Tag Archives: miami marlins

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.




Darryl Strawberry: Mets unwise not to trade Reyes

| DStrawberry@queenscourier.om


I was saddened to hear the news of Jose Reyes signing a 6-year contract with the Miami Marlins this week.  He has been a superstar for the Mets, and a fan favorite.  He has an electrifying style of play and will be a tough player to replace.

When facing the realization that losing Reyes to free agency was a real possibility, the Mets were unwise not to trade him.  The organization would have had, at the very least, the opportunity to consider other prospects to rebuild the talent on the team.

I strongly believe the Mets must be strategic in the offseason and take the necessary precautions to remain healthy once the season begins.  Injuries plagued both the star players and the players that stepped in to fill their void on the team throughout the season. The key to success in the upcoming season is playing hard and keeping healthy.

As many of you know I have been an avid basketball fan for many years.   I was thrilled to hear the NBA organizations and players reached an agreement to end the lockout that threatened to shelve the 2011-12 season.  I am excited for the official season to begin on Christmas day and am looking forward to learn where stars like Chris Paul and Dwight Howard end up.  Hopefully NBA teams like the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Hornets will take note of what happens with players like Reyes and not repeat the mistakes of the Mets. It’s important to ensure you’ll be signing talent of your own.  It is going to be interesting to see the result of the Los Angeles Lakers offering up Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom and Andrew Bynum to land Howard and Paul.

My love of baseball and sports in general inspired me to open up a place where the neighborhood could come together, enjoy great food and watch the big game.  I opened Strawberry’s Sports Grill over a year ago and am thrilled with the community’s response. Make sure to stop by the restaurant located at 42-15 235th Street Douglaston, NY 11363.  We’re right next to the Douglaston LIRR train station and only minutes from the LIE and Cross Island Pkwy. You can watch all the NBA action unfold on one of our 16 HD TV’s and you never know when I may pull up a chair for some of our award winning chili, or to just relax and watch the game.

Reyes flies south

| mpantelidis@queenscourier.com

Jose Reyes has stolen the hopes and dreams of every Mets fan faster than he swiped 370 bases for the club.

The Mets’ all time leader in stolen bases has reportedly run from his nine-year home in Queens and flown south this winter after biting on a six-year, $106 million contract the new Miami Marlins used to bait him onto their hook.

The shortstop leaves Flushing as one of the greatest statistical players to ever don a Mets uniform, ranking second in hits with 1,300, first in runs scored with 740, first in triples with 99 and his .292 batting average is the seventh best in franchise history.

Once time passes and cooler heads prevail, and Mets fans cease cursing the Wilpon name, wiping the tears from their eyes and looking up the career statistics of Reuben Tejada (.256 batting average with one homerun and 51 RBI over 174 games), they will realize Reyes’ exit should be of no shock to them.

Fans have surely heard an ear-full about the Wilpons’ financial troubles and learned months ago that the team will cut payroll significantly.

Considering Reyes’ career year this past season, during which he became the first Met to win a batting title, it was fairly obvious he would be highly coveted and likely not be back in Queens.

Reyes’ departure, which transforms Roosevelt Avenue into the “Boulevard of Broken Dreams,” is also the latest and largest example that the Mets have drastically changed their philosophy – the team’s free agent frenzy switch has been flipped from dim during last year’s offseason to complete darkness this winter.

In other words, if they weren’t in rebuilding mode before, the Mets just blew up their house.

According to reports, the Mets did not make a legitimate attempt to sign Reyes – as a matter of fact, they never even made an offer. The team has gone from chasing any and every free agent and having one of the largest payrolls in the league, to one of the clubs they used to pity, watching their stars leave for bigger bucks.

The sad truth, however, is that with or without Reyes, the Mets weren’t competing with the Philadelphia Phillies and Atlanta Braves for the National League East title, let alone the pennant or World Series, in the coming seasons – reference this past season and the four previous years.

The team’s financial situation demands rebuilding, and giving Reyes over a $100 million (with a reported $22 million option in his seventh year) is too much cash to commit to a guy you have to pray plays over 120 games a season for a team that will be mediocre at best. His tremendous numbers this season also make Mets fans forget the multiple collapses and immaturity he has shown during his tenure as the team’s shortstop.

What rightfully stings is that he went to the Marlins – not only a division rival but a team that beat the Amazins’ on the last day of the season in 2007 and 2008, eliminating them from the playoffs on both occasions. It will be understandably difficult for fans to see Reyes in a Miami uniform, and not just because of how hideous they are.

Time, however, heals all wounds, and while it will be odd for many not watching Reyes between second and third next season, come April, the team’s supporters will have plenty on their plate to worry about.

What is certain is that Mets fans will be waiting with bated breaths until the team’s free agent switch is flipped back on.

No way, Jose: Reyes leaves Mets for Marlins

| brennison@queenscourier.com

Photo Courtesy of the New York Mets

Multiple sources are reporting that the Miami Marlins have reeled in Jose Reyes — one of the offseason’s top free agent prizes.

The former Met reportedly accepted a 6-year, $106 million offer from the division rival. The deal also features a seventh year option worth $22 million.

The Mets are looking to slash money from last year’s $140 million payroll.  Currently, there are six Mets under contract for just over $66 million.

Concerns about Reyes’ health aided the Mets reluctance in offering a long-term deal.  Reyes played in 295 of a possible 486 games over the past three years. Reports indicate the team was hesitant about guaranteeing five years to the oft-injured Reyes.

When the speedy shortstop has been able to stay on the field he has been among the league’s top players. The four-time all star is coming off a career year — leading the National League in triples and becoming the first Met to lead the league in batting average.

Reyes leaves Flushing after nine years holding several Mets career records.  He has scored the most runs in team history, hit the most triples and swiped the most bases.  Reyes also has the second most at bats and hits and has hit the third most doubles.

As it stands now Ruben Tejada will replace Reyes as the Mets’ starting shortstop.