Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

Melo, I must be going

I'd love to stay and chat, but with Melo-Mania still unfolding and newspaper tasks ahead, I'm going to leave you for a few days to the other capable bloggers at Newsday.com.

First a few odds and ends:

YES' "CenterStage" with NHL commish Gary Bettman (Cornell Class of '74) premieres after Deron Williams' home debut with the Nets Monday night. Among other things, Bettman discusses being turned on to Bruce Springsteen after seeing him at "My Father's Place" in Roslyn in 1973!

ESPN has an interesting new plan for its ombudsman role post-Don Ohlmeyer.

Nice piece from Syosset's own Len Shapiro here critiquing the state of sports media.

Here is an item from my page in the Friday paper in which Davey Johnson discusses his near-death experience at the end of the 1969 World Series:

Has it really been 25 years since the 1986 Mets were kings of New York? Has it really been five years since the last round of anniversary remembrances?

Even though mining unearthed gems about that much-chronicled squad is difficult, there is no shortage of material, and MSG will share a bunch of it Tuesday through next Friday in a four-part series it is calling “Summer of ’86: The Rise and Fall of the World Champion Mets.’’

Interview subjects include Davey Johnson, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, Mookie Wilson, Gary Carter, Wally Backman, Ray Knight and others. Did I mention Bill Buckner? Him, too.

I asked Johnson recently whether it seems as if 25 years have passed.

“I don’t live in the past,’’ he said, “but 25 years? Wow. Did I live that long?’’

Johnson, 68, said managing the ’86 Mets was his greatest baseball thrill, surpassing his four World Series as a player with the Orioles because he oversaw the entire operation.

Not that those Series as a player weren’t memorable, too.

In 1966, his hit against Sandy Koufax was the last the Dodgers great ever allowed. “He retired because he knew he was washed up when I got the hit,’’ Johnson joked.

In ’69, Johnson flew out to Cleon Jones for the final out in the Mets’ first Series. “I almost got trampled,’’ he said. “I was at second base and there were 50,000 fans coming over the [Shea] stadium walls. I said, ‘I might not live out today.’’’

Tags: potpourri

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