Tag Archives: Baseball

Mets ranked sixth most valuable team in baseball


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Terence M. Cullen

The Mets are the sixth most valuable team in Major League Baseball according to Forbes, possibly putting to rest concerns the team is underwater on the financial front.

Forbes listed the Amazin’s value at $811 million – a 13-percent increase from last year. The crosstown rival Yankees ranked first with a $2.3 billion worth.

Between the two teams are the L.A. Dodgers, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies, respectively. The San Francisco Giants, who played at the Polo Grounds until 1957, ranked just behind the Mets – worth $786 million.

With the average value of a team at about $744 million, the Mets just place above the norm despite financial woes since the Bernie Madoff Ponzi Scheme reportedly put the Mets’ bank account in the red.

Co-owner Fred Wilpon said earlier this year, however, that the team was on its way back up and all money lost nearly five years ago has been remade.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

 

MLB All-Star Game, FanFest tickets now on sale


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/File photo

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

For the first time since 1964, Major League Baseball’s All-Star game will take place in Queens. In the days leading up to the event, the MLB will host a variety of events for the Mid-Summer Classic.

Culminating with the 84th MLB All-Star Game on July 16, the All-Star fest will feature a variety of events for visitors to enjoy, from Friday, July 12- Tuesday, July 16.

All attractions are free with the price of admission. Tickets are $35 for adults and $30 for senior citizens, military personnel and children 12 and under. For the price of admission visitors can enjoy exhibits from the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum, take a swing at the batting cages and free autograph sessions with former Mets and MLB legends and Hall of Famers.

Fans will also be able to purchase single game e-tickets to the All-Star Sunday event. Admission to the event includes the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game and the Taco Bell All-Star Legends & Celebrity Softball Game. The futures game will feature minor league prospects, which in the past has included currents Mets players Wilmer Flores, Zack Wheeler, Matt Harvey and David Wright.

The celebrity softball game will feature stars from the film music and television industry, teaming up with participants from the futures game.

The home-run derby will take place on July 15th.

For more information and updates on future events and to purchase tickets you can visit AllStarGame.com or call 1-888-FanFest.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Kids learn from the greats of baseball


| editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Anthony O'Reilly

BY ANTHONY O’REILLY

The next generation of baseball players had the opportunity to be trained by the greats of yesteryear at a Youth Baseball Clinic held at St. Kevin’s School in Flushing.

Yankee greats Roy White, Oscar Gamble and Gamble’s son Sean, a former Phillies player and current coach at Selma University in Alabama, all participated in the event. The youngsters were able to receive tips on batting, pitching and throwing from the former players.

Queens legend Dwight “Doc” Gooden, a part of the 1986 Mets championship team, also came out to the event.

This was the third time the clinic was held, according to the Catholic Youth Organization’s (CYO) baseball director for St. Kevin’s, John Bonnano.

Bonnano, who played Little League himself as a kid, said he started the clinic to allow the youngsters to have a memory about baseball, beyond just playing on the field.

“It’s something for them to remember as they grow up as well as have fun and learn some things,” he said.

 

Bonanno said last year the clinic was held out on Long Island, which caused low attendance because of the commute. This year, the clinic returned to the school’s basketball court.

Bonnano said he’s good friends with Gamble, which allowed him to host the clinic at a minimal cost.

Gamble said he felt it important to attend such clinics because it allowed the next generation of baseball players to get a head start in honing their skills.

“We try to teach a lot of the technique,” he said. “It’s great to get our and help the kids. It’s a lot of fun.”

White said that while he was eager to help the young players develop their skills, he pointed out that it’s hard to teach them everything they need to know at this point of the game.

“You can do some basic things,” he said. “But you can’t start getting too technical with them.”

White also said he wanted to show up in order to give the kids something to remember their baseball playing days by.

“I never had anyone from baseball come in when I was in school,” he said.

Kevin Hynes has two kids at St. Kevin’s, both of whom play baseball. For him, attending the clinic with his kids was common sense.

