Notes: Bobby V to run for Stamford mayor

May 7th, 2021

NEW YORK -- At age 70, former Mets manager Bobby Valentine is entering the political arena. The longtime baseball man announced Friday that he will run as an independent candidate for mayor of his hometown, Stamford, Conn.

“My experience turning around troubled organizations in challenging periods has taught me that a crisis calls for a leader who knows how to adapt on a moment’s notice,” Valentine wrote in a supplement to his campaign video.​ “I’m proud to be driven by empathy and passion -- we all win when we are committed to increased access to a high quality life for all.”

Valentine managed the Mets from 1996-2002, leading the team to consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in its history, as well as the 2000 NL pennant. He also managed the Rangers and Red Sox during a career in professional baseball that spanned parts of five decades. Along the way, Valentine managed the Japanese Pacific League’s Chiba Lotte Marines and served as an ESPN analyst.

Since retiring from the baseball world in 2013, Valentine has worked as the athletic director for Sacred Heart University in Fairfield, Conn., while also operating Bobby V’s Restaurant & Sports Bar in Stamford.

This is not Valentine’s first potential foray into politics. In 2016, Valentine reportedly became a candidate to serve as President Donald Trump’s ambassador to Japan -- a job that instead went to Bill Hagerty. Valentine has lived most of his life in Stamford, outside of the job requirements that have taken him elsewhere.

As an independent candidate, Valentine will face two democrats in the mayoral race: incumbent David Martin and state representative Caroline Simmons.

“It’s been great to see Stamford grow the way it has grown over the years, and I want to lead us into that new world that Stamford will be in the future,” Valentine said in his campaign video. “The greatest commodity I have is my time, and I want to give my time and my energy and my wherewithal back to the city that has given me so much over my lifetime.”

Pitching plans

As expected, Jacob deGrom threw a bullpen session on Friday as he continued progressing from the right lat discomfort that forced him to skip a start earlier this week. The Mets still haven’t publicly committed to deGrom as their Sunday starter, but all indications are that he will be able to take the mound.

“We still want to see how he feels [Saturday] when he wakes up and he goes through the day and he plays catch,” manager Luis Rojas said.

Following his bullpen session, deGrom felt well enough to take ground balls at shortstop, making a diving stop at one point during pitchers' batting practice.

As for Saturday, the Mets won’t name a starter until they see how they come out of Friday’s game. Joey Lucchesi is lined up to provide bulk innings against the D-backs, but that could occur either as a starter or reliever. The Mets briefly considered adding an outfielder such as Khalil Lee or Johneshwy Fargas to their roster to provide depth with Brandon Nimmo on the injured list, but they decided instead to keep a four-man bench and 14-man pitching staff to provide depth for Saturday’s game.

Albert Almora Jr. served as the Mets’ fourth outfielder on Friday, with infielder Jonathan Villar also capable of playing at all three outfield spots in an emergency.

New noms

Pete Alonso announced a new “Polar Burger” at Citi Field, which the Mets say is the first concession stand item designed by a player in the history of their franchise.

The burger features Pat LaFrieda’s black truffle blended burger patty, maple-spiced caramelized onions, smoked Gouda cheese, lettuce, tomato, and claw sauce on a brioche bun. It will be available beginning this weekend along with a side of “Arctic Onions” at a concession stand near section 102.

All the ingredients are sourced from local tri-state area vendors. Alonso designed every aspect of the burger in coordination with Citi Field chefs.

“This idea was just kind of something small, a little something fun that we could do,” Alonso said. “Anyone who eats it, you’re eating something that has my stamp of approval.”

Giving back

As part of their annual Community Ticket Program, the Mets will donate tickets in 2021 to those who fought on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. The program aims to provide tickets to individuals and community groups that otherwise would not have the opportunity to attend a baseball game.

This year, the Mets ran the program in conjunction with Alonso’s “Homers for Heroes” foundation.

“After such a trying year for many of us, we are grateful to be able to give back in a small way to those on the front lines of the pandemic,” Amazin’ Mets Foundation president Alex Cohen said. “Inviting frontline workers to spend a day at Citi Field is just a small way to show our appreciation for all they have done to help keep our communities safe throughout this past year.”