy the New York Mets

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Mets fans will have something to cheer about, at least when it comes to the cost of tickets.

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the team’s former home, Shea Stadium, the New York Mets announced Sunday that it will roll back ticket prices for games this coming weekend.

A limited number of tickets will be available for $3.50, when the Mets host the Atlanta Braves from April 18 to 20. Shea officially opened on April 17, 1964, when the Mets hosted the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The team will also offer some baseline box seats for $19.64, with an eight ticket per person limit. Tickets must be purchased in advance over the phone or online at Mets.com/1964.

The offer will not be available at team stores, ticket windows or on game day.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

Street Talk: How do you think the Mets will end up this year?


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

street talk

They’re going to be horrible.  I don’t think they have enough hitting, so they’ll probably [win] about 70 games.
Lou Gittler

Hopefully they’ll do better; I haven’t lost hope. I’ve lived in Queens for 32 years, so I’m a big Mets fan.
Anna Fernandez

My guess is about 75 wins.  They have more questions now than they did before spring training.
Mike Ingordo

Unfortunately not well, but I do think they’re going to have an amazing 2015.
Steve Schawrtz

Horrible, they haven’t made much improvement. The improvement they made was minor – like minor league.
Nick Kara

I think they’re going to end strong. I’m pretty optimistic that they can keep it together.
Brandon Ilg

I think they’ll be about .500. I do think they’ll do better than they did last year, but I don’t think they’re a playoff team yet.
John Burkart

Due to organizational structure, the performance will be just like the management: terrible.
Carlos Riano

-BY HARVIND JAPRA

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Mayor de Blasio to throw first pitch at Mets’ Opening Day


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

Follow me @liamlaguerre

 

Baseball season is almost here, and the new mayor wants to get in on the action.

Mayor Bill de Blasio will throw out the ceremonial first pitch for the Mets’ Opening Day at Citi Field on Monday.

The mayor will be accompanied by children from the East Harlem Tutorial Program, who were affected by the recent building collapse.

RECOMMENDED STORIES 

Sports Star: Joseph Calandra, infielder, Channel View High School baseball team


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Joseph Calandra

Follow me @liamlaguerre 

 

Name: Joseph Calandra
School: Channel View High School
Grade: Sophomore
Sport: Baseball
Position: infielder, catcher

Joseph Calandra is a sophomore baseball player at Channel View High School, and was a big reason why the team was division champs last season. Last year, Calandra led the Queens B South Division in batting with a .444 average (16-for-36), and was his team’s co-MVP. Calandra was also fourth in hits in the league, and finished third in stolen bases with 20. He plays shortstop, second base and catcher.

Besides his skills on the field, Calandra is a model student. He maintains a 94 percent average, and is one of nearly a dozen students chosen as part of the exclusive Crewlympics mentoring program in the high school. As part of the program, Calandra helps give academic and sports-related advice to students in the sixth through eighth grade, ensuring that they stay on the right track and succeed in middle school.

Calandra hasn’t thought much about which college he would like to attend, but believes that he will major in sports management, in case baseball doesn’t work out.

What are you able to accomplish as part of the Crewlympics program?
“I am able to work with other people and share my talents with others.”

Why is it important to you to help others?
“It feels good when you help someone succeed.”

Why is it significant to be good both on and off the field?
“Because good character off the field is what helped me with my game. If I’m not finishing my classes, I can’t play baseball, so I figure, let me get everything done and I’ll have no worries on the field.”

Why do you want to major in sports management?
“You’ve got to have a backup plan and I figure I could use my grades in a good way to stay around sports.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Mets to wear patch honoring late broadcaster Kiner during 2014 season


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo via Twitter/@Mets

The Mets will pay tribute to their longtime broadcaster Ralph Kiner, who recently passed away, by wearing a commemorative uniform patch on the right sleeve of their jerseys throughout the 2014 season, the team announced Sunday.

Kiner will also be honored during a pregame ceremony on Opening Day at Citi Field on March 31, the Mets said. The ceremony will include a video tribute and the unveiling of a commemorative logo on the left field wall. Kiner’s five children will participate in the event.

The Mets will additionally commemorate Kiner with a display at the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum chronicling his 52 years with the team. They will also place a Kiner logo on the grass behind home plate at Tradition Field in Port St. Lucie, home to Mets spring training and the St. Lucie Mets Minor League team.

Kiner was a Mets broadcaster since the team’s inception in 1962, and called games for more than 40 seasons. Previously, he was a Hall of Fame player who spent most of his 10-year career with the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 40s and 50s.

He passed away on Feb. 6 at age 91.

