Wednesday, December 31, 2008

2008: A year in review

‘Twas the night before New Years, and here’s a look back
At Roger Clemons’ steroids and Travis Henry’s crack
The Redeem Team got the Gold, Michael Phelps got the bling
And even Kevin Garnet, well he finally got a ring

The Yankees were low, Isiah Thomas got high
Sabathia says hello, but Marbury bids goodbye
And Plax can beat safeties, just not glock revolvers
The Giants beat the Patriots, with Tyree’s catch over the shoulder

Stuck in the Garden, the Knicks still can’t win
Hungering for Lebron like starving kids in Beijing,
From Favre’s interceptions to D’antoni’s interjection
Just ask the Steibrenner’s, this is no recession

So here’s to 2008, and although it might be gone
We remember Antonio pierce getting off, and our governor getting it on
So I bid you one last wish, before 2009 begins
Happy new year to all, and a party like Jaba Chamberlain’s (but seriously, don’t drink and drive)

2008, we hardly knew ye'. I've never been one for goodbyes, but I'll give this one a shot--from the stock market's plummet and Governor Spitzer's rise (get your mind in the gutter), to bombings in Georgia and a new quarterback in Atlanta. It's safe to say that 2008 saw it's fare share of news. So here's a look back at the top five most memorable New York sports moments in 2008-- as I see them anyway.

5) Broadway Brett Jets into New York
Screw the starving kids, what about those poor Jets? Perennially the "little brother" of the National Football League, we watch them struggle mightily, rise majestically to the brink of success, and eventually crash and burn like the helpless child that they represent. It's been that way for longer than most Jet fans care to remember.
But wait... what? Brett Favre's renouncing his retirement? And Green Bay has removed the welcome mat? And he might land in the New York green and white? Hold up...
After a stint in Green Bay that lasted upwards of 15 years. the gunslinger finally decided to hang up the cleats in 2008 following an unforgettable season marred by a 23-20 loss to the New York Giants (eventual Super Bowl Champions) in the NFC Championship game. But apparently, Favre wasn't ready to move to Boca and dip into his retirement funds (Brett was first in line to buy a Washington Wizards Michael Jordan jersey in 2001-- not to mention Jay-Z's Kingdom Come in 2006).
When in July, it became clear that Favre was not part of Green Bay's future plans, the former Packer wrote a letter to the organization asking for his unconditional release-- thus began a media circus more controversial than a Mel Gibson rendition of Schindler's List. Much to the delight of Jet fans everywhere, however, the Hall of Fame quarterback eventually landed in "Jets Stadium" following an August 7 trade that cost the Jets a conditional fourth round pick in the 2009 draft (and indirectly, Chad Pennington, the 2008 comeback player of the year).
Unfortunately for the Jets, however, Favre's stint in New York was as disappointing as a virgin's prom night-- and just as short. After a promising 8-3 start that left many New Yorkers calling for a "Subway Super Bowl," thus began a downward slide that resulted in a disappointing 9-7 season, another playoff absence and an immediate release of the once-heralded Head Coach Eric Mangini. Doesn't this seem like an annual charade? Maybe the Jets and Mets are victim to the same sick disease-- an inability to close out seasons. Regardless of the outcome, Farve's journey to New York was indeed a memorable one.

4) Rangers Burn Devils
Just two years after suffering a four-game sweep at the hands of the New Jersey Devils in the 2006 playoffs, the New York Rangers trekked into the second round of the 2008 playoffs. Following a five-game victory over New Jersey, becoming the first team in history to win three road games against the Devils in a playoff series, the Rangers found redemption.
After a long hiatus from post-season glory, the Rangers finally restored splendor to the Garden. This after a roster overhaul that included the induction of two of the most talented centers on the market, former Devil Scott Gomez and Chris Drury, prior to the start of the season.
New York took the first two games at the Rock (Prudential Center) and then returned to New York to split the next two, giving the Rangers a commanding 3-1 lead. The Rangers won the fifth and final game back in New Jersey. The Rangers were one of the only two major professional New York sports teams to make the playoffs in 2008 (with the New York Giants).

3) A New York Spending Spree

What's a recession to a Steinbrenner? Lavish hotels and caviar? Try CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira. No need to warm up by the stove or unplug the clocks at night-- just ask uncle George. He's dropped more green in one summer than most lumberjacks do in a lifetime.
Never had a team held such a stronghold over the league's biggest free agents, but if money talks, the Steinbrenners can't shut up. Just ask Sabathia ($161 million over 7 years), Teixeira ($180 million over 8 years), or A.J. Burnett ($82.5 million over 5 years)-- talk about a supermarket sweep,
After the Bombers' string of 13 consecutive playoff appearances came to an end last autumn, the Steinbrenners did some serious soul searching. And just what did they find? More money than many countries gross annually? Who is Bernard Madoff?
The Yankees' most recent off-season was characterized by the richest spending spree in the history of professional sports. This was a memorable off-season for the Bronx Bombers.

2) New York Nicks Isiah Thomas

Remember when the Knicks were good? I know, I wasn't alive when the 10 Commandments were published either. For us Knick fans, glory at the Garden seems an ancient memory, a blur that may have occurred some time between Optimus Prime's glorious conception and President Clinton's administration of copulation. But if you can, sift through the puddles of beer (most often caused by Knick losses) clogging your brain and think back to the days when Lord Ewing and King Oakley patrolled the paint; when John Starks kissed the Garden floor and Pat Riley had an endless canvas of flowing mahogany hair. Luckily for the 90s' Knicks, Isiah Thomas was still in the league (as a player), for part of the decade anyway. Unfortunately for the Knicks, however, Patrick Ewing's exile caused an eventual desperation-driven roster (and culture) overhaul. From the induction of Glen Rice to the draft of Frederic Weis, to the injury-plagued Allan Houston and the eventual hiring of Isiah Thomas as Knicks General Manager. Oh, what a millennium it's been for the Blue and Orange.
For argument's sake, let's call Thomas the proverbial "straw that broke Paris Hilton's bed" (or was that Nick Carter, Jason Shaw, Stavros Niarchos, Benji Madden, Rick Salomon, ...well, you get the picture).. When the Knicks hired Thomas on December 22, 2003, they welcomed with him a history of blunders that included the destruction of the Continental Basketball Association (CBA). Why was Isiah the right choice for the knicks? ??? ???????... Still waiting...
The new general manager wasted no time in shaking things up, bringing in troubled point guard Stephon Marbury to right the ship just two weeks later. Ooops.
By the end of the 2005-06 season, the Knicks had the highest payroll in the league and the second worst record. Apparently what Thomas didn't realize was that, just because something looks good on paper, doesn't mean that it's going to pan out.
With Isiah at the helm, the Knicks went through more transformations than Andy Dick (just minus the success-- I know). Why was Isiah the right candidate for replacing Larry Brown in June of 2006? ??? ????... Still waiting.
Despite predicting a future championship, Thomas never once led the team to the playoffs as coach and in 2008, one night after New York tied a franchise-record with 59 losses, he was relieved of his duties (too bad he already crapped the bed).
Apparently there is someone listening to prayers. For the Knicks, that man's been new Head Coach Mike D'antoni. Although they are still not a winning team (Rome wasn't build in a day, and Thomas' Knicks couldn't be destroyed in one either-- although Donnie Walsh, the knew GM, is doing his best), the Knicks are at least watchable again.

