Promising Brooklyn Pro Wrestler Chris Velletri Stumbles onto Wrestling Career


Chris Velletri, A.K.A, Talon, at a FBW show in Old Mill Basin, Brooklyn.

Chris Velletri, who wrestles under the moniker of Talon, a wrestling lone wolf savior, didn’t venture into professional wrestling with the typical lifelong dream story.

He was helping out a few wrestling friends at a New Jersey independent show in his twenties by conducting commentary and ring announcing. After the card, Velletri, a longtime wrestling fan, bounced around the ring and felt he was athletic enough to give it a shot.

Not too long thereafter, I passion was ignited. He said he started his sports entertainment training at ACE in New Jersey and later with industry respected trainer Joel Maximo in Brooklyn. After his first match, Velletri said he was hooked.

“I didn’t think I was going to be a wrestler when I was younger,” Velletri, 31, said. “When I was younger I didn’t think people could become wrestlers. I didn’t even know that was a thing. I just thought they were superheroes.

“I spent more time thinking about myself in (Yankee) pinstripes than in trunks,” he continued. “Once I had my first match in 2010, that was it. It was full speed ahead, all systems go. I haven’t looked back since then.”

Over the seven years in the business, Velletri’s Talon wrestling character—which he said is inspired by the two vigilante Catholic brothers, Conner and Murphy MacManus, in the movie Boondock Saints—has developed a loyal following.

“Those two brothers in the movie are vigilantes that take care of the criminals that the cops won’t take care of,” the Manhattan College graduate explained. “To me, in wrestling, a lot of people get away with some stuff. Bad guys do some bad stuff. I’m going to do some bad things, too, but to the bad guys.”  

Velletri, a certified and head personal trainer at Harbor Fitness Center in Marine Park, said the long, black coat-wearing, unlit-cigarette-dangling-from-the-mouth Talon is somewhat of a likeness of himself in the way he goes about his everyday business.

“My persona, the look of it and mannerisms of it, I think, do kind of reflect myself in that I keep to myself, I do my own thing. I do what has to be done, and I go home,” the affable Velletri said. “I’m friendly, I’m sociable. I like to go out and have a good time with my friends. But when I’m at work, when I’m focused on something, I kind of keep to myself.”

Moreover, Velletri, who has wrestled for promotions such as Five Borough Wrestling (FBW), Warriors of Wrestling (WOW) and New York Wrestling Connection (NYWC), is wholeheartedly dedicated to the rough-and-tumble pro wrestling craft, and unequivocally believes in his in-ring abilities.

“I’m not trying to live out some kind of fantasy. I’m doing this because I think I’m good at it, and I think I can make a living doing it,” the Bay Ridge resident said. “And if giving the opportunity, I like to certainly prove that. But If I didn’t think I had a chance to be something in the business, I wouldn’t still put my body at risk to still do it. I do this with the confidence I can do it at the highest level.”

Happenstance or not, Velletri is determine to reach the top of the wrestling chain.

Follow Velletri at


Elizabeth Sage Set to Rock the Stage at the Summer Breakout Event in Williamsburg

By Jerry Del Priore

Summer BOUp-and-coming indie pop singer/song writer Elizabeth Sage, a Brooklyn native, will be performing at the Summer Breakout at the Hall at MP (400 Driggs Avenue) in Williamsburg, Brooklyn Sunday, July 30th.

The show starts at 5:00 p.m. and runs until 11:00 p.m. or so. Tickets for the performance are $12 in advance and $15 at the door.

Sage, accompanied by various bandmates, will be playing her own music, mixed in with a few surefire, classic covers.

Other acts include Wooden Ships, Black Bishop, Typhon Rising, Point/Forty Five and Rico and the Rebels.

To purchase tickets, log onto or contact Sage on Facebook @

To view Sage’s videos and hear her music, log onto Sage

Elizabeth Sage, standing right with guitar.

Fireflies’ Harol Gonzalez Earns Team-Best Sixth Win

By Jerry Del Priore

Harol G.

