Queens kid makes it big as an influencer

3M followers and counting, Blaise Ffrench shoots for the stars

By Jessica Meditz


Jamaica native Blaise Ffrench threw the first pitch at a recent Mets game.

When becoming acquainted with Blaise Ffrench, the typical icebreaker question of “What do you do?” simply isn’t going to cut it.

Ffrench, 32, says his multifaceted career as an online influencer cannot be summed up in a simple sentence.

“It’s not what I do, it’s who I am,” he said. “I’m not like a salesman or a marketing guy; Blaise Ffrench is a Renaissance man. I enjoy all the great things that life has to offer…I just found a way to monetize pretty much everything that I do.”

Ffrench’s social media presence on Instagram (@blaiseffrench) continues to grow by the day — with three million followers and counting.

He said that the best way to describe the type of content he posts is lifestyle, as he focuses on all things fitness, health, food, real estate, sports, motivation and inspiration.

Ffrench is a bicoastal businessman, as his work is based in both New York City and Los Angeles — but he said that his beginnings in Jamaica, Queens are what shaped him into the person he is today.

His career goals began to solidify when he attended Holy Cross High School in Flushing, played basketball and had the opportunity to meet Mike Repole, a Holy Cross alumnus who co-founded Glaceau, the maker of Vitaminwater.

“My teammates were ‘sleeping’ because they didn’t care about drinks, but I thought it was very interesting that this guy created a drink and ended up selling it to Coca-Cola. I was so intrigued, I asked him so many questions and was just bugging him,” Ffrench said. “I just really built that relationship and didn’t take ‘no’ for an answer.”

Ffrench and Repole became close by the time he got to college, which is when Repole started BODYARMOR SuperDrink.

“I was one of the first people involved with BODYARMOR, so I was able to get equity in the company. And then when it sold, God bless, because I was able to get a piece of the pie,” Ffrench said.

He’s also seen great success as an actor and model, working with brands such as True Religion, Puma, Banana Republic, Target and Saks Fifth Avenue, and in films including “Plan B,” “The Code,” “Marry Me” and “We Made It In America,” which will come to theaters this January.

Ffrench’s astrological sign is Taurus, and whether one believes in the fate of celestial bodies or not, there’s no denying he fits the stereotypes of being determined, hardworking, dedicated and stubborn in the best way.

In fact, instead of being approached by them, Ffrench reached out to the New York Mets and asked if “a kid from Queens” could throw the honorary first pitch.

Sure enough, earlier this month, he graced the field of his lifelong favorite team in a jersey with his name and threw that first pitch.

“[The Mets] replied, ‘Which game would you like to do it?’ That’s how my life has always been. I’m always asking and pushing the envelope, because no one’s going to come to me while I’m laying on my couch,” he said. “It was unforgettable. I’ll tell my kids about this one.”

Even though he spends a lot of time in LA and other destinations, Ffrench calls Queens home first and foremost, and loves engaging his audience with Queens-centric content.

Among his favorite places are Anassa Taverna in Astoria, The Door in Jamaica and Baisley Pond Park, where he learned to play basketball as a kid.

He reminisced on his childhood, especially visiting Cabana Nuevo Latino in Forest Hills with his mother — who he admires wholeheartedly and devotes his life to.

“I grew up with a single mom, who unfortunately passed away when I was 15. I was always close with my grandma, who’s my mom’s mom, and I started living with her until I got a scholarship to play basketball and pursue my entrepreneurial dreams,” he said. “Family is everything to me. My mom always wanted me to be an entrepreneur and never wanted me to work for anyone. So every day, I just really want to make her proud, my family proud and continue doing the right thing.”

Ffrench and his grandmother, Linda, continue to remain best friends to this day, and she makes cameos on his large Instagram account.

“She’s my lady,” Ffrench said. “We’re like two peas in a pod.”

Regarding advice to younger people who wish to take a similar career path, Ffrench emphasized the importance of networking, talking to people, being brave and not judgmental.

Most of all, he cites the responsibility of having a massive audience.

“It’s definitely a responsibility. I know that I’m a role model, I talk to a lot of people and kids, and I definitely want to uphold myself to a certain standard, and put forth a great example,” he said.

