Tag Archives: Baseball

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

Mike Piazza inducted into Mets Hall of Fame


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photos courtesy of The New York Mets

It was a Piazza palooza at Citi Field.

The New York Mets inducted legendary catcher Mike Piazza as the 27th member in the Mets Hall of Fame on Sunday before the team played its final game of the year.

Piazza received a proclamation from Mayor Michael Bloomberg, which declared September 29 as Mike Piazza Day.

“I’m very, very proud to be a New York Met,” Piazza said. “I’m glad they took recognition and gave me this honor.”

Citi Field was packed for Piazza’s induction as many cheered for one of the franchise’s most prominent figures.

Piazza threw out the first pitch of the game to Mets captain David Wright and Piazza’s former teammates Edgardo Alfonzo and John Franco presented him with a plaque and shared some kind words.

“You were a tremendous teammate,” Franco said. “You played hurt, you played hard and you are a great guy to be around. So I just want to say congratulations from one Italian brother to another.”

Piazza is known as one of the greatest hitting catchers of all time. He has the most home runs for a catcher ever with 427, a career .308 batting average and 2,127 hits.

Piazza played 972 games for the Mets, eight of his 16-year career in MLB. He hit 220 home runs with the Mets, ranking second in franchise history, behind Darryl Strawberry (252). He ranks first in team history with a .542 slugging percentage and is third in RBIs (655). Piazza was a seven-time All-Star when he played with the Mets and set a team-record with 124 RBIs and hit 40 home runs in 1999.

Then in 2000 he finished with 38 home runs and drove in 113 runs to lead the team to win the National League Division Championship.

Fortunately the Mets won the final game of the year 3-2 against the Brewers to top off the Hall of Fame celebration, despite another year with a losing record, 74-88.

Piazza is looking forward to a time when the Mets are once again on top of the league standings. He also joked that the organization will have first crack at his son, but he won’t be cheap.

“I’ll teach him how to hit and the rest is up to him,” Piazza said.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Ozone Howard Little League eight and under team wins tournament


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy Andy Menechella

The Ozone Howard Little League eight and under team defeated Oceanside National Little League, 7-5, in a tournament hosted by Oceanside on July 25, after an explosive comeback effort.

Trailing Oceanside in the 4th inning, Ozone Howard’s Chris Kollmer cleared the bases with a two-out double to take the lead. Following the comeback, John Sapia entered in relief for Ozone Howard and shutout Oceanside for the final three innings for the win.

The victory capped a six-game undefeated streak in the tournament.

“This was a thrilling victory for this Ozone Howard Huskies team,” said manager Andy Menechella. “This team has the heart of a lion. I’m so proud of these guys and I am thrilled to see what’s to come next for this team.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Spend the night with Mr. Met: Citi Field Sleepover announced


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

File photo

The Mets are hoping to make fans’ dreams come true— with a sleepover.

The team announced its first-ever “Citi Field Sleepover” will be on Saturday, August 10 at the ballpark. Tickets for the sleepover started to go on sale today at 10 a.m., and a presale was available yesterday for Mets season ticket holders.

Only 500 tickets will be available for purchase with 1-3 tickets for $200 or $175 for 4-6 tickets.

The Mets will be playing the Arizona Diamondbacks from 8:10 p.m. and fans can watch SNY’s live broadcast of the game on the big screen in center field. Fans attending the sleepover will receive a ticket to the Mets’ Saturday, September 28 game against the Milwaukee Brewers.

The 15- hour event will include a dinner buffet in FanFest without alcoholic beverages, late night snack in the Modell’s Clubhouse and breakfast.

The stadium will open at 5:00 p.m for the sleepover. Fans are responsible for bringing any sleeping material, such as sleeping bags, pillows, blankets and tents.

Only fans with sleeping bags can sleep on the grass and those with tents will be regulated to the warning track.

