Tag Archives: MLB

Attend a Mets game to support the NYS Pavilion


| ctumola@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of New York Mets


The Mets are stepping up to the plate to help out one of their iconic neighbors.

In cooperation with People for the Pavilion (PFP) and to celebrate the 50th and 75th anniversaries of the World’s Fairs, a portion of each ticket purchased through a special online offer for the team’s Friday, August 1 game at Citi Field will help support the PFP’s initiative of preserving the New York State Pavilion in Flushing Meadows Corona Park.

Purchasers will receive a Limited Edition Mets Pavilion t-shirt. Additionally, groups of 25 or more get welcomed on the Right Field Scoreboard and the group leader receives four tickets to the game of their choice (tickets subject to availability).

To buy tickets for the 7:10 p.m. game against the San Francisco Giants, click here.

 

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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

 

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Mets David Wright becomes ‘Face of MLB’


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy The New York Mets

Follow me @liamlaguerre 

 

Mets captain David Wright won the MLB’s “Face of MLB” contest.

The contest came down to a match up against Oakland’s Athletics’ infielder Eric Sogard and Wright.

“Captain America,” as Wright has come to be known, gained more retweets than Sogard by fans to win the contest.

 

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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

 

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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.”

 

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Mets Piazza misses Hall of Fame vote again


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy The New York Mets

Mets legendary catcher Mike Piazza was snubbed from entering the MLB Hall of Fame for the second year in a row.

Candidates for the Hall need at least 75 percent of votes to make it to Cooperstown, and Piazza only garnered 62.2 percent from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America on Wednesday.

It’s a bump up for Piazza, who received just 57.8 percent of the vote on his first ballot appearance last year.

“On behalf of the organization and our fans, Mike is a true Hall of Famer,” Mets COO Jeff Wilpon said. “We proudly display his plaque in the Mets Hall of Fame, and we’re hopeful that he’ll soon have one hanging in Cooperstown.”

Although Piazza’s presence will not be felt in the hall just yet, this year three players received enough votes to enter the Hall, an improvement from last year in which no player received enough votes. Atlanta Braves ace pitchers Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine, and slugger Frank Thomas are all heading to Cooperstown.

The last time three players were voted in to the Hall was in 1999 with George Brett, Nolan Ryan and Bobby Yount.

Some players accused of using Performance Enhancing Drugs were also denied entry into the Hall again, including Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGuire and Roger Clemens. Yankees favorites Mike Mussina and Don Mattingly also didn’t receive enough votes to enter Cooperstown.

Piazza fans shouldn’t give up hope just yet. The Mets slugger still has 13 more chances to be on the ballot.

Also, at the last Mets game of the 2013 season on September 29, the team inducted Piazza as the 27th member in the Mets Hall of Fame.

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.

 

Follow on Twitter @liamlaguerre 

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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.



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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

 

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Teen who ran onto field at All-Star Game faces year in jail


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Screenshot via YouTube/rurbanlegend1·

The truth is that this dare landed him in hot water.

The teenager who ran onto the field during the Major League Baseball All-Star Game at Citi Field as part of a Twitter dare may pay big for that error in judgment.

District Attorney Richard A. Brown announced that Dylan McCue-Masone, 18, has been arraigned on charges of interfering with a professional sporting event and third-degree criminal trespass, and faces up to a year in jail and $5,000 in penalties.

“The defendant is accused of interfering with a nationally televised sporting event and the enjoyment of the viewing public,” Brown said. “What is particularly disturbing in this case is that the incident occurred while the game was in progress and the players were on the field.”

McCue-Masone allegedly created the dare to run on the field after receiving 1,000 twitter responses, according to the district attorney.

Brown acknowledged that McCue-Masone was an excited young sports fan but said “There is no such thing as being too careful,” citing the 1993 incident when a spectator stabbed professional tennis player Monica Seles during a match in Germany.

Brown added, “Which is why my office and the operators of the various sports arenas in Queens County have zero tolerance for spectators who fail to conduct themselves responsibly at sporting events.”

The city council passed the Interference with a Professional Sporting Event Law in 2003 after fashion designer Calvin Klein stepped out onto the basketball court at Madison Square Garden in 2003 to speak with Knicks guard Latrell Sprewell during a game.

New Jersey resident John McCarthy, 38, was the first person charged under the law when he ran onto the field during a Mets game at Shea Stadium on May 4, 2004, carrying a sign that read “Howard Stern: Here’s Johnny.”

McCarthy pleaded guilty and was sentenced to eight weekends in jail, fined $2,000 and ordered to serve three years’ probation, while being banned from Shea.

YouTube/rurbanlegend1

MLB to donate $250K to Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

THE COURIER/Photos by Liam La Guerre

Major League Baseball stepped up to the plate for south Queens.

The league announced it will donate $250,000 to build an all-star teen center in the new wing of the Boys and Girls Club of Metro Queens as part of its $5 million legacy project.

The Boys & Girls Club is currently undergoing an $11.5 million capital project transformation, with the first phase the completion of the left wing.

In a topping off ceremony on Friday, July 12, public officials, Mets and MLB administrators and Boys and Girls Club members signed a white beam that was hoisted and inserted on top of the new wing, which is currently scheduled to be finished in December.

