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Excerpted from “Swing and a Hit: Nine Innings of What Baseball Taught Me” by Paul O’Neill and Jack Curry.

My Final, Unforgettable Night At Yankees Stadium

The Yankee fans knew I was retiring. Everyone knew. No matter how much I tried to deflect questions about 2001 being my last season, the fans were keenly aware of the inevitable and that’s why they turned my final game at Yankee Stadium into one of the most amazing, humbling, and emotional nights of my career. We were playing a pressure-packed Game 5 of the World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks, but, at times, the fans made this night about my exit. To this day, I’m honored and flabbergasted by their reactions.

Before this momentous game, my emotions were flowing in different directions and I didn’t want to speak to reporters. But, since this was my last night in the Bronx, I grudgingly agreed to answer some questions. I made sure to talk about the glory and majesty of the Yankees, not about me.

“If you see a picture representing baseball, you see an old-fashioned baseball with Babe Ruth’s autograph and the old bats,” I said. “When you walk into this Stadium, you feel that because of the history that’s been here. Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio. Things haven’t changed that much. Those are the things that meant the most to me when I got here and those are the things that stick with me the whole time I’ve been here.” And they still do.

Yankees
Yankees Paul O’Neill leaves the field past cheering fans in the ninth inning of Game 5 of the World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2001.
Reuters

Running pregame sprints across the outfield, the fans chanted my name over and over. When I jogged to my position in right field in the first inning, they gave me a standing ovation.

Already? I hadn’t done anything. Well, seriously, I knew it was a thank you for my nine seasons in New York. I lifted my glove to acknowledge them and then I took a couple of deep breaths and gazed around the stadium to soak up everything that was happening, if that was even possible. I saw posters that read, “Thanks, Paulie.” It was so surreal.

Standing in the batter’s box in the eighth, I was greeted with another standing ovation and my eyes were blitzed by a stream of flashbulbs popping. There were no cell phone cameras back then. The fans were standing again for me in the ninth as I stood in right field and I clutched my cap and pulled it over my eyes. I really thought I might cry. That’s when the “Paul O’Neill, Paul O’Neill,” chants intensified.

Yankees
Yankee fans hold signs up for Paul O’Neill in the 8th inning during Game 5 of the World Series at Yankee Stadium.
Francis Specker

When I heard those chants, I was overwhelmed. I lowered my head a few times and stared at the outfield grass because I didn’t know what to do. We were losing the game, a World Series game! So, it wasn’t as if I could wave to the fans or tip my cap or even whisper “Thank you.” When you’re losing a World Series game, that’s not the way you act. But the fact that the fans cheered while we were losing was quite an honor. It’s one of the greatest gifts I’ve ever received, on or off the baseball field.

And, thankfully, the game, not me, became the sole focus as Scott Brosius hit a two-out, game-tying homer off the embattled Byung-Hyun Kim in the ninth. It was the second straight game in which Kim had surrendered a ninth-inning lead. We were alive again. I batted again in the tenth and grounded out. That was my final at-bat in the Bronx because Alfonso Soriano rapped a run-scoring single in the twelfth to lift us to a second straight dramatic win. We led the series, 3-2. No doubt, the faithful fans and the ever-present ghosts guided us in the Bronx.

The euphoria of New York didn’t extend to the games in Arizona. We were walloped 15-2 in Game 6, and Andy Pettitte, who was rocked by the Diamondbacks, later found out he had been tipping his pitches. We had a one-run lead in Game 7 with the ball in Mariano Rivera’s hand. Three outs to go with Mariano pitching? Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, we would win that game. But this time, we didn’t.

Luis Gonzalez’s broken-bat, bloop single over a drawn-in infield knocked in the winning run and shocked Mariano, shocked us, and disappointed New York. After the bloop, I walked back to our dugout and lingered. I rested my arms on the railing and watched the Diamondbacks celebrate, a scene I would have found inconceivable fifteen minutes earlier.