1) 1 Giant Loss

1)18-1! 18-1! 18-1! 18 wins and 1 GIANT loss!
Where were you when JFK was assassinated? What about when the Giants won Super Bowl XLII (My apologies for the gross comparison)?
Perhaps the most memorable victory in New York sports history (at least since my conception), the Big Blue stormed Scottsdale, Arizona for what was arguably the most improbable win of all time.
On Feb, 3, 2008, the heavily discounted Giants took on the previously undefeated New England Patriots. Up against what many considered to be the best team in the history of the NFL and more obstacles than a pair of multi-sexual Siamese twins in a JC Penny dressing room, few gave the Big Blue a chance. The Giants fed off of the doubt.
Most said that the Giants weren't even supposed to be there. But impenetrable defense by a stalwart line kept Tom Brady and his chins at bay, setting up what was an unforgettable 17-14 Giant victory.
New York fed off of the Dec. 29 three-point season-finale loss that came at the hands of New England. Never had their been such a productive loss, and the Giants steamrolled into the playoffs.
Then there was the Super Bowl.
After both teams combined for ten points in the first three quarters, New England leading 7-3 heading into the final period, NY took the lead following a go-ahead David Tyree touchdown with 11 minutes remaining. New England responded with a touchdown of their own, taking a 14-10 lead with less than three minutes to go.
That's when it happened-- the drive heard 'round the world (not Helen Keller's joy ride to the super market). Catalyzed by a fourth-and-short conversion, a poised Eli Manning and the grace of football's divine spirits, the Giants moved down field toward Super Bowl immortality.
Then it happened-- the most insane play of all time. On third-and-five, from their own 44-yard line with 1:15 to play, Manning escaped a plethora of New England linemen to find Tyree who made a leaping one-handed/one-helmet catch on the Patriot-24-yard line. Four plays later, giants wide receiver Plaxico Burress caught the winning touchdown in the corner of the end zone. What else can I really say? I can't imagine the berth of my first child being any better.

Happy New Year to all and to all a memorable 2009. To all of those not on this list, don't feel slighted because there's always next year (sorry Plax. I was never one for guns). Only time will tell what 2009 has in store, but I'm feelin' lucky. What do ya' say NYC?

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Yankee General Manager Brian Cashman Frequents the Red Light District

Try walking across Flatbush (Brooklyn) at 3:30 in the morning-- without protection. I dare you. It'd be like walking through Patpong, Bangkok (an ORIGINAL RED LIGHT DISTRICT)-- without... well... protection. Either way, you're liable to come to the following morning with an empty wallet and a few inexplicable bumps.
So if the hearsay about either scenario is true (I swear it's hearsay), both entirely hypothetical situations are pretty damn dangerous.
Apparently, New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman has spent some time spelunking Thailand's red light district (or getting roughed up in Flatbush) because the addition of former Los Angeles Angel Mark Teixeira makes the previously defunct Yankee lineup more dangerous than a sword fight with Lorene Bobbit. And more expensive then a night with her freaky twin sister.
That's right-- the 28-year-old Teixeira is packing his bags for the Bronx and Pin Stripe fans are already anticipating a return to the Fall Classic (all courtesy of a $180 million flight). The Yanks can only hope, however, that Teixeira didn't have to check his BIG BAT (one that the Count himself couldn't even stack up against-- sorry, that one was too easy) at LAX. After all, even Big League Chew is a code orange commodity these days.
If he did somehow manage to sneak his lumber past security, the new Yankee Stadium will be greeted with more long balls than a certain Curb Your Enthusiasm episode (I hope Brian Giovinazzi won't be the only one to catch this reference).
Along with a stellar defensive reputation, the former Angel is lugging with him a 2008 .303 batting average, 33 home runs, 121 runs batted in, a .552 slugging percentage (.200 points higher than the league average) and a big-situation ability that the Yankees have been in desperate need of.
Of course, there is always the possibility that the bright lights of Broadway will cramp the new Yankee's style (see Jason Giambi, Carl Pavano, or Chuck Knoblauch. Even Alex Rodriguez has fallen victim to some pretty dismal slumps in the Bronx). New York seems to have a way of getting to athletes the way few other cities can (unless, of course, you're former Indiana Pacer Reggie Miller).
IF Teixeira can manage to grace Yankee Manager Joe Girardi with the bat that the Steinbrenners bargained for, the New York lineup suddenly seems dangerous again. That is, of course, IF Captain Derek Jeter can wake up after an uncharacteristically poor 2008 campaign, A-Rod doesn't move to Argentina with Evita-- I mean, Madonna, Jorge Posada returns to old form, and Xavier Nady can replicate last season's success. As Yankee fans know all to well, however, all of those are MAJOR IFs. Perhaps only time will tell.The 100 RBIs that free agent Bobby Abreu (one of last year's few bright spots) will be exporting from New York won't help, but a revamped lineup might be the only remedy.
One thing is for sure though-- IF Teixeira DOES come through with the bat that he carried with him for most of the 2008 season, Pin Stripe fans can expect a playoff berth. The slugger's ability to hit from both sides of the plate makes him a threat at any spot in the lineup and his prowess from above the pitch count make him a nightmare match-up for opposing pitchers. Throw him behind A-Rod and the Bronx will be burning once again this summer (hopefully just not the way Cashman was after his trip to Thailand).
So yes, the addition of Teixeira makes the Yankees more dangerous than a protection-less trip to Flatbush (or Thailand). Cashman has spent more this past summer than Eliot Spitzer did in one year as governor (including money spent on his own prostitution escapades).
CC Sabathia's $161 million contract, A.J. Burnett's $82.5 million and Teixeira's $180 million make this summer the richest in New York sports history, but will the Bombers see the benefits? The addition of Teixeira certainly fills one major need for the previously hapless Yankee offense. What do you think New York?