“I can still do that by having fun and saying what I want to say, you just have to be smart, how you articulate what you’re saying and make sure that it’s good to be consumed by the masses, so to speak, so, I love it.”

Jastremski: An Amazin’ Statement

By John Jastremski

Four plus months into the 2022 season and contrary to popular belief, I haven’t seen any similarities between the current edition of the New York Mets and the 2015 team that won the pennant. 

Why? The 2022 team is leaps and bounds better. 

It’s not even close — and the record proves my point. 

The Mets have been a first place team all season as opposed to 2015 where the Mets were .500 for 4 months. 

For the first time all year, I noticed a similarity that gave me a 2015 flashback. 

The New York Mets buried the Atlanta Braves in the same way the 2015 Mets team buried the Washington Nationals. 

This past weekend was a brilliant display of baseball on so many different fronts that should have the fan base jumping for joy. 

The Mets had the Braves closing in their rearview mirror the months of June and July. 

The Mets had terrific months, but the Braves kept winning. 

You wanted to see how the Mets would handle their biggest series of the year? 

Well, they passed with flying colors. 

Sure, they won 4 out of 5 games. That’s outstanding, but think about some of the stars of the weekend. 

The Mets three headed pitching monster looked unhittable against one of baseball’s best lineups. 

It started on Thursday night. Mets manager Buck Showalter set a tone for the weekend: that we are here to win and to win big. 

He decided to call upon Edwin Diaz for a six-out save after an easy 8th inning, and Diaz delivered. 

Saturday, the Mets counted on their bulldog hired gun Max Scherzer to complete a doubleheader sweep. Scherzer delivered seven shutout innings with relative ease. 

On Sunday, the icing on the cake. Jacob deGrom’s first Citi Field start of 2022 and was perfect for five plus innings, striking out twelve. 

It was pretty clear to me, if you have a healthy Scherzer, deGrom and Diaz come playoff time, you can beat anyone in a short series. 

You combine that firepower on the mound with a lineup that makes pitchers work, puts the ball in play and has a knack for getting the big hit, well then. 

You’re cooking with gas! 

The Mets have it all rolling in mid August, but in reality unlike 2015, this team has been rolling all damn year. 

You don’t win any parades in August, but the statement was pretty clear this past weekend. 

The Mets are the best team in the NL East and boy are they dangerous… 

You can listen to my podcast New York, New York every Monday, Wednesday & Friday on The Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify & Apple Podcasts. You can watch me nightly on Geico Sportsnight after Mets postgame on SNY.

John Jastremski: A Passing Storm Or A Storm Front For the NY Locals?

By John Jastremski

Back in late March, I think it’s fair to say that both respective NY baseball fan bases would have signed on the dotted line for where they stand in late July heading into the Subway Series. 

Imagine saying in late March that the Yankees would have a 12.5 division lead and be 35 games over .500? 

Or how about the Mets finding a way to maintain a 2 game lead in the National League East without Jacob deGrom throwing a pitch in the 2022 season. 

Sure, the first four months were a whole lot of positive vibes for the NY Baseball locals, but the last few weeks have highlighted that despite the amazing four months of winning ball that both teams have treated us two, neither team is perfect. 

The Yankees depth has been tested for the first time all season. 

They lost Luis Severino in the rotation to the IL. 

The bullpen has lost Chad Green and now Michael King for the season. 

The Yankees feeling of invincibility was quieted in a recent doubleheader sweep at the hands of the hated Houston Astros. 

The Astros outpitched, outhit and outplayed the Yankees every which way. 

You combine the Yankees history in Houston, the Yankees playoff history against the Astros and the recent injury bug, it only heightens the importance of the next two weeks for Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman.  

There is work to do. 

The Yankees need a big starter, an outfielder to replace the inept Joey Gallo & a bullpen arm or two to supplement the losses of Green and King. 

The Yankees need a big move, they’ve been knocking at the door of an American League Pennant for the last five years, the time to go big is now. 

For the Mets, the heightened concern about the state of affairs has been triggered by a few reasons. 

