By Neil A. Carousso
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — It’s supposed to be the day of new beginnings for baseball fans nationwide, but Major League Baseball’s Opening Day is delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“I never imagined not only that it would come to this, but we don’t know what the end-game is,” said Howie Rose, the radio voice of the New York Mets on WCBS 880’s In Depth podcast.
Typically, millions of Americans who have renewed optimism funnel into stadiums nationwide to take in the sights of the freshly cut grass and painted team logo on the field, smell of hot dogs and rich ballpark food, enjoy the taste of a cold beer, embrace family, friends and fellow fans, and get goosebumps at the sounds of the pop of the glove, crack of the bat and Rose’s voice bellowing through the Citi Field public address system as he announces the Mets Opening Day lineup.
But, this is no typical year.
“This is something that a Michael Crichton novel might have been be able to forecast, but apart from that, it’s nothing that we ever could have prepared for,” Rose said regarding businesses, sports, restaurants and all group activities being shut down amid the national health crisis.
He has been taking the extra time to read at his home in Florida. A bit of a history buff, Rose is currently reading “Button Man,” a historical fiction novel written by Andrew Gross about a Jewish family brought together at the inception of the garment business in New York City in the 1930s.
“If anybody’s got any suggestions, throw ’em my way because, as we know, plenty of time to catch up on reading,” he said.
Rose recognizes baseball is not the priority for the country or the world battling a novel virus that has killed tens of thousands of people globally.
“Never mind the health risks and the primary concern being everybody’s physical condition, but how long is it going to be before we can return to any semblance of normalcy?” he pondered. “When does it mean that we have a baseball season, if we have a baseball season? My hope is that we will and my opinion is that any size or any length season is acceptable.”
Rose tells WCBS 880 his “fantasy” is that the COVID-19 pandemic will pass as quickly as it hit, and fans can come together as a nation on the country’s birthday, the 4th of July, to celebrate, and more than ever, reflect on the freedoms Americans are fortunate to have.
His famous call of Mike Piazza‘s home run in the first game back in New York after 9/11 has brought joy to Mets fans in helping the City heal. When asked if America’s Pastime can once again provide respite during a fearful time, Rose said, “I have never been so sure of anything in my life as I am of that.”
Listen to the full conversation with Howie Rose on the 880 In Depth podcast on the RADIO.COM app or wherever you get your podcasts.
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – This week marks 50 years since the Miracle Mets shocked the baseball world. Mets Ron Swoboda and Ed Kranepool spoke with WCBS 880 about what it’s like to look back on the win after all these years.
Outfielder Ron Swoboda told WCBS 880’s Neil A. Carousso that he and his teammates still feel a strong bond with fans and will reunite on Long Island Wednesday night to share their fond memories of the team.
“You know baseball is our careers and all of them are made up of these little vignettes and these little stories that we can relate,” Swoboda said.
Swoboda made “the catch” in Game 4 that helped propel the Mets past the Orioles in the World Series of 1969. He said manager Gil Hodges was a Marine who instituted much-needed leadership for the young team.
Some baseball fans have criticized teams for relying too much on analytics, but Swoboda says Hodges applied data available to him at the time to put the best on the field.
“You can go through game after game, play by play, and see the decisions that Hodges made and the situations he made them in,” Swoboda said. “He was uncanny in his ability to plug the right guy in at the right time, because the season had a lot of ebb and flow.”
Ed Kranepool has played more games in a Mets uniform than anyone else. He told WCBS 880 that 1969 was a turbulent year in America and that the team’s victory was a moment of joy.
“It was a tough time in the country back in ’69. You had people walking on the moon. You had Woodstock. You had the Vietnam War. There was a lot of negative surroundings, but of course winning in ’69 with our ball club really brought the country together and people got behind us and celebrated,” Kranepool said. “And they’ve celebrated this year, and you know it just brings joy.”
Kranepool said a lot of players came through Shea Stadium and Citi Field, but members of the ’69 team have managed to remain friends after 50 years.