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Brian Cashman Overdosed on Cough Drops

Remember going to the nurse's office every time you skinned your knee in elementary school? A paper cut might as well have been a machete wound and a bump in the head, an atomic blast. Any excuse to get out of a reading lesson that covered Ramona Quimby's "big trip to the barber shop" was one never discounted. Regardless of the ailment, however, the remedy was always the same-- a "sweet herbal mint" Halls cough drop that tasted a lot like the inside of an air conditioner.
Trip and fall? Take a Halls; Punctured with a staple? Take a Halls; Kicked in the forehead during a reenactment of yesterday's Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles episode? Grab a Halls.
Halls, Halls, Halls (and they're not even paying me for this).
Yesterday, New York Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman and the Bombers went for a routine trip to the nurse's office. What did she (or he-- can't be too careful in this crazy, mixed up world) order? You guessed it, a cough drop (a prescription powered one at that).
On Wednesday, ESPN The Magazine's Buster Olney reported that a preliminary agreement between Cashman and former Milwaukee Brewer CC Sabathia had been reached-- to the tune of $161 million over seven years (or 16,100,000,000 pennies over 2,555 days). If George Steinbrenner's wallet could talk.
My first instinct-- Awesome. My second-- sweet. My third-- Ballllllin'.
The 28-year old left-hander has a 117-73 career record over eight seasons with a 3.66 life-time earned run average. After going 19-7 in 2007 to help the Indians reach the American League Championship (beating the Yankees 3-1 in the American League Divisional Series along the way), Sabathia earned the American League Cy Young award. It should also be noted that Sabathia, who has proven capable of pitching in any any league, has dominated the AL East (more so than he has any other) with a 2.96 ERA and a 21-8 record.
But is Sabathia really the answer? Do fat kids eat salad?
So why wouldn't picking up Sabathia be a huge play for the Pin Stripes? Because they went to the nurse with a bloody nose and when they came back, it was still bleeding.
Think back to last spring when, aside from Bobby Abreu and Jonny Damon, the Bombers couldn't buy a hit with runners in scoring position (the Yankees finished the 2008 season batting a dismal .261 with runners in scoring position, fourth worst in the American League-- the League RISP batting average was .273).
How many times did poor Mike Mussina (who still managed to finally get 20 wins) throw a gem and still lose? Let's face it--when it came to run support, the Yanks were no sports bra. Overall, the Pin Stripes were seventh of fourteen American League teams in run production (most of those runs coming in big streaks when the game was over, one way or the other). In general, the pitching was solid, even in the absence of Yankee ace, Chien-Ming Wang. Statistically, the Bomber pitching staff gave up an average of 4.28 runs per game, an average that Cashman's billion-dollar roster should have been able to surmount.
So how much better are the Yankees, based only on the acquisition of the $161 million man?
Don't get me wrong-- adding Sabathia to the Yankee rotation will NOT harm the Yankees. How could it? But will it propel last year's underachievers back to the playoffs? Probably not. Unless of course, the Yankee batting lineup wakes up from last year's mysterious roofie nap.
The answer to last year's failure is not pitching (although once again, I was just as happy as any other Yanks fan to get Sabathia). Perhaps Cashman should have hired a $161 dollar therapist to get to the bottom of Alex Rodriguez and Derek Jeter's inability to hit with runners on base.
While Cashman's trip to the nurses' office yesterday was undoubtedly a productive one, cough drops, as we all remember from elementary school, do not stop the bleeding.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Stephon Marbury Throws Rocks at Cars

