Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Facing his Waterloo?

Mangini abdiquant à Cleveland
(Mangini abdicating at Cleveland)

Wellington at Cleveland

With both national and local media banding together like English and Prussian forces at Waterloo, is Mangini facing his last stand at Cleveland Browns Stadium? Can Marvin Lewis and the Cincinnati Bengwads finish off Napoleon Mangini's return from exile? Or will newly promoted field general Derek Anderson fend off the assault and keep Mangini's clandestine regime intact? Tune in this Sunday, 1 PM on CBS!

When's the last straw?

Fred Coupon: Is it Jeff Wilpon and Omar Minaya attaching a congratulatory letter to the pitching rubber from CitiField the night Mariano Rivera got his 500th career save?

Make no mistake, I WILL get ejected from this Sunday's home finale.

Biz: or wheeled off in the Madden ambulance.

I might as well just set up a google news alert right now.

Fred Coupon: another insult:

What happened to the 45 cent tickets? This is a football sunday! There'll be 1500 people there!

Biz: why would a pepsi porch seat cost $125?

Bryan: It comes with a Pepsi


Time to cheer ourselves up, and what better way than to relive the magic of Frank Wycheck, Music City Miracle Worker and fantasy stud tight end?

Taste of Leather

Had the super-sexy photoshop of Rex and Sanchez posted at Try to keep it in your pants upon viewing.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Schoolly D, with strong support from Larry (aint tryin to hear that laurence noise) Fishburne.

Monday, September 28, 2009

I Used to Get in Ohio

Thought I'd take this opportunity to provide a little consolation for the fans in N.E. Ohio as well as provide a sample of a p-shop project I'm working on. And another great opportunity to link to this.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Rex & Mex: NY's Newest Heartthrobs

You've probably heard how desperate the Titans are for a win after getting nipped by a combined six points in each of their first two contests. You've also no doubt been made aware of the 'swagger' Rex Ryan has brought to a previously vanilla Jet defense. One tidbit that'll be mentioned during the broadcast is the link between the head coaches of both teams, as Jeff Fisher began his coaching career under Buddy Ryan's wing in Chicago and Rex Ryan is, well, Buddy's son.

A quarterback comparison shouldn't be surprising either, as you have seasoned vet Kerry Collins' emotional return to the Meadowlands, where he used to fumble snaps at a record setting pace but enjoyed some great seasons with the G-men and of course, rookie Mark Sanchez's third career start after two solid games. Both quarterbacks will operate under similar gameplans that involve tossing screens to their respective play-making backs, Chris Johnson and Leon Washington, though Kerry still has a cannon and may test the Jets' secondary in one-on-one coverage, especially if the Titans pick up the Jets' blitz. But considering how uncomfortable Tom Brady was in the face of the Jets' myriad of blitzes and coverages -Rex picked up his dad's practice of constantly rotating defensive backs- how will Collins respond, especially after struggling against Rex's Ravens in last year's Divisional Playoff game?

As for Sanchez, can he keep threading needles on third down to tight end Dustin Keller and receivers Jericho Cotchery and Chansi Stuckey, often relying on tough YAC to move the chains? It's just two games, but Sanchez has shown the ability to slide around the pocket, much like Ben Roethlisberger -the QB who can make the most out of any broken play- and Tony Romo, but his play fakes need a lot of work -he should practice breaking hearts when he goes out about town.

So will the Rex and Mex train keep rolling or get derailed by they testy Titans? I don't buy the match as a 'letdown' game for the Jets, because as cathartic as last week's victory over New England was, the Titans aren't some chump squad to be overlooked. They were the best team in the AFC last year and still feature plenty of talent on both sides of the ball. They can win on their own merit, but not this week. J! E! T! S! JETS! JETS! JETS!

***Added Bonus*** Our pal Al K. Mza will be checking in from time to time with recipes for treats during Sunday action. If you ask him now, he's starving. Here's his first contribution:

Going with the green theme of green shoots, green economy and gang green. Fall is still around and before we stuff ourselves with wings and beer, the following recipe is a literal gutcheck.