“They’re very active in the St. Kevin’s community,” he said. “So this was the next logical step.”

Hynes said while he teaches his kids the fundamentals of baseball, he still felt it important to bring them to the clinic and learn from the greats.

“Even though we’re Queens Mets fans, it’s still great for them to show them how to play the game and just have fun.”

Kids and their parents were also given the opportunity to take pictures with and receive autographs from the players. Many parents brought along posters and memorabilia from the players during their heyday, something that White says is a common occurrence at clinics such as these.

“A lot of people will come up to me and say, ‘I used to copy your stance when I was playing,’” said White.

Bonnano said he will try to continue the tradition of the youth clinic every year, hoping that it attracts more and more young baseball hopefuls.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Fan, former player reaction to Piazza and Baseball Hall of Fame vote


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

Ten days after the world stopped and cried for New York, Mike Piazza made history with a swing of the bat that gave the city hope once again.

The September 21, 2001 homerun Piazza hit was late in the first professional sports game since the September 11 attacks, and gave the Mets the lead in front of thousands of fans, many of whom were first responders.

A power hitter who revived the fan base in the late 1990s and 2000s, Piazza was etched into the baseball history books because of this moment.

But will he have to wait before his plaque makes it into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Piazza did not receive enough votes to make it in to Cooperstown, nor did any other candidate — the first time since 1996 that writers failed to vote someone in.

The 12-time All Star catcher played in the Steroid Era of baseball and was on the same ballot as alleged steroid users Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa. Piazza was never directly linked to using steroids, but many baseball critics were concerned his just playing during the tainted era would hurt his chances.

Piazza batted .296 and hit 220 homeruns in orange and blue between May 1998 to September 2005. He hit his 352nd career dinger in 2004 to surpass Carlton Fisk as the alltime homerun hitter for catchers. If he does make it to the Hall of Fame, Piazza has said he wants to be remembered as a Met and not a Los Angeles Dodger, where he started his career.

Paul LoDuca, who took over as catcher after Piazza left Flushing at the end of 2005, tweeted disappointment that baseball writers hadn’t voted in his colleague.

“Once again: Tell the Voters to strap on the gear for 9 innings and put the numbers up Mike Piazza did,” LoDuca tweeted. “I don’t care if he used rocket fuel.”

LoDuca, who admitted to taking Performance Enhancing Drugs (PEDs) during his career, followed up later by saying an entire generation of baseball should not be scolded for the mistakes of some.

“I took PEDs and I’m not proud of it,” he wrote. “But people that think you can take a shot or a pill and play like the legends on that ballot need help.”

David Adler of Bay Terrace, a 50-year Met fan, was disappointed Piazza did not get enough votes this year, and credited it to accused steriod users taking away votes.

“He [Piazza] should have gotten in,” he said. “A lot of votes went to players using performance enhancing drugs and that, I feel, took votes away for him.”

Adelr and other fans are sure Piazza will one day make it into Cooperstown with an interlocking “NY” on his cap.

“He went to the World Series with the Mets, not as a Dodger,” Adelr said. “You would think that that would count for something.”

— With additional reporting by Anthony O’Reilly

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Former Met Mike Piazza, other nominees not voted into Baseball Hall of Fame; first time no inductees since 1996


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

No one’s going on the wall this year.

The candidates for the Baseball Hall of Fame failed to get the needed 75-percent of votes today to make it into Cooperstown. This was the first time since 1996 that no one was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

One of those ball players was Mets catcher Mike Piazza, who, according to MLB.com, received 57.8 percent of the vote on his first ballot appearance.

Several sluggers accused of using performance enhancing drugs also appeared on the ballot: Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Mark McGuire.

After the announcement that seems to be stunning the baseball world, Mets COO Jeff Wilpon commented that, “we are optimistic one day soon Mike‘s plaque, with a Mets cap, will be hanging in Cooperstown where it truly belongs.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Dickey deal finalized; Cy Young Award winner heading to Toronto for prospects


| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of the New York Mets

It’s official. The New York Mets have finalized a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays that turned Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey into a bevy of top prospects.

