Month: October 2011

Turn The Beat Around

There are two parts to every football game.  There’s the football game itself, and there’s the tailgate preceding it (sometimes, if you’re lucky, especially on a Sunday afternoon, you get a postscript to the tailgate, by tailgating afterwards).

I attended my first Jets game of the season Monday.  It was last-minute, as a friend decided he wanted to go to the tailgate party, but didn’t want to stay for the whole game.  Since I’m not working full time now, and I’d never been to a Monday night game live, I figured, what the hell?  You only live once, right?  So off to the Meadowlands I went Monday afternoon.

Tailgating is some serious business at any football game.  On a Monday though, I spent a good four hours before the game preparing and doing the pregame before actually ENTERING the stadium.  When all was said and done, I left my house around 4 pm yesterday, and didn’t get home till around 1 am.  All for the Jets.

Good thing they won.

 

Few notes about the tailgate process.  You have to admire football fans for putting so much thought and effort into having the comforts of home and being able to somewhat beat the system by bringing your own food and beverage, so that you don’t spend money in the stadium. As I walked around, I saw $11.25 large draft beers…seriously?  That’s more than a six pack!  Although to me, the preparation and expenditures for a football game is a small fortune, but I guess you can justify it for a few reasons.  My friend, as an example, joined a tailgate “group” in parking lot L11, so each of the crews provides a cooler of beverages, different types of food, each person brings something and it’s all shared.  It’s not a bad idea.  Plus it takes the pressure off one person who is trying to do it by themselves by having back-up.  So within a half hour, I had some deep fried buffalo wings (brought to you by a guy who brings his own DEEP FRYER), Mike’s Hard Lemonade (for some reason, I don’t like beer anymore…and my friend who invited me has a margarita mixer that’s battery operated…but made pina coladas…blech), chips, homemade chili with cornbread (that was some serious chili), then they broke out the dogs and sausages, and I had seriously the best sausage sandwich ever (it was the bread that did it, yummy crusty Italian bread).  I had about three dinners and two desserts.

Bad news?  The day before was the Giants’ home game…and whoever is in charge of clean up neglected to provide us with clean port-a-potties.

#FAIL

If this was an oversight, it’s a bad oversight.  For one, if you can’t handle the facility issue at your grounds, perhaps you should rethink scheduling back-to-back games in the future.  Especially for events where tailgating is encouraged.  Luckily, after some sleuth work, I found a non-overflowing latrine, and did my business Austin Powers-style, then resumed my pregame festivities.  That doesn’t excuse that horrific oversight though.  I’m not a guy.  I can’t just point and shoot.

Anyway, our DJ for the festivities in L11 brought me back to my high school and college days.  I heard some Nirvana, 311, Bush, and a host of other 1990s music.  It set the mood right, and made me think that I really underestimated the music that came out during that time period.  No Backstreet Boys or Hanson, thank goodness.

I kept going around there, getting myself pumped for the game.  It’s kind of hard, when you’re having such a great time at a party, to get the motivation to go into the stadium and go to the game.  I know, it’s the primary reason you are there, but if you haven’t noticed, the Jets weren’t doing that great, on a three-game losing streak.  One vote in their favor was that the Dolphins were their opponent, who hadn’t won a game yet this season.  The bad thing was that a loss to them would have people jumping off the rafters.

Around 7:30, I decided it was time to head in, so I bid my friends, old and new, farewell, and went into the new Meadowlands Stadium, now christened MetLife Stadium.  It’s better than the old Giants Stadium in several ways, but most of all that the Giants name wasn’t plastered all over the place in this one.  On Jets game days, it’s Jets-Jets-Jets stuff, and at night, there is green lighting surrounding the stadium.  I’m sure it’s something similar for Giants game days (which, by the way, if you know anyone who ever needs an extra hand in taking a ticket, I’d love to see the differences between a Jets home game and a Giants home game at MetLife).  But the Jets have the slight edge there, since you can just call it “JetLife” Stadium.

 

I still had about an hour to kill till the game actually started.  But this is where things started to get a little weird, as I ran into a Mets buddy of mine, Metstradamus, who was in disguise as Jetstradamus.  I saw him as I walked past a stand for the Food Network, which had a noteworthy item on their menu called Buffalo Chicken Mac and Cheese.  Yes please!  I did order it later, but I have to say I wasn’t all that impressed.  It sounded better than it tasted.  Worlds also collided when I found out a friend of mine, JDR, from the Rangers world of my life, was there celebrating her birthday, looking all cute in her Dolphins gear…We’re all Marino fans, at heart, I believe.  Don’t be fooled…she’s really a Giants fan (sorry that I outed you babe!).