The Mets offense has been MIA for a few weeks. 

The team that was getting every big hit in the first two plus months of the year stopped hitting. 

The Mets simply don’t have enough power within their lineup. It is an absolute must to get more power to compliment Pete Alonso. 

There is a lengthy shopping list for the Mets heading into the August 2nd trade deadline. 

Power bat? Power bullpen arms? Help Wanted! 

I fully expect the Mets and their aggressive ownership group to make the necessary moves over the next few weeks, but the biggest million dollar question still hovers over the franchise. 

What version of Jacob deGrom are you getting off the Injured List? 

The difference between vintage deGrom and so so deGrom could determine the fate of the season. 

However, complimenting a struggling Mets lineup with much needed power could make deGrom more of a luxury and not a necessity. 

So, there’s work to be done for both the Yankees and the Mets to fine tune their rosters for championship aspirations. 

That’s a good thing. 

Two win now, first place NY Baseball teams. 

Who will be the next David Justice or Yoenis Cespedes to live in NY Trade Deadline lore? 

We’ll soon find out… 

You can listen to my podcast New York, New York every Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday on The Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify/Apple Podcasts. 

You can watch me nightly on Geico Sportsnight after Mets postgame on SNY.

Jastremski: What’s Fair Is Fair – The Top 5 Mets Killers Of My Lifetime

I’m very lucky that I’ve known the great Joe Benigno for over twenty years. Ten plus as a listener and the rest as a colleague and a very dear friend.

I mentioned to him earlier today the idea of the Top Met killers over the duration of my lifetime and he responded with a simple “Bro, it’s quite a list!”

He’s not wrong.

There have been a whole lot of brand names that took great pleasure in sticking it to the New York Mets.

So in my lifetime after what we decided to do last week with the Top 5 Yankee killers, it’s only fair that we return the favor.

I can guarantee you this. You won’t forget any of these 5 names.

5. Chase Utley. Look, the slide is the first memory, right? 2016 NLDS. Chase Utley hard-nosed right into the leg of Ruben Tejada. The slide shouldn’t overshadow the way Utley completely owned Mets pitching for close to a decade as a member of the Phillies. 39 homers and 116 RBIs and was a fixture in a lineup that took great satisfaction in killing Mets pitching.

4. Freddie Freeman, the future Hall of Famer played on some bad Atlanta Braves teams for a long while, but it didn’t matter if the Braves were a bad team or a good team. Freeman pounded Mets pitching and always seemed to come up in the biggest of spots to wreck a game.

3. Pat Burrell. This is easily the most obscure player of the five on this list, but there was nothing obscure about the 42 career homers Burrell clubbed against the Mets including 18 at the Old Shea Stadium. In a lineup that featured the likes of Utley, Rollins & Howard, it always seemed Burrell would be the one to wreck games against the Mets.

2. Derek Jeter.  2000.  Game 4 World Series. Enough said right? Well, not only did Jeter totally seize the momentum of the Subway Series with that leadoff home run, he also went on to win WS MVP as the Yankees won in 5 games. 2000 aside, Jeter dominated Mets pitching. He hit .364 with a .955 OPS against his crosstown rival. He would’ve been number 1 on this list if the Yankees played the Mets more than 6 times a year.

1. Chipper Jones. The Ultimate Mets killer. The Hall Of Famer on the team in the National League East that the Mets could just never beat. Chipper named his son Shea for goodness sake. Imagine a stat line of .349-49-159. Well, that’s Chipper Jones against the Mets. Unstoppable, every which way.

Now that I’ve thought of the top 5 Yankee & Met Killers of my lifetime, I certainly hope I’m not adding to this list after the 2022 season!

You can listen to my podcast New York, New York on The Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify/Apple Podcasts every Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday evenings. You can also watch me on Geico Sportsnight nightly after Mets Postgame on SNY.

Jastremski: Little things propelling the two best teams in Baseball

I know a baseball season is all about perspective.

When you play 162 games, it’s important not to get too low or too high regarding the state of affairs for your team.

However, it’s almost the end of June. That’s three plus months of baseball this season.

The Yankees have the best record in the sport. The Mets have the second best record in the sport.

