My home town has done well in the past week, with former Mets and Yankees star Carlos Beltran being named manager of the Mets, and former New York popinjay Donald Trump announcing he had changed his official place of residence to Florida.
Trump may soon be looking to spend more time at "home" now that many of his lackeys are having amazing memory surges, either from medication or dream sequences or advice from counsel in the Ukraine caper.
He is surely doing it to avoid taxes that he may not pay anyway. But until the process server or Roger Stone's police escort come a-knocking, he can preen in Mar-a-Lago.
Don't tell him that the Florida coast is going to be inundated sooner rather than later by the rising seas that he is increasing with his wanton scorn for the Paris environment agreement.
The part I liked best about Trump's announcement was the way it was greeted by his former neighbor, New York governor Andrew Cuomo. Trump is older, but for many years his family lived on Midland Parkway in Jamaica Estates and the Cuomo family lived on Rio Drive in Holliswood. Their homes were roughly 10 blocks apart, via Henley Drive. I know this because my family lived for a very long time on the busy 188th St., with the buses and the cabs and the lunatics, right in between those two tony neighborhoods.
Yes, Queens boys are a yappy lot -- from point guards to tennis stars to rappers to comedians to politicians -- even a few journalists. In his see-ya farewell to his former Queens neighbor, the Guv channeled his inner Gene Wilder in the movie "The Frisco Kid."
As a rabbi, a long way from Poland, Wilder refuses to allow the killing of an outlaw who is threatening him, Instead, (in heavy Yiddish accent): the rabbi shows mercy, saying: "Would somebody please show this poor asshole the way out of town?"
Now, about Carlos Beltran. Remember Carlos Beltran? The Mets made him the first Latino manager of any major New York team, not that I think they were making a statement like that. He always struck me as a proud, skilled and somewhat reticent artisan, who plied his trade in modesty. I never saw him as a manager. But the teams he served near the end of his admirable career attest to his knowledge and quiet leadership. Plus, he has the reputation of a Hall of Fame signal-stealer.
But can he manage? Never done it. There is something to be said for learning the trade in the minor leagues where the stakes and the attention are not so high. Leadership can be learned, even taught (I still remember the ROTC leadership manual we used in college;an they could pass it out in companies like Facebook and Boeing.)
Managers these days seem to have a bench coach to give them backup. (Trump could surely use one.) Managers also have to live with instructions from the Analytics Laboratory. Personally, I'd like to see Terry Collins, an old-school manager who had the Mets hustling during his regime, back as bench coach.
One thing the Mets won't have to worry about is moving expenses since Beltran already lives in a sumptuous "apartment" on the East Side of Manhattan. I know this from the collected works of a real-estate maven named Laura Vecsey:
Nobody really knows how Carlos Beltran, quiet star, will fare as a manager.
But as for the shady character who is now officially leaving New York as his official residence, may I summon the dismissive words of Casey Stengel whenever the Mets dispatched one of their early failures:
"I seen what he done."
Indeed. Buena suerte, Sr. Beltran.
Welcome to World Cup 2022, the most absurd thing that the routinely absurd world of sports has ever produced.
Those extreme descriptions were what virtually the entire world, save for those who had walked off with bags of cash from Qatar, called the awarding of soccer’s greatest event to the incredibly tiny, incredibly wealthy country back in 2010.
Twelve years ago, many were convinced this event couldn’t possibly happen: staging the world’s biggest sporting event in a country the size of Connecticut, one with zero soccer culture and even less soccer infrastructure? The tournament couldn’t possibly take place in 120-degree heat, and FIFA, the governing body of soccer, most certainly wouldn’t upend football leagues around the world to change the traditional summer schedule, could it?
And, for God’s sake, what about the beer?
Those were just the logistical concerns. The moral concerns are far more distressing. FIFA, so busy paying lip service to equality, couldn’t possibly expect the world to embrace a country where you could go to prison for being gay, where women’s rights are severely curtailed and female victims of sexual assault could go to prison, charged with engaging in extramarital sex. And all those questions came before the global realization that the World Cup was being built on the backs of migrant labor: modern-day slaves held in Qatar with virtually no rights, low wages and no ability to leave. Migrants make up 90% of Qatar’s stated population of 3 million. The country’s native-born equal about 300,000, or roughly the size of Anaheim.
---Ann Killion, columnist for The San Francisco Chronicle.