It sure didn’t take long for the finger-pointing to commence in the Jets locker room and executive suite. Beleaguered offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer submitted his resignation a few days after the end of the season (read: he was fired) while anonymous sources on the team attacked QB Mark Sanchez’s work ethic.
A quick memo to Jets fans who want to jettison Sanchez in favor of signing Peyton Manning. Didn’t you learn anything from the Brett Favre debacle?
You have to wonder how Reebok officials must have felt watching endorser Santonio Holmes deck himself out in apparel with the company’s oversized logo when he spoke with the media both after the Jets dispiriting New Year’s Day loss in Miami and the following day in Florham Park. I have a feeling that Fireman Ed was not rushing out to Modell’s to pick up Reebok products.
For those Gang Green fans who want to remember brighter days, pick up New York Jets (MVP Books), a coffee table history of the team that was written by longtime NY Post Jets beat writer Mark Cannizzaro.
When the Giants upset the Packers, you better believe that announcers Troy Aikman and Joe Buck as well as the rest of the Fox Sports staff were pumping their fists in the air. Wouldn’t you rather spend a weekend in balmy and exciting San Francisco than freezing your buns off in frigid, sleepy Green Bay? You can also be sure that there won’t be any empty seats on any JetBlue flights between JFK and San Francisco International this week.
Nice job by Penthouse sportswriter Peter Schrager to pay tribute to NFL journeymen who had their best game while playing in the Super Bowl. Among those honored in the February issue are Max McGee, Larry Brown, Timmy Smith, Dexter Jackson and former Giants receiver David Tyree.
I just returned from a week in the Phoenix area and as luck would have it both the Nets and Islanders played out there as well.
I got to witness a true sports rarity–the Nets winning a basketball game and on the road no less. The stars must have lined up right that night because the team that rarely shoots straight hit 15 three-pointers. Point guard Deron Williams had a career game scoring 35 points while dishing out 14 assists. On the other hand, their opponents, the Phoenix Suns were playing without Steve Nash and Grant Hill and were playing their third game in three days.
Someone has to tell Nets center Mehmet Okur who is filling in for the injured Brook Lopez that he isn’t the poor man’s Dirk Nowitzki. As a seven-footer, Okur should be posting up near the basket and not at the three-point line where he loves to chuck.
The Islanders did not have the same luck in the Valley of the Sun as they lost to the Phoenix Coyotes, 5-1, with their lone tally coming on a power play. As their head coach Jack Capuano frequently tells the press, the Isles aren’t going anywhere until they can score when the opposing team is at full strength on the ice. They made too many dangerous, and frankly stupid, passes in front of their own net and the Coyotes took full advantage of them by jamming them past helpless goaltender Evgeni Nabakov.
The Coyotes are currently being run by the NHL after their most recent owners went belly-up. They play in Glendale, a western suburb of Phoenix that is not easily accessible by mass transit. Glendale has made a major investment in sports as the city is home to the University of Phoenix Stadium, where the Arizona Cardinals play, and it is now the spring training base of the LA Dodgers, as it was able to lure the team from their longtime March home of Vero Beach, Florida.
The lesson from the Coyotes’ situation, which Nassau County officials and Islanders owner Charles Wang have to acknowledge, is that it’s foolish to build a new arena for the team that is not located adjacent to an LIRR stop.
If you’re a baseball fan, Arizona is a better bet than Florida because all of the western division teams and a few of the central division teams, have spring training in Phoenix and its surrounding communities. You can catch a lot of games without having to drive very far. Mesa, the home of the Cubs, is probably your best bet because its hotels are fairly inexpensive and it has an extensive light rail system that can take you into Tempe and downtown Phoenix. JetBlue has two flights a day to Sky Harbor Airport.
One of the best and funniest sports books that I have ever read is The Whore of Akron (Harper Books) by Scott Raab. Raab, a longtime contributor to Esquire, grew up in Cleveland as a frustrated Browns, Indians, and Cavaliers fan. He idolized LeBron James but quickly turned on him after “The Decision.” He spews venom at King James with a passion that is both hysterical and a bit unnerving. Raab also gets in a number of jabs at Miami Heat PR honcho Tim Donovan. (Full disclosure: Donovan never gave me a press credential when he was a flunky with the Knicks in the early ‘90s. I can just imagine how imperious he must be in Miami standing watch over “The Big Three.”)