For tickets go to Mets.com/sleepover.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Wednesday: Overcast in the morning, then mostly cloudy. High of 73. Winds from the NE at 5 to 10 mph shifting to the SE in the afternoon. Wednesday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 59. Winds from the SSE at 5 to 10 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Long Island City to Old Astoria Guided Walking Tour

Official Queens historian Jack Eichenbaum will lead a walk along the East River between the Queensboro and RFK bridges. Begin at the Queensbridge Houses and head for the remnants of Old Astoria. The sights include increasingly oblique views of Manhattan’s Upper East Side from three parks, a former piano factory, a huge power plant, a big box store, the Socrates Sculpture Park, the Isamu Noguchi Museum and ante-bellum mansions. End in Astoria at the Bohemian Hall beer garden. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

MLB seeks to suspend A-Rod, Braun

Major League Baseball will seek to suspend about 20 players connected to the Miami-area clinic at the heart of an ongoing performance-enhancing drug scandal, including Alex Rodriguez and Ryan Braun, possibly within the next few weeks, “Outside the Lines” has learned. Read more: ESPN

Leroy Comrie includes new subway for Queens among list of projects and priorities he would champion as borough president

Talk about a pipe dream. Councilman Leroy Comrie re-launched his bid for borough president this week by dropping a stunning bombshell: he wants a new subway line in Queens. Read more: New York Daily News

Expired milk, muffins served to Queens elementary school students

For weeks, Alex Quinteros complained to his mother about something he noticed wasn’t quite right in the cafeteria at his elementary school in Queens — the fifth-grader from Flushing said one day he saw cafeteria workers give kids expired corn bread, and on another, he said an expired muffin was offered to younger students. Read more: NBC New York

Walcott raked over the coals at City Council budget hearing

New York City Schools Chancellor Dennis Walcott met with some angry and hostile comments Tuesday, as he testified at a budget hearing before the City Council Finance and Education committees. Read more: CBS New York

New York attorney general presses smartphone manufacturers to allow consumers to shut down stolen devices

State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman is leaning on the largest smartphone makers to protect customers from thieves who steal phones, scrub them clean and sell them on the black market. Read more: New York Daily News

 House panel to address sexual assaults in military

Lawmakers outraged by sexual assaults in the military are moving swiftly to address the problem, tackling legislation that would strip commanders of their authority to overturn convictions in rape and assault cases. Read more: AP

Mets players move into Long Island City luxury buildings


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photo by Charles Osborn

BY CHARLES OSBORN

LIC has become Citi Field West.

Several members of the New York Mets have been living in Long Island City since the start of the 2013 season, though their neighbors may have no idea.

“I really wouldn’t even know who they were if I ran into them,” said one resident of Center Boulevard.

“I watch a decent amount of sports, and I knew that some of them had places in these towers, but I am not sure I have run into any of them.”

That seems to be a recurring theme throughout the neighborhood.

Luxury condominiums that have been built less than a block from the water have attracted Mets including Mike Baxter, Justin Turner, John Buck and Jonathan Niese.

This is not the first time Mets players have decided to live close to each other.

Several players on the 1986 team — including Darryl Strawberry and Dwight Gooden — lived within a few blocks of each other in Port Washington. They often commuted down Northern Boulevard through parts of northeast Queens.

John Poalson, a resident of the building where several players currently live, thinks the location is ideal because they can walk around and enjoy some privacy.

“Really, it’s the perfect place for them,” he said. “Their commute is simple and can’t take very long, they’re in a neighborhood where probably not a lot of people bother them and they can rent a place for the season and then leave if they want.”

Poalson said he has run into a couple of players and has nothing but good things to say. He added that some of the players may stay past the end of the season.

“I remember seeing them around the building pretty frequently around the time of” Sandy, Poalson said. “They’re definitely nice guys.”

Sandy happened nearly a month after the Mets’ season ended.

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

City unveils MLB All-Star week festivities


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of NYC Mayor's Office's Flickr

The 2013 MLB All-Star Game, at Citi Field on July 16, will feature a slew of events throughout the city in the week leading up and will be spread throughout the borough.

Citi Field was cited as a potential venue for the mid-summer classic since opening in 2009, with the rumor becoming official last May. This marks the second All-Star Game the city’s hosted in the last five years.

