Tag Archives: John Franco

Bayside Rebels Little League team heading to Borough Cup


By Queens Courier Staff | editorial@queenscourier.com

Yankee Stadium here we come!

BENJAMIN FANG

The Bayside Rebels are back and better than ever.

After an administrative error left the Little League baseball team out of the sectional tournament, the 12-year-olds are now headed to the Borough Cup championship game on Aug. 14 at Yankee Stadium.

They will face the USC Knights of Kingsbridge in a matchup pitting Queens against the Bronx.

Bayside’s road to the finals was paved with success. The Rebels dominated all five tournament games, outscoring opponents 41 to two.

The Rebels blanked three straight Queens teams to advance to the city playoffs. They beat the Forest Hill Bombers 7-0, defeated the NY Nationals 7-0 and trounced the Queens Braves 12-0.

In the next round, Bayside handed the Bronx’s TM Select team a 9-1 loss, leading them to the semifinal game against Staten Island’s Mid-Island Royals. On Sunday, the Queens champions easily beat the Royals 6-1, moving on to the championship game.

Now they will face a formidable foe in the USC Knights, which have also overpowered its competitors. The Bronx team has scored 55 runs throughout the Borough Cup tournament while only surrendering four.

This is the inaugural Borough Cup tournament, created by Mets Hall of Fame pitcher John Franco, WFAN sports radio personality Craig Carton and Brooklyn Cyclones assistant general manager Gary Perone.

 

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

Baseball meets art at All-Star FanFest


| tcullen@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Terence Cullen

It was a bright day at Citi Field, Mr. Met on the JumboTron and traffic on all surrounding parkways was bumper-to-bumper.

Then the sky fell dark as artist Charles Fazzone took a paintbrush to the heavens and made it a midnight blue. A group of people gathered around his work station and marveled as Fazzone painted the 3-D portrait of the ballpark.

His goal was to have the portrait, intended to portray a night game, finished in time for the Major League Baseball All-Star Game on Tuesday, July 16.

“They’d like me to finish it by Tuesday so I’m kind of rushing and so forth,” he said on Saturday, July 13. “I started at the studio—the drawing part of it—the painting part of it I’ve been working for quite a few days.”

Fazzone and his art were one of many attractions at the T-Mobile FanFest last weekend as the baseball world gathered in New York for the Mid-Summer Classic. He has done the cover art for every All-Star Game program since 2003, with the exception of the 2006 match-up in Pittsburgh.

Along with Fazzone’s exhibit, FanFest included pieces of history, games and some of baseball’s legends. Mets alumni John Franco, Edgardo Alfonzo and Mookie Wilson served as ambassadors, with team captain and third baseman David Wright as its spokesperson.

Fazzone said his paintings for the game are auctioned off by MLB, will all proceeds going to Stand Up 2 Cancer, which helps fund cancer research. Fazzone said the painting he worked on at Fan Fest could go for anywhere between $18,000 to $35,000.

The New Rochelle-based artist, who considers himself a “New York fan” when it comes to baseball, said he was glad this year’s game was in the city, where he has a large group of collectors.

“It’s very special to me because this is my largest collector base of fans,” he said. “It’s really nice to be to be here in New York because all the FanFests have been in different cities for so long. And I know the city so well and people familiarize my artwork with being New York artwork.”

 

RECOMMENDED STORIES

Mets tickets go on sale Monday at 10 a.m.


| brennison@queenscourier.com

photo - rotundaw

Spring training is in full swing, Opening Day is a month away: time to get your Mets tickets.

New York Mets tickets go on sale to the general public on Monday, March 5 at 10 a.m.

The Mets open their season on against their rival the Atlanta Braves on Thursday, April 5 at 1:10 p.m.

Throughout the year, the Mets 50th anniversary, the team will celebrate their history. During their golden anniversary, the Mets will honor a star player from each decade with a bobblehead day. Tom Seaver, Rusty Staub, Keith Hernandez, Edgardo Alfonso and Mike Piazza will be honored.

For fans who miss Jose Reyes (or want to boo him), he returns to Citi Field on Tuesday, April 24 with the Miami Marlins.

This season the Mets have revived Banner Day, a tradition started when they still played in the Polo Grounds and continued to 1996. Fans make homemade banners, then parade around the field with them. Banner Day takes place on Sunday, May 27 against the Padres.

