Uni Watch: Mets Concede


Amid all the hoopla recently generated by the possibility of a Subway Series, nobody’s noticed that the Mets appear to have conceded a small aspect of the battle for New York. The team’s interlocking “NY” insignia, which appears on the club’s caps and had also appeared on the left side of the Amazins’ skyline logo design since the franchise’s 1962 inception, was quietly removed from the logo at the beginning of this season.

Are the Mets, who’ve always drawn a hefty percentage of their fans from Long Island, trying to downplay their urban identity? Not according to Mark Bingham, the team’s senior vice president of marketing, who says, “Of course we’re proud to be from New York.” So why alter the logo? “The ‘NY’ on the logo never matched the one on the caps,” Bingham explains. “The one on the logo was more primitive-looking, sort of a stick-figure ‘NY.’ At the end of last year we wanted to dress it up and have it match the ‘NY’ on the caps, but then we said to ourselves, ‘Why do we need it on the logo anyway?’ ”

Interestingly, many media outlets— either unmindful of or indifferent to the subtle change— have continued to use the old “NY”-inclusive logo design. Does this bug Bingham and his staff? “Nah. The truth is, the old logo is probably still featured on a lot of the signs here at the stadium,” he says. “We try not to go crazy about it.”

Reaching the Summit

Believe in karma? Then consider the story of climber Alex Lowe, who was killed in an avalanche last week while ascending Shishapangma in the Himalayas. Not only was he considered the Michael Jordan of American mountaineering, but he had been making consistent deposits in the cosmic good-deed fund. In 1995, Lowe and Conrad Anker, who survived last week’s slide, pulled off one of the most hairball rescues in mountaineering history. They plucked an inexperienced Taiwanese team off the upper reaches of Mount McKinley in a blizzard, only to have one climber threaten them because they left his pack behind, and then watched as the expedition leader, Makalu Gau, shouted “Victory, victory! We made summit!” as if the rescue had never happened.

And although he had twice taken clients to the top of Everest, Lowe abandoned the practice on moral grounds well before the disaster chronicled in Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air. “Guiding people up and down the Grand Teton is something I’m happy to continue to do,” he said in an Outside magazine online chat, “because I can say to my clients, ‘I will take care of you.’ On Mount Everest, I don’t know.”

Perhaps because of his seeming invincibility and the wrong-place, wrong-time way he died, some of the memorials to Lowe have taken a strange form. On the Mountain Zone Web site, correspondent Andrew McLean recounts, in an anecdote tinged with Sandy Pittman­style cultural imperialism, how Lowe introduced the sherpas to the joys of quality coffee. “Realizing that they were just being polite [in declining] he decided to make them a cup of Sherpa ‘Spro— double on the coffee and quadruple on the sugar. ‘Shall we send Boudda into low or high orbit this morning? High? Okay one Sherpa ‘Spro with a double shot of coffee coming up.’ ”

The Giants Bear Market Offense

Kerry Collins became the fourth quarterback to falter in the Jim Fassel system Sunday as the Giants lost 14-3 at Arizona. The popular take is that the head coach has lacked the necessary talent at the position to adequately implement his offense.

True, the four starters he’s used in his two-plus seasons as head coach— Dave Brown, Danny Kanell, Kent Graham, and now Collins— each had a career quarterback rating below 70 entering the 1999 season (top passers usually have ratings above 90). But mediocrity isn’t a permanent condition elsewhere in the NFL. Coming off a miserable 3-13 season, first-year Chicago head coach Dick Jauron went with journeyman Shane Matthews at QB, despite having drafted Cade McNown in the first round last spring. Prior to this season, Matthews had thrown only 17 passes in his entire five-year career while serving mostly as a third-stringer. This year, he has completed 62.7 percent of his passes for 1043 yards, with eight touchdowns and only three interceptions.

Jauron stuck with Matthews after difficult losses in weeks two and three and the decision has paid dividends. Chicago is 3-2 after upsetting Minnesota Sunday and they are in contention in what is arguably the league’s toughest division. The Giants, meanwhile, are 2-3 in the lowly NFC East and their quarterbacks have whiplash from constantly looking over their shoulders.

Fassel has tried new quarterbacks. Maybe now he should consider trying a new strategy— picking one guy and sticking to him the rest of the way.


l Jockbeat’s favorite Division Series celebration moment: expensively dressed Post columnist Wally Matthews screaming “COCKSUCKER!” and “FUCKING ASSHOLE!” at giddy Mets players who sprayed a huddling press corps with cheap champagne . . . l What’s Bill Parcells got against the Irish, anyway? Since his arrival to the Jets in ’97, Hot Tuna has gotten rid of no less than Neil O’Donnell, Kyle Brady, Glenn Foley, and Matt O’Dwyer. Having played for Notre Dame surely can’t help his cause, but INT’s notwithstanding, if Rick Mirer is any part Harp, he could be the next to go. . . . l Jockbeat already has Subway Series fatigue.

Contributors: Paul Lukas, Allen St. John, Brian P. Dunleavy, Ramona Debs, John Stravinsky
Sports Editor: Miles D. Seligman