The New York Week That Was (The Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports, the Team That Fell to Earth & iPod Gate)
By Jeff Freier on May 7th, 2010 9:54 AM
The Kentucky Derby was run on Saturday, with Super Saver winning the Run for the Roses, an amazing feat considering jockey Calvin Borel was all hopped up on mint juleps. The historic race is, of course, known as the “most exiting two minutes in sports.” But that’s just a marketing slogan. Here are the real “most exciting two minutes in sports” (well, unless you count Tasering a Phillies fan):
5. Disco Demolition Night at Comiskey Park: The White Sox were hoping 12,000 fans would show up to a promotional night in July of 1979, but approximately 90,000 unwashed long hairs made their way to the game. Chicago DJ Steve Dahl blew up a pile of disco records between games of the doubleheader, which unofficially ended disco’s stranglehold on America. The unruly rock fans – who were like aliens to the usual baseball crowd – stormed the field and the White Sox had to forfeit the second game to the Tigers. The White Sox finished in fifth place, so that turned out to be the highlight of their season. They probably should have blown up those uniforms with the short pants the White Sox wore in the late ’70s instead of a few albums.
4. The Bruins Attack Ranger Fans: Just a few months later, athletes would get their revenge when members of the Boston Bruins climbed into the stands at Madison Square Garden and attacked Ranger fans because some schmuck stole Stan Jonathan’s stick. Mike Milbury beat a fan with a shoe, which years later he would also figuratively do to Islander fans as he would make one boneheaded move after another while running that franchise into the ground. And even today, he’s beating NHL fans over the head with a shoe with his unenlightened hockey analysis.
3. Any Basketball Highlight From The White Shadow: Does anyone run a fast break better than Thorpe and Salami? And how about that smooth reverse slam by Coolidge to end the game? No wonder Carver High won the city championship in honor of their fallen teammate, Jackson, in season two.
2. Herman Munster Tries Out for a Baseball Team: Herman heads to the diamond to try out for a mythical Leo Durocher−led team. High jinks and antics ensue. Herman looks like a precursor to the ’roided up Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds and Mark McGwire.
1. Mr. Ed Tries Out for the Dodgers: Not only is this clip the most exciting few minutes in sports, but it’s probably the greatest moment in television history. A horse getting a hit off Sandy Koufax? And then sliding into home? What can top that? And Leo Durocher was there for this one, too.
Now the question is: What is the most unexciting two minutes in New York sports? We went to the dullest place we could think of to do our research – an Art Howe impersonators convention. One hundred faux Art Howes were polled, and here are the top five moments they came up with:
5. The brief two-minute calm before one of the new troublemaking Jets got in trouble.
4. The two minutes every half inning that John Sterling tries to come up with tortuous nicknames and puns for every Yankee player.
3. The two minutes a year that John Tortorella tries to be civil to the media.
2. The two minutes between every pitch of a Yankees/Red Sox game.
1. The two minutes per start that Javier Vazquez isn’t booed at Yankee Stadium.
Here are the top stories of the week in the world of New York sports.
The Team That Fell to Earth: After a 10-1 stretch, which included a 9-1 pounding of the Phillies, the Mets came crashing down to earth on Saturday. And then they went up in flames. And then they exploded. It was only Rod Barajas‘ homer in the ninth inning on Tuesday that saved them from losing five in a row. Everything was flip-flopped in the starting rotation this week, what with Johan Santana and Mike Pelfrey (whose shutout streak ended at 27 innings) getting bombed and Oliver Perez and John Maine having rock-solid starts. Pelfrey had an MRI, which revealed there was nothing wrong with his shoulder, so he’ll have to take all the blame for giving up six runs on Saturday. Those four performances were bookended by a nice Jon Niese effort on Friday and an average one on Wednesday. The offense is still inconsistent and is having trouble getting hits with runners in scoring position again, but David Wright keeps on smashing home runs, which is a good sign for the rest of the season. Now if only Jose Reyes, Jason Bay and Jeff Francoeur would start hitting.