In that moment of reflection, I thought about how my career had ended with a loss in the World Series. But, in time, here’s my recollection of that series: the only moments I remember are the three home games because of how gripping they were, how impactful they were, and how much they meant to the city following 9/11. Perhaps it’s because I retired and I want my final memories to spark some joy, but that’s what I will forever cling to from that series.

Did we want to win another title? Of course, we did. The outcome was upsetting. But when it was all over and I was packing my gear for the last time, the value of those three games in New York outweighed the final result for me. I’m not sure anyone else shares my opinion, but that’s how it felt to me.

Yankees
Paul O’Neill salutes the Yankees crowd.
Francis Specker

And as I reminisce about our run from 1996 to 2001, winning four titles in six seasons was a legendary achievement. There hasn’t been a back-to-back champion since we did it more than two decades ago. Looking back on those glorious seasons, I pinch myself every day because I can proudly say I was part of that dynastic period. It was an historic run filled with excellent players and memorable moments. For me, there was also one final bow at the Stadium, a night that still replays in my head like a wonderful, dizzying dream.


Almost Coming Out of Retirement For The Yankees In 2002

Rested and retired in June 2002, I was trying to act like a reporter (and probably failing at it) while working for the YES Network. I was hanging out in the Yankees’ clubhouse and talking about hitting with some players. That’s when a serious-looking Joe Torre, my old manager, approached and asked to see me in his office. Oh, no — had I broken a media rule or something?

Hardly. It was something much more intriguing than that.

“How long would it take you,” Torre asked, “to get ready to play?” I laughed because I thought Joe was joking, but he repeated the same question and added, “We’ve got some issues we need to address here.”

The Yankees were using Shane Spencer, the 1998 superhero, and John Vander Wal in right field and they weren’t satisfied with their production. When Spencer injured his wrist and Torre had to use infielder Enrique Wilson in right, Wilson looked unsteady. That angered owner George Steinbrenner, who told reporters, “We may make some changes.” I guess I was part of that potential change.

Yankees
Swing and a Hit
AP

My mind went from cruising at twenty-five miles per hour as I prepared to announce a baseball game to speeding at ninety miles per hour as I tried to process whether I wanted to play in another baseball game. Since my family was leaving for a vacation in Hilton Head Island, South Carolina the next day, I told Joe I would discuss it with Nevalee, my wife, and decide if this was something I wanted to consider.

But guess what? I stuffed a couple of baseball gloves in my suitcase and my first day on the beach was spent long-tossing with my son Aaron. Just in case, right? I also ran sprints on the beach, something I hadn’t done in over seven months. Just in case, right?

With each hour that passed, I started to think this unexpected comeback might happen and I might get another chance to play baseball. Something that had not even been a faraway thought for me was now a very present thought.

And then I heard from Gene Michael, the Yankees’ vice president of major-league scouting, and the general manger who had acquired me from the Reds in 1993. After that life-changing trade, Michael was the first Yankee official I spoke with and the first person who convinced me I could thrive in New York. And now he was supporting this idea, too. “This would be one of the best things that ever happened to you,” Michael said. “You’ve had a mental break and now you can come back. You can still play. You know that and I know that. You can come back and you can do it.”

Stick was right. I knew I could have played beyond 2001, but I really wanted my wife and my three children to have a more stable life and not the all-consuming life of a baseball-player family. Before I retired, I believed I could have played in a reserve role in 2002. But I didn’t want to do that. I was always thinking in absolutes: if I wasn’t able to play every day anymore, then I wasn’t the player I felt I should be.

Still, after Stick’s phone call, I took this unofficial offer very seriously. I kept running and throwing on the beach, my mind drifting back to the Bronx with every toss and every stride. The Yankees had some internal discussions about me possibly going to play for the Triple-A farm team in Columbus, Ohio, which was very close to my home. Could this happen? Could my baseball career suddenly be revived? My eagerness was palpable.

Yankees
Paul O’Neill
AP

The Yankees couldn’t wait on me. Not long after my conversation with Joe, the Yankees acquired the power-hitting Raúl Mondesí from the Toronto Blue Jays. The Yankees decided they needed a right fielder immediately and couldn’t wait the three or four weeks that it would have taken me to get ready.

