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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

October 7, 2009 under Cheap Seats

By Eddie Mayrose

Yankees Manager Should Tell Burnett, “Shut Up and Pitch.”

I can’t believe Yanks’ manager Joe Girardi is planning to bench Jorge Posada in Game 2 cheap_seats_3_owumof the ALDS because of the perception that A.J. Burnett pitches better when Jose Molina is behind the plate.  Now, I might give Girardi a little wiggle room here if say, C.C. Sabathia preferred Molina.  But Burnett?  What, exactly, has he done this year to warrant such a huge accomodation?  Here’s a little perspective on A.J.’s season:  He’s got 13 wins for a team with the best offense in the game at the not-so-bargain basement price of $18 million.  Conversely, Minnesota’s Game 3 starter, Carl Pavano, had 14 wins while pitching most of the year for the last place Indians.  See how many Yankee fans you can find that’d want Pavano in pinstripes tomorrow night.  To bench Posada, a proven post season vet enjoying one of his best seasons, for such a disappointing pitcher is ludicrous. And with Girardi facing dismissal if he doesn’t bring home a ring, it’s really ill advised to alienate one of the team’s leaders.  For the skipper’s sake, Burnett had better throw a gem.

Gardenhire Thumbs Nose At Robotic Managers

Despite the fact that there were really no pennant races in Major League Baseball outside of the AL Central, The Twins and Tigers certainly made up for it Tuesday night.  Of all the moves and counter moves made by both managers throughout the twelve inning marathon, my favorite came in the top of the eighth.  With two on and one out, Twins’ skipper Ron Gardenhire handed the ball to,(hold on to something before you read this), his closer Joe Nathan.  Yes, in the most crucial part of the game and season, a manager finally decided that he needed his best pitcher to get him out of trouble, no matter what inning it was.   Look for Gardenhire to have his Manager’s Union card revoked.

Jets Look To Bounce Back With Some Extra Help

While it’s true that there is no such thing as a good loss, that wasn’t such a bad one suffered by the Jets in New Orleans.  It’ll have no impact on Division or Conference tie-breakers, they held one of the league’s top offensive units to just ten points and were done in by the mistakes of their rookie QB; something they knew would eventually happen.  Mark Sanchez had better start tucking that ball away in the pocket, though, and the offensive line has to step it up in order to make use of RB Thomas Jones.  We’ll get our first look at how Sanchez handles adversity this week.  I like his chances. Especially with WR Braylon Edwards in the fold.  Maybe all  he needed was a change of scenery.  Jet fans certainly hope so.

Give Eli A Week Off To Heal Heel

I’m not saying the Giants can win a Super Bowl without Eli Manning. But, they can absolutely beat the Raiders with David Carr under center, something I hope to see this Sunday.  No sense losing sight of the big picture while facing such a bad team.

New York Mets Broadcaster At Top Of His Field

Tuesday night, during Twins-Tigers on TBS, a national audience saw first hand what Mets fans have known for a few years: Ron Darling is a superb analyst.  Never too wordy, always on point, Darling had his best moment in the bottom of the seventh.  With one out and one on, Orlando Cabrera stepped into the box with the Twins trailing 3-2.  “Orlando Cabrera is a winning player who always seems to get a big hit when his team needs it the most”, said Darling.  The Twins’ shortstop made Darling a prophet with his two tun homer just a few minutes later.  And, as Cabrera rounded the bases, not one “I told you so” from Darling.  A total professional.

Fifty Years? Already?

On October 10th 1959, Notre Dame traveled to Berkeley and laid a 28-6 pasting on California while LSU, the #1 team in the country, knocked off Miami 27-6. The West Wing’s Bradley Whitford was born, Pan Am announced the beginning of the first global airline service and Eileen Forsyth married Artie Mayrose at St. Anselm’s Church in Brooklyn. In the fifty years since, through four children, twelve grandchildren and all of the excitement, disappointment, triumphs, setbacks, achievements, failures, milestones and heartbreaks that make up half a century, they have been a shining example of the invincibility of two people that love each other.  They created a strong family that spawned four others by living and teaching one simple rule:  There is nothing that parents can give their children that is more valuable than the parents themselves.  Though they never missed anything, even though our time took up all of theirs, and we never wanted for anything, despite the fact they were not wealthy, it is a simple fact that they never sacrificed anything for us.  At least, that’s what they’d say.  As kids, our lives didn’t take away from theirs, rather, our lives became theirs. It is a legacy of love that now benefits their grandchildren as well.  So, Happy 50th, Mom and Dad.  Here’s hoping the next fifty are just as much fun.  Eat your heart out, Lou Kennedy.

The View from the Cheap Seats

September 30, 2009 under Cheap Seats

By Eddie Mayrose

 

Yankees Have Unfinished Business

Summer officially ended for the Yankees and their fans on Sunday with the clinching of cheap_seats_3_owumthe American League Eastern Division. Despite a wonderful season that saw the opening of a beautiful new ballpark, record numbers of home runs, exciting, last-inning heroics that seemed to occur every night, two or three viable MVP and CY Young candidates as well as the best record in baseball, a playoff run that ends short of a World Series title will turn 2009 into a failure.

