New York City might be big enough for two professional baseball teams, but only one franchise, and in most cases one player, will control the back pages. Last season that man was Derek Jeter. Now that his farewell tour has ended, I wasn’t sure if it ever would, there are two men who will fill that void. Matt Harvey and Alex Rodriguez are poised for a back page battle in their 2015 returns. But as was the case in ‘Highlander’ – there can be only one.
In 2013, Harvey took the league, and city, by storm. You could find him featured in ESPN Magazine: The Body Issue, participating in skits for ‘The Tonight Show’, on the cover of Sports Illustrated, Us Weekly (featuring his breakup with super model Annie V) and sitting courtside at Knicks/Rangers games. Oh, then there was the fact the he started the 2013 All-Star game at Citi Field. Almost forgot about his on the field dominance. Simply put, he was everywhere.
Unfortunately, Harvey’s rise to stardom was derailed by a season-ending elbow injury that led to Tommy John Surgery. Even while he missed the entire 2014 season recovering he grabbed more attention than his active teammates. Now, much of that has to do with the lackluster season the Mets put together. Nonetheless, Harvey has become a walking headline. Every interview, comment, appearance or tweet he made has become back page news.
Harvey’s combination of talent and brash have him on the cusp of taking the throne as King of NY. All eyes will be on him this spring as he returns to the mound.
Then there’s A-ROD. He is one of, if not the, most captivating figure in sports. Given where he stands in today’s media landscape, it’s easy to forget that A-ROD was once one of the most popular players in the game. That was long before he donned the pinstripes. As a young phenomenon he was well on his way to a Hall of Fame career and was on pace to break every record in the book. He earned the largest contract in professional sports history (he would later receive a second deal to top that). His little black book is filled with a “who’s who” of women in Hollywood. Then steroids came into the picture. Accusations occurred, denials were initially made and then apologies were ultimately issued.
A-ROD went on to become a World Series hero and all was forgiven. Or was it? Accusations of PED once again began to occur. A lot of them. Denials were once again made. Then a suspension was handed down. A big one (The largest in baseball history). And once again, an apology was issued. This time in the form of a handwritten note.
Here’s an excerpt:
“I accept the fact that many of you will not believe my apology or anything that I say at this point. I understand why and that’s on me. It was gracious of the Yankees to offer me the use of Yankee Stadium for this apology but I decided the next time I am in Yankee Stadium, I should be in pinstripes doing my job.”
People love to see the mighty crumble. As bad as that may sound, it’s true. Think about every featured story on the news, magazine covers or website homepages. More times than not you won’t be seeing any feel good stories. It’s almost always regarding someones downfall. Hence why these A-ROD scandals have been so widely reported. Sure, his story has become kind of repetitive. He’s almost like watching a rerun on TV. You’ve already seen the episode. But you enjoyed it so much the first time around that you decided to watch it again. Sound familiar?
I don’t care how many monuments the Yankees give out this season. A-ROD is the only Yankee story people care about.
The media aren’t the only ones excited for A-ROD’s return. Earlier this week Harvey himself said “If he is that dedicated and wants to come back then more power to him for going up to the organization like that, it shows a lot,” Harvey told the NY Post. “It will be exciting to see what he can do.”
No one epitomized a baseball player better than Derek Jeter. But I found myself becoming bored with him during those dog days of summer last season. I craved that polarizing figure. Someone who has a bit of a flair to him. I missed Matt Harvey. And at times, I can’t believe I’m saying this, I missed A-ROD..
Both The Mets and Yankees are projected to be in the playoff hunt this year, but neither are considered favorites. It’s been a while since these two were on roughly an even playing field. While winning is crucial in NY, it is considered almost equally as important to win those back pages. A-ROD, for both his on and (mostly) off the field actions, could be the Yankees only hope in this battle. While Matt Harvey will try to solidify himself as the new face of baseball in NY.
A few days ago, Mike Puma offended the Mets with his article poking fun at Bartolo Colons’ weight. The NY Post ran one of their attention grabbing headlines ‘Lardball!’ to go along with Puma’s piece.
His first paragraph included the excerpt:
“If the umpires searched Bartolo Colon’s neck for a foreign substance on Thursday, chances are they only would have found peanut butter.”
This was Puma’s way of taking out two birds with one stone, as he made light of the Michael Pineda pine tar incident and Colon’s appetite in one. Although Puma is responsible for the article, I hope the team is aware that he more than likely didn’t make the headline. Those are normally done by an editor after reviewing the piece. So there is more than one culprit here, just trying to be fair to Puma, who has been held solely responsible.
Once the piece was made public, and was received with more laughs than disgust, The Mets came together and took a stand against this kind of reporting. Following the game that day, the entire Mets roster was absent from the clubhouse and refused to speak to the media until Puma left the room. Upon his departure, the team quickly returned and spoke to the remaining reporters on hand. Continue reading
Yesterday, Mookie Wilson made headlines when blurbs from his new book, “Mookie: Life, Baseball and the ’86 Mets,” were released. Wilson, who is one of the most beloved players in Mets history, feels he has been mistreated since the Sandy Alderson regime took control of the organization. His comments were very critical of the organization as a whole and he questioned the direction management are taking this team in.
Wilson, was a fan favorite, who played for the Mets from 1980-1989. Fans of that generation remember him being one of the teams few bright spots of the early 80’s. As the decade went on, and more talent arrived, Wilson become a key member of the Mets glory years. But there is one singular play that will have him etched into the history books forever. Wilson is most famously known for hitting the ball that went through Bill Buckner’s legs in game 6 of the ’86 World Series. From there, the Mets went on to win game 7, in what is known as one of the most memorable World Series of all-time.
When his playing days came to an end, Wilson returned to the Mets to become part of the coaching staff in 1996. He served as the teams first base coach under manager Bobby Valentine through the 2002 season. From there, he went on to manage in the minor league system and served as the Mets base running coordinator. In 2011, he returned to the big league club, as he once again served as the teams first base coach. But things got interesting following that season. Continue reading