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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 20, 2009 under Cheap Seats, Uncategorized

I won’t go so far as to say Brett Favre lied to the Jets about his plans for retirement.  Not because I think Favre had a cheap_seats_3_legitimate change of heart or that no one in his right mind would turn down twelve million dollars.  I just don’t care.

Through all of the gnashing of teeth by indignant members of the media inexplicably insulted by the quarterback’s decision and fans with jilted feelings over his flip flopping, one point seems to be lost:  Favre is done.

Didn’t anyone else notice that the aging QB was the biggest contributor to the Jets’ late season collapse?  His performance over the last four games was abysmal, as was his failure to beat a number of the weak sisters on the Jets’ schedule.  Despite less than stellar seasons, Oakland, San Francisco, Seattle and Denver all handled the Jets in a season where just one more win could’ve meant a playoff berth.

P.T. Barnum famously stated that there’s a sucker born every minute.  Seems like this minute’s sucker is Vikings’ owner Zygi Wilf, who’ll soon find out that the increased ticket sales and apparel revenue will contribute nothing to Minnesota’s playoff effort.  The same will likely be true of Favre.

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The pitch count police had a great week.  Last Wednesday, Staten Island Yankees hurler Sean Black held the Auburn Doubledays hitless through six innings.  However, he was lifted after the sixth because he was over his allotted pitch total.  This on the heels of a report that the New York City Council is considering imposing a pitch limit in the city’s high school leagues.  Yes, the same uninformed City Council that removed metal bats from high school but ignored the infinitely more dangerous situation created by the same bats in Little League.

Dennis Canale, head baseball coach at Xaverian High School, a perennial city power, had his own views on the idea.  “First of all, we’ve always used a pitch count here.  I keep my Varsity guys to around 95 pitches.  Freshman and JV get 90 pitches a week but won’t appear a second time if they go more than 50 in their first appearance.”  “However, I think these decisions should be left to the individual coaches.  I’ll let one of my kids get up to 100-110 if it means closing out a game and that decision should be mine.”

He went on to share a terrific idea, one too logical to gain any support within the city’s bureaucracy.  “If the City Council is really concerned about the welfare of these kids, they should mandate that all coaches be certified.  All coaches.  Create a program where coaches learn the value of stretching, hydration and proper technique.  That way, you’ll have them making informed decisions.”  A great thought, but since it’s one that won’t generate headlines that turn into votes, it’ll never happen.

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“Please rise and remove your caps for the playing of our National Anthem.”  It’s an announcement we hear before every ballgame and I’m wondering when it became necessary to remind people to remove their caps.  I also can’t decide which is more embarrassing: That we now need to be prompted to do it or that, despite the advisory, so many fail to do so, anyway.

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Done much traveling this summer?  Not as much as Quentin Richardson, I’d imagine.  The former Knick guard, traded to the Grizzlies on draft night, has subsequently been sent to the Clippers, who dispatched him to the Timberwolves, who then traded him to the Heat.  He’s still in Miami as of this writing but has no guarantees regarding training camp.  He’s keeping his bags packed.

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Danny McCarthy was a Bay Ridge guy who brought a sweet swing to both the baseball field and the golf course.  He was part of one of those special families that seem to exist in most neighborhoods; the one whose every member serves the community.  In McCarthy’s case, it was the local little league, where his father served as commissioner while his mom repaired uniforms and raised funds.  Dan and his two brothers played in the league through elementary school and then became coaches, volunteer positions they held well into adulthood.  There were very few kids in and around our corner of Brooklyn that didn’t benefit from the generosity of Danny and his family.

We lost Danny on December 21st, 1988, when he became one of the 270 victims on Pan Am flight 103 that were murdered over Lockerbie, Scotland.  I thought of him today as I learned that Abdel Basset Ali Al-Megrahi, serving a life sentence after being tried and convicted for the attacks, was to be released by the Scottish government on “compassionate grounds” due to the fact that his prostate cancer is terminal.  Apparently, his sentence was for all but the last three months of his life.  I also wondered about the “compassionate grounds” that might have been exercised by Al-Megrahi when he, instead, made the decision  to murder so many innocent people.

Danny McCarthy was a good son, brother and friend.  He was a young man about whom no one ever had a bad thing to say.  Everyone he dealt with was better for having known him, especially those kids that were fortunate enough to have him as a coach.  It’s comforting to know that there are now young husbands and fathers that were influenced by Danny’s kindness and dignity.  Comforting enough, that is, to overcome yet another tragedy in Scotland.

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Happy Birthday, Gin.


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