Pitcher Harol Gonzalez picks up sixth win.

Righty Harol Gonzalez (6-7, 4.17 ERA) pitched a gem Monday night versus the Kannapolis Intimidators, whiffing a season-high nine hitters en route to a Columbia Fireflies’ 2-1 victory at Spirit Communications Park.

It was Gonzalez’s team-leading sixth win of the season after logging eight innings of one-run ball while only permitting five hits.

Fireflies’ closer Adonis Uceta picked up his 11th save of the season (second in the South Atlantic League) with a scoreless ninth inning.

Monday night’s performance was the ninth consecutive start in which Gonzalez lasted six frames or longer.

Minor League Transactions:

Columbia placed right-handed pitcher Thomas Mcllraith on its disabled list, while St Lucie activated righty pitcher Chase Ingram and transferred him to the Fireflies Monday.

Plus, Columbia positioned outfielder Gene Cone on its DL, and lefty hurler Placido Torres made the jump from the Gulf Coast Mets (rookie) to the Fireflies Monday.

Don’t Look Now: St. Lucie outfielder and former NFL signal caller Tim Tebow is off to a hot start since the Mets called him up to Advanced-A ball last month. Tebow is batting .308 with three home runs (including a wall-off), 12 RBI, three doubles, a triple and seven walks in 65 at-bats in 20 games.

Tebow is hitting .240 with six dingers, 35 RBI, 31 bases-on-balls and 17 two-base knocks in 279 at-bats in 84 tilts for the 2017 season.


New York Mets’ Prospect Peter Alonso Getting Back on Track

By Jerry Del Priore


Peter Alonso,  New Mets’ second round pick in the 2016 draft. Photo: Brooklyn Cyclones.

After missing the first six weeks of the 2017 season with an injury, St. Lucie Mets first baseman Peter Alonso is now hitting .255 with seven home runs, 29 RBI and 11 doubles in 165 at-bats in 45 games.

The one glaring aspect of his game that seems to plague him, however, other than injuries, is Alonso’s high strike out-to-walk total, which is 40 to 12 this year.
Moreover, baseball insiders believe Alonso, 22, needs to raise his batting average in order to project as an everyday big league first baseman.

It’s something the six-foot-three, 225-pound slugger did last year with the short-season Single-A Brooklyn Cyclones. Alonso batted .321 with five dingers and 21 RBI in 109 at-bats in 30 tilts before a broken right pinky finger ended his first pro baseball season.
Therefore, Alonso, the former 2nd round pick (64th overall) of the New York Mets in the 2016 draft, has shown he can do it.

However, he’ll need to continue to hit for average (raise his current average as well) as he advances through the Mets’ minor league system, while staying healthy, of course.
Alonso is known for solid work ethic and selfness. The Tampa, Florida, native rushed to return early from an injury, just days before the MLB amateur draft, potentially hurting his stock.

Instead of backfiring on him, though, Alonso led the University of Florida to the 2016 NCAA College World Series with an awe-inspiring 16 for 32 performance (.500), with five long balls and 13 RBI, after his stint on the disabled list.

Alonso amassed a .316 average in with 23 round trippers and 124 RBI in 551 at-bats in 157 affairs in three seasons with the Gators.

Alonso played college ball with A.J. Puk, a pitcher in the Oakland A’s farm system, at the University of Florida, and attended Plant and Jesuit High Schools in Florida.



Former Brooklyn Cyclones, Current Fireflies Shine in SAL

D Riz

Catcher Dan Rizzie.

By Jerry Del Priore  

Columbia Fireflies catcher Dan Rizzie (New York Mets’ 13 round pick in 2016) extended his hitting streak to eight games with a single in the eighth inning of their 4-1 loss to the Greensboro Grasshoppers Thursday night at Spirit Communications Park.

This is the longest hit streak of Rizzle’s young professional career.

Andres Gimenez also contributed with two singles, picking up his 17th multi-hit game of the season.

South Atlantic League (SAL) leaders

Pitcher Gabriel Llanes has tossed 100.00 innings, the third most in the league.