The World Series champion St. Louis Cardinals visit the Mets on Friday, June 1 and the team will induct former closer John Franco into their Hall of Fame on Sunday, June 3.

The Mets take on the Yankees in the annual Subway Series beginning on Friday, June 22. During the series you can bring your old Mets cap to trade in for a new one.

The team has also announced over the weekend a Friday night concert series.  On three Fridays throughout the season the Mets will host a postgame concert.  The concerts will feature REO Speedwagon on June 15, Cheap Trick on July 20 and MercyMe on August 10.

Some other notable promotions and giveaways the Mets will have during the season are:

- Tom Seaver bobblehead on Sunday, April 22

- Rusty Staub bobblehead on Saturday, May 26

- Fireworks Night on Tuesday, July 3

- Mini bat on Saturday, July 7

- Edgardo Alfonzo bobblehead on Saturday, July 21

- Mike Piazza bobblehead on Saturday, August 25

To purchase tickets visit Mets.com or call 718-507-TIXX.

Closer in the Hall: Mets to induct Franco


| smosco@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of the New York Mets

The New York Mets added another fan favorite to their Hall of Fame, announcing plans to induct former closer John Franco this summer — making him the fifth new inductee in three years.

“I am truly honored and humbled by being elected into the Mets Hall of Fame,” Franco said. “Growing up as a kid in Brooklyn and … always rooting for the Mets, and then working my way through high school and college and having a good career here in New York, it’s an honor for me to be inducted into the Hall of Fame.”

Franco’s resume with the Mets includes 276 saves, tops in franchise history, as well as a National League pennant in 2000. Spending 14 of his 21 big league seasons in New York, Franco amassed 424 career saves, the most by a left-hander and fourth most all time. His 3.10 ERA as a Met ranks fifth amongst those with at least 700 innings pitched for the franchise. Franco posted a 2.89 overall career ERA with the Mets, Reds and Astros.

“Obviously, John’s career statistics are exceptional,” said Mets executive vice president of business operations Dave Howard. “But beyond that, Johnny was always very special to Mets fans and to this organization, being a true New Yorker who was committed to being a productive and good member of the community.”

Deadly St. Albans ‘DWI’ crash


| jlane@queenscourier.com

Graphic by Jay Lane

4 Accused in Theft of Aid Meant for Nonprofit

In 2006, a Queens state senator, Shirley L. Huntley, set up a nonprofit group called Parent Workshop that was intended to help parents navigate the inner workings of New York City’s school system. Then she began funneling state aid to the group, whose executives had close ties to her. But the money never helped a single family in the school system, prosecutors said Wednesday. They said four people with ties to Parent Workshop were involved in the theft of nearly $30,000 in state aid that Ms. Huntley had secured. Read More: New York Times

 

[UPDATE] Cops hunt Long Island City rape suspects

Police are looking for three suspects in connection with the ambush and rape of a woman in Long Island City. According to police, the 20-year-old victim — who is from the neighborhood — was walking along Vernon Boulevard and 10th Street in L.I.C. at approximately 3:45 a.m. on Sunday, December 4 when she was grabbed by two of the suspects and dragged to a nearby parking lot. There, she was held down between parked cars and raped by a third man. Read More: Queens Courier

 

What Would Judy Say?

Judge Judy Sheindlin answers your questions about problems that trouble you most. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Kids meet former Mets’ hurler John Franco

Thirteen-year-old Joseph Santana stood in line wearing an oversized striped Mets jersey, clutching a cobalt blue baseball cap. He bobbed excitedly as the line grew shorter, anticipating his turn. When he reached the front of the line, he thrust the cap at former Mets relief pitcher John Franco, who scribbled his signature in black Sharpie marker across the brim. Read More: Queens Courier

 

Riders on the Q111 bus uneasy about their safety after fatal shooting 

Rattled riders on the Queens bus line where a gunman shot two passengers last week said they are scared that violence may erupt again. After Demel Burton, 34, went on a shooting spree on the Q111 on Friday, straphangers said it underscored the fact that bus drivers can’t protect them. Read More: Daily News

Alec Baldwin apologizes to American Airlines passengers for plane outburst, but not to flight attendant

 

Actor Alec Baldwin apologized Wednesday to fellow passengers for the cell phone inspired tirade that got him bounced from an American Airlines flight. But the Hollywood hothead remains enraged with airline staff. “I learned a valuable lesson,” he said in a Huffington Post article. “I’ve learned to keep my phone off when the 1950s gym teacher is on duty.” Baldwin claimed that the incident was triggered after “one employee singled me out to put my phone away” while the delayed flight was waiting at the gate. Read More: Daily News

