All posts by Jason Schott

BrooklynFans Of Books: Jackie Robinson In Quotes

Danny Peary’s new book, Jackie Robinson In Quotes: The Remarkable Life of Baseball’s Most Significant Player (Page Street Publishing), is perhaps the most engrossing piece of work on the pioneering Brooklyn Dodger.

This commemorated when Robinson made his debut with the Montreal Royals, the Dodgers’ International League team.

Jackie Robinson in Quotes is written differently than most books, as the story of his life is told in quotes from Robinson and others. The quotes also illuminate fun facts, like that Duke Snider debuted the same day as Robinson, so read carefully.

“I played hard, and always to win,” which Robinson said in Baseball Has Done It in 1964, is just one of his many quotes.

The book starts with his formative years, then his time in college as a multi-sport athlete, his experiences in World War II, joining the Dodgers and what he faced, and his years as a social activist.

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Steve Schirippa On The Knicks, Lin, Pasta Sauce

Steve Schirippa, who rose to fame on The Sopranos, is currently starring on Blue Bloods. He can also be seen in his courtside seat at Madison Square Garden watching his beloved Knicks.

I caught up with Schirippa recently, and touched on that, plus his tomato sauce, Uncle Steve’s.

How did you get involved in Blue Bloods?
“I got a call, they sent me a script. I thought the writing was great. I never really watched the show, to be honest, I was aware of it, but never really watched it. They offered me this role, I was happy to do it, they offered me another one, another one, another one, and I’m coming back this year. We return to work next week and I should do double the amount of episodes, last season I did eight, I plan on doing 16 of the 22. It’s a great show., very popular, great acting, the writing is fantastic, and that’s why it’s been winning Friday nights six consecutive years. 13 million people are watching.”

The closest character you work with is Bridget Moynahan’s Erin Reagan. What’s she like?

“she’s great. From day one, we got along great, from the first scene we did together, I think she’s great. A really, really good actress, and I’ve worked with a bunch of them, and she’s as good as any of them. I really enjoy going to work, and working with her, we’re shooting on the streets of New York, in Brooklyn, and it’s been fantastic.I look forward to this season.

What about the rest of the cast?

I worked with Donnie Wahlberg once, I’ve met the other ones. I haven’t even met everybody yet because don’t forget, there’s different storylines. Everybody thinks, you’re on a show, you’re all best of friends, like Tom Selleck, I met twice. He was great, but I haven’t worked with him.

Wahlberg was great, I love what he does on the show. Some of the guys, the crew, are from The Sopranos, so I knew some of them. The directors have been great. I couldn’t be happier, happy to be a part of it.

Continue reading Steve Schirippa On The Knicks, Lin, Pasta Sauce

Nets’ New Era Led By Lin

(@BrooklynNets)

The Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson era for the Brooklyn Nets is officially under way, as they showcased the newest members of the team on Wednesday, July 20 at the HSS Training Center.

The Nets introduced Jeremy Lin, Caris LeVert, Anthony Bennett, Trevor Booker, Joe Harris, and Justin Hamilton.

“I would like to welcome you guys and your families to the Nets’ family, Marks, the Nets General Manager, said. “The process that went through here as Kenny (Atkinson) and I embarked on this journey a couple of months ago, you’ve heard us say it’s about high character, high quality guys who are competitive, and that’s what you see in front of you. That’s what we went out and tried to find and we did that. We’re excited to have this new group, this new era of Nets basketball.

“Obviously, Kenny and his staff played a huge part in this. With young players, its more than what happens on the court, it’s what happens off the court as well, behind the scenes. It’s all the little things, the nuances that perhaps the rest of us don’t see all the time, and that’s where Kenny, and his staff, is so good.

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BrooklynFans Of Books: “House Of Nails”

Mets legend Lenny Dykstra’s House of Nails is a lot like the man himself.

It is a wild ride from beginning to end, through the highs and lows of his epic successes and failures.

House of Nails is a Shakespearian tale of an underdog who willed himself to be a champion, did whatever it took to stay on top, enjoyed wealth and fame as much as anybody, and then was undone by the very traits that propelled him up the mountain.

The book is full of wild stories, as would be expected, about drugs, drinking, groupies, and his unconventional friendship with Charlie Sheen, who was just one of the many celebrities that Dykstra was friends with.

Dykstra was known for pushing the envelope, and was an abuser of steroids, “greenies” (amphetamines), and prescription painkillers during his career. In this book, he reveals who knew about his steroid use and looked the other way.

One of the tallest tales from Dykstra is how he hired private investigators to tail umpires so he could blackmail them into preferential treatment.

After his playing days, Dykstra made it big with a carwash business and in the stock market. CNBC’s Jim Cramer was one of his biggest boosters and called Dykstra “one of the great ones.” He started a magazine for pro athletes called “The Players Club,” not to be confused with Derek Jeter’s Player’s Tribune.

At one point, Dykstra was worth $50 million, flew around the world in a private jet, and bought Wayne Gretzky’s palatial estate.

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NIT Season Tip-Off At Barclays Center

The 2016 NIT Season Tip-Off at Barclays Center features a Thanksgiving afternoon semifinal doubleheader of Temple vs. Florida State, followed by Illinois vs. West Virginia on Thursday, November 24. All four teams will return to action on Friday, November 25, when a championship will be awarded.

Temple, making its sixth NIT Season Tip-Off appearance, and West Virginia, making its third appearance in the event, return to Barclays Center, where both teams played in the 2016 NCAA Tournament. After earning a bid to the 2016 Postseason NIT, Florida State will make its third appearance in the early season version this year. Illinois will be making its debut appearance in the tournament.