Gene Cone, who the Fireflies recently activated from the disabled list, has walked 42 times this season, third highest in the SAL.

Pitcher Matt Blackman leads the league in K:9 IP with 13. He has a total 50 whiffs in 34.2 innings of work.

Closer Adonis Uceta ranks fourth in the league with ten saves.



Danny Muno Makes Case for MLB Return

By Jerry Del Priore

Danny Muno

Danny Muno, pictured during his days with the Brooklyn Cyclones, is performing well with the Triple-A Tacoma Rainiers.

After the Seattle Mariners inked infielder Danny Muno to a minor league contract in May, he has been taking full advantage of the opportunity. The Fresno State University product is hitting a solid .304 with four home runs, 16 RBI, 22 walks and 22 runs scored in 135 at-bats in 42 games with the Tacoma Rainiers of the Pacific Coast League (PCL).

Muno, a former Brooklyn Cyclone and New York Met, began the 2017 baseball season with the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the independent Atlantic League. The 28-year-old Long Beach, California, native batted .254 while slugging one dinger, driving in four runs, scoring nine runs, and stealing four bases in 59 at-bats in 18 games before signing with Seattle.

Muno had spent Spring Training with the Detroit Tigers, but was cut before the campaign started.

The six-foot-one-inch, 195-pound switch hitter made his MLB with the Mets on April 17, 2015. He went on to hit .148 in 27 at-bats in 17 tilts.

After New York selected him in the eighth round of the 2011 MLB amateur draft, the Mets shipped Muno to short-season Single-A Brooklyn to begin his professional career. He wound up slugging to the tune of an impressive .355 with two homers and 24 RBI along with a remarkable .466 on-base percentage and 22 doubles in 220 at-bats in 59 games with the Cyclones.

Muno’s stellar season earned him a spot on the New York-Penn League (NYPL) All-Star team, and New York named him as the Sterling Award winner for Brooklyn, symbolic of the team’s MVP.

While in college, the Western Athletic Conference named Muno as the Freshman of the Year after helping Fresno State win the College World Series Championship in 2008.

Additionally, he garnered first team All-WAC honors in 2009 and left Fresno State ranked first in school history in games played (259), runs scored (251) and walks (213). Muno also ranked second in hits (332) and doubles (69) and eighth in RBIs (156).

Of note, Muno received a 50-game suspension in 2012 after testing positive for a metabolite of Drostanolone, an anabolic-androgenic steroid (AAS).



The Stretch Joint Provides Flexibility, Relief in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn

By Jerry Del Priore

The Stretch Joint

The Stretch Joint.

One of the most ignored segments of a fitness routine is flexibility. Even when incorporated into an exercise program, there’s a limit to how far someone can stretch themselves, noted James Leonard, a longtime fitness professional and manager and stretch practitioner at The Stretch Joint in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn.

That’s where Leonard’s flexibility facility and staff come into play, providing pain relief and increasing range of motion for Brooklynites and countless others for the past 11 months.

The flexibility method employed at the Stretch Joint is called Active Isolated Stretching (AIS)—a type of athletic stretching technique, developed by Aaron Mattes (M.S.), that provides effective, dynamic, assisted stretching of major muscle groups. More importantly, it delivers functional and physiological restoration of superficial and deep fascial planes, according to

The key to AIS is that stretches are held no longer than four-five seconds at a time, with each repetition moving a little further, Leonard pointed out. This prevents localized muscle fatigue and lactic acid buildup, plus decreases potential injury.

AIS is better suited for pre-workout or competition performance, Leonard said.

“Whenever somebody comes in, the first thing we do is to find out what’s going on with them,” Leonard, 52, explained. “Then, we teach people the proper way to stretch.”

The Stretch Joint treats clients from all walks of life, including athletes and people with various physical conditions and maladies.

“What we get in here are athletes trying to increase range of motion, and people with injuries and diseases, Leonard said.”

