Mets legend reveals story behind one of the greatest catches ever

PORT ST. LUCIE, Fla. — Everyone knows the glorious end of this story.

Ron Swoboda made The Catch to save the Miracle Mets in Game 4 of the 1969 World Series. The Mets won in the 10th inning on a throwing error and went on to capture their first world championship the next day, October 16, against the Orioles.

To fully tell that miraculous tale, Swoboda, 74, digs through his locker at Mets Fantasy Camp on Friday to pull out The Glove that made The Catch.

The leather shows all the wear and tear of 50 years, but just like the man himself, the Rawlings glove remains strong, reliable and there is that miraculous webbing, where Brooks Robinson’s line drive settled after a backhanded dive by Swoboda.

Swoboda softly touches the webbing, knowing it is the place where dreams land.

“When I broke on the ball I knew I got a good jump,’’ Swoboda told The Post. “But 95 percent of the way in I thought I’m not getting there. You just do a full layout and the degree of difficulty there is extreme. Then I felt it hit in my web. There’s a lot of snag in that web. The leather is different on this glove. Unlike any other glove I ever had, even if the ball hit you in the palm of this glove it would stay. That gave me the confidence to dive backhanded.’’

The Orioles tied the game on the sacrifice fly, but the Mets won one inning later. Swoboda saved the day for Tom Seaver and the Mets.

“There’s something noble about doing the best you got and you don’t know what that is,’’ Swoboda said. “What was [poet Robert] Browning’s line? ‘A man’s reach should exceed his grasp. Or what’s a heaven for?’ That’s a great line.’’

Swoboda’s manager Gil Hodges played no favorites. Hodges was ahead of his time and played percentages, implementing a platoon system. If you needed to come out for defense, you came out.

No nonsense.

“You know what it was about,’’ Swoboda said of his motivation for all the extra outfield work he put in that season with coach Eddie Yost. “I was trying to get Hodges to stop putting Rod Gaspar in for defense in the ninth inning. And I did. I accomplished that.’’

Swoboda was out there in the ninth inning of a 1-0 game with one out, Frank Robinson on third and big Boog Powell on first when Brooks Robinson hit that screaming line drive.

An entire city held its breath. Swoboda believed.

Swoboda, like all those Mets, is a competitor. This week at Fantasy Camp, camper after camper approached Swoboda congratulating him for being the championship winning manager. There’s the Swoboda Rule now. A few years ago Swoboda drafted a camper who happened to pitch at Rice University.

“He pitched 40 of the 49 innings in the week,’’ Swoboda said with a smile. “We don’t win it without him. They made a rule this year, you can only pitch seven innings a day.’’

Warriors age, but they still want to win. Swoboda continues to work some minor league games as a broadcaster in New Orleans. During our conversation he made a phone call to his wife Cecilia, who overcame Stage 4 cancer. They have been married 53 years. They remain a wonderful team.

Swoboda just finished a new project. He wrote “Here’s the Catch: A Memoir of the Miracle Mets and More.” The book goes on sale this June.

In spring training of 1969 Hodges was hopeful his team could win 85 games. All the players thought that was an overshoot.

“We looked at each other and said, ‘Us?’ Swoboda explained.

When the Miracle Mets got it together, though, they never looked back, winning 100 games, while Leo Durocher’s Cubs fell back and not just because of the path taken by a black cat.

“When they messed up, Leo and even [Ron] Santo, they turned on those guys who messed up,’’ Swoboda said of the Cubs. The Mets stayed together.

“Things were said in their clubhouse that would never have flown in ours. Leo thought he invented baseball,’’ Swoboda said.

Hodges easily won the battle.

“Hodges went to war with the Marines,’’ Swoboda said of his manager’s tremendous leadership skills, noting Hodges should be in the Hall of Fame. “Leo, meanwhile, was dating starlets.’’

Hodges’ players produced their miracle, thanks, in large part to The Catch. Fifty years later it remains the most noble of accomplishments.