When I was a kid, it was hard for my parents to get a hold on me. In pre-school, aside from the daily notes home, Mrs. Shames told my mother that I was a ring leader, nothing but a future criminal (true story). Harsh, I know-- apparently those graham cracker deals behind the jungle gym weren't as secretive as I thought.
In kindergarten, my mother warned Mrs. Shulace of my prior transgressions, but aside from the cowboys and indians beating that I put on Gabe Levine, there was seldom a peep of misbehavior coming from my direction.
Swerving in and out of "behavioral traffic lanes" more sporadically than Jaba Chamberlain on the Nebraska Expressway after a fifth of Whiskey, I reverted back to my class-clown ways just in time to subject my first-grade teacher, Mrs. Sattan (who I aptly dubbed Mrs. Satan, even in first grade), to a year-long miscellaneous cast of ridiculous antics and juvenile wrong doing (my apologies to anyone who I scarred in the past that may be reading this-- See Billy Madison). How is it that I went from being a criminal at six years old, to Mr. Goody-Two-Shoe at seven, back to the classroom terror by eight? The answer is tact.
I may have been a mere tike, but I was tactful, more cautious than a butcher at a bris when it came to my criminal misadventures. I was aware that while three consecutive years of Broad Street bullying might land me in some type of diaper detention center, sporadic stints of angelic activity would, if nothing else, confuse my parents. So despite my inner Axl Rose, the voice that told me to throw a rock at a car while waiting for the morning bus to come, and the same voice that told me to threaten my first-grade classmates with a tiny screw--one that I found in the Livingston Park Elementary School gymnasium--in order to get what I wanted (damn you Jesse Leiter for diming me out. You wouldn't last a day on Hidden Lake Drive) my parents were under the impression that I was a tolerable kid.
If only exiled New York Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury had half the tact that I had at age six, maybe a couple of us Knick fans would line with him in the Starbury-D'antoni soap opera. Instead, Steph has become New York City's own Darth Vader. Think about it-- both Steph and Darth look like aliens, they both provide cheap labor (Marbury's sneaker company, Darth's stormtroopers) and both have a propensity for sexual harassment (Natalie Portman is to Darth Vader what Kathleen Decker, the former Blue and Orange intern, is to Stephon Marbury--I swear I'm not a Star Wars nerd). The point is, while I had the good sense to keep nay-sayers guessing with occasional classroom serenity, Marbury continues to prove haters right, city after city.
Marbury was drafted fourth overall by the Milwaukee Bucks in the 1996 NBA draft, then traded promptly to the Minnesota Timberwolves for the draft rights to Ray Allen and a future first-round pick. As a result of MARBURY's inability to coexist with former teammate (reigning NBA Champion, 2004 Most Valuable Player and consummate team player) Kevin Garnett, in addition to a major discrepancy with former Wolves Head Coach (one of the most respected coaches in the league) Flip Suanders, Marbury demanded a trade during the 1999 lock-out season. For argument's sake, we'll call Marbury's tenure with the Timberwolves his pre-school days.
As a result of his misbehavior in Minnesota, the disgruntled point guard was shipped to the New Jersey Nets in a deal that sent Terrell Brandon to Minnesota from Milwaukee, and Sam Cassell to Milwaukee from New Jersey. In three seasons, Marbury's Nets never once made it to the playoffs, and in 2001, after ongoing disputes with teammates and New Jersey management, the point guard was sent to the Pheonix Suns for Jason Kidd. (It should be noted that in 2002, Kidd's first year as Marbury's back court replacement, the Nets were transformed from perennial doormats to playoff contenders). Coincidence?
After teaming with Pheonix's Amare Stoudemire and Shawn Marion to make a playoff push in the 2003 season, Marbury's suns fell to the San Antonio Spurs in the first round (note that a Stephon Marbury team has never managed to make it to the second round of the NBA playoffs). An inauspicious beginning to the 2004 season caused trouble in the locker room (a locker room that, as coach, D'antoni was part of) and Starbury was a catalyst for much of the drama. On January 5, 2004, Steph was shipped to New York in return for the inured Antonio McDyess and long-time Knicks point guard Charlie Ward.
Thus began Marbury's first-grade stint, a stint that the recently exiled point guard seems to be very fond of, as he never seemed to graduate. The Brooklyn native's homecoming, masterminded by a pill-popping Isiah Thomas, was expected to result in Samuel Adams-eqsue heroics. Instead, Starbury has just driven us Knick fans to a life-long dependency on Samuel Adams Lager.
Marbury's problems with the cast of New York coaches and teammates have been the center of a media circus since his arrival. What started as one of the most well-documented clashes in New York sports history (Stephon Marbury vs Larry Brown), has become nothing less than a trend, giving Knick fans little choice but to side against the point guard. Remember how the Marbury-Brown squabble made Don Vito Corleone vs Virgil Sollozzo look more like N'Sync vs The Backstreet Boys? Once again, it goes back to tact-- if Marbury had the good sense to get along with at least one of his coaches, perhaps some of us fans would support the sneaker tycoon .
Instead, what started with Brown, continued through his struggles with Isiah Thomas (most heavily publicized when Steph deserted his team after learning on the team plane that his starting job had been revoked), Mike D'antoni, Donnie Walsh, Quentin Richardson, Kurt Thomas (Mr. Knick himself), and a host of other Knicks. How could it be any body's fault but Marbury's when he has proved his inability to coexist with other members of the locker room time and again throughout his career. The current saga is just another dirty sock in the laundry list full of Marbury-mishaps.
So for any Knick fans in support of Marbury in the most recent New York soap opera (I hear there are a few. I couldn't believe my ears when I heard, "we want Steph" coming from the stands on opening night at the Garden), look back on his past inability to get along with some of the most well-respected coaches and players in NBA history, all who brought a different style of leadership to the team (while Brown was a hard-nosed manager, D'antoni is the ultimate player's coach). Can you really chalk this one up to anybody but Starbury? The man has spent his entire Knick career throwing rocks at cars-- this is nothing new for the tactless guard.
What do you think Knick fans?

Monday, December 1, 2008

Chrome for the Holidays: A Plaxico Burress Story

When Christopher Columbus' posse landed at the New World on October 12, 1492, the vast island territory now known as the Bahamas was inhabited by a peaceful native people. Known for its lavish beach resorts and potent rum (know a better way to deal with the sun?), the culture that Columbus submersed himself into was ill-equipped to handle the white man's vices (this, even prior to Vanilla Ice). Noting their lack of modern weaponry, the famed explorer wrote in his journal, "I could conquer the whole of them with 50 men and govern them as I pleased...They ought to make good and skilled servants, for they repeat very quickly whatever we say to them." Thus, began the early stages of what was arguably the bloodiest exodus in the history of mankind-- that of the native North Americans.
Since the Mayflower's arrival, Native Americans have endured oppression, abuse, violence and betrayal (Note: this is NOT the diary of Ike Turner). While most Americans celebrate Thanksgiving on the third Thursday of every November, members of the Oklahoma-bound packs formerly known as the "Five Civilized Tribes" (Cherokee, Chickasaw, Muscogee, Choktaw and Seminole) are reminded of the the Trail of Tears-- the forced western migration of thousands of natives. And while we watch our 11-1 New York football Giants rout a 7-5 Washington REDSKINS team, natives are reminded of a once prominent racial slur.
So 516 years after Columbus' arrival, 395 years after what was the first of many Thanksgivings (Plymouth Plantation, 1621), and only slightly removed from the volatile mess of "diplomacy" that was Anglo-Native relations, can anyone really be shocked that wide receiver Plaxico Burress was packing at a New York City Club on the Friday night after Thanksgiving.
Perhaps the wide out was just trying to get into the holiday spirit of firearms and gunpowder. Maybe Plax doesn't like All Hallows Eve. Maybe the third Friday of every November is when No. 17 likes to play dress-up. After all, that is what this nation, land of the free and home of the brave, was founded upon, wasn't it-- a cloud of gun smoke and a pocket full of shells?
In case you are just now waking up from your Tryptophan coma, Burress was on the brunt end of his own Glock semiautomatic pistol when he accidentally shot himself in the right thigh inside of the Latin Quarter, a New York City night club, early Saturday morning (for most, late Friday night). While the rest of us were getting dropped off after a fuzzy night out, Burress was checking into New York City's Cornell Medical Center for treatment on a self-induced bullet wound.
Let me Tarantino this for you: The 6'5 wide receiver was turned away from Lexington Ave's Latin Quarter on Friday night when the bouncers noticed that he was strapped. When Burress, who was stuntin' out with flashy jewelry, expensive gear and rolls of Benjamins, told the bouncers that his gun was for protective purposes only, the Super Bowl champion was allowed to enter the club.
As Plax' was making his way into VIP, several drinks after his arrival and long after breaking the seal, Burress' concealed weapon slipped down his pant leg and spontaneously went off, releasing a bullet that tore through the flesh of Plaxico's right thigh (luckily, the bullet did not damage any muscle tissue or bones), prompting a trip to the emergency room.
As was to be expected, much has been made of Burress' most recent transgression. Since the Pittsburgh Steelers drafted him eighth overall in the 2000 National Football League draft, Burress has had quite the bipolar career. After a rocky four-year stint with the Steelers, Plax' arrived in New York with high expectations. On the field, Burress has been nothing short of a pro-bowler-- 244 receptions and 33 touchdowns in 57 games as a Giant (including the SECOND BIGGEST catch in New York history--one that gave the G-Men a 17-14 Super Bowl XLII victory over the New England Patriots)-- while playing through a potpourri of injuries.
It is Burress' off-field antics, however, that have troubled fans, teammates and Head Coach Tom Coughlin since his first Sunday brunch on Broadway.
After a summer in which a disgruntled Burress refused to take part in mini-camps because of a contract discrepancy, an October 5, 2008 suspension from New York's 44-6 victory over the Seattle Seahawks (Violation of team rules: Missing Monday afternoon practice) and a host of other on-field confrontations with Coughlin, the latest run-in with the media should come as no surprise. But it does! An accidental gun shot? Surely, everyone who heard the news on Saturday morning thought that they were still dreaming-- it was far too absurd to be true, right? Wrong!
Now, with Plaxico's season (and his freedom, due to a possible jail stint consequent of the fact that Burress did not have a license to hold a concealed weapon) in the balance, Giant fans everywhere are sounding off about the fact that the reigning Super Bowl Champions are better off without their star wide receiver. Sure, wide receivers Amani Toomer, Domenik Hixon, Steve Smith and Sinorice Moss have shown all season that they are more than capable of making big plays, but Burress' presence alone commands respect and usually, double-coverage. Come playoff time, fans will remember, one way or the other, why Burress was such an important part of last year's improbable Super Bowl run. Would David Tyree have even been "open" (in any mangled sense of the word) to make what will be the most famous reception in Super Bowl history had Plax' not been on the field? Will tight end Kevin Boss continue to dominate through the middle if the secondary is no longer forced to commit to the sidelines? Will Hixon and Smith continue to dismantle opposing defenses the way they have without single-coverage? And will running back Brandon Jacobs be able to power through the line of scrimmage without Burress' deep-threat capabilities?
Claiming that the Giants are better without Burress is like saying that they are better without X-tight end Jeremy Shockey-- wait, bad example. scratch that. It's like saying that Pocahontas would have been better off without John Smith. Or that turkey is better served without a side of mashed potatoes .
Plaxico's status as a member of the 2008 New York football Giants is currently unknown, but one thing is for sure-- while opposing cornerbacks wouldn't mind seeing him on the bench for the remainder of the season, the Big Blue could use him on the gridiron.
What do you think Giants fans?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Watching the Knicks cuts into my AA time

