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The View from the Cheap Seats

November 13, 2009 under Cheap Seats, Uncategorized

New York Giants Facing Playoff Elimination

Wasn’t really worried too much about the Giants‘ three game losing streak heading into last Sunday’s game cheap_seats_3_owumagainst San Diego.  Despite the skid, they were still just a game behind Dallas and Philadelphia with divisional matchups with each remaining on the schedule.  While the defense had been suffering ever since Safety Kenny Phillips was lost for the season, talented pass rushers like Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora were certainly talented enough to make the necessary adjustments and, oh yeah, there was still a Super Bowl MVP calling signals.  There was every reason to believe the October skein was merely a hiccup.  Until the Giants last possession.

Up 17-14 with a little more than two minutes left, Big Blue found itself facing a third and goal situation from the Chargers’ nine yard line and a chance to put the game away.  A quick slant to Steve Smith, a fade to Hakeem Nicks or anything else in the book that allows Eli Manning to make a play was certainly in order.  In the broadcast booth, Phil Simms was absolutely sure the Jints would pass, because, “You go for the win.”  Stunningly, however, head coach Tom Coughlin took that moment to let the football world know exactly what the state of his team is by calling for a nice, safe dive play that netted five yards and a field goal opportunity.  The kick produced a 20-14 lead that gave new life to San Diego and its quarterback, Philip Rivers, who took full advantage.  Rivers led a beautiful, two-minute drive that gave the Chargers a one point victory and the Giants a lot of questions to answer.

In sports, there is nothing worse than being called a choker.  Coming up small in a big situation is an athlete’s greatest sin.  Like pornography, choking is something you can’t really define but recognize immediately when you see it.  In trying to avoid a loss rather than secure victory, Coughlin not only choked but sent a message to his players that his confidence in them is waning.  With a brutal sevn game slate to finish the season, the Giants can forget about a playoff berth if if they don’t believe in each other.  Just twenty months removed from a Super Bowl title and four weeks after a 5-0 start, they’re in danger of turning into a middle-of-the-pack team.  If that happens, look no further than an early November dive play on third and nine as to when it started.

Knicks Basketball Impossible to Watch

They say the first step in solving a problem is acknowledging that you have one.  So, OK, I’ll admit it.  I thought I could handle it; thought it wasn’t hurting me; thought I could stop.  But I can’t.  It’s time for me to come clean.  I’ve been watching the Knicks.

I can’t help it.  I thought things would get better after Isiah Thomas left town, (Yes, I watched when he was here, too.)  Then, when they got rid of Stephon Marbury, I thought my problems were solved.  I mean, Head Coach Mike D’Antoni was bringing his up-tempo style to New York while President Donnie Walsh was exorcising almost all of  Thomas’ bad contracts.  Things had to get better, didn’t they?  All I needed to do was hang on for a year and wait for LeBron James to come aboard.  On closer examination, however, I’ve discovered I can’t make it.

I played men’s league basketball for over twenty years at St. Pat’s Church in Brooklyn; mostly for the exercise and camaraderie.  I had no idea that we were actually building the model used to assemble the current Knicks’ squad.  When we had the ball, it was one pass, maybe a second, and a three point shot.  When the other guys had it, we simply stood around and waited to get it back. Who knew this intricate system would be the one chosen to carry the Knicks back to respectabilty?

Seriously, this team is such a mess that I can’t imagine any free agent, let alone James, agreeing to sign on. What the Knicks put out on the floor every night is an unwatchable mix of three point shots by bad shooters, a never ending layup line for opponents and twelve guys looking to pad their stats in order to impress potential suitors for a new contract.  Since they know the Knicks have no plans for them past this season; I’m not entirely sure that’s something for which they can really be blamed. 

It’s scary to think that the Knicks will actually be worse next year if Walsh fails to lure a premier free agent.  There will be no help coming in the draft, either, as Utah owns what will surely be New York’s lottery pick; a little parting gift from Isiah.  The only consolation then is the one we must hang our hats on now:  At least they’re better than the Nets.

Mets’ GM Minaya Looks For Help

Eighty five shopping days until Pitchers and Catchers and the Mets head into the offseason reportedly split on how to patch their M*A*S*H* unit of a roster.  Rumors out of CitiField have some of the brass advocating the pursuit of high end free agents with others banking on the health of returning stars and signing second-tier help.  Either way, GM Omar Minaya had better get things worked out or this will be his last shopping season in blue and orange.
The Mets desperately need another starter and a big bat in left field.  Now, I don’t think it’d be the worst thing to take a pass on sluggers Matt Holliday and Jason Bay as someone like Jermaine Dye would come much cheaper and still help. But to let Angels’ ace John Lackey sign with another team would be a decision from which the Amazins’ would not recover.  Lackey brings a Santana-like toughness to the mound and, with Johan, would give the Mets the kind of one-two punch that’s hard to beat in a short series; be it regular season or playoffs.  He also possesses a tenacity that hasn’t been seen in the Mets’ dugout for a while.  Get the deal done, Omar.


Happy 17th Birthday to my favorite cheerleader and brand new driver, Lindsay Mayrose.  Be careful on the roads and always call home.

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.

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