All venues attached to the game are expected to have a $191 million economic impact for the city this July, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

Although the game and tournaments, like the Home Run Derby, will be held in Flushing, a significant amount of All-Star fanfare will be in Manhattan – much like when the Yankees hosted the game in 2008.

Chevrolet’s Red Carpet Parade will again go through 42nd Street, with MLB Executive Vice President Tim Brosnan calling it one of the marquee events for fans. Baseball lovers, from New York or afar, will get to come within 10 feet of the game’s premier players.

Met alumns like 1986 World Series champ Mookie Wilson and late 90s legends Eduardo Alfonzo and John Franco are team ambassadors for the All-Star Game. Wilson, known for his bloop single through Bill Buckner’s legs in Game 6 of the World Series, said while he never played in an All-Star game he’s excited to represent the team during the festivities

“I’ve always enjoyed the festivities that go into it,” Wilson said. “I’m not a native New Yorker, but I feel as if I am. I can’t wait to get this All-Star game started.”

Managers this year will be San Francisco Giants Skipper Bruce Bochy and Detroit Tigers’ Jim Leyland.

The game’s logo was revealed last August, mainly resembling the traditional Mets logo and is worn on the team’s sleeve throughout this season.

Bloomberg said the city has become “the sports capital of the world,” and proceeded to list all the major events, past and future, the city has hosted.

On security, the mayor has no worries the NYPD will be successful in keeping the city safe as fans worldwide pour into the five boroughs for the game.

Ballots for the American League and National League were also released:

For Met fans:

  • First base: Ike Davis
  • Second base: Daniel Murphy
  • Shortstop: Rueben Tejada
  • Third base: David Wright
  • Catcher: John Buck
  • Outfielders: Mike Baxter, Lucad Duda and Kirk Nieuwenhuis

For Yankee fans:

  • First base: Mark Teixeira
  • Second base: Robinson Cano
  • Shortstop: Derek Jeter
  • Third Base: Kevin Youkilis
  • Catcher: Chris Stewart
  • Outfielders: Curtis Granderson, Brett Gardner and Ichiro Suzuki

CLICK HERE TO VOTE

 

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Queens’ Morning Roundup


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

TODAY’S FORECAST

Friday: Partly cloudy with rain showers in the afternoon. High of 52. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 10 mph. Chance of rain 20%. Friday night: Partly cloudy. Low of 37. Winds from the NNW at 5 to 15 mph.

EVENT OF THE DAY: Disco Inferno II

Due to popular demand, Disco Inferno is back on Friday, March 29. Resorts World will boogie down memory lane with a live concert by Tavares, Bonnie Pointer, Cory Daye and Disco Unlimited. Click here for more info or to submit an event of your own

New York State Assembly passes $141.3 billion budget for 2013-14

The Assembly on Thursday gave final passage to a $141.3 billion state budget. Read more: New York Daily News

Deal reached on paid sick leave in NYC

New York City legislators, labor advocates and business leaders have struck a deal on the hotly contested issue of paid sick leave. Read more:: Fox New York/AP

Mets: Johan might miss 2013 season

Mets starter Johan Santana could miss the entire 2013 because of a re-tear in his left shoulder, General Manager Sandy Alderson announced Thursday during a conference call. Read more: The Queens Courier

Block-watch programs back in vogue as NYPD headcount shrinks

A group of concerned western Queens residents want to make sure the bad old days of crime don’t ever come back. Read more: New York Daily News

Mayors Against Illegal Guns out with new ad featuring Newtown families

Events took place around the nation Thursday as participants demand federal gun safety measures be enacted. Read more: CBS New York

Hundreds rally against proposed cuts to after-school programs

Hundreds of children rallied outside City Hall Thursday to urge Mayor Michael Bloomberg not to go through with cuts to after-school programs. Read more: NY1

North Korea readies rockets after U.S. show of force

North Korea put its missile units on standby on Friday to attack U.S. military bases in South Korea and the Pacific, after the United States flew two nuclear-capable stealth bombers over the Korean peninsula in a rare show of force. Read more: Reuters

 

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


By Queens Courier Staff | 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


By Queens Courier Staff | 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