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Sunday, July 17, 2011

A comedy of errors article

Kudos to Amy Brittain of the Newark Star-Ledger for her extensive piece on the Newark Bears on today's front page. Amy really did her homework and for that, she has to be applauded. It was definitely well researched and well written.

And the headline says it best. "A comedy of errors." Amy quoted me as calling it a ''circus'' from right here and it's that as well. No denying that. All accurate reporting.

It's really a shame, because the nights when there was only baseball to worry about _ and nothing else _ were wonderful, joyous summer nights, filled with the national pastime, people having fun and all taking place in a beautiful stadium in my own backyard. When it's done right _ and it can be done right, as proven last year by then-GM Charlie Dowd _ Newark is a great place to watch a game.

It has nothing to do with crime levels, although I did once have my Durango stolen right in front of the joint. It has nothing to do with it being Newark, because that stigma is long gone.

It has to do with doing it the right way, promoting the team and the games the right way. Not holding Pop Warner football nights in the middle of the summer. Approach the people who would want to come, the youth groups, the BASEBALL groups.

That's simply not happening now and it's a shame.

But you would think after all the ''errors'' the current ownership group has made, they would learn.

Nope. Hardly.

I received an e-mail this morning, promoting the Bears' youth baseball clinics. The e-mail reads "taught by our very own Bears players and coaches."

The clinics, one in July, one in August, are geared for players ages eight through 17.

Here's what the prospective camper will receive:

Three to four stations per day ''to work on skills and learn new techniques." Oooooh, that's exciting.

Lunch with the Newark Bears, activities and games, a SNACK (Oh, goodie!!!) and a private suite to watch that night's game.

AND GET THIS! The cost? A mere pittance at $300 per camper.

That's right. Three-hundred smackers for a baseball clinic. Funny, I remember the Bears doing similar clinics in the past for nothing. For $300, that snack better be Dom Perignon and caviar. It's just another absurd chapter to what the Newark Bears have become.

How in their right mind could they actually think that inner-city kids would fork over three hundred smackers for a clinic? I don't think MLB teams could charge that much, never mind a team in the Can-Am League.

And did the ownership group even consult their last bastion of baseball sense, namely manager Tim Raines and coaches Ron Karkovice and Jim Leyritz about this plan? There's no way they knew. There's no way that those three good baseball men would have signed off on something so ridiculous.

But hey, don't forget, there's a snack involved. That's one costly snack.

I find it comical that the owners think they can turn a profit by next year. Sure they can. If they hit the lottery.

There was one final funny bit about the Bears' article today. It lists Danielle Dronet's age as 35. If she's 35, then I'm 19. She told me that she had 25 years of ''expertise'' in the entertainment field. If that's true, she started at age 10. Who is she? Shirley Temple? Drew Barrymore? My mother never told her real age either, but never this poorly. Dronet's next ''rock'n birthday'' will be somewhere in the mid-40s range.

I hope that the USA defeats Japan in the Women's World Cup Soccer. I'm amazed how many times Abby Wambach can get to a ball with her head and goalie Hope Solo can write her ticket in the world of mass media after the tourney, with her beauty and her intelligence. She's on the same course as Jennie Finch and Lindsay Vonn before her.

But please, for all the people (most of whom are employed by ESPN) who continue to equate this World Cup with the men's version, please, remove your heads from the sand.

Nothing against the women, but the men's World Cup soccer tourney is truly a worldwide event, captivating the entire globe for an entire month. We all witnessed how breathtaking that event could be last year. It's popularity is second to none worldwide.

The WWC doesn't have the same luster, not here in the US and not around the globe. Some nations don't even field women's national teams and don't enter the WWC qualifiers. So it's not the same, not by a long shot, even if the high and mighty ESPN would like you to believe it to be so.

Yes, we should all have a sense of national pride in how well the American women have done. It's also a team that features its share of New Jerseyans, like Christie Rampone, Heather O'Reilly and Carli Lloyd. Bravo, ladies. A job well done.

But when the WWC has movie theaters sold out for closed-circuit coverage and a television audience in the billions, come back and offer the comparison. It's not even close.

Chances are locally, millions more will watch the Mets and Yankees today than the WWC.

You can read more of my work at, and In this week's Observer, there's a story about Derek Jeter's days in North Arlington and a feature about MSG Network sportscaster Tina Cervasio.

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