The New York Post

Sunday, July 16, 2006



By: Phil Mushnick

July 16, 2006 -- AS THE 1986 World Champion Mets are celebrated on their 20th anniversary, not everyone has made or will make the cut.
Barry Lyons, for example. A catcher, Lyons appeared in six games for the '86 Mets. He then played 206 more games for the Mets, before moving to the Dodgers during the 1990 season.


Lyons was born, raised and returned to Biloxi, Miss. Uh-oh. You probably can take it from there. His home and business - a baseball academy - were destroyed when Hurricane Katrina ripped through Biloxi. At 45, he and his family's next home became a FEMA trailer.


Among the material possessions he lost - and that includes just about everything - is his '86 World Series ring.


It's downright ghostly; the last update on The Barry Lyons Baseball Academy's Web site reads that applications are being accepted for the "Fall 2005 Baseball Camp." Katrina hit land on Aug. 23.


"There isn't much call for a baseball academy in Biloxi these days," said Lou Charlip.


Charlip, a producer for the "George Michael Sports Machine," traveled to Biloxi to speak with Lyons and to show what's left. That piece appears on Ch. 4, at 12:05 a.m. tonight/tomorrow morning.

Sports Illustrated, chose for its latest cover a photo of five key Mets - Carlos Beltran, David Wright, Paul Lo Duca, Carlos Delgado and Jose Reyes - wearing huge smiles. In fact, they appear to be laughing in unison.


It's a fabulous photo, taken by Gregory Heisler, and, call me square, but it sure makes for a better feel about the players and their sport - and our sports - than the modern standard sell that finds athletes posed to wear intimidating, mean-street scowls, as if you started it.


Bill Raftery, longtime ESPN and CBS regular and former Nets TV analyst, will be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame as the recipient of the 17th annual Curt Gowdy Media Award.


"I figure they just ran out of people," Raftery explained to us.


Reminds us of when the late Al McGuire was informed that, as the former coach of Marquette, he'd been elected to the Wisconsin Hall of Fame. "Hey, that's great," he said, before pausing a moment. "But I thought I was already in it."

When Bud Selig tells the media, "There is no test for HGH. We need to stay ahead of the curve," does he think he sounds firm and forthright or does he take us all for idiots?


How can you stay ahead of a curve that you ignored and indulged for the last 20 years? How can you stay ahead of a curve that vigilant experts have been unable to stay close to, let alone ahead of?

John Wiedeman, who last month resigned as the Islanders' radio play-by-man and briefly seemed headed for the Devils to replace John Hennessey, who was let go, has signed on to become the Blackhawks' radio man. Wiedeman, 49 and a strong listen during his five years here, is from the
Chicago area.


Hey, those Holiday Inn commercials in which Joe Buck is confronted by a bunch of hallway yahoos is genuinely funny, but are we to believe that Buck, whenever possible, stays in Holiday Inns?


If SNY's "Jets' Nation" show is to hold any credibility, the first thing that must be done is to prevail upon panelists, including ex-Jets Greg Buttle and Ray Lucas, to cease referring to the Jets as "we." If they're "we," than we're "us." And then it's We vs. Us. ... ESPN's daily, half-hour "Outside the Lines" show next Monday - and until further notice - moves from 12:40 a.m. (on tape) to weekdays, live at 3:30 p.m.


Frank Hannigan is one of our favorite guys - and favorite stories.


A former United States Golf Association executive, Hannigan was hired by ABC for his knowledgeable, forthright points of view. And then, apparently because ABC was afraid that he'd alienate top players and officials by providing his knowledgeable, forthright points of view, he was buried within ABC's telecasts, as if he had laryngitis.


Hannigan is done with TV, meaning he got his voice back. In a column for the online Golf Observer, Hannigan suggests that on-course TV announcers cease the silly and risky business of predicting where shots seem headed, "because the whole world will know in five seconds, anyway."


Hannigan also pokes at TV's bent toward analyzing shots and swings in tiny detail:


"Jay Haas once said to me that if you froze the swing at impact and told [TV's] technical surgeons to announce where the ball is going, they wouldn't have a clue. Instead, you get, 'That's going right, huh Rog?' That's because the player has recoiled to his left."