By Jeff Freier on March 19th, 2010 9:54 AM
So it’s Wednesday morning and it’s just another routine day – I’m tooling around my house on my Hoveround like always, making myself one of those healthy breakfast shakes made of Lucky Charms, chocolate milk and a half dozen Yodels, when I suddenly realize it’s one of our great holidays – St. Patrick’s Day. With drinking, and uh, even more drinking, what’s not to like? Everybody grabs a pint of Guinness or a green beer, sings “Dirty Old Town,” wears their “Kiss me I’m Irish” shirt and at least pretends to be of Gaelic persuasion. I, on the other hand, am German, so I throw on my “Don’t kiss me I’m German – that would be inefficient, emotional and unsanitary” T-shirt, and head off to work. I’m not the only one around these parts who wears a variation on the “Kiss me I’m Irish” shirt, though; here are some like-themed T-shirts seen worn by local athletes past and present on St. Patty’s Day:
“Kiss me – I’m not Irish, but there’s a 98% chance you’ll end up pregnant” – Antonio Cromartie
“I’m Derek Jeter; you’ll kiss me when I tell you to kiss me” – Derek Jeter
“Kiss me, but you’ll have to wait until I’m finished making out with myself in the mirror” – Alex Rodriguez
“I’m Keith Hernandez; I won the 1979 MVP; I can kiss anybody I want” – Keith Hernandez
“Kiss me, I’m thin now and don’t have those old barbecue sauce stains on my face anymore” – Rex Ryan
“Kiss me and you’ll get the best fist pump of your life” – Joba Chamberlain
“Kiss me but don’t smudge my goggles” – Frankie Rodriguez
“Kiss me I’m Irish – really, I am, I’ll even introduce you to the Dropkick Murphys” – Daniel Murphy
“Um, yeah, ya know, ok, kiss me, know what I’m sayin’?” – Omar Minaya
“Holy Cow! She kissed me, White! Can you believe that?! I’m not even Irish, I’m Italian. Anybody who wants to kiss me must be a huckleberry! I hope Cora doesn’t find out about this. Unbelievable!” – Phil Rizzuto
“Kiss me – oh come on, I’m not that creepy, am I?” – John Sterling
“Kiss me, Roger Clemens, oh please God, let him kiss me” – Suzyn Waldman
“Kiss me . . . oh, my knee!” – Tracy McGrady
“Kiss me . . . oh my knee!” – Rick DiPietro
“Kiss me . . . oh my knee! – Carlos Beltran
“Kiss me – and then get in the truck” – Stephon Marbury
“Kiss me, no really, I’ll kiss anybody, come on, I mean it” – Steve Phillips
“I already kissed her” – Sean Avery
“Don’t even think about it” – John Tortorella
Here are the top stories in the world of New York sports this past week:
There’s Only One LT: The Jets signed LaDainian Tomlinson to a two-year contract to replace Thomas Jones. Shouldn’t they have just re-signed Jones? He’s actually more durable and more productive than the former Charger these days. But maybe Tomlinson will work out better as a backup and third-down option. The real controversy, though, involves his stolen nickname. There’s only one LT around here, and we all know that’s Lawrence Taylor. So Tomlinson better start coming up with ideas for a new nickname, because the real LT can eat shrimps like him for breakfast.
Port St. Lucie Roundup: What do you know − Oliver Perez pitched eight innings this week and only gave up two runs. Does that mean there’s a glimmer of hope for him yet? Johan Santana bounced back in his second outing of the spring, to throw four shutout innings. Mike Pelfrey also pitched four quality innings, while mainly using his secondary pitches. John Maine, though, showed his Kevin McReynolds−like passion by admitting he “wasn’t into it” when he came into a game in relief and got lit up. Jon Niese and Fernando Nieve haven’t really impressed anybody so far in the battle for the fifth spot, but Rod Barajas would disagree with that assessment, as he compared Niese to Cliff Lee and Jon Lester. We’ll settle for an Al Jackson comparison and a healthy season. But is Hisanori Takahashi squeezing his way into the fifth-starter conversation? Frankie Rodriguez made his spring debut on Monday and blew the Cardinals hitters away on seven pitches. The Jenrry Mejia debate is heating up as he continues to shine. And Angel Pagan got us all excited for the season when he provided some fireworks with a walk-off two-run homer on Monday.
Tampa Roundup: CC Sabathia performed better than his previous two outings (4.1 IP, three runs, three hits), as his mechanics are starting to fall into place. Andy Pettitte and Chan Ho Park made their first appearances of the spring this week. As for the battle for the fifth spot in the rotation, is dark-horse Alfredo Aceves taking the lead? Joba Chamberlain has pretty much stunk but pitched better on Wednesday, while Phil Hughes has been excellent but not as good as Aceves, who has 0.90 ERA this spring (though it’s only spring training of course, so take all the stats with a grain of salt). A bullpen of Mariano Rivera (who made his spring debut on Tuesday), Chamberlain and Hughes doesn’t look too bad, though.
Now They Start Winning: The Islanders upset the Devils, 4-2, on Saturday, defeated the Maple Leafs, 4-1, on Sunday and kicked Vancouver’s butts, 5-2, on Tuesday for their first winning streak in two months. John Tavares broke out of a slump in a big way, with two goals and three assists vs. the Canucks. They’re out of the playoff picture so it’s all about the kids now for the Isles. But shouldn’t it always be about the kids? For I believe the children are our future, teach them well and let them lead the way, show them all the beauty they possess inside, give them a sense of pride, to make it easier, let the children’s laughter remind us how it used to be . . . because the greatest gift of all is happening to me (well, it’s happening to Scott Gordon).
Now They Start Winning (Sort of): The Knicks went 2-1 this week. They killed Dallas, 128-94, on Saturday night ending the Mavs’ 13-game winning streak and getting revenge in the process for the 50-point beat down that occurred the last time these two teams met. As the saying goes, revenge is a dish best served in Texas with a biscuit and a side of mac ’n’ cheese. This week’s point guard (and maybe for longer – “This time, we mean it”) Toney Douglas was the star, with 21 points, eight assists and no turnovers. He did it again on Monday, leading the Knicks to a win over Philly, with 20 points and seven assists. And just as importantly as his offensive contributions, he plays defense. But St. Patrick’s Day was a Boston massacre for the Knicks, as the Celtics stomped them, and then the ghost of Red Auerbach blew cigar smoke in their faces for good measure.
Now They Start Winning (and Then They Start Losing): The Rangers won their first two games of the week, and then lost their last two. They beat Atlanta, 5-2, on Friday with help from their usually non-productive power play. They whipped Philly, 3-1, with Sean Avery leading the way by being Sean Avery. Poor Daniel Carcillo was pretty much ignored all night, but the not-so-great-fighter Brandon Dubinsky gave Mike Richards a beating. That’s something you don’t see every day – the Rangers acting tougher than the Flyers. Of course, the Rangers couldn’t find any consistency and were beaten in every aspect of the game by Montreal, and Henrik Lundqvist had a rare bad outing against St. Louis, which means only one thing for this team − a loss.
They Never Stopped Wining: After losing to the Islanders earlier in the week, the Devils beat Boston, 3-2, on Monday to clinch their 18th straight winning season (they also defeated Pittsburgh for a season sweep of their division rivals and lost in a shootout to Toronto). It’s the longest active streak in sports (unless you count the Mean Machine in The Longest Yard, because every time that movie’s on, they always seem to beat the prison guards, year after year after year). The all-time record is held by the Montreal Canadiens, who had 32 consecutive winning seasons, from 1951-’52 to ’82-’83. As soon as the season ended, the ’83-’84 team, which went 35-40-5, were all lined up on the ice in the old Montreal Forum, blindfolded, then shot and killed. They take their hockey seriously up there in Canada.
They Can’t Stop Losing: The Nets went 0-4 this week. No need for details.
R.I.P. Peter Graves: This week’s post is dedicated to actor Peter Graves, who passed away a few days ago at the age of 83. Sure, he had a long and illustrious career, but he’ll forever be remembered for one line: “You ever seen a grown man naked?”