Posts Tagged ‘Tad Richards’

In Covering Mets, the Times Drops Ball

Friday, July 12th, 2013

 By Michael Kaufman

I’ve known for a long time that The New York Times often falls short of its boastful claim to provide readers with “all the news that’s fit to print.” The Times has dropped the ball on any number of important issues over the years, including such weighty issues as the presence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. But it has also dropped the ball on less weighty, but nonetheless irksome, matters, exemplified by its biased coverage of New York’s two major league baseball teams. And frankly, I’m sick of it.

Wednesday afternoon the Mets completed a three-game sweep of the San Francisco Giants, defending World Series champions and a contender for first place in the National League West. It was the 16th win in the last 25 games for the Mets and was especially noteworthy for the outstanding pitching of rookie right-handed hurler Zack Wheeler. Marlon Byrd, who hit a grand-slam home run in Tuesday’s game, hit a two-run homer Wednesday. The 35-year-old veteran outfielder has been a key contributor to the recent success of the team, with his glove and fine throwing arm as well the bat.

Another veteran, Omar Quintanilla, has been making spectacular plays at shortstop since taking over for the injured Ruben Tejada, and has also delivered a number of clutch hits with men on base (though none Wednesday). So what was the headline Thursday in the Times article about Wednesday’s game? “In Managing Harvey’s Innings, the Mets Make an All-Star Allowance.” Huh? The first 16 paragraphs of the article dealt with a topic that had already been widely discussed for days, namely that the Mets planned to rest their All-Star pitcher Matt Harvey during the final games before the All-Star Game, presumably in the hope that he would be named starting pitcher for the National League in the game Tuesday night at Citi Field. This is certainly an interesting topic and I have my own thoughts about it too—but it is not what I want to be reading about for the first 16 paragraphs of an article about Wednesday’s game by beat writer Andrew Keh. Even the Times Herald-Record, which hasn’t assigned beat writers to the Yankees and Mets for years (and which also has a long history of favoring the Yankees) got it right in their headline above a workmanlike article produced by the Associated Press: “Clean sweep for Zack, Mets, Wheeler mows down Giants.”

The Times’ bias against the Mets has been blatant all year.  Both the Yankees and Mets opened the season at home April 1. The Mets won their game against the San Diego Padres by a score of 11-2.  The Yankees lost to the Boston Red Sox, 8-2. The next day, the Times article about the Mets game was about a third the size of the article about the Yankees game. And, as noted in an email from Tad Richards (poet, director of Opus 40, and Mets fan) “It’s mostly about what a terrible team the Mets are and they can’t expect to have too many days like this. Instead of writing about what Cowgill and Byrd did in the game, they wrote about what they did last year. And, well, I could go on and on, but ‘Bleep the New York Times’ covers it.” (Only he didn’t say “Bleep.”)

Tad’s email, sent to a small cadre of Mets fans scattered across the country, drew unanimous agreement. After the Mets swept a four-game series from the Yankees in May, it was Tad’s daughter Caitlin who wrote, “Why can’t we get any respect?  We just swept the Yankees for the first time in history, we played four great games, yet the Times articles are making excuses for the Yankees rather than applauding the achievements of the Mets. They were amazing. Let them have their moment.” Peter Jones agreed, noting, “The Times treats the Mets as if they were from Boston.” To which Tad added, “More like as if they were from Poughkeepsie.”

But I think Jon Richards, Tad’s brother (film critic, cartoonist for Huffington Post, and co-author of Nick and Jake) who may have said it best: “The Times sees the Yankees as the pinstriped Lords of Wall Street, and the Mets as the poor outerborough slobs who lose their house even if they’re paid up on their mortgage.”

Michael can be reached at


Opus 40 Needs Your Help

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

By Michael Kaufman

Brendan Gill, whose prose graced the pages of The New Yorker for more than 60 years, described Opus 40 as “the greatest earthwork sculpture I have ever seen” and deemed it “one of the largest and most beguiling works of art on the entire continent. “ Opus 40 has been listed in the National Register of Historic Places since 2001. The register is maintained by the National Park Service, a branch of the U.S. Department of the Interior, but that is the extent of the government’s contribution to maintenance of the 6 ½-acre bluestone sculpture created by Harvey Fite over a period of 37 years in an abandoned quarry in Saugerties. (This is where I would be inserting a photograph or two were it not for bandwidth issues that occasionally bedevil the Zest of Orange site. So here is a link to the Opus 40 home page, where you can see for yourself and read more about the history of the place:

Opus 40 has special meaning for me: Next week Eva-Lynne and I will be celebrating the 25th anniversary of our wedding, which took place there. But it has even more meaning to Tad Richards. “This is an important and beautiful work of art, created by my stepfather Harvey Fite, and it’s been my major concern for the last quarter century,” Richards wrote in a recent email. “Our literature says that ‘with proper care and maintenance, Opus 40 could still be standing a thousand years from now,’ and this is true, but the proper care and maintenance is the key. We do a lot of maintenance every year…But there are some areas which need more than that… areas that will naturally sink, and there are areas that over time get clogged so that water can’t pass through freely, and it backs up and causes pressure.

“There are two places where there have been slight bulges for as long as I can remember – probably 50 years,” he continued. “With Hurricane Irene and the severe weather that came on the fringes of Hurricane Sandy, one of those areas finally blew out, and the other – on the main ramp – has gotten much worse, and needs to be attended to.

“We want to address these important issues this spring. The work will be supervised by a local master stonemason, Timothy Smith of Hudson… Now we need the money to do all this work. Won’t you please help?”

Richards knows these are difficult times for a lot of people in our region. “Any donation, however small, will make a difference,” he says. “If you can give more, that would be wonderful.” Donations to Opus 40 are tax deductible.

You can donate with Paypal or a credit card at — or you can also call Opus 40 at 845-246-3400 to donate by credit card, or send a check to Opus 40, 50 Fite Road, Saugerties, NY 12477.

“Or,” wrote Richards, “stop by so we can thank you in person! All of the money you donate will go directly to the fund. Our management fees are zero.” I will be making a donation as soon as I finish this post.

Michael can be reached at