Thursday, November 24 12:30 p.m. – Temple vs. Florida State –
ESPN2 or ESPNU & 2:30 p.m. Illinois vs. West Virginia – ESPN2 or ESPNU

Fri, Nov 25 12:30 p.m. – 3rd Place Game -ESPNU & 3pm Championship ESPN2

Each of the four championship round teams will also host two non-bracketed games on campus as part of the event. The complete schedule of the campus-site games will be announced at a later date.

Tickets for the NIT Season Tip-Off at Barclays Center will go on sale Friday, July 22, at 10 a.m. and can be purchased via Ticketmaster by visiting www.barclayscenter.com, or www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling 800-745-3000. Tickets are also available at the American Express Box Office at Barclays Center beginning Saturday, July 23, at noon. Tickets are available for groups by calling 855-GROUP-BK.

Now in its second year at Barclays Center, the NIT Season Tip-Off has been played in New York each November since 1985. Defending NCAA National Champion Villanova won the event in 2015.

NYC FC, Mayor de Blasio Launch Soccer Initiative

(NYCFC.com)

Mayor Bill de Blasio and the Mayor’s Fund to Advance NYC, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the New York City Football Club and adidas recently announced the launch of the New York City Soccer Initiative, a public-private partnership that will build and maintain 50 soccer fields in underserved neighborhoods across the five boroughs over the next five years. Fields will begin to open for play as early as next year.

“These new soccer fields will be essential in keeping our young New Yorkers safe, active and connected with the community. With this partnership, we are tackling inequalities in all its forms – including in our parks and outdoor spaces,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “In the city of immigrants, with so many different languages and cultures, the New York City Soccer Initiative will be one of the great tools we use to unify young New Yorkers. My thanks to the Mayor’s Fund, the U.S. Soccer Foundation, New York City Football Club and adidas for coming together and building a meaningful program.”

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Atkinson’s Assistants

(Nets GM Sean Marks and Head Coach Kenny Atkinson – @BrooklynNets)

 

The Brooklyn Nets announced who will be part of Head Coach Kenny Atkinson’s coaching staff in his first year with the team.

Jacque Vaughn, Chris Fleming and Bret Brielmaier will be assistant coaches. Adam Harrington is the assistant coach and director of player development. Jordan Ott was named assistant coach and manager of advance scouting and Mike Batiste player development assistant. Per team policy, terms of the deals were not released.

Vaughn spent two-plus seasons as head coach of the Orlando Magic (2012-15), and previously served as an assistant coach for two seasons with the San Antonio Spurs (2010-12). Most recently, Vaughn spent the 2015-16 season as a pro scout with the Spurs. Prior to beginning his coaching career, the Altadena, Calif. native enjoyed a 12-year playing career in the NBA after being selected with the 27th pick in the first round of the 1997 NBA Draft by the Utah Jazz. In 776 career games with Utah, Atlanta, Orlando, New Jersey and San Antonio, Vaughn averaged 4.5 points and 2.5 assists in 16.3 minutes per game. The Kansas grad made nine playoff appearances in his 12 seasons in the league, and was a member of the 2007 NBA champion Spurs.

Fleming begins his first season with the Nets after spending last season as an assistant coach with the Denver Nuggets. Prior to joining the Nuggets, the Forked River, N.J. native served as a head coach in Germany for 14 years, first with QTSV Quakenbrϋck/Artland Dragons for eight seasons (2000-08) and then with Brose Baskets Bamberg for six seasons (2008-14). Fleming led Brose Baskets to four German League championships and was named the German League Coach of the Year in 2011. The University of Richmond alum also had a six-year stint with QTSV/Artland as a player (1994-2000). Fleming is currently the head coach of the German national team, a position he has held since November 2014.

Brielmaier spent the past three seasons as an assistant coach with the Cleveland Cavaliers prior to joining the Nets. A native of Mankato, Minn., Brielmaier also worked for four seasons with the San Antonio Spurs (2009-13), beginning his career as a player development assistant before becoming the team’s video coordinator for his final three seasons in San Antonio. Brielmaier played collegiately at the University of Arizona and he began his coaching career as an undergraduate assistant coach under Hall of Fame head coach Lute Olsen during the 2008-09 season.

Harrington joins the Nets after most recently serving as a shooting coach with the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2014-15 season. Harrington also founded With Purpose Training, working with NBA and NCAA players. The Bernardston, Mass. native competed collegiately at North Carolina State and Auburn before embarking on an eight-year pro career (2002-10) that included stints with the Dallas Mavericks and Denver Nuggets during the 2002-03 NBA season. Harrington also spent time with teams in the NBA D-League, China, Spain, Israel, Germany, Croatia, France and Poland.

Ott joins the Nets from the Atlanta Hawks, where he spent the past three seasons as the team’s video coordinator. Prior to his stint with the Hawks, Ott served in the same capacity with the Michigan State men’s basketball program for five years (2008-13). The McConnellsburg, Pa. native received his bachelor’s degree in sports management from Penn State in 2006 and earned his master’s degree in athletic administration from Michigan State in 2008 while serving as a graduate assistant with the Spartans. Ott also worked as an assistant coach with the Dominican Republic national team in last summer’s FIBA Americas Championship in Mexico City.

Batiste begins his first season in Brooklyn after spending the last two seasons as an assistant coach with the Canton Charge of the NBA D-League. Prior to beginning his coaching career, Batiste played professionally for 14 years, including one season with the Memphis Grizzlies (2002-03). He spent 10 years with Panathinaikos of the Greek Basket League, helping to lead the club to eight consecutive league championships and earning the league’s MVP award in 2010, as well as stints with clubs in Belgium, Italy and Turkey. A native of Long Beach, Calif., Batiste played collegiately for three years at Arizona State, earning first-team All-Pac 10 honors in his final year (1999).