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The View from the Cheap Seats

December 2, 2009 under Cheap Seats, Uncategorized

By Eddie Mayrose

Tiger Woods Drives Into The Rough

I’m wondering just how many of those calling for Tiger Woods to come clean about the circumstances cheap_seats_3_owumsurrounding his auto accident would be so open with the authorities in the same situation.  Here’s all I need to know.  Woods was involved in a one car accident where he was the only person injured and no alcohol was involved.  He met his legal requirements by producing license, registration and proof of insurance and is recovering from minor injuries that will not affect his career.  That’s it, I’m good.  Whatever else may have happened is the sole business of Tiger and his wife; no matter how far he can hit a golf ball.  Funny, a sports superstar crashes his car and public outrage ensues because we can’t find out  why it occurred.  Yet, when two morons trying to get on TV commit a felony by trespassing on White House grounds and compromising Presidential security, it’s received as little more than a college fraternity prank.  Here’s an idea.  Let’s cut Mr. and Mrs. Woods some slack and throw Mr. and Mrs. Salahi in prison for as long as President Obama resides at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.

 New York Rangers’ Tortorella May Be Writing Own Pink Slip

After a weekend that saw his hockey team blown out of two games while surrendering thirteen goals, Rangers’ Head Coach John Tortorella had an interesting take. “The locker room, sooner or later, has to take some ownership as far as how we’re gonna go about this,” Tortorella said. “It’s about accountability … individual players taking responsibility for their play.”  Seems to me that accountability and responsibility are part of the head man’s job description; right up there with motivation.  Every coach knows the game.  The successful ones are those that inspire their players to compete.  Could it be that Tortorella may soon be held accountable for the Blueshirts’ malaise?   Then again, he’s being evaluated by GM Glen Sather; an exec that’s reigned over a decade of mediocrity while escaping any vestige of accountability, himself.   Who knows?   Maybe he and Tortorella are a perfect match.

Derek Jeter Named Sports Illustrated Sportsman of the Year

This one is a little confusing.  Now, a case could be made for a player of Derek Jeter’s caliber just about BASEBALL/every year.  Having said that, if SI was looking to select a baseball player based solely on his accomplishments in 2009, Albert Pujols should have been the choice.  If Jeter’s exceptional season was viewed as part of a career resume that includes a number of championships, how can Lakers’ coach Phil Jackson be overlooked after setting an NBA record with his tenth title?  After all, Jeter’s been with the Yanks for each of the last nine seasons that have failed to produce a title.  It wasn’t until C.C. Sabathia and Mark Teixeira arrived that the Bombers were able to rise to the top of the baseball world once again.  No matter your opinion, however, the editors at SI are grateful for the interest generated by any controversy.   That said, the pick here would have been Jackson.

New Jersey Nets Fire Coach Lawrence Frank

There.  That ought to fix everything.  No word yet as to when Nets’ playoff tickets go on sale.

Tennessee Titans On Comeback Trail

This is the flip side to the New Jersey Nets situation and one for those who recognize that a great coach doesn’t suddenly become stupid.  After Tennessee’s 0-6 start, some were calling for the head of Titan’s coach Jeff Fisher.  Fisher, the NFL’s longest tenured head man, was under fire after his team’s disastrous opening to the ’09 campaign.  Wonder if a new guy would have been able to rally the Titans back to playoff contention with a five game winning streak the way Fisher has.

McAlarney Leads Fort Wayne Mad Ants To First Victory

Fort Wayne Mad Ants?  Well, it doesn’t always come easy.  For every NBA star, there are a hundred kylemcalarneyscratching and clawing to get into the league.  Some, like former Knick,  John Starks, go from bagging groceries to the All Star Game.  For many others, though, it’s a long trek through a lot of small towns that doesn’t always end with an NBA contract.  Former Notre Dame star, Kyle McAlarney, is currently on the first step of that journey, toiling in the NBA Developmental League for the Mad Ants.  He had twenty two the other night in the Ants’ first win as he tries to refute the notion that a player his size can’t make it.  Hard to believe there isn’t a team in the NBA that couldn’t use one of the best shooters at any level.  You listening, Donnie Walsh?

The View from the Cheap Seats

September 10, 2009 under Cheap Seats

By Eddie Mayrose


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

August 28, 2009 under Cheap Seats

By Eddie Mayrose

Major League MVP?

That Derek Jeter is enjoying perhaps the finest season of his Hall of Fame career comes as no surprise to those who cheap_seats_3_owumbelieved he should have always been the Yankees’ leadoff man.  Why it took so long to insert him into the top spot remains a mystery, especially since he was always the choice to bat first in most of the post season games played during the dynasty of the late 90’s.  Regardless, he’s there now and is one of the main reasons the Bombers seem poised for another World Series run.  What Jeter is not, however, is a serious candidate for the American League MVP award, as Minnesota’s Joe Mauer should be the unanimous choice.

