NOLAN RYAN LEADS THE INDUCTEES TO THE IRISH-AMERICAN BASEBALL HALL OF FAME

On Tuesday June 14th at 12 Noon, The Irish-American Baseball Hall of Fame will induct Nolan Ryan, John McGraw, Big Ed Walsh, Gene Monahan, Steve Donohue and Terry Cashman at Foley’s NY (18 W 33rd St) Here are the bio’s for the newest inductees:

  1. Nolan Ryan (Current Living Ex-Players)

Among the most dominating right handers in Major League history and known as the “Ryan Express,” Nolan Ryan is baseball’s all-time strikeout king (5,714).  He holds numerous records including seasons played (27), no hitters (7), and strikeouts in a season (383). During his storied career, Ryan recorded 324 wins for the Mets, Angels, Astros and Rangers.  He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1999 and was a member of MLB’s “All-Century Team.”  Ryan played a key role for the 1969 New York Mets by recording a 2 1/3 inning save in Game 3 of the World Series.  He is currently part owner and team president of the Texas Rangers.

  1. Big Ed Walsh (Hall of Famers and Legends)

One of the top pitchers of the early 20th century, Big Ed Walsh is baseball’s all-time ERA leader (1.82).  In 1908, he had one of the greatest seasons in history, winning 40 games and posting an ERA of 1.42.  Born in Plains Township, PA, Walsh had four 20-win seasons, six sub-2.00 ERA seasons, and was a World Series champion with the Chicago White Sox in 1906. He owns the second-best WHIP (1.00) in Major League history, compiled a win–loss record of 195–126, and recorded 1,735 strikeouts primarily for the White Sox.  He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1946.  A meteoric star of the “Dead Ball” era, Big Ed Walsh is the quintessential great but overlooked Irish American in the game of baseball.

3.   John McGraw (Hall of Famers and Legends)

With his 2,763 managerial victories, John McGraw ranks second only to the legendary Connie Mack in Major League history.  A dominant figure in early baseball, he led the New York Giants for 31 years, winning 10 pennants and three World Series.  McGraw managed in both the first World Series and the inaugural All Star Game in 1933.  He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1947.  John McGraw was also an exceptional player who hit .334 lifetime and stole 436 bases.

4.   Gene Monahan/Steve Donohue (Trainers)

Long time New York Yankee trainers Gene Monahan and Steve Donohue have attended to numerous World Series teams.  They were named MLB’s best trainers by the Professional Athletic Trainer Society in 2010.  Monahan, who is proud of his Irish roots, is a throat cancer survivor and is one of three employees to span the entire length of George Steinbrenner’s ownership.  Earlier this year, he announced his retirement at the end of the 2011 baseball season.  Donohue, whose ancestors hailed from Cork and Wexford, has been part of Yankees’ training staff since 1986.

5.   Terry Cashman (Entertainers)

Terry Cashman is best known for his hit song Talkin’ Baseball, which was inspired by a photograph he saw of 1950s icons Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle and Duke Snider.  The song struck a chord with fans during the 1981 baseball strike and has grown in popularity ever since.  Over the years, Cashman has revised the lyrics of Talkin’ Baseball to accommodate every Major League team’s history.  Now widely known as “The Balladeer of Baseball,” Cashman played for the Detroit Tiger organization during the early 1960s. Born Dennis Minogue in New York City, Terry Cashman’s Irish roots are in Co. Clare.

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MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE

Famous Last Words

One  of the great topics for debate when it comes to team sports is how much does team chemistry play in making a difference between a winning or losing team.  There are many who believe team chemistry is a bunch of bullshit and it’s mostly those in the sabermetric segment of baseball fans who take this position and feel that folks like me who believe in this part of the game are relics of the past and that whether you’re BFF’s with teammates or a big time snob, as long as you produce on the field that’s what counts. In some ways they’re right, Jeff Francouer had a million dollar smile and a ten cent approach at the plate while he was with the Mets.  Barry Bonds was one miserable prick in the Giants clubhouse but he is still considered one the best baseball players of all time (I’ll leave the PED discussion for another time) but there is still something about having a group of people who have the same goal, winning and will do whatever has to be done to achieve that goal. When you have that collective mind set, I feel you have a greater shot of being a winning team than if you have a team that is just a collection of talent who worry about their 2 for 4 day and their statistical resume than winning games.