I walked around the lower-level concourse for another few minutes, then headed back to my seat.  I was in the 100s level…I probably would never opt to sit there on my own, but these were pretty nice.  Many thanks to my friends who offered me the seat to begin with!  Here are some miscellaneous views from before and during the game, thanks to the killer zoom on my camera!

 

Because of the build up to the game, the downfall is that it could actually be sort of a let down.  This game was not, though the Jets were really testing our patience after a particularly slow start.  Then for anyone who watched knows that Darrelle Revis turned that beat around, took an interception all the way into the end zone for a TD…that set off the chain of events that led to their win.  You should have also heard the ovation for the first down of the game…it was almost like they won the Super Bowl!

There were some significantly ugly turns in the game, but the good news is the Jets still have “it,” and that “it” is they can beat the teams they are supposed to beat.  The Dolphins are a team you need to beat…I’m sure they’ll win a game eventually, but to make the Jets legit, they needed to take no prisoners.  A win is a win is a win, so we should take pride in that.  Till next week of course, but momentum is a many splendored thing.

Perhaps we can look back at this game and see that Revis play and point and say, hey that’s where the season turned around.  It’s also at a point where it could be a footnote to an otherwise blah season.  Trust me, I’m used to that with the Mets.  I have had high hopes for this Jets team for awhile, and I hope they prove me right.  The good news is, they responded favorably to a good play and turned around quickly.

So the game was the capper of an otherwise fun party before the game.  Of course, I ran into Metstradamus on the train going back home.  Leave it to NJ Transit to stick it to us and pretend to be an efficient organization.  I can dream, can’t I?

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NYR: Foursquare Mayor of The Penalty Box

I have a feeling that this start to the season, in Europe, then coming back to the Eastern Time Zone, to the West Coast of Canada, then gallivanting over the Canadian countryside, might come to haunt the Rangers at some point.  Chances are, they’ll get their act together and they’ll string along a few wins, and I guess the silver lining is that they’ll be visiting Lose-a-peg in another week, so that could be promising.

Yet, I’ve seen some things that really kind of get to me at this point, so early in the season.  The taking of stupid-ass penalties being one of those things that are like a day ending in “Y,” they happen WAY too often, especially three games into the season.  The Islanders wasted no time in capitalizing on the way-too-many five-on-threes during the game.  I have to be honest, that John Tavares…he’s a rock star.  And it’s not very lightly that I take giving an IceLander a compliment, so I covet him officially.   Ugh.

So what has stood out in this short season is that the Rangers are the Mayor of the Penalty Box when they play…in fact, I hope they keep their check-ins modified because I’d really hate for them to not get their mayor points for being residents there.  /sarcasm

This was also one of the first games I watched that John Tortorella really annoyed me.  I actually was a fan of him, even gave him a pass (whether rightful or not) because it seemed like they had a shoestring (yes, don’t get me started on “shoestringing” a big market team with a large overheard…I’ll get to Village Idiot Dolan in a minute), so I figured maybe Brad Richards would be the rug that tied the room together.

I saw him SMILING when the Rangers were just getting their asses kicked on the power play and even penalty killing.  I just think he’s severely out of touch, he knows that Jimmy Wilpon, erm, DOLAN, and Glen Sather holds onto their “guys” for way too long.  Meaning, they don’t like admitting to their mistakes.   Torts though seems to be losing the team.  Really, it’s pathetic, when I know someone like Mike Keenan (back in the day) and Roger Neilson would have had those guys doing pushups for the stupid ass trips to the penalty box, in multiple games this year…and we’re only THREE GAMES IN!!!

Then there was the questionable move of taking Henrik Lundqvist out with almost TWO MINUTES left in the game.  Uh, why?  I get the empty net situation, it was sort of necessary…but I guess I would rather have our guy manning the net till about a minute left in the game, especially with the way Tavares was all over the zone like white on rice.  I mean, was Torts even WATCHING the same game I was??

Then there’s the question of the schedule.  I was at Game Four of the first round last year, and MSG was going through some construction then.  It was hellish getting around and walking in the concourses there.  It was hot as Hell there, and you couldn’t maneuver there as well.  I thought it was a combo of it being a high-ticket game, and the construction.  I was also sick with a head cold, and it just wasn’t pleasant.  So being that the Garden is still under construction, I had to wonder if this several games on the road is to help with the construction.

