Friday, April 30th, 2010

The New York Week That Was (Meet the Prez, the Amazin’ Amazin’s, a Cold Draft and So Long, Jacques)

Devils Rumors & NewsGiants Rumors & News

The Yankees went to the White House to mingle with the leader of the free world on Monday, which is one of the perks of winning the World Series. Mainly flying under the radar is the little-known fact that every team that makes the playoffs gets to meet a president (not the president, mind you). The World Series−losing Phillies will shake hands with the president from 24 next week. The AL Championship−losing Angels met with former fictional president Martin Sheen a few days ago. The NL Championship−losing Dodgers are going to visit the grave of Peter Sellers, who portrayed the president in Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. And the other four 2009 playoff teams will all be taking a trip to Mount Rushmore. The teams that didn’t qualify for the postseason don’t get a meeting with a president, but instead they are introduced to a VIP of one stripe or another according to their place in the standings. Here’s …

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

The New York Week That Was (Pierre-Paul, Pierre Larouche, Ike, A-Rod, Cram and Schneck)

Devils Rumors & NewsGiants Rumors & News

The first round of the NFL draft was held last night, and the local teams’ picks were somewhat surprising, with the Giants selecting defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul and the Jets nabbing cornerback Kyle Wilson. Hopefully neither will be a bust, but Pierre-Paul is the riskier pick. Ryan Leaf is probably considered the all-time draft bust, and Big Blue and Gang Green have come up with a few of their own: Rocky Thompson, Cedric Jones, Ron Dayne, Johnny “Lam” Jones – and is it time to put Vernon Gholston on this list? Here are a few other little-known draft snafus throughout the years; they’re not necessarily busts as much as misguided thinking: One GM drafted his five-year-old son as a birthday present for him; a GM in the 1990s drafted Heather Locklear because he was a huge Melrose Place fan and was hoping she would show up at training camp so he could meet her; an AFC GM back in the mid-’70s chose Anson Williams in the first …

Wednesday, April 21st, 2010

The Not-Quite-Legendary in New York Sports History: Jeff Beukeboom

Rangers Rumors & News

We all know about the great athletes in New York sports history – Babe Ruth, Tom Seaver, Lawrence Taylor, Joe Namath, Mark Messier, Walt Frazier – and even the busts – Ed Whitson, Mo Vaughn, Roberto Alomar, Stephon Marbury, Scott Gomez. But what about the slightly-to-highly-above-average athlete? The kind-of-great but not all-timer? They may not have been Hall-of-Famers, but they were All-Stars, fan favorites, cogs on a championship team or maybe even just pretty darn good. They’re the little brother that didn’t hog all the attention. But they’re certainly worth talking about and remembering. So when do they get their due? Well, now they will. Here is a series of the not-quite-legendary in New York sports history.

Jeff Beukeboom was a giant. He was a monster. He was a fan favorite. And he was a Stanley Cup winner for the New York Rangers. Known for his bone-crunching checks and knack for clearing the crease, the hulking defenseman was an enforcer, but more than that, he was a great …

Friday, April 16th, 2010
Devils Rumors & NewsIslanders Rumors & News

The Yankees received their World Series rings in their home opener on Tuesday, with Whitey Ford and Yogi Berra on hand to pass them out. After criticizing the Yankees’ spending last week, Brewers owner Mark Attanasio was caught spying on the ceremony while hiding behind some bushes. As he was led away to the Yankee Stadium jail that’s set up for disgruntled Yankee haters, he was heard mumbling that the Bronx Bombers spent more on their rings than the whole Brewers franchise is worth.

For the record, here are a few other cost comparisons between the wealthy Yankees and the small-market Brewers: More money has fallen out of Alex Rodriguez’s pocket than Prince Fielder spends on his yearly grocery bill; Derek Jeter’s splurge-fest on bottle service at VIP sections of nightclubs throughout New York City is 10 times more than the payroll of the Brewers bullpen; Joba Chamberlain spent more on off-season twirling and fist-pump lessons than Milwaukee did on overseas scouting; A.J. Burnett’s 2009 shaving-cream pie budget …

Monday, April 12th, 2010

It’s All Over for the Rangers

Rangers Rumors & News

“No doubt we played well over the last 10 games and gave ourselves a chance, but it should never have come to this. With the way we started the year—with the start and the finish—what really hurt us was everything in between.” – Brandon Dubinsky

That quote pretty much sums up the Rangers’ season. The last 10 games were exciting and it was fun to root for a blue-collar-like team, and the fast start gave fans hope (as false as it was), but it was those pesky 64 games crammed in the middle that was the real reason for the Rangers’ season ending in disappointment. Where was the passion, the solid fundamentals and the consistency we saw the last 10 games the rest of the season? Nowhere to be found, that’s where. We can whine about the season ending in a shootout (and with Erik Christensen, P.A. Parenteau and Olli Jokinen – three guys who weren’t on the team for most of the year – having the team’s …

Friday, April 9th, 2010
Devils Rumors & NewsIslanders Rumors & News

The Yankees opener, which was a typical American League softball marathon (and umpire Joe West was not happy about it!), didn’t quite go as planned, what with the losing and all. I took a break from the action on TV to grab my daughter, as it was her bed time, and I found her watching the Sound of Music. Julie Andrews had just made clothes for the von Trapp kids out of the drapes in her room – she could have easily put together more than enough outfits for the whole family out of the pants CC Sabathia was sporting on Sunday, too. And that movie is pretty much a carbon copy of my childhood, well, except our governess was called “the TV” and my brothers and I paraded through our town, not singing “Do-Re-Mi,” but the theme to Three’s Company – and the townsfolk pretty much wanted to punch our faces in. Oh, and we didn’t so much escape the Nazis as just our teachers, when …

Monday, April 5th, 2010

The Rolling Rangers

Rangers Rumors & News

“They just play like they don’t care. Then you get those great quotes from their captain: ‘There’s always tomorrow.’ [The franchise’s legendary captain] would never have said something so stupid. They need to get some guys that play with a sense of urgency and heart.”

That quote sure sounds like it’s about the 2009-’10 New York Rangers – at least it describes the team’s first 72 games or so. But in fact that was said about the Flyers by my Philly-fan brother. Hey, what do you know? Other teams have similar issues to the Rangers, too. (My other brother is a Bruins fan – every time we get together a bench-clearing brawl breaks out at dinner.)

The Rangers are on a roll. The Rangers began the season on a roll, but since those first few weeks, they’ve been very un-roll-like. In fact, there have been no rolls at all, until now. They’d sprinkle in a few quality-to-great games here and there – you know, when they’d forecheck, defend, hit, swarm to the net, play a fundamentally sound …

Friday, April 2nd, 2010
Devils Rumors & NewsIslanders Rumors & News

Opening day is right around the corner (Sunday for the Yankees, Monday for the Mets). The start of a new baseball season is a time of hope, renewal and optimism (well, unless you’re Brother Theodore – does anybody remember him?). In fact, today I’ll declare myself the Opening Day Optimist. If you’re a Mets fan, it’s no time to think of The Ghosts of Bad Things Past (2009, 2008, 2007, Bobby Bonilla, Vince Coleman – ok, ok, I’ll stop), but only positive memories, players and dates – 1969, 1986, Tom Seaver, Gil Hodges, Joan Payson, Banner Day, Bud Harrelson, Jerry Koosman, the black cat, Donn Clendenon, the shoe polish play, Cleon Jones, Tommie Agee’s catches, Ron Swoboda’s catch, Ralph Kiner, Bob Murphy, Lindsey Nelson, Rusty Staub, Tug McGraw, Ya Gotta Believe, Rube Walker, Joe Pignatano, Eddie Yost, Jerry Grote, Jon Matlack, Ed Kranepool, Felix Millan, the sign guy, Lee Mazzilli, John Stearns, Mr. Met, Mookie Wilson, Darryl Strawberry’s swing, 1985 Dwight Gooden, “Gets by Buckner!”, Ray …

Friday, March 26th, 2010

The New York Week That Was (Predictions, Thyroid Schmyroid and Fan in a Bag)

Knicks Rumors & NewsMets Rumors & News

We’re less than two weeks away from opening day, so it’s prediction time. Who’s going to win each division? Who will win the World Series? Who will take the MVP and Cy Young awards? How the hell should I know? Does anybody get these predictions right? With injuries, fluctuations in performance, Ron Washington making out lineups while snorting a few lines of his “manager’s little helper” and other unforeseen circumstances, it’s anybody’s guess. So I’ll take the safer route and make my prognostications for the 1972 season instead. It’s way more of a sure thing that way.

The young, upstart A’s are looking like a lock to take the AL West, after winning the division last season. I foresee that they will all grow mustaches and wear green-and-gold uniforms this year. Vida Blue’s holdout will lead to a poor season for him, but I’ll go out on a limb and predict I’ll write him a nice letter a few years later and he’ll graciously send me his autograph. …

Tuesday, March 23rd, 2010
Rangers Rumors & News

When you have a rotten owner, a bad GM and an ineffective coach, what does it all add up to? A bad team, of course. And that’s what the Rangers are right now, a bad team. Wasn’t John Tortorella supposed to bring a tireless work ethic, accountability and toughness to the team? Well, that didn’t happen. The players are either tuning him out or he’s not doing his job. There’s no urgency, no sense of the season slipping away or sense that the players really care very much that they might miss the playoffs. Where is the “if anything, a John Tortorella coached team will always work hard and won’t get pushed around – or else” sentiment that we heard about when he was hired? It seems the players stopped listening to him a long time ago. Tortorella was hired as nice-guy Tom Renney’s opposite, but that didn’t translate into the team playing any harder or smarter for him than his predecessor.

Of course, the roster that was …

Tuesday, March 16th, 2010

Here Come the Rangers, Down the Homestretch

Rangers Rumors & News

Are the Rangers about to embark on their signature successful homestretch run in order to sneak into the playoffs? They’re in do-or-die territory, in ninth place in the conference, but they always seem to be in this position, at least the last few years they have been. Why? Probably because they don’t put in a consistent effort and they’re offensively and defensively challenged. Their five-year streak of making the playoffs is in jeopardy, just like their four-year streak was last year (and three-year streak the season before . . ). They’ve now won two in a row, though, and are 5-2-2 in their last nine games.

They easily whipped Atlanta, 5-2, on Friday night. Their number-one line (for this week) starred, with Vinny Prospal scoring two goals with an assist, and Marian Gaborik netting one and picking up two assists. Michael Del Zotto scored his first goal in a long time, and Henrik Lundqvist was his usual self. In his last 10 games, he’s only allowed more than …

Friday, March 12th, 2010
Giants Rumors & NewsJets Rumors & News

Baseball season is right around the corner (hey, three weeks is like four days when you’re my age, so twentysomething days is “right around the corner” to me), and after all the snow this winter, I’m ready. But here comes one of those “the old days were better” ramblings – they don’t call me Old Man Freier in my neighborhood for nothing (actually they pretty much just ignore me because I start every sentence with “Back in my day”). I was recently watching part of game five of the 1976 Yankees-Royals LCS that YES always seems to show and an episode of The Bronx Is Burning on MSG (the one about the 1977 LCS, which intersperses real highlights from the series), and it’s safe to say that baseball has changed since then. It may not have been better, but it was different. It’s lost a lot of its toughness and boys-will-be-boys attitude. In the 1976 game, the first pitch thrown by Grant Jackson right after George Brett …

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