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The View from the Cheap Seats

October 7, 2009 under Cheap Seats

By Eddie Mayrose

Yankees Manager Should Tell Burnett, “Shut Up and Pitch.”

I can’t believe Yanks’ manager Joe Girardi is planning to bench Jorge Posada in Game 2 cheap_seats_3_owumof the ALDS because of the perception that A.J. Burnett pitches better when Jose Molina is behind the plate.  Now, I might give Girardi a little wiggle room here if say, C.C. Sabathia preferred Molina.  But Burnett?  What, exactly, has he done this year to warrant such a huge accomodation?  Here’s a little perspective on A.J.’s season:  He’s got 13 wins for a team with the best offense in the game at the not-so-bargain basement price of $18 million.  Conversely, Minnesota’s Game 3 starter, Carl Pavano, had 14 wins while pitching most of the year for the last place Indians.  See how many Yankee fans you can find that’d want Pavano in pinstripes tomorrow night.  To bench Posada, a proven post season vet enjoying one of his best seasons, for such a disappointing pitcher is ludicrous. And with Girardi facing dismissal if he doesn’t bring home a ring, it’s really ill advised to alienate one of the team’s leaders.  For the skipper’s sake, Burnett had better throw a gem.

Gardenhire Thumbs Nose At Robotic Managers

Despite the fact that there were really no pennant races in Major League Baseball outside of the AL Central, The Twins and Tigers certainly made up for it Tuesday night.  Of all the moves and counter moves made by both managers throughout the twelve inning marathon, my favorite came in the top of the eighth.  With two on and one out, Twins’ skipper Ron Gardenhire handed the ball to,(hold on to something before you read this), his closer Joe Nathan.  Yes, in the most crucial part of the game and season, a manager finally decided that he needed his best pitcher to get him out of trouble, no matter what inning it was.   Look for Gardenhire to have his Manager’s Union card revoked.

Jets Look To Bounce Back With Some Extra Help

While it’s true that there is no such thing as a good loss, that wasn’t such a bad one suffered by the Jets in New Orleans.  It’ll have no impact on Division or Conference tie-breakers, they held one of the league’s top offensive units to just ten points and were done in by the mistakes of their rookie QB; something they knew would eventually happen.  Mark Sanchez had better start tucking that ball away in the pocket, though, and the offensive line has to step it up in order to make use of RB Thomas Jones.  We’ll get our first look at how Sanchez handles adversity this week.  I like his chances. Especially with WR Braylon Edwards in the fold.  Maybe all  he needed was a change of scenery.  Jet fans certainly hope so.

Give Eli A Week Off To Heal Heel

I’m not saying the Giants can win a Super Bowl without Eli Manning. But, they can absolutely beat the Raiders with David Carr under center, something I hope to see this Sunday.  No sense losing sight of the big picture while facing such a bad team.

New York Mets Broadcaster At Top Of His Field

Tuesday night, during Twins-Tigers on TBS, a national audience saw first hand what Mets fans have known for a few years: Ron Darling is a superb analyst.  Never too wordy, always on point, Darling had his best moment in the bottom of the seventh.  With one out and one on, Orlando Cabrera stepped into the box with the Twins trailing 3-2.  “Orlando Cabrera is a winning player who always seems to get a big hit when his team needs it the most”, said Darling.  The Twins’ shortstop made Darling a prophet with his two tun homer just a few minutes later.  And, as Cabrera rounded the bases, not one “I told you so” from Darling.  A total professional.

Fifty Years? Already?

On October 10th 1959, Notre Dame traveled to Berkeley and laid a 28-6 pasting on California while LSU, the #1 team in the country, knocked off Miami 27-6. The West Wing’s Bradley Whitford was born, Pan Am announced the beginning of the first global airline service and Eileen Forsyth married Artie Mayrose at St. Anselm’s Church in Brooklyn. In the fifty years since, through four children, twelve grandchildren and all of the excitement, disappointment, triumphs, setbacks, achievements, failures, milestones and heartbreaks that make up half a century, they have been a shining example of the invincibility of two people that love each other.  They created a strong family that spawned four others by living and teaching one simple rule:  There is nothing that parents can give their children that is more valuable than the parents themselves.  Though they never missed anything, even though our time took up all of theirs, and we never wanted for anything, despite the fact they were not wealthy, it is a simple fact that they never sacrificed anything for us.  At least, that’s what they’d say.  As kids, our lives didn’t take away from theirs, rather, our lives became theirs. It is a legacy of love that now benefits their grandchildren as well.  So, Happy 50th, Mom and Dad.  Here’s hoping the next fifty are just as much fun.  Eat your heart out, Lou Kennedy.