I bring this up because of four teams I’ve watched over the last month or so, two teams that have that “team chemistry” one that doesn’t and one I think will have it.

I’m a Boston Celtics fan and if there is a team that thrives on chemistry and is the best case study on the subject it’s the C’s. For the bulk of his career, Paul Pierce was the best the Celtics had to offer but as the losses piled up with exception of a trip to the NBA Finals in 2001, Pierce was ready to bolt Boston until GM Danny Ainge made two deals that put the Celtics back into the forefront of the NBA,  obtaining Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen. All three players were All-Stars and future Hall of Famers as well; this melding of talent would either be a big success or a major failure. It’s been a rousing success. All three superstars under the direction of Head Coach Doc Rivers have checked their egos at the locker room door and preached the value of teamwork to their teammates. Ainge also added a great supporting cast who all have the same team first mind set. Garnett uses the term “Ubuntu” which loosely translated from African culture means a sense of community. Yes it helps greatly that the team employs four players who are all time greats and one in Rajon Rando who will be in that same group when his career is over. When you watch the C’s play you know right away what the mission statement is, to win Banner 18 and to do it by any means necessary.

A team that is nowhere near having Ubuntu are the NY Knicks. Here is a team that is just a red hot mess.  The best guy in the entire Knicks organization is the GM Donny Walsh, who took over a disaster of a team, got them below the salary cap for the first since the inception of the cap, who then went out an acquired two superstar players and has made The Garden the mecca of basketball once again. For his hard work and dedication what did Walsh get in return, a knife in his back wielded by the clueless owner of the team Jim Dolan. The head coach Mike D’Antoni preaches offense, offense and more offense with his “7 seconds or less” fast break style. A style that will never win without the player’s ability to play even plausible defense, which the Knicks don’t do.  But the biggest problem with the Knicks is they have two superstars who don’t seem to know how to mesh. Amare Stoudemire was THE show for the bulk of the season with the Knicks. He was the focal point of everything from merchandising to promotion of the team, he was anointed the next great Knickerbocker. As the team had early success the chant of M-V-P cascaded from the fans at MSG, they loved their Amare. But wait, all of a sudden another superstar joined the team, this player was born in Red Hook Brooklyn but raised in Baltimore MD and won a National Championship with Syracuse and did everything in his power to be a Knick. Move over Amare make way for Carmelo Anthony.

Both these star players said all the right things at the ‘Melo presser (the same cannot be said of Dopey Dolan) and the first few games, the duo had Knick fans thinking it was 1970 all over again. But as the season has gone on, we see that both players are still trying to figure out who gets the ball when the game is on the line and how to get the rest of the roster to raise their game and guts to do what it takes to win games. We have seen ‘Melo glare at teammates who haven’t gotten the ball to him in crunch time and we’ve seen Stoudemire wonder what happened to the team he was the leader of and the coach trying to figure out how to appease two big egos. I guess you could say the Knicks lack “team chemistry”

Now the other tenant of MSG , is the exact opposite of their basketball cohabitants.  For long time NY Rangers fans like myself , the best trait of this Ranger team is they never quit and even in losses, it’s hard to get mad as they  are what hockey folks like to say a “lunch pail team” . Not only are they a hard working bunch but for the most part the Rangers roster is mostly home grown.  Ryan Callahan is the captain in waiting along with Brandon Dubinsky, Mark Stahl, Dan Girardi, Derek Stepan  and King Henrik Lundquist  are all setting the tone for big run to the playoffs. No matter what happens in the playoffs, as Ranger fans we have to be pleased that the foundation of the team that will be a Cup contender for awhile has been set.  There is a very good blend of veteran and young players on this Ranger team. When you see teams like the Rangers play as hard as they do, as a fan your proud to say you root for that team. With the NY Rangers you have team and fan chemistry.

