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The View from the Cheap Seats

September 23, 2009 under Cheap Seats, MLB, NBA, NFL

By Eddie Mayrose


Giants Lost in the Shuffle

With the Jets off to a stunning 2-0 start, much of the sports discussion in New York cheap_seats_3_owumhas become different versions of, “Everything you always wanted to know about Rex but were afraid to ask.” Unfortunately, the media frenzy surrounding Gang Green’s unexpected success under its fiery, new Head Coach has pushed an even better story off of the back pages.

In the August 31st edition of Sports Illustrated, Giants’ GM Jerry Reese discussed how the team’s Wide Receiver position would be impacted by the loss of Plaxico Burress and the organization’s decision not to trade for an established veteran.  “We love developing our own guys and we feel like we have quality receivers to get the job done”,  he said at the time.  Reese looked very smart Sunday night as  Mario Manningham and Steve Smith each pulled in ten balls for over 100 yards and a touchdown in the Giants big win over Dallas.

The thing is, Reese’s quote was just a different take on similar statements he’s made regarding Head Coach Tom Coughlin, QB Eli Manning and an untested Offensive Line over the course of the last few years.  Under Reese, the Giants have established themselves as a consistently competitive team simply by sticking to their guns; making sound evaluations and then supporting them when things get tough.  So far, it’s produced four straight playoff appearances and a Super Bowl.  So, enjoy the excitement of the Meadowlands’ other tenants.  The Giants actually prefer that you do.  But don’t lose sight of the fact that consistency beats occasional success every day of the week.

Jets’ Fast Start Fools Even Most Loyal Followers

Cheap Seater and Jets season ticket holder Lou Ricciardi, who would have opted to start Kellen Clemens over Mark Sanchez because of what he expected to be a disastrous start, chimed in this week on the euphoria sweeping Jets’ nation.  “I can’t believe how wrong I was but I hope they continue to prove me incorrect all year” said Ricciardi.   “I’ve had season tickets for twenty years and I’ve never heard the Meadowlands that loud.”

We’ve seen this kind of quick turnaround under a new head coach before.   In his first season, Herm Edwards won the AFC East only to oversee three ensuing flops while Eric Mangini was dubbed “Man-Genius” after his first year netted a 10-6 record and a playoff appearance.  It seems a little different with Ryan, though, if only because he’s recognized that the first thing that needs to be changed is the team’s attitude.  He’s imposed his attack mentality on his defensive charges and fired up the fans in the process.  That he rubbed one in the face of archrival Bill Bellichick is even better. But, after all of the phone calls to ticket holders and pregame speeches, this is still a team with a rookie QB that has struggled in December throughout its history.  If Ryan and Sanchez can finish the season the way they’ve started it, the Jets may finally have themselves a winner.

On The Joba Training

Now that Phil Hughes has firmly established himself as a reliable eighth inning reliever, the Yankees have no alternative but to use Joba Chamberlain as their fourth starter in the postseason.  With that in mind, it’s probably a good idea to get Chamberlain some more work; as his latest outing in Seattle clearly indicates that the Joba Rules put in place to limit his innings are also limiting his effectiveness.

Shooting Guard

Apparently misunderstanding his coach’s instructions to “drive and shoot”, Cleveland Cavs’ guard DeLonte West was arrested last week for carrying two unlicensed handguns and a shotgun while riding his motorcycle.  After two years of passing the ball to LeBron James, seems like West finally decided it was his turn to take a shot.

Sore Loser

When Bill Bellichick offers his dead fish handshake to an opposing head coach after a game, he looks like a jerk.  But when he brushes off a rookie quarterback who goes out of his way to shake his hand, as Mark Sanchez did on Sunday, he deserves a smack.

Manuel Labor

A few weeks ago, I wrote in this space that it was impossible to hold manager Jerry Manuel accountable for the Mets’ terrible record because of the team’s extensive injury list.  However, after watching how his undermanned charges have begun to phone in the balance of the season, I’m wondering if Manuel has actually lost his squad.  Bad is one thing.  Apathetic is inexcusable.

Fans Enjoying Last Hurrah?

Lost in the euphoria of the Jets upset of New England in their home opener was the fact that many of the fans that made up the most raucous crowd I’ve ever heard at a Jets’ game will probably not be there next season because they can’t afford the Personal Seat Licensing fees. And, it may be a more difficult transition than they think, as local TV blackouts of home games loom if the Jets can’t fill those seats.

Out of Timeouts

Though it’s completely understandable that a coach would want to use a timeout to freeze the opposing kicker before a last second field goal attempt, someone needs to explain to me how it’s more effective when it’s called at the last possible second.  We see this nonsense every week; most recently on Sunday night in Dallas.   The kick goes through, the winners start to celebrate and the line judge comes running in to wave the whole thing off.  It’s something that the NFL needs to address before a player is injured on one of these non-plays.

Redskins Rookie Opens Mouth, Inserts Foot

Sunday night, after the Redskins stumbled through a 9-7 win over the hapless Rams in a game that left the hometown fans dissatisfied, Skins’ rookie line backer Robert Henson, listed by Washington as inactive for the first two games of the season, shared this little missive on his Twitter account. “All you fake half hearted Skins fan can .. I won’t go there but I dislike you very strongly, don’t come to Fed Ex to boo dim wits!!” “The question is who are you to say you know what’s best for the team and you work 9 to 5 at Mcdonalds.”