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Greta Van Fleet Slayed With Their Performance Of ‘Black Smoke Rising’ On ‘SNL’

Greta Van Fleet brought down the house performing ‘Black Smoke Rising’ on ‘SNL’! Watch them perform their hit on the variety show here!

Something tells us that Led Zeppelin would approve of this performance. Taking to the SNL stage for the first time as musical guests, Greta Van Fleet absolutely killed with their inaugural performance. Slaying their hit song “Black Smoke Rising,” the band nailed their rendition. “Did you know there was a tower,” Josh Kiszka crooned. “Where they look out to the land / To see the people quickly passing by / This is for their own desire / As they spit down to the earth / To feel the power pouring in their veins.”

On the last episode of SNL, Miley Cyrus not only stunned with her performance, she also wowed with her outfit. Going braless underneath a sparkly outfit, Miley sang her latest hit “Nothing Breaks Like A Heart.” Joined by collaborator Mark Ronson, Miley sang, “This world can hurt you / It cuts you deep and leaves a scar / Things fall apart, but nothing breaks like a heart / And nothing breaks like a heart.”

One of our other favorite musical guests from this season was Lil Wayne. In addition to slaying with his emotional performance of “Can’t Be Broken,” Lil Wayne also brought out Halsey on to sing the song’s refrain. Lil Wayne wrapped up his performance, saying, “To all the veterans, thank you.”

We’ll keep you posted with all of the latest SNL sketches. In the meantime, check out all of the most recent photos from the 44th season of the variety series in our gally above.

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Meghan Markle And Prince Harry Are Moving Out Of Cotswold Home In Preparation For Baby On The Way

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry have been making many changes to their lives since the news that they are expecting a baby in this spring. The royal pair took a two-year lease on a rustic Cotswold farmhouse prior to their 2018 wedding. Since then, it has been a weekend home for the couple to get away from their hectic lives and enjoy some peace. According to reports by Radar Online, the couple is now moving out of the home by March in preparation for the baby on the way.

Plenty of rumors have circulated concerning why Meghan and Prince Harry decided to leave the house so soon. Many insiders believe it is due to financial reasons. The couple paid a whopping $3 million for the property and made costly renovations to it since their move in. However, paying for two properties quickly got expensive. In addition to the cost, there will also reportedly be security issues surrounding the Cotswold property. With her baby expected this April, Markle isn’t messing around in regards to safety.

The couple will also soon be leaving their two-bedroom cottage at Kensington Palace, where they have spent the majority of the time since their wedding. They will be leaving it behind for a lavish 10-bedroom mansion in Windsor Castle. The move will put some space between them and the rest of the royal family, allowing them to strike out on their own. Many believe that the move is to allow Meghan and Prince Harry some much-needed privacy as they prepare to take on life as first-time parents.

Although the couple will no longer live at Kensington Palace, they will still make frequent trips there for royal engagements. “Windsor is a very special place for Their Royal Highnesses and they are grateful that their official residence will be on the estate,” the palace shared in a statement, according to Time.

“The Duke and Duchess’s official office will continue to be based at Kensington Palace.”

Specific details about the Meghan and Harry’s royal baby have not yet been announced, including the gender or possible names. However, it was recently revealed that the child’s godmother is expected to be Meghan’s close friend, Priyanka Chopra. Chopra was in attendance at the royal wedding this past May and has long supported Meghan as she adjusted to life as the Duchess of Sussex. Although they live very different lives, they still find ways to continue their friendship. “And you know when you meet someone and you just ‘click’… It was just an easy, natural progression.” Meghan said of her bond with Chopra.

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Impey makes history to be crowned Tour Down Under champion

Daryl Impey has made Tour Down Under history and Richie Porte is the King of Willunga for the sixth-straight year.

Porte went clear with a kilometre left on the decisive 3km Willunga Hill climb to take out Sunday's last stage of the Tour.

Champion again: Daryl Impey celebrates after stage six of the Tour Down Under from McLaren Vale to Willunga Hill.Credit:AAP

Impey rode superbly to finish third, on the same time as the Australian cycling star, giving the South African the Tour title. He is the first back-to-back champion in the event's 21-year history.