The Mets amped up efforts to trade the 38-year-old knuckle-baller when talks of a contract extension between Dickey and the team broke down. After the teams agreed upon the players to be swapped, the Blue Jays were given a window to sign Dickey to an extension. Dickey will reportedly receive a two-year extension from the Blue Jays worth $25 million; he has one year remaining on his current deal for $5 million.

In the three years with the Mets, Dickey went 39-28 with a 2.95 ERA and 468 strikeouts in 617 innings.

“Now that it’s official, I want to say that I don’t have the words to express how grateful I am to you for the steadfast support and encouragement I received from all of you. I’ve always felt that there was a connection beyond the uniform. Thank you for making me feel wanted,” Dickey wrote in a series of tweets. “Looking forward to a new chapter with the Jays.”

In exchange for the Cy Young-award winner, the Mets will reportedly receive catching prospect Travis d’Arnaud, pitching prospect Noah Syndergaard, outfield prospect Wuilmer Becerra and catcher John Buck. Catchers Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas will be heading north with Dickey.

The 23-year-old d’Arnaud was 19th on Baseball America’s midseason top 50 prospect list. Syndergaard, 20, who ranked as the Blue Jays number three prospect, projects as a potential top of the rotation starter, though he remains several years away from the majors.

The new Blue Jays will be reuniting with former Met Jose Reyes who was dealt to Toronto from Miami in a mega, 12-player deal earlier this year.

Dickey becomes the fourth Cy Young Award winner to be dealt in the offseason after receiving the prize for the league’s top pitcher, joining David Cone, Pedro Martinez and Roger Clemens.

Mets, David Wright officially announce new deal


| brennison@queenscourier.com

DWRIGHT

Mets fans have grown used to watching homegrown stars end up in another team’s uniform, from Tom Seaver to Darryl Strawberry and most recently Jose Reyes. David Wright’s recent eight-year contract with the Mets means that cycle might be broken.

Wright’s $138 million extension, first reported at the end of November, was officially signed on Tuesday, and will keep the third baseman with the team through 2020, when he will be 38.

“It’s a dream come true to be able to finish my career where I started it and hopefully add a championship or two,” Wright said at a press conference announcing the deal at baseball’s Winter Meetings in Nashville.

“To me there was no thought of ever putting on another uniform,” he said.

Wright thanked Mets fans who he said have stood by him through the ups and downs in his career. “They’ve seen a lot of strike outs, a lot of errors,” he said.

The Mets all-time leader in hits, runs, RBI, doubles, walks and total bases had one year remaining on his contract coming into the offseason, though both he and the team expressed a desire to complete a deal.

“This is a cornerstone relationship that we think will allow us to continue to build and provide a winning future for the Mets going forward,” said General Manager Sandy Alderson.

Wright is coming off a year in which he batted .306, scored 91 runs, slugged 21 home runs and knocked in 93 while coming in sixth in the National League’s Most Valuable Player voting.

The future of the Mets remains up in the air as the team  has finished below .500 for four consecutive years and is listening to offers for Cy Young Award winner R.A. Dickey, but Wright’s confidence has not wavered.

“Things haven’t gone the way we would have liked them to the last couple of years, but that’s going to change,” Wright said.

“I’m going to give everything I have out there to bring a championship back to Queens.”

Queens Morning Roundup


| brennison@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Showers and possibly a thunderstorm. Some of the storms could produce heavy rain. High near 73. Southeast wind 10 to 17 mph. Chance of precipitation is 90%. New rainfall amounts between 1 and 2 inches possible. Friday night: Scattered showers, mainly before 1am. Mostly cloudy, with a low around 60. South wind 5 to 8 mph. Chance of precipitation is 40%.