That brings me to the NY Mets. If your sole knowledge of the Mets was obtained through the NY beat writers, sports columnists and Twitter, you’d get the impression that this was the worst team in baseball. But if you watch the games and possess an open mind ,you’d come to the realization that the Mets are a pretty good ball club. Are they a World Series contender? Not this year. Will they be better than last year? No question in my mind they will.

There is a lot of familiarity with the players on the roster, most have played together either in the big leagues or in the Mets minor league system. R.A. Dickey had mentioned this during the off season that many of the guys on this team know each other very well. Dickey also mentioned that a baseball clubhouse is just like any work place, some of guys you’re close with and other guys not as close but when you put the same uniform you have that in common and that’s what’s important.

One of the biggest failures of the past front office staff was they let the clubhouse become fractured. The last two mangers seemed to polarize the clubhouse and that led to cliques forming between the players.  You can see this spring that the new regime realizes this has been a problem with the Mets as Terry Collins instituted the Sunday night bowling parties to try to form a bond within the team.

Don’t get me wrong here, I’m not saying if the whole team sat around singing Kumbaya  it will make the Mets a World Series winner, but if the TC and Sandy Alderson can change the climate of that clubhouse and Collins can get the team to buy into a team first mentality, that will be half the battle in getting the Mets winning games. I feel the seeds of that way of thinking have been planted. If the players realize that no matter how much money or how much time you’ve spent as a Met , means nothing  if you don’t produce something positive to the club, you’ll be gone.

Think about it, the past administration went out and brought in talented players at big money contracts and what do they have to show for it? A division championship and two players calling out their teammates for not stepping up and talking to the media (the infamous “they speak English you know” from Bill Wagner and Red Ass LoDuca towards their Latino teammates)   I think this will be a much better clubhouse and a much better Met team than most think. I can’t wait until a week from tomorrow and I really am excited for April 8th and the home opener. Forget about the mess the owners are in, forget about the nay sayers in media worrying about who the Mets fans are going to boo next. I’m not saying we should become a bunch of Pollyanna’s , but this Mets team looks like one we should be rooting for.

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IRISH-AMERICAN BASEBALL HALL OF FAME ANNOUCES 2011 NOMINATIONS

What better day to announce the nominees for the Irish-Amercian Baseball Hall of Fame than St. Patrick’s Day.The Hall and the ceromonies are held at one of my favorite places in all of the city, Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (run by Shaun Clancy and his dad John, two great men of County Cavan) 18 W 33 St across from the Empire State Building. SO if you are at the parade today stop by Foley’s as I’m sure the joint will be jumpin’ for sure.

Here are the nominees :

HALL OF FAMERS and LEGENDS

Big Ed Walsh – Baseball’s All-Time ERA Leader

Wee Willie Keeler – A .341 lifetime hitter who shares the longest ever NL hitting streak (44 games) with Pete Rose

Mighty Casey of the “Mudville Nine” – Character in Ernest Thayer’s famous poem

 

CURRENT LIVING EX-PLAYERS

Nolan Ryan – Baseball’s All-Time Strikeout Leader, now president of the Texas Rangers

“Super Joe” McEwing – Popular versatile player, now a White Sox minor league manager

Jeff Nelson – Four-time World Series champion, now a broadcaster with MLB Network

 

MANAGERS

John McGraw – Legendary New York Giants manager

Tom Kelly – Minnesota Twins two-time World Series champion manager

“Walpole Joe” Morgan – Former Boston Red Sox manager

 

TEAM EXECUTIVES

Gene Monahan/Steve Donohue – Longtime New York Yankees trainers

Mike Kindle – President of Baseball Ireland (Dublin)

 

ENTERTAINERS

John Fogerty – Writer/Singer of “Centerfield”

Terry Cashman – Writer/Singer of “Talking Baseball” (30th anniversary this year)

John Fitzgerald – Filmmaker of “The Emerald Diamond”

 

“The nominating committee has come up with some intriguing names this year,” said Shaun Clancy, owner of Foley’s, which features one of the country’s most extensive public displays of baseball memorabilia outside of Cooperstown.  “We believe it is significant that baseball’s all-time strikeout king and its all-time ERA leader are both of Irish descent and have New York connections.  So do the legendary manager John McGraw, players Wee Willie Keeler, Joe McEwing and Jeff Nelson, Yankees trainers Gene Monahan and Steve Donohue, and songwriter Terry Cashman.”