“The club has served more than 500,000 children in its 57-year existence,” said Borough President Helen Marshall, who was able to contribute nearly half of the money needed for the renovations. “I am thrilled that this new building will become a second home to thousands of additional children in the surrounding neighborhoods.”

The teen center will be a 3,000-square-foot space decorated in Mets orange and blue. It will include a technology lab, a college lab, classroom space, a lounge and a viewing balcony overlooking the new gymnasium. The center will serve high school students in Richmond Hill, Ozone Park, Woodhaven, Glendale, Howard Beach and Jamaica.

“While other clubs have gone extinct, this boys and girls club has become a beacon of hope,” said State Senator Joseph Addabbo.

The Boys and Girls Club was one of many projects in Queens and New York City chosen by the Mets and MLB as part of their legacy programs.

“The Mets and baseball targeted programs that provide great service for New York City, that have worked successfully in the past with both the Mets and Major League Baseball and that are best suited to create lasting benefits and to make a real difference in the lives of deserving New Yorkers,” said David Cohen, executive vice president of the Mets.

After the new wing is erected, the club will begin phase two of the transformation and renovate the old wing. Phase two is slated to begin in April of next year, according to Carol Simon, executive director of the Boys and Girls Club.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Joseph Ferrara, chairman emeritus, who has been a part of the club for nearly 45 years. “I always envisioned that I would rebuild this club better.”

 

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All-Star Game to benefit local communities


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

File photo

Major League Baseball is planning to bring more than just entertainment to Queens during the All-Star Game and events next week.

The MLB is partnering with the New York Mets Foundation to support charitable initiatives in Queens that will fund recovery efforts from Sandy, impact the lives of underserved youth and local veterans, and help fund a local veterans’ center as a part of its $4 million Legacy Projects.

The 84th Mid-Summer Classic will “leave a lasting legacy benefiting communities throughout New York City and beyond,” the league said in a statement.

MLB is planning to renovate the baseball fields in Hinton Park in Flushing and O’Donohue Park in Far Rockaway. The two fields in Hinton Park will receive new Astroturf, new home plates, bases, a portable pitching mound, repairs to the fencing, and improvements to bleachers, walls and handrails. The renovations at O’Donohue Park, which will be done with assistance from Scotts, include new infield sand mix, regrading the infield and grass outfield to facilitate drainage, fixing the new soil, adding a new dugout fencing, and refurbishing the outfield fencing and bleachers.

The league will also upgrade the outdoor green space and recreation area, including accessibility modifications, and add an enclosed patio to the Veterans Affairs New York Harbor Healthcare System in St. Albans.
With assistance from Magical Builders, the MLB will facilitate the building of a new 3,000- square-foot Teen Center and Cafe at the Boys & Girls Club of Metro Queens.

Formerly the South Queens Boys & Girls Club, the organization has embarked on a $11.5 million capital improvement project and will be opening its new building in January 2014.

The Mets and the MLB are donating $250,000 toward a new Teen Center in the building, which will include a technology lab, a college lab, classroom space, a lounge and a viewing balcony overlooking the new gymnasium.

“The teen center will offer job readiness training, college tours, dance and music classes, leadership clubs, fashion shows, and much more,” said Carol Simon. “This club has already served over 50,000 children in its 57 year existence. Thanks to this new building, thousands of additional children in the years to come will make this their second home.”

 

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Queens expects money boost from All-Star Game


| lguerre@queenscourier.com

Photo courtesy of MLB

With the Major League Baseball All-Star Game in Queens this year, local businesses are expecting a boost from the fans who will attend the game on July 16 at Citi Field, as well as the many events in the days before.

“The All-Star Game brings in more people than just the 45,000 people for the game itself,” said Jack Friedman, executive director of the Queens Chamber of Commerce. “They [fans] use hotel rooms, they use restaurants. And the beauty about the All-Star Game is that it’s not just one game, it’s a whole weekend.”

The Queens Chamber of Commerce created the “This is Queens” app to showcase the restaurants, hotels, sites and events in the borough after receiving $100,000 in state funding. Using the app tourist and fans can search for things to do and places to go in the borough and stay in Queens longer instead of traveling to Manhattan.

“The whole reason we got the money to build the app was because of the All-Star Game and the U.S. Open,” said Friedman. “We wanted to be sure that people coming in from the All-Star Game would find things to do.”
Restaurants around Citi Field are preparing for the influx of customers and hotels are already filled for the All-Star Weekend.

“The Z NYC Hotel is 71 percent filled this Friday [July 12] and 85 percent this Saturday [July 13],” said Lisa Gneo, director of sales and marketing of Z NYC Hotel. “The occupancy at the hotel has been consistent all summer long and as we approach the weekend, we could see an increase in bookings due to the All-Star Weekend.”

Some feel that the economic effects of the All-Star Game will extend beyond the country and have an international impact. With all the media attention the game will get, Queens will be talked about on television sets nation-wide and because of the Internet, around the world.

“In the long run it will be very positive for us,” said Rob Mackay, director of public relations for the Queens Economic Development Corporation. “Everybody loves Queens.”

 

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