The New York Knicks were seeing red last night. Every time 5'7 Nate Robinson looked up (isn't he always) before leaving the game with a strained groin, there they were-- Lebron James' hidoues new sneakers, a pair of bright reds that he debuted last night for his trip to the Big Apple.
Unfortunately for the Knicks, however, King James' "Brian Scalabrine red" kicks weren't the ugliest thing on the court last night. Nope, not even close. Take Lebron's sneakers, throw in Drew Gooden's haircut, Shawn Marrion's jump shot and Joakim Noah's face-- then you might have something that borders on the attractiveness, or lack there of, of the Knicks' embarrassing performance last night( embarrassing is an understatement. Like saying Hillary Clinton is a handsome woman).
Last night's game against the visiting Cleveland Cavaliers was the first time the new-look Knicks took the court together. New look quickly turned into no-look, as I found myself unable to watch the massacre that was the 119-101 loss at home last night (Down 32 in the first half, the score did not justify the magnitude of the Cavs' victory).
When Knick fans learned of Jamal Crawford's exile last week, it was like opening a Warhead (remember the candy that gets sour before turning sweet). After suffering through six seasons of unwatachable basketball-- basketball that Knicks fans keep watching nonetheless-- it became clear that the Garden faithful would have to suffer through AT LEAST two more before things can POTENTIALLY get great. Despite a promising 7-6 start (the Knicks' best start since President Ewing owned the paint), New York took a step back last night, reminding Crawford-trade proponents, spoiled by the promising start, just how bad things have been and how bad they are going to be.
While my reaction to the Crawford trade was slightly negative (see below: Knicks' General Manager had too many dogs), I, like many Knick fans, was numb to the move that sent Zach Randolph to the Clippers for perpetual under-achievers Tim Thomas (sending him to Chicago in 2005 was addition by subtraction-- like trans-gender surgery) and Cuttino Mobley (hasn't been relevant since Stevie Franchise could dunk).
What many Knick fans didn't consider at the time of Walsh's second move: shipping Crawford to Golden State formally annouced that New York basketball will be in a state of hibernation until the summer of 2010. So Randolph's presence would be about as pointless and ironic as a Michael Jackson Save the Children Benefit concert. Alone, Zach would never be enough to keep the Knicks respectable, so keeping him around would be a mute point (would an extra five or six victories be worth his three-year/ $37 million contract).
Perhaps last night, however, was a necessary reminder for all who supported Walsh's recent moves. Not to say that the new direction is the wrong one for the New York Knicks, but it is important for New York fans to remember just how painful that direction has been since the post-Ewing era.
Awaiting the 2010 free agency of notable players like King James, Paul Pierce, Dirk Nowitzki, Yao Ming, Kobe Bryant, Dwyane Wade, Richard Jefferson, Michael Redd, Steve Nash, Kevin Durant, Amare Stoudemire, Tony Parker, Chris Bosh and Greg Oden, Knicks fans will have to continue cutting out early and heading to the bar, the way I did last night and the way a 67-38 halftime score will often make you do.
Viva la 2010 Knicks fans. Until then, see you in AA-- I'll be the guy in the bright red sneakers.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Tom Coughlin was an Original Member of Puerto Rican Boy Band, Menudo

