Friday, March 27, 2009

Damned if they do, damned if they don't Yankees

Damned if you do, damned if you don't. It's just one of those
things. We all know that Orenthal James "O. J." Simpson didn't
brutally murder Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman in a heated crime of
passion inside Brown's Los Angeles, California home by way of countless
knife slashes through the neck and vertebrae to the point of near
decapitation between the hours of 10:15 and 10:40 p.m. Pacific Time on June
12, 1994 because he loved her so much that he couldn't stand the thought of
her being with anyone else and if he couldn't have her, no one could. NOOOOOO. We all know that didn't happen,obviously.
But what many people don't realize about the O.J. case is that
following the trial, his relationship with gloves forever changed.
If he continued to wear them, well, that's it, case closed, O.J. did it.
It'd be like rubbing salt in a knife wound. But if after 48 years of incessant Italian leather glove wearing, he suddenly stopped, well wouldn't that be a bit suspicious as well?
So when O.J. prepared to head out that first morning after the October 2, 1995 not-guilty verdict, Simpson had a choice to make: "should I wear them, or not?
On one hand, it's a bit cold and the occasion calls for gloves. But if I
wear them, well, that would look a little strange.
"On the other hand,everyone knows that I LOVE gloves. They're kind of my thing. In high school,people used to call me the gloved killer just because I always wore gloves and I killed opposing defenses on the football field. It'd be a little
strange for me to not wear gloves on a brisk day like this.
"On second thought, I think I'll just stay in today."
And so it went: for the remainder of his free life (before a totally
unrelated crime landed him in prison last December), Simpson only left his
house for confessional. Damn those gloves.
And what about former NASDAQ chairman and America's favorite new
money laundering sweet heart, Bernard Madoff? OK, we all know that Madoff
robbed countless investors of a crap-load of pennies (or $65 billion for the
mathematically ordinary) through a Ponzi scheme. Is that really a big deal?
It's just money, right?
But what many people don't know about Madoff is that he was planning
a surprise birthday party for his long-time wife, Ruth (what a handsome woman).
From what I hear,there was supposed to be cake, punch, a ball pit, pizza, live music and even an open arcade. How AWESOME does that sound?
Following the uncovering of his Ponzi scheme and the ensuing legal
troubles, however, Madoff was forced to do away with the ball pit and the
live music. What's an open arcade without live Jock Jams?
I know what you're thinking: it's not like Madoff doesn't already
have ALL of Kevin Bacon's money, anyway. So he should spend it, right?
WRONG. If he still throws Ruth that rockin' party, he looks selfish, greedy
and reckless. But doesn't he already have billions of dollars? If he goes
half ass on this thing, it's going to reflect poorly on his image. He'll
look stingy and tightfisted. UGHH. What to do, what to do. Damned if you do,
and damned if you don't.
That brings me to my next victim: the New York Yankees. Those poor
bastards don't stand a chance. After a summer in which the Steinbrenners dropped an unprecedented $384,500,000(during a recession) on four players (pitcher Andy Pettitte: $5.5 million, pitcher C.C. Sabathia: $135.5 million, pitcher A.J. Burnett: $82.5 million and slugger Mark Teixeira: $180 million), it's hard to imagine any scenario where the Yankees lose a single game.
I'm putting my money on the Yankees becoming the first team in Major League Baseball history to win every single game (162-0).Seriously. If God wanted to put together a first-team All-Divine baseball squad, my guess is that the Bronx Bombers would be an exact replica. With Captain Derek Jeter, who Head Coach Joe Girardi is thinking of moving to the top of the batting order, back in full swing, catcher Jorge Posada back from the shoulder injury that side-lined him for most of last year, the clutch-hitting Teixeira and a revamped bullpen, does it really matter that Alex Rodriguez will be out for 6-9 weeks after getting surgery on his right hip? I almost feel bad for opposing teams, like I should broadcast a commercial with little baby David Otiz (Boston Red Sox) wrapped in a tickle-me-pink blanket.
"You can't imagine the pain that little David has gone through, but he can imagine the beating heart that exists inside of you. And for just 10 cents a day, you can feed, clothe and care for David. Won't you please call and donate now?"
But at the end of the season, when push comes to shove, the Bombers are damned if they win and damned if they lose. Think about it...
Let's say the Yanks do finish the regular season at 162-0 and they do go on to sweep the playoffs, winning their first World Series since beating the New York Mets 4-1 in the 2000 Fall Classic. Well isn't that what they're supposed to do? Didn't they spend $384,500,000 on four players this off-season. Compare that to the $21,836,500 that the Florida Marlins spent on their entire team all of last year. Or the $43,820,598 that the defending American League Champion Tampa Bay Rays spent on their entire team. Pinning the Yankees against the Marlins is like pinning America against Vietnam (oh, wait). The fact is, if payroll has anything to do with success (which Yanks fans know all too well hasn't lately), the Yankees are SUPPOSED to win the World Series this year.
So when they do win, writers, fans and critics will all be letting go a collective, "big deal, they spent enough to bail the country out of debt."
BUT, BUT, BUT, what happens if the Yankees lose?
"You mean to tell me that the Yankees spent enough to feed millions of David Ortiz-es for all of eternity and they still couldn't pull out a win?"
Think about it... The Yankees vs. the MLB?

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Breaking Old Habits

Like a newly-transgendered female who forgets to sit down in the ladies' room or a longtime-stripper suddenly turned fire chief; old habits die hard, sometimes too hard. Anyone who watched the Knicks get blown out by the Devin Harris-less New Jersey Nets last night in what was to date, arguably the most important game of the season, was quickly reminded of the new-millennium Knick fan's daily reality: utter disgust, inevitable disappointment and
unequivocal anguish are more unavoidable than sexual advances at the Neverland Ranch (Michael, for the 100th time, your bed is monster-free).

