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The View from the Cheap Seats

December 20, 2009 under Cheap Seats


By Eddie Mayrose

New York Mets GM Omar Minaya Feeling The Heat
In the middle of a week that saw John Lackey sign with the Red Sox and Roy Halladay traded to cheap_seats_3_the Phillies, Omar Minaya has taken his share of pounding in the media for failing to do anything to improve the Metropolitan Baseball club.  Made me think I missed an announcement that had Major League Baseball awarding a championship in December without playing a regular season schedule.  Minaya offered little more than a request for patience; explaining that the Mets do have a plan and they’re content to let it run its course.

One thing in the GM’s favor is that three superstars; Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Johan Santana will be returning to the roster.  The presence of Reyes and Beltran in the lineup should serve to boost David Wright’s stats back to their normal range.  While the Amazins’ desperately need starting pitching and failed to bring either Halladay or Lackey into the fold, Minaya does hve a little credit in the bank when it comes to preaching patience.  He outlasted all contenders in free agent negotiations with Beltran and Pedro Martinez and gave up next to nothing to acquire Santana after waiting out the Red Sox and Yankees.

Fans and media alike are calling for any kind of deal as if the Mets are obligated to provide some show of good faith.  They’ve already offered Jason Bay a four year deal but won’t go for five.  Good for them.  Putting fanatacism aside, does anyone really think Jason Bay will be worth $16 million in five years?  If Minaya can ship Luis Castillo out of CitiField for Orlando Hudson, sign Bay and bring in one or two mid level starters (Ben Sheets, Justin Duchscherrer), he’ll be heading into 2010 with a very similar roster to the one that was picked by many to win the NL East in 2009.

Listen To Your Father, Kid. New York Jets December Preview
Have to admit I received the following preview of the Jets’ stretch run from Cheap Seater Keith Whelan with more than a little satisfaction.  My attempt to educate fans of Gang Green to the presence of outside forces dedicated to their demise has started to hit home.  Whelan, a long time season ticket holder, offered this opinion on how his favorite team would finish the season.

“It’s just too easy to expect the Jets to break our hearts again. We all know they will.   But, now, I’ve taken your advice to go beyond the pessimistic view and look for the twisted one that will not only hurt but pour salt in the wound.”  “The way I see it, we’ll easily beat Atlanta this week while Miami, Baltimore and Jacksonville lose.  That puts us a game up and in control of our own fate; a very bad sign.”  “We’ll head to Indy next week and shock everyone by knocking off the unbeaten Colts as they rest players.”  “Then, facing a ‘win and we’re in’ game at home, we’ll be crushed by Cincinnati.  They’ve hurt me too many times for me to see this thing turning out any other way.”

Nice job, Keith.  The only thing I might add is a few Patriots’ losses that will have that Cincinnati defeat cost them the division as well.  So, if you’re torn between holiday commitments and watching the Jets, it’s been our pleasure to free you up for some parties and shopping.

Russian Billionaire Takes Control of New Jersey Nets
Nets’ owner Bruce Ratner announced that an agreement has been reached with Mikhail Prokhorov regarding his stake in the Nets franchise and the proposed arena in Brooklyn. The final hurdle is approval by the remaining NBA owners who have already indicated they’d sign off on the deal.  No decision has been reached on Prokhorov’s request that the Nets be allowed to play with seven men on the court and shoot at a nine foot basket.

Hey, Giants Football Fans, Come In Off The Ledge
While Sunday night’s loss to Philadelphia probably cost Big Blue any chance of winning the NFC East, the Giants still find themselves in the driver’s seat for a Wild Card berth.  Yes, I know the defense was terrible; allowing back breaking plays at the end of the firat half and then, again, after the Jints had finally taken the lead.  Yet, regardless of how the D performed,  the Giants still win that game if not for the two TD returns allowed on a fumble recovery and a punt.  Hang tough, Giants’ fans.  A 9-7 record is easily attainable and more than likely secures the postseason for your football team.  Refresh my memory.  How’d the Giants do the last time they were a 9-7 Wild Card team?

Tiger Woods Named AP Athlete of the Decade
For the first time in three weeks, Tiger Woods got a little good news when he was named AP Athlete of the Decade.  Obvious jokes aside, Woods’ selection was as easy as you’ll see with an award so open to different interpretations.  Interesting to guess where Tiger would have finished had the vote been taken after Thanksgiving, though.   After all, Barry Bonds, four time MVP, batting champ and all time Home Run leader didn’t garner a single vote. Wonder why?