It is Porte's first win at his new team Trek-Segafredo.

"Hats off to Daryl Impey for the win, but to win six times up Willunga is a great feeling," Porte said.

"I was presented the keys of the town [Willunga] this morning, so that's a nice honour. It's a great way to start the year with a new team … it's a great set-up."

Porte, the 2017 Tour winner, has been runner-up four times.

Impey dedicated the overall win to much-respected Australian Mitchelton-Scott teammate Mat Hayman, who ended his 20-year racing career when he finished Sunday's 151.5km stage south of Adelaide.

"He's been a fantastic teammate," Impey said of Hayman.

"We were going to celebrate anyway now his career is done, but … it's going to be a double celebration.

"It's going to be a big night."

Teammate Lucas Hamilton also played a massive role in Impey's overall win, pacing him for much of the last Willunga climb.

Impey started the day seven seconds behind race leader Patrick Bevin and Porte was 26 seconds off the pace.

As expected, the remnants of the day's breakaway were caught on the first of the two Willunga climbs at the end of the stage.

Bevin quickly dropped off the pace during the first climb after his heroics.

The New Zealander started on Sunday despite suffering several injuries in a crash 10km from the end of stage five.

King of the mountain: Richie Porte of Trek-Segafredo wins stage six in Adelaide.Credit:AAP

Nicholas White completed a strong Tour for the UniSA national team when he stayed away until just before the summit on lap one, when Team Sky pair Wout Poels and Kenny Elissonde caught him.

The main group containing Impey and Porte were just behind and the speculative Sky move was soon over.

It came down to a select group on the last climb and, with 1.3km left, Porte went on the charge.

He shook off Poels and crossed the line first at the Willunga summit.

Poels, who was runner-up on the stage, finished third overall at 17 seconds, while Bevin finished several minutes behind Porte.

AAP

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Canberra Capitals set sights on magic number eight

There is just something about the number eight in Canberra.

Eight years since their last WNBL finals appearance, the Canberra Capitals have set their sights on a new league-record eighth championship.

Capitals coaching staff Paul Goriss and Carly Wilson.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

The person more rapt than anyone about the end of the playoff exile? Capitals assistant coach Carly Wilson, who donned the No. 8 jersey for the final eight seasons of her decorated 363-game career.

Wilson will be sitting on the bench when Canberra host the Perth Lynx in a best-of-three semi-finals series with the club making its long-awaited finals return at the AIS Arena on Friday night.

Capitals co-captain Marianna Tolo says "more than anyone else, she is excited for us to get back into the finals to try to win a championship", having been there for the highs and lows before hanging up the shoes two years ago.

The lows have been all too familiar for the Capitals since 2011, and coach Paul Goriss has made sure his players know about it.

"One of the things we spoke about very early on with this group was knowing the history of the Caps, seven championships, where the club has been and where it’s been of late," Goriss said.

"We wanted to be the team to make sure we got the history and tradition back, and making sure we were a top four team this season. We’ve ticked that goal, but obviously we’ve got loftier goals we want to achieve come these playoffs.

"It’s not going to be easy, finals basketball is different to being in a season game. It’s just a matter of making sure we continue with what we have done well."

Perth slipped to fourth after coughing up a 21-point lead against the Adelaide Lightning on Saturday night, with the latter leapfrogging the Lynx into third and a date with the Melbourne Boomers.

Keely Froling is gearing up for the finals.Credit:Sitthixay Ditthavong

A game one triumph is vital for the Capitals against a Perth outfit traditionally strong on their own hardwood and all eyes will be on the club's marquee stars to produce under the bright lights.

Everybody knows what to expect from the likes of most valuable player favourite Kelsey Griffin, Marianna Tolo, Leilani Mitchell and Kelly Wilson in big games – all four are championship-winners.

But an intriguing subplot in the finals will be the performances of rising stars Maddison Rocci, Lauren Scherf and Keely Froling.

All three have come on in leaps and bounds this season – so much so for Scherf that she is now an Opals squad member – and Goriss has no doubt they can stand up when it matters most.