They Can’t Be Stopped (Unless Somebody Breaks a Hip): Everything’s rosy for the Yankees these days (except when Javier Vazquez pitches, of course). Robinson Cano was named AL Player of the Month, and they won two out of three vs. the White Sox and swept the Orioles (who are so bad the city of Baltimore doesn’t want them anymore, so the team is moving back to St Louis to become the Browns again, where they’ll attempt to find another one-armed player a la Pete Gray to help bolster their offense). The only real issue the Yankees are facing is age. Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte and Alex Rodriguez are all nicked up. Posada said it felt like “someone just kind of hit him in the calf.” It turned it was Francisco Cervelli who whacked him because he wanted more playing time. And the backup catcher was recently seen getting advice from Tonya Harding, so his cover was blown. Cervelli helped beat the Orioles on Tuesday with a 3 for 3 game, and he also bears a striking resemblance to Robert De Niro in Bang the Drum Slowly. The Yankees will have to rely on their depth for a while, with all their injured vets. In fact, Wednesday’s matinee was the first time since September 27, 1972, that the team hasn’t fielded an all-star at every position. And in late-breaking news, A’s pitcher Dallas Braden has challenged A-Rod to a fight. The little-known hurler doesn’t stand a chance if he wants to “settle things with knuckles.” Hasn’t he ever heard of ‘roid rage?
Newbies: We’re one month into the season, so let’s see how the new Yanks and Mets are faring. Vazquez (1-3, 9.78 ERA) has been so bad, he’s being skipped the next time through the rotation, and he’s contemplating changing his name to Bruce, so all that booing will seem like a positive thing. He’s also considering feigning like he doesn’t speak English to get out of constantly having to answer the question of why he stinks. Curtis Granderson (or should I go the John Sterling route and call him the Grandy Man?) is out for a month with a groin strain. After his initial heroics, he hasn’t been the same (.225/.311/.375, 3 home runs, 7 RBI’s). Nick Johnson (.171/.396/.314) actually took the bat off his shoulder for the first time on Wednesday, when he belted a home run. Marcus Thames (.429/.515/.643, 1, 2) has been as good as expected. And Randy Winn (.158, 1, 3) recently made his first big contribution with a three-run bomb on Monday. Meanwhile, for the Mets, Gary Matthews Jr. (.143, 0, 0) is also thinking of changing his name, to Fred Wilpon Jr., in the hopes that it will help his tenuous status with the team. Who thought that Jason Bay’s defense would be better than his offense (.238/.345/.376, 1, 9)? Rod Barajas (.231/.253/.526, 7, 14) and Henry Blanco (.240, 0, 2) are living up to their billing and doing exactly what was expected. Hisanori Takahashi (2-1, 3.38 ERA) and Ryota Igarashi (1.35 ERA) have been pleasant surprises, though Igarashi’s injured. And the only way poor Frank Catalanotto (.174, 0, 1) can get to first base is by booking a trip through Travelocity.
iPod Gate: Santonio Holmes was involved in an iPod fiasco this past week. What was the over/under on the Jets’ new receiver getting involved in some type of controversy? But can you really blame him? I know I get lost in my own world, too, when I’m listening to a podcast of old Charles in Charge episodes just as he did.
Say It Ain’t So: Speaking of football players in trouble, Lawrence Taylor was arrested yesterday in connection with a rape. And to think, he was my role model. Oh, well. In any situation I found myself in, I would think: “What would LT do?” And I even have “WWLTD” tattooed on my arm. Looking back, that might have been a mistake.
Will He or Won’t He? LeBron James won his second consecutive MVP award this week. A member of his entourage said to look out for these clues for hints as to where he’ll be playing next year in his acceptance speech: If he wiggles his ears, he’ll be re-signing with Cleveland; if he scratches his nose, he’ll be going to New York; if he winks with his left eye, that’s a secret signal to his pal Jay-Z that’s he’ll be playing for the Nets; if he pats his head while rubbing his tummy, he’ll be embarking on a baseball career with the Birmingham Bulls; and if he hops on one foot, he’ll be retiring from basketball to star in a sitcom about a cop and his partner, who happens to be a giraffe, called Bron-Bron and Necksy.
R.I.P. Ernie Harwell: Legendary announcer Ernie Harwell passed away this week at the age of 92. While he is mainly connected with the Tigers and the state of Michigan, he began his major league career here in New York. The Brooklyn Dodgers needed a fill-in announcer for the ill Red Barber, so GM Branch Rickey actually traded a catcher to the minor league Atlanta Crackers for Harwell. Harwell also announced games for the baseball New York Giants (where he called Bobby Thomson’s Shot Heard Round the World) before his longtime tenure in Detroit. What’s better than a line like this after a batter took a called third strike: “He stood there like a house by the side of the road and watched that one go by.”