The Massapequa Coast Little League team, the Metro Region champions.

The Massapequa Coast Little League team, the Metro Region champions. Credit: /Jessica Hill

Daily Point

Is Blakeman’s pizza bet on Little League World Series … nuts?

As Metro Region champion Massapequa Coast readied itself for Friday’s 7 p.m. Little League World Series battle in Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman was throwing down the gauntlet Thursday.

Blakeman, in a Facebook Live video, offered up a wager for the mayor of Honolulu, Rick Blangiardi, whose hometown team, the West Region champions, will face off against Massapequa: Long Island pizza against Hawaiian macadamia nuts.

The pizzas, 10 of them, will come from Pappalardo’s Pizza Cove in Massapequa, though Blakeman made a point of saying he didn’t think he’d have to pay off because he doesn’t see Massapequa losing, though he did praise the Honolulu team, the third-place finisher last year, and the 2018 world champion.

Massapequa has never made it to the event and, in fact, no Long Island team has since Rockville Centre headed to Williamsport in 1978.

“Our Massapequa team is better, we’re betting on it, we’re counting on it,” Blakeman proclaimed. Blakeman also, in a hyperbolic claim that was entirely on-brand, said, “Massapequa has become America’s team!” and then reiterated it: “All of Nassau County is behind them, and all of America is behind them!”

But Blangiardi, in a video of his own, made it clear that he is not rooting for Massapequa, though he did have kind words for the team: “My congratulations go out to the kids from Massapequa Coast. The players, their dedication, shines brightly for both of our teams.”

In a curious miscommunication largely attributable to the time difference, both men offered bets in their videos, rather than one offering and the other accepting, but Nassau County cooked up the challenge.

Pappalardo’s and owner Joe Pappalardo were chosen, Blakeman said, because Pappalardo has been a friend to the team, offering free pizza and Italian ices for players who show up in uniform.

Friday afternoon Blakeman and a few other county officials set out for Williamsport to watch the game, which will be televised on ESPN, in person. If Massapequa Coast wins, it will play in a quarterfinal match Monday at 7 p.m. If the team loses, it will play in an elimination game Sunday at 2 p.m.

Either way, at least one more bet beckons, and hopefully, Blakeman will be feasting on macadamias while he looks to place his next wager.

— Lane Filler @lanefiller

Talking Point

International ties

Suffolk County officials are heading to India next week.

And while they hope to see the Taj Mahal, this won’t be a tourist trip.

Instead, Suffolk Chief Deputy County Executive Lisa Black told The Point, she’s hoping to start building relationships with government and business leaders in India, relationships she thinks will open new economic opportunities for Suffolk County and Long Island more broadly.

Black will be leaving Tuesday and will make the trip with Economic Development Director John Schneidawin, and Director of Diversity Outreach Mohinder Singh Taneja, along with Patrick Boyle, who heads Ignite LI; Kristen Reynolds, who leads Discover Long Island; and Robert Fonti, the co-chair of Suffolk’s Alliance of Chambers. Girish Patel, with BAPS Charities, and Erwin Li, with A & Z Pharmaceutical Inc., also will participate.

The group will attend India’s Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises expo while they’re there, and explore key infrastructure, business and manufacturing sites. They also plan to meet with India’s ministers of commerce and industry, tourism, petroleum and natural gas, and housing and urban affairs, among others.

While Suffolk County Chief Executive Steve Bellone said he can’t attend the trip, he noted that he’s fully supportive — and hopes to go next year.

“I’ve been thinking about this for years,” Bellone told The Point. “It’s a unique opportunity, a strategic opportunity. If we actively work to strengthen these ties, ultimately that will lead to further investment in our region.”

Bellone said he’s hoping to expand tourism connections between India and Suffolk County, but also create economic connections, in which India-based firms might invest in Suffolk, particularly in industries like life sciences, renewable energy and more.

Black noted that her efforts also highlight Suffolk’s interest in developing a convention center for larger future gatherings closer to home.

“We want to be the place where everybody wants to come,” Black told The Point.

And Black said she hopes this will be a “catalyst” to additional opportunities, including the possibility that Suffolk will host a U.S.-based summit with government and business leaders from India next year.

Now, if only they could get direct flights out of MacArthur.

— Randi F. Marshall @RandiMarshall

Pencil Point

So far, so good

Credit: Politicalcartoons.com/Bob Englehart

For more cartoons, visit www.newsday.com/nationalcartoons

Final Point

In the news

Welcome to this week’s news quiz, based on recent events. As usual, provide the answer for each clue, one letter per blank. The first letter of each answer, taken in order, spells the name of a collectible item bought for $57,000 by a Georgia man who was convicted of fraud in obtaining a COVID-19 disaster relief loan and using a large portion of the loan to purchase the collectible.

A link to the answers appears below.

_ _ _ _ _   The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says dogs are at risk for contracting monkeypox after the first human-to-dog transmission was reported in this major European city.

_ _ _   Suffolk County agency attempting to sell a 30-acre Medford parcel it owns along the Long Island Expressway service road for use as a warehouse.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _   Fabled African mountain on which Tanzanian officials launched high-speed internet at 13,000 feet, with plans to bring service to the 19,341-foot summit later this year.

_ _ _ _     _ _ _   The Suffolk County Water Authority says homeowners in this part of Long Island have largely ignored its pleas to reduce nonessential water use.

_ _ _ _ _ _   _ _ _ _ _   Long Island-raised singer whose application to trademark the “Queen of Christmas” is being contested by another New York singer-songwriter.

_ _ _ _   State in which the Republican Senate Leadership Fund announced a whopping $28 million ad buy in a tougher-than-expected Senate race.

_ _ _   Sports league that announced it will promote “nonpartisan civic encouragement” by not playing any games on Election Day.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _   One of two iconic muscle cars that will cease production in 2023 as part of parent company Stellantis’ transition to more fuel-efficient vehicles.

_ _ _ _ _ _ _   One of two states being forced by the federal government to reduce their usage of water from the Colorado River amid severe drought conditions.

_ _ _ _ _ _   A federal judge ordered the Justice Department to do this to the affidavit used to search Donald Trump’s Mar-a-Lago home before the affidavit is released.

_ _ _ _ _ _     _ _ _ _ _   Long Island-based Codagenix won a $4.4 million Defense Department award to produce a vaccine against this mosquito-borne disease.

Click here for the answers to the clued words and to the identity of the collectible item.

— Michael Dobie @mwdobie