"The WNBL is a different thing but they’ve played in big games," Goriss said.

"We spoke about that six weeks ago, a WNBL championship may be different, but whether they have been in junior basketball or world uni games, or national championships, they’ve all played in big games.

"Nothing changes, it’s just making sure we’re on task with our scout and continue to play how we play. Obviously there will be some nerves around the group but that could be a good thing."

WNBL SEMI-FINALS

Series one: Canberra Capitals v Perth Lynx

Friday, January 25: Game one – Canberra Capitals v Perth Lynx at AIS Arena, 7pm.

Thursday, January 31: Game two – Perth Lynx v Canberra Capitals at Bendat Basketball Centre, 9.30pm (AEDT).

Saturday, February 2: Game three (if necessary) – Canberra Capitals v Perth Lynx at AIS Arena, 7.30pm.

Series two: Melbourne Boomers v Adelaide Lightning

Sunday, January 27: Game one – Melbourne Boomers v Adelaide Lightning at State Basketball Centre, 5pm.

Thursday, January 31: Game two – Adelaide Lightning v Melbourne Boomers at Adelaide Arena, 7.30pm.

Sunday, February 3: Game three (if necessary) – Melbourne Boomers v Adelaide Lightning at State Basketball Centre, 7.30pm.

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De Blasio, Gillibrand’s 2020 runs are nothing but broken promises

While running for re-election to their current jobs in 2017 and ’18, Mayor de Blasio and Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand both promised voters not to run for president — and now both have reneged, with the lamest of excuses.

“The world has changed,” intones de Blasio. Consider “the urgency of the moment,” pleads Gillibrand. Pathetic.

Gillibrand is arguably the worse, since she made her vow less than three months before breaking it. “You will not run for president? You will serve your six years?” was the question in October. Her reply: “I will serve my six-year term.”

Then, too, de Blasio hasn’t actually said he’s running, only that his vow no longer applies. Yet he’s also announced plans to travel the nation to promote his record as mayor, even if he pretends the goal is to sell the nation on the success of New York ideas. Which means he’ll (again) be neglecting the job that he promised would get his full attention.

And what, really, has changed since 2017? Maybe President Trump is a bit Trumpier; Democrats won the House. How exactly does any of that translate to “America needs Bill de Blasio”? (And what about this “moment” makes a Gillibrand run “urgent”?)

“We’re seeing challenges we never saw before, we’re seeing dangers we never saw before,” the mayor claims. What nonsense.

“Some of our leaders in the Democratic Party are learning the wrong lessons,” he argued in a Washington Post piece. They think that “bold ideas such as Medicare-for-all, a job guarantee and free college sound great — but aren’t realistic.” Huh? Most 2020 Democrats are all over those “bold ideas” — the rush to the left is breathtaking.

Gillibrand, in case you wondered, is also for “universal health care.” She’s going to “take on” not only “institutional racism” but also “the corruption and greed in Washington” and “the special interests.” Impressive aims for a scion of Albany County’s infamous Democratic machine and a former lawyer for Big Tobacco.

In both cases, this is all about raw ambition: Even if you don’t win the nomination, a national campaign might land you the veep pick, or lead to a Cabinet job. It also builds your fund-raising database for future campaigns.

The mayor’s shamelessness is especially impressive after the disaster that was his last attempt at national power — his bid to play progressive kingmaker during the 2016 primaries.

He couldn’t get any candidates to attend his Iowa “issues forum”; he couldn’t tempt Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton into a bidding war for his endorsement. “What a terrorist!” Clinton’s campaign manager wrote of the mayor.

The Democratic Party can surely do better than either of these frauds.

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Streaking into break: Rangers get Quinn a win in Boston return

BOSTON — There was no shying away from David Quinn, who said when the schedule came out for his first season behind the Rangers bench, this was a game he circled.

And Quinn’s return to Boston was a successful one, his team taking a heartening 3-2 victory over the Bruins on Saturday night.

