It was somewhat ironic that two of the most maligned Yankees this year, AJ Burnett and Jorge Posada, came through big time against the Tigers in the American League Division Series, while nearly every other Bronx Bomber came up small. AJ proved to be the Yankees best pitcher while Jorge Posada, who certainly played his last game in a Yankees uniform after 17 years, went out in style batting .429 in the five-game series.
The Yankees’ payroll may actually rise next year. Ace pitcher CC Sabathia has an opt-out clause in his contract. The good news for the Yankees is that CC wants to stay in New York and that the recession has made even wealthy clubs rethink their old free-spending ways. The bad news is that the availability of top-of-the-line starting pitching is very small and that will drive up Sabathia’s price.
Dave Howard, the Mets vice president of business affairs, was brutally honest as to why the team lowered season ticket prices anywhere from 20 to 30% depending on seat location. “We didn’t play very well and we’re well aware that there is a recession going on,” Howard stated frankly. What he didn’t say was that fans should expect another quiet season on the free agent front from our Flushing heroes.
Losing their first three road games of the season has made many wonder whether the Jets were lucky to get as far as they did in 2009 and 2010. Did anyone give Rex Ryan and his troops the memo from the NFL office on Park Avenue that they can’t just talk their way into the Super Bowl?
The October 8 “Saturday Night Live” hosted by the always welcome Ben Stiller was one of the better episodes that I have seen in awhile. Jason Sudeikis did a spot-on impression of Hank Williams, Jr. Williams, of course, lost his long-running gig opening ESPN’s Monday Night Football with his catchy “Are You Ready for Some Football?” theme after bizarrely comparing President Obama to Adolf Hitler. In addition the film “Moneyball” was nicely satirized with a film short, “Tinyballs,” that dealt with the Oakland Athletics’ other contribution to the sport in the 1990s, steroid use.
Keeping with the sports theme, SNL weekend anchor Seth Meyers had fun displaying ESPN the Magazine’s “Body Issue.” Mets shortstop Jose Reyes was on its cover and its obvious that he’s proud of his physique as he is shown swinging a bat in the nude. I wonder if Mets executives will put that photo on the cover of their 2012 yearbook if Reyes re-signs with the team!
It was very considerate of the Islanders to move their season opener two weeks ago from 7 to 8 PM so that their Jewish patrons could finish observing Yom Kippur which ended at 7:11 that night. Alas, the Isles lost to the Florida Panthers by a score of 2-0.
Rangers head coach John Tortorella claims that his team has improved from last year but there is little doubt that they won’t be as interesting now that Sean Avery was placed on waivers.
The movers and shakers of the corporate side of sports showed up for 9th annual IMG Sports Marketing Symposium presented by the trade publication of the industry, The Sports Business Journal. The leading Hispanic broadcasting company, Univision, showed off their sizable sports portfolio to the Anglo sports ad buyers at a lunch. Pac 12 commissioner Larry Scott, who grew up in Merrick, put a kibosh on the rumor that the Texas Longhorns would be joining his conference. “They have their own network and a $300 million deal with ESPN. I don’t think that they are going to want to cut us in on that,” he chuckled.
World Wrestling Entertainment was the platinum sponsor of the symposium. For a lot of us who grew up with Bruno Sammartino, Pedro Morales, and Andre the Giant, the WWE has come a long way to where it can now seek Fortune 500 sponsorship for events such as Wrestlemania and the Survivor Series. WWE execs pointed out their company’s good citizenship deeds such as its extensive anti-bullying campaign, where its grapplers step out of character and discuss how they were bullied as well as emphasizing that what is settled in the squared circle on TV should never be confused with resolving differences in real life.
The Sports Business Journal also launched its first ever Social Media & Sports seminar. A spokesman from Twitter mentioned how teams can use its service to announce discount tickets that need to be snatched up or else there will be a television blackout. In the past, TV networks purchased the seats as a favor to advertisers.
There is little doubt that the WWE’s hottest star is one Phillip Jack Brooks better known to most as CM Punk. In late June, CM grabbed a microphone at the end of a RAW episode on the USA Network and started attacking the way Vince McMahon and his family were ruining the WWE and how he was tired of being overlooked in favor of the same old tired top-of-the-card wrestlers. Punk’s rant resonated with the populist anti-corporation philosophy that has garnered traction as evidenced by the Occupy Wall Street movement.
MAXIM has certainly noticed Punk’s heat and he is profiled in its November issue. Also in that issue is a feature on the rise and fall of ex-Met Lenny Dykstra who is cooling his heels in an LA County jail cell as he awaits trial on fraud charges.
Actor Matthew Modine interviews Knicks forward Amar’e Stoudemire who graces the cover of the trendy Manhattan monthly, Gotham Magazine. Stoudemire expresses some regrets about not having attended college, his fascination with fashion, and his recent rip to China.
Of course, it’s too bad that we won’t see Amar’e play any time soon since NBA Commissioner David Stern wants to turn the NBA into the socialist NFL where hard salary caps combined with non-guaranteed contracts mean that any team can win a championship. Somehow I don’t think that the players want to forfeit their economic rights to make Stern’s egalitarian fantasy a reality.
Carnival announced that they have partnered with EA Sports to create sports bars where vacationers can play their favorite video games as well as watch their beloved teams play while cruising the Caribbean or Pacific. The company will also have comedian George Lopez, fresh off from having his show canceled by TBS, act as a consultant for their Punchliners Comedy Club.
If you are suffering from insomnia, pick up Rafael Nadal’s autobiography, Rafa (Hyperion Books). It’s guaranteed to put you to sleep. The only thing we learn about the #2 tennis player in the world is that his Uncle Toni was a drill sergeant tennis pro who helped make him the player he is today.
A far better read is Steven Travers’ Tom Seaver bio, The Last Icon (Taylor Trade). Considering his iconic status, there have been surprisingly few books on Tom Terrific. There is little new here although Travers does have a penchant for recalling when Gil Hodges tore into “The Franchise.” Now I know what to give Latino Sports and MLB.com writer Danny Torres for the holidays.
Kudos to Spa Week Media for holding their terrific semi-annual Spa Week launch party as a way of getting the word out on the spas that offer discounted services for a period in October and then again in April. Spa Martier, located in Manhattan’s tony East Side, convinced me that real men can enjoy manicures, while the Red Door Spa, which has branches in Garden City and Bellmore, offered complimentary ten-minute massages. There was plenty of food to nibble on as well. My favorite snack there was the low-calorie yet tasty Dole Fruit Bites.
Another low-calorie healthy snack option for apple sauce lovers is GoGo squeeZ which has five flavors, Apple, Apple Cinnamon, Apple Banana, Apple Peach, Apple Strawberry that come in an easy-to-dispense tube.
If you are looking for desserts that are sinfully delicious and you couldn’t care less about calories, check out the following websites that offer far better fare than what you’ll find in your local bakery: www.sweetstreet.com, www.gingerbreadusa.com, and www.sweetandyscookies.com. If you are planning a holiday party, you can’t go wrong with any of the aforementioned trio.
Guinness, the pride of Ireland, has finally produced a beer that is not a stout. Guinness Black Lager is a sweeter, easier-to-handle brew, that despite its dark color is indeed a lager. You can’t judge a beer by its color as they say!