Dallas Cowboys Football Stadium Debuts 3D Screen
So I’m watching Chargers-Cowboys in Jerry Jones’ brand new palace last Sunday.  CBS fulfilled what seems like a contractual obligation by extolling the virtues of the new stadium ad nauseum.  There were views of the promenade, the enormous standing room area, six or seven thousand shots of Jones in his luxury box and, of course, many references to the enormous video screen that hangs over the field.  Now, I find that a video screen in a stadium is quite useful for replays; after all, it’s the one concession you make to television when you attend a game in person.  However, I’ve never seen the logic of broadcasting the game as it’s being played.  Why would anyone pay good money for a ticket to, essentially, enjoy less comfort for an activity that could have been enjoyed at home for free?

Be that as it may, the ‘Pokes went over the top with an “Emperor’s New Clothes” feature that really gave me a laugh.  At one point in the game, we were shown an image of a Dallas Cowboy Cheerleader wearing a pair of 3D glasses.  Apparently, Jones and the Cowboys were quite impressed with themselves for showing a three dimensional view of the game on the giant screen.  Fans seemed very excited about it, too.  Wonder if any of them realized that, along with the fans assembled in every other NFL stadium, they were already enjoying a 3D version of the game by simply looking down at the field.  Somewhere, P.T. Barnum must have been smiling.

Mayrose Honored
Congratulations to Virginia Mayrose, Staten Island High School Volleyball Coach of the Year.  Recognized for leading St. Joseph Hill Academy to its first title since she founded the program, Mayrose completely revamped her team’s style of play; raising the competitive bar in her own league while bolstering the reputation of Staten Island volleyball among the more established schools in New York City.  She’s really cute, too.  Well done, Gin.

The View from the Cheap Seats

October 28, 2009 under Cheap Seats

By Eddie Mayrose

After Long Wait, World Series Gets Started

Finally, after what seemed like interminable Division and Championship series, we get to the business of  the World Series.  Even though these teams seemcheap_seats_3_ like mirror images of each other, many have given the Yanks a slight edge due to their advantage in the bullpen.  I disagree.  Not that Mariano Rivera isn’t better than Brad Lidge; at this point so is Chita Rivera.  But the Yankee bats have just rendered two of the top closers in the AL powerless and there’s no reason to believe they won’t do the same to Lidge.  In other words, even if the Phillies’ closer was at the top of his game, Charlie Manuel would be making other plans, anyway.  What I think it’ll come down to is who starts Game Five for the Bombers.  We know Sabathia goes in Games One, Four and Seven but the Yankees don’t want A.J. Burnett to pitch in Philadelphia.  If they save him for a Game Six in the Bronx, that’ll not only put an inexperienced starter on the mound, it’ll mean Andy Pettitte goes just once in a seven game series.  Still, I like the Yankees in seven.

Major League Baseball Needs a Salary Cap

Last night’s Game One starters, Cliff Lee and C.C. Sabathia, stood as monuments to baseball’s biggest problem: the disparity in payrolls between small and large market teams.  As the last two winners of the AL Cy Young Award, they would have been a huge help to an Indians’ staff that featured both until Cleveland couldn’t afford either.  Much is made in New York about the “Core Four” of Yankee vets, Rivera, Posada, Pettitte and Jeter, all homegrown and together for much of the Yankees incredible run since 1996.  What most miss in that analysis is that, unlike many teams, the Yankees could afford to keep all of them once they became stars.  Would the Yanks have swept a Twins’ team that included Johan Santana and Torii Hunter?  Would that Twins team have even won the division if the Royals still had Carlos Beltran and Johnny Damon?  The fact is, large market teams don’t do anything better than their small market counterparts.  They simply make more money because of their location; something baseball needs to address.

NY Jets’ Leon Washington Hurt at Worst Time

Next time you want to come down on an NFL player holding out for a contract extension, think of the Jets’ Leon Washington; on the verge of stardom until a broken leg ended his season.  These guys have a very small window to earn their money and each week brings the possibilty of a career-ending injury.