EVENT of the DAY: Job Fair

There will be a Halloween themed family sleepover this weekend at the Long Island Aquarium. At the Creatures of the Night Spooktacular, kids will get rare glimpse into the nighttime habits of three new animals in the Creatures of the Night exhibit. You can also dress up in Halloween customes, and enjoy craft time and a screening of “Monster House.” Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

Neighbor of Federal Reserve bomb suspect speaks

The day after a Queens man was arrested for allegedly attempting to detonate what he believed to be a real bomb at the New York Federal Reserve Bank in lower Manhattan, a neighbor spoke out, saying he had no idea what was being plotted, just downstairs. Read more: Queens Courier

Tigers sweep Yankees in ALCS to reach World Series

Prince Fielder waved his arms frantically, gleefully calling off his teammates while the crowd at Comerica Park roared. From the moment the big first baseman signed his massive contract in January, an entire city had been waiting for a chance to celebrate like this. After another dazzling effort by Detroit’s starting pitchers and another soaring home run by Miguel Cabrera, Fielder caught the final out to send the Tigers to the World Series — with a sweep of the New York Yankees, no less. Read more: ESPN

Nassau officer killed on LIE while responding to collision

A Nassau County cop who responded to an accident on the Long Island Expressway was killed early today when he was struck by another vehicle passing the scene of the crash, sources said. Officer Joseph P. Olivieri, 43, was struck at 4:43 a.m. on the eastbound roadway near exit 35 in North Hills. Read more: NY Post

Comedic relief: Obama, Romney bring on the jokes at annual dinner

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney were within arm’s length for the second time this week, as they shared the stage at the annual Alfred E. Smith Memorial Dinner Thursday and delivered feisty quips at each other’s expense. Read more: CNN

Queens man put on “No-Fly List” stranded in Austria

A 26-year-old Queens man was returning home from a trip to Austria when he was stopped at the airport and told by airline agents that the Department of Homeland Security had prohibited his travel. For over two weeks Samir Suljovic, of Oakland Gardens, has remained stranded in Austria, where he was on vacation visiting friends and family. Read more: NBC New York

Queens judge denies perv’s request to lower jail sentence to spend Christmas with family

A Queens judge slammed a pervert’s request to lower his jail sentence to be with his four children for Christmas. Oross, 45 of East Islip, LI, plead guilty in September to having repeated sexual encounters with a 14-year-old student in a Susan B. Anthony IS 238 classroom and in his car, more than a dozen times in 2009. Read more: NY Post

 

From the mound to the hardwood, Amir Garrett gears up for the basketball season


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

While his teammates reconvened in Queens for “summer school,” Amir Garrett was training with another team. Luckily, he didn’t have to change the colors on his uniform.

Garrett, a 22nd round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 2011, spent the summer training with the baseball team as part of an agreement that lets him play basketball at St. John’s. Garrett averaged about eight points a game in basketball last year, but can also throw a fastball in the 90s as a pitcher.

After joining the Johnnies halfway through last season because of ineligibility, Garrett adjusted within a month and found his groove in the game. This time around, he said, the process of switching from hurling the small ball to shooting the big ball was rusty, but quicker.

“It’s just something I have,” he said. “When I leave and go play one sport, I pick up on it right away.”

Garrett said he learned a lot from joining the team last year as one of five starting freshmen and getting a full year this year will tighten his skills.

“But after the first week-and-a-half [to] two weeks … it was a pretty tough transition but I made the best of it,” he said. “I picked up from where I left off because you know I came in so late in the season, I was kind of nervous. I think it carried over to this year because I get to play at the start of the season.”

And while Garrett’s wearing red and white for St. John’s he won’t discuss baseball.

“When I’m in baseball, no basketball; when I’m in basketball, no baseball.”

That didn’t stop Garrett, however, from sighing and shaking his head when asked about his reaction from the Reds’ elimination from this year’s postseason.

Ozone Howard all-star team wins tournament


| editorial@queenscourier.com

image002

Team Wolfpack, the Ozone Howard Little League’s eight-year-old all-star team, won the championship in the “2012 SYAG Ed Rall Memorial Tournament” with an exciting finish.