"What do I think it is that has enabled Puerto Rican boy band, Menudo, to withstand the test of time?"
Well. I'm glad you asked that imaginary generic reader. As with most pop culture phenomenons (Paris Hilton excluded), success comes from hard work, stability and and a resolute work ethic. When famed producer Edgardo Diaz founded Menudo in 1977, it was those very principles that served as the basis. As evident in early hits like "Fuego" and "Mi banda toca rock," all the way up to Menudo's 2008 SMASH HIT, "Lost,"Menudo has shown what it takes to keep us movin'. Despite the band's revolving door tendencies, the band has pressed on through the ages.
This is not to say that Menudo didn't undergo its fair share of controversy and hardship. When famed pop star Ricky Martin left the group to pursue a solo career in 1989, many Menudo fans feared the worst: the end of the road for the iconic Puerto Rican boy band. Much to the delight of Menudo fans all across the globe (believe me, they do exist), however, the band came back with more fire in 1990 with songs like "A force do rock" and "Os ultimos herois," proving two things.
1) You don't need Ricky Martin to be the hottest boy band on Earth
2) Menudo's main catalyst for sustainment through the ages is a world class feeder system.
On Sunday, the New York Football Giants proved themselves, once again, to have a feeder system that is comparable to Menudo's.
When seven-time defensive end Pro-Bowler Michael Strahan announced his retirement in the summer of 2008, few critics gave the reigning Super Bowl Champions a shot in hell. Even more skeptics stepped on the Giants when two-time Pro-Bowler Osi Umenyiora tore the lateral meniscus in his left knee during a pre-season match-up with the New York Jets. With the additional loss of tight end Jeremy Shockey and defensive cornerstones like linebacker Kawika Mitchell (Buffalo Bills) and safety Gibril Wilson (Oakland Raiders), New York fans knew that Head Coach Tom Coughlin would have his work cut out for him. What has been the result?
A resolute New York Giants that have thrived under the emergence of up-and-coming stars like tight end Kevin Boss, wide receiver Steve Smith, running back Brandon Jacobs and defensive ends Justin Tuck and Mathias Kiwanuka-- this, of course, in addition to veterans Plaxico Burress (wide receiver), Amani Toomer (wide receiver) and Antonio Peirce (inside linebacker).
After an off-season characterized by the questioned validity of the 2008 New York Giants team, as well as that of 2007 Super Bowl Champions, the G-men have established themselves as (fairly indisputably) the best team in the National Football League. They have done so as a result of a feeder system that has replaced the aforementioned stars of yesterday's team.
Whether the 2008 success is a testament to Assistant General Manager Kevin Abrams, Defensive Coordinator Steve Spagnuolo or Coughlin himself is unknown-- perhaps it's a combination. Whatever the case, what's at work for the Big Blue is quite impressive.
After a 9-1 start, the Bombers finally appeared to be getting the respect that they deserved before Jacobs (knee) and Burress (hamstring) were sidelined for last weekend's game.
Playing against the offensive juggernaut Arizona Cardinals, which consists of rejuvenated quarterback Kurt Warner, along with wide receivers Anquan Boldin (starring in Face-off 2) and Larry Fitzgerald, few bought the Giants' ability to keep up.
Once again, however, Coughlin's "Menudo" feeder system proved invaluable. With "Plax" and Jacobs (Ricky Martin and Fernando Romantico) both relegated to the bench, up stepped the baby boomers.
In Jacobs' absence, Wind (of Earth, Wind and Fire) Derrick Ward rushed for a respectable (game-high) 69 yards, while special teams standout Domenik Hixon caught six passes for 57 yards and carried the ball into Cardinals territory on more than one kick return.
Much to the dismay of Eagles and Cowboy fans abound on Sunday, the Giants proved more than capable of stepping up to a challenge, advancing to a league-best (tied with the Tennessee Titans) 10-1 record, even in the absence of Mr. T, I mean Brandon Jacobs and Plaxico Burress. That is why the New York football Giants are without a doubt, the Menudo of professional sports and the best team in the national football league

Friday, November 21, 2008

Knicks' Donnie Walsh Had Too Many Dogs

As a kid, the closest thing I ever had to a pet was a little sister (sorry Sam). Air Bud showed me at a young age that all it took to gain the adoration of your peers was a Golden Retriever who could dunk a basketball with his nose. Needless to say, I was infatuated with the idea of finding a partner in crime and using him to get in and out of sticky situations, much the same way Michelle Tanner used Comet in Full House (what crazy schemes that Olson twin cooked up. This, of course, was before she learned to cook up other things).
Day after day, I pleaded with my parents to get me that dog.
"You're too young," my dad would say.
Finally, on my eighth birthday, more than likely to end the constant badgering, my family came around: "Steve, on your tenth birthday we'll get you a dog."
The next two years of my life were blissful. Daydreaming about dogs in sunglasses and puck-handling golden retrievers, I had little a care in the world (other than my concerns over why any Ninja Turtle would choose purple as his badge of honor).
The day was finally approaching-- November 13, 1995.
My birthday list read as follows:
1) Dog leash
2) Dog collar
3) Dog house
4) Dog pen
5) One eight ball slammer to complete the ultimate pog collection.
November 13 came and went. My soccer party was a big hit and there was even an extra goody bag for me (thank you for not showing up Allan Amusen). Still, no dog. I was sure, however, that at some point, a young Golden Retriever would come scampering out of my mom's minivan. But the afternoon turned to evening--nothing. Time to unwrap the gifts...
"Awesome... the collective works of Rafi. How'd you know guys? Does anybody have a cassette player so we can rage to rising smash hit "Brush your teeth?"
My birthday came and went and so too did my confidence in getting a dog. It never showed.
The moral of the story: Don't count your chickens before they hatch.
Apparently, that's a lesson New York Knicks General Manager Donnie Walsh never learned. He had four dogs as a kid and they were all great at sports-- spoiled bastard.
Seldom has that moral been more relevant than it is today.
As ESPN the Magazine's Rick Bucher confirmed early Friday morning, " The Golden State Warriors and the New York Knicks have received league approval to complete a trade that will swap disgruntled Warriors forward Al Harrington for Knicks guard Jamal Crawford."
As a die hard Knicks fan, I find myself baffled. Was Walsh drinking the same shot of Jamo that Steinbrenner was when he offered a record high contract to CC Sabathia (see below article-- Big Pimpin Baseball in the Bronx)?
Of course, there is one underlying factor that was clearly the catalyst for what would appear otherwise to be an absurd blunder of a trade. Why else would the New York Knicks trade their all-star caliber shooting guard for a head case like Harrington, who has spent the majority of the season on the bench hampered by a back injury (see Danilo Gallinari)? After playing in only five games, the disgruntled Warrior has averaged 12.4/ 5.6 rebounds a game compared to Crawford's 19.6 in a Mike D'antoni offense that is much better-suited for a run-N-gun player like Jamal.
And don't the Knicks already have enough side-show acts to take over the Big Apple Circus, which appears to have hit the Garden early this winter? Between the Stephon Marbury and Eddy Curry sagas, don't New York fans have enough to deal with. Throw Harrington into the mix and we might as well give Isiah a uniform.
Despite an obvious need for a big man (see below: Knicks come up short-- and small), a run of the mill center like Kendrick Perkins would have done the trick in a locker room that prides itself in putting up points in a hurry. New York averages a league-leading 105.3 points per game while giving up a league-worst 105. 9 points per game defensively. While making the Orange and Blue a much worse offensive team, this trade has succeeded in making them a slightly better defensive team, something that a stubborn D'antoni never preached anyway.
So why did the Knicks make this trade? Because they counted their chickens before they hatched.
One of the biggest selling points for Harrington is his contract which pays him $9.2 million this season and $10 million next season, meaning the Knicks can shed themselves of the big man by the summer of 2010, when free agent to-be Lebron James will become New York City's most attractive prostitute.
Didn't Donnie Walsh ever learn that a Jamal Crawford in the hand might be worth a Lebron James in the bush? While many New York fans might not agree with me on this one, I say that it's so, especially since there is no guarantee that Lebron will come to the Knicks in the first place (isn't he best bud's with New Jersey Nets owner, Boss Hove aka Iceberg Slim aka Jay-Z? The fact that the Nets won't be moving to Brooklyn should hurt their bid for the American idol, but it certainly doesn't kill it).
What if Lebron doesn't come to the Knicks in 2011? Haven't Knicks fans suffered through enough titanic seasons? Are we seriously expected to suffer through two (two being best case scenario) more? I don't think there's a Knick fan in the world who won't take a trade like this for a guaranteed shot at Lebron James. But in life, there are no guarantees-- just Jamal Crawford for Al Harrington swaps.
Don't count your chickens before they hatch Donnie Walsh. I wish you never had a dog!!
What do you think New York fans?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mussina-- a professional athlete