It’s been well documented here, on my podcast and on my television appearances how enjoyable this has been for me!

To put the NY Baseball perspective in some context. So far, the Yankees are on pace to eclipse the win mark set by the record setting 1998 team.

For the Mets, they’re off to their best start since the 1986 season.

Fair to say 1986 and 1998 worked out pretty well for the Mets and Yankees respectively.

Look, I’m not telling you a Subway Series is a foregone conclusion yet.

There is a long way to go, but we can safely say, both NY baseball teams are really good.

Yes, they’re talented, but I’ve noticed a specific difference in both the 2022 Yankees and Mets compared to some other versions over the years.

The Yankees and Mets both have this in common, they’re doing the little things very well.

The Yankees a year ago were the ultimate boom or bust team. They relied on the homerun entirely, they couldn’t run the bases, couldn’t field their position and couldn’t hold a lead.

If you’ve watched the Yankees at any point this year, you’re seeing a totally different brand of baseball.

The base running and defense is drastically better and it’s made a difference in their record.

For the Mets, the last two seasons hitting with runners in scoring position was an absolute nightmare.

The Mets couldn’t buy a big hit and in reality, it probably cost them trips to the postseason each of the last two years.

The offensive approach implemented by Buck Showalter and hitting coach Eric Chavez has required the Mets at times to get back to basics.

That approach has delivered top notch results.

Look, the Mets added some terrific hitters. Mark Cahna and Starling Marte for starters, but up and down the lineup, the approach at the plate is flat out better.

The Mets have done a masterful job all year of putting the ball in play and as a result of that, it has highlighted some of their opponent’s deficiencies.

No need to apologize for them, just take advantage.

Winning baseball can seem obvious at times, but it’s more than meets the eye.

The little nuances of the game that evaded the Yankees and Mets over the last two years have been mastered so far this season.

Little things lead to big things and a whole lot of wins around town these days…

You can listen to my podcast New York, New York every Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday on The Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify/Apple Podcasts. You can watch me nightly on Geico Sportsnight after Mets postgame on SNY.

Mets fan makes impressive homerun snag

Ridgewood/Queens dad finds faith in fatherhood, baseball

Alan Alcantara, 31, made the impressive grab during the New York Mets game last week with his one-year-old child in his arms.

Alan Alcantara’s view from center field was a familiar one.

The Dominican-born 31-year-old grew up playing baseball, continuing through high school and even recently playing center field for three years for his job’s softball league.

He grew up watching Sammy Sosa, emulating the batting stance of Ken Griffey Jr., and idolizing his favorite player, Pedro Martinez.

But when the Ridgewood resident found himself in section 140 at Citi Field last week, just beyond the center field wall, he was without a glove and instead holding his one-year-old son, Levi.

The first inning home run hit by the Mets’ own Starling Marte was hit over the wall, and although Alcantara didn’t catch the ball on the fly, he positioned himself to catch the ball off the bounce after it ricocheted off the center field void between the Home Run Apple and his seats.

“I saw the ball coming off the bat,” Alcantara recalls. “It was a split-second decision to get up on the rail.”

The 431-foot moon shot to center field was hit 107.2 miles per hour off Marte’s bat, finding its way into Alcantara’s outreached arm, while he was standing on the side railing of his seats.

He says he’s been asked multiple times why he didn’t put his child down before attempting to catch the ball, but he says everything happened in “about two or three seconds.”

“My first thought was, let me stand up right away to see if I can catch it, so it doesn’t hit my family,” he added.

Alcantara, a church administrator at the Transformation Church in Ridgewood, happened to be at the game as part of an annual tradition with his co-workers. Families, volunteers, directors of ministries and even the church’s senior pastor — who Alcantara says is a huge Mets fan — were in attendance the night of Tuesday, May 31.

The bonding experience became a tradition last year, he says, as a way for the church’s congregation to regroup and celebrate life amid a global pandemic.

Alcantara, a father of two and soon-to-be three, says he received a flood of text messages from relatives and friends in his home country, who later saw the video clip of him catching the home run ball. A friend of his, a Pastor from Colombia, told him that he saw the replay of the catch while he was in the airport.