It was also the final game before a nine-day break that encompasses the bye week and the All-Star Game, which made its importance even greater for the psyche of a young Blueshirts team that has already been through a lot.

“The one thing that is different is we have to live with this result for 10 days,” Quinn said before the game. “Usually, if you have a tough night, you have a chance to recover quickly. We’re not going to have that. So our guys are certainly aware of that and we want to build on the things we’ve been doing.”

The Rangers (21-20-7) were actually pretty happy about their recent play, having won two in a row and three of their past four which followed a brutal five-game losing streak. It happens that the one loss in there was a real dud, a 7-5 defeat in Columbus that might have been a low point of Quinn’s early tenure.

The Bruins (27-17-5) had been going through a bit of a rough patch, 2-2-1 in their previous five and also going into their bye week. But with three of Quinn’s former players in Boston’s lineup — Charlie McAvoy, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson (known as JFK), and Matt Grzelcyk — it was still a special game.

“Coaching college hockey is unique,” Quinn said. “The relationships you build and rear and lifelong. Those guys are friends of mine. I follow them closely. It’s going to be little different, but I think once the game gets going, you put all that past you.”

The game was going pretty well for the Rangers by the time they started the third period up, 2-1. Goalie Henrik Lundqvist was starting his third straight game in the lead-up to the break, and he had been solid in making 15 saves to that point.

But Lundqvist had nowhere to go with the puck when he played it behind his net early in the third, and that resulted in a Brad Marchand goal at 3:24 that tied it up. The Blueshirts then got a little lucky when Boston captain Zdeno Chara took a delay-of-game penalty, and Mika Zibanejad was able to score on a power-play snipe from the left circle to give his team a 3-2 lead at 9:05.

It was Zibanejad’s second of the game and his fifth in the past three games, and after some contentious moments in the final few minutes of regulation, it eventually stood up as the game-winner.

The game had started with the Rangers struggling to gain any traction by taking two penalties in the first 6:19. But they managed to kill both of them, with a couple good saves from Lundqvist. There wasn’t a lot he could do when Danton Heinen got a good look from the right post and flicked it into the far side of the net at 17:28 for a 1-0 lead.

But it didn’t last very long, as Rangers rookie Filip Chytil scored almost an identical goal to one he scored in Thursday’s 4-3 win over the Blackhawks at the Garden. He flew up the right wing, left a flat-footed defender in the dust — this time, David Pastrnak — then roofed a shot from close quarters at 18:32, tying it 1-1.

After the puck went in, Chytil was shoved by McAvoy and he went barreling into Tuukka Rask, giving the Boston netminder a concussion and bringing in former Islanders goalie Jaroslav Halak as a replacement.

But Halak couldn’t stop the hot streak of the Rangers’ top line, Zibanejad getting his first of the night on a deft tip at 5:42 of the second period to give his team a 2-1 lead going into the third.

“That’s the way it’s been going now, and that’s one of our main focuses, contributing offensively,” Zibanejad said. “It’s working out right now, so we just have to stick to it.”

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Thunder edge Sixers in NBA showdown

Ben Simmons had another influential NBA game with 20 points and 15 rebounds but some crucial misses from the free-throw line in the final quarter proved costly as the Philadelphia 76ers lost 117-115 to the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Simmons had nine assists but he made just four of eight free throws with the game up for grabs.

Joel Embiid joint top-scored with 31 points.Credit:AP

Paul George, who had an equal game-high 31 points, converted a four-point play with 5.1 seconds to play to give the victors the lead for the final time.

The Thunder star's clutch shot capped a wild finish, which included Oklahoma star Russell Westbrook fouling out with 14.9 seconds remaining after he got Joel Embiid while shooting a three-pointer.

Embiid (31 points, eight rebounds) made all three foul shots to tie the game at 113-113 and Jimmy Butler's driving lay-up after a steal put Philadelphia in front with 6.9 seconds to go.

But George drained a three while being fouled by Butler and made the foul shot.

Philadelphia had one last chance but Butler missed a three-point attempt in the final seconds.

The 76ers (30-17) have lost 19 in a row to the Thunder (27-18), a streak that stretches more than a decade.