Now, I get that MSG needed a makeover, I know Dolan gets what Dolan wants…but it’s asinine that a majority of this couldn’t have happened in the offseason of both the Rangers and the Knicks.  I think a lot more could be done or at least, do it in small portions.  See, when you do a gut renovation, you start small, so that you can inhabit parts of it and have minor inconveniences here and there.  Clearly, Jim Dolan has no clue.  But what else is old?  If the renovation of the Garden is causing the delay of the Rangers season, trust me, it will come back to haunt them.  You heard it here first.

In the meantime, I hope the team has their Foursquare account current.  After all, with all the traveling, border crossing, and restaurants in the locales, they’ll be earning some serious points till they return to New York.

PS I also thought I would have a chance to go to this game…20/20 hindsight, I’m glad that I didn’t.  But I have to admit it was kinda cool to see the bells-and-whistles for the Islanders goals…and then basically 85% of the arena going nuts whenever the Rangers scored.  I must go to a game at the Mausoleum one of these days.

Oy! The Jets Of Our Lives

I have my favorite little niche of Tweeters on any given Sunday (sometimes Mondays, including this week), that I follow for football.  It’s not dissimilar to whom I follow for Mets or even Rangers news, although the frequency of tweets usually increases closer to game time, then of course that Monday Morning Quarterbacking issue we have on Twitter too.

One person I follow is a die-hard Jets fan (who was also featured in Amanda Rykoff‘s EspnW piece on female fans) who calls herself “SportsYenta.”  Her tweets are often hilarious, cutting (she was even in Mass last week for the game against New England, and I believe in Baltimore a week before that!), and she often ends her thoughts with a succinct and elegant in its brevity point to bring it all home.

“Oy.

(PS Follow her, because she’s really funny during games and cool as hell)

That’s essentially how I feel with this surplus of Jets news coming out, about how the team is basically falling apart at the seams due to one thing or another.   Just, OY.  Well, maybe things aren’t that bad, but if the local media had its way, that’s what you would believe, that this team is essentially going to become the next Boston Red Sox, without the chicken n’ beer.  OY.

Two weeks ago, we heard about how Offensive Coordinator Brian Schottenheimer caused a rift, specifically how there was a wide receiver mutiny regarding his play calling, which Rex Ryan promptly shut down those reports prior to last week’s game against New England.  Yet you have to wonder how much truth there was to that rumor, as one of the WRs mentioned prominently in Scotty-gate, Derrick Mason, was traded to the Houston Texans.  You can point to his lack of production, as the article states, or that he was a critic of Schotty.  He was benched in Sunday’s game, according to Ryan so they could get a better look at Jeremy Kerley, which would make sense if Ryan knew there was a trade down the pike.  Either way, he was the odd man out of the three prominently featured in the criticism, with Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress.

Oy.

Ryan spent a lot of time downplaying the story, yet this time there were no unnamed sources in the locker room, as Holmes is now attributing his quotes, ripping the offensive line.  Then Brandon Moore came out and said that there are just some things that should stay in the locker room.

Oy.

It’s not like Holmes hasn’t been immune to critics himself; after all, Jets legend Broadway Joe Namath joined in on the fun by criticizing Holmes for complaining to the media after the Baltimore game. Nice little story from a guy one of my friends found lying in a gutter, hungover, before a game in the 1970s…but I digress.

OY!

I think this drama is just going to get worse before Monday night’s game against the Miami Dolphins.  And with good reason. The Jets are on a three game losing streak, but the Dolphins have it much worse…they haven’t even won a friggin game this season.  Both teams will be on edge, or as Ryan calls it, like “Caged animals.”

The Jets certainly have a lot more to lose than the Dolphins this week.  After all, they have higher expectations than the Dolphins, and if the Dolphins lose another game, well, they have just lost ANOTHER game.  No big deal, since they haven’t won one yet.  Imagine going back to Miami, with a feather in their cap, beating the Jets?

OY!

But then the double-edged sword is that if the Jets lose to a defeated team, then all the whispers will turn into loud screams about who needs to go and what needs to be done…till the next week of course.

My feeling is that no one on the Jets right now is immune to criticism but you know what will stop it?  WINNING.  A good old-fashioned beat down that will make the Jets 3-3 and everyone will once again be talking about how wonderful and great they are.