Deadly St. Albans ‘DWI’ crash

An allegedly boozed-up driver was arrested after he slammed into two cars in Queens yesterday, killing a 21-year-old man, cops said. Curtis Dean, 25, was cruising south in an Infiniti on 201st Street in St. Albans when he smashed into a Ford sedan just after 5 a.m., sending the Ford into a resident’s yard, cops said.Three victims were taken to Jamaica Hospital, including a passenger in the Ford who died there. Dean also allegedly plowed into a parked SUV. He was hit with a slew of charges, including manslaughter and DWI. Read More: New York Post

 

Remembering John Lennon: On the Anniversary of His Death, 5 Iconic Moments (Video) via the Hollywood Reporter

Department of Transportation To Investigate Dangerous Queens Intersection

It’s almost like a game of chicken. Drivers speed through the stop sign on Vleigh Place in an attempt to beat cars with the right of way on 72nd Avenue. And while most make it through the intersection without a problem, neighborhood residents say they have witnessed a lot of accidents. “There have been about four accidents in the past maybe month and a half. People fly past the stop sign like it doesn’t exist,” said one resident. Read More: NY1

Long Island City Residents Urged To Stay Alert After Parking Lot Attack

Police say a woman in Queens was attacked by three men and raped earlier this week, and now residents and local leaders are urging others to stay alert. Watch the Video: NY1

Atomic Bomb Survivors Visit Flushing International High School

Survivors of the Hiroshima and Nagasaki bombings visited the Flushing International High School to speak with students Wednesday. Watch the Video: NY1

Lame defense: Graffiti suspect: I’m crippled

An ex-cop standing trial on charges that he had revived his youthful graffiti-vandal compulsion was walking with a limp and appeared to be incapable of the dexterity required for the avocation, the arresting officer testified yesterday. Steven Weinberg admits that he once was the infamous “Neo” who, during the height of the city’s 1980s graffiti scourge, “bombed” trains and trestles with his bubble-lettered signature. But his lawyer, Patrick Broderick, said Weinberg, with an injured leg, couldn’t possibly make the climb required recently to spray-paint his tag on an overpass. Read More: New York Post

 

Kids meet former Mets’ hurler John Franco


| aaltman@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Alexa Altman

Thirteen-year-old Joseph Santana stood in line wearing an oversized striped Mets jersey, clutching a cobalt blue baseball cap. He bobbed excitedly as the line grew shorter, anticipating his turn. When he reached the front of the line, he thrust the cap at former Mets relief pitcher John Franco, who scribbled his signature in black Sharpie marker across the brim.

“Thank you!” said Santana, a broad smile stretched across his face.

“I’m a big Mets fan!” Santana exclaimed. “I’m happy I got to meet a Mets player!”

Santana was just one of over 200 kids who attended the Citi Holiday Event at Citi Field on Tuesday, December 6. The event partnered Citibank with United Neighborhood Houses (UNH), a non-profit organization that provides social, educational and recreational services for local residents. UNH has over 37 settlement houses that work with low-income youth, aiming to instill life skills, job training and college preparation in the area’s children.

Natalie Abatemarco, managing director of community development, was excited to continue the event Citi has put on annually since the ballpark’s opening in 2009.

“We’re here to celebrate with the United Neighborhood Houses and bring young people to Citi Field,” said Abatemarco. “These are our Citi Field kids and we’re excited to celebrate the holiday season with them.”

Kids buzzed around the room of the Acela Club at Citi Field as ballpark staff members served them heaping plates of macaroni and cheese and chicken fingers. Mr. Met, the Mets mascot, greeted guests and posed for photos. They then took tours of the facility, ending with a few swings in the Met’s batting cage.

Monica Guzman brought over 60 kids with her from Sunnyside Community Services, each of whom she hopes will cherish this special event.
“This will be a day they’ll remember forever,” said Guzman. “They’ll go on to tell their kids about it.”

Franco, a New York native himself, was happy to spend the holidays back on his home turf.

“I hope there are a lot of smiles,” said Franco. “I hope we bring a lot of happiness to the room.”

Franco spent most of the evening surrounded by swarms of kids, ecstatic to meet the baseball legend.