NEW YORK– Ever since the offseason began, the New York Mets have led MLB headlines with potential signings, and trade rumors, however; last week’s announcement makes 2023 in Flushing, Queens even more special for Amazin’ faithful out there.
Last Wednesday, the Mets announced the 2023 inductees for their Hall of Fame Museum, located in the rotunda of Citi Field. Former third baseman Howard Johnson, southpaw starting pitcher Al Leiter, and team broadcasters Gary Cohen and Howie Rose will be the newest members. Jay Horwitz will receive a Lifetime Achievement Award. The ceremony will take place prior to the Mets game against the Toronto Blue Jays on June 3rd.
The inductions of Johnson and Leiter, both fan favorites and key contributors to winning Mets teams in the late 1980s and 1990s, respectively, exhibit the reasons why most baseball teams have their own hall of fame museums. While both Johnson and Leiter enjoyed finer careers, they would be the first to admit they do not qualify for induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, New York. Nonetheless, they deserve recognition for their terrific tenures wearing a Mets uniform.
Gary Cohen, the longtime Mets television play-by-play voice, and his radio counterpart, Howie Rose, grew up in Flushing and Bayside, respectively. Both cited how living in Queens and therefore being close to Shea Stadium were why they became huge Mets fans at young ages during a Zoom press conference on Thursday. They spoke about how today’s fans see them with the same fondness their parents had for the triumvirate of Ralph Kiner, Lindsey Nelson, and Bob Murphy who were the team’s radio and TV voices for many years.
Horwitz ran the Mets media relations department from 1980 through 2019. In his 2020 autobiography, “Mr. Met” (Triumph Books), he admitted it was the Mets soon-to-be former owners, the Wilpon family, who asked him to leave media relations, and become the team’s VP of alumni affairs, where he continues to serve.
Horwitz has been great in that relatively new role, but the Mets should have let him remain as vice-president of media relations. I never realized how good he was handling the needs of the press until he was no longer doing that job. Jay did it well for 39 years. His successor stepped down from that post after just four years.
While it is great the Mets will salute Jay, he deserves to be honored in the exact way Leiter, Johnson, Cohen and Rose will be. Mets CEO Steve Cohen should commission the bronze bust for him, which every other Mets Hall of Fame inductee has received.
Though it won’t mollify fans who feel flustered that the Mets could not reach a deal with Carlos Correa, New York ‘boosted’ their offense last week by signing free agent outfielder Tommy Pham. I recall Pham being a tough out when he played for the St. Louis Cardinals. He joins the recently acquired Tim Locastro in providing respectable outfield depth for the Mets.
REMEMBERING FRANK THOMAS
Learning of the passing of Frank Thomas, who was the Mets’ most feared home run hitter during their 1962-63 Polo Grounds tenure, rekindled memories of chatting with him during a Mets alumni weekend in 2019. Thomas, then 90 years old, was razor sharp, and still looked like he could hit baseballs out of the park. The only concession to age were his hearing aids.
SWEENY MURTI LEAVES WFAN AFTER 30 YEARS
In a reminder of the troubling economics of terrestrial radio, WFAN parted ways with its popular longtime Yankees beat reporter, Sweeny Murti last Friday. Interestingly, the Mets have openings in their radio booth. Howie Rose has reduced his workload by skipping some road trips. Rose’s recent radio partner, Wayne Randazzo, is now the television play-by-play voice of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. New York Post sports media columnist Andrew Marchand is reporting WCBS-AM pre and postgame host, Brad Heller, also will not be returning.
Apparently, Audacy, the corporation which owns both WFAN and WCBS, wants a studio host who can do play-by-play when needed. Sweeny Murti has done some in-game broadcasting. Audacy would be wise to gauge Murti’s interest in jumping over to Queens.
HBO’s GAME THEORY
HBO launched its second season of “Game Theory” last Friday night at 11pm ET, following “Real Time with Bill Maher.” “Game Theory,” is a half-hour vehicle for witty host Bomani Jones to riff on sports, news, and pop culture. You can think of Jones, who spent years on various ESPN shows in supporting roles, as a hybridization of Bob Costas and Kevin Hart.
Pickleball has become the fastest growing sport in the country. Given it is a net and racquet sport, it was inevitable many retired professional tennis stars would take an interest in it. Horizon Sports & Entertainment will be staging Pickleball Slam at the Hard Rock Resort & Casino in Hollywood, Florida on April 2nd. Michael Cheng, Andy Roddick, Andre Agassi, and Douglaston’s own John McEnroe will be competing for $1,000,000 in prize money.
FOX SPORTS & JOE DAVIS
During the FOX sports broadcast of Saturday night’s Giants-Eagles playoff game, Joe Davis got off a good quip as New York had to call a timeout after quarterback Daniel Jones’ contact lens popped out of his eye. “Football is a contact sport,” Davis said while Jones headed back to the Giants bench to have his optical issue attended.
Ultimately, the Eagles defeated the G-Men, 38-7, marking Philadelphia’s eighth appearance in the NFC Championship game, the organization’s first trip to Championship Weekend since 2018.
FIRST SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE OF 2023
The FOX Sports NFL studio team was nicely spoofed in the cold open for the first “Saturday Night Live” of 2023. The SNL writers wanted to use Curt Menefee, Jimmy Johnson, Howie Long, Terry Bradshaw, and Michael Strahan (all played by various cast members) as a way of having fun with embattled Queens and Nassau Congressman George Santos in a very unexpected manner. Bowen Yang was hilarious as Santos.
You can read more of Lloyd Carroll’s columns posted weekly on The Queens Chronicle.
/ 6 hours ago
28 hours of live Winter Meetings presented by CohnReznick coverage begins this Sunday, Dec. 3, from Nashville
The following was released on MLB.com — 28 hours of live Winter Meetings presented...
/ 16 hours ago
“The secret to being successful as a manager is to keep the 13 players...
/ 2 days ago
NEW YORK — From borough to borough. From The Bronx to Flushing, Queens. The...