During my non-commercial radio days in the 1980s, I made the acquaintance of the memorable publicist Irving Rudd. In his long career, he worked for many sports ventures including the Brooklyn Dodgers, Yonkers Raceway, and at the end for boxing honcho Bob Arum (BTW Arum was a graduate of Harvard Law School in the 1950s along with Dick Moss, a huge Pittsburgh Pirates fan who was the baseball-loving counsel for the nascent MLB Players Association under Marvin Miller.)
Irving Rudd battled throat cancer for years but was always a vital and smiling presence on the sports scene. When I asked him one day how he was doing, he rasped, "Bobbing and weaving." It has become my stock answer for the age we are living in and for any baseball season. .
What a difference a week makes! In my last blog, I praised Kyle Gibson's insights into starting pitching philosophy and he practiced what he preached in a sterling win against the Yankees. His mentee Grayson Rodriguez did not listen or couldn't execute when he opened the Friday night home series against the resurgent Texas Rangers who seem for real under new manager Bruce Bochy.
Rodriguez was sent down to Triple A Norfolk after giving up 9 runs in less than 4 innings. He's still only 23 and was drafted by the Dan Duquette regime out of high school in Texas. He joins DL Hall another high school signee from the previous
regime who has also yet to show consistency.
One of the old adages of baseball is that you can't give up on young pitching, but right now the Oriole staff is being saved by the two horses in the bullpen, the Rock, Yennier Cano, a Cuban defector they obtained as a throw-in from the Twins in the Jorge Lopez trade last summer, and the Mountain, Felix Bautista who has emerged after more than a decade of toiling in the lower minors.
The groin injury to Cedric Mullins suffered late in the Memorial Day shutout loss to Cleveland looks serious and he could be out for a considerable amount of time. The Birds' outfield depth in the minors will have to come to the rescue. The loss of Mullins will definitely be felt, but I think the Birds have shown enough resilience to stay in the divisional race.
Youneverknow what will happen in baseball. Look at Wrigley Field in Chicago on Memorial Day. The high-flying Rays who just had won a hard-fought series at home against the Dodgers - possible World Series preview? - got one-hit by former Met Marcus Stroman WHO THREW A COMPLETE GAME. It can happen if the analytic-drenched brains controlling so many teams can let go for a while and watch the pitcher show mastery.
Now, it's time for the rundown on what New York City-area and northeastern teams made the 64-team college baseball regionals leading to the 8-team College World Series starting in Omaha on June 16.
All double elimination regionals will start on Fri June 2 and will be televised on some ESPN platform.
**Army plays top-seeded Virginia at Noon on ESPN+ - E. Carolina and Oklahoma are also in regional.
**Ivy League winner Penn plays at Auburn on 7p on ESPN+ with Southern Miss. and Samford also in regional.
**Central Conn. St from New Britain plays at South Carolina with Campbell (Cedric Mullins' alma mater) & NC State.
**Rider from Trenton NJ plays at Coastal Carolina at 7p on ESPN+ with Duke and UNC-Wilmington in same regional.
**UConn, a rare #2 from Northeast, plays #3 Texas Tech at Florida at 1p on ESPNU with #1 Gators playing Florida A & M Hall of Famer Andre Dawson's alma mater - I tell the story of signing of Dawson by scout Mel Didier in my new book BASEBALL'S ENDANGERED SPECIES.
**In a rare #2=#3 matchup of eastern teams, Maryland, Big Ten champion, and Northeastern, coached by Michael
Glavine, Hall of Famer Tom Glavine's brother, at 1p on ESPN+ Host Wake Forest plays George Mason in other game-
**Finally, Maine faces U of Miami at Miami at 7p ESPN+ with Texas and Louisiana (the former Louisiana-Lafayette) also in regional.
Last but not least here is the quarter-final lineup for the PSAL high school playoffs on Tu May 30 at 330p
#1 Luperon from Upper Manhattan hosts South Bronx at Randall's Island Field 20
#2 Tottenville hosts John Jay at its Staten Island field
#3 Monroe hosts Inwood at Mike Turo Field on the Monroe campus in east Bronx near 177th Street
#4 George Washington hosts #5 Grand Street of Brooklyn (Dellin Betances' alma mater)
The semi-finals will be best two out of three at higher seed's field over the weekend of June 2-3-4.
The final will be at Yankee Stadium on Mon June 12. There will also be the AA final at that time.
That's all for now. One cultural note - the new production of Mozart's last opera "The Magic Flute" can be seen
through June 10. The music remains sublime and the production is both lively and profound.
Last performances are W May 31 at 730p, Sat Jun 3 at 1p (broadcast on national radio), Tu June 6 at 730p, Th June 8 at 730p, and final performance of season for the Met, Sa Jun 10 at 730p More info at metopera.org
Always remember: Take it easy but take it, and these days especially, stay positive test negative.