“I literally couldn’t pay too much attention to the game after [the catch],” Alcantara said.

The Mets would go on to defeat the Washington Nationals that night by a score of 10-0. They currently sit atop the NL East standings and have posted a 38-19 record through the first 57 games of the season. Only the 1986 Mets, who would go on to win the World Series that year, have posted a better club record to start the season.

During the pandemic, the Transformation Church pivoted to streaming their live services online, enabling the church at 16-40 Hancock Street to reach a larger audience than before, Alcantara says. Attending the church since he was 16, and a staff member for the last three years, Alcantara says that the COVID-19 pandemic took its toll on the church’s local membership.

“We saw a lot of deaths within our members’ families,” he says. “There was a time when our pastor did so many funerals in one week, it was crazy.”

Transformation Church started as a Hispanic church before opening up english-speaking services about a dozen years ago, in an attempt to reach the American-born youth whose parents were also Hispanic.

“They understand Spanish, but not fully,” Alcantara, a graduate of Baruch College, said. “We want them to understand the word of God.”

Migrating from the Dominican Republic at 13-years-old, Alcantara has called Ridgewood his home for nearly two decades now. In addition to preaching the gospel and coordinating Sunday services, Alcantara helps the church hold annual food drives around Thanksgiving to aid local families.

“We want to be able to put our faith into action, not only preach the word, but also live it out and help people because it’s part of the gospel,” he added.

With Father’s Day right around the corner, Alcantara took his brief viral moment to celebrate the dads who are present in their child’s life.

“I want to thank the fathers for all the work you do for your kids,” he said. “I know sometimes we go unseen, but God sees it, and your kids do as well, and they will thank you for it.”

Jastremski: No Max, No Problem For Now…

About a week ago, there was a collective sigh across Met land.

Top of the 6th inning. Ace pitcher Max Scherzer was on the mound up to his usual tricks against the St. Louis Cardinals lineup, then all of a sudden… a gut punch.

Max Scherzer gesturing for the trainer and removing himself from the ballgame put every Met fan on alert.

The prized ace and difference-maker grimaced in pain. What could it be?

Did Mets fans think the worst? Of course, they did, and honestly who could blame them.

It’s part of being a Mets fan, after all just look at what has transpired with Jacob deGrom over the past year.

Thankfully the news on Scherzer was not the worst-case scenario.

Scherzer hurt his oblique. They’re tricky, he will miss around 6 to 8 weeks, but it’s not a season-ending injury.

That said, I wondered following the news how the Mets would respond down two aces.

So far, they’ve been at the top of their game.

On Thursday, the Mets overcame an Edwin Diaz blown save which in reality was the end result of bad defense, and turned that into a Pete Alonso signature walk-off homer moment.

Sunday, the Mets found a way to win yet another series against the Colorado Rockies with some clutch hitting, quality pitching, and top-notch defense.

It’s closing in on Memorial Day weekend which is one of those milestone markers in the baseball season to evaluate progress.

So far, everything about the 2022 Mets season has been a joy to watch.

The team plays hard, they have a ton of grit and unlike the teams of the last few years, they find ways to win.

The 2020-2021 Mets found ways to lose.

The 2022 Mets find ways to win.

Is that the direct result of Buck Showalter’s presence? Well, his leadership most certainly plays a role, because his approach to the game is easy to see all over the Mets team.

The Scherzer injury would have been a convenient excuse for a tailspin.

Not for the 2022 Mets. Not now at least.

It’s the end of May, but the more you see of this baseball team, the more you like…

You can listen to my podcast New York, New York every Sunday, Tuesday & Thursday evenings on the Ringer Podcast Network on Spotify & Apple Podcasts. You can also watch me nightly on Geico Sportsnight on SNY.

Mets complete combined no-hitter, second in team history

The New York Mets completed the 315th no-hitter in Major League history on Friday night.

In a combined effort of five pitchers from the team, the 3-0 victory was just the 17th combined no-hitter ever. There have only been two combined no-hitters that involved more pitchers, and the 159 pitches thrown in Friday’s no-hitter are the most for any no-hitter since pitch counts have been tracked since 1988.

