Thursday, September 30, 2010

Golf At It's Loudest: The Ryder Cup

By Tony Mangia


The first time I heard of The Ryder Cup I didn't care because it sounded too NASCAR-y. When I found out it was an international golf tournament, I was attracted even less. Interest in this 83 year-old challenge between U.S. and European golf teams aren't exactly on my annual bucket list but then, at Celtic Manor in Wales this year, the trash-talking started. If a truck-leasing company wasn't the sponsor, maybe it should be. Who would have guessed that all the manners and etiquette of Augusta would fly off the fairway into the water hazard of non-protocol. This is the weekend that pro-golf turns into it's version of the WWE.

The biennial tournament seems to bring out the worst in the crowds and the players alike. It is the original Dream Team of international sports play. The participants compete for a trophy, but more importantly they play for bragging rights and pride. I've never heard of countrymen getting into a bar fight over a Ryder Cup result, but it sure hits a pressure point with the competitors.

I admit my ignorance of the finer points of golf. I still can't comprehend a game where you can lose by not signing a card---after play! I surely didn't realize that Europe's captain, Colin Montgomerie, was such a reviled man in U.S golfing circles. Seems that as a competitor, he was known as "Mrs. Doubtfire" and "Tuna" by American fans--and not in a cuddly way-- due to his resemblance to the film character and ex-Patriots head coach---and formerly hefty---Bill Parcells.

The outspoken Scot was taunted by the raucous Sawx gallery at Brookline, Mass. in 1999. Now as captain of Europe's 2010 team, he has already ruffled some feathers. He left popular Paul Casey of England off the squad and told his players to stop using Twitter and other social-networking gadgets. In fairness to Monty, the U.S. captain, Corey Pavin, has also asked his team be advised not to tweet. It could distract from the play on the greens. Maybe he can get Tiger Woods to lecture the team on the dangers of texting too.


Speaking of Tiger, it was kind of sad to see him exit the team plane without a significant other. This will be Tiger's first Ryder Cup without his ex-wife Elin. While the other members of the U.S. team disembarked from their plane with their wives and girlfriends, Tiger looked sadly alone. There's always that porn star in nearby London. Tiger's divorce combined with his poor showing since the scandal will surely add fodder to the heckling of the rowdy Wales gallery.

Montgomerie was overheard saying he "wouldn't have picked Tiger for my team." A statement the blustery captain denies. European player, Rory McIlroy said he "wants a piece of Tiger" and "fancies" playing the slumping American. Pavin said, "If it happens, it would be entertaining." Montgomerie explains things differently. He said, "No, I almost want to avoid the situation." Pavin's in-your-face response, "Tiger will make Rory pay." That's about as much trash-talking you will find in golf. No blood spilled but no green jackets being gently put on either.

Its hard to understand how the rules in the match-ups work at the Ryder. There are "foursomes", "four-balls," and "singles." No, it's not code for Tiger's hookups. There are even 1/2 points. The U.S. won last year after a six year drought. The atmosphere will be boisterous and the crowds will be hostile towards Woods and the U.S. contingent. He has something to prove and many expect him to dominate. The golf world awaits that first roar.

Americans won't be putting up Old Glory for this weekend's event. No USA! USA! It'll be the big drivers of the U.S. and the precise putting of the Europeans on lush greens overseas fed to network TV. What passes for bloodsport in golf is a fan getting bopped by an errant shot. The biggest story might be the possibility of Woods getting paired with Phil Mickelson. "Why don't you just hold your breath and we'll see Friday," smiled Mickelson. Wow! You think barflies will be pondering that scenario or debating Montgomerie's plans to play in the Ryder Cup two years from now? As "Lefty" said, "Just hold your breath."

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Where The Hell Was Ines Sainz?

By Tony Mangia


I freely confess to getting caught up in the NFL's attempt to branch out into other countries (ala the NBA). In observance of the Hispanic Heritage Month on Sunday night, after two of Miami Dolphins' 306 limited partners, Marc Anthony and Fergie from the Black Eyed Peas, spiced up a version of The Star Spangled Banner, I switched from watching Sunday Night Football on NBC to Futbol Americano de la NFL on the Telemundo network. The league that can't even put a franchise in Toronto (the most accommodating city outside of Geneva) has called an audible and headed south. Nothing says Hispanic Heritage like the American gridiron.

The NFL in conjunction with NBC and Telemundo decided to simulcast prime-time NFL games in English and Spanish. Other than trying to decipher lines from my favorite American movies in Spanish and watching that fat guy with the busty women on Sabato Gigante, my familiarity of Telemundo broadcasting is limited. It's funny, even when American football is on the screen the commentators still make it sound like they are announcing a World Cup soccer game.

I thought it was a great coincidence (ironic maybe?) that the NFL scheduled the Jets--or should I say Jets de las Nueva York--for this showcase considering that whole female-Mexican- reporter in the locker room thing and one good lawyer from a full-fledged NFL sex harassment scandal. Hey where was Ines Sainz on Sunday anyway? She claims to be Mexico's "sexiest sports reporter." I can confirm that--I've been in stadium press boxes--but compared to Al Michaels, she's Miss America too.

In between the Dolphins de las Miami losing to the Jets and hoping to catch a glance of the Sexy-Mex Sainz were the commercials. Spanish beer commercials have more scantily clad women than a Dick Vitale Hooters advertisement. Lots of dancing and less stupidity. None of those fake Coors Lite spots with ex-head coaches' famous press conference comments being inter cut with frat boys beer-related questions from the press gallery. Just imagine the multi-cultural version. A Columbian hottie in a bikini shakes an empty cooler and asks, "Donde e la cerveza?" which is unabashedly spliced in with an old clip of Vince Lombardi answering, "If you can't accept losing, you can't win." Thank goodness for the language barrier.

After a couple of quarters of sambas, sexy babes and racy Spanish soap opera promotions--and keeping in the spirit of Hispanic Heritage Month-- I switched to ESPN DeSportes to catch the Yankee (Yanqui?) game on Beisbol de las Grandes Liga. Wow! That title even sounds huge. Maybe I hit the clicker because the lullaby twins--Joe Morgan and Jon Miller on ESPN--were getting ready to tuck me into bed half-way between one of those usual five hour Red Sox-Yankee marathons. Even in Spanish the Red Sox Nation were led to believe they can actually make the playoffs this year.

That's what I like about watching sports in another language, if you don't look at the score you can't tell if your team is losing. All you hear is strange words then "Eli Manning" and more strange words. You wouldn't even know he just left-handed the ball into an opponent's hands at the one-yard line. Ines Sainz, look what ye have wrought!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Dumb and Dumber and Dumbest

By Tony Mangia


Peyton showed his kid brother Eli an old-time beat down and after getting shellacked by the Colts last Sunday, the Giants figured out a new way to lose--self-destruction. If there is a way to hand a victory to your opponent, the Giants wrote the first and last chapters yesterday. Big Blue out gained the Tennessee Titans by 200 yards and still put an L in the standings. Dumb plays, dumber turnovers and the dumbest penalties this side of the Oakland Raiders doomed the home team from the start.

Deflected passes for interceptions, a red-zone fumble and silly chop-block call by Ahmad Bradshaw combined with five other personal fouls sunk the Giants. The creaky offensive line broke down again and the Giants could only muster 107 on the ground--88 the hard way by the gritty Bradshaw. Bradshaw fumbled at the five yard line and his knee-breaker inside their own end-zone was called a safety. The Titans scored a TD on their next drive giving them a nine point turnaround. Bradshaw's blunders cost the Giants 16 points and he was, arguably, their best offensive player.

The 386 yards thrown by Eli Manning were mostly catch-and -runs by the receivers. The Giants' defense managed to hold last year's rushing champion, Chris Johnson, to 125 yards and the mobile Vince Young to 6. The Giants' game one win over the not-so-good Carolina Panthers with a not-so-good quarterback was an aberration. They really stink.


Giant optimists are not despairing. The last time the G-Men went 1-2 was in 2007, the same year they ended up 10-6 and beat the undefeated Patriots in Super Bowl XLII, 17-14. The more abstract Utopians can dream of Bill Cowher coming out of "retirement." The former Steeler coach has expressed interest in the Giants head-coaching position before. For now, the naysayers rule. Helmet launching and trade demands by Brandon Jacobs and public rants from Antrel Rolle filled last weeks team blotter. Dissent in in the locker room, head-scratching penalties and lackadaisical play rule the team. Where is the tough love of red-faced head coach Tom Coughlin when you need it?

The Giants better turn it around fast. The NFC East has a couple of playoff contenders in Dallas and Philadelphia. Did anyone really think the Cowboys would lay like dead armadillos for long? Their wake-up call against the Texans and a bye-week to bask in the win should boost the talented Cowboys stock.

Michael Vick is looking like all-world in Philly. He seems more comfortable in the pocket than his years in Atlanta and he can still scramble when necessary. For two seasons, while other NFL QB's were looking into defensive walls and getting MRI's, Vick stared at an 8-foot cell and had body-cavity searches. Those twenty-one months in stir have preserved his legs and his body. The once irresponsible Vick seems to have matured as a man and quarterback. He threw for nearly 300 yards yesterday. Nobody's going to start comparing Vick with Sonny Jurgenson because he now takes three steps back after the snap. Vick has still shown he can still turn rabbit and run if the opportunity arises. If he doesn't take too much of a beating, Vick just might be the most dangerous weapon in the division.

The Giants unraveled early yesterday. They blamed the Titans dirty play for the penalties. I don't know how the Giants catagorized Bradshaw's chop-block but it seems the team from Tennessee got into Big Blue's head. "We're a defense that goes hard and gets into pile hitting," said Titans' Jason Babin, "Sometimes it rubs some people the wrong way." The Giants know all about wrong ways. It's the direction they are going.

Friday, September 24, 2010


By Tony Mangia


Yesterdays blow out loss to the Tampa Bay gave the Rays a 10-8 season-series record and the tiebreaker for home field advantage over the New York Yankees. Now, the Rays have a chance to control their own destiny. The match-up between CC Sabathia and David Price may have decided the Cy Young too. More importantly, the loss quickly pointed out deficiencies in the Yankee pitching and hitting. The Yankees split their final regular season series against the Rays by playing uninspired ball. Not the best segue into October.

The Yankees have a half game lead over the Rays but it feels like they are looking hard into the rear view. Ten days remain in the season and New York will face tough division rivals in Boston and Toronto while Tampa goes home to face bottom feeders like the Orioles and Mariners. The sluggish Yanks are 6-11 over the last three weeks. That's not going to have other playoff teams shaking in their cleats--especially the red-hot Minnesota twins who just won their tenth game in a row.

The last meeting between the Cy Young front runners Sabathia (20-7) and Price (18-6) had both hurlers putting up matching zeroes for eight innings. This game wasn't the pitching duel everyone expected but Price's effort in a critical game probably inched him ahead of CC for the award. Sabathia has faded down the stretch. The Yankee ace has struggled his last five outings and the rest of the staff is not coming up big either.

How bad is the Yankees' pitching? Last night, Joba Chamberlain lasted 2/3 of an inning and Javier Vazquez hit three straight batters, helping the Rays score two runs without a hit. More amazing was the fact that the umpire, in a game with pennant-winning implications, didn't even warn Vazquez about the plunks. He just chalked it up to the pitcher's ineptitude. Even Mariano Rivera has a few recent blown saves.

Sabathia may be the least of the Yankees problems. Manager Joe Girardi emphasized that CC always comes up big in the playoffs. Keep your fingers crossed. Who's number two? Andy Pettitte is coming off seven weeks of rehab and Phil Hughes shows up as often as Lindsay Lohan for a court appearance. A.J. Burnett still shows flashes of brilliance --until the second or third inning--and Vazquez (see above). If the Yankees can throw playoff-warrior Sabathia, a healthy Pettitte and the rested Hughes at an opponent, the rotation could be formidable. Not the Phillies' big three formidable, but it would enable the Yanks to put Vazquez in the pen and Burnett out to pasture.


The Yankees and the Rays both claim to be playing only to make the playoffs. The Yanks have blamed their lethargic hitting on injuries to Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez and Jeter's temporary slump. Right now, the only things softer than their lineup are the pitches Vazquez lobbed at the Rays' bodies last night. They didn't even grimace or complain after the love taps.

Right now, the Rays look bigger, younger, faster and stronger than the Yankees. The two teams have a wide disparity in their upcoming opponents. You can't change the schedule. Girardi compared it with "where we started on April 1, with a lot less games to play." If they face the Twins (52-25 at home) in Minnesota for game 1, the Bombers are going to wish they won last night's game. Home cooking is always the best.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Braylon's New Number Is 0.16

By Tony Mangia


Leave it to the New York Jets to pile on the controversy. Once again the Hard Knocks reality show boobs set the standard for all the things that are wrong in sports. The obscenity-spewing head coach, Rex Ryan, said Braylon Edwards--who was busted yesterday for drunk driving will suit up for Sunday's big clash with division rivals, the Miami Dolphins. Ryan then added that the sauced-up receiver will begin the game sitting on the bench. That's what I call meting out punishment.

Yesterday, the tanked-up former-All-Pro was pulled over on the west side of Manhattan at 4:45 in the morning for having illegally tinted windows. Arresting officers said Edwards reeked of alcohol and slurred his words. He was charged with drunk driving for taking the wheel of his Range Rover with twice the legal limit of alcohol in his system. Edwards' celebratory taunting call after catching a TD pass on Sunday was many drinks ago and it would be light spanking compared to the trouble he has now.

Edwards was headed home with four passengers including teammates D'Brickshaw Ferguson and Vernon Gholston after a poker fundraiser hosted by teammate Jerricho Cotchety. Cops said he blew a 0.16 on the breathalyzer and told them he "had a couple of drinks," then asked if he could, "Just leave the car and take a cab and go home?"

Edwards and his fellow Jets started the evening eight hours earlier and had the the availability of a free team car service that could take them all home--safely. Edwards said he took his final drink at "last call" and made the decision to drive himself--putting lives at risk.

It is not the first time the troublesome receiver has crossed the line with his teams or the law. Edwards has blown off coaches meetings, been ticketed for speeding at 120 m.p.h., and, last year, assaulted a friend of LeBron James outside a Cleveland nightclub. He is currently on probation for that aggravated assault charge. In a tragic episode--and coincidence--just a year and a half ago, Edwards ran up a $3,400 bar bill drinking with teammate Donte Stallworth who later that day ran down and killed a pedestrian and was charged with DWI. I guess Edwards didn't get the message from that one.

The Jets slap on the wrist is just another example of coddled athletes at it's worst. Jets' GM, Mike Tannenbaum said, "He will not start," like it's a stint in Alcatraz. The Jets are using a feather duster instead of the cane. Could it have something to do with the early season match-up with the 2-0 Dolphins or maybe they recall how last season's Giants team lost their receiving ace, Plaxico Burress, and it reversed a promising season?

Whatever the reason for the lax punishment, it seems like the Jets management and the owner, Woody Johnson, himself would be more cognizant of substance abusers. Johnson's flesh and blood daughter, Casey, battled substance and alcohol related problems for years. The "disinherited" daughter, whose death last year at age 30 was attributed to other physical reasons, might have been a precedent of how Johnson copes with family situations. The Jets already have substance abusers Santonio Holmes--the real number one receiver-- and Shaun Eliot--already sitting out for failed drug tests--and a laundry list of adversity and dysfunctions to overcome.

The NFL policies deem that it cannot suspend Edwards and the mild punishment meted out by the Jets doesn't really seem to take a stand against dangerous behavior or set any kind of example.

Edwards, another Jet with an overload of baggage was released from police custody in his "One Love" tee-shirt and a boilerplate apology to his "coaches, teammates and fans." Its lucky that this wide-receiver didn't slant right driving down 12th Avenue while trying to go post the other morning. There could have been five dead bodies--maybe more. At least Plaxico Burress only shot himself.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Peyton Wedgies Eli

By Tony Mangia


Let's finally put to rest all of the comparisons between Giants quarterback Eli Manning and his older brother Peyton. All the hype for Manning Bowl II had the air sucked out of it 8:16 into the game. A masterful opening drive by the Colts and their field commander Peyton had every New York player looking like they will be wearing big brother's hand-me-downs for another four years.

The Colts rebounded from last week's surprise loss to the Houston Texans with a resounding beat-down of the Giants 38-14. The game wasn't even as close as the score indicates. Big bro came out with mostly running plays on the opening drive and when the Giants defense altered their scheme by bringing in the safeties to foil the running attack, Peyton had his way in getting the ball to his open receivers.

Giants' defensive coach Perry Fewell's plan to use nickel backs to stop the pass and use heavy line rotation to tire the home team's offensive line was thwarted by the Colts' "low-power" running game and Peyton's no-huddle offense. The Colts looked like they were toying with the Giants' over-rated D. The opening drive of 80 yards and a second TD drive--98 yards--had the Giants looking like last year's 8-8 version.


The Colts shredded the Giants' defense for 160 yards and a 24-0 halftime lead. The Giants master plan of running over a "soft" Colt defense that gave up 256 yards last week was dismantled as soon as they had to play catch up. Ahmad Bradshaw scurried for 89 yards on 17 carries and seems to have earned the starting job from Brandon Jacobs. Jacobs was pulled from the game for going east-west when he should have been plowing through the line. The useless Jacobs left the field and threw his helmet 10 yards into the stands. The toss was two yards more than he gained all day.

Jacobs claimed he meant to lob the helmet to the bench but it got stuck on adhesive tape and flew into the stands. The pouting Jacobs said, "It was a mistake." "The whole world could be falling on me and I wouldn't mean to do that." The world maybe, but last night it looked like the whole Indianapolis defense was falling on the 265 pound running back. A fan refused, at first, to return the souvenir. The hard-headed Jacobs probably doesn't need it anyway and the NFL will soon be knocking on his door.

The outcome of the game could be revealed by the actions of the family afterwards. The brothers had a quick handshake at midfield then retreated to their locker rooms. Mom, Olivia, and dad, Archie, were waiting in the tunnel to console Eli while, the normally not media shy, Peyton declined to be interviewed for the NBC post game report. In his press conference, a sullen looking Peyton played the part of the bullying brother who got scolded and regrets monkey-bumping his weaker sibling. It's a feeling any brother can understand.



Tonight's commemoration of the monument to George Steinbrenner is turning into a real love fest. The news that ex-Yankee manager, Joe Torre, and fan favorite, Don Mattingly will be coming to Yankee Stadium for the first time since 2007 has everyone involved feeling warm and fuzzy. The team invited both men to help unveil the presentation in Monument Park. The ex-owner, who passed away this spring, will have a plaque nestled in amongst Yankee greats like Yogi, the Mick and the Yankee Clipper. Torre, a four-time World Series Champion manager with the Yankees, left the team under unfriendly circumstances and and soured the Yankee brass more by releasing a sometimes derogatory book, "The Yankee Years." Donnie Baseball was passed over as Yankee manager after Torre left. Nothing like a death in the family to make everything right.


Bedbugs continue to plague New York City and frequent all the hip stores. After checking out the latest lines at Victoria's Secret and Abercrombie and Fitch, the little critters have invaded Nike's flagship store on 57th Street. The store was closed for extermination on Saturday. Michael "Air" Jordan could probably relate. It's like having a few thousand little Dennis Rodmans in the house.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Two and a Half Men

By Tony Mangia


They met four years ago in the season opener at Giants Stadium and NFL schedule-makers will hook brothers Eli and Peyton Manning up again in 2014. The initial meeting was the first time they played against each other competitively since childhood scrums in their New Orleans backyard. That game was a coming-out party for little brother Eli and proved he could compete with All-Pro and future Hall-of-Famer Peyton.

Eli held his own but lost that first battle to the Colts 26-21. Eli has as many Super Bowls wins as Peyton (one) and this week's game is more of a team barometer than a fraternal one. It could likely prove if either team is up to playoff snuff. Both teams play in tough divisions. A Colts' concern is whether or not Peyton's ex-backup QB Jim Sorgi--now a Giants backup--could be the key to a Giant victory?

Sorgi spent six seasons in Indianapolis watching Peyton and studying his complicated playbook and defense-numbing audibles. On Sunday, the injured Sorgi will be on the Giants sideline with a chalkboard in hand and his shoulder in a sling. Tony Dungy--the Colts ex head-coach--is probably the only other person who has a more intimate knowledge of the Colts offensive attack. "I know how they play," said Sorgi, "I know what their strengths and weaknesses are, even if they don't have many." Sorgi hopes he can pass on any information to Big Blue's defensive squad.

The Giants new defensive coordinator, Perry Fewell, knows its not that simple. Fewell is pinning his hopes on Peyton's unfamiliarity with the Giants' new defensive schemes. Last December, in a meaningless game, Manning faced a Fewell defense in a Buffalo blizzard for three sets of downs. This time Peyton will probably face a dizzying array of looks and different players coming at him in a blitzing frenzy. Fewell contends that he has enough players to substitute on every down, rotate those fresh players, and wear down the Colts offensive line. The Houston Texans knocked Peyton on his back 11 times last week. He had to chuck the ball 57 times. Not your typical Peyton Manning Sunday. The Giants hope they can lay similar pressure on Manning. Every thing sounds good on paper until Peyton--and his 40 hours of watching game film-- figures it out.


The Texans ran for over 250 yards against the ragged Colts D on opening day. Nobody is chomping at the bit more than the Giants backfield tandem of Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw. Both backs had lackluster opening days and something to prove. Head coach Tom Coughlin named Bradshaw the starter--something that did not sit well with the behemoth Jacobs. The soft Indianapolis defense could offer a chance for both to shine especially because of the absense of Colt safety Bob Sanders. The free-roaming Sanders, when healthy, is the most exciting defensive player in the game. Sorry Ray and Troy. Sanders' wreck less abandon on the field is what makes him great. That same self-sacrificing style is what continually lands him on the injury list.


Sexpot Reporter Flip-Flops Again!

I was, at first, disappointed with the behavior of the Jets and their locker room antics with Mexican "sports reporter" Ines Sainz but the more I see of her, the more I see another bimbo looking to make a mark on American television. First the self-proclaimed "hottest sports reporter in Mexico" said she was embarrassed by the behavior of the catcalling football team members. Then she said that the players were only joking and she wasn't offended. Now, she makes the morning talk show circuit and complains in her chipmunk English that the players were rude and retains the women's rights attorney, Nancy Allred.

Someone should tell this "ET" wannabe to stick to her bikini spreads and that other futbol. Sainz said she heard nothing sexual in the player's comments. It's called "locker room humor." It's a boy's club ritual indoctrinated in junior high gym class and you were in a men's locker room. A double standard does exist---between "real" journalists and "model/entertainer" ones. Ines, you had your fifteen minutes. Now go.

Fight of Decade Slated for 2044

Floyd Mayweather, the undefeated boxer, was charged with three more felony charges in a domestic violence case. It was alleged he threatened to kill his ex-girlfriend and beat two of their children. Mayweather took a "vacation" from boxing after defeating Shane Mosley on May 1. He has been accused of ducking the "fan's fight" with Manny Pacquiao and was previously charged with coercion and robbery and before that was already charged with domestic battery and harassment. So what did you do on your summer vacation, Money? If convicted, Mayweather could face 34 years in prison.

Yankee Switch

Don Mattingly is replacing Joe Torre as manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Good luck Donnie Baseball. You'll need it. We'll see you in New York after Joe Girardi goes to the Cubs.

Red Storm Beats Pitino

St. John's University continues to lure big name recruits to Queens. JaKarr Sampson, one of the top high-school seniors in the country has made an oral agreement to play for coach Steve
Lavin in 2011-12. has rated the 6-foot-7 forward the 44th best player in the country. Sampson picked SJU over Louisville and Tennessee. Lavin continues to woo big time talent to St. John's. Four other players rated in Rivals top 100 have expressed interest in coming to New York. Finally!

Thursday, September 16, 2010


By Tony Mangia


Much is being made of a Yankee not being "hit-by-a-pitch" last night against the Tampa Bay Rays. All the fuss about the phantom plunk would be a moot point if it wasn't for the fact that it was between two teams battling for supremacy in the AL East and more importantly that the incident involved Mr. Plays the Game the Right Way and The Captain, Derek Jeter.

Jeter's acting job highlighted the play-off atmosphere down in St. Petersburg and almost won the game for the reeling Yankees and did cause Rays' manager Joel Maddon to get tossed from the game for rightfully arguing the call! It would've been a real point of contention if a two-run homer later in the seventh hadn't won the game for Tampa Bay. Let the instant replay debate begin...again.

Jeter admitted after the game that ball didn't hit him and all the histrionics were caused by "vibration and acting." The ball actually hit the knob of the bat as Jeter spun away from the pitch. "He (the umpire) told me to go to first; I'm not telling him I'm not going to first," said Jeter. "It's part of the game. I've been hit before and they said you weren't hit. It goes both ways."

What Jeter did get hit with is criticism. The player that kids look up to had finally shown a chink in his armor. The high-profile Yankee dates celebrities, plays in the world's biggest media center and had not, up to now, shown any blemishes. This incident showed a blackhead on his character and Jeter Haters have jumped all over it. It's like the day Joe DiMaggio showed fans he had emotions and, after popping up with the winning run on base, kicked up dirt while approaching second base in the 1947 World Series. Everyone found out later that "Mr. Coffee" was just a grouchy old man inside the frame of a young, talented ballplayer.

Jeter might have gone all DeNiro last night after flexing his acting chops in last summer's movie "The Other Guys". didn't see the latest Will Ferrell romp? If you've seen "Old School" you've seen them all. Others say the shortstop's batting slump has Jeter so desperate to get on base he would shame himself and his reputation just to see what standing on first base is like again.

I say Jeter took one for the team. The ball brushed his uniform, the umpire saw that and Jeter took his base as instructed. Outfielders get away with scooped-up balls all the time. Nobody turns it into sports talk fodder. Let's all learn from the lesson here. The next time a snotty cashier at the Duane Reade register forgets to swipe your Axe body scrub...don't tell them!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Gang Green Feeling Blue

By Tony Mangia


All of the trash talking in the world doesn't win games. The New York Jets learned that the hard way after the team--a watered-down version of their opponents-- took it hard on the chin and lost to the Baltimore Ravens 10-9 last night. Don't let the final score fool you. They were completely dominated in every category--including walking the walk.

The Jets smash mouthed their way into the new Meadowlands Stadium with Super Bowl expectations and a stadium they could call their own. Three decades at Giants Stadium and the organization's pathetic attempts to cover up the Giant blue facade with Jet green on game days made the team feel like sub-lettors. Now, the Jets were the home team thanks to the $1.6 billion stadium's color-changing light system.

First the good news. LaDanian Tomlinson gained 62's it. What can you say about a team that has more than twice as many penalties as first downs! New cornerbacks Antonio Cromartie and Kyle Wilson were responsible for six first downs alone--on penalties! Newly signed Derrelle Revis held his own but for the rest of the defensive backfield it was a nightmare. All Ravens QB Joe Flacco had to do was toss up the ball and if Anquan Boldin didn't snatch it chances were good a Jets DB would get an interference call.


The Jets joined last season's summer training camp television stars the Dallas Cowboys as the new, over-hyped media darlings. Head coach Rex Ryan and his obscenity-laced speeches can't hide the fact that the Jets are undisciplined on defense and the offense is suspect. Fourteen penalties and 1-of-11 on third down conversions don't tell the whole story. It was fitting that any chance for some Jets last minute heroics ended after Sanchez hit Dustin Keller who timidly stepped out of bounds a yard before the first down marker. It was as if he was mercifully putting the Jets out of their misery.

Even the loud-mouth Ryan was humbled after the mauling and said little about the game at his press conference. He did comment about the controversy with Mexican television reporter Ines Sainz. "We never want anybody to feel uncomfortable around our team," the coach said regarding the locker room antics of some Jet players and the sexy reporter. He could have been talking about Jets fans as well. It's a good thing Sainz doesn't do her reporting on the tower ramps leading into the stands. Just imagine what hundreds of beered-up, angry Jetsies would say to the demure correspondent--in Spanish and English.

Monday, September 13, 2010


By Tony Mangia

Jets Players Get Offensive With Reporter

A female sports reporter for TV Azteca of Mexico has complained she was harassed with catcalls and sexist remarks at the New York Jets training camp by team players. Now NFL Commissioner Roger Goodall has stepped in and demanded answers from the players and coaches accused of the improper conduct.

Ines Sainz, 32, a former Miss Universe was at the New Jersey camp to interview quarterback Mark Sanchez. Sainz accused some players of throwing footballs at her feet and making rude comments so nasty she wanted to "cover my ears."

The reporter who calls herself "the hottest sports reporter in Mexico" and has appeared in numerous bikini photo spreads tweeted "I am in the locker room of the Jets waiting for Mark Sanchez while trying not to look anywhere." Another female reporter backed up Sainz and said Nose tackle Kris Jenkins yelled, "This is our locker room!"

Players were allegedly throwing errant passes in her direction and they whistled at her as she walked away. Linebacker Jason Taylor reportedly asked if he could join in the passing drill to get closer to her. She said she was leered at and blocked as she tried to walk away.

Sainz claims she was dressed conservatively in a button-down shirt and blue jeans and emphasized that they are "in no way inappropriate." She posted a photo on Twitter of herself on the sidelines to prove her point.

Jets' owner Woody Johnson contacted Sainz to get her side of the story and said the team will take "steps necessary to maintain a respectful environment for the media." The Association for Women in Sports Media has contacted the NFL and complained that, "Women in sports media should be treated equally and professionally while working in the locker room."

The Jets prepare for tonight's opening game against the Baltimore Ravens and a team spokesman said the issue was addressed at a team meeting.

NFC East: It's Gonna Be A Bumpy Ride!