Cucumber sandwich
take cucumber. slice.
place on buttered toast.

fancy version -- add sliced tomatoes.
foodies version -- israeli cucumber and heirloom tomatoes, irish butter, and mint leaves (still can make about 20 sandwiches for less than $10!)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Red Alert! Part II

Sound the air raid siren in Cleveland. Get under the desk, Frowner! If you thought the last Cold War was something, just wait till July 1st!

The United Nations of Baseball.

The International Olympic Committee, in part owing to anti-American attitudes, recently removed Baseball and Softball from the Summer Games. Their main reasoning was that the sports are not 'international' enough and that the sports are dominated by a precious few. Hogwash. Poo-Poo. Pish-Posh. Ridiculoso. Nyet.

Soccer aka Football is often regarded as the most international of sports. It is played by nearly every country on the face of the earf. Yet soccer's champions come from only eastern South America and western Europe. There is no soccer powerhouse in North America (sorry Mexico). There is no soccer powerhouse in Africa. There is no soccer powerhouse in Asia. And, well, the Australian team has a great name, the Socceroos. Teams from North America, Africa and Asia are afterthoughts. Moreover, when you get down to brass tacks, the sport has been largely dominated by teams from just three countries, Brazil, Italy and Germany.

Baseball, like soccer, is played on every continent. At the start of this year's World Baseball Classic, and full credit to Bud Selig for pushing the tourney through, a legitimate case could have been made for Japan, South Korea, the United States, Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic or Venezuela winning it all.

While the emergence of the WBC an Olympic baseball tournament becomes unnecessary. Still, Olympic Baseball was taken very seriously by the non-U.S. teams and its loss will be a serious blow to fans and players alike in countries like Cuba, South Korea and Japan. Part of the appeal of the Olympics is watching sports like Field Hockey and Team Handball. Baseball's international development will be hurt by the loss of Olympic exposure. And at a base level, baseball deserves full respect as a true international sport.

Softball loses out on its marquee championship. Softball players, with no real professional league, had only one opportunity every four years to shine. Softball at its highest level is a fierce, entertaining sport and nothing like its slow-pitch after-work cousin. They deserve a chance to get their shine on.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

How to Not Celebrate a Goal

Whether you're into soccer or not, this extended highlight reel from this past Sunday's Man United-Man City clash is worth peeping for balls-to-the-wall, end-to-end madness that includes 7 mostly incredible goals, a Man City player smacking down a fan who invaded the pitch and all capped by a controversial winner scored by Michael Owen a minute-and-a-half after the four minutes of allotted extra time expired.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Red Alert!

General quarters! All ticket agents to phone stations!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Not-so-Jolly Jets Preview, by MZA & Fred Coupon

Fred: I love the NY tabloids hype the teams up now
then rip them for sucking
MZA: oh classic trader's mentality -- pump and dump
create "fake value"
build up a bubble
then pop the shit out of it
Fred: best part is rex ryan adding to it
his stupid lines are great ammo
MZA: yeah
i think he will be the first coach to actually explode on the sidelines
he bends light
he's so fat
i think we're looking at a 1-4 start
this season has a SOLID 4-12 feel to it
Fred: maybe 6 tops
they can beat buffalo and miami once each
esp buffalo in toronto - stupid bills killing their home field advantage
MZA: oh right
karma style
Fred: I was curious about making a trip there, but tix are expensive
MZA: broke ass buffalo residents buying seats
then they shaft them
a game
Fred: yup
but even if they go 4-12
would they win in oakland for once
sick of going there and losing every year
at 75% of the time
MZA: no they will lose
i actually think oakland will be better than expected
Fred: richard seymour 5 sacks
only ones of the year
MZA: oh totally
mcfadden monster game
MZA: so what do we have beyond bragging rights to the best looking quarterback in NY (vinny notwithstanding)
Fred: damn good practice facility
MZA: it's easy to hype this team up
because on paper they don't seem too bad, if you assume sanchez will be decent
and if you assume ryan is a better in game coach than the mangenius
Fred: especially in game defensive adjustments
which was non-existent under mangini
I am worried about lito shepard
the jets blitz a lot
so teams will throw his way and burn him
MZA: it would be nice to have vilma back - i think he would have flourished in ny regardless of system - but this one especially
i guess ty law isnt a phone call away anymore
Fred: the worst part is
calvin pace is out for the hardest part of the schedule
MZA: 0-5 going into the buffalo game?
i think that's doubtful
i think 1-4 with a win at miami
but again
i can't remember being less enthusiastic for the start of a season as i am for this one
ironic considering the sanchez pick was supposed to kickstart the emotions
it's like the mets infection has spread to gangrene
Fred: to be fair now
jets are far below the mets on the ladder
at least the mets have won and competed
gotta take the benigno approach with the jets
always expect the worst
MZA: yes but that leads to the formation of the "maddog" fan
w/r/t the selling of firstborn children
Fred: "I'll leave now! mushnick can be happy! just one time!"
MZA: and speaking of irony what is up with the jets closing out giants stadium.
Fred: that's the best
bet the HOUSE on cincy
thats the last team right
MZA: yeah
Fred: easiest money ever
all the jets have done there is lose
why change it for the last game
MZA: i wonder what their alltime giants stadium record is
Fred: I think it's 101-103
MZA: wow
Fred: read that in a post article about the stadium
at least they won some home playoff games
not many, but still
MZA: check this out
Fred: damn
tough 3rd place schedule
MZA: leads to easy last place finish
Fred: hmm
for all the bad vibes about the jets
I hear more about the bills
and their horrific offense
they also have the worst or second worst coach in the league
remember when jauron gave the jets a win last year during the collapse
MZA: yes
that game was a meeting of the minds
Fred: cant wait for the rematch
MZA: wasnt that the same game where mangini almost gave it back
well i agree with you on the toronto angle
in terms of the cover lock
but a win?
i dont know
Fred: do you think TO will demand a trade if the bills start 0-3
or demand to get released
that ship could sink quick
bring him to the jets
MZA: why not
keyshawn part 2
the post would love those headlines
i think if we're lucky we go 3-5 into the break
Fred: I'd run for that
MZA: not sure we can beat oakland
since we never do
and i think theyre going to be better than expected
then maaaybe 2 wins in the second half
Fred: if the jets go 6-10
but somehow beat the dolphins twice
I'd love that
cannot get swept by chad
MZA: why not
i still believe in pennington
Fred: he's the new jeff garcia
MZA: excellent comparison
Fred: will always be better than any qb on your roster
MZA: then who's the new chad?
Fred: but never good enough to win a title
MZA: carson palmer?
Fred: even chad played more games when he got hurt
I barely remember carson
so sad when that steelers lineman sat on him
killed the whole franchise
MZA: yeah
Fred: I have a question
do those pepsi forever young commercials
have to be run by players and coaches unions
cause they show belichick
he's not part of the coaches assoc
MZA: dont think i've ever seen it -- link?
he would make a good coors light guy but i guess he's have to be in coaches union
did you know in madden
he's NE HC
because of that
MZA: i like that
just for the oldschool videogame throwback
like qb eagles
Fred: hehe
MZA: or #23
Fred: it also pays homage to his note with the jets
was it "I resign as HC of NYJ"?
MZA: right
6 words that sent the franchise back to the short bus
Fred: now what was the deal - did leon hess promise him the job before hiring tuna
MZA: it was the sale
according to his press conference
from hess - woody
Fred: the funny thing is
woody isnt that bad compared to his predecessor
MZA: record wise
strike that
i agree, but something always seems missing with this team
it's like ordering a drink with no booze in it
Fred: it's the curse of shea
hit the jets
now the mets
I think the last exchange sums up the franchise pretty well.

Diving in Soccer

Had a piece posted at EPLtalk about diving in soccer in general and specifically about an Arsenal player who had his ban for diving overturned.

Monday, September 14, 2009

Great White Hope

"Lets get to the root of this: What's the Mets' fan love affair with Daniel Murphy?"