Till then…we’ll be listening to the drama machine.  Like the sands of time, so go the Jets of our Lives.

Oy.

This One Is For Uncle Johnny

I discovered the wide world of Mets bloggers and blogging in 2004.  After that season ended, I needed an outlet, a community to share grievances and to laugh and to be with fans like me.  I started my own personal blog in 2007, when I was done with school and I wanted to expand my network of Mets friends and family, even calling my blog My Summer Family.

Shortly after starting the site, I was approached by a new forum with original content and rotating writers in the Mets blogosphere called Flushing University.  I met a bunch of lovely folks in there, most of them came from the Mets.com forums (I was always blocked during business hours from those sites though), and started their own site.  It was fun, quirky.  With a name like F.U., there was a double-entendre, but also gave us a chance to “lecture.”  But the lectures were fun.  I called out the Mets on their lack of love for Bill Shea in their CitiField schematics, talked about how moving the Dodgers to Los Angeles was the right move, among others.

The year 2007 was really the year of the blogger, as our networks expanded and there were a bunch of cool niche sites out there, especially regarding the Mets.  It truly was a special time to be a blogger then.

And that was where I met Johnny Lowe.

There was Mike, and Deb, and Gary G, and Dingo (whom I called Dingbat, all in affectionate terms), and there was Johnny.  At the time, there was a song by The Killers called “Uncle Jonny,” and in our email exchanges I called him, “Uncle Johnny” or “Uncle J.”  We were bonded by our love for the Mets.  We also had some other things in common, like our political and social beliefs, and even music.  I usually don’t preclude anyone who doesn’t share my political or social beliefs from being a good person, but that of course just gave him favorable points in my eyes.

He disliked living in Florida, which kept him away from seeing the Mets, but he loved his family, wife Stacey and their son Asher.

I could poke fun at him.  There was one instance when A-Rod opted out of his contract during the 2007 World Series, and he thought the Mets should go after him.  I disagreed.  He told me that A-Rod won a Gold Glove, which made him a good defensive player…I told him that I called him “E-Rod,” that only the Yankees would put someone at 3B who was the best SS in the league, and that Gold Gloves meant nothing since Bobby Abreu once won one.  He said Bobby Abreu was a fine caliber outfielder who deserved it.

My response was to use an emoticon that showed a smiley face being pulled up to the spaceship.  I told him to “Say ‘HI’ to Elvis for me!”

It was all in good fun.  Johnny was one of those guys who always had a great attitude, even if you disagreed with him.

Today, Johnny Lowe passed away from a bout of pancreatic cancer.

As with his attitude, he kept a positive outlook, wanted to be remembered positively, and not remembered as being “sick.”  I found out on Facebook, today, and even thought that I hadn’t heard from “Uncle J” in awhile, and I hoped that he was okay.  Mets friends have lost a few good ones this year, with Dana Brand and our friend and brother Adam Baker.  Uncle Johnny Lowe is another one of those guys.  His wife even posted that all he wanted was a party to celebrate his life, and not a solemn memorial service.  There will be a celebration of his life, and I wish I could be there, alas it is in Florida.  I guess it’s fitting, as Johnny was one of those folks I never met in person, but had an impact on me in the cyberworld.

I’d like to think that if there is an afterlife, that he’s jamming with Jerry Garcia with a continuous loop of 1969 and 1986 Mets championships playing in the background. In this lifetime, though, our friend Mack Ade has set up a college fund contribution for Asher Lowe, please see details of it at Mack’s blog.

This one is for Uncle Johnny.  I will never forget you, my friend.

Chicken N’ Beer

What came first– the wins…or clubhouse chemistry?

Back in 2006, the Mets had gone on an improbable run, all the way to Game Seven of the NLCS.  People attributed the wins to a combination of talent and that ever-elusive “Clubhouse Chemistry.”  Remember the title article on Sports Illustrated, “Captain Red Ass and the Intrepid Mets?”

With players like Julio Franco (seriously?), Carlos Delgado (f’ing shocker) and Pedro Martinez (who wasn’t around nearly enough in the next few years to contribute to chemistry), it was hard to argue that there was something going on behind the scenes there. However, if you remember, the year before, Carlos Delgado had turned down more money to play in Florida “because he had a better chance of winning there” (meanwhile, I argued that had he signed with the Mets originally, they probably would have gone further in 2005 AND further than the Marlins, as evidenced that year), and although the Mets finished over .500, it was hard to get a good “read” on it because Mr. Stoic Carlos Beltran and Mike Piazza, himself a quiet clubhouse presence, even though he was rounding out his seven years in New York at the time, weren’t letting on there was any.  In 2006, they were shouting it from the mountaintops.

