Marc Maturo’s official sports column
As Casey Stengel would cry: Metsie! Metsie! Metsie!
Players now dot
The beloved Mets, marked more by ineptitude than championships over the seasons, apparently still have a knack for developing future big-league skippers and staff members.
Welcome former reliever and fun-loving spirit Neil Allen to the brigade.
The well-travelled Allen, 56, who also pitched for the Cardinals, White Sox, Yankees and Indians in an 11-year career, was recently named pitching coach under new manager and Hall of Famer Paul Molitor with the Minnesota Twins. Allen replaces Rick Anderson, another Metsie of the past, and Molitor replaced long-time manager Ron Gardenhire, another ex-Met and former teammate of Allen’s.
Allen, who is perhaps famously known for the trade in 1983 that sent him and Rick Ownbey to the Cardinals for first baseman Keith Hernandez, posted a career 3.88 ERA with a 58-70 record and 75 saves. Allen, who now lives in Sarasota, Fla., was drafted by the Mets, as was his predecessor Anderson.
Asked to describe his pitching philosophy, Allen was quoted in a 2010 interview with the Sarasota Herald Tribune: “I attack the zone. I’m not a guy, as you well know when I was a closer — I’m not a guy who picks and feels my way. I’m not afraid of contact. I don’t want them to be afraid of contact; I want them to put the ball in play. I don’t like base on balls.”
The Twins obviously went in the right direction in this regard under Anderson, having allowed nearly 700 fewer walks than any other team in baseball during his 13-year tenure under Gardenhire.
Allen joins a staff that already includes hitting coach Tom Brunansky, assistant hitting coach Rudy Hernandez, third-base coach Gene Glynn and bullpen coach Eddie Guardado.
Backman waiting his turn
The Mets, it should be noted, have five former players managing in the big leagues, despite Gardenhire’s dismissal and with Wally Backman, a former Mets infielder and teammate of Gardenhire’s, on the precipice of being elevated from the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate in Las Vegas.
The five current managers with ties to the Mets are Robin Ventura with the White Sox, Bruce Bochy with the Giants, Clint Hurdle with the Pirates, John Gibbons with the Blue Jays and Lloyd McClendon with the Mariners.
Gibbons was once a big-time catching prospect whose career was sabotaged by an elbow injury.
Along the big-league coaching landscape one can find a bevy of former Mets, led by long-time shortstop Larry Bowa who is the third-base coach with one of his former teams, the Philadelphia Phillies. Bowa is joined by other one-time Mets in first-base coach Juan Samuel, pitching coach Bob McClure and batting coach Steve Henderson.
The Mets themselves have a former player on the staff, with Tim Teufel manning the third-base box for manager Terry Collins.
Roger McDowell, who was also a free spirit like Allen when he toiled in the Mets bullpen, has been the pitching coach for the Braves while another pitcher, Ray Searage, is the pitching coach in Pittsburgh.
The list goes on with Brett Butler the third-base coach with the Marlins and Jose Oquendo the long-time third-base coach in St. Louis, Oquendo, Mets fans might remember, was brought up to the big club as a 19-year-old prospect.
Brent Strom, yet another former Mets hurler, is the pitching coach in Houston, while former standout third baseman Howard Johnson is the hitting coach in Seattle, where erstwhile Mets catcher and all-star John Stearns is expected to be the third-base coach.
Last but never least, Tim Bogar is a bench coach with the Texas Rangers, where Dave Magadan is the hitting coach. Not to be forgotten are Joe McEwing and Daryl Boston, the third-base and first-base coaches, respectively, with the White Sox.
Center field poster boy Lee Mazzilli is also among the several Mets who have been on big-league staffs, having won a ring with the Yankees as a coach. He also managed in Baltimore, but proved not to be the second coming of the late Earl Weaver or even Joe Altobelli.
ANSELMI HONORED: Senior midfielder and team captain Eleni Anselmi of Garnerville, a standout on the women’s soccer team at New Paltz, was named National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Women’s College Division Scholar all-East Region Honorable Mention. A communications disorders major with a minor in deaf studies, Anselmi earned a 3.32 grade-point average (GPA) in addition to being named to the State University of New York Athletic Conference (SUNYAC) second team earlier in the fall. The North Rockland HS alumna started all 18 matches this year and led the team in nearly every offensive category including goals (6), assists (5), points (17), shots (49) and shots on goal (26). She tallied three penalty kick scores and one game-winning goal. The five assists are tied for fourth-most in single-season program history. In the SUNYAC, Anselmi ranked fifth in assists, sixth in assists per game and eighth in points and points per game. For her career, Anselmi started 68 matches and tallied 13 goals and 11 assists for 37 points and ranks fourth all-time in assists and eighth all-time in points. Anselmi led the Hawks to an 8-8-2, 2-5-2 record under 17th-year head coach Colleen Bruley, a five-win improvement from a season ago.
MAVERICKS ANNOUNCE SCHEDULE: The Mercy College women’s lacrosse team, which includes junior midfielder Meg McNally of Hillburn, is scheduled to open its season on March 2 in Springfield, Mass., against American International College. Last season, McNally posted 13 points on five goals and eight assists for Coach Dawn Anselmin, who led the Mavericks to a 6-11 record in just her second season at the helm in Dobbs Ferry. Mercy’s home and East Coast Conference opener is set for March 4 to face the national semifinalist Pioneers of LIU Post. … Alex Fishberg of Suffern, a junior right-handed pitcher, and Nanuet High School alum Matt Flannery of Pearl River, who is an infielder, are preparing for the baseball season at Iona College in New Rochelle.
MARKETPLACE: ESPN Deportes will begin its 11th year of U.S. operations in January, with soccer continuing as its main focus. But, “American” sports are gaining traction with its viewers in the U.S. -- a sign that a significant percentage of Hispanics desire Spanish-language content, even if similar
English-language choices abound. http://www.multichannel.com/espn-deportes-10-steady-growth-shifting-competitors/386342#.VJSP8_pCbSQ.twitter
THIS & THAT: The River Rowing Association is offering adult rowing classes at its new indoor training facility at 256 Main Street in Nyack. Classes are usually offered at 9 a.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays; 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays; and Sundays at 9 a.m. Visit www.riverrowing.org. … Rodale Inc. is accepting resumes for a paid temporary public relations position with the Sports Group, which consists of Runner’s World, Running Times and Bicycling magazines, based in the Midtown East Manhattan office. The position requires 20-30 hours per week and runs from January-May. Contact Alyssa.Romano@octagon.com. … Big Ernie Terrell, who once held the heavyweight title for a brief time, has died in Chicago of complications from Alzheimer’s disease. He was 75. Terrell, who would call Muhammad Ali by his given name Cassius Clay, suffered a punishing loss to Ali in a 1967 grudge match.