Sportsbeat 10/25/11

Mike Francesa proved yet again to be a master of self-promotion when he kept goading Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis to admit that he interfered with Dolphins wide receiver Brandon Marshall and that’s why he was able to return an interception 100 yards for a touchdown against the Miami Dolphins. At the behest of Jets media relations director Jared Winley, Revis hung up on Francesa after he wouldn’t stop badgering him.

Two things quickly came to mind. WFAN is the broadcast home for the Giants while 1050 ESPN (real call letters: WEPN) has radio rights for the Jets. I wonder if Francesa would have conducted an interview with the Giants’ Justin Tuck in the obnoxious manner that he did with Revis. Secondly, the Jets did not help WEPN, which has struggled badly to muster some competition against the mighty ‘FAN by agreeing to have Revis give a one-on-one interview with WFAN’s longtime afternoon drive time host.

On October 21, a number of members of the 1986 World Champion Mets gathered at Strawberry’s Grill in Douglaston to mark the silver anniversary of that accomplishment. Manager Davey Johnson still looks very much as he did 25 years ago and is clearly enjoying managing the Washington Nationals whose future appears to be a lot brighter than a certain team in Flushing. Kevin Mitchell, who would go on to become a feared home run slugger with the San Francisco Giants, still can’t believe that Mets general manager Frank Cashen traded him right after the season to his hometown San Diego Padres for passionless outfielder Kevin McReynolds. Barry Lyons, who was the Mets’ third string catcher in the late ‘80s, has watched his native Biloxi endure two disasters, Hurricane Katrina and the BP oil spill, in recent years. “We’ll be OK. Biloxians are a resilient lot,” he said. Lyons also indicated that he would like to work for the Mets again and is keeping his fingers crossed that Sandy Alderson will offer him the Brooklyn Cyclones’ managerial job.

Also making an appearance and proving that he is a good sport was Bill Buckner whose error in Game 6 helped the Mets snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. Buckner told me that he did not catch the recent ESPN documentary, Catching Hell, which detailed how both Cubs fan Steve Bartman and Billy Buckner have been unfairly been made scapegoats.

“The fact is that people still talk about me 25 years later whereas most players are forgotten,” Buckner stated philosophically. When I asked him if he felt that the ill-fated Mookie Wilson grounder may have hurt his chances of being inducted in Cooperstown, Bill replied “Well, I was a good ballplayer. I’m not sure if I was a Hall of Famer.”

Speaking of 1986, Hollis native and pioneer hip-hop star Darryl “DMC” McDaniels gave a rare live performance at the RE:MIX LAB Fueled by Hyundai Veloster festival in NYC two weeks ago which was held to promote the Korean auto maker’s first foray into the world of sports cars.

Although it never gets much play on our sports talk radio stations or in the daily newspapers , the ING New York City Marathon generates nearly $350 million in economic activity for New York City according to Crain’s New York Business. It is also a time when corporations both big and small promote products aimed towards the sizable running community.

As expected, many athletic apparel companies have introduced their latest line of running shoes. Nike Lunarglide+3, New Balance’s 890 Rev Lites, and Skecher Go Runs are all incredibly light, offer great heel cushion support, and gentle mid-sole strikes that reduce impact on one’s legs. My favorite shoe though is Spira Footwear’s XLTs which have metal springs and are banned by most marathon governing bodies. Think of them as a running shoe on steroids.

Non-shoe companies are also trying to piggyback on the NYC Marathon. Since many runners don’t like to wear their glasses when competing, Johnson & Johnson is promoting the fact that Olympic sprinter Allyson Felix wears Acuvue contact lenses when she is running a race. The New Zealand clothing company, Icebreaker, introduced a line of running jackets and t-shirts made from merino wool. Merino, in this case has nothing to do with former Dolphins QB and current CBS Sports NFL analyst Dan Marino, but rather with the non-itchy wool that comes from a gigantic species of sheep in southern New Zealand.

Woodmere native and one of the stars of Bravo’s Real Housewives of New York City Jill Zarin has just started a women’s fitness clothing company called Skweez Couture which aspires to be a competitor to Spanx.

The popularity of bowling continues to explode. At the annual Biz Bash Expo held at the Javits Center aimed at corporate party planners, nearly all of the major New York bowling centers as Frames, Lucky Strike, 300 and Bowlmor had large booths while a newcomer from the Westchester suburb of Mount Kisco, Splits, was also seeking new business. All of the aforementioned are as proud of their gourmet food as they are of their lanes. The days of bowling fare being merely burgers and fries are things of the past.

Golfer Rory McIlroy, US Open winner Novak Djokovic, Dallas Mavericks star Dirk Nowitzki, Patriots QB Tom Brady and UFC founder Dana White are among the 50 most admired guys in the world according to a poll taken by the website,

It always seemed to me that Bart Starr, who as quarterback of the Green Bay Packers during the Vince Lombardi era helped transform that small Wisconsin burg into Title Town, USA, never got the due that say Johnny Unitas or even Sonny Jurgensen did. Author Keith Dannavant has written the definitive biography on the Packers legend with his new book, America’s Quarterback (Thomas Dunne Books). While Starr’s exploits on the girdiron are well-known, what isn’t are the family tragedies that he has endured.

If you are looking for the first sign of winter, the Citi Pond skating rink at Manhattan’s Bryant Park has opened. It’s free if you bring your own skates and padlock if you want to use one of the lockers on the premises.

Showstoppers has quietly become the premier personal electronics trade show for the media to learn about upcoming product. Jakks showed off their newest video games, Golden Tee Golf, which simulates a number of western golf courses, and Big Buck Safari, which will anger the PETA crowd but it is guilty fun to fire at the rapidly moving wildlife. Newyu is a fitness monitor that looks like a pedometer but measures all physical activity in a given day, not just steps and distance.

The annual CMJ Music and Film Festival which concluded last week continues to give indie films and new bands exposure that they would never have ordinarily received. Well-known Australian rock & roll photographer Tony Mott promoted his new book, Rock’N’Roll Photography Is The New Trainspotting (Trafalgar Square Publishing), at his photography exhibit at Red Bull Space in SoHo.

Nivea has launched a skin care line for men and the company will be a major sponsor of New Year’s Eve at Times Square once again so look for those big blue hats when the ball drops.

Davines is a high end French hair products company that is making a big push in the US. The company’s Comfort Zone/Man Space line of men’s skin care products are quite popular in Europe and the company is obviously hoping for similar results here in the States. Eco-conscious consumers should try the Sapien line of skin and hair products which come from Amazon plants and fruits. For those on a tight budget, Yardley of London still makes moisturizing bath soap bars.

If you’re a skier then you should take advantage of the late fall bargains that you’ll find at Vail Resorts impressive roster of resorts including Breckenridge and Vail Mountain in Colorado and Northstar in Lake Tahoe. December is also a great time to board a short flight on JetBlue to Burlington to enjoy the ski resorts of northern Vermont’s premier ski town, Stowe.

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