The Ed Rall Tournament is Long Island’s most elite youth baseball tournament, with over 140 teams in attendance. It began in memory of firefighter and longtime SYAG coach Edward Rall. He was an 18-year veteran of the FDNY as a member of Rescue 2, who paid the supreme sacrifice on September 11, 2001.

The Wolfpack had to play a triple header to win the tournament because of a rainout.

The Wolfpack went down quickly in the championship game 4-1 with some big hits from their counterparts, the Long Island Falcons. But then the top of the 6th inning came and with two outs, the Wolfpack came howling back, with big hits from Michael McNally, Devin Rivero, Dylan Wayne, Nicky Gatto, Marco Jannis and Brandon Ricca, to score four runs and take the lead. Starting pitcher Brandon Ricca finished the game by shutting the door in the bottom of the sixth inning — with the whole complex going wild.

“The Pride of Whitestone”: Mike Baxter’s lifelong baseball dream realized in Queens


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

File photo

It was late in the game on June 1 when Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina knocked a fly ball to left field. Johan Santana, the Mets starting ace who was still working his way back after missing the entire previous season, was facing a multi-base hit — what could have been the first of any hits that night.

Mike Baxter headed back to the wall, trying to keep the no-no intact. He caught the ball and bounced into the blue padding at a high speed. A few innings later, Santana would go on to record the team’s first no-hitter in a 50-year history.

Whitestone native Baxter, however, would end up throwing his shoulder out during the catch — giving up his own health for the sake of the team he grew up loving and watching.

“It was bitter sweet,” said dad Ray Baxter, who hasn’t missed a home game his son has played since joining the team. “It was great while it happened but all of a sudden, 10 seconds later, you start to worry: it’s your child out there that’s hurt. He’s not getting up, and you see him walk off the field and they’re holding his arm like he’s got a broken arm.”

A few hours after the game, as Santana went through a number of interviews, teammate Justin Turner got to Twitter and dubbed his friend “The Pride of Whitestone.” The nickname has since stuck.

Baxter, 27, has come full circle in his still-young baseball journey. He grew up playing baseball in the Bayside Little League, and then at Archbishop Molloy High School.

From there he went on to play college ball at Columbia University, but found himself unhappy with the program, his father said.

He found a home, to this day, in Tennessee where he transferred to play and study at Vanderbilt University, and still keeps a home today.

Baxter played under long-time Commodores coach Tim Corbin, who said he could always tell the Queens product would make it into the majors based on his all-around abilities and determination.

The young player, his former coach said, could do a number of things at the plate and was resilient in his time at Vanderbilt. It was these factors, among others, that brought Baxter to the majors, Corbin said.

After spending six years with the San Diego Padres organization, Baxter was released in 2011. Nearly instantly, however, the Mets picked him up — making it a bittersweet phone call home.

“It was a tough phone call,” Ray Baxter said, in reference to his son being released from the Padres. “You’ve got to take a breath.”

Baxter acknowledged the same sort of feeling, but went on to say that putting on the Met jersey for the first time was an unbelievable feeling.

“That was just a great day, it all happened so quickly,” he said. “You could say it was a dream come true.”

He finally returned to the team during a series in San Francisco on July 30. A few nights later, against his first big league team, Baxter would tie a team record by drawing five walks. When he returned for his first night back at Citi Field on August 7, Baxter said he was most proud to be back in front of the fans.

“I love playing in New York,” he said. “When you come back to New York and you get back in front of the fans, some of the greatest in the world in my opinion, it’s always exciting taking the field out here.”

The Whitestone native’s future is still to be written and it is unclear what will come in the next few years. His dad, on the other hand, is certain his son will stay in baseball for as long as humanly possible, even after he hangs up his glove.

“In my heart, I believe Michael is not leaving baseball.”

LIC HS teen choosing between MLB & college


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Joshua Almonte

Joshua Almonte has a life-changing decision to make, and the clock is ticking.

Almonte was drafted from Long Island City High School in the 2012 Major League Baseball draft by the Toronto Blue Jays in the 22nd round, 685th overall. While the draft was a few weeks ago, he hasn’t decided whether to become a professional or continue his education.

