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Carroll’s Column: Queens Business Expo held at Citi Field

Stadium/Citi Field
Outside of Citi Field - Image Credit: Henry Ordosgoitia (Henry O.)/Latino Sports

NEW YORK — You may have already heard about further construction going down outside of the New York Mets’ home ballpark, Citi Field, as a new soccer stadium/venue is set to be built across the street. With that included, there could be even more additional renovations on the way with pending project plans still in the works through the political and economical spectrum…

Mets CEO Steve Cohen smartly used last Tuesday’s Queens Business Expo, held at Citi Field’s Piazza Club, as a way of rallying the Queens commerce community behind his plans to build Metropolitan Park on a good chunk of the current parking lot on the western side of the ballpark. Cohen’s plan would include a 25-acre family park, restaurants and entertainment facilities, and a casino.      

Behind Home Plate at Citi Field – Image Credit: Latino Sports

The Hard Rock Hotel & Casino would operate the gambling emporium. Officials from its Hollywood, FL corporate headquarters came to the Queens Business Expo to chat with attendees. They also dispensed as much swag as the Mets do on a giveaway promotion date. Cohen also had representatives at the table next to that of the Hard Rock to tout the benefits of the proposed Metropolitan Park.   

Unfortunately for Steve Cohen, the Queens Business Expo attendees did not include State Senator Jessica Ramos, or any other Queens politicians from the left side of the political spectrum. Citi Field is in Ramos’s district, and her opposition to the project has seemingly put a kibosh on it. Interestingly, the assemblyman for the area, Jeff Aubry, supports Cohen’s project.

Steve Cohen meets with media during a press conference at Citi Field – Image Credit: Bill Menzel/Latino Sports

Ramos likes the idea of Metropolitan Park, but wants it to double the proposed size, and without a casino. She must realize Cohen has no incentive to get rid of a revenue-generating parking lot for a public good without a casino.      

Her opposition to a casino stems from concerns it would harm her district. The Resorts World Casino at Aqueduct has not had a deleterious effect on South Jamaica. The Parx Casino located in Bensalem, PA, just a stone’s throw from the Philadelphia border, has not lowered real estate values in tony lower Bucks County.      

Steve Cohen, and his wife, Alex, have met many times with community groups to listen to their concerns.

Steve and Alex Cohen – Image Credit: George Napolitano/Latino Sports

This is vastly different from when Amazon acted in an imperious manner when they announced plans to build a second headquarters in Long Island City. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos gave off a “take it or leave it” attitude which angered and galvanized community groups, and anti-business, progressive politicians. In February 2019, Bezos announced Amazon would build its second corporate home in Northern Virginia.   

The Queens Chamber of Commerce always contracts a former Mets player to attend the Queens Business Expo to mingle with exhibitors and attendees. Former Mets infielder and current SNY air personality Todd Zeile shook hands and took pictures with anyone who asked.     

Cricket World Cup playoffs at Eisenhower Park 

While the Mets were playing baseball in London, the Cricket World Cup playoffs were taking place in Nassau County’s Eisenhower Park.

A view of a packed Nassau County International Cricket Stadium during the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup cricket match between India and Pakistan – Image Credit: Stefan Jeremiah/AP Photo

Considering Queens is the “World’s Borough,” and therefore has a sizable number of both cricket fans and players, it would have been more fitting for those matches to have been played in Flushing Meadow Park. 

The Mets and Phillies face-off in London 

Saturday was a good day for the Philadelphia Phillies. They beat the Mets 7-2 in London, while one of their best former sluggers, Jayson Werth, watched his horse, Doornoch, win the Belmont Stakes which was run at Saratoga. 

The Mets flipped the script on Sunday by winning a thrilling 6-5 nail-biter, as they rallied twice from deficits, including scoring three runs in the ninth inning to take the lead for the first time. As usual, the Mets bullpen gave the Flushing faithful aggravation in the bottom of the inning. A heads-up play by catcher Luis Torrens to turn a broken bat squibbler by Nick Castellanos into a game-ending double play, made duty-free shopping at Heathrow Airport, and the transatlantic flight home a happier experience.     