Ignore for a second the obvious flaw in his thinking that anyone working 9 to 5 at McDonald’s could even afford the absurd cost of a Redskins’ game ticket.  Focus instead on the ironic point that, after leaving  TCU without a degree and no real indication from the Skins that he has a future in the league, Henson may very well become the biggest employee at his own local McDonald’s.  That is, if the fast food giant deems him a qualified applicant.

The View from the Cheap Seats

September 2, 2009 under Cheap Seats

By Eddie Mayrose


Joba Chamberlain: Is He or Isn’t He?

Are the Yankees serious about these Joba cheap_seats_3_owumRules?   I have to admit, when I first heard that they were looking to limit his innings this year, I thought it would be based on his level of success.  He’d pitch somewhere around 160 innings as the fifth starter due to days when he’d be pushed back or skipped altogether to keep the others in the rotation on their normal, five day cycle.  If he finally developed the command that had been lacking since he was taken out of the bullpen, everyone would benefit and he’d be in the 180 range.  The lunacy that has transpired, however, boggles the minds of even the strictest of the pitch-count police.

Sunday, Chamberlain was lifted after three innings and thirty five pitches.  Thirty five! That’s not even an off-day, bullpen session.  But, according to the way Yankee brass has dictated Chamberlain be handled, that was all he’d be permitted to throw.  So, for the rest of the season, multiple relievers will get extensive work each time Joba takes the hill.  A plan with little downside as long as the other four starters go deep into games each time out.  If they don’t, then the workload on the bullpen could negatively impact what looks to be a long post-season.

The process by which Chamberlain has been brought along has been ridiculous since the outset.  Despite tremendous success in the bullpen and the potential to be a solid closer, the Yanks insisted upon inserting him into the rotation.  Then, ignoring his struggles with his command and endurance, they staunchly refused to send him back.  Now, it seems like a case of not wanting to admit a mistake, as he remains a starter but will only shoulder a reliever’s role.

It’s time for the Yankees to decide what this guy is going to be and let him be just that.  As it stands, he’s a burden to both the coaching staff and the bullpen as well as a distraction to the rest of the team.  And, if he’s a starter, take off the shackles and let the guy pitch.  He’s a big, strong kid; let him act like one.

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Are the Giants Ready for Prime Time?

There’s usually very little coming out of Giants’ camp during the preseason, as Tom Coughlin has fashioned a successful, all business style over the course of his tenure.  The tranquility was disturbed somewhat this week as DE Osi Umenyiora stormed out of camp; apparently as a reaction to criticism during a film session.  Umenyiora returned, accepted full responsibility and apologized but, on the heels of two straight, sub-par performances in the exhibition season,  Big Blue fans have to be a little concerned about the Jints’ readiness heading into Opening Day; especially if Eli Manning’s receivers continue to struggle.

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Michigan Football Coach in Hot Water

Tough week for Michigan head coach Rich Rodriguez.  First, he learned he was the subject of a University investigation after current and former players complained to officials that they were practicing far beyond the time limits set down by the NCAA.  Two days after a tearful press conference (Thanks again, Dick Vermeil) where he denied the charges, he was hit with a lawsuit by a bank charging that he failed to pay back $3.9 million on a loan for a struggling Virginia condominium complex.  Not exactly the way you’d like to prepare for your season opener.  I think I’ll take Western Michigan and the points.

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Jets Fans Know Better

Cheap Seater and long suffering Jet fan, Lou Ricciardi, chimed in last week on the Mark Sanchez – Kellen Clemens QB battle and how he would have decided it.  Have to say, it’s a shame Rex Ryan didn’t have a chance to sit down with Ricciardi because his logic is flawless.  “A loss to Houston, whose team is on the rise with some of the best pass rushers in football,  followed by tough home games and likely losses to Pats and the revenge-seeking Titans, makes me think Clemens was the wiser choice to start”, said Ricciardi.   “An 0-3 start under Clemens, with a subsequent move to Sanchez, appeals to me a lot more than a  confidence-crushing, winless September for the rookie, with no where else to go but Clemens to continue a lost season.”  Excellent points all around but it’d be hard to convince Ryan and his staff that their optimism is not shared among the fan base.

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Notre Dame Football’s Weis Under the Gun

“Best Wishes to Charlie Weis in the 5th Year of his College Coaching Internship”, reads a sign just across from the Notre Dame campus.  Apparently posted by former Irish players from as far back as the 60’s, it is simply signed, “Linebacker Alumni”.  Weis has been good natured about it, thanking his anonymous critics for their good thoughts but, there’s no mistake that Weis is on the hot seat this year.  It’s expected that anything less than a BCS Bowl appearance will cost him his job.   The journey begins Saturday vs. Nevada, a much better team than the San Diego State squad that almost walked out of South Bend with a win last year.  It’ll be interesting to see how Weis, now acting as his own Offensive Coordinator, reacts to a slow start by QB Jimmy Claussen.

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