-With additional reporting by Liam La Guerre

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Cleats 4 Kids charity raises $9K in Long Island City fundraiser


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Ralph Rodriguez

More than $9,000 was raised for nonprofit Cleats 4 Kids during the 5th annual Dominican Gala at Water’s Edge restaurant in Long Island City Saturday.

Cleats 4 Kids, which collects baseball equipment for disadvantaged children in the Dominican Republic, plans to use the money to cover shipping costs. The fundraiser featured dancing, live music and raffles.

Matt Rodriguez, 19, the organization’s founder, started Cleats 4 Kids when he was 8-years-old after seeing children in the Dominican Republic playing baseball without shoes and gloves. He said the event is a testament to the growth of the organization.

“Seeing what it came from, from when I was in middle school to how it is now, it’s ridiculous,” Rodriguez said. “Now we have to throw parties to fund to ship the equipment out there. I didn’t even think in a million years we’d get enough equipment to even do that.”

Eleven years ago as a young baseball fan, Rodriguez asked his parents, Ralph and Shirley, to donate his cleats, gloves and other equipment. That kicked off the organization with full support from his parents, who were both born in the Dominican Republic and raised in Jackson Heights.

The gala was not only attended by friends and family of the organization, but also by those who donate equipment. Many of them have a shared interest for donating the gear because they hate to see children suffer to play baseball.

“Kids climb trees to get the right limb or branch for a bat, using cardboard for gloves, taking rocks with tape and socks for balls,” said David Fantin, founder of Global Sports Foundation, who flew in from Texas for the event. “When you see kids improvise, because they love to play the game, you have to help them.”

One of the major donors to Cleat 4 Kids is Beechhurst native Scott Green, president of adult baseball league, Play for the Plate.

Green was given an award from the Rodriguez family for nearly a decade of donations to youth baseball players. But to Green just a thank you would be enough.

“My dream would be somewhere down the line, if one of these kids made it to the major leagues and just said thanks to Cleats 4 Kids for giving me my first glove,” Green said. “I would be in heaven.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

First Queens Baseball Convention reveals spirit of Mets fans


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

New York Mets fans have heard this maybe a million times—they have a troubled franchise.

The team has not won a World Series in nearly three decades, and have been disappointing in the last five years as they have struggled just to stay above .500.

That’s just scratching the surface of issues, but even as frustrating as that has been, the spirit of Mets fans is alive and well, and was strongly represented by more than 400 fans at the first-ever Queens Baseball Convention (QBC) Saturday.

“It’s pretty exciting. We may not be in the playoffs every year, but it’s cool to see everyone, and the spirit of Mets fans,” said Andrew Hermida, an illustrator, who was selling his original Mr. Met drawings at the QBC.

The event, which was at McFadden’s bar in Citi Field, was organized by a trio of die hard Mets fans—Shannon “Shark” Prior and Keith Blacknick, the pair behind blog site Metspolice.com, and The 7 Line clothing brand founder Darren Meenan.

The premise was simply to celebrate the past figures of the franchise, a hopefully fruitful future, and just being Mets fan–and there was plenty for fans to do. Wearing orange and blue shirts, jerseys, caps, socks, shoes, and jackets, the Mets faithful played games, enjoyed Mets trivia, bought parts of the old Shea Stadium and Mets memorabilia, paraded in their jerseys, and talked about the past and the upcoming season.

“Hundreds of people paid $35 to celebrate a team that hasn’t won anything in years. It’s like some weird cult,” said Mets fan and comedian Jeff Hysen, who was the event’s MC.

Parents attended the QBC with their children, who brought their children, as generations of fans were present. The kids tried their hand at a dunk tank and got their faces painted.

The event surely attracted many fans for its guest speakers, which included former players Ron Darling and Ed Kranepool, members of the Mets 1986 and 1969 World Series teams respectively.

The former players signed autographs for fans, and had question-and-answer sessions. Even Darling, who is now a baseball broadcaster, was astounded at how much love fans showed their troubled franchise.

“You guys never give up,” Darling said about Mets fans during his forum. “I don’t know how you do it.”

That’s because to some, being a fan isn’t about winning.

“Sports is not about winning, it’s about enjoying the sport. I don’t think it’s exciting to be on the winning team every year. You have to have something to play for,” said Heidi Springer of Greenpoint, Brooklyn, who attended the event with her husband and two sons.

The first QBC attracted a strong crowd, many of whom said they would like to see the event return. Organizers did say they would like to make it an annual event, but are just happy for the turnout of the first QBC.

“The good part about it is everyone that’s involved in it is a Mets fan,” Meenan said. “It’s really a team effort.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens native to host youth baseball clinic


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of Anthony Iapoce

A Queens native is hoping to establish a new baseball culture in the borough to foster more skilled players.