I never did get a chance to see the legendary Ozzy Osbourne perform. Sadly, the Prince of Darkness was last relevant before my time, despite a brief reality TV stint on VH1 that brought him to near Youtube superstardom (Who ever thought that the prince would be mentioned in the same sentence as Gary Brolsma? To save you a trip to Wikipedia, he's the fat Numa Numa guy who took over everyone's facebook walls when he mimed O-Zone's "Dragostea din tei" in front of a web cam).
I would imagine that Ozzy put on quite the live show, however. Engulfed in a minefield of explosions, decked out in bedazzled black vests and tight leather pants (which by today's standards would probably be considered pretty homosexual), belting out "Bark at the Moon" to a brigade of screaming fans. I can imagine it was a sight to see. Ozzy, however, is most notably heralded for his run-in with animal cruelty activists, a clash that began after Osbourne bit the head off of a bat during a 1982 show in Iowa.
Today, with the announced retirement of New York Yankee Mike Mussina's, we are reminded just who the five-time all star truly was-- the anti-Ozzy Osbourne. As a director of the International Little League Baseball Association, the only thing Mussina ever took a bite out of was crime (sorry, too easy). In fact, Mussina makes the Dallas Cowboys' Tony Romo look like John Rocker (Romo, the man who spent yesterday treating a random Dallas bum who apologized in advance for the obtrusive stench that resulted from his inability to shower, to a movie-- true story).
Fact is, as opposed to many of his colleagues, Mussina will always be remembered as a baseball player, not an entertainer. You rarely see Mussina so much as pump a fist after a big strikeout or yell at an umpire after a questionable ball. The 17-year veteran who began his career in 1991 with the Baltimore Orioles will never be confused with Roger Clemens, who ended his career in a quagmire of controversy. The seasoned control pitcher--despite beginning his career with a 4-seam fastball that topped out at 95 miles per hour-- quietly and efficiently did his job with never a peep of controversy (often to the discontent of the media).
In a me-first, "wide receiver" dominated-era that rewards big egos with bigger pay checks (Boxer, Floyd Mayweather, Jr closed the year out with $40,250,000 in earnings, while Los Angeles Dodger Manny Ramirez, the third-richest baseball player in the world, closed the year out with $22,500,000 in green (Ramirez trails only New York Yankees Derek Jeter and alex Rodgiguez, two of Big Pimp Steinbrenner's most productive hoes).
Mussina, however, one of only four Major League Pitchers to reach 20 wins in 2008-- accompanied by Cliff Lee, Brandon Webb and Roy Halladay-- earned $11,071,029 from the Yankees. That's almost $2 million less than designated hitter Hideki Matsui who missed nearly half of the 2008 season (93 games played). As a journalist still forced to sleep on a set of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles bed sheet's in the room that I grew up in at my parents' house, Mussina's salary is of course nothing to laugh at, but somehow, he still doesn't seem to get the respect that he demands.
Less than 24 hours after Mussina's announcement, journalists and baseball analysts everywhere are caught in a frenzy. Does the 270-153 (.638 winning percentage compared to a league average .501) career pitcher deserve to be enshrined in Cooperstown?
My sentiment is yes-- if Abbot and Costello, the goofy pair responsible for the "Who's on First" bit, earned the right to be forever immortalized in the Baseball Hall of Fame, so too has Mussina. The former Bomber is one of only 20 pitchers to retire over 100 wins above .500 and he is nineteenth all-time in strikeouts. Considering that the man spent his entire career in the DH-dominated American League East in the midst of a steroid-infused era, I'd say Mussina has earned the right to date my future wife, let alone grace the Baseball Hall of Fame, if he so chooses.
Amidst the controversy surrounding Mussina's retirement and his status as a future hall of famer, it leaves baseball fans wondering, are we simply overlooking the quiet family man in an era dominated by dog fighters and killers (not to throw OJ under the bus)? Are we forgetting what it means to be a PROFESSIONAL athlete? PROFESSIONAL!! If Mussina was known for wild strike out celebrations or off-field flings with Madonna, would his legacy even be in question?
Couple Mussina's stats with his off-field demeanor in a league that was nearly sabotaged just a few year's ago by a steroid crucible that still taints the league today, and I think you have your answer.
What do you think baseball fans?