I never had a second act and I stayed retired. It’s funny, though. I realized how much I missed baseball and how much I still loved baseball, because the possibility of playing again excited me. It scared me, too, but I was poised to hit a few more line drives.

In retrospect, I have always wondered what it would have been like to come back and compete after a layoff. My mind and my body were both so relaxed. The comeback never happened, but I treated the idea seriously. I never advanced to the point of getting into a batting cage, so I’m not sure how rusty or how smooth my swing would have been.

Who knows? I could have trained for a few weeks to make this grand return and been billed as a savior of sorts. And, knowing me, I probably would have started out 0-for-10 and remembered how maddening it is to be in a slump and said, “The heck with this. I’m going back on vacation.”

Copyright @2022 by Paul O’Neill and Jack Curry. Reprinted with permission of Grand Central Publishing. All rights reserved.


By: Ny Post

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Kourtney Kardashian uses Kopari Coconut Melt to ‘look good naked’

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Page Six may be compensated and/or receive an affiliate commission if you buy through our links.

Kourtney Kardashian’s no stranger to showing skin.

Whether the reality star’s modeling lingerie, baring it all in a bikini or packing on PDA with husband Travis Barker, she’s clearly confident about her body — and relies on a selection of tried-and-true products to keep her skin in tip-top shape.

In one of her first-ever Poosh stories, fittingly titled “How to Look Good Naked,” the 43-year-old outlines some of her body care essentials, including La Mer The Body Crème ($300), Dr. Barbara Sturm Anti-Aging Body Cream ($95) and Le Labo’s Pin 12 Candle ($82) — the latter because “lighting is everything.”

But not everything on Kardashian’s list will bust your budget. She also swears by Kopari Organic Coconut Melt, which will set you back just $29 for a full-sized jar or $18 for a mini version.

“In order to achieve glowy skin, it’s important to moisturize everything — everywhere — at least once a day,” the Poosh piece reads. “Don’t forget to care for your hands and feet as well; we recommend focusing on these areas at night.”

Billed as “a deep conditioner for your bod,” the product is comprised of 100% organic, unrefined coconut oil, and Kopari suggests applying it “as soon as you step out of the shower and at the end of the day.”

What’s more, the multitasking product also works well as a hair mask, dry shave oil, bath mix-in and belly balm, per the brand.

Snag a tub for yourself below — and get ready to look fabulous in your birthday suit, too.

Kopari Organic Coconut melt
Kopari


By: Ny Post

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Carlos Carrasco’s gem, three homers propel Mets past Marlins

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MIAMI — He’s one tough Cookie these days.

Carlos Carrasco isn’t going to win any contests blowing away hitters, but the right-hander’s offspeed pitches and command — and most importantly, his health — have converged this season to give the Mets an invaluable rotation piece.

On Saturday, he gave his team 7 ²/₃ shutout innings in a 4-0 victory over the Marlins at loanDepot park. Carrasco extended his scoreless streak over his past three starts to 18 ²/₃ innings.

The win was No. 100 in Carrasco’s career, making the 35-year-old the eighth Venezuelan-born pitcher to reach the milestone. Carrasco last surrendered a run on July 9 against the Marlins at Citi Field.

The Mets (63-37) won their fifth straight and reached the 100-game mark with the franchise’s most victories since 1986.

Overall, Carrasco allowed four hits and struck out seven with two walks. Seth Lugo replaced Carrasco in the eighth inning after Charles Leblanc had doubled with two outs. But Leblanc was picked off second base by Tomas Nido, ensuring Carrasco’s scoreless streak continued.

Carlos Carrasco didn't allow a run in the Mets' 4-0 win over the Marlins.
Carlos Carrasco didn’t allow a run in the Mets’ 4-0 win over the Marlins.
AP

Lugo remained in the game to pitch a scoreless ninth inning, allowing Edwin Diaz a day off following a 10-pitch outing Friday in which he struck out the side.

The Mets will try for a three-game sweep of the reeling Marlins on Sunday with Taijuan Walker on the mound.