Anthony Iapoce, currently a hitting coordinator with the Chicago Cubs, has two decades of professional baseball experience playing and coaching with various teams. He will host his first youth baseball clinic on Saturday, December 14 at Fitzgerald Gym at Queens College from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

“The most important factor in the camp is just being influential to the kids and teaching them the right fundamentals when it comes to the game,” Iapoce said.

The camp is the first in a series he hopes to expand before introducing a borough-wide clinic for coaches to learn advance drills and network.

Iapoce, who is a native of Astoria, grew up playing baseball in Queens. He played Catholic Youth Organization baseball at St. Joseph’s parish, and later at Monsignor McClancy Memorial High School in East Elmhurst.

After playing college baseball for Lamar University in Texas, he played for 11 years in the minor leagues with the Milwaukee Brewers and the Florida Marlins (now Miami Marlins), where he compiled a .273 batting average in 845 games and reached Triple-A– the highest level before the major league.

After he stopped playing baseball, he became a coach in the Marlin’s minor league system and then a hitting coordinator with the Toronto Blue Jays. Last year, he received a call from the Cubs to provide hitting guidance for their minor league players. Having traveled around the country for a long time, he recently moved back to Queens and is excited about establishing a camp in his hometown.

“This is a huge deal for me, because it’s the first camp I’ll do where I’m from,” Iapoce said. “It hits the heart pretty good. It gives you goosebumps just talking about it.”

His clinic at Queens College will be limited to about 35 players so that he can give more personal attention to each participant. Iapoce and fellow minor league coaches and players will focus on improving the youngsters’ fundamentals and mechanics in all positions. He hopes to create the coaches’ clinic based on the success of the camps.

“What we are trying to do in Chicago is create a winning culture in the minor leagues,” Iapoce said. “We are trying to create this culture of teaching in Queens, more importantly to the coaches.”

For more information about Iapoce’s baseball clinic, contact him at 347-351-5233 or click here. The camp cost $145 for one player or $125 per player for a group of five and is open to boys and girls from ages nine to 13.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Singers compete in Mets annual Anthem Search


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

O say can you sing?

The New York Mets hosted the first round of their 2014 Anthem Search on Thursday to find the person who will sing the national anthem at opening day next year.

More than 150 contestants auditioned for the position, giving 60 seconds of their best vocals to a panel of judges.

“It’s the Mets version of American Idol,” said Gary Apple, an SNY broadcaster and judge of the competition. “I think it’s great for the Mets and baseball.”

This year’s Anthem Search is the first time the winner will be allowed to sing on opening day. Past winners choose dates throughout the season to sing.

Many talented singers saw the opportunity as a way to bolster their future singing goals.

“It would be an honor to sing in front of many people and represent the Mets and it would be really challenging and add to my experience in singing,” said 13-year-old Victoria Labban, a resident of Richmond Hill, who has sang at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.

Mets officials said contestants will be called soon after the auditions and be informed if they have made the cut.

The judges gave singers encouragement, but were also tough, because they said performing the anthem in front thousands of fans requires someone who wouldn’t choke up, forget any words, and of course sing well.

“There were definitely some people who should have gone to work and not come here today,” said Skeery Jones, a judge and radio personality for Z100.

In the second round Mets staff will determine a single winner, who will sing in 2014 opening day on March 31, when the Mets host the Washington Nationals.



RECOMMENDED STORIES

Connecticut man arrested for threatening Mets


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

A Connecticut man has been charged for allegedly making threats against the New York Mets.

Aryn Leroux, 42, of West Haven, was arrested Wednesday for making threats against the baseball team’s players, coaches, executives as well as Citi Field, according to the AP, and charged with misdemeanor threatening and breach of peace.

He reportedly made the threats through Twitter.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

Mets’ Matt Harvey to undergo elbow surgery, miss 2014 season


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of The New York Mets

As if not making the playoffs wasn’t bad enough for Mets fans, the team announced Friday that rookie sensation Matt Harvey will undergo Tommy John surgery, which will force him to miss the 2014 season.

“After further consultation with doctors, Mets pitcher Matt Harvey has elected to have surgery to repair a partial tear of the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Dr. James Andrews will perform the surgery later this month,” the Mets said.

Harvey was frequently mentioned among the league’s best pitchers during 2013, his official rookie season. He completed the season with a 9-5 record, 2.27 ERA and 191 strikeouts in 178 and 1/3 innings.

The team announced Harvey’s elbow injury following a loss to the Detroit Tigers on August 24, in which Harvey gave up a career-high 13 hits.

Despite the Mets record of 74-88 on the season and third place in the National League East, Harvey was one of the shining stars that gave fans hope for next year. Now that will have to wait another season.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES