All anybody’s talking about in the New York area is the Islanders’ first regulation win over the Rangers (though Jimmy Rollins predicted it on Monday). You can’t walk down the street without somebody stopping you and asking all about the hockey team from Long Island. Will they get on a roll? Is John Tavares the real deal? Islanders, Islanders, Islanders! Everybody’s forgetting all about the bad start of the two local basketball teams, and does anybody even know that the Yankees are in the World Series this year? All the Islanders-all-the-time talk is really taking the pressure off the other local teams.
Here at Hot Stove, we know that the Yankees are in the World Series again, as you can’t get anything by us. The Bronx Bombers paid their $200 million entry fee into the Series, setting up a rematch of the 1950 Fall Classic. And with so many off-days, it seems like there are about 59 years between games in this postseason. In the Series we’ve already seen Cliff Lee nonchalantly put the Bombers’ bats to sleep, and in game two the Yankees proved once again to be Pedro Martinez‘s daddy. After the game, Martinez also claimed that Mark Teixeira was his uncle, Hideki Matsui a distant cousin and Jorge Posada was his Aunt Lucille. People in New York may not care for the Phillies (or Eagles or Sixers or Flyers), but not everything from Philly is bad. They did give us two of America’s greatest cultural achievements (no, not Chase Utley’s hair): Cheesesteaks and It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Of course, the mayors from the two cities made their usual bet on the Series. Many ideas were tossed around on what the bet would consist of: If the Yankees lose, New York City would change its name to Mike Schmidtville, if Philly loses it would change to Little Smellier New York; if the Phils win NYC would have to replace the Statue of Liberty with a 300-foot statue of the Philly Phanatic, if the Yanks win Philadelphia has to tear down its statue of Rocky and put one up of Clue Haywood; if the Phillies win Pedro Martinez gets to slam the Yankee coach of his choice to the ground once more for old time’s sake, if the Yankees win A.J. Burnett gets to smash a pie filled with stuff fished out of the East River in Shane Victorino’s face. They finally settled on the losing city just disappearing from the face of the earth.
In local football news, the Jets and Giants beat Oakland this season by a combined score of 82-7. The Jets kept things simple for Mark Sanchez, who spent the game eating hot dogs in the huddle while watching his running backs go wild. Teams instantly get back on track when playing the Raiders, but can it work like that in real life, also? If your marriage is on the rocks, can you spend the day with the Oakland Raiders and you’ll be on your way to a second honeymoon? Failing out of high school? Will three hours with the Raiders get those grades back up and you’ll find yourself enrolling in Harvard? If your life is falling apart because of an alcohol problem, will running around the football field for an afternoon with the Raiders put everything back into place? Are the Oakland Raiders the cure for all of our problems?
Player of the Week
Shonn Greene: The Jets rookie stepped in when Leon Washington was lost for the season, and gained a whopping 144 yards and scored two touchdowns. But how many spellings of the name ‘Sean’ do we need? Shonn, Chone, Shean, Sean, Shaun, Shawn. Stop the madness.
A.J. Burnett: The Yanks needed Burnett to come up big, and he was clutch in game two, throwing seven strong innings and outdueling Pedro.
Mariano Rivera: After getting a two-inning save to close out the Angels on Sunday, Rivera did it again last night to save game two of the World Series (though he got a little help from the umps).
Mark Teixeira/Hideki Matsui: Each blasted a homer to right, which was enough offense for the Bronx Bombers. But what’s happening to Alex Rodriguez? 0-8 with six strikeouts in the Series? Uh-oh.
Thomas Jones: Another day at the office for Jones – 121 yards and a TD.
Jets Offensive Line: They only let up one sack and have blocked their way to being the first team to have back-to-back 300 rushing yards since the 1975 Bills, who, of course, featured O.J. Simpson. Let’s just hope that none of these linemen become A.C. Cowlings to Thomas Jones’ O.J.
Calvin Pace: The busy linebacker had three sacks, seven tackles and two forced fumbles. But does it really count if it’s against Oakland?
Andy Pettitte: The veteran lefty notched his record-setting 16th postseason win, while clinching the ALCS for the Yanks on Sunday.
Kevin Boss: The Giants tight end had three catches, but the one late in the game when he was almost knocked unconscious with a helmet to helmet hit earns him a spot here. That’s one tough dude.
Jeff Tambellini: The Islanders went 1-0-2, this week, and Tambellini picked up three goals and an assist along the way.
Brook Lopez: The Nets big man scored 27 points, hauled in 15 rebounds and blocked five shots, but the Nets still collapsed in Minnesota.
Marian Gaborik: The Ranger star had five points in two games, and left a gaping hole in the lineup when he missed Wednesday’s game.
R.I.P. Bill Chadwick: Legendary Rangers announcer The Big Whistle died on Saturday, at the age of 94. He was colorful, loud and fun. I ranked him #7 on my painstakingly non-researched post of the best local announcers of the last 40 years. He was originally a referee and invented the hand signals that refs still use today. I was watching the Rangers game when his death was announced, which reminds me of the time when I was a kid and was viewing the back-to-back Hogan’s Heroes episodes that channel 5 used to show from 11 PM–midnight, when the news team cut in with the startling report that the show’s star Bob Crane was murdered. I instantly blamed Colonel Klink. Coincidence? Synchronicity? The ghost of Bob Crane has haunted me ever since, though. I constantly wake up to find radios in my coffee pot, tunnels built under my house and Lebeau’s strudel sitting on my kitchen counter.
Schmuck of the Week
Eli Manning: The Giants QB may have been over-thinking things a little too much by changing plays at the line of scrimmage on every down, taking two delay of game penalties along the way and throwing three picks. Or was he listening to the Yankees game in the radio in his helmet? At any rate, Manning had trouble hooking up with his receivers all game long and never seemed to solve Arizona’s defense.
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