On Bob Griese, Jay-Z and Hypocrisy

ESPN college football analyst, Bob Griese, received a one game suspension from the network for remarks he made last Saturday about Griese_Sep26_bNASCAR’s Juan Pablo Montoya.  When a Top Five list of drivers was posted, another broadcaster asked where Montoya was.  Griese replied, “out having a taco.”  For his part, Montoya told reporters after Sunday’s Sprint Cup series race that he “couldn’t resist making fun of the controversy. I could say I just spent the last three hours eating tacos, but I was driving the car.”  Montoya said of Griese, “I don’t even know who he is and I don’t really care.”  That Griese apologized for the remark twice during the broadcast and ESPN later stated that it considered the matter closed was of no consequence once the PC police got their teeth into it.  Bob Griese is and always has been a professional gentleman on the air and it’s a shame that we no longer look at an entire body of work and simply see a good guy who screwed up.  Instead, Griese and others like him suddenly and inexplicably become bigots.

I’m wondering how long Griese would have been suspended had he, instead, glorified the rape and murder of prostitutes, African-Americans, homosexuals and police.   Didn’t seem to matter much to Major League Baseball or the Yankees last night as they invited rapper Jay-Z to perform before Game 1 of the World Series.  In a song whose title is too despicable for print, Jay-Z promotes each of those; something that doesn’t seem to concern the NBA, either; as he’s a part owner of the New Jersey Nets.  Just because freedom of speech cuts two ways doesn’t make a double standard less hypocritical.

Is There Life After High School?

I write weekly about college and professional sports because of their high profile and the fact that I just love sports.  But, I must confess, despite all of the time spent watching, analyzing and enjoying these televised events, my heart still belongs to the high school athletes.  Their spirit is as irresistible as it is inspirational.  Whether it be the jubilation experienced by a basketball team winning a championship in the last minute, the despair of senior football players weeping at the realization that they’ve just played their last game together or the apprehension of a cheerleader waiting to step on the mat while praying to avoid a misstep, each emotion is so raw as to take me back to the wonderful time when I felt that way, myself.   It’s why I still go to my school’s football and basketball games even though my sons have graduated, why I have my daughter’s competitions circled on the calendar and why I found myself at St. Joseph Hill Academy High School last week for a critical volleyball match with St. Joseph by the Sea.

Seven years ago, the Staten Island Catholic Girls’ High School league was established, with three schools initiating programs and joining two others in their infancy.  Sea quickly established itself as the loop’s dominant force while another school, Notre Dame Academy, grabbed last year’s title.  This time around, Hill started the season 7-0; a record that featured a big home win over Sea but would later include a loss to their rival in a rematch; sending both teams into last week’s rubber match with identical records.  The winner would take the title.  Now, the result, (Hill won), is secondary to my point, even though I have to admit , the victory made for a much happier home as my wife, Virginia, is Hill’s fearless leader.  As I sat there in a packed, noisy gym watching the Hill girls in the stands screaming their support to their classmates, I was reminded again of why I eat this stuff up.  High school is the only sports arena in which the athletes and the fans are bonded by friendship.  The fans don’t cheer for love of school but, rather, love of the players; their friends.  It is the reason the passion is unmatched.  Yes, I know all about the Cameron Crazies at Duke, the Bleacher Bums in Chicago and Cleveland’s Dawg Pound but how many of them studied for a chemistry test with a player the night before a game?   How many had a player decorate their locker on a birthday, cry on their shoulder after a failed road test or celebrate the birth of a baby sister?  And where else is a coach so concerned with a player’s development as a person?

On the prep level, coaches are not motivated by financial gain.  If you ever broke down their stipend to an hourly wage, it would work out to just pennies. Instead, it is the dedication to young men and women that drives so many of them and it is that same dedication that serves as a model for how their impressionable, young players should lead their lives.  It is why I am so grateful to the incredible people that have coached my children and a reason I am so proud to say I am my wife’s husband.  It’s also why I’ll be sitting courtside this weekend watching the St. Joseph Hill girls volleyball team, Staten Island Champion, take on the other boroughs in the city playoffs in front of a gym full of their close friends.  Let me know how Notre Dame does against Washington State.

The View from the Cheap Seats

September 10, 2009 under Cheap Seats

By Eddie Mayrose



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Jeter Chases Gehrig

Anytime a Major League player is mentioned in the same sentence as Lou Gehrig, he’s accomplished something significant. In Derek Jeter’s case, passing Gehrig as the all-time hits leader of the New York Yankees is an achievement that should be listed somewhere near the top of his Cooperstown resume.   For this record, or any like it, to stand for seventy years and survive the many, great players that have been part of Yankee history makes it that much more special when it finally falls.  To have it eclipsed by the team’s most popular player is simply an added gift for the fans as they get to share the moment with their hero; something apparently lost on Yankee broadcasters convinced that the attraction is not Jeter’s assault on the record but their description of it, instead.

The pre-game soliloquies, (Whatever happened to, “Hi, this is Frank Messer and welcome to Yankee baseball.”?), the silly stats and the wink-wink, “I spoke to Derek”, nonsense that seems to have become a competition among the broadcast crew, has grown more and more tiresome as the shortstop has struggled to get the last few hits he needs.  And can you imagine the over-the-top silliness that Sterling has already come up with for the record breaker?   How about just letting the fans enjoy Jeter without getting in the way?

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Missing Mangini

Read this week that Eric Mangini still hadn’t announced his starting QB for the Browns’ opener on Sunday and started to respect Rex Ryan a whole lot more.

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Dedicated Superstars

Next time you hear someone start whining about how today’s athletes just don’t care, that money is everything and team loyalty is a thing of the past, mention Carlos Beltran.  Out three months with a bone bruise that hasn’t completely healed, Beltran came back to a Mets’ squad so devastated by injuries that many advised the center fielder to shut it down for the year.

Or Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford; reigning Heisman Trophy winner.  He spurned the millions that awaited him in the NFL in order to return to school and join his teammates in their quest to win the National Championship that they just missed last season.  Pundits were criticizing Bradford’s decision this week after he sustained a shoulder injury in Oklahoma’s opener.  As if a guy who thinks team first isn’t already above their criticism.

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Denver Broncos: Tough Love?

Strange coincidence in Denver where WR Brandon Marshall, suspended indefinitely for insubordination, redeemed himself in his coach’s eyes just in time for the season opener.

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September Yawn

It’s a sorry September in Major League Baseball as only one of the six divisions has even a sniff of a pennant race.  Despite Bud Selig trying to sell me on the Wild Card, I’m not exactly flipping to Sportscenter to find out how the Red Sox and Rangers did.

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September 11, 2009

Eight years ago, just prior to the kickoff of a freshman football game between Xaverian High School and Xavier High School, the captains from each team proceeded to midfield.   The pregame ritual seemed as mundane as every other coin toss; eight kids who’d never met greeting officials and opponents they probably wouldn’t recognize an hour later.   Until one of the Xaverian captains, the smallest actually, reached across to the Xavier side.  “We’re really sorry about your coach”, he said.  “Thanks, man” came the reply, “thanks a lot.”

Almost two months earlier, on September 10th, a whole new world opened up for those kids as they started their high school careers.  The next day brought a whole new world for all of us.  While football became a refuge for the Xaverian freshmen; their safe haven from the sadness and fear, it was a daily reminder of both for the Xavier kids who’d lost their coach in the World Trade Center attacks.  And now, just before a game that was as much a neighborhood rivalry as any they would ever play, these young boys took a second away from the sport to address their grief.

I thought about that game when I saw that the two schools would open their Varsity seasons against each other tomorrow night, September 11th, at Aviator Field in Brooklyn.  I remembered how I felt back then; that there would never be a time that I’d enjoy anything on that day.  I thought about those high school freshmen; college grads now, and how they managed to find their way through those terrible times.  Finally, I thought of how often since that horrible Tuesday morning I’d been told that the loved ones we lost would want us to enjoy our lives.  That, to do so, would honor the rescuers whose sacrifice was made to preserve that freedom.  Maybe, after eight years, it’s time to let that advice sink in.

So, I’ll be there tomorrow night because, after all this time, it’s where I think I should be.  It’ll be my tribute to those we lost, those we didn’t and those overseas fighting to prevent such an atrocity from ever happening again.  And I’ll carry those eight young football players in my heart; grateful for the example they set on that autumn afternoon.  Thoreau once wrote “All men are children”.  But, on that day, children were men.

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Happy 19th Birthday to one of LaSalle University’s finest, Ryan Mayrose.

The View from the Cheap Seats

July 29, 2009 under Cheap Seats

It’s time.  After Omar Minaya’s meltdown at the press conference called to cheap_seats_3_owumannounce the firing of Tony Bernazard, there is no logical course for the Mets to follow other than tearing the whole thing down and starting over.  Just three years after coming within one game of the World Series, theirs is a fractured organization lacking both leadership and direction.  Minaya’s performance on Monday is just the latest in a series of embarrassing incidents  that have reduced the franchise to a laughingstock.

We often hear talk in the sports world of the “window of opportunity”.  With salary caps and free agency now the order of the day, sports teams must take advantage of the circumstances that allow them to assemble as much affordable talent as possible because, eventually, they will not be able to pay all of their stars.  For the Mets, the window seemed wide open in 2006.  After years of mismanagement created by the Wilpons’ affinity for soliciting every opinion in the building, Minaya, as the single voice, was able to assemble a strong mix of young and veteran talent that looked as good as any in the NL.  Then Yadier Molina’s homer in Game Seven of the NLCS sent the Mets home and two straight late season collapses gave evidence the window was closing.  But Minaya recruited J.J. Putz and Francisco Rodriguez last winter to help fix the team’s biggest problem and the faithful were, once again, filled with optimism.  That is, until the ambulance was backed up to the players’ exit.

Injuries abounded as five members of the team’s Opening Day lineup went down along with two starting pitchers and a reliever.  Compounding the problem was the misdiagnosis of Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran.  Reyes was originally treated for a calf problem that turned out to be a hamstring while Beltran received a cortisone shot for a bone bruise that actually doubled in size as he continued to play on it.  This week, John Maine will receive a second opinion on a shoulder injury that has kept him out much longer than originally expected.  These incidents have all served to call into question the competence of the team’s medical staff.

The bloated disabled list has also exposed a lack of depth in the minor leagues where the organization is not only absent the major league ready prospects that could bring help by way of a trade but has seen its top affiliates wallow near the bottom of the standings. These failings apparently took their toll on the head of player development, Tony Bernazard, whose often erratic and bizarre behavior has been well chronicled over the last two weeks.  All of which culminated in Minaya’s now infamous performance on Monday.

First of all, why was there a need for a question and answer session with the media over the firing of a relatively lower level administrator?  I’m not sure that even the most astute fan can identify the player development guy for his or her favorite ballclub.  But, in the Wilpon’s world where, once again, no chain of command seems to exist, everyone has the ear of the owners, even a Tony Bernazard.  Secondly, if it was decided that a press conference was actually in order, why wasn’t Jeff Wilpon at the microphone?  The fact that Bernazard was let go for cause made the issue organizational and not departmental.  And, finally, what did Minaya accomplish in his attack on Daily News beat writer, Adam Rubin, other than exposing himself as mean spirited and vindictive?   That Wilpon spent Tuesday apologizing for his GM’s behavior and lamenting the embarrassment Minaya had caused both him and his dad, Fred, is an indication that even they have had enough.

The news isn’t all bad, however.  The team’s two young stars, Reyes and David Wright, are signed for three more years.  Two of the game’s best, Johan Santana and Francisco Rodriguez, anchor the pitching staff while, in Beltran, the Amazins’ have the game’s best centerfielder.  But fences must be mended, especially with Beltran, who is reported to be furious with the organization over the original diagnosis of his injury.  He’ll be looking for a new contract next year, one that should be given him based on his terrific production since joining the club.  The GM that negotiates that contract should be the face of the franchise, the guy whose been given the keys by ownership to build a winner by whatever means he sees fit.  Over the last few weeks we’ve learned that that person can no longer be Omar Minaya.  The question is, have the Wilpons figured it out yet?

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USA Today writer, Christine Brennan, in response to ESPN reporter Erin Andrews being secretly videotaped in her hotel room, stuck her foot squarely in her mouth with this little gem that she shared on Twitter. “Women sports journalists need to be smart and not play to the frat house. There are tons of nuts out there.” Then, in trying to explain away the faux pas, went on television Monday and stuck the other foot in even deeper. “If you trade off your sex appeal, if you trade off your looks, eventually you’re going to lose those.  She doesn’t deserve what happened to her but part of the schtick, seems to me, is being a little bit out there in a way that then you are encouraging the complete nutcase to drill a hole in your room.” Nice. Last week, when I pointed out that the dogs abused by Michael Vick had more advocates than women abused by other NFL players, I caught some crap from a few people who thought that women shouldn’t need advocacy; that they can speak for themselves and call on their own strength to leave their abuser.  Thank you, Ms. Brennan, for reinforcing my point.  Erin Andrews is a competent professional who covers a wide range of sports.  She may not be a probing, investigative reporter but she performs well within her own arena.  To say that she trades off her sex appeal and looks is as insulting as it is mean.  Yet, her ability is not the issue here.  Even if she was a bumbling, talking hairdo doing her sideline reports in a Hooters outfit, she does not deserve the violation of privacy that she suffered in that hotel room.  To even insinuate that she somehow contributed to it is, well, playing to the frat house.