Over the last two seasons, we’ve seen deserving, small-market candidates like Justin Morneau and Matt Holliday robbed of the award as voters focused on the more highly publicized exploits of Dustin Pedroia and Jimmy Rollins.  To shun Mauer, though, would be a monumental oversight, as his incredible performance at the plate may be second only to the job he’s done behind it.  Never has a catcher so prodigiously combined such excellent defense with as lofty a batting average.  That he’s also on pace for 30 HR and 100 RBI despite missing a month to injury only adds to the resume.

So, celebrate Jeter’s season as one of his best and settle in for a long playoff run.  Just don’t go overboard when Awards Season rolls around.

A New Yankees Closer?

Is Joe Torre a Cheap Seats reader?  Maybe not, but he was my hero for a day last week when he used his closer (and best available pitcher) Jonathan Broxton to face the middle of the Cubs’ batting order in the 8th inning.  George Sherrill finished the game by facing the bottom of Chicago’s lineup in the ninth.  Finally, a manager chose not to drink the Tony LaRussa kool-aid.

After the game, Torre faced questions about whether Broxton would be upset that he wasn’t credited with a save.  A sticky point, actually, as saves are the basis for a closer’s salary level.  “We’re not as concerned about who gets the stat, as the only stat that’s important is that ‘W’ on the left-hand side”, said Torre.  “If somebody gets offended by pitching to the 3-4-5 hitters in the eighth inning, they’re not the person I think they are.”

Regular readers are well aware of where I stand on how closers are used.  I do acknowledge, however, that, as long as the current statistical situation exists, bullpen stoppers will insist on being in position to get the save.  So, how about a rule change that puts the onus on the official scorer to assign the save?  After all, in facing the meat of the order, hadn’t Broxton done more to preserve the lead than Sherrill?  A similar rule already exists to cover situations where a starter does not go the mandatory five innings for a win.  In such cases, the win is assigned by the scorer to the reliever determined to be the most deserving; not necesarily the first man out of the pen.  Well, maybe that’s too much to ask in one column.  I’ll have to be satisfied with a little progress and hope for more.

NY Jets’ Worst Kept Secret

Jets’ Head Coach Rex Ryan revealed the worst kept secret in New York when he named Mark Sanchez his starting quarterback this week.  Considering all the Jets gave up to acquire Sanchez; two picks, three players and $50 million, there was no way Ryan could hand the car keys to Kellen Clemens.

Sanchez has a world of talent and all of the tools to become a star in the NFL.  It just won’t happen overnight.  So, with the Jets likely facing, at best, a 1-3 start to their season, here’s hoping Jets’ brass and fans have the patience to allow the rookie all the mistakes necessary to learn the league and achieve that lofty status.

Mets and the ER

Just when you thought it was safe to go back into the emergency room, Oliver Perez and Johan Santana become the latest members of the Mets’ casualty list.  If you’re scoring at home, that’s four starting pitchers, one reliever and the number one, four and five hitters down for the season.  In addition, every opening day starter has had at least one stint on the disabled list.  So, how, exactly, can manager Jerry Manuel be held responsible for a lost season?   Love him or hate him, you can’t decide on him till next year.

Michael Vick

….appeared in a Newport News, Va. courtroom yesterday morning to address the details of his Chapter 11 filing and then returned to Philadelphia in time for the Eagles’ exhibition game last night.  In doing so, he might be the first person transported to and from his own bankruptcy hearing on a private jet.

Little League World Series Coverage

As I do every August, I’ve enjoyed the Little League World Series from Williamsport, Pa.; this year’s version, especially, as it featured the Mid-Atlantic champs from Staten Island.  And, as I also do each year, I’ve resisted the urge to throw a shoe at my television every time ESPN/ABC commentator Orel Hershiser tries to minimize the commitment, skill and aptitude of these accomplished Little Leaguers.

Hershiser would have us believe that the actual playing of the tournament games is almost an inconvenience to these kids; that the swimming pool, food and video games offered to the players in their living quarters, (“the Grove” as Orel endlessly reminds us), are the main reasons they’ve come to Williamsport.  Pitcher gives up a home run?  “He’ll forget about it in a minute once he starts playing video games back at the Grove”.  Second baseman makes a crucial error?  “He’ll be fine once he has some pizza and gets in the pool.”

Now, I have five children of my own and have coached a few hundred others so no one need educate me on the qualities of resilience possessed by a child.  However, to promote the idea that these players don’t really care all that much about their own performance is to disrespect the hours of practice and sacrifice they’ve endured to get to this level.  As a matter of fact, Hershiser’s very presence contradicts his own theory.  His employer pays big bucks for the exclusive rights to broadcast the event.  Would that be the case if, as Hershiser asserts, the outcome didn’t really matter to its participants?

When I was sixteen, I relieved our ace pitcher in the eighth inning of a championship game that would eventually go eleven.  In the top of the eleventh, the opposing catcher, big kid named Perez, took me deep on the longest ball I’d ever seen hit, costing us the title.  Today, thirty one years later, I just wrote that sentence with clenched teeth.  I rebounded, enjoyed the rest of my summer and came back the next season but never got to a point where I wasn’t upset when I thought about it.  I just thought about it less as time went on.   However, it still bothers me now because it mattered so much then.  Just as it matters so much to these Little Leaguers and, I suspect, just as it mattered to Hershiser when he was young.


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