Among some of the injuries and diseases he mentioned were piriformis syndrome (a neuromuscular disorder related to the sciatic nerve), bulging and herniated disks, frozen shoulder syndrome, diabetes, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis (MS) and muscular dystrophy (MD).

“We relieve the symptoms thereof. It doesn’t cure it. It relieves symptoms that they’re suffering from, because those are autonomic nervous system diseases, which attack the nervous system,” he said of Parkinson’s, MS and MD. “The muscles are controlled by nervous system, so they get some relief.”

In addition, several clients are benefiting from The Stretch Joint’s flexibility therapy.

“A friend of mine, who knows my chronic neck pain issues, referred me to see James (or Magic Jim as he is often called) at the Stretch Joint,” said Jeanmarie Tari-Blake, a highly skilled Nurse Practitioner from Staten Island. “I have had neck pain for over 20 years and recently developed numbness and tingling down my arm. I have had multiple epidural steroid injections in my neck as well as facet joint injections and radiofrequency ablations (a pain management procedure) over the years, which were ineffective. I have also done physical therapy, chiropractic treatment and acupuncture, with limited relief of my symptoms.


The Stretch Joint’s James Leonard works on a client.

“I went for a free session in April 2017,” she continued. “I then met with James, who is a true professional. I have now been going twice per week. He was very honest with me and made me aware from the first visit that, given the chronicity of my symptoms, this will be a long process. But he would get me better. I’m happy to say that I get improvement with each session. I’m very optimistic about the future now.”

Plus, Leonard said that increased flexibly also improves blood circulation, as taught and tight muscles limit blood flow. He said proper stretching over time leads to muscular healing and improved sleep patterns because of better overall body relaxation.

“When we stretch you, you release endorphins within your body, so it relaxes you,” Leonard expounded. “So, later on that night, you sleep better. I’ve had people I’ve stretched, come back and say, ‘That’s the best night’s sleep I had in years.”’

To book a free half-hour appointment at The Stretch Joint, call 347-578-7108 and/or visit







Five Minor Leaguers Primed to Impact Fantasy Baseball

By Jerry Del Priore

When it comes to fantasy baseball, it’s not only vital to stay abreast on major league happenings, but it’s important to keep a watchful eye on top minor league prospects who could be called up on moment’s notice, or somewhere down the line.

Knowing these players’ capabilities before everyone else does could give your fantasy baseball team a league up on the competition.

Here is a list of five prospects who could develop into monster fantasy players.

Amed Rosario with the Las Vegas 51s.

Enter Ame Rosario with Triple-A Las Vegas

SS Amed Rosario (New York Mets)

The Dominican Republic-born Rosario is currently batting .318 with seven home runs and 52 RBI (.359/.471/.831) in 333 at-bats in 80 games with Triple-A Las Vegas thus far.

While Rosario doesn’t sport eye-popping power numbers, he does have 16 doubles and seven triples this season.

The Mets No. 1 prospect, who sign as an international free agent for 1.75 million in 2012, is a dynamic player ready to perform now. But it’s likely the Mets won’t call Rosario up in September.

Infielder Yoan Moncada (Chicago White Sox)

The Cuban-born six-two, 205-pound toolsy player has the makings of a fantasy star: speed, above average raw power from both sides of the plate, with a quick bat.

Moncada, who made his major league with the Boston Red Sox, batted .211 with a RBI in 20 plate appearances in eight games in 2016.

It was clear that the 22-year-old needed more seasoning, so he has been in Triple-A Charlotte (White Sox), where he’s batting .281 with 11 round trippers, 32 RBI (270 at-bats in 69 tilts) and 16 base thefts in 20 tries.

Moncada will need to cut down on his strike outs, as he’s whiffed 86 times to drawing 45 walks.

Outfielder Clint Frazier (New York Yankees)

Clint Frazier

New York Yankees prospect Clint Frazier.

Frazier went yard and doubled is his first game with the Bombers Saturday, given Yankee fans and fantasy owners a glimpse of what has baseball insiders excited. The ginger-haired Frazier possesses the rare combination of good speed and power, with a high celling.