“I’m only 18 so I could go to junior college and get drafted again,” said Almonte, who became the first player to be drafted from the school in approximately 45 years, according to published reports. “But then I could get injured. There are pros and cons.”

Almonte was also offered a full-ride scholarship to play baseball for Miami Dade College in Florida. He has until July 13 to sign his professional contract.

“Most people tell me, ‘that’s my dream, go ahead and sign,’ but it’s not as easy as people think,” he said.

His dream, to be drafted and become a professional player, started last summer. Almonte said that while playing with his summer travel team, the New York Rays, he was visited by so many college coaches that he thought if he pushed himself he could get pro scouts to talk to him as well.

“My freshmen year I was just trying to make varsity, play well and hopefully get into a good college,” Almonte said. “Getting drafted definitely wasn’t on my mind freshman year.”

But with newfound ambition, he began working towards getting drafted.

He worked out frequently to raise his speed and went to batting cages after practicing with his team to enhance his hitting.

He also had a personal trainer to become stronger, and he attended showcases to present his talents to scouts.

“I was definitely trying my hardest to get drafted,” the outfielder said. “Instead of trying to focus on one thing, I tried to improve my overall skills.”

And scouts took notice.

“At the beginning of the season when we were about to play there were seven or eight scouts at our first game,” said Thomas Lehman, Long Island City Bulldogs Head Coach.

The only problem was that Almonte had a down year in the Public School Athletic League (PSAL).

He batted just .244 and had a .404 on base percentage, a year after tearing up the league with a .395 batting average and over .536 on-base percentage.

“I found it really hard to make an adjustment,” Almonte explained. “In the summer I saw fast pitching and then in high school I rarely saw anyone throwing above 85 so it was hard for me to make an adjustment.”

But the stats didn’t stop scouts from keeping an eye on him, because of the potential the outfielder showed.

Standing at 6’3,” Almonte is long and lean — and fast, running the 60-yard in a stunning 6.55 seconds. At a recent showcase Almonte showed off his arm, gunning a 94 mph strike from right field to home plate.

“He has the tools,” Lehman said. “I think scouts saw that and how he projects for the future.”

If Almonte does choose to sign will the Blue Jays, the organization will pay for his education. However, he won’t be able to play college ball.

No matter what decision Almonte makes, Lehman said he will support him 100 percent, and is just happy to see Almonte have opportunities many other players don’t.

“It was a great honor to coach a kid with that kind of talent,” Lehman said.

 

Kyle Hansen’s high school coach remembers a player destined to be drafted


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

100_5369w

St. Dominic High School head baseball coach Richard Garrett was sitting at his desk on Tuesday, June 5 when his BlackBerry began “buzzing like a pinball machine.”

Immediately he knew what had happened as he saw various texts from assistant coaches and players that read “sixth round.”

The text barrage was to let him know that former St. Dominic starting pitcher — and current Johnnie — Kyle Hansen was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the sixth round, 201st overall, of this year’s MLB draft.

“I was so happy for him,” said Garrett, who waited about 30 minutes before he called his former player to congratulate him.

Hansen, as well as four other players — Jeremy Baltz, Matt Carasiti, Matt Wessinger and Sean Hagan— were all taken from St. John’s in the draft.

The 16-year head coach said even during Hansen’s high school days in Oyster Bay, he knew the righty had the stuff to play in the majors. He added Hansen will without a doubt be inducted into the St. Dominic Athletic Hall of Fame, which the school is currently building for next year.

In his senior year at the school, Hansen led the Bayhawks to a first-ever championship in the 53-year history of the Nassau Suffolk Catholic High School Athletic Association (NSCHSAA), closing out the final game over St. John the Baptist, 6-4.

“Kyle was the complete package,” Garrett said. “He had the work ethic to get better and stronger, and the desire to push himself at all times.”

Teams also took notice of those tools. Garrett said at every game Hansen pitched there would be around 30 major league scouts in attendance, wielding radar guns and watching his every move.