After scuffling at the plate for seven innings, the Mets gave Carrasco breathing room in the eighth when Francisco Lindor and J.D. Davis each blasted a solo homer to give the Mets a 4-0 lead. Davis’ homer, in a pinch-hitting appearance, came as the Mets are searching on the trade market for a right-handed bat to solidify the DH spot.

The Mets have traded for two lefty bats in the last week-plus to bolster the other half of the DH equation. One of those additions, Tyler Naquin, debuted for the Mets on Saturday in left field and went 0-for-4. Daniel Vogelbach started at DH and drew a walk in four plate appearances.

Carrasco’s gem was the latest strong performance by a Mets starting pitcher. Entering play, the Mets had a 2.45 ERA from the starting rotation in July, which ranked second in the major leagues. Chris Bassitt had a rare flat start for the Mets a night earlier, when he allowed four earned runs over six innings.

Jeff McNeil hit a solo homer in the third against rookie Nick Neidert to give the Mets their first run. The homer was the first since June 14 for McNeil, who entered the day with a .162/.240/.191 slash line in July.

The Mets weren’t finished in the inning: Nido, Brandon Nimmo and Lindor all singled. Lindor’s hit extended the Mets’ lead to 2-0 and gave the shortstop 68 RBIs for the season before he reached 69 with his blast later.

Carrasco was challenged in the first inning, when he allowed a single to Miguel Rojas and walk to Jesus Aguilar before retiring JJ Bleday for the final out. In the fourth, Carrasco surrendered a leadoff single, but he escaped the inning when he got Bleday to ground into a double-play.


By: Ny Post

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Career NYC criminal tries to steal moped from NYPD station

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A brazen career criminal with more than 50 arrests on his rap sheet, including rape, was busted for trying to steal a moped from outside a lower Manhattan police station.

Jon Matos was caught red-handed approaching the $1,200 bike outside the 5th Precinct, sources said.

He was allegedly using a set of burglary tools Friday to try to bust the lock of the bike, which was vouchered property, cops and sources said.

Matos, a homeless father of three, was arraigned in Manhattan Criminal Court on charges of attempted grand larceny and possession of burglary tools.

The proceeding was delayed for hours, sources said, after Matos allegedly became angry with a cellmate who used the facilities — but didn’t courtesy flush.

“I was just f–king with it. It’s not my tools,” he allegedly told an NYPD detective, said Manhattan Assistant District Attorney Megan Mers during the court proceeding.

Judge Valentina Morales Saturday agreed to give Matos supervised release in the moped case.

“Thank you, your honor,” Matos told Morales.

But instead of hitting the streets once again, Matos was held on outstanding charges from the 23rd Precinct in an unrelated case, authorities said.

It was his second appearance before a judge in a week: Matos was in court days earlier, charged with grand larceny, petit larceny, and criminal possession of stolen property and was released in yet another incident.

Matos has racked up dozens of busts for burglary, robbery, fare evasion — including the 1999 rape of a 14-year-old girl.

Crime is up in six of the seven major crimes measured by the department contributed to the increase — though the seventh category, murders, dropped a noticeable 31.6% last month in comparison to numbers compiled in June 2021, according to the NYPD’s preliminary statistics.

Grand larceny spiked 41%, robbery rose 36.1% and burglary went up 33.8%.

When addressing the crime spike last month, NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the department was arresting the same people for crimes “over and over again.”

Other recent and brazen repeat offenders include veteran shoplifter Isaac “Man of Steal” Rodriguez, who was finally locked up in January after dozens of arrests for stealing to support his drug habit.

Laron Mack, whose catchphrase is “I steal for a living,” has been arrested more than 50 times. Another serial stealer, James Connelly, was busted in December for involvement in 28 separate incidents over three months.

Last month, accused serial shoplifter Lorenzo McLucas, 34, was nabbed for stealing from the cosmetics counter at a Duane Reade on Lexington Avenue in Midtown Manhattan, according to cops and court documents.

McLucas, who was released on his own recognizance, has notched 122 prior arrests.


By: Ny Post

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