By Tony Mangia


Last December the New York/New Jersey Giants said goodbye to the old Giants Stadium with an unemotional and uninspiring performance that brought back all the worst team memories of the '60's and '70's. Fans were one Eli Manning incompletion from fond memories of Joe Pisarcik and another one yard gain by Brandon Jacobs from going back to the highlight films of Ron Dayne. Yesterday, the Giants exacted revenge on last years party-crashers, the Carolina Panthers, and if the other division games are any indication, this could be a wild season for the NFC East.

The Giant defense held the vaunted running of Carolina to 89 total yards. Last year the Panthers ran roughshod over the Giants in a 41-9 win while shutting down any life in the Giants offense. This time around it was the Giants who manhandled the opponent for their first victory in the new Meadowlands Stadium. The Giants can now wipe the stench of last year's final game at the old stadium off their uniforms. Head coach, Tom Coughlin called it a "historic first win."


Quarterback Manning--who faces his brother Peyton next week--was erratic at first. He finished the game completing 20 of 30 passes for three TDs but his high throws slipped through his receivers hands and produced three interceptions. The sloppy start by the offense almost gave away the game to the Panthers. Only a key end-zone interception by safety Deon Grant saved the G-men before halftime---a tribute to new defensive coach, Perry Fewell's "read and react" coverage plan. The defense held the Panthers to three field goals in which they could have easily scored touchdowns.

Justin Tuck said the "second half was truly fun." The Panthers hapless quarterback, Matt Moore, was pressured all through the final two quarters by the Giants linemen and played catch-up by tossing floaters over the heads of anyone in the team's white jerseys and into the arms of the blue ones. Rookie backup Jimmy Clausen had to come in and clean up for the battered Moore.


Giants running back Ahmad Bradshaw showed some flashes of brilliance and spooned some water on the running back brush fire conundrum. Brandon Jacobs jawed all week about being the backup but did nothing to solidify his position. The way the Houston Texans' running game zig-zagged all over the Colts yesterday, next week's game should be a good audition for both backs.


The biggest surprise was the three TD catches by wide-out Hakeem Nicks. Manning was able to spread the offense and the wealth to his young receivers. Last season's stud, Steve Smith and Mario Manningham caught 5 and 4 passes respectively. The only stumble for the Giants was the neck injury to Kevin Boss. The tight end is a go-to on third downs and a reliable blocker and the team carries only one replacement TE on the roster.

The new stadium was filled with empty seats. Whole sections were empty. The mezzanine section behind the 50-yard line was sprinkled with a few fans. Who could afford it--PSLs for $12,000 and game tickets at $500. The team announced a paid attendance of 72,245 meaning that over 5,000 tickets were unsold. Unheard of and embarrassing for Giants fans.


The Philadelphia Eagles got themselves a little problem--a QB controversy. After starting QB Kevin Kolb--who was anointed starter after the team traded longtime Philly QB Donovan McNabb-- got his bell rung, backup Michael Vick finished the second half and almost beat the favored Green Bay Packers. Vick finished his first meaningful game, since being released from prison, with 175 passing and over 100 on the ground. He was tackled a yard away from continuing a game-winning drive. Kolb's injury won't be fully assessed until the NFL doctor's check his concussion. The NFL doesn't play around with those types of head injuries anymore. This could lead to more time for Vick to prove himself. Can't wait for the first Eagles/Redskins game.

The Philadelphia menage a trois saga only gets better after McNabb beat division rival the Dallas Cowboys in a Redskins uniform this time. Something he had a hard time doing in the City Of Brotherly Love. The over-hyped Cowboys imploded on their own. Twelve penalties--including one on the winning score--and a bone-headed fumble led to an unbelievable Redskin touchdown right before the half. Tony Romo seems to be in Jessica Simpson mode again--high expectations, low results.

Football's toughest division--sorry AFC East--does battle again.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Jeter Puts Manhattan Apartment on Market

By Tony Mangia

What Does It Mean?

Yankee fans might be sinking too much thought into Derek Jeter putting his 5,425 square-foot apartment on the market. The listing of the 88th floor penthouse of the Trump World Tower in Turtle Bay has some people wondering if this is the end of the Yankee's captain bachelor days or if the aging shortstop is actually contemplating the possibility of signing on with another team after this season.

Much has been made of Jeter's slide in productivity this season. He's at the end of a 10-year contract and the 36 year-old serial celebrity-dater has not only shown signs of slowing down on the playing field but playing the field as well.

Rumors have been swirling about a wedding to his long-time (for him) girlfriend "Friday Night Lights" actress Minka Kelly, 30 since the Yankees won the 2009 World Series. Last November, some busybody saw the name "Jeter" listed under upcoming events at a prestegious Long Island reception hall and the 'genius' falsely speculated it was the Yankee and gave the paparazzi wet dreams . The only aisle Jeter has walked down yet goes from the locker room to the dugout at Yankee Stadium.

Jeter purchased the high-rise apartment in 2001 for $12.6 million and, according to Trump officials, has it listed for an asking-price of $20 million--or about one year's salary to Jeter.