-Mike Francesa, 09/14

I didn't want to bother making another baseball post now that pigskin season is mercifully underway, but a call from Carol from Bayside making comments like "I don't understand why you're giving Daniel Murphy such a hard time, he's such a nice player!", "at least he speaks English" and "I'd rather have Murphy than Carlos Beltran, wouldn't you, Mike?"The fact the producer let a baseball call onto a football Monday show is a separate issue, but the bigger problem is the fanbase's perception of the team and its general manager, Omar Minaya. Callers like Carol are the same people who cling to the 'Los Mets' moniker Anna Benson gave the team after her husband was traded to the Baltimore Orioles for relief pitcher Jorge Julio and a throw-in starting pitcher Caucasian John Maine -guess she forgot that part. They're the same people who want Carlos Beltran out of town because of one at-bat defining his Met tenure even though he's infinitely more 'clutch' than fan favorite David Wright. They complain about the constant acquisition of Hispanic players as well as the language barrier in the clubhouse and media. They want GAMERSSSS, and GRINDERSSSS, like those on the mostly English-speaking Philadelphia Phillies, and perceive the play of Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran as 'soft' -Robinson Cano gets this treatment as well from many Yankee fans.

So when Daniel Murphy was called up in August and lit the world on fire, spraying doubles from left to right, fans found a new white player to rally around. Omar Minaya, supposed Latino-orchestrator, pinned a major portion of the success of the 2009 season on the development of Murphy, opting not to sign corner outfielders Raul Ibanez and Bobby Abreu -Spanish-speaking players enjoying great campaigns this year. Just four games after Murphy went deep in Great American Smallpark in Cincinnati, he botched a fly ball in sunny LandShark Stadium and continued to play left field -and bat- on rollerskates, showing no range, athletic ability, power or plate discipline. Carlos Delgado's hip injury gave Murphy the opportunity to minimize embarrassing himself on the field by playing a representative first base, but hitting like a catcher, posting a .717 OPS. After 580 professional at-bats, it's looking like Murphy's ceiling will be a career in pinch hitting. Yet the calls to "lay off him" persist on the talk radio air waves.

What's lost in the arguments from 'Los Mets' fans are all the crappy Caucasians Minaya's signed, traded and drafted, including Brian Schneider, Tim Redding, Sean Green, Jeremy Reed and a litany of mediocre college players including a boat load of relievers who have done squat. It's too bad so many people are so shortsighted, because Minaya DOES deserve to be relieved of his duties, but not because of any Latino conspiracy.

The Bizman on how the Niners went from Strictly Biz-ness to Strictly A-biz-mal.

Hot on the heels of the Big Dood's bangin Big Blue preview comes the Bizman with a scintillating San Fran reminisce. Should be noted that while eternal frenemies the Almighty Bizman aka II-Dope and Furdz aka Sam Boomz have had their fair share of disagreements dating back to their infamous battles on the crooked streetz of (trife-life-get-your-dome-checked) Tribeca, they both shared love for Niner football and Joe Cool back in the dizzay. So much so that a young Boomz forced a young Coachie 2 peep Joe Montana QB for a mediocre Chief team on Monday Night Football whilst lounging in a lavish Quebec City hotel room.

Anyhoo, the bizman speaks:

The San Francisco 49ers. Remember them? I’ll bet it’s been a minute since you’ve given them a second- or even a first- thought. They’ve been Team Irrelevant for a good five seasons now. But man, remember when?

I am what you could generously call a lapsed 49ers fan. When I started watching football around the 1986-87 season, I had no rooting interests. My dad didn’t have any particular allegiances beyond liking the local teams to win. Of my two best friends in elementary school, one was a Giants fan, one was a Jets fan. Meanwhile, I came to realize that these teams were on television every single week and were boring me. (This, it should be noted, absolutely holds true for me now as well. Familiarity bred contempt, but I have managed to lessen my dislike of the omnipresent local teams to a practiced degree of indifference, although I’m always up for a bad loss just so I can read the Armageddon-Is-Coming sports section in the Post the next day.)

I can’t pinpoint exactly when I decided to follow them, but after seeing highlights and a few playoff games, I saw that the Niners were different, were more exciting than the same boring old conservative NFC East teams. Look at all this passing!

