Bock’s Score: Some Odds and Ends, Some More Odd than Others.

You know it’s almost July when football creeps into the conversation. In New York, followers of the Giants got slightly hysterical when Odell Beckham, Jr., failed to show up for OTAs, an informal, preseason assembly of the team.

That first letter in OTA stands for optional. That means not required. Beckham was not required to be there, so he was not there. When, a week or two later, the team conducted its next get-together, this one  the required mini-camp, Beckham arrived a day early.

Beckham is the most important player on this franchise. Don’t ruffle his feathers. He is the face of the team and if he passes on optional gatherings, that‘s perfectly all right. And it certainly beats playing with fireworks and blowing up your hand the way one of his teammates, Jason Pierre-Paul, did a couple of years ago.

Now about New York’s other pro football team.

The Jets spent the off-season shredding their roster of recognizable names. Among the casualties were wide receiver Brandon Marshall and quarterback Geno Smith, both quickly scooped up by the Giants and linebacker David Harris, who got a two-year contract from the New England Patriots.

Center Nick Mangold is gone. Defensive back Darrelle Revis, wide receiver Eric Decker and a fistful of others as well. This overhaul was an effort by the Jets to get younger and, by the way, cut a lot of salary. The roster contains a lot of brand new names. So does New Jersey’s other prominent team, the one representing Rutgers University. In fact, you might switch one team for the other for a game and nobody would know the difference.

It adds up to a long season for the guys in green. One important member of the franchise will be excused from what is expected to be a season of suffering. Owner Woody Johnson is about to be named ambassador to the United Kingdom. Football over there is called soccer over here. The Jets might be better at that activity.


Then there is the New York Knicks’ approach to reconstructing their franchise.

Armed with a 51-loss season, the Knicks earned themselves a coveted lottery draft pick. This was supposed to be one of the deepest drafts in recent years and when the Knicks’ turn came at No. 8, they picked an 18-year-old point guard from France. Frank Tilikina’s credentials include averaging five points per game for his French League team. But he does like the triangle, the obscure offense of choice for Phil Jackson’s team.

It makes Knicks fans nervous though because the team’s last draft choice from France was Frederick Weis and he never set foot in the NBA.

Weis was supposed to be the replacement for a worn down Patrick Ewing. In fact, though, the Knicks’ draft dossier since hitting the jackpot with Ewing is somewhat sad.

The roster includes such luminaries as Brian Quinnett, Jerrod Mustaf, Donte’ Jones, DeMarco Johnson, Sean Marks and the immortal Kostas Papinikoloau.

There was one significant hit, though. Kristaps Porzingas has displayed star qualities, a 7-foot-3 big man who can shoot 3’s as well as go to the hoop. Sadly, though, Jackson decided to pick a fight with him and was very public about offering him in a trade.

Porzingas survived the draft night rumors and remains a Knick for the moment, just like Carmelo Anthony, another Jackson target.

Does this team sound slightly dysfunctional or, one might say, odd?

Finally, there is the catastrophe called the New York Mets.

This train wreck of a franchise is far removed from the contender the proprietors thought it would be. The injury list resembles a MASH unit and when one of the walking wounded returns from oblivion, somebody else gets hurt.

It did not help the situation when shortstop Asdrubal Cabrebra (sprained thumb) got bent out of shape over being asked to play

About the Author

Hal Bock

Hal Bock is a contributor with NY Sports Day. He has covered sports for 40 years at The Associated Press including 30 World Series, 30 Super Bowls and 11 Olympics. He is the author of 14 books including most recently The Last Chicago Cubs Dynasty and Banned Baseball's Blacklist of All-Stars and Also-Rans. He has written scores of magazine articles and served as Journalist In Residence at Long Island University's Brooklyn campus where he also served on the selection committee for the George Polk Awards.

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