When high school came to an end, Hansen was drafted by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 40th round of the 2009 MLB draft.

But at that time he felt he still needed to improve before heading to the pros.

“I didn’t feel like I was ready to go. I was still 18 years old,” Hansen said. “I thought college would help me advance myself.”

Garrett, who is also the dean of schools at the high school, agreed that college was a good idea and helped him through the process. But he always thought no matter what, Hansen would make it to the majors.

Garrett had also coached Hansen’s older brother, Craig, in a summer league. The elder Hansen was a first-round draft pick by the Red Sox in 2005, and Garrett said the younger brother’s pitching was similar.

So when Garrett heard Hansen was drafted it came as no surprise, and he believes Hansen will be pitching on a major league mound very soon.

“Maybe two years we’ll see him in a major league ballpark,” Garrett predicted. “The game gets faster. [But] the bases stay the same. They’ll [The White Sox] teach him the changes of speeds.”

Although he was drafted, Hansen still hasn’t made the decision on whether he will pitch one more year for St. John’s or whether he will move to the majors.

But whenever that time comes Garrett said the pitcher will be a shoo-in for the high school’s Hall of Fame.

“It will be an honor,” Hansen said about being inducted. “A lot of baseball talent has come out of St. Dom’s and a lot more will come out of there until coach calls it quits.”

Queens Vocational falls short in city championship


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Liam La Guerre

When the championship game was over and the Queens Vocational Tech Tigers had lost, head baseball coach Robert Schimenz gathered his team of teary-eyed teens.

He wasn’t angry, but wasn’t sad either.

He simply pointed above the dugout and said “Go say thank you to those fans,” referring to the more than 300 students, teachers and family members that traveled to MCU Park in Brooklyn and witnessed the team lose, 2-1, to South Bronx H.S. in the PSAL Division B baseball championship on June 8.

“Today was career day at the school, but the focus of the school was baseball and I like that,” Schimenz said, adding that the supporters behaved similarly in 2007 when the Queens school won the crown.

Although the Tigers clawed and growled, they couldn’t get past the blazing fastball and tricky curveball of South Bronx Phoenix pitcher Kevin Victoriano, who hurled a complete game with 11 strikeouts, while allowing just two hits.

“He’s [Victoriano] a great pitcher and he’s going to make it far in life if he continues playing baseball,” Queens Vocational infielder Jose Monegro said.

On the other hand, Queens’ starting pitcher Daniel Corona almost matched Victoriano, collecting seven strikeouts in six innings while allowing six hits.

“Danny [Corona] pitched great. He pitched better than usual,” Schimenz said of his starting pitcher. “His pitch count was low and he didn’t put a lot of guys on.”

Corona ran into trouble in the bottom of the third when he allowed two runs off back-to-back doubles and a triple by Victoriano.

Victoriano, who had a shutout through the fifth frame, was good enough to protect the lead for the rest of the game.

“It was mostly striking out to outside pitches,” senior Queens catcher Jason Perez said. “We really weren’t in the zone at the plate.”

But in the sixth, the Tigers showed their teeth.

With the bases empty, Monegro smacked a double deep to center that flew over the Bronx outfielders and landed just in front the warning track.

After Monegro moved to third base on a ground out, Victoriano threw a wild pitch high over the catcher’s reach, allowing Monegro to score the only run for the Tigers.

“I was excited and trying to get my team momentum,” he said about scoring. “But unfortunately we came up short.”

Victoriano walked the next batter, but recovered and got the two remaining outs to end the inning.

The dominant pitcher came back after a quiet sixth inning by the Phoenix and finished the game with a 1-2-3 inning, striking out the final batter.

Despite the loss, Queens fans clapped and cheered for each Tigers player during the ensuing ceremony as his name was called to receive a silver medal.

“It was a long, tiring season that there was so much positive in,” Schimenz said. “I’m glad they [the Tigers] got here. I would’ve liked to have seen them win because they’re dynamite baseball players.”