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The View from the Cheap Seats

January 7, 2010 under Cheap Seats

By Eddie Mayrose

Jets Say Farewell To Giants Stadium Demons At Cincinnati’s Expense

It was right out of Meadowlands history.  The former defensive coordinator turned head coach cheap_seats_3_owumbrandishing a style of smash-mouth football behind a dominating offensive line and a punishing defense on a cold, windswept December evening.  A raucous crowd firing up the home team on its way to a playoff berth and a shot at the Super Bowl. Only, this time, it wasn’t Bill Parcells leading the Giants during their heyday.  Instead, the New York Jets; yes, those Jets, turned in the kind of dominating performance their fans hadn’t seen since Klecko and Mehl hung up their cleats all those years ago.  Behind first year Head Coach Rex Ryan, who, himself, had given them up for dead just two weeks earlier, Gang Green turned the final game at Giants Stadium into a coming-out party for what many hope to be a new era for the Jets.  That it took twenty five years to get here didn’t seem to bother any of the faithful Sunday night.

While many have pointed to the Jets’ good fortune in facing two teams, (Indianapolis and Cincinnati), with no motivation, Big Rexy’s boys will offer no apologies as participants in the Super Bowl tournament.  Even though it’s a long shot to think they would have beaten the Colts had Peyton Manning and Company turned in a full day’s work, the Bengals absolutely came to play last week until their spirit was broken by the suffocating Jets’ defense in the first quarter.  Carson Palmer was an abysmal 1 for 11 and the former Chad Johnson couldn’t catch a cold.  Instead, the Jets dominated every facet of the game behind the tried and true formula for playoff success: Rushing and Defense.  Piling up 257 yards on the ground while allowing just 61 bodes well for New York in this week’s rematch.  Cincinnati can take heart in that they’ll be welcoming back a number of starters but, unless their names are Unitas and Butkus, it may not be enough.

New York Giants Shame Their Own Tradition

At the beginning of the season, who’d have believed that the unyielding and overpowering shutout to tom osiclose Giants Stadium would be turned in by the Jets while the Meadowlands’ main tenants went meekly into the off-season?

The type of performance given by the Giants over the last two weeks is one that surfaces every year.  At the end of each season, we see teams quit on their teammates, coaches and fans; embarrassing themselves professionally in the process.  That, this time, it occurred with a team on the brink of the playoffs and just two years removed from a Super Bowl title is as amazing as it is sad.

Big Blue’s total lack of effort in being outscored 85-16 over its final two games is a sign that a huge overhaul is necessary.  The process started Monday with the firing of Defensive Coordinator, Bill Sheridan but should not include, for now, the Head Coach.  What Tom Coughlin needs to realize, however, is that, somewhere along the way, he’s picked up a number of whiners and weak links that need to be banished no matter what their previous record of success.  Blind loyalty for past achievements is a potent formula for getting yourself fired.  He can start with DE Osi Umenyiora, who got into it with Sheridan during training camp, went home for a nap and a ba-ba and was awful, thereafter. The Jints have enough talent to rebound in 2010.  However, with two playoff teams already in the division and Mike Shanahan arriving in Washington, they’d better be quick about it.

Magic Johnson Denied Courtside Seats By New York Knicks

The New York Daily News reported that NBA legend Magic Johnson had his request for complimentary tickets denied by Knicks’ brass; reportedly due to critical comments Johnson made about former Knicks’ boss, Isiah Thomas.  Based on that, I’m wondering how anyone gets in the building.

NBA Commish Must Ban Arenas For Life

Washington Wizards’ teammates Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittendon are alleged to have drawn guns on each other in the Wizards’ locker room over a gambling debt; something Arenas has confirmed.  arenasApparently, it was Arenas’ idea of some sort of prank.  He’s been suspended indefinitely as D.C. police continue to investigate.

There is no gray area here for Commissioner David Stern as to his course of action.  This was no courtside melee that spilled into the stands and endangered ticket holders; something for which Ron Artest lost a season.  This was a real, live, life-or-death situation created by two idiots with no regard for the value of a dollar, let alone a life.  How would you like to be the clubhouse guy for Washington?  Young guy, going about your business and all of a sudden you’re in the middle of a shootout.  Think I’m exaggerating?  Once you’ve actually become unbalanced enough to draw the weapon, how far, actually, is the next step to fire it?

The NBA averted the worst event in its history by an eyelash.  Should Arenas or Crittendon be allowed back, the league will be as culpable as the players when, not if, it happens again.  Sadly ironic that it happened with the Wizards, a team whose name was changed from the Bullets because its late owner, Abe Pollin, was concerned about the violent image the name projected among D.C. youth. 

NFL Playoff Predictions

Green Bay 31 Arizona 23: Bobby Carr, Joe Berg and Lynn Dickey rejoice.
Dallas 27 Philadelphia 13: Tell your father-in-law to kiss your arse, young Flanagan.
Patriots 26 Ravens 21:  Is there any way both teams can lose?  Won’t even watch this game.
Bengals 17 Jets 9: Condolences to Lou Ricciardi, Jack O’Sullivan and Mike Walsh.