 

With the blessing of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Foley’s, a popular destination among baseball players, executives, umpires and fans, created the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame to recognize players, managers, executives, journalists, and entertainers of Irish descent.  Inductees are chosen based on a combination of factors, including impact on the game, popularity on and off the field, contributions to society, connections to the Irish community, and, of course, ancestry. 

The game of baseball has welcomed immigrants from its earliest days, when an estimated 30 percent of players claimed Irish heritage.  Many of the game’s biggest stars at the turn of the 20th century were Irish immigrants or their descendants, including Michael “King” Kelly, Roger Connor (the home run king before Babe Ruth), Eddie Collins, Big Ed Walsh and managers Connie Mack and John McGraw.  Today, major league teams regularly sign players born in Latin America, Japan, Canada, and elsewhere.

 

Shaun Clancy, an amateur baseball historian, created the Hall after learning about the rich heritage of Irish Americans in the sport dating from its infancy – a legacy overshadowed in recent years by other ethnicities.  He decided to celebrate his roots and those who helped make the game great by creating a shrine to Irish Americans in baseball in 2008.

McGraw has to be a lock to be named to the Hall. I will always have soft spot for McGraw for if it wasn’t for him I might be a Highlander fan today. When my father and one of my uncle’s decided to leave Boston after a living there a year when they arrived from County Sligo, they both had jobs laying gas pipes in Canarsie for Brooklyn Union Gas. On a day off they both decided to take a trip to the Bronx to see Babe Ruth and the Highlanders. When they got the Stadium, there were surprised by the lack of people around. That was because the Highlanders were on the road they were told by the cop on the beat. The cop told them if they wanted to see a baseball game, take a walk over the bridge to the Polo Grounds and go watch the Giants. So off they went.

As they took their seats they noticed a guy barking orders at players, they asked who he was, a fan told them “That’s McGraw, he runs the team” They looked at each ‘What ? An Irishman is the boss?” That was it my dad and uncle became die hard NY Giants fans, even though they lived in Brooklyn and stayed in Brooklyn to raise families in the heart of Dodger country. When the Giants left town both of them and the Mets were born they became Mets fans as did my brothers and my cousins. Things happen for a reason who knows, if the Highlanders were home that day, this site might have been The Tom Tresh Society. I hope Mugsy gets elected to the Hall with a landslide vote.

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BOB MURPHY NOMINATED FOR THE IRISH AMERICAN BASEBALL HALL OF FAME

One of my favortite places to eat and watch sports is FOLEY’S NY PUB & RESTAURANT, 18 w33st in the shadow on the Empire State Building, has released the names of this years nominees for the IRISH AMERICAN BASEBALL HALL OF FAME:

Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame Announces Nominations for 2010 Induction Class

 

Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant Recognizes Players, Executives, Journalists and Entertainers of Irish Descent

 

New York, NY (March 15, 2010) –  Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant (18 W. 33rd St.) today announced the nominations for 2010 induction into the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame (IABHOF).  Voters include past inductees into the IABHOF and a panel of baseball historians.  Results will be announced in April 2010.

HALL OF FAMERS and LEGENDS

Big Ed Walsh – Baseball’s All-Time ERA Leader

Michael “King” Kelly – Baseball’s First Superstar

“Mighty Casey” of the Mudville Nine by Ernest Thayer

CURRENT LIVING EX-PLAYERS

Dale Murphy, Long-time Atlanta Brave, two-time NL MVP

Joe McEwing – “Super Joe,” now a manager in the White Sox minor league system

MANAGERS

John McGraw – Legendary manager of the NY Giants

Tom Kelly – Minnesota Twins two-time World Series winning manager

BROADCASTERS

Tim McCarver – Network TV analyst

Bob Murphy – Longtime Mets Broadcaster

EXECUTIVES

Brian Cashman – GM, NY Yankees

Bill James – Stastician, Red Sox Consultant

ENTERTAINERS

John Fogerty – Writer/Singer of “Centerfield”

Bill Murray – Cubs Fan, “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” singer at Wrigley Field

John Cusack – Star of “Eight Men Out”

Rosie O’Donnell – Co-star of “A League of Their Own”

“It’s a strong and deserving class of nominees for the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame this year.  All of these men — and one woman — have made significant contributions to the game,” said Shaun Clancy, owner of Foley’s, which features one of the country’s most extensive public displays of baseball memorabilia outside of Cooperstown. 