“That group that we had in ’69 stayed very close on and off the field. We traveled as a group, we played as a group and we celebrated as a group, and we’re still celebrating, and that’s what’s great,” he said.
Kranepool is amazed by how many fans still feel so connected to the Miracle Mets.
“Every day when you get up in the morning you can say a little prayer and be thankful that you’re still here, you’re still able to do things. The fans will never let us forget ’69. They want to hear the stories, they want to see us, they want to get an autograph,” Kranepool said. “It brings joy to everybody’s heart to really be able to celebrate, and I’m looking forward to seeing all the fans.”
You can join Swoboda, Kranepool and Art Shamsky at the Cradle of Aviation Museum in Garden City at 7 p.m. Wednesday—50 years to the day that the team won their first championship. You can purchase tickets for the event at cradleofaviation.org.
Kranepool will also be at the BNB Bank Business Breakfast on Thursday at the Huntington Hilton. You can find more info on the event here.
Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman sat down with Anthony Scaramucci and his wife, Deidre Scaramucci, to open up about his experience with being nearly arrested for driving a “stolen” car. Turns out, the situation was more embarrassing than anything else.
The Scaramuccis recorded their RADIO.COM Original podcast, “Mooch and the Mrs.,” live from New York City’s Hunt & Fish Club in Times Square on Tuesday. When Cashman took the stage, Deidre couldn’t resist asking him about the details of his near-arrest.Cashman begins by explaining what happened. Back in August, he went outside in the morning to take a cruise in his convertible Jeep, only to find that the car had been stolen. The car was soon recovered without damages.
Upon retrieving the car and driving back to his home, Cashman quickly learned that the vehicle had not yet been taken off of the “stolen” list. He was pulled over, held at gunpoint, and asked to raise his hands above his head.
As terrifying as the situation sounds, Cashman remembers one overwhelming emotion: embarrassment. “I wasn’t scared, I was embarrassed,” he explains. Patrons of a nearby Starbucks saw the whole thing.
The Yankees GM could only imagine what they must have been thinking. He continues, “They’re thinking, ‘What am I, Pablo Escobar?’”
Still, Cashman lauds the NYPD for their fast acting, despite having mistaken Cashman for a thief. “I give a huge applause to them,” he says of the incident.
Cashman’s got one confession regarding the whole ordeal. “I just didn’t want the body cam footage coming out,” he explains.
You can hear more about Scaramucci and his guests by downloading the RADIO.COM app here.
Neil A. Carousso executive produced the “Mooch and the Mrs.” live event at Hunt & Fish Club in Times Square on Tuesday, September 17, 2019, including leading event planning, guest booking, activation, sales, and technical, digital and engineering support.
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — The Mets are turning back the clock this weekend as they celebrate the 50th anniversary of 1969 World Series championship team.
Members of the “Miracle Mets” cruised along the newly named Seaver Way in vintage Ford convertibles as the team reenacted the 1969 World Series parade.
PHOTO GALLERY: 1969 Miracle Mets Celebration At Citi Field
Jerry Koosman, Bud Harrelson, Jerry Grote, Cleon Jones, Art Shamsky, Ed Kranepool and other members of the championship team were then given keys to the city from Mayor Bill de Blasio, who called them a “lovable group of guys” and “ultimate underdogs.
“New York City felt a lot in 1969 and New York City has never stopped loving you guys,” the mayor said.
— New York Mets (@Mets) June 29, 2019
“This is all good. We’ve had a pretty wild weekend,” Miracle Mets outfielder Ron Swoboda said. “To be with these guys that we don’t see much of is perfect. It’s pretty cool to come back here. This is an upbeat thing for me, we’re not going to be here for 100.”
“It’s one of the most iconic teams in the history of baseball and I think we all appreciate how special that was,” Shamsky said. “It’s just a great day and a great time for all of us.”
“The last time we got together it was 10 years ago, I wish we could do it at least every five years that would be really nice,” said 1969 Mets third baseman Wayne Garrett. But while many years have passed he says they just pick up where they left off the last time.
