Sportsbeat 9-18-12

Based on the media hysteria one would have thought that the season was over for the Giants after they lost to the Dallas Cowboys 24-17 in the NFL season opener. The same doomsday prophets must have been gleefully rubbing their hands when Eli Manning uncharacteristically threw three interceptions in the first half of last Sunday’s game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to put the Giants in a 27-13 hole early in the third quarter.

As per custom, Eli turned into Superman as he shook off what looked to be a terrible day and started hitting his receivers, Victor Cruz and Hakeem Nicks, on big plays. When the game ended, Manning had thrown for over 500 yards and the Giants had pulled off a needed 41-34 comeback win.

Afterwards Eli joked that he could have set NFL passing records if the league allowed his interceptions to count in his yardage. He wasn’t laughing however about how the Tampa defense tried to mug him and strip the ball with a meaningless two seconds on the clock as the Giants, as per NFL tradition were taking a knee to finish out the game.

Giants coach Tom Coughlin was livid and lectured new Buccaneers (and former Rutgers) head coach Greg Schiano, that cheap shot stuff causes needless injury and has no part in NFL culture. Schiano claimed that he was merely teaching his team to play hard until the game is literally over. I have a feeling that he will honor the knee ceremony from here on out.

Big Blue all-pro defensive end Justin Tuck said after Sunday’s game that it’s going to be hard for his team to find a rhythm given the Giants’ strange September schedule. Tuck and his teammates had to wait ten days to play their second game of the season. Their third game, in Charlotte against the Carolina Panthers this Thursday, a mere five days after the Bucs game. After tonight they have to wait nine days to play the Eagles in Philadelphia.

The Jets’ 27-10 loss to the Steelers in Pittsburgh shouldn’t have surprised anyone. They’ve only won one game in the state of Pennsylvania in their history.

Not all of the big thoroughbred races take place in the spring. On Saturday, many of the best three year-olds will compete in the Pennsylvania Derby at the PARX Racetrack (formerly known as Philadelphia Park) in nearby Bensalem this Saturday. The racetrack is part of the PARX Casino complex, which is one of the nicest gaming establishments I have ever seen thanks to its bright atmosphere that is enhanced by its large windows.

WFAN/YES Network afternoon personality Mike Francsesa appeared to have been caught napping during an interview with Yankees reporter Sweeny Murti last week. Everyone has dozed off, or has come dangerously close to it, at times that we’d prefer to stay awake. It surely would not have been a big deal had Francesa had confessed to a momentary catnap. Instead, like a professional wrestler, he stayed in his arrogant, infallible, know-it-all character by denying that he was ever less than fully engaged. That’s why you’re my hero, Mike!

While Mets fans have little reason to cheer on their rivals, they have to admire how those perennial division doormats, the Washington Nationals, have a utilized a nice mix of bringing in players from their farm system, making great trades, and signing quality free agents, to be on the verge of winning the National League East.

Nationals’ closer Drew Storen, told me that the Nationals’ fine season is delaying the completion of his education. He is a mechanical engineering major at Stanford and needs about a year-and-a-half to graduate. “I will finish,” he told me during the Nats’ recent visit to Citi Field.

Storen also talked about how gratified he is that his team is finally drawing fans. “We don’t have a big corporate base in Washington. Most of the ticket-buyers did not grow up in the DC area and thus don’t have any innate loyalty to the local teams. The good thing is that their kids are our fans. Having franchise-making players as Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper has certainly helped.”

Celebrity designer JohnVarvatos has teamed up with Converse to revive its “Weapon” line of athletic shoes that were first introduced in 1986. The Weapon has a stylish leather upper and is meant to be worn for a casual night out than for use in a pickup basketball game.

Former Giants linebacker and current radio broadcaster Carl Banks runs a clothing company called GIII which produces NFL outerwear for women. “In the last 18 months, I have seen NFL t-shirts designed for women become a multi-million dollar segment of the apparel industry,” Banks said. When I asked him if it was tough to compete with Victoria’s Secret’s PINK line which makes NFL-related clothing. “Hey, they compete with me. Our quality and price points are better,” Banks said with a confident smile.

Given the increasing popularity of NFL Women’s Apparel, perhaps the league should take over one of the runways at Lincoln Center for Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week whose spring/summer 2013 shows wrapped up last week.

The funny thing is that designers showing their latest wares is only a small portion of what fashion week is about. Consumer goods manufacturers trying to reach the cognoscenti happily take part in the various lounges around Fashion Week to build brand awareness. The competition is just as fierce as anything that you’ll see in sports.

Diet Pepsi, TreSemme Hair Products, General Mills Fiber One Bars, Caboodle Handbags and Maybelline Cosmetics were quite visible in the main IMG Fashion Week tent at Lincoln Center but there was even more action across the street at the Empire Hotel.

GBK Productions Lounge featured Hard Candy, a Maybelline competitor that appeals to a younger audience. Tweezerman showed off its latest finger and foot grooming tools while Pilot Pen introduced a line of pens that can erase without any residue. Talk about a long overdue product!

The biggest lounge at the Empire was run by the fashion mag, the Daily Styles Sessions, and showcased here were spirits brands as the Italian liqueur Disarronno, the California Cabernet Sauvignon brand Clos du Bois, and the Japanese beer Asahi. The Daily Style Suite also featured

non-alcoholic drinks as Monster Energy (yet another competitor for Red Bull and the up-and-comer Scheckter’s Organic Energy) and Vita Coco, the leader in the ever-growing coconut water market that has become popular because it’s low calorie, tasty, and restores electrolytes after exercising.

There were even some traditional fashion-related exhibitors here as Hanes Hosiery and Downy Infusions showing that utilitarian products had a place at Fashion Week alongside such glitzy names as Marc Jacobs and Forest Hills native Donna Karan.

Oasis Day Spa made a lot of friends by offering complimentary ten-minute back massages at the Daily Styles Sessions.

Even hotels used Fashion Week as a way of marketing themselves. Starwood’s W Union Square invited members of the media to sample the cuisine at Todd English’s latest restaurant, Olives, that’s located in the W’s lobby.

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