If you are a skier and are frustrated by the lack of snow in the Northeast, check out New Mexico which got a lot of snow in late December and early January. Ski resorts around Taos, Albuquerque, and Santa Fe are less costly than those in Colorado and Utah and are situated near some intriguing cities.
There are a number of interesting sports films set for early 2012. “Splinters” is a documentary on surfing that takes place in remote New Guinea. “Undefeated” is a look at a North Memphis high school whose football team has been in the cellar practically since its inception in 1899 but suddenly finds a wealthy benefactor who wants to change its losing culture. Finally, “All She Can” is the story of Luz Garcia, an impoverished Texas high school senior who takes up power lifting in order to earn a scholarship to the University of Texas. “All She Can” will make its debut at the Athena Film Festival taking place at Barnard College in early February.
NHL officials tried their best to invoke a Philadelphia spirit in the press dining room at this year’s Winter Classic as they served Tastykakes and pretzels and mustard as snacks. It’s too bad that they did not serve Bookbinder’s All Natural Soups. Even though Philadelphia’s most famous restaurant closed a decade ago, a new company has come along and is making the type of soups that the Center City restaurant served for well over a century. They’re available at retail stores and online at www.BookbinderSpecialties.com.
The Onion has long been renown for its satire on the news biz and it has skewered sports over the years as well. The Ecstacy of Defeat (Hyperion), a clever takeoff of the old “ABC Wide World of Sports” tag line, is a soft cover compendium of The Onion’s most clever tongue-in-cheek sports articles such as “Tiger Woods Announces Return to Sex” and “East Carolina Grad Thinks East Carolina Is A State.”
It will be interesting to see whether the new HBO series, Luck, starring Dustin Hoffman will stir some interest in thoroughbred racing.
Mets owner Fred Wilpon recently said that he hopes that fans will give his team a chance. He also thinks that the Mets will surprise the naysayers in 2012. If Fred were running the White Star Line a century ago he would be touting the Titanic–even after it hit an iceberg.
I wonder if Rich Coutinho, who writes a rather optimistic Mets blog on the WFAN website, believes that the Mets’ acquisition of free agent shortstop Ronny Cedeno will make fans quickly forget about that Reyes guy.
Phoenix Suns forward Josh Childress was ahead of the curve. He was playing in Europe the last two seasons and came back after the lockout ended. “I was playing in Greece and I saw first-hand all their impending financial crisis. It’s one reason that I came back.” Childress is a few credits short of finishing his undergraduate degree at Stanford and is glad that one of the provisions of the new collective bargaining agreement is that the NBA will pay tuition for a player to either finish his degree or go onto graduate school five years after their career is over. Knicks swing guard Landry Fields, who attended Stanford after Josh, was unaware of the new benefit in the CBA, but was quite happy to hear about it after I relayed to him my conversation with Childress. “I am definitely going to take advantage of it for grad school,” he said.
The hottest topic at the annual Ticket Summit held this past week at the Waldorf-Astoria, which brings together all facets of the sports, entertainment, and venue businesses, was the secondary ticket market. Richard Krezwick, the president of Devils Arena Entertainment, surprised many when he said that the face value of a ticket means little these days in light of StubHub and its many competitors.
Many teams are using the “paperless e-ticket” under the guise of “going green.” In fact, they are making green by doing that and I don’t mean just by saving the ticket printing costs. By not giving a patron a physical ticket, teams can restrict transferability by demanding that the original ticket buyer show both photo ID and the credit card that was used or entry will be refused.
Could water that is slightly alkaline be healthier than that which has the neutral pH of 7.0? A Louisiana beverage company is claiming that its Evamor Water, with a pH of 8.8, making it slightly basic, helps neutralize acid reflux. Based on my knowledge of collegiate chemistry, the theory makes sense.