“It’s tremendous, we haven’t been together in 10 years when we had the 40th anniversary, it’s always good to see them,” said Kranepool, who attended the celebration after recovering from his recent kidney transplant.
The team reunited on the field where they were honored with a special ceremony, emceed by Mets radio broadcaster Howie Rose.
The Mets also paid tribute to the 1969 members who are no longer with us, and those who could not attend due to health issues.
Most notably absent was “The Franchise” Tom Seaver, who is suffering from dementia and has retired from public life.
“He was the team. Everything focused around Tom, he was ‘The Franchise’ and we all knew that and when Tom was pitching good, we played good for some reason. When he threw and when he was on, and it seemed to be just about everytime he took the mound, he gave that inspiration to all of us and the confidence. He instilled that in all of us, and it’s too bad he’s not here,” Garrett said.
“I’m disappointed that Seaver’s not in good health, that’s one of the biggest reasons I’m here,” former third baseman Bobby Pfeil said. “In essence, I’m here to honor him.”
Earlier this week, the Mets honored the star of the 1969 World Series championship team, Tom Seaver, by changing the Citi Field address to 41 Seaver Way. The team also announced they have commissioned an eight-foot statue of Seaver to be built in front of the ballpark in the near future.
Don't mess with a man and his truck! Former @Mets catcher Jerry Grote tells @WCBS880 how he got on Nancy Seaver's bad side when Tom Terrific finally got a pick-up truck. #1969Weekend #41Forever #LGM https://t.co/gwe9EtgotR pic.twitter.com/chAfItyTxb
— WCBS Newsradio 880 (@wcbs880) June 29, 2019
Nicknamed “Tom Teriffic,” Seaver, widely considered the best Mets player in history, won three Cy Young awards while with the team and was voted into the Hall of Fame on his first ballot.
On Sunday, the 1969 celebration continues with Shamsky signing copies of his book After the Miracle: The Lasting Brotherhood of the ’69 Mets in the Jackie Robinson Rotunda prior to the start of the game and the first 15,000 fans who enter the ballpark gates will receive a 1969 Replica Ring.
Neil A. Carousso produced all videos and social content for WCBS Newsradio 880, the Flagship Station of the New York Mets.
NEW YORK (WCBS 880) — Mets great Mike Piazza may not be taking the field Thursday, but he’ll still be at Citi Field on Opening Day.
The 12-time All Star and 10-time Silver Slugger Award winner played with the Mets until 2005 and says years later, he still misses Opening Day with the team.
“It’s always a thrill as a player, Opening Day, because it’s such a tradition in baseball and in New York it’s even more special because of the intensity the fans here,” Piazza said. “There’s not a day that doesn’t go by that you don’t miss it, so you miss it every day as a player and so it is very special.”
The former catcher says he’s already offered advice to newcomer Pete Alonso, who makes his Citi Field debut on Thursday, telling him to “drink it in and enjoy it.”
Piazza says “it takes a special person to really do well in New York” and that Alonso already shaping up to be a great addition to the team.
“He’s off to a great start and I think even more so, I’m completely convinced he’s gonna be a great player, but he looks and, just from when I’ve talked to him, being a great kid as well and a good person,” Piazza says.
Starting the season on the road has given Alonso a chance to break into the big leagues with a little less of a microscope, but Piazza says that he’s already begun to make a name for himself. It also helps that he has the support of veterans such as Robinson Cano and Jacob deGrom.
“A guy like Robinson Cano, he makes the team better just by his presence in the lineup,” Piazza says.
As for deGrom, the former Met says “he’s a great competitor, he has great stuff, he’s a great guy in the clubhouse and when he won the Cy Young, as I said, I put a note out that I’m proud of him because he’s a good guy and he works hard, but he’s a bulldog on the mound and he’s got all those great qualities, so I think we’re very blessed to have him.”
Neil A. Carousso produced special coverage of the Mets 2019 home opener at Citi Field, including Brad Heller’s interview with Mike Piazza, for WCBS Newsradio 880 – the flagship station of the New York Mets.