The View from the Cheap Seats

August 4, 2009 under Cheap Seats

This time, it’s David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez.  In the latest leak of the infamous cheap_seats_3_owumlist of 104 players that tested positive for performance enhancing drugs in 2003, we’ve found out just how Big Papi got that way and that, oops, Manny’s positive test in May wasn’t a one-time thing.  Now, while I still don’t care what any of these cheats put in their bodies and I’m not up in arms about the integrity of Major League Baseball’s record book, there are some disturbing aspects about this revelation that make it different than the others.  In Ortiz and Ramirez, we may, finally, have an indication that, despite their denials, MLB and its owners were aware of the widespread use of PED’s.

In December, 2007, when former Senator George Mitchell released the results of his investigation into the use of steroids in professional baseball, much was made of the fact that, while Mitchell was a part owner of the Red Sox, no Boston player appeared on the list.  Those suspicions were given new life last week, as the exposure of Ortiz and Ramirez as well as speculation surrounding former Sox pitcher, Bronson Arroyo, called Mitchell’s objectivity into serious question.  Could he have directed his investigation away from any of his own players?  Did he ignore information that may have been gathered about them?  It’s likely we’ll never know.  However, the conspiracy theory gained significant momentum when it was discovered that, last year, the Red Sox fired two employees after an MLB investigation into steroid use within the organization.  Jared Remy and Alex Cyr were canned after state police found a vial of steroids in Cyr’s car as he was returning from a Red Sox event last July.  Cyr acknowledged that he had purchased the drugs from Remy, who admitted to his own steroid use.  Remy’s subsequent comments about baseball’s probe were quite troubling.  “I’m sure they were hoping I didn’t know anything,” he said.  “It’s like they didn’t want to know.” 

So, now we have documented steroid use by Manny Ramirez in 2003 and 2009 as well as two employees of the organization with clubhouse access being dismissed.  That it is unlikely Ramirez did not use a performance enhancing drug between his two positive tests casts serious doubt on the credibility of Mitchell’s report.  That the dismissal of Remy and Cyr was not made public for a year points to the possibility that the Red Sox not only knew their players were juicing but may have acted to cover it up.  None of the evidence supporting these theories is any better than circumstantial but, in the court of public opinion, the Boston brass looks bloodier than Curt Schilling’s sock.

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Here’s a question for the Major League Baseball Players Association.  Since it’s obvious that whoever has this supposedly anonymous list plans to leak the names a few at a time, why not get in front of things and release the names, yourself?   Wouldn’t it be better for everyone if we knew who the players are?  Those on the list would be able to get past what has to be significant anxiety in just one news cycle while those not on the list would be cleared of suspicion.  Already, prominent major leaguers like Mariano Rivera and Torii Hunter have lobbied for just that.  While a union is charged with protecting its members, how can it justify giving cover to 104 while placing another 500 under the same cloud?  Those numbers should be reversed.

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Former Giants’ WR Plaxico Burress, indicted for carrying an unlicensed gun into a nightclub and then shooting himself in the leg, faces up to three and a half years in prison if convicted.  Welcome, Plax, to the world where athletic ability does not exempt you from bad acts.  That you were the only victim in this shooting was nothing but dumb luck.  Perhaps if you seemed sorry about that rather than the fact that you were caught, you’d have caught a break.

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The stories could have been written immediately after the Jets hired Rex Ryan. Instead, we had to wait until camp opened to read the inevitable comments from players about Ryan’s coaching style.  His demeanor is a welcome change to the iron-fisted reign of Eric Mangini, who was a necessary shift from the easy going Herm Edwards who created a player-friendly atmosphere that was in sharp contrast to the tyrannical reign of his predecessor, Al Groh.  The only thing any of them have in common is that, except for Ryan, all have failed.  It has become a very sorry cycle broken just once, when Bill Parcells was brought in to bring them back from a two season stretch that netted just three wins. 

Despite this very clear record of failure and success, Gang Green chose to ignore five available head coaches with Super Bowl victories on their resume during the offseason.  While Bill Cowher, Mike Holmgren, Brian Billick, Jon Gruden and Mike Shanahan could have been approached about the opening, Gang Green turned once again to its tired policy of enlisting the services of the hottest young coordinator.  Who knows?  Maybe Ryan will, finally, be the guy.  Unfortunately, recent history says he’s not.

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Even though it was disappointing that David Ortiz didn’t provide the usual bit of nonsense in trying to explain away his steroid use, there were still some yuks to be had.  Thought it was funny that the New York papers chose to taunt the “Roid” Sox and question the validity of Boston’s two World Series titles while completely ignoring the fact that the “steroid apology” press conference has become an annual event for the hometown Yankees during spring training.


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