[Sidebar: I like passing. It is a little-known fact (inexplicably so) that the pass opens up the run, but it is an even less-known fact that, as my extensive, hands-on Tecmo Super Bowl research will attest to, the pass opens up the pass, which leads to scores galore.]

So, let’s go Niners. What the hey. And it was a mighty good run, other than some rough playoff defeats at the hands of the Giants and ‘Boys. You could almost always rely on a good show- Montana’s brutal efficiency and Rice effortlessly open, Young’s brutal efficiency (and crazy running!) and Rice effortlessly open, Roger Craig and an underrated string of excellent pass-catching RBs (“Stillllll” Watters, William Randolph Hearst, Garner “More Yards”). Down to third-string? No problem! The Niners even had the White Willie Beamen in Steve “Shh, It’s” Bono. Bill Walsh left the sidelines? No problem! Enter George Seifert, a terrible college coach many years back (at Cornell, no less!) under whom the offense ran as smoothly as a Big daddy Kane silk shirt....

Sure, their last Super Bowl title (and appearance) was in 1994, but they remained a perennial playoff team. Young was forced to retire and in stepped Jeff Garcia, whose current sad incarnation (cut by the Raiders!) should not overshadow the fact that he was fee-nominal in his prime. 2001- 32 TDs passing, 5 rushing (!). A then-inoffensive T.O. took the mantle from Rice and owned the league, posting double-digit TDs three straight seasons. Thing was, they seemed to lose to the Packers in the playoffs every year, except for that one fantastic game where Young found Owens in the end zone for the winning score as time wound down (essentially Owens’ “I have arrived” moment).

The last hurrah was in 2002. After the Niners’ furious, highly improbable, long-snapper-crying, no-penalty-call-assisted comeback against the Giants in the wacky 39-38 playoff game (yeah, you like that, Shockey, standing there looking stupid on the sidelines), they were absolutely throttled by the eventual Super Bowl champion Bucs. By midway through the first quarter, I was thoroughly deflated (and disgusted with the team’s lack of effort).

Coach Mariucci was fired and replaced by in-over-his-head Dennis Erickson (yeah, he was great with the Seahawks, too). In 2003, the Niners lost five games by 3 points or less and finished 7-9. And then things really went bad.

T.O. managed to run Garcia out of town, then wrote his own ticket to Philly. With Garrison Hearst breaking down, there went the offense, just like that. Poof, gone. The replacements were Tim “Picks Ay-Day” Rattay, nobody at wide receiver, and Kevan “Lower than Low” Barlow. Not exactly Montana/Craig/Rice.

Years and years of skillfully (but perhaps not completely legally) skirting the salary cap finally caught up to the team, and free agency was no longer a viable option. Drafting went south in a hurry. Over the next five seasons, the Niners finished in the in the top 25 in defense and in offense one time each. Once! There are only 32 teams! No receiver topped 850 yards. Alex Smith? One first overall pick and $25 million guaranteed later, he’s on the bench. Nate Clements? On a team where everything is a problem, $80 million for an overrated cornerback may not be the best start. Brandon Lloyd? Lots of dudes can jump, doesn’t mean they’re any good.

In all honesty, I had to research exactly what happened in the years since 2002, because I had almost completely stopped following the team out of sheer boredom and my concurrent rising interest in fantasy football. In my mind, the Niners are much more fun as the top team in Tecmo (way better than the Giants, child please, Brent Jones will always catch that pass over the middle on the blitz), banned from competing against almost all squads because they were too damn good.

Last season offered a glimmer of hope with the firing of Mike Martz, a strong finish under a coach who seems to have some idea what he’s doing (Mike Singletary gave a motivational speech in my office a couple years ago, and no, he did not drop trou) and the great fortune of landing the top wide receiver in the land with the #10 pick in the draft (come on, Crabtree, just take the money!)

However, the reality is that the division is no longer a cakewalk (Rams don’t count, they belong in the UFL) - the Cards are a real team, the Seahawks have more than three healthy players- and the Niners, for the most part, are still not good. Unlike Martz, Singletary seems to realize that Frank Gore is by far their best player and should be run into the ground. The defense is coming around, and Shaun Hill is serviceable at quarterback. It’s still a wasteland at wideout, unless Josh Morgan finally becomes, you know, good. As a fan, boy oh boy is this team boring. You cannot even argue that anyone on this team is worth watching (including Gore). Who’s gonna break the big play? No one, that’s who. Not hearing it.