The View from the Cheap Seats

September 17, 2009 under Cheap Seats

By Eddie Mayrose


The Jets: Déjà vu all over again

Well, here we are again, Jet fans.  After an exciting Opening Day win on the road behind cheap_seats_3_owuma new quarterback, Gang Green returns to the Meadowlands for its home opener on Sunday to face a Patriots team that looks suddenly vulnerable.  Last season, a week after Tom Brady was lost for the year, Jets’ faithful were abuzz with talk of an AFC East title.  Not only was Brady done, but his replacement, Matt Cassel, hadn’t started a game since high school and future Hall of Famer Brett Favre was now under center for the home team.   Yet, despite all of their high hopes and expectations, the Jets couldn’t get anything started against Bill Bellichick’s defensive scheme and fell 19-10 in a game that wasn’t even that close.

This week, the Jets again prepare for a home opener against New England following an exciting, if not dominant, road win.  Mark Sanchez is now the quarterback that has the fans excited and the Pats, having lost four defensive starters from last year, may be without a fifth, LB Jerod Mayo, the AFC’s Defensive Rookie of the Year in ’08.  Adding more fuel to the fire is the fact that the Brady Bunch was extremely unimpressive in beating the Bills Monday night; a game in which they needed a last minute miracle to win.

While there seems to be every reason for optimism, it’s hard to imagine that Bellichik won’t come up with a game plan to make life miserable for Sanchez.   The one thing the Jets can hang their hats on, though, is that it’s likely Rex Ryan will return the favor.  The aggression and intensity with which Ryan’s defenders played in Houston was something that hasn’t been seen in green jerseys since the days of Joe Klecko and Lance Mehl.  If the Jets can somehow steal a win this week or next, (vs. Tennessee), they’ll have weathered a brutal early schedule and may be able to start thinking playoffs.  Longtime fans know from experience, however, just how big an IF that actually is.

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U.S. Open Tennis: “I’m telling Mommy!”

Let’s be clear.  Serena Williams’ outburst during the women’s semifinals of the U.S. Tennis Open was deplorable.  That it came after an earlier tirade that saw Williams destroy her racket renders any defense of her behavior as “heat of the moment” ridiculous.  However, the sight of the line judge that made the call scurrying over to the referee like a small child tattling to her parents was pretty funny.

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Giants’ Hands

We’ll certainly know more about the Giants after this week’s visit to Dallas but, based on first impressions; it looks like the receiving corps of Hakeem Nicks (out for two weeks with an ankle), Mario Manningham and Steve Smith certainly has the potential to develop into a unit more than capable of winning a Super Bowl.  Until then, Eli Manning, Brandon Jacobs and the game’s best offensive line are enough to put the Jints in the postseason.

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Mike Francesa:Only on Sundays

While his condescending arrogance is the reason I no longer listen to WFAN’s Mike Francesa on weekday afternoons, his Sunday football preview show, The NFL Now, is a must listen.  Clearly driven by his passion for the sport, Francesa delivers concise, informative analysis and even seems to enjoy the fans’ call-in segment.  It’s a shame we haven’t heard this entertaining persona during the week for years.

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Yankees: Where’s A.J.?

With the final two weeks reduced to nothing more than a tuneup for the playoffs, it’s got to be a real area of concern for the Yankees that A.J. Burnett has struggled so mightily in the second half.   Without Burnett, whose history is such that he only seems to perform at his best during the last year of his contract, the Bombers’ rotation is without a reliable third starter heading into the postseason.   They seem invincible everywhere else, however, something for which GM Brian Cashman doesn’t seem to get enough credit.  While it’s true that the Yankees have an almost unlimited amount of money to spend on free agents, it’s still incumbent upon Cashman to sign the right guys; something that’s proven difficult over the last decade.  But, in Mark Teixeira and C.C. Sabathia, Cashman not only plucked the top talent from the list but also got two guys who fit seamlessly into a clubhouse that’s reminiscent of Joe Torre’s dynasty.  The delicate mix of both stars and role players may very well bring the Yanks that 27th trophy.

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Hey Ref! Isn’t that a little loud?

As an old AFL fan, I really enjoyed the throwback uniforms worn by the original, pre-merger franchises on Monday night.  The only problem was that I couldn’t hear the broadcast over the referees’ outfits.

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Mets Fans?

