Is New York City alarmed over the prospect of the NFL Jets following the Giants over the river to New Jersey? Alarmed enough that Mayor Abe Beame Called top officials of the baseball Mets, cause of the Jets' anxiety to get out from under their Shea Stadium thumb, into extended meetings yesterday at city hall and last night at Gracie Mansion, the mayor's residence.
Not only Mets board chairman M. Donald Grant did Beame summon but the team's principal owner, who the major insisted cut short a Florida vacation to discuss the crisis with him and Leon Hess, president of the Mets since the death of Joan Whitney Payson? Why, (Mrs.) Lorinda de Roulet. Who didn't know that?
The Mets' contract to use the city-owned stadium has let them dictate a ban on football there each year until baseball season, is over, for fear of damage to the field. That has kept the Jets from any home exhibitious and made them play their first half-dozen regular-season games away. When the Jets offered to lend the city the money to put in an artificial surface, the Mets balked.
How much of a blow is it to the city if it loses its last pro football team? Rep. Leo C. Zefereti (D. N. Y.) said yesterday he will seek a congressional hearing into the impact. . .
Look who else is coming to New Hersey: the Cleveland Indians' Eastern League Class AA farm club, from Williamsport, Pa., to Jersey City. The Jersey Indians will play in 12,000-seat Roosevelt Stadium and how'e that for gall, bucking the Yankees and Mets with the Garden State's first minor-league club in 16 years. Onetime Senator catcher John Orsino, an old jersey hand as eight-year coach at Fairleigh Dickinson, will manage the team . . .
Baseball has entered its second interleague trading period of the winter, lasting through March 15, so be prepared for more shuffles to boost scorecard sales - indeed, "You can't tell the players without, etc." . . . . Also watch for changes in the majors' umpiring setup. American League president Lee MacPhail reports negotiations on a fresh labor agreement for the men in blue (NL) and red (AL) are stalmated from their current salary that averages "about $22,000" and said he envisions that when the new contract is settled some of them will be elevated to the $50,000 neighborhood. The American League, which has pushed for interleague play, is also pushed for interleague play, is also pushing for merger of the NL and AL umpires into one pool; but the National League owners on interleague seheduling, "both staffs are against it," MacPhail allowed. "Each feels it has its identity." One more thing - MacPhail says AL owners are saying that because of expansion, if the umpires do win substantial raises, crews should be reduced from four men to three. "With only three unpires they have to run a little and are less likely to get complacent," said MacPhail . . .
The Washington Post's offensive player of the high school year, Matt Weathers of Fort Hunt, has decided after hearing out herds of recruiters - today is binding letter-of-intent day - to carry the ball for Illinois. Last all-Met offensive player of the year to become an Illinois, McKinley's Lonnie Perrin, did all right by the orange and blue, a standout both athletically and academically on his way to the NFL Denver Broncos . . . Maryland has landed the No. 2 quarterback on The Post all-met - Bob Milkovich, 6,3, 210, from Wooton High in Rockville. He threw for 17 and ran for 17 touchdowns the past two years, captained both football and basketball, and is still 17 years old . . . Another Terp signee is linebacker Todd Benson of Atloona, Pa., whose brother Brad played at Penn State . . . Notre Dame athletic director Moose Krause said the Irish and Ohio State were all set to renew football relations for the first time since 1936, only to have Woody Hayes, who has been forever opposed, veto it "as long as he was at Ohio State," to quote Krause. Now there's no way they can get together on schedules before 1990 - and who's to say Hayes won't still be at OSU then? . . . Just about the time Krause was remarking on that, Notre Dame was perhaps raising Hayes' dander higher by announcing it had signed the Ohio high school player of the year, quarterback Tim Koegel, 6-4, 190, from Cincinnati Moeller High. His brother Vic starred at lineback for Ohio State, yet.