It’s the one downside to playing for the Bronx Bombers.  Yes, you enjoy the best that money can buy but at a price:  If you don’t win it all, the season is lost.  Just ask Manager Joe Girardi, whose status for next year is still undetermined despite this season’s success.  Or Alex Rodriguez, possibly the greatest player of his time, who has struggled mightily in the post season since joining the Bombers and has become a target of fans’ frustration because of it.

Former Mets GM Frank Cashen once said that the best team always wins the division but the playoffs are a crap shoot. While it’s true that the Yankees go into the post season with some big question marks, namely their starting rotation after C.C. Sabathia, they have markedly fewer problems than the rest of the AL’s contenders.  Now, if ARod can just get hot and A.J. Burnett can imagine that he’s pitching for a contract, maybe Joe Girardi can worry about his ring size instead of his resume.

New York Jets Might Not Be “Same Old”

Try as I might to resist, the Jets are starting to nudge me in the direction of optimism.  Not so much because of their perfect record but more for the attitude with which the defense is confounding veteran quarterbacks.  Attack, attack, attack is the modus operandi; one that couldn’t be more foreign to fans raised on the heartbreak of the Prevent Defense.  Apparently, the aggressive style is contagious, as evidenced by Mark Sanchez lowering his head and driving toward the end zone during his touchdown run on Sunday.  No sissy-boy slide for Rex Ryan’s QB.

Before I start booking a Super Bowl trip, however, I’d like to see some consistency in the running game.  Despite their 3-0 record, the Jets have only been productive on the ground in the second half of their opener in Houston.  With a rookie signal caller in Sanchez, they’ll have to establish their ground attack if they hope to keep opposing defenses out of his face as the season goes on.

Knicks Plan For Life Without LeBron James

Finally, the Knicks seem to be acknowledging that they must have an alternative plan in place should they come up empty next summer when players like LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh become free agents.  While it’s true that Donnie Walsh has done a great job in ridding the Knicks of the bad contracts that left the organization no room under the salary cap, that cap space alone does not guarantee that James or Wade will be wearing a New York uniform in 2010.

In signing David Lee to a one year deal for significantly more than Lee was entitled, Walsh established some good will with his young star going forward while maintaining wiggle room under the cap.  Besides, there’s this little business of playing the 82 games on this year’s schedule first; something not all that promising to begin with but entirely more watchable with a budding star like Lee on the squad.

MLB Disabled List Doesn’t Have To Mean All Is Lost

Is it reasonable to expect a Major League team to contend for a divisional title when   its two best players miss huge chunks of the season to injury; only to be followed to the disabled list by three of the five starters in the rotation?  Even if the team survives that initial wave of injuries, it couldn’t possibly stay in the race when a second wave of bad health removes two more power hitters from the middle of the lineup; one for the remainder of the season, could it?   Well, if you’re asking that question out at CitiField,  Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel would tell you the answer is a resounding, “No”.   But, in Minnesota, where the Twins head into Detroit this week for a four game series just two behind the Tigers in spite of all the aforementioned casualties, the answer is, “Why not?”

The Twinkies spent the first month of the season without Joe Mauer, a two time batting champ about to add a third title and an MVP award to his trophy case.  Think they might have been two games better over the first five weeks with him behind the plate?  Their projected ace, Francisco Liriano, has contributed nothing while serving three different stints on the DL,  they’ll finish the season without former MVP Justin Morneau, down with a bad back, just as they’ve muddled along trying to patch the huge hole left by starter Kevin Slowey; 10-3 before saying goodbye to ’09 with a broken wrist.  Hard to believe Minnesota wouldn’t have long since iced the division with these guys all in the lineup but, even without them, they still have a shot.  It’s a tribute to the excellence of the organization, from scouting to player development, and something for Mets’ owner Fred Wilpon to consider when evaluating the job done by Minaya.  It’s also why there should be an investigation if Ron Gardenhire isn’t named AL Manager of the Year.

Florida Gators Lose Tebow For No Good Reason

Bonehead call of the week goes to Urban Meyer, Head Coach of the top ranked Florida Gators.  With under eight minutes to go in the third quarter of Florida’s matchup with Kentucky on Saturday, the Gators scored to make it 31-7.  To that point, Tim Tebow, perhaps the game’s premier player, had been directing Meyer’s spread offense even though he was sick enough to require two bags of intravenous fluids before the game just to be able to play.  Yet, despite the big lead and his superstar’s illness, Meyer chose to leave Tebow in the game; a decision that bit him on the behind when Tebow suffered a concussion. 

Now, if Meyer thought that Kentucky would rally from 24 points down in 22 minutes against his Gator defense, he was the only one in the country.  But let’s give him the benefit of the doubt.  Say there was enough time for the Wildcats to come back.  This was a football game; not baseball.  If Kentucky made it close, Tebow could always return to the lineup.  Instead, Meyer flirted with one of  the few things that could derail his team’s run to its third title in four years.  Bonehead.

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.


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