With the blessing of the Baseball Hall of Fame, Foley’s, a popular destination among baseball players, executives, umpires and fans, created the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame to recognize players, managers, executives, journalists, and entertainers of Irish descent.  Inductees are chosen based on a combination of factors, including impact on the game, popularity on and off the field, contributions to society, connections to the Irish community, and, of course, ancestry. 

The game of baseball has long welcomed immigrants from its earliest days, when an estimated 30 percent of players claimed Irish heritage.  Many of the game’s biggest stars at the turn of the 20th century were Irish immigrants or their descendants, including Michael “King” Kelly, Roger Connor (the home run king before Babe Ruth), Eddie Collins, and NY Giants manager John McGraw.  Today, major league teams regularly sign players born in Latin America, Japan, Canada, and elsewhere.

Shaun Clancy, an amateur baseball historian, created the Hall after learning about the rich heritage of Irish Americans in the sport dating from its infancy – a legacy that has been overshadowed in recent years by other ethnicities.  He decided to celebrate his roots and those who helped make the game great by creating a shrine to Irish Americans in baseball in 2008.

“Starting Nine”

The “Starting Nine” inductees were: the late Mets and Phillies reliever Tug McGraw, Yankee announcer John Flaherty, sportswriter Jeff Horrigan, NY Mets groundskeeper Pete Flynn, retired sluggers Mark McGwire and Sean “The Mayor” Casey, Kevin Costner, star of Field of Dreams and Bull Durham, legendary owner-manager Connie Mack, and longtime official scorer and sports columnist Red Foley

The 2009 inductees were: longtime Brooklyn and LA Dodgers owner Walter O’Malley, sluggers Steve Garvey and Paul O’Neill, longtime umpire Jim Joyce, veteran sportscaster Vin Scully, and Ed Lucas, a blind reporter who has covered the Yankees and Mets for more than 40 years.

About Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant

A popular destination among baseball players, executives, umpires and fans, Foley’s NY Pub & Restaurant is located at 18 W. 33rd St., across from the  Empire  State  Building .  The “Irish Bar with a Baseball Attitude” features walls adorned with 2,000 autographed baseballs, hundreds of bobbleheads, game-worn jerseys, stadium seats and other artifacts that make Foley’s the best baseball bar in New York and one of the best sports bars in America. Foley’s is home of the Irish American Baseball Hall of Fame and features one of the country’s most extensive public displays of baseball memorabilia outside of Cooperstown.  For more information, call (212) 290-0080 or visit www.foleysny.com or www.facebook.com/FoleysNYPub.

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YOU CAN BUY PITCHING AND HITTING, BUT CAN YOU BUY HEART AND DESIRE?

I’m in the middle of reading a terrific book about the careers of Larry Bird and Magic Johnson called ‘When The Game Was Ours” that was written with Jackie Mac Mullan, the book chronicles the careers of Magic and Bird as they rejuvenated the game of basketball as both collegiate  and pro players.

The book explores just how similar both players were not just in talent but in mindset, that the team comes first.   One of my favorite parts of the book is the great Celtics-Lakers rivalry that Bird and Magic revived from the days of Bill Russell and Wilt Chamberlain. As with Russell and Chamberlain, Bird and Magic both held each other in high regard as men and as basketball players. But when it was game time, the friendship was put on hold and it was all about winning and about the team. A couple of quotes in the book really stood out to me. The first one was from Kevin McHale, the Hall of Fame forward who when asked about his days as a Celtic in the 80’s he said:

“It was the best time of my life”.

“Of all the things we did, what stands out is how naturally we gave of ourselves to the team. No person was bigger than the rest of us”

What struck me about that quote was, here was a team that not only had All-Stars in its lineup, but three Hall of Famers as well. What they all had in common was they bought in to the Celtic way and played for the front of the jersey not the back. All three had the talent to go off and do their own thing but Bird was the leader and lead by example.

