(Long Island, NY) Talk about a lousy birthday. On the Fourth of July, George “The Boss” Steinbrenner turns 76 years young and the Yankees get clobbered 19-1 by the Indians in his home town of Ohio. How long before Mount George erupts and has GM Brian Cashman start some wheelin’ and dealin’ to shore up that shaky pitching staff and corner outfielders?…..On the other side of town, the Mets keep marchin’ out has-beens and never-wills for that number five spot in their starting rotation. Since April, they have had the likes of Jose Lima, Jeremi Gonzalez, John Maine and Alay Soler come in and show absolutely nothing. They even have brought Maine and Lima back for a second look. Barring any trades for a real arm such as Dontrelle Willis or Livan Hernandez, it is time to see what Mike Pelfrey has for the rest of the season.
The Long Island Ducks have taken the First Half North Division title from their rival, the Bridgeport Bluefish. Regardless of losing a number of players to the major leagues since the start of the season, they have done the job and pulled it out before the Atlantic League All-Star break on July 9th…..Some Atlantic League alumni news: Jose Canseco has requested to be traded after only one game with the San Diego Surf Dawgs of the Independent Golden Baseball League. The part-time author asked to be dealt to the Long Beach Armada due to child custody changes, and he would like to spend more time with his daughter in Los Angeles over the summer. Maybe the ‘Dawgs won’t miss him that much after an 0-3 with three strikeouts in his debut.
I can hear the comparisons already. Every time that Marcus Williams has a good night with the Nets, the critics will be screaming that the Knicks made a bad pick with Renaldo Balkman. If Isiah Thomas has done one thing good throughout his front office career, it has been draft picks. If the N.I.T. MVP can bring a little energy to the Garden, the pick will be a positive one. He has the look, now he has to show it…..Speaking of the mess that is the Knicks, James Dolan will really be singin’ the blues if NBA Commissioner David Stern rules in favor of Larry Brown in their contract dispute.
The United States gets booted in the World Cup, and in the Annual Fourth of July Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest in Coney Island, Brooklyn. Takeru Kobayashi, the reigning champion from Japan, edged Joey Chestnut 53 ¾ hot dogs to 52 in 12 minutes. It was Kobayashi’s sixth consecutive ‘Mustard Belt’ Nathan’s championship. Chestnut is the current American champion with the amount he ate. There was a void in the contest with the recent retirement of Long Island’s own Ed “Cookie” Jarvis, who decided to hang up his spoon.
LAST CALL: Get well soon, Peter Gammons. The ESPN baseball analyst recently underwent brain surgery for an aneurysm in Cape Cod. Hoping to see you back on the tube quickly.