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So, Bud Selig is considering the reinstatement of Pete Rose to Major League Baseball.  Who cares?  Just do it already and let Rose take his chances with a veteran’s committee not all that happy with the hit king’s legacy of lies.  That Rose tries to somehow contest the fact that he bet on baseball after having accepted a lifetime ban for it is one of the more brazen stances I’ve ever seen.  Ironically, had he admitted his offenses, he more than likely would have been reinstated long ago and would already be enshrined in Cooperstown.  But, as long as he’s arrogant enough to think he can deny his way into the Hall, he’ll make his induction that much tougher.

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Any word on those Yankee fans that gave the team up for dead back in April and then, again, in June?  I’ve been tuning into sports radio hoping they’d turn up but, as yet, have been unsuccessful.  I’m figuring the next place I’ll see them will be on Broadway during the ticker tape parade.

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The View from the Cheap Seats by Eddie Mayrose

March 13, 2008 under Cheap Seats

Now that Spring Training has finally started, it’s a pleasure to, once again, be discussing the actual on-field events of baseball.  I had almost “misremembered” how much fun it is.  Fun, however, is probably not the word Mets GM Omar Minaya is using as he spends each day visiting his starting outfield in the hospital or trainer’s room.  Moises Alou (hernia), Carlos Beltran (knee) and Ryan Church (concussion) all must have Minaya wondering how prudent it was to ship Lastings Milledge to the Nationals.  Maybe Johan Santana can play the outfield on his off days.  Seriously, the Amazins need to place a call to the Angels and inquire about Juan Rivera.  A rising star who sat out last year with a broken leg, he currently resides on L.A.’s bench due to an overcrowded outfield. ….  Across town, while it’s true that the Yankees did well to resign their core of Alex Rodriguez, Mariano Rivera and Jorge Posada, they have essentially done nothing to improve a team that trailed the Red Sox from wire to wire in ’07.  In fact, the case could be made that they are weaker at some positions, especially defensively.  AL baserunners are licking their chops at the thought of taking extra bases on Johnny Damon or Hideki Matsui as at least one will have to man left field. ARod, Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano can’t be too happy about throwing across the diamond to Jason Giambi who, like Michael Jackson, wears a glove on his left hand for no apparent reason.  With the Blue Jays improving, it will be interesting to see just how much of daddy’s DNA was inherited by Hank Steinbrenner, especially if they finish third.  Those rookie pitchers had better produce. …  The Jets went on a free agent spending spree last week, committing more than 70 million dollars to four free agent linemen.  Seven time Pro Bowler, Alan Faneca, garnered the biggest contract in league history for an offensive lineman, inking a deal for $40 million to fill a hole created when the club refused to give Pete Kendall a $1 million dollar raise last year.  With that kind of sound, economic policy, is it any wonder that season ticket holders face increases every year?  None of this will matter, however, if Gang Green can’t find a quarterback.  Am I the only Chad Pennington fan left standing?  Memo to Eric Mangini:  Chad’s your man. …  The Big East Men’s Basketball Championship opened at the Garden yesterday, with St. John’s on the outside looking in for the third time in the four years that Norm Roberts has been at the helm. Further frustrating fans of the Red Storm is the fact that many of the participating teams are led by New York City players that St. John’s failed to sign or decided not to recruit.  There was a time when all of the Big Apple’s players put other schools on hold as they waited for a call from Lou Carnesecca.  Hasn’t anyone noticed that the Johnnies’ fall from the top of the conference started at the same time that they stopped getting city players?  Now, most of the blame for that lies with Mike Jarvis, who guided the program into its most embarrassing era ever and completely disregarded the hoops hotbed that was merely a subway ride away.  But, Roberts, who should be credited for bringing  high character people into the fold, has made little progress in mending fences with CHSAA and PSAL coaches and players.  With St. John’s watching McDonald’s All Americans Sylvan Landesberg (Virginia) and Kemba Walker (UConn) leave the city this year, season five of the Roberts era might be the last…   Nate Robinson scored 46 points for the Knicks last weekend in an overtime loss to the Blazers.  Amazingly, many Knick fans were heading for the exits while the hometown team was down three in the last minute and still more left as the overtime began.  A sad statement for what was once the signature franchise in the league.  The Blazers, by the way, are one of four teams who have improved themselves after unloading disgruntled “stars” on the Knicks.  The Bulls, Nuggets and Suns have all benefited from the same generosity.  Looks like there might be more to putting a team together than just assembling talent…  Finally, there’s this question for all of the deliriously happy Giants fans as they continue to revel in the glow of their Super Bowl title.  Does Eli Manning still stink?


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