I’d be Michelle Shocked (shocked!) with an 8-8 record. A repeat of last year’s 7-9 sounds about right, but 6-10, given the talent level, should not surprise at all.

Now, back to my fantasy squad.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Big Dood on the Big G's; or, Standing on the Flapjacks of Giants

To Shea Hey's sensational stable of stars, namely Cannatar, Fred Coupon and myself, I'm pleased to add the Big Dood.

Above artwork by none other than Frownie

Here, in hopefully the first of many missives from the man, the Big Dood offers his thoughts on Big Blue:

Anyone who knows me, knows that I enjoy a season of Jints football almost as much as a big stack of tasty flapjacks hot off the griddle. But let’s not bang our knives and forks on the table toooooooo eagerly. Let’s take a deep breath. And reflect.

To a good many Giants fans, the ending to last season was doubtlessly a bitter disappointment. Fair enough, I suppose, but I’m here to send a wakeup call to everyone who cried themselves to sleep after a one and done ouster at the hands of the Eagles: It’s all disappointment from here on out. This truth should have risen from the ashes as the dust settled in the aftermath of Super Bowl XXZXXZXZSEQR (did I get those Roman Numerals Right?). To quote Christopher Walken’s character in True Romance “that’s as good as it’s gonna get. And won’t ever get that good again.”

By all rights, the New York Giants should never win anything else again. In the interest of balance, they ought to have tumbled into the bowels of the earth and been left to stumble over and upon one another (for at least a few seasons) in abject misery.

Or better yet, they should’ve simply ceased to be, disappearing in streaks of light and vapor behind falling sheets of confetti in the canyon of heroes.

After perpetrating their improbable heist of the New England Patriots’ nineteenth win of that year, like some super-significant paranormal artifact, or beautiful woman held against her will, the appropriate ending was not a series on-field speeches, handshakes and trophy presentations, but rather a mad dash escape to safety while the stadium and perhaps the entire NFL collapsed into oblivion. It should’ve all ended there in Arizona. And as Giants fans, we’ll be forever retreating to the bathroom, chasing that cocaine first hit high, so long as we should choose to care anymore.

But perhaps that’s really the point anyway. Caring too much about sports is a bad practice. Nothing wrong with enjoying games of course, but allowing a particular team’s performance to drastically alter one’s temperament, particularly where it might drive us to surliness, or unhappiness, is the mark of a regressive consciousness. Peace and happiness are not predicated on circumstance. They must be deliberately sought and cultivated from within. So deciding to be bitterly angry if our favorite team fails to achieve a set of rather difficult and (from a probability standpoint) unlikely goals is idiotic. In doing so, we abdicate the responsibility of our own contentment and hand it over to a group of athletes – we barely even really choose which athletes – and allow our emotions jerked about at the whim of a bouncing ball. It’s something like deciding to clip a set of jumper cables to our nipples and saying: “This may hurt now, but one day, hard to say when, someone will surely come along and take these off for me and then I will feel good again. At least until they put them back on a while later. So I’ll just wait patiently for that day. Thanks.”

In 2007, shortly after the Jints turned in a horrendous performance against Minnesota, I calmly decided that I just didn’t give a shit if they lost anymore. I decided then, that I would celebrate great athleticism as much as any worthy human achievement. I still enjoy Giant victories (and surely screamed with glee from the window of Coachie’s apartment when they beat the Pats), but I refuse to sulk away another Monday after Manning forgets which team to throw to.

So my official prediction for 2009 Jints football is: they’re going to keep playing these damn games for as long as I plan on living, so what difference does it make anyway?

But just because I refuse to stumble when they may stumble doesn’t mean I don’t pay attention. So I’ll offer a few observations and then be on my way:

1.) If Mike Sherridan and Osi Umenyiora are not getting along it’s probably because Sherridan is at least hinting that Osi’s starting job is not guaranteed. And why shouldn’t he suggest as much – Matthias Kiwanuka is turning into a splendid DE and looks more like the every-down lineman with Umenyiora more the passing down specialist at this point. Even as a rotational player, I think Kiwi will have a huge season. Not sure if I expect the same from Osi.

