Sportsbeat – 4/16/11

When Mets fans look back at the 2011 season I have a feeling that the team’s sixth game of the season–a 11-0 loss at the hands of Roy Halladay and the Phillies–will loom large as a negative turning point.

Getting shut out by Halladay is no disgrace but the Mets were coming into the game with a 3-2 record. If they could have pulled off a miracle and won the game, they would have opened the season at Citi Field with a ton of momentum. Instead, they were reminded why the Phillies are the varsity team while they are lucky to be considered the J.V. Their confidence clearly took a hit and they proceeded to lose six of their first seven games at Citi Field.

I wonder if any Mets fans are secretly missing Luis Castillo after watching Brad “Rule 5″ Emaus play second base?

Mets fans looking for an escape from the dreary reality of their 2011 team should read “162-0: A Mets Perfect Season” (Triumph Books) by veteran sports reporter Howie Karpin. The book is an almanac that highlights the most inspiring Mets victories in their 49-year history on a given date. It is fun to see such forgotten names as Butch Huskey, Ed Bressoud, Bob Aspromonte and Jack Hamilton, among many others.

Bill White was one of the most feared home run hitters of the 1960s but he is best remembered for being the first African-American baseball broadcaster (he was the voice of the Yankees on WPIX in the pre-cable era) as well as president of the National League. He has written a memoir with a rather controversial title, “Uppity.” Aside from making no secret of his contempt for former baseball commissioner Fay Vincent, there is very little negative here. In fact, White has deep praise for the late Phil Rizzuto.

Cable’s Comedy Central has been making a strong push into the world of sports comedy. Earlier this year, they had a weekly half-hour show ESPN Sportscenter spoof called “Onion Sports Dome” that came from the popular humor newspaper, “The Onion.” Taking its Tuesday night slot last week was the debut of “Sports Show with Norm MacDonald.”

Norm MacDonald was the “Weekend Update” anchor on “Saturday Night Live” but his droll wit did not mesh well with the tastes of NBC majordomo Don Ohlmeyer who ordered Lorne Michaels to fire him. While I have always admired MacDonald’s comedy, and it’s great to see him on TV again, he did not seem comfortable hosting “Sports Show.”

One bit that seemed forced had MacDonald taking over LA Clippers forward Blake Griffin”s body and voice. Griffin’s teammates could not figure out why Blake was sounding funny and looking like a spaz during a shootaround. Hilarious, it wasn’t. It seemed even less funny five minutes later when Griffin appeared in a commercial for Subway’s breakfast sandwiches. Coincidence? I think not.

Last year, few people knew much about Tru TV. That was one of the reasons that Turner Entertainment, Tru’s corporate parent, invested in the NCAA men’s Basketball Tournament package. “We are now in high def in 50 million homes that we weren’t last year,” Turner Sports president David Levy told me. This fall Tru TV will have a reality show based on the ups and downs of a semi-professional football team that will be produced by NFL Films. At least they’ll have something to do in case the lockout continues into the fall.

Discovery Networks is hoping to debut a new channel aimed towards men who are in high tax brackets called Velocity this fall. With programming on high-end automobiles, private aircrafts, and top vacation resorts, Discovery executives are hoping that Velocity will be an upscale Spike TV.

The late Arthur Ashe was the kind of athlete that we don’t see very much of anymore. He was a champion on the court and off of it as he believed that helping others was more important then self-enrichment. One of Arthur’s many lasting legacies is the Arthur Ashe Institute for Urban Health whose mission is to educate people on medical issues in non-traditional places such as barbershops and nail salons. The Institute also funds scholarships for high school students seeking careers in medicine and its allied health fields. Among those honored at the annual AAIUH dinner last week was veteran New York Times sports columnist William C. Rhoden.

Under Armour has signed Tom Brady, Michael Phelps and Lindsey Vonn to promote its new line of T-shirts the company calls Charged Cotton. Under Armour claims that Charged Cotton dries five times faster than most other t-shirts after a workout. It was a smart move of UA to hire Vonn as a spokesperson since she is one of the most attractive athletes of all-time. A lot of guys break into a sweat just seeing a photo of her!

It will be interesting to see whether EA reveals who will be on the box cover of Madden ‘12 during the NFL draft in light of the lockout. To its credit, EA, will be aggressively warning of the dangers of concussions in its latest Madden edition.

The story of Bryan Stow, a Giants fan who was nearly beaten to death outside of Dodgers Stadium by a pair of hoodlums because he wore a Giants jacket, is a sick and sad one. The fact that it happened in L.A. was surprising to me but not to film director and Philadelphia native Sean Kirkpatrick whose “Cost of a Soul” opens in theaters next month. “There have been a lot fights at LA stadiums and arenas. The image that every Los Angeles sports fan is mellow and laid-back is a myth fostered by the local media,” claims Kirkpatrick, who acknowledges that Philly fans can be brutal but at least no one has ever wound up in a coma for rooting for the visiting team.

The Islanders did the right thing in rewarding Jack Capuano with a two-year contract as the team’s head coach.

LeBron James is treading into Bill Cosby territory with a new animated feature on YouTube called “The LeBrons” which is clearly modeled after Cosby’s 70s cartoon series, “Fat Albert.”

The Tribeca Film Festival celebrates its tenth year this week. Among the films to debut at Tribeca are a documentaries on infamous Chicago Cubs fan Steve Bartman and transsexual tennis player Renee Richards.

There is a profile of Russia’s answer to the NHL, the Kontinental Hockey League in this month’s issue of Penthouse Magazine while Playboy has an interview with probably the ugliest woman to ever appear in its pages, 90 year-old former White House reporter Helen Thomas who was never a beauty at any age.

Contrary to popular belief, there is a lot going on at the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center other than when the US Open is going on. Earlier this month the Longines National Junior Tennis Open took place, while this week, the National Mixed Doubles Tournament gets underway. ESPN’s Mike Greenberg and tennis legend Chris Evert were doubles partners in a match to promote the event. Also occurring at Flushing Meadows in early April was the New York City 13.1 Mile Half-Marathon.

Red Bull has been the undisputed worldwide king of energy drinks but the company is starting to get a run for its money from Liquid Lightning whose sugar-free drink has a better taste than RB in my opinion.

If you want to enjoy some refreshments that will give you a little oomph and yet are much healthier than soda, try Snapple’s latest flavor, Papaya Mango, or a bottle from the newest entrant in the flavored cold tea market, Herbal Mist.

If you are looking for meatless sources of protein that you can toss into the microwave, you have several excellent options. Kettle Cuisine’s Three Bean Chili, Gardein’s Meatless Burgers or Falafel Republic’s Roasted Garlic Falafel are all tasty, filling, and won’t spike your cholesterol.

Finally, if healthier desserts/snacks are of interest to you, pick up Dole’s Fruit Bites and Funky Monkey’s various types of fruit chips.

With Earth Day upon us, there several consumer products that are inexpensive, practical and good for the environment. Ecover and Ecos are competing companies that make toxin-free cleaning and laundry products. Marcal has quietly become a leader in the recycled consumer paper products industry with its Small Steps line of paper towels, napkins, and everyone’s favorite household staple, toilet paper.

ABC’s latest prime time comedy series, “Happy Endings,” which features Casey Wilson who was undeservedly fired from “Saturday Night Live” (Norm MacDonald, you have company!), is the latest in a never-ending parade of “Friends” wannabes. It is doomed.

About the Author

Get connected with us on Social Media