AP

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Martin Freeman says he has sex 'pretty often' and it's 'an important part of his life' in candid interview about his personal life

Martin, 47, spoke openly about his sexuality – as well as recounting his most embarrassing moment, which featured iconic actor Michael Caine.

Speaking to The Guardian's Weekend magazine, Martin was asked how often he has sex.

The father-of-two replied: "I would say pretty often – it's quite an important part of my life."

The star, who split from wife Amanda Abbington, 44, in 2016, also admitted that the worst thing anyone has ever said to him was "I don't love you".

Martin and Amanda married in 2000 and welcomed two children together, Grace and Joe, before calling time on their romance.

Speaking about their break-up at the time, Martin told the Radio Times: "We’re honest to God doing it [separating] in about as civilised a manner as I’ve ever heard of.

"I love Amanda’s work. I think she’s brilliant as an actor and she’s brilliant as a woman and, yes, I love her.

"I will always love Amanda, but… that’s what’s happened."

Elsewhere in the candid chat, Martin was asked about his most embarrassing moment.

The Sherlock star told the publication: "I met Michael Caine recently – he was one of the reasons I became an actor.

"I had to rev myself up. I stuck my hand out and said, 'Hi, I'm Michael.'

"And he said, 'No, I'm Michael, you're Martin.'"


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John Coughlin, Figure Skating Champion, Dies of Apparent Suicide After Suspension

John Coughlin, an American pairs figure skating champion, died at 33 in Kansas City, Mo., on Friday, one day after he had been suspended from the sport.

“My wonderful, strong, amazingly compassionate brother John Coughlin took his own life earlier today,” his sister, Angela Laune, wrote in a Facebook post on Friday night.

The police in Kansas City, Coughlin’s hometown, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Saturday, but USA Today reported that officers had been dispatched to respond to a suicide on Friday night.

“I’m just saddened that he felt that this was the only option left for him,” his coach, Dalilah Sappenfield, said in an interview on Saturday, adding that “he was always a skater who did more than what he thought he was capable of.”

She declined to discuss the allegations that prompted Coughlin’s suspension.

The United States Center for SafeSport, whose investigations typically involve allegations of sexual assault, placed restrictions on Coughlin in December and suspended him on Thursday, temporarily prohibiting him from participating in any activities under the auspices of U. S. Figure Skating, the national governing body for the sport, or the United States Olympic Committee. The center had not released any findings at the time of Coughlin’s death.

The U.S.O.C. created SafeSport in 2017 to investigate accusations of misconduct, taking those responsibilities away from organizations like U.S.A. Gymnastics, U.S.A. Swimming and others that have been roiled by sexual-abuse allegations in recent years.

A spokeswoman for SafeSport did not answer questions about the allegations against Mr. Coughlin, saying it was the center’s policy “to not speak to matters to protect the integrity of the process and the privacy of those involved, including reporting parties.”

Coughlin said in an email to USA Today this month that he wished he could talk about the “unfounded allegations,” but that he could not because the case was pending.

“I note only that the SafeSport notice of allegation itself stated that an allegation in no way constitutes a finding by SafeSport or that there is any merit to the allegation,” he added.

Coughlin won the United States figure skating pairs title in 2011 with Caitlin Yankowskas, and again in 2012 with Caydee Denney.

He failed to qualify for the 2014 Olympics but went on to become a supporter of, and an ambassador for, figure skating, Sappenfield said. At the time of his death, Coughlin was the chairman of the athletes commission at the International Skating Union, a global federation for figure skating and speedskating. He had also worked as a coach and a television commentator.

The top American skaters learned of Coughlin’s death while they were gathered in Detroit for the national championships.

A post on Twitter from the U.S. Figure Skating account expressed shock at the news of Coughlin’s death and said: “Our heartfelt and deepest sympathies are with his father Mike, sister Angela and the rest of his family. Out of respect to the family, we will have no further comment until a later time.”

If you are having thoughts of suicide, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-8255 (TALK) or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.

Julia Jacobs contributed reporting.

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