February 25, 2016
The first pictures from the spring training camps in Florida and Arizona are always tonic for the soul of this baseball nut. Nice to realize that every team will remain 0-0 until early April when the records start to count.
I find it ridiculous to rank teams before games really matter, but the 24/7/365 world (more…)
February 14, 2016
It’s a special time of year with the days growing longer, college basketball season heading to a regular season climax with my two alma maters Columbia and Wisconsin in the hunt for post-season action, and of course spring training camps ready to open next week.
Columbia’s chances for its first Ivy League (more…)
February 1, 2016
On Friday January 29 the New York Pro Baseball Scouts Hot Stove League held their 51st annual dinner. Usually this event occurs on a bitterly cold or snowy evening - just the Saturday before the baseball writers dinner was canceled because of Blizzard Jonas.
Happily, the scouts’ shindig this year was held on almost a balmy night. As usual Leonard’s of Great Neck, the well-known Long Island mecca for weddings, bar mitzvahs, and other happy occasions, provided the setting.
A recurring theme in the lively speeches was pride in the New York-area player who can hold his own with the more highly coveted prospects from Texas-California-Florida.
Main speaker J.P.Ricciardi, longtime assistant to the Mets gm Sandy Alderson and a former Blue Jays gm, praised passionately the work and commitment of the Northeast area scout. He lamented the increasing power of the national cross-checker in most organizations.
Yankees scout Matt Hyde, winner of the Bennie Borgmann Good Guy Award, noted a piece of good advice he received early in his career from former Met and Yankee Lee Mazzilli: “Remember that every player has a heartbeat.” (BTW Borgmann was a great basketball player, too, and he is honored at the Basketball Hall of Fame in Springfield, Mass.)
WFAN’s Ed Coleman, winner of the Dick Young award as media Person of the Year,
brought back some great memories of early television when he referenced George Gobel’s self-effacing remark that in the world he felt like brown shoes at a gathering of tuxedos.
Coleman’s modesty was not necessary because in this age of loud-mouthed media screamers his informative and measured work on WFAN is one of the treasures we older folks enjoy hearing.
Columbia’s baseball coach Brett Boretti won the Ralph DiLullo Metro Coach of the Year award for his remarkable run of three straight Ivy League championships. In 2015 the Lions won three games in the Miami regional of the NCAA tournament.
Boretti paid tribute to the leadership qualities of his players and his own willingness to hire people smarter than himself.
Mets rookie lefty Steven Matz won the Herb Stein “Star of the Future” award. He was already working out in Florida, but Matz’s father accepted the award gratefully.
Mets’ scout Larry Izzo, who signed Matz, received the night’s biggest ovation as the winner of the Turk Karam Scout of the Year. Izzo assured the audience that as promising as Matz looms on the mound, he’s even a better person.
Izzo quipped that he will forgo his expense account money to help the Mets pay returning outfielder Yoenis Cespedes. He said that in 200 years he then might get paid again.
Turning serious, Izzo said that he considers his biggest thrill when he can help a local player win a scholarship to college.
All in all, the scouts dinner as usual provided a wonderful evening. With February now having begun we can lovingly anticipate the sounds of bat on ball and ball in glove before the year's shortest month is even over.
So now more than ever remember: Take it easy but take it!