Sportsbeat – 1/29/11

The good news is that after 40 years of futility, the Jets finally beat the Steelers this past season in Pittsburgh. The bad news is that they couldn’t beat them last Sunday when it really counted, as the Jets were losers the AFC championship game for the third time in team history.

While Jets fans are undoubtedly disappointed that it is 43 years and counting since their team played in the Super Bowl, this past season was a success particularly when you consider the fact that they entered the playoffs without two key players, defensive end Kris Jenkins and safety Jim Leonhard, and were still able to defeat the Colts and the Patriots.

The folks who were most upset after Sunday’s NFL action had to have been FOX Sports chairman David Hill and vice chairman Ed Goren who were undoubtedly dreaming of a Bears-Jets Super Bowl that would have featured representatives from the NFL’s two largest markets (remember there is no NFL team in Los Angeles.) Instead they are getting two of the nation’s smallest markets, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee-Green Bay, in the big game.

The other category of businessmen who are upset that the Bears and Jets are coming to Dallas are hotels and folks hoping to rent out their homes tax-free for big bucks during Super Bowl week. The demand from New Yorkers and Chicagoans would have been huge. If you do want to attend the Super Bowl and don’t want to spend big bucks, check out a new website,, that lets visitors know what rooms are available in private residences.

The Mets welcomed a number of Queens children to take a tour of Citi Field two weeks ago. Among those greeting the kids were manager Terry Collins, pitchers Mike Pelfrey, R.A. Dickey and Dillon Gee, catcher Josh Thole, and shortstop Jose Reyes.

I asked the Mets skipper if he would be emphasizing the importance of moving base runners during spring training, something that the Mets were absolutely dreadful at last year. “At least 28 of the 30 major league managers would tell you that they are not satisfied with their club’s situational hitting,” Collins replied. He then praised the oft-maligned Luis Castillo for making productive outs since he is adept at advancing runners with outs and that he rarely fans at the plate.

Jose Reyes claims that he is pain-free which was not the case last year. Jose said that his offensive statistics suffered because he was not healthy in 2010. He would not concede that he made a mistake by staying in the lineup when he wasn’t 100 per cent and he refused to say whether he would be willing to rest during the season if he felt discomfort in either his arms or legs.

The Mets have not made a lot of noise on the free agent front this winter but I do like the small moves that they have made. Signing pitchers Chris Capuano and Chris Young, who are impressive when they are healthy, are low risks moves to bolster a shaky starting staff in light of Johan Santana missing at least three months to start the 2011 season. In a case of if you can’t beat ‘em, sign ‘em, the Mets signed outfielder Willie Harris to a minor league contract. Mets fans will remember many a game where Harris singlehandedly beat them when playing for the Braves and the Nationals with sensational ESPN Sportscenter catches and big hits. The question of course is can he play well against other teams.

The Yankees’ signing of free agent reliever Rafael Soriano to a very lucrative contract raised more questions that it answered. Soriano is a proven commodity but it remains to be seen if he will be an effective setup man for ageless Mariano Rivera after having been a top-flight closer in recent years. It is interesting that Soriano did not generate a big buzz as a free agent the way that Francisco “K-Rod” Rodriguez did two years ago. Finally, Yankees GM Brian Cashman made no bones about the fact that it was Yankees CEO Hal Steinbrenner’s decision to sign Soriano, not his. Apparently Cashman did not think that (a) he was worth the money and (b) he was not worth forfeiting a first round draft pick to a division rival, the Tampa Bay Rays.

At his Hall of Fame induction press conference that was held at the Waldorf-Astoria last month, Roberto Alomar said that he wasn’t concerned that his poor play as a member of the Mets in 2002 and 2003 would hurt his chances to be elected to Cooperstown. He did admit that he was disappointed about how poorly those teams played and how his teammates always seemed to be pressing.

Can someone explain to me why the late Ron Santo is not in the Hall of Fame?

LeBron James is creating an Internet animated series called “The LeBrons” which is undoubtedly inspired by Bill Cosby’s classic “Fat Albert” Saturday morning cartoons.

Skateboarding legend Tony Hawk will host the first-ever Hall of Games Awards on Cartoon Network on February 25. The format sounds like it will be an ESPYs for younger viewers.

The February issue of Playboy contains more sports articles than I can ever recall. Lakers forward Lamar Odom recalls his days growing up in South Jamaica as the subject of the Playboy Interview. The late Bob Probert was one of the NHL’s toughest goons and he is remembered by his peers in a Kevin Cook article. Finally, the girls of the Lingerie Football League are on the cover. You have to love the alliterative team names as the Dallas Desire and the San Diego Seduction. Ironically our area does not have a team in the league. Perhaps the New York Negligees will be an expansion franchise!

Park City, Utah has long been regarded as having the best skiing in the US. The recession must be having an adverse effect on its ski resorts because the town has advertising like crazy on television. The ads have been touting a show your airline boarding pass and ski free the same deal promo. Discount Forest Hills-based carrier JetBlue flies to nearby Salt Lake City daily.

If you made a New Year’s resolution to get in better shape then pick up Power Moves by well-known personal trainer Marco Borges (Celebra Books). Borges not only shows numerous workouts procedures but tells you why they are important and how to avoid getting injured. Borges has also created a line of vegan energy bars called 22 Days.

In a similar vein, Kris Carr’s attractively titled book, “Crazy Sexy Diet” (Globe Pequot), shows how you don’t have to eat meat to get protein. Most types of beans contain the protein that you’d get from a steak without the cholesterol.

I am not sure if this would make for a good Valentine’s Day gift, but Melissa Malamut has written a very entertaining book titled “She’s Got Game: The Woman’s Guide to Loving Sports (or just how to fake it!) (St. Martin’s Griffin). The book is a very good primer on the rules and historic highlights of the four big sports–baseball, football, basketball and hockey. Malamut includes a fashion do’s and don’ts for women attending games.

New York Racing Association officials could learn a thing or two from those who run Miami’s Magic City Casino. To get baby boomers and Gen Xers to visit there, Magic City offers inexpensive tickets to such recent nostalgia act pairs as the Gin Blossoms/Sugar Ray, America/Dave Mason, Bonnie Tyler/Jefferson Starship and The Village People/The Spinners.

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