The Giants and Jets have shared stadiums for well over 30 years and lately they seem to be sharing players albeit with the Giants absorbing former Jets sand not the other way around.
Last March the Giants signed defensive tackle Damon “Snacks” Harrison who had started all sixteen games for the Jets in 2015 and had played well for them. The Jets were hamstrung by the NFL’s stringent salary cap and had to reluctantly part ways with him.
Last week the Giants signed former Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall to replace Victor Cruz who was let go for the same NFL cap reasons. If Marshall’s history is any indicator, the Giants should expect a big first season from him. The problem is that his production drops precipitously in the second year and beyond with a given team.
Over this past weekend the backpages of the tabloids reported that the Giants were going to sign Eugene Cyril Smith III, better known to football fans as Geno Smith, to a contract to back up Eli Manning.
The move took many by surprise because Smith kept telling the press that he wanted to compete for a starting NFL quarterback job. Eli Manning is the Cal Ripken of pro football in that he never mises a game. Backing up Eli Manning is the equivalent of those old Maytag TV commercials with Jesse White playing the bored and lonely repairman.
It’s perplexing as well as to why the Giants would take a flyer on Smith . Giants head coach Ben McAdoo recently criticized Eli Manning, who possesses two Super Bowl rings, for throwing too many interceptions last year. One of Geno’s biggest problems when he did start for the Jets was that a lot of passes were picked off. That was a key reason why the team signed Ryan Fitzpatrick who quickly emulated Smith. Now both quarterbacks are off of the Jets roster.
The Giants did have to shell out lots of green to sign their All-Pro defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul to four-year, $62 million contract with $40 million of that amount guaranteed. It’s to Pierre-Paul’s immense credit that he has been able to maintain his high skill level in spite of losing his right index finger in a self-inflicted fireworks mishap on July 4, 2015.
Longtime Forest Hills Gardens resident Jimmy Breslin, who passed away on Sunday, was a legendary newspaperman who made his readers feel that they were having a conversation with him thanks to his earthy writing style. Although he was best known for writing about crime and politics, he did write a book about the worst baseball team ever, the 1962 Mets, that was titled “Can’t Anybody Here Play This Game?” Breslin, Chicago columnist Mike Royko, and Philadelphia sports columnist Bill Conlin all inspired me when I was growing up. RIP, Jimmy.
There were a number of notable deaths in the sports world the past week.
John Andariese, who was Marv Albert’s analyst sidekick on Knicks radio broadcasts, had been in ill health for the last couple of years. The man affectionately known as Johnny Hoops was an unabashed Knicks fan but he never insulted the intelligence of his listeners and never hesitated to call out the Knicks when their play left something to be desired. Andariese was also a member of the West Side Tennis Club in Forest Hills and I would see him at a number of United States Tennis Association sanctioned tournaments there.
Knicks forward Dave Stallworth, who was a member of the 1969-70 NBA champions, succumbed to a heart attack. He was 75. Stallworth was dispatched along with Mike Riordan in 1973 to the Baltimore Bullets for guard Earl “The Pearl” Monroe. That trade helped the Knicks win their second, and so far last, NBA title that year.
Track & field lost a major patron on Friday with the passing of Dr. Norbert Sander. Dr. Sander was a physician who loved running and in fact was the winner of the 1974 New York City Marathon back when the race was run entirely in Central Park. In recent years Dr. Sander dedicated himself to developing the Armory in Washington Heights into becoming the premier track & field facility in the country.
Chuck Berry, the legendary rock & roll composer and guitarist who passed away on Saturday at the age of 90, used to attend a number of Cardinals games in his hometown of St, Louis and enjoyed playing concerts in minor league ballparks. Berry incorporated a stanza about baseball in his witty 1956 tune, “Brown-Eyed Handsome Man.”
Boxing in New York has been enjoying a resurgence. A couple of weeks ago Keith Thurman edged Danny Garcia in a twelve-round welterweight championship fight that drew over 15,000 fans even though it was broadcast live on CBS. This past Friday night, Irish Olympian Michael Conlan celebrated St. Patrick’s Day by winning his American debut bout at a packed Theater at Madison Square Garden. The next night at the main arena at MSG Kazakhstan’s Gennady Golovkin narrowly defeated Brooklyn’s Danny Jacobs in a middleweight championship title fight.
Former Golden Boy C EO Richard Schaefer, with the help of the premium cable television network Showtime, is starting a tournament that will be called the World Boxing Super Series with a payout of $50 million in prize money. It should be noted that boxing tournaments have not had a lot of success because it’s hard to keep the public’s attention. Another problem is that a lot of fighters are tied to other fight promoters and/or are aligned with Showtime’s competitor, HBO.
It’s always fun to catch a Mets game in Philadelphia and our Flushing heroes will be in the City of Brotherly Love to take on the improving Phillies for three games beginning April 10. The Mets will make two more appearances during the season there.
What won’t be fun for fans is that the cost of soft drinks will be a lot higher this year at Citizens Bank Park because of a tax on them (diet sodas are not exempt either) throughout the city of Philadelphia. The city’s mayor, Jim Kenney, has actually put into practice something which former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg long dreamed about. Needless to say, grocers and a lot of consumers there are far from sanguine over this law.
A more pleasant Philadelphia story is that the Museum of the American Revolution, which is located in the Independence Plaza section of Center City, is slated to open on April 19.
The recently concluded New York International Restaurant & Foodservice Show has become a showplace for new products and trends. ImmuneSchein introduced its line of ginger elixirs which purport to promote wellness and help build one’s immunity against colds. I can’t vouch for all of those claims but they do have a kick which will certainly awake all of your senses and clear your sinuses.
I have been enjoying HBO’s “Crashing” that stars comedian Pete Holmes who retells his story as a struggling comic starting out in New York City. Holmes, who bears a striking resemblance to the late John Ritter, uses clean observational humor which frequently elicit groans from the audience. What makes the show compelling however are not the punchlines but rather the inside look at the fragile psyche of comics and how they are all too willing to exploit themselves for unscrupulous comedy club owners. In June Showtime will examine the growth of the LA standup comedy scene in the mid-1970s when it debuts the series “I’m Dying Up Here.” Jim Carrey is the executive producer.