Starter Tylor Megill pitched five innings, throwing a total of 88 pitches before being pulled. The bullpen would take over, with Drew Smith, Joely Rodriguez, Seth Lugo and Edwin Diaz completing the second no-hitter in team history.

The only other Mets’ no-hitter performance was by Johan Santana on June 1, 2012, in a 8-0 rout of the St. Louis Cardinals. Friday night was the first no-hitter against the Phillies since Josh Beckett no-hit them for the Dodgers in 2014.

It was the team’s first “black out” uniform game of the year, with an announced crowd of 32,416 fans.

On offense, Jeff McNeil hit a two-run single in the fifth inning off Aaron Nola, and Pete Alonso followed with a homerun in the sixth inning.

As of press time, the Mets are 16-8 — good for best in the National League, and three games up on the second-place Miami Marlins in the NL East.

Despite walking six batters over the course of the game, the group of pitchers combined for 12 strikeouts on the nights, and most importantly, allowing zero hits.

Mets honor late Tom Seaver at home opener

The New York Mets unveiled a statue in honor of Tom Seaver on their home opener last Friday.

Seaver, a Hall of Famer and considered to be one of the greatest Mets players ever, passed away on August 31, 2020.

The 3,200 pound statue stands 10 feet tall and features Seaver in his iconic drop-and-drive delivery from the pitcher’s mound. It is located to the right of the Home Run Apple in front of Citi Field.

Seaver’s widow, Nancy, their two daughters, Sarah and Anne, were in attendance for the pregame ceremony. Seaver’s grandsons, Thomas and Tobin, threw out the ceremonial first pitches prior to the start of the game.

Prior to the first home game of the season, the Mets honored and recognized fallen NYPD officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora, who tragically lost their lives in the line of duty in January.

“Tom led us to our first championship,” said team owner Steve Cohen. “He transformed the Mets, he transfixed New York and won the hearts of Mets fans.”

The Mets would go on to win on Friday 10-3 over the Arizona Diamondbacks. Currently, the Mets are 7-3 ahead of their first doubleheader of the season on Tuesday, April 19.

New York, New York: It’s early, but for the Mets, the ‘Buck’ stops here

It’s only two weeks into the 2022 baseball season, but the look, the feel and the vibe around the entire Mets franchise just feels different.

Different in a good way.

There’s a sense of energy, direction and just overall positive vibes across the board surrounding the team.

Ownership makes a big difference, but it has a certain trickle down effect.

One of the things I expected from Steve Cohen the minute he took over the Mets was to see him hire the best and brightest people to lead.

It was a hallmark of Cohen’s Wall Street tenure and I figured it would follow into his next venture, the New York Mets.

Cohen found the perfect caretaker for his franchise in Buck Showalter.

I know a lot of the new school folks love to make the argument that the manager doesn’t matter much, but take a look at the Mets.

The Mets just flat out feel different under the guidance of Buck Showalter.

The team is playing a cleaner, crisper brand of baseball.

Yes, the Mets are getting some outstanding pitching to start off this year.

However, the good feelings of the state of the franchise go well beyond that.

Look at the Mets franchise player Francisco Lindor. A year ago, Lindor was a lost puppy.

Between the rat/raccoon fiasco and joining forces with his buddy Javy Baez on the thumbs down charade, Lindor acted like a player unaware of the gravity of playing in New York.

Two weeks into the year, he looks like a different guy.

Do I think Buck Showalter has had a significant impact on the way, Lindor has handled himself on and off the field?


With Mickey Callaway and Luis Rojas, I had many moments wondering about the leadership and the direction of the Mets franchise due to the inexperience in the dugout.

With the way the Mets are handling their business and performing on the field, it sure seems like the team has taken on the personality of their new manager.

If that ends up being the case for 162 games, the Mets are in for one whale of a season.

You can listen to my podcast New York, New York on The Ringer Podcast Network every Sunday & Thursday plus my Ringer Gambling Podcast every Tuesday & Friday on Spotify/Apple Podcasts. You can watch me nightly on Geico Sportsnight on SNY.

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