On the Rocky Opening of McCarren Pool
by Anthony Stasi
Jul 11, 2012 | 2437 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The opening of McCarren Park Pool has come with what should have been an anticipated amount of controversy.

Public pools, like public parks, are hotbeds for teenagers who are not always easy to manage. The violence around the pool is unacceptable, but a lot of that will die down as the crowds do as well. It is hot outside, and when people are forced to wait in line for 30 minutes to get in, they can get agitated.

Add the need for law enforcement, and this public pool could become a place to avoid. which is usually the second to last stop before it becomes the place that gets shut down.

Opening the pool was a great idea. Not everyone has the resources to cool off in the hot weather, and some of us certainly remember when people would open up fire hydrants in decades past as a way to beat the heat.

I remember seeing how that gust of cold water shot up into the sky, and landed on the hot blacktop street. Opening a public pool helps keep people from resorting to those other (illegal) means.

Is the pool going to be another area for thugs to simply take over? It does not have to be that way. The same way neighborhoods have become safer, public places have become safer. People gambled on Brooklyn rebounding as a borough, and it did not in dramatic fashion. Now it’s time to gamble on public places as well.

Bryant Park on 42nd Street was once a place for drug dealing, and now it is a great park. It might be time, however, for some serious rules enforcement at McCarren Park, since things can quickly go from bad to very bad.

Reggie Jackson and the Hall

There was talk last week from former Yankee Reggie Jackson regarding the standards of the Baseball Hall of Fame, and how there are members he feels might not belong there. Before any conversation about Jackson’s comments, and regardless of whether you liked Reggie or not, the man is a bona fide Hall of Famer and his opinion matters.

Much of the coverage of Jackson’s comments was about the steroid-era players like Alex Rodriquez, Andy Pettitte, and Roger Clemens. It is easy to have an opinion on those players – you either accept the use of the performance enhancing drugs (PEDS) or you do not.

Some say it was not banned in the game at the time, so it has to be left alone. Others, and especially Jackson, are well within their rights to see the use of steroids, or human growth hormones, as big-time disqualifier.

The more interesting part of Jackson’s comments, however, were those about players like Gary Carter, Don Sutton, and Kirby Puckett. Sutton won 324 games when winning 300 games was the threshold for starting pitchers getting into the Hall. Jackson is right to raise the question of whether we have erased the line between very good players and great players.

Don Sutton, the former Dodger turned journeyman, won a lot of games but he played a lot of seasons. If you were building a pitching staff, would you rather have a 300-game winner like Sutton, or would you rather have a money pitcher like Mike Mussina or David Cone? Cone never even won 200 games, but he was one of the best big-game pitchers in the league for a long time.

If sheer numbers are the criteria, we start to see a less exciting Hall of Fame lineup. Sutton may deserve being in the Hall, and you can add Bert Blyleven and Phil Niekro to that list, but statistics (although they seldom lie) do not tell the whole story of how effective a pitcher can be.

Jackson should not have raised the issue of whether he thought Gary Carter should be in the Hall, not right after Carter's recent passing. It shows why Reggie has his detractors in the game. Carter does belong in the Hall, as I have written before, because he made the teams he played for – the Montreal Expos and New York Mets - what they were.

The Hall of Fame is important because at some point, all baseball enthusiasts visit Cooperstown and take their families there. You justify to your family why this long drive is so worth it when you see the great plaques on the wall. If it becomes just another souvenir mill, it will not be worth the trip.

Jackson’s timing may have been off, but he has earned his right to question what makes a player a Hall of Famer in Major League Baseball.
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