SOUTH BRONX SCHOOL: Mike Mulgrew, Please Follow the Example of Ron Swoboda

Monday, May 25, 2020

Mike Mulgrew, Please Follow the Example of Ron Swoboda

This blog post is dedicated to my friend, James Eterno. James is a great guy and true blue
Mets fan.

In my blog post of May 20, I kind of lamented how the town hall question and answer period has become somewhat predictable. There about 14,000 callers and probably a few thousand people waiting in the que with questions. Maybe, just maybe, questions should be emailed ahead of time. Perhaps questions can be selected to answer by Mike Mulgrew or he can pick the questions randomly out of a drum.

I know what you are saying, "But wouldn't Mulgrew just pick the softball questions?" That is a possibility, unless he follows what Ron Swoboda did in 1975.

I was 11 years old in 1975. I was on Tracey's Shoe Shoppe in the Ardsley Little League. Our annual father-son dinner was being held at the Glen Island Casino in New Rochelle and Ron Swoboda was to be our guest speaker.

This was the first time that I was to seat alone with the team. I talked my dad in sitting at my brothers table. My reasoning was that it was my brother's first year in little league (He was 8) and that my dad was co-manager. I would not have to worry about my dad all night.

The dinners always had a question and answer period of the player (Unfortunately, it was always a Met as the guest. I had to sit through Ray Sadecki, Jim McAndrew, and Bob Apodaca to this point). It was always mayhem hundreds of boys raising their hands at once. Except 1975 was the year of the new Q&A format. We would now write our questions on a piece of paper which would then be collected and given to the guest.

Now mind you, at this time in my life I only knew of Ron Swoboda of having played for the Yankees, having come over in a trade during the 1971 season for Ron Woods. And frankly, in the 2 1/2 seasons Swoboda played for the Yankees he kind of sucked. The Braves even cut him during spring training in 1974. Again, I did not know of his 1969 World Series heroics. I am sure some of the more mature readers he do.

I decided on a question. Of course me being me I wrote: "Were you a scrub?"  The boys, and even the fathers, at my table said there is no way that Swoboda would read the question.

Guess what? He did!

Swoboda is up at the dais and going through the questions and just blurts out, "Were you a scrub?" He pauses, and decides to give a life lesson. He tells us how the 25th man on the team is just as important as the 1st man on the team and yada, yada, yada. Looking back on that answer it makes sense. Hey, he got to play Major League baseball and be a hero in a World Series.

About 10-12 years ago he was at a card show at the Westchester County Center. I took my son with me and he got an autograph. I also took the time to apologize to Ron Swoboda and, he graciously accepted (He had ZERO memory of that night).

But you know, looking back I was impressed that he didn't take a softball question. He faced that obnoxious question by an ADHD 11 year old and he met it head on. Sometimes answering the hard questions, the questions that people might not like the answer for is the way to win converts and have people come to your side.

Next UFT Town Hall Q&A let's keep on wishing for less ""What gave you the idea for Flat Stanley?" questions and more questions, to use a baseball parlance, that are knuckleballs.

We are in this together. UFT should always be aware that actions are better than just words.


Anonymous said...

I asked Mulgrew a tough question five years ago at a spring retiree luncheon in Boca Raton. I asked when will the ATR pool end. He told me that it would end that coming fall. If he’s pressed, he’ll lie - at the last meeting he answer a question - will there be layoffs? He answered No, only excessing.

Martin H. said...

And if he doesn't outright lie, he gets defensive & tries to belittle the questioner: as UFT Rep for Dewey ( briefly!), I confronted him about unilateral mayoral choice, & he got real nasty & personal, not liking the question! He's a real politician, in the Boss Tweed sense. Don't mess with me, its good to be The King, etc.
Ps Great Ron Swoboda story, Peter- that took cajonoes!