2.) It’s quite possible that among the draftees, Smith’s and Hixon’s, the Giants have not found a replacement for Plaxico Burress. At least not early, or at all, this season. I’m ok with that. The Giants didn’t trade for Edwards, Boldin or Tory Holt because they don’t need to win it all this year. They are young almost everywhere and will be good for a long time because Jerry Reese knows to draft (see 2005 where he grabbed Webster, Justin Tuck and Brandon Jacobs with only 4 total picks, or 2007 which netted Boss, Ross, Alford, Steve Smith and Ahmad Bradshaw). Someone’s gonna step up between Nicks, Manningham, Barden etc.

3.) If Antonio Pierce looked old last year, and he did, he’ll figure to look worse in ’09. The Giants will have a hard time with all the pass-catching backs and tight ends in their division. Boley was brought in to help out here, but he’s missing game one, hasn’t really practiced and will need time to get in sync. The rest of the linebackers don’t look like much. We haven’t had a good linebacker since Jesse Armstead. I’m expecting to see a lot Westbrooks and Whittens running wild in the defensive backfield unfortunately.

4.) Brandon Jacobs, while a joy to behold, always strikes me as a knee injury waiting to happen. He runs so high and goes looking for contact that he’s as much of a liability to himself as a weapon for this team. I’m sure he’ll miss at least a couple of games and can only hope those come somewhere in the middle of year, against non-divisional opponents, rather than round one of the playoffs. With Jacobs, the Giants fear no defense. He and Chris Snee are the crazy, mean spirited counterpoints to the likes of James Harrison, Haynesworth, Lewis et al.

5.) When the Giants have been at they’re best these past two seasons, they’ve been a pretty good combination of lucky, well disciplined and tough as hell.

Let’s look back to October 26, 2008. This important date gives us a perfect little snapshot of the Coughlin/Manning Giants (seems the best way to designate this era). On this particular Sunday afternoon, the Giants defeated the eventual NFL champions in front of the biggest regular season Steeler crowd ever. This game is notable for a number of reasons:

The Steelers had won 9 straight home games against NFC opponents.

Plaxico Burress was benched by Coughlin in first quarter for missing a mandatory treatment sessions the previous Saturday.

Santonio Holmes (I hope it was worth it) was serving a marijuana related suspension that day. Somehow, the nature of Holmes’ suspension (as noted by Phil Mushnick) was never discussed during the telecast. Burress, on the other hand, whose status was quickly shifting from NFC title game hero to pariah, for previous fines and NFL disciplinary action earlier in the season, was the go-to cutaway shot on the sideline as the Giants’ offense failed to find the end zone early.

Pittsburgh’s championship caliber defense – likely the best in the NFL in 2008 – noted for its tandem of fearsome edge rushing linebackers, recorded exactly zero sacks of Eli Manning and forced exactly zero turnovers.

Conversely, the Giants sacked Roethlisberger five times, and forced four interceptions.

And yet, despite a 4 to 0 turnover ratio, despite controlling the ball for almost ten minutes more than their opponents and despite physical superiority on both sides of the line of scrimmage, the Giants were regarded as lucky to have escaped with a victory on the road because Greg Warren went down with a blown knee and left James Harrison to long snap a ball over punter Mitch Berger’s head for a game tying safety. Never mind the fact that Eli Manning pushed down the short field and found Kevin Boss for the game winning score with under 4 minutes left to play on the road. I’d argue that the Steelers were lucky that one or more of Roethlisberger’s interceptions weren’t returned for scores or that he wasn’t sacked seven times and concussed.

My overarching opinion is that this team, Plax or no, can still deliver a few of these sorts of games. I think they’ll still be able to push other teams around and score late in games. I also expect a slow start, with two early divisional games and a new coordinator on a defense that’s had a lot of injuries and not a lot of regulars practicing.

