Carroll's Cuisine: End of An Era For The Mets • Latino Sports

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Carroll’s Cuisine: End of An Era For The Mets

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NEW YORK- Last Thursday David Wright, flanked by Mets chief operating officer Jeff Wilpon and de facto acting general manager John Ricco, held a press conference at Citi Field to announce that the medical issues that have dogged him the last two years are not getting any better and that it is impossible for him to resume his playing career.

He’ll make a one-time exception a week from Saturday when he’ll be in the Mets starting lineup playing third base when they take on the Miami Marlins in the penultimate game of the season. Even if Wright had been able to recover from his neck and back issues the bottom line is that although he still looks exactly like he did when he got called up by the Mets in 2004, he’s 35.

There aren’t very many position players in the majors who are able to play at the high level to which they have become accustomed at that age. David was understandably emotional at the press conference but he kept his composure. He thanked everyone including the media and apologized for being a boring interview. That was just pure self-effacing humor. I ‘ve always found him to have a keen sense of humor and an uncanny ability to come up with a good quip.

It’s safe to say that since he will no longer be an active player, David will be pestered by new Mets alumni relations director Jay Horwitz who is leaving his role as the team’s vice president of media relations after 39 years.

The Mets held a press conference for Jay last Wednesday and it resembled more of a Friars Club roast as past Mets executives, managers, and players regaled all with tales of the many practical jokes that they played on him over the years. Jay jokingly said that in the 1980s Mets players were always setting him up with women on the road. What he left out was that they weren’t exactly the kind you bring home to meet mom and dad.

Former Mets reliever and St. John’s University alum John Franco paid Jay the ultimate compliment by saying that although he was part of Mets management he was always treated as one of the guys by those in the clubhouse.

The Mets have been very weak in the area of saluting their past players. I asked Jeff Wilpon if the Mets will now hold more old-timers days and Hall of Fame ceremonies. “Jay has free reign,” he replied.

Yes, we’ve had some verbal skirmishes over the years. Like most sports PR types Jay tends to favor reporters from the dailies and I’ve had to remind him that the Queens Chronicle is a weekly and not a “weakly.” He‘s never held a grudge and has always given me the access that I’ve needed. I’ll miss you, Jay.

Joe Torre was one of the many dignitaries who attended the Horwitz press conference. We kibitzed about the Mets teams that he managed from 1977 through 1981 which he acknowledged was a bleak period. “I knew when Fred Wilpon and Nelson Doubleday bought the Mets from the Payson family that I would be fired. I have to say that they did a good job of turning the Mets around quickly.”

Torre then added “I learned the importance of being able to laugh at yourself. That is something that all successful people know.” He then gave a sly grin when I mentioned that there is a certain American political leader who doesn’t share that sentiment.

The Mets held their annual Sterling Awards which honors those players who had outstanding seasons for their minor league affiliates last Wednesday afternoon. The player who received the most attention was Peter Alonso who many fans and media types were urging the Mets to give a September call-up. Alonso didn’t get one because that would start the clock for arbitration and free agency, a fact which he acknowledged and held no bitterness.

I joked with Alonso that Mets fans had heard so much about his home run hitting abilities that he was taking on mythical status akin to Babe Ruth. “Well, I can only do what I can do,” he said with a smile acknowledging that he was familiar with the hype.

Pitcher Justin Dunn, who was Peter Alonso’s teammate for most of last season playing for the Binghamton Rumble Ponies, grew up in Freeport, Long Island. He admitted that he grew up a Yankees fan because his father was a big fan of the Bronx Bombers. “You know how that is!” he said with a laugh.

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About Lloyd Carroll

Lloyd Carroll is the Senior Columnist for the Queens Chronicle, an award-winning weekly newspaper that has served the communities of Queens since 1978. This article as well as many future articles will also appear at Queens Chronicle. In addition, Lloyd also writes for our friends over at NYSportsDay.com. In today’s world of online publications, we at Latino Sports understand and value the importance of collaborating with other online publications in order to showcase and create awareness of each other’s work and dedication to our respectable communities.

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