A quick one today because I just came back from a mini-vacation in Chicago, which astonishingly and sadly has a much better sports bar selection than New York. It’s actually a better place to watch March Madness.
And watch I did, as a parade of top seeds with elite pedigrees strolled into the Elite Eight. I know this is kind of a regression to the mean after No. 8 seed Baylor and No. 11 seed VCU made the Final Four last year, but wow that’s a lot of chalk! Not since 2007, when the Elite Eight featured four No. 1s, three No. 2s and a No. 3 seed, have we seen so many top teams do well. Every one of the final octet was ranked in the top 10 at some point during the regular season.
Posted by jfs360 on March 26, 2012
Now it is done. Now the story ends. And there is no way to tell it. The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic, can ever be plausible again. –Red Smith, New York Herald Tribune, Oct. 4, 1951
Red Smith wrote what Deadspin called the greatest lede ever after Bobby Thomson hit the Shot Heard ‘Round The World. But viewed in a farcical light, the sentiment is perfect for the Masterpiece Theater that is the Jets and their new most famous player, backup quarterback Tim Tebow.
TebowMania kicked off Monday with a noon press conference introducing the polarizing QB to the New York media horde. A quick primer from a football standpoint: The Jets effectively traded backup QB Drew Stanton for Brad Smith 2.0, and while Rex Ryan said he may use Tebow in the Wildcat formation up to 20 times a game, the reality is that Tebow and Mark Sanchez can’t both live up to their potential (or ever feel comfortable) on the same team. It’s simply too much to ask of two aggressively mediocre signal-callers.
Alright, enough foreplay. Here’s how Tebow’s introduction went down.
Posted by jfs360 on March 26, 2012
After the Yankees were bounced from the 2007 playoffs, Hank Steinbrenner was upbeat in an interview with the New York Times’ Murray Chass. Despite the Bombers’ seventh consecutive sour October, Hank had three reasons to believe in a bright future:
Posted by jfs360 on March 23, 2012
I knew it was going to be a crazy game when I heard the homeless flautist in Penn Station playing The Addams Family theme song.
You could organize a church league hockey game between the Rangers and Devils and they would still drop their gloves before the first whistle. So in the last of six regular-season meetings this year, it was inevitable that fights, scrums in the crease and general chippiness would rule the day.
Posted by jfs360 on March 20, 2012
To say American tennis is in a rut is like complaining that the Republican primary “race” has become interminable — it’s tired, obvious and absolutely true.
Posted by jfs360 on March 20, 2012
Apparently a line drive to the hand makes you party like it’s 1999. First, New York Yankees’ No. 5B starter Freddy Garcia (what else should I call a guy on a team with six viable starting pitchers?) left Wednesday’s spring training game against the Red Sox after taking a ground ball off his pitching hand. Though X-rays came back negative, Garcia’s hand swelled up considerably overnight, casting doubt on his availability for the first week of the regular season.
With five other pitchers ready to start, Garcia’s injury seemed to end the drama surrounding the Yankees’ starting rotation, which has gone from “glaring weakness” to “embarrassment of riches” in about six months. But the Yankees announced Friday that they had re-signed Andy Pettitte to a one-year minor league contract. Yes, the same Andy Pettitte who retired 13 months ago. Apparently he’s learned the art of the comeback from his old buddy Roger Clemens.
Posted by jfs360 on March 16, 2012
Today’s news that Carmelo Anthony is unhappy with the current situation on the Knicks and Mike D’Antoni has lost control of the team came as a shock only to fans who have not watched a Knicks game in the last two weeks. ‘Melo made it clear Wednesday that he does not want to be traded, which can only mean that the team’s star player (whom it gave up three quality players and Timofey Mosgov get) wants D’Antoni to get the hell out of Dodge — no matter how much ‘Melo plays nice in the press.
Stephen A. Smith said on ESPN this week that D’Antoni, whose four-year contract expires at the end of the season, is a “lame duck coach,” and of course he’s right. But assuming tomorrow’s trade deadline passes without a major deal for the Knicks, owner James Dolan should not wait until the spring — he should fire D’Antoni right now and hand the reins to assistant coach/defensive guru and former Atlanta Hawks coach Mike Woodson.
Posted by jfs360 on March 14, 2012
My college guidance counselor had a derisive saying for people who were familiar with many subject areas but had no one area of expertise: Jack of all trades, master of none. I suffer from a similar problem when it comes to sports — I know a lot about almost every relevant global sport without focusing on any one game. For once, I’d like to play up that fact. So every Monday, I’ll break down a sporting event from the past week that won’t lead SportsCenter or make the Sports Illustrated cover but is fascinating nonetheless. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll read about a sport or athlete too “unsexy” for most people to write about at length. Enjoy.
Even without the Wildcats, I would never pass up a chance to bracketologize (get your bracket here).
Posted by jfs360 on March 13, 2012
Well that was a big wrist shot by Marian Gaborik. The Rangers’ scoring machine beat the Islanders’ Evgeni Nabokov with just six seconds left in overtime for a 4-3 win that snapped the team’s three-game losing streak (and losses in four of its last five games).
But even if Gaborik’s shot had not found its way to the back of the net and the Rangers had fallen in a shootout, there would be little cause for concern about the Eastern Conference-leading Blueshirts. Why? I’m glad you asked.
Posted by jfs360 on March 12, 2012
At its core, being a diehard sports fan is a game of give and take. Most of the time, your team will fail in its ultimate objective, whether it’s to win a championship, win a playoff game or even just make the postseason. As much as you enjoy the ride, you know the end is a freefall off a cliff, followed immediately by an offseason where hope and “Wait ‘Till Next Year” springs eternal.
You do this because every once in a while, you get rewarded for living and dying with every touchdown or ninth-inning rally or six-overtime classic. Your team gets over the hump and achieves its goal, and the euphoria of that success makes every heartbreaking loss worth it.
But some tragic fan bases have wandered in search of sports Canaan for 40 years and then some without success. Like the Cubs or Vikings or Red Sox pre-2004, the fan experience is hardened over time by soul-crushing loss after soul-crushing loss. Resignation becomes your primary emotion, followed closely by dread if your team happens to be doing well because you KNOW it can’t last. And when you do allow yourself to hope, your team falls agonizingly short and you kick yourself for caring, only to be glued to the TV the next week begging for a miracle once again. It’s like an addiction, only without the euphoric high.
That’s what it’s like to be a Northwestern fan.
Posted by jfs360 on March 8, 2012