Major League Baseball Becoming More and More of a Global Game

The weekend London Series was Major League Baseball’s attempt to grow the game in the United Kingdom. The closest Great Britain had to baseball was a game called rounders. The Mets brought former star players Mike Piazza and David Wright, while the Phillies countered with Chase Utley, Cole Hamels, and Ryan Howard.

Their missions were to teach the fundamentals of America’s pastime to kids who had never seen a baseball game, and to promote the game to the British media. They all were enjoying themselves.    

Rangers eliminated by Panthers in Stanley Cup Playoffs

I get the feeling many New York sports fans and media types were secretly relieved the Rangers were eliminated from the Stanley Cup playoffs by the Florida Panthers. Sports fans who don’t follow the NHL did not want to have to fake interest. Many sports talk radio show hosts feared their hockey ignorance would be exposed by callers.

Rob Parker launches Sports Rap Radio on Detroit’s WXYT (1270 AM)

Speaking of sports talk radio, congratulations to media entrepreneur, former Newsday sports columnist, and Martin Van Buren High School alum Rob Parker on the launch of Sports Rap Radio on Detroit’s WXYT (1270 AM).

Sports Rap Radio

Image Credit: Audacy

It is the first Black-owned sports radio station in the country. Among the hosts are former MBA stars BJ Armstrong, who is also an investor in Parker’s syndicate, and Lindsey Hunter. 

Giants’ 100th year anniversary celebration begins 

Expect to hear quite a bit about the Giants’ centennial over the coming twelve months. Next Thursday, June 20, the team will start honoring its legacy with a “Giants 100″ celebration at the Theater at Madison Square Garden. Expect many current and former players to be in attendance. Saquon Barkley, now a member of the Philadelphia Eagles, is unlikely to make an appearance.      

HBO Hard Knocks News

In other Big Blue news, HBO will debut “Hard Knocks: Offseason with the New York Giants” on July 2.

It will be interesting to see how candid general manager Joe Schoen and Head coach Brian Daboll will be when they are interviewed without any players around. 

“Clipped” out now on Hulu 

Cable’s FX Network, and the Hulu streaming service, are airing “Clipped.” It is a six-part dramatization of former Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling. Ed O’Neill portrays him as a vain fool who often spoke without thinking and allowed himself to be beguiled by his mistress.

Image Credit: FX

While the subject is a Los Angeles NBA team, this is far more serious than HBO’s light-hearted “Winning Time,” which recalled the late 1970s and early 1980s LA Lakers. 

Remembering and Paying Tribute to Parnelli Jones 

The death of auto racing legend Parnelli Jones last week at the age of 90 did not receive the media coverage it deserved. Jones’ thrilling victory in the 1963 Indy 500 helped cement the Memorial Day weekend tradition as the most prestigious race in American motor sports. It was also responsible for Brian Wilson and Mike Love coming up with the lyric, “She makes the Indy 500 look like a Roman chariot race,” in the 1964 hit, “Fun, Fun, Fun.”

WNBA Headlines revolving around Caitlin Clark 

How famous is Caitlin Clark? When she was pushed without warning by the Chicago Sky’s Chennedy Carter resulting in a flagrant foul on the Sky, it became a major news story. MSNBC’s Stephanie Ruhle devoted a ten-minute segment on her show, “The 11th Hour,” on it. Magic Johnson discussed with Jimmy Kimmel on his ABC late night talk show the preceding day.

Caitlin Clark drives to the basket against Chennedy Carter at Gainbridge Fieldhouse – Image Credit: Getty Images

That would not have happened if Carter had roughed up any other WNBA player. 

UFL announces Kartom as their official CBD partner 

It was not long ago when the term “cannabis industry” generated thoughts of Cheech & Chong movies, as well as images of high school and college students sneaking a forbidden puff of a joint held on a roach clip.      

These days, many baby boomers think of cannabinoids (CBD) not for marijuana use, but rather, in the form of a salve or cream to be applied on aching joints because of its anti-inflammatory properties. Last Friday, the spring pro football league, the UFL, announced a company called Kartom would be its official CBD partner. Interestingly, the annual Cannabis World & Congress Business Expo got underway that day as well. Surprisingly, the only medicinal CBD company I saw exhibiting was an upstate New York wellness company, the Healing Rose.

You can read more of Lloyd Carroll’s columns posted weekly on The Queens Chronicle.

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