East End Matters...
The leaves are changing color, the air is cooler and the talk of change is in the air. Now here is where I was going to talk about something most others would consider important like another possible rise in MTA fares or the upcoming election, but nahhhhhhhh. The change that really excites me is the change that came with the press conference held by the owners of the New York Mets on Monday. After four years of disappointing seasons, Omar Minaya has been relieved of his duties as general manager. Jerry Manual is now the former manager of the team after serving in that role since 2008.
Now comes the hard part, hiring a new GM to hire a new manager so that the team and its fans can be led out of the despair that has been the last few seasons. Since 2006, when the Mets came within one out of returning to the World Series for the first time since 2000, not much has gone right in Flushing. The online website, The Bleacher Report, has listed the top 10 most inept sports franchises. The New York Mets came in at number four just after the Buffalo Bills and the Detroit Lions (who were tied for third), the New York Knicks and the Pittsburgh Pirates. OUCH! That is not a ranking of which to be proud.
According to a New York Times blog, Bats, by Tuesday the Mets had begun contacting several teams but had not yet received permission to speak with any potential GM candidates. The owners, Fred and Jeff Wilpon, would like to have someone in place by the end of October. In addition, whoever the new GM is, he will have to make the decisions to cut the bloated contracts of pitcher Oliver Perez (whose appearance in the final game of 2010, after having been buried in the bullpen for a month, became a metaphor for the season as he walked in the winning run of the game) and second baseman Luis Castillo. He will also have to decide what to do with closer Francisco Rodriquez. For those who want to blame the players, and they are certainly not blameless, just remember what a change of leaders did for the Orioles, who were the worst team in baseball until Buck Showalter took over in August. Showalter led the team to a 30 and 22 record over the last 52 games of the season.
If the Mets’ ownership doesn’t get the decision for a new GM right and then, whoever is in that position get right the pick for a new manager – preferably someone who can infuse some fire in the team – then the next few years will be a replay of the last four.
For those who say there is nothing for young people to do in Far Rockaway be prepared to eat your words. The Teen Library in Far Rockaway has a working studio and for the last few months teens have been using the equipment to express themselves through music and the spoken word. On October 20, from 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. there will be a listening party open to the public and members of the entertainment industry to show people the hidden talents of our local young people. An article elsewhere in this week’s paper describes the event and qualifications for using the studio. The important thing to remember is that this is not something that can be found in other parts of Queens. It was made possible by Assemblywomen Audrey Pheffer and Michele Titus who listened to our youth and helped them obtain what they wanted – to produce their own music. For parents who are concerned that their children are not learning anything, you will be glad to know that working in the studio helps teens increase their math and computer skills. The Teen Library, located at 2002 Cornaga Avenue, is open weekdays from 2:30 p.m. to 6 p.m. and approximately 500 young people use its computers and take part in its programs each week. Stop by on October 20 and see what local teens are learning and doing in this unique facility.