I think the Jints will get a head of steam late and make the playoffs, although won’t ever appear to be the juggernaut they looked like for much of last year. I think they’re a wild card team, behind the Eagles. I think they’ll relish an underdog role that they always seem to create for themselves by periodically falling on their own faces.

I can see them rolling over in the playoffs, or rolling to another Super Bowl.

I don’t see them pulling off the most exciting victory in Super Bowl history.

Sorry Jints fans. Not happening twice in our lifetimes. Consider whatever else you get after February 08 just syrup on the flapjacks.

Dig in. And don’t take anything too hard.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Friendly Reminder

To help avoid my annoying mass emails, all my zany images can be found on this flickr page, and it will be continuously updated. Also added as a link here at SheaHey.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

People's Elbow to a Dead Horse

If the Mets were in the playoff hunt there would be far less, or no, complaints about New Shea aka Shitti Field aka The House That No One Asked For. But they are not, and for many the new ballpark is a disappointment. The Post continues to justifiably pile on, just as it has piled on the empty seats and happy homers at the new Yankee Stadium. It's latest attack was a front page story entitled "Pity Field," detailing physical problems that have emerged at Citi Field.

The park may have cost a lot, but it sure seems like it was built on the cheap. It certainly doesn't appear as lush on the outside as the new Yankee Stadium.

On Citi's facade, prefabricated slabs that lock together like legos take the place of actual brick-or-stone work. Attention to detail and color scheme on the outside is limited to the Jackie Robinson Rotunda. Away from it the arched windows give way to hollow rectangles and dark red gives way to light beige-all the better to see rusty water stains with.

Unlike at Ebbets Field, where the facade rose up gracefully to meet the roof, giving the structure a sense of completion and cohesion, Citi's facade ends abruptly 3/4 of the way up, exposing the backs of the rows of seats and thus resembling the bleachers of a high school football stadium.

And it appears they just gave up when it came the back of the stadium, which faces the Whitestone Expressway. Actually, if it weren't for the exposed backs of the seats, it could pass for any suburban office building or truck distribution center.

While I took these pictures before the season started, I believe they are quite close to representative of how the park currently appears. But yeah, the food's good, which ensures that the Wilpon/Coupons will make more money per game this season despite the vastly lowered capacity. And money is really the one and only reason a new ballpark was built. Which is fine, but again, when your competition across town builds a new park too, and there is money to burn in construction, you better make sure you make yours nicer.

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Metlas Shrugged

Deadspin came through with two eviscerations of the Mets within the past few days, both obviously completely warranted.

The first post, from Friday, deaded Shitti Field. Highlights include: "There are over fifty advertisements from foul pole to foul pole in Citi Field, likely a side effect of Mr. Wilpon's lack of understanding Ponzi schemes. The team's championship banners were on a brick wall facing away from the stadium, invisible to anybody watching the game, until they were finally moved about a week ago. The bullpen is under a fucking canopy for some reason. The entire outfield wall lacks any semblance of symmetry, and throughout the whole field there must be about a hundred different heights for the outfield fence. The tops of the dugouts are red and black. Why? Not a fucking clue. And when faced with criticism about the field, the Wilpons sloppily added a third video monitor in the right field corner, apparently hoping that they could distract the fans form the shittiness of the stadium by just adding more shiny TVs." And, "the enormous Geico advertisement known as Citi Field, is far more soulless, aloof and, yes, excessive than Shea ever was.

Of course, our pal Fred Coupon did an excellent job summing up the new Shea experience back in April.

The second Deadspin post comes from today, a stark look back at this season in pictures and video.

Now, I'm a little removed from the doldrums in New York, but this season seems truly lost in the sense that no one cares. No one's cared since June. And indifference can be far more dangerous than hate. Past Met disaster-seasons seem downright fun compared to this year. Think Vince Coleman. Think Bobby Bo. Think Big Mo. Think Shawn Estes. Think Harmando Boonitez catching haircuts.

Despite my distance, I've done okay keeping up through the Post, WFAN and various blogs. This year's controversies seem forced. The vitriol half-hearted. To borrow one of Bizman's favrit sayings, "Meh." After the past few years, to Mets fans, like the Jane's Addiction Album, Nothing's Shocking.