Last night, old habits thought to have been long-abolished by new Head Coach Mike D'Antoni resurrected like the stench of cigarette smoke and cheap whiskey clinging to your hoodie until the next wash cycle. An ugly relapse to past transgressions was reminiscent of VH1's Celebrity Sober House-- it was truly hard to watch (the only difference is that while no one expects Andy Dick to live a life of moderate respectability, Knick fans, perhaps imprudently, still cling to a glimmer of Nate Robinson-induced hope).

Watching the Knicks go 2-27 from beyond the arc, 11-19 from the foul line, give up 15 turnovers and 115 points (29 for Vice Carter) to a team missing its top player (point guard Devin Harris) was tough to do. Still, however, their biggest failure was one that did not show up in the box score. Their biggest failure was one that we have not seen the knicks commit since Stephon Marbury's exile.
The biggest disappointment was that the Knicks showed a complete lack of effort, the likes of which we hadn't yet seen this season. The Nets, on their first game back on the east coast after a brief trip west figured to be lackadaisical, especially without Harris, their top gun.
The Knicks pounced on the Nets in the first quarter and headed into the first intermission with a 30-27 lead. It was all downhill from there.
Knick fans can handle losses-- we're used to them. It's the way New York lost last night, however, that was most unsettling. Showing a lack of defensive pride and overall effort in a game that had huge playoff implications is inexcusable.
Old habits die hard and last night, the Knicks of old crept back into our collective memory.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Stephon Marbury: the face of workmanship

I still remember my first day of work like it was eight months ago-- a wet behind the ears, fresh-face college kid on the threshold of journalistic success. I was more than on my way.

Somebody pinch me. Writing for the Verona-Cedar Grove Times seemed like an impossible reality. I grew up in New Jersey, so to be back in my home state after a brief stint in Ithaca, NY writing for all of my fans was a dream come true.

After showing up on day-one, I wasted no time in alienating my co-workers.

"I am the best writer in this office," I boldly announced. "By the way, my name is Steve," I said as I pulled my Ninja Turtles lunch box out of my black Italian leather Simpsons brief case.

After only a few days in the office, however, it was clear for one reason or another that my co-workers were not particularly fond of me. A public feud with my senior editor further divided the break room and it wasn't long before trade rumors began to surface (the Verona-Cedar Grove Times reportedly tried to send me to the Montclair Times in return for cold cuts and office supplies--the Montclair Times rejected).

So I finished out the high school football season and waited to field offers from other newspapers-- none came. I subsequently fired my agent and deleted my account on

An aura of hope surrounded my return to the office as I headed into the basketball season.

That's before I sexually harassed my editorial assistant.

"I thought you said you wanted to be a star," I said to her, caressing her knee in the back of my Hyundai.

A media circus ensued and my reputation as a sports writer was quickly deteriorating.

On December 24, 2008, the North Jersey Media Group signed a new senior editor to take the place of my former editor. It didn't take long for my new boss to make his intentions clear-- the Times was heading in a new direction.

"It's not fair to ask a writer of Steve's caliber to do spot writing," my boss told reporters. I was thus relegated to the bench.

"We want Schim" chants from my fans had no impact on my boss, and the bench is where I remained for the rest of the season before being released with the opportunity to sign with other newspapers.

Oops. I always get myself confused with former New York Knicks point guard Stephon Marbury. Terrible habit, I know. If nothing else, however, my confusion does provide enlightenment for the few remaining Steph fans out there-- and believe me, there are plenty.

First, let me ask you Starbury fans, did you eat glue as a kid? I just need to gather some background information on your past before I can properly diagnose the various mental disorders hindering your ability to view things as a fully functional human being. Also, are your parents related in any way (is your mom also your aunt)?

As we've done in the past, let's look at Starbury's track record in New York. After several LOSING seasons, he told reporters that he was the best point guard in the league (remember when my co-workers got pissed off at me for saying I was the best writer in the office). After Marbury's bold statement, the Knicks went on a losing streak of titanic proportions.

Marbury publicly feuded with Larry Brown, Lenny Wilkins, Tim Thomas, Quentin Richardson, Kurt Thomas, and every other leader thrown into the Knick locker room.

Oh, and remember when Steph sexually harassed New York Knicks intern Kathleen Decker?

Truth is, aside from the fact that Steph has always been a loser (the one playoff appearance throughout his entire NBA tenure came in 2004 during his first season as a Knick), he is a bad worker. Is it acceptable for a reporter to sexually violate his assistant, alienate his co-workers and fight with his bosses? Why then, amongst you Steph fans anyway, is it OK for him to commit such unprofessional acts (all while losing games I might add)?

Not that winning games would make Marbury's behavior any more appropriate, but he never did. So to those of you who have said Head Coach Mike D'Antoni is at fault for not even trying to use his star point guard, let me ask you this: why would he? Marbury has been here since 2004 and he has never experienced a winning season. OK, he's talented, but clearly, talent is not getting the Knicks wins. D'Antoni made it clear that this was a new era for the orange and blue when he sat Steph. Throwing him into the mix would only result in more of the same.

So to you Knick fans upset with the way D'Antoni handled the Marbury situation and angry with his exile to Bean Town--why don't you just move to Boston, throw on a Kevin Youkilis jersey and root for the Celtics? WAKE UP!