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No Joy in Mudville

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Nobody in Queens should have been surprised last week when New York Mets General Manager Omar Minaya and Manager Jerry Manuel got their walking papers. By the time September rolled around, even loyal Mets fans had given up hope that their team would make it to the post-season.

The Mets finished the season with a 79-83 record. They could not even break even. This happened despite the fact that owner and CEO Fred Wilpon spent $136 million on the team’s payroll. “The buck stops here, so I take responsibility for all the failures on the field,” said Wilpon at a news conference Oct. 4 at Citi Field.

Some might argue that the team was plagued by injuries this season, but that is true for every team. But most teams in Major League Baseball do not have that kind of money to spend.

It remains to be seen whether new management can turn this team around. But for baseball fans, hope springs eternal and next April they will be back in the same expensive seats buying $7 beers and eating $5 hot dogs and hoping that when October 2011 comes that the team from the Bronx will not be the only baseball team to watch.

Say ‘No’ to the Nanny State

Mayor Michael Bloomberg revealed this week that he and Gov. David Paterson have asked the federal government to place sugar-laden drinks on the list of foods that cannot be purchased with food stamps. The mayor is taking this action because of the number of obese children in city public schools.

While we are certain they have the best of intentions, this is none of their business. Will the mayor ask for a ban on candy bars, potato chips or Twinkies? They also make kids fat.

Inherent in this request is the thinking that people receiving food stamps are spending taxpayer dollars and the government has every right to tell them how that money should be spent. Whether they realize it or not, the governor and the mayor are looking down on food stamp recipients. They are certain they know best how food stamp dollars should be spent.

This kind of thinking is degrading. The mayor has no right to tell poor families what to drink any more than he has the right to dictate the menus in middle-class homes or the homes of billionaires.

Updated 6:21 pm, October 10, 2011
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