Here’s a sad but interesting question that may be difficult for Mets’ fans to answer.  Which was more difficult to endure; the last two seasons that ended in unbelievable disappointment but featured pennant race baseball through September or this year, which offered little better than an unwatchable,  AAA team for most of the second half?

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Greatest baseball song ever: Peter, Paul and Mary

Farewell to Mary Travers of the folk group Peter, Paul and Mary.  Best known for their hit, Puff the Magic Dragon, they also recorded the greatest Baseball song ever written; Right Field.  Godspeed.

The View from the Cheap Seats

August 12, 2009 under Cheap Seats, Uncategorized

It was the kind of weekend Yankee fans imagined when C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett cheap_seats_3_owumand Mark Teixeira were signed last winter. Burnett and C.C. each turned in a dominant performance on the hill while Teixeira’s big bomb sealed the four game sweep over the hated Red Sox.  Heading into the home stretch with a six game lead, the Yanks have hit their stride; getting contributions from every part of the lineup.  With Phil Hughes filling what was a gaping hole in the Bombers’ pen and Mariano Rivera enjoying a career year; it’s looking like there may be a deep October run in the new stadium.

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In what may be a sign that MLB clubs are feeling the effects of the weak economy, the Blue Jays jettisoned their two time All Star outfielder, Alex Rios, for, essentially, nothing but relief from the obligation to pay the balance of his contract.  Even more alarming is that, despite the fact that Rios is just 28 years old; no team other than the White Sox was interested.

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When they tee it up today in the PGA championship at Hazeltine, it’ll be the last chance in ’09 for Tiger Woods to win a major; something that hasn’t happened since 2004.  He comes in on the heels of two straight wins that followed a missed cut at the British Open.  The way things have gone for him this year, however, if he doesn’t get out fast, it’s not likely he’ll come back. 

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Could we please cease and desist with the ridiculous notion that the Red Sox and Yankees are part of the “greatest rivalry in sports”?  They play each other at least eighteen times each year, the regular season results usually mean nothing as both routinely qualify for the post season and they rarely meet each other in the playoffs.  Earlier this season, New York lost eight straight to Boston and yet, found themselves six games ahead of the pack just two months later.  If Michigan lost eight straight football games to Ohio State, they’d have suffered almost a decade of misery that likely included zero trips to the Rose Bowl.  That’s a rivalry. 

The networks and talking heads calling the games can say anything they want to hype the matchups but can’t undo the reality that the players just don’t care as much as the fans.  They’re too transient and have a much larger financial stake than emotional.  Head down to Philadelphia this fall and ask a Navy offensive lineman what it means to beat Army.  Walk into the Duke locker room on the first day of basketball practice and ask any of the players the date of the North Carolina game.  They’ll know.  There was a time in baseball when Jackie Robinson retired rather than accept a trade to the hated New York Giants.  Remind Johnny Damon of that little bit of history when you ask if he circles the Boston games on his schedule.  Yanks-Sox is a great watch because the teams are two of the game’s most talented and each is a contender for the AL East crown, not because the outcome is a matter of life and death to the participants.

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NationalFootballPost.com reported that the Jets have spoken to an NFC West team to gauge interest in RB Thomas Jones.  A Jet source claimed the report was untrue and I hope that’s the case.   Heading into the season with a new coach, new QB and a scarcity of talented receivers, it’s inconceivable to consider dealing the team’s best offensive player.

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I’ve been chastised at times by Cheap Seats readers unhappy with the lack of attention given to soccer in this column.  So, with the World Cup qualifying game (sorry, match) being played yesterday in Mexico City, I thought it’d be a good time to take a peek.  Imagine my surprise then, when I learned that, despite the fact that the U.S. hasn’t won a game (sorry again, match) against Mexico in its last twenty three tries, its players only worked out together for two days.  Two.  Seems that the players have other commitments and the whole qualifying system is an inconvenience to many.  Could it possibly be that this World Cup stuff isn’t as important to the players as my soccer antagonists would have me believe? 

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In a season that’s become unwatchable, Johan Santana gives disappointed Mets’ fans a reason to tune in every fifth day.  In an ongoing tribute to professionalism, Santana is tied for the Major League lead in wins.  Each offseason, the agent for a sub .500 pitcher will make the case for a salary increase by pointing out that his client’s team averaged a paltry amount of runs during his starts.  It’s a ridiculous argument as it doesn’t take into account how many runs the pitcher allowed.  It doesn’t matter if his run support was bad if his ERA was worse.  Anyway, think about Santana when you hear that argument next year.  If a pitcher is a big, tough guy who cares more about the team’s record than his own, he’ll have plenty of wins no matter how meager the run support.

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