Chances are slim that Jeter will end up crashing on Mets third baseman David Wright's Flatiron couch or sharing a bachelor pad with Rangers forward Sean Avery. In the off-season he lives in Florida and is building a 30 thousand square-foot waterfront home near Tampa known to the locals as "St. Jetersburg." Jeter also owns homes in Marlboro, N.J. and Greenwood Lake, N.Y.

Fans can probably relax. Jeter will probably be a Yankee for five more years even after this seasons ups and downs. He is probably getting ready to make the big move into the quieter and more comfortable digs of Kelly's West Village place. Gossips predict nuptials in November. Whether or not he stays in the city, Derek Jeter will always be a New Yorker who resides in Florida for tax reasons.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Catchin' Up With New York

By Tony Mangia

New York Sports Recap

A lot can happen over the span of ten days in New York City--and especially when you have not read a newspaper or seen one of the talking heads on ESPN for that time span. I just got back from hiking and rock-climbing in California. In other words, I've gone from the quiet, pristine valleys and waterfalls of Yosemite to the smelly, concrete alleys and tourist-flowing sidewalks of Manhattan. Guess where I'd rather be?

Yosemite's 3000 foot wall of granite called El Capitan is a marvel to behold and the athletes who conquer it are as crazy as they are daring. Speaking of captains, what's up with Derek Jeter? Skeptics are jumping all over the Yankee shortstop's recent slump. He is batting around 50 points below his career average of .314. He is having by far his worst statistical season ever and the 36 year-old is in the final months of his contract. Last week he had four hits in 38 at bats. The player's popularity--with teammates and fans alike--could be tested this winter and create a chasm between Hal Steinbrenner and the aging player wider than, well...a Yosemite canyon. Jeter is, after all, the face of the Yankees and maybe all of baseball.

Optimists expect Jeter to return to clutch form when the playoffs begin and others suggest that the streaky hitter will soon enough start another tear. GM Brian Cashman might be giving thought to moving Jeter to another position or using him as the future DH during contract talks, but has only said "That's for another day, for after the season." Yankee players refuse to discuss the situation as well. There is plenty of talk about moving him to a lower spot in the lineup. Look at it this way, the Yankees have the best record in baseball and Derek Jeter is still a good player. Why change now?

Thanks Boston

One thing I learned about scaling rocks is that it's a lot easier going up than coming down. Ask the Tampa Bay Rays. The weak bats of the Rays continue to haunt the team and a couple of losses to the injury-plagued Red Sox combined with last week's eight game win streak by New York helped the Yankees inch up to a 2 game lead last week.

Meanwhile, Alex Rodriguez made his return from the DL to the team a memorable one. An sacrifice RBI gave the third baseman 100 RBIs for the season. He is the first players to have 14 seasons reaching that total. Pretty impressive considering A-Rod spent a lot 0f games on the DL and hiding from the paparazzi with Cameron Diaz.

Fantasy Island Meets Hard Knocks

The New York Jets, with the recent signing of cornerback Darrelle Revis, have anointed themselves Super Bowl contenders. Owner Woody Johnson and head coach Rex Ryan actually flew down to Revis' Florida home and persuaded the all-pro to sign a 4 year $46 million contract. Word has it that Woody threw Rex out of the meeting and sent him to Revis' hot tub. Revis Island has six days to get into game shape. Hope he's got a life preserver because the first three wide receivers he has to cover are Anquan Boldin, Randy Moss and Brandon Marshall.

When Did The Giants Become Contenders?

Last week's Sports Illustrated scouting report had the New York Giants winning the NFC East Division. Where did this come from? A month ago most pundits had the team looking up at the Redskins. The keys to the season are apparent. On offense the Giants must regain their running game. Ahmad Bradshaw is coming off feet surgery and looked good in the pre-season and Brandon Jacobs must return to his old bruising style. The O line is getting old and one or two injuries could be the team's Achilles Heel and young receivers like Steve Smith must come up big again.

Defensively, look for Justin Tuck to have a big year. Osi Umenyiora seems to gotten over his diva complex and if Linebacker Keith Bulluck and safety Kenny Phillips can return to form after knee surgeries count on solid improvement on the defensive side.

The new Meadowlands Stadium (Giants Stadium) can expect about a dozen home victories this season between the Giants and Jets.


Save It For The Video

I'd rather have bedbugs than sit through any match with Maria Sharapova and her porn-style grunting. It's a weird mixture of annoyance and being turned on by her loud bursts of, wait...I'm annoyed by it and I'm glad she got bounced from the U.S.Open by Caroline Wozniacki.

I missed the drunk at the Open who started a fight with a woman and her 65 year-old father in the stands. The jackass was loudly cheering the 180th ranked tennis player he bet on. Betting on tennis in the first round? Here's another sure thing--- Angola with 54 points against the USA basketball team.

Cupcake Cities

Everyone likes the mini-treats but when did this cupcake phenomenon begin? Cupcakes are the stars of a dozen television reality shows and their delectable goods seem to dot every block of Manhattan with their $4 red velvet and frosting goodness? Give me a Hostess Snowball any day. The only cupcakes I want to see are Chicago, Jacksonville and Detroit on the New York Giants schedule.