The 22-year-old 2013 first round draft pick of the Cleveland Indians was hitting .256 with 12 dingers and 42 RBI in 273 at-bats in 74 contests with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre before his promotion. He also had nine stolen bases in 11 attempts.

Third baseman Nick Senzel (Cincinnati Reds)

Selected by the Reds second overall in the 2016 MLB amateur draft, Senzel has been progression nicely in Cincinnati’s farm system.

He batted .305 with seven home runs and 40 RBI in 243 at-bats in 68 tilts between two stops in 2016.

So far this year, through 283 at-bats in 73 games, the Atlanta, Georgia, native is slashing .305/376/.468/.844 with 5 homers and 39 RBI at a combined two levels (A, AA).

Third baseman Rafael Devers (Red Sox)

Ever since Boston selected Devers in the 2013 international draft, he has been steadily improving.

Currently with the Double-A Portland Sea Dogs of the Eastern League, the 20-year-old has gone deep 18 times, drove in 56 runs, and has collected19 two-base knocks in 273 at-bats in 72 contests.

At six-foot, 215-pound, Devers features a fluid, easy swing with very good power. Presently, he has slugged 47 home runs and 254 RBI during his four-year minor league career.



Ex-Brooklyn Cyclone Tyler Badamo Returns to Affiliated Ball

By Jerry Del Priore

T. Badamo

Pitcher Tyler Badamo returns to affiliated ball with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

After earning four victories with a 2.62 ERA and 39 strikeouts in 61.2 innings with the independent Bridgeport Bluefish of the Atlantic League, the Arizona Diamondbacks decided to purchase the contract of  right-handed starter Tyler Badamo, Bluefish team officials announced during the week.

The Diamondbacks have assigned Badamo, a former Brooklyn Cyclone and New York Mets farmhand, to the Single-A, mid-level Kane County Cougars of the Midwest League (full-season).

“Tyler has been dominant on the mound all season,” Bluefish General Manager Paul Herrmann said on its website. “We’re very happy that he has received this opportunity and we wish him luck with his new team.”

The Dowling College product had a tough first outing with Kane County, surrendering eight earned runs in six innings of work Friday on the road.

Badamo, 24, a Mt. Sinai, New York, native (Long Island), was a 24th round selection of the Mets in the 2014 MLB amateur draft. He went 5-6 with a 3.10 ERA in 81.1 frames in 14 starts with Brooklyn (short-season New York-Penn League) in 2015.

Badamo is the third Bridgeport player to have his contract purchased by a major league organization during the 2017 season.




Fireflies Reliever Adonis Uceta Garners Relief Pitcher of the Month Award

By Jerry Del Priore

Adonis Uceta

Adonis Uceta earns the SAL-BC® relief pitcher of the month honors for June.

South Atlantic League president Eric Krupa announced that Columbia Fireflies reliever Adonis Uceta earned the SAL-BC® relief pitcher of the month honors for June.

Uceta, a 2017 SAL All-Star, tossed 13.1 innings of scoreless ball, and was a perfect 4-4 in all save opportunities during the month.

The 23-year-old Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, native extended his scoreless streak to 20 frames, dating back to May 11th (13 appearances).

“He’s the guy you want with the ball in his hands when situations are tough,” Fireflies manager Jose Leger said in a press release. “He’s done a tremendous job and I’m very happy for him because he’s one of those guys who everyone likes in the clubhouse. Everybody enjoys having fun.”

The New York Mets inked Uceta to an international free agent contract in 2013. The six-foot-one, 225-pound righty is enjoying an impressive season thus far, going 3-0 with a 1.60 ERA and seven saves. In addition, Uceta sports the SAL’s third lowest batting average (1.43) against, and has whiffed 39 batters in 33.2 innings of work in the process.

The South Atlantic League-BC® Relief Pitcher of the Month award is sponsored by (BC Analgesic Powder, Cherry, 24 Count) BC® Powder, the “Preferred Pain Reliever of the South Atlantic League.” The award is given to the most outstanding relief pitcher in the league for the prior month.