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Big Pimpin' Baseball in the Bronx

The leaves, they are a-changin’ and the clocks have moved backward. Yep, it’s that time of year again in turkey land (no, not the Mid Eastern nation sandwiched between Greece and Syria known primarily for its rich exportation of olives and livestock). It’s Thanksgiving—time to be grateful for all the year’s blessings while dining on a smorgous board of pumpkin-spiced, cranberry-gelled, tryptophan-packed dishes.
On Thanksgiving, we are reminded of the eclectic group of relatives that is family—the sweet old grandma who keeps confusing you with Mr. Bookman of Good Times, the overtly friendly cousin who isn't safe to be left alone at the kids' table and the gay uncle who seems to have a new "friend" every November.
Then, of course, there's the deep-pocketed, quick-to-spoil you uncle who sneaks you cash and candy every time mom turns around to baste the turkey. Without hesitation, that's the uncle who bought you Grand Theft Auto when your parents deemed it unfit, and he's the guy who bought you a new bike every time a tire needed pumping.
For the New York Yankees, that man is Uncle George (or more recently, perhaps Uncle Hank). Not the gay uncle that is, but the rich one (although he does have quite the collection of festive summer cabana wear). Every off-season, it appears that Uncle Steinbrenner has a new toy for Brian Cashman and company to play with. This year appears to be no different.
So let the games begin...
Like the token drunk at the local bar, the Steinbrenners throw money around with zero inhibition. Only one shot of Jamo is drunk talk for a CC Sabathia offer that exceeds Johan Santana's previous record of $137.5 million for 6 years-- quite the bar tab (apparently the Yankees held out on Santana because their days of big money pimping were "over"-- really?), and perhaps Nick Swisher, previously of the Chicago White Sox, was the result of some late-night (or off-season) beer goggles. Only Yankee fans won't have to roll over to see what they're stuck with until mid-July rolls around and he's in the midst of a 4-42 slump at the plate-- that's a $3,600,000 shot of Jamo (must have been a city bar).
At this juncture, it has become increasingly clear that Jay-Z and Hank Steinbrenner have so much in common that if things don’t work out with Beyonce, the two of them will probably find compatibility on E Harmony (“Big Pimpin…spendin’ G’s, we be… big pimpin’ in B L A D’s, we be big pimpin down in P A T, it’s just that Jigga Man, Pimp C and B U N B”).

Enough rambling. Here are the facts:
Last February, two-time Cy Young award winner Johan Santana signed with the New York Mets for $137.5 dollars in six years.
The Yankees passed for reasons stated by General Manager, Brian Cashman, that involved a commitment to players like Phil Hughes, Ian Kennedy and other up-and-coming youngsters.
Less than one year later, however, the Yankees have given Swisher the reported $3,600,000 to play first base (a position that Wilson Betemit, who hit 265 in 2008, was more than capable of playing for half the price).
Of course, with 20-game winner Mike Mussina recently announcing his retirement, the Pinstripes have been hard-pressed to find a pitcher or two that can fill his spot in the rotation. Clearly, the Yankees believe CC Sabathia or more recently, 32-year-old A.J. Burnett, to be the answer.
After a week-long span in which the Bombers offered $135.5 million to Sabathia and a reported $80 to Burnett, Yankee fans are wondering if one playoff race spent boozing in the Caribbean was all it took for Cashman to revert to his old philosophy of Big Pimp Baseball.
What do you think of the recent moves Yankee fans?

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Coming Up Short-- and small

45-- it's more than just the atomic number for rhodium on the periodic table of elements. It's the weekend beer count for today's average college kid and the complete life expectancy for yesterday's indulgers. Walk through China Town with $45 and you'll leave a happy man.
More importantly to Knick fans, however, 45 is the number of points that the Orange and Blue were short of when they got blown out by the Boston Celtics in their first meeting of the Kevin Garnett era on November 29 of last year.
With Garnett suspended for tonight's contest-- the 11 time NBA All-Star planted a Buck shot in the face of Milwaukee center Andrew Bogut during last Saturday's contest-- the Knicks were primed to avenge last year's humiliating loss (the only thing more embarrassing than being a Knick fan on November 29, 2007, was being a Celtics fan for the entire 2006-07 season. Or being Isiah Thomas' beloved daughter).
Tonight, however, it was clear that the only thing shorter than last year's 59-point performance was this year's starting lineup. With Garnett relegated to David Stern's doghouse -- still dressed to impress, of course-- the Knicks, led down low by Zach Randolph, figured to have their way in the paint.
Instead, despite capturing an early first-quarter lead that was sparked by Quentin Richardson's marksmanship from beyond the arc, New York got handled on the block. The Knicks, inexplicably, made reserve red-head Brian Scalabrine look like Bill Walton on the boards and Kendrick Perkins, Moses Malone (how you allow a 5.5 point per game, 50 percent free throw shooter to develop a fourth-quarter swagger bigger than T.I.'s is beyond me).
Over the course of the game, the Knicks were outscored by a total of 32-12 in the paint. For a team that thrives within the running game and moves the ball in the open court like the Knicks do, the 20-point deficit in that department is not a positive omen.
Of course, this is not to say that watching the Knicks compete tonight was anything shy of impressive.
Before complaining about the now 6-5 Knicks' most recent loss, divide 45 by 5. For those of you who haven't figured out how to use your Blackberry calculator, the answer is 9. And that is precisely how much the Knicks lost by tonight-- by one-fifth of last year's humiliating debacle. If the Knicks can somehow manage to avenge four-fifths of last year's defeats, Big Apple fans are looking at more than a playoff contender.
In order to do so, however, the Knicks will need to find someone willing, or simply capable of filling the gaping hole that exists in the now Eddy Curry-less New York front court.
Yes, it did take 11 games for Curry's mere presence in the paint, if nothing else, to be missed. At 6-5, it is hardly justifiable for a Knick fan to question Head Coach Mike D'antoni's methodology, but after games like tonight, it leaves us wondering what will be done to fill the void.
D'antoni reminds the media after every game that, "we are not going to win an NBA Championship," and "this is a re-building process," but with a winning record, sitting amidst an Eastern Conference race that was about as competitive as a Hillary Clinton election last year, D'antoni has to start believing that he can at least make a playoff push. Weather that means re-instating Curry into the rotation upon the recuperation of his bruised right knee or simply finding a big man capable of defending in the paint remains to be seen, but if making the playoffs means anything to the Knicks (doesn't it always in New York), tonight was solid evidence that an upgrade at center needs to be made.

Monday, November 17, 2008

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