Magic Johnson was the same way with the Lakers. His mission was to make everyone around him better and to put up championship banners. He also had the motivation of Larry Bird and vice versa as both men thrived off each others performance.

The other quote that got me thinking was this one by Mychal Thompson who was traded from the San Antonio Spurs to the Lakers and was taken aback by the intensity of the Lakers locker room before a Celtic-Lakers regular season game:

“You couldn’t cut the tension with a chain saw”, Thompson said. The jovial big man, who hammed it up with Magic many time before, was surprised to see that even Johnson was grimfaced. Thompson asked Byron Scott, “So why is everyone so serious around here”? “Because we hate the Celtics”, Scott replied.

I bring all this up as a long segue into what the Mets really need to do this off season, beside getting some decent pitching and a big bat, they need to find out who gives a shit and who doesn’t. Not just players but front office people the manage, coaches fans broadcasters everyone associated with this team. Do you think anyone in the Mets clubhouse when asked about playing the Phillies would say they’d want to beat them because they hate them? Are you kidding most players on this Mets team need double doses of Imodium AD when they hit Philly.

The Mets are in dire need of a guy whether he be a front office type, or manager, who just doesn’t give a fuck who gets mad at him to work at getting this team to play not only good smart fundamental baseball but to be a team. The best place for it to come would be from the players side but who on this roster right now has that ability to step up and lead?

The only name that pops into my head is Johan Santana, he has that Magic-Bird mentality but he is not an everyday player and that hinders his ability a bit to be “the guy”. Guys like Carlos Beltran and Jose Reyes like to talk the talk but they don’t back it up. They are like me when I say I’m going to drop 10 pounds then I go and eat a half of Entermanns Crumb Cake and wash it down worth a couple of Yoo-Hoo’s.  Its one thing to say what you’re going to do it’s another to go out and do it.

David Wright should be “the guy” and the Mets should have made it know by now the he “is the guy” but the problem with Wright is he is not a Type –A personality guy. I’m not mad at Wright for the season he had, it was good by most standards except for his low HR total, what I’m sad about is that Wright quit on the team. Yes that play where he failed to score before Jeff Francouer was thrown out at 2nd base for the third out in a game against the Marlins in September. Wright is the face of the franchise he is the guy on all the adds and who makes all the appearances he is the METS. So here it is two months after that blunder and I’m still steaming from that. Sure, Jerry Manuel called him out and benched him the next day but what does that say when the guy who is your franchise player quits? What message does that send to the other 24 players? We saw it with Fernando Martinez when he failed to run out a pop up, not to mention the awful baseball judgment by Angel Pagan, there is a reason why not only the major league team are a bunch of losers but the top two farm teams are losers as well.

Here it is the hot stove season and a lot of the talk is about who will take over for Jerry Manuel when this team hits the skids again. The Mets are run worse than the Knicks, or Nets in fact they’re more like the Fucking LA Clippers.

With all this talk about free agents and all, the best money the Mets could have spent this off season would have been paying off Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel and revamp the whole philosophy of how this franchise does business.  The Mets are said to be going abck to the old style Mets uniform with the cream color and thin pinstripe, they need to go back to the no name on the back of the jersey as well. Nothing will change in Flushing until someone in that clubhouse steps up and challeges his teammates or a manager is brought in to hold players accountable. Hopefully Jerry Manuel will look a this spring training as a way to get that message across. What has J-Man got to lose? He is on the tissue thin ice so if it were me I’d make it known to the players don’t be making to many plans to socialize this spring as they will be working until exhaustion hits.  Let the players know now that this is the policy and if you don’t like or feel you’re up to let us know and we will send you some place else, no matter who you are or how much you make” Time for some tough love.

I don’t know about you but I’m tired of supporting a team that doesn’t give a shit. I know the players don’t take the losses as hard as the fans but Jesus H Christ can’t you act like you actually give a shit? I’ve said the difference between Mets fans and Highlander fans is we root for the team they root for the Championships. But what we also root for is hustle and desire as well.

Maybe Larry Bird and Magic Johnson would like to run a MLB team?

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