I was inspired by a few things today that caused me to analyze this type of chemistry.  See, I thought about the 2011 Mets, and their take on chemistry.  Look at RA Dickey and Justin Turner, to name a few.  Dickey was officially and unofficially “the man” whether he was on the mound or hanging out in the clubhouse.  His teammates loved him, went to bat for him (though usually, just not in games when it mattered) and even when he joined Twitter, interacted with fans on a level that they all fell in love with his gigantic personality even more.  Turner inspired us to make a “Justin Turner Facts” page on Facebook, and caused the team to play with a common purpose.  It was evident what the Mets lacked this year to prohibit them from winning, and it certainly wasn’t chemistry…it was clear that these guys love each other.  Even Carlos Beltran, who was traded midseason to the San Francisco Giants, caused a few tears to be shed when he left.  A guy that a good percentage of fans were not all that warm about.  Clearly, chemistry wasn’t enough of an X-factor to propel the Mets to even a winning season, let alone make the playoffs.

Yet, today, an article on that very topic, clubhouse chemistry, appeared while discussing the Boston Red Sox.  There is massive upheaval in New England, with Terry Francona stepping away (though it was an option non-exercise, he had an option to return, the team and he decided to part ways), and today it was announced that General Manager Theo Epstein is leaving the Red Sox to join the Chicago Cubs, a team as “cursed” with lack of pennants as the Sox were when he joined.

A lot of this was knee-jerk.  Epstein’s good work certainly outweighed his bad, though there could always be the argument that a managerial change could be good for the chemistry of the clubhouse.  Blah blah blah.  As someone brought up on Twitter, if Epstein brought Francona over to manage the Cubs and they win there, chances are, Boston will kick themselves for letting go of two guys who could make a difference on a team, although they aren’t actually playing games on the field, they’re certainly as integral to the operations of the team as any player.

The other side to the argument though is not clubhouse chemistry but the actual clubhouse, a tangible item that is viewed daily.  People in Boston are still trying to figure out what went wrong, when the reality is…there were a ton of things.  When the Mets collapsed in 2007, people easily pointed to Tom Glavine and his last game performance.  The reality was, there were plenty of games the team SHOULD HAVE won and COULD HAVE won earlier in the season, and we wouldn’t even be discussing him getting blown out of the water in less than inning in his last start.  There was a definitive power-decline in Carlos Delgado all season, Beltran was injured, Martinez only made a handful of starts in the last month of the year, that goddamn rainout made up in September (the Joel Pineiro game) that I am convinced would have been a W if they had played in June…Ah, but I digress.

Chances are, it’s never just one person or one thing or even one game.  This is a team sport, but it’s certainly easy to forget that when your team is losing and doesn’t seem to care.

Bob Hohler of the Boston Globe has a post today of why the Sox season turned out the way it did.  It’s hard not to agree with it, since he doesn’t just outright blame the management, the front office or the players.  Yet, he does single out certain players, for better or worse.  Normally, I don’t give much credence to “anonymous sources” in the clubhouse, and this isn’t exactly an endorsement.  The article did make me think, however, about multiple-failures leading to such a visible collapse, especially of a big market team that was supposedly destined for such greatness.

Some of the accusations are as follows:

  • The starting trio of Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Jon Lester were more concerned with relaxing, eating fast food fried chicken and drinking beer before games, rather than preparation.  If true, not surprising with Lackey, but Beckett and Lester were part of previous winning teams in Boston.  Perhaps experience got the better of Beckett and Lester: they figured the Sox would find a way to win games at the end.
  • Terry Francona lost the ability to make himself heard and accountable in the clubhouse, due to marital woes (something Lackey is familiar with himself) and living out of a suitcase.  I call BS on the upheaval in Francona’s life, he’s a former ballplayer, he’s used to living life out of a suitcase.  Yet, I can see how he might have lost his voice there, and lost support of certain vets.  I mean, it happens to the best of managers (or the worst: looking at YOU Willie Randolph).
  • David Ortiz and Jason Varitek, known as the “heart and soul” of the team, were losing their effectiveness on the clubhouse as well.  Jacoby Ellsbury and Dustin Pedroia, as examples, had a hard time getting heard in the clubhouse, and I can understand that.  This is almost the David Wright and Jose Reyes syndrome here in NYC: they were “protected” by veteran presences, and when it came time to make it “their team,” their faces of the franchise status is synonymous with losing.
  • Some players dedicated, some not.  Others taking batting practice, others not.  I usually have no issues with that, since these are professional players, who practice what works for them.
  • Front office and clubhouse celebrity death match.  Hohler related the story of how the players came down hard on the front office for caring more about making money than wins, when pushing for a doubleheader after a particularly grueling stretch.  It’s easy to see the team faltering down the stretch after that.  I can’t say I agree with it, but for a team with such high expectations, the onus is on them to win fucking games.
  • Being famous has its perks, like free beer.  Some Red Sox pitchers were featured in a video called “Hell Yeah I Like Beer,” and subsequently were some of the same guys who were not showing support in their clubhouse as the team was losing.  Well, that really sucks if it’s really true.  I can certainly understand when one player (Carlos Delgado) or one pitcher (Pedro Martinez) doesn’t take their sucking or conditioning seriously, and it hurts the team.

Perhaps at the end of the day, Francona did lose the clubhouse, which is understandable when or if he would try to get them to not participate in things that they once were able to, because of the circumstances. Then again, they are big boys and know that winning is important, since they’ve all been around the good and bad of baseball.

Something else that the article doesn’t focus on, but it’s one worth exploring: the fact that the Sox lost several critical games to the Tampa Bay Rays, the team that won the wild card, and while owning the Yankees at the earlier part of the season, dropped several games down the stretch to them.  At the end of the day, wins and losses are what causes a team to falter.  Yet, the Sox and the area writers and their fans are trying to figure out what went wrong. It’s never just ONE thing…at the root of it all, if a lack of winning, and sometimes  you need to just chalk it up to it simply wasn’t their year.

I feel for Red Sox fans: after all, they are kind of like our brother-from-another-mother, the enemy of my enemy, etc etc.  And it’s not like I’ve not been through this before: I have been, several times over in my tenure as a Mets fan.  I’d like to tell them “It Gets Better,” but I can honestly say, it hasn’t gotten better for us.  Then again, our problems are different, and has to do with more of an inept and bumbling front office than anything else.

Maybe some things will turn around.  Maybe they can trade Lackey, and Carl Crawford will have a bounce back year and be the player they thought he’d be.  Perhaps change IS good, and will get players motivated to perform and be more dedicated to the team.  Yet, to 2011, I can say that winning games matters, whenever they happen.  As Francona said, no one said jack when the team went 80-41 from April to August, after starting the year slowly, then finishing slowly.  It’s that old saying, all teams will win 50 games, all teams will lose 50 games…it’s what they do with the other 62 that matters.

I say, eat all the fried chicken and drink all the beer you want.  If you are winning games, people will want to join you.  Just be careful when you lose, that you are not getting a haircut or playing cards or drinking beer.  You’ll get batteries thrown at you, some verbal, some real.

Moonstruck

Hey Jets!

SNAP OUT OF IT!!!

This team is driving me nuts and not in a good way.

How shall I count these ways?

A 2-3 start/record and a three game losing streak isn’t totally insurmountable.  It’s just the way it happened, and against the Patriots of all teams, that makes me upset.

After a loss like this, you just get the questions about “who is to blame?”  The fact is, this was a team loss if there was any.   At the end of the day, the Pats didn’t beat the Jets, the Jets beat themselves.  Period, end of story.

Mark Sanchez’s game was reminiscent of the conference game last year against the Steelers, when he got his act together too little, too late.  Stupid f’ing penalties.  Brian Schottenheimer third-guessing himself.  Prior to the game, there was news that WRs Plaxico Burress, Santonio Holmes and Derrick Mason complained about Schotty’s play calling.  Of course, they all get on the defensive and deny, deny, deny afterwards.

Rex Ryan claims he still has faith in this team, and you know what, I do too.  It’s not unrealistic to lose three in a row: we were just hoping they wouldn’t have done that so early in the season.

Again, it just sucks it was against the HATEtriots.  Oh, and there was some serious home-cooking going on with the officiating there (and basically readjustments of jock straps by the officials of certain Patriot players…I know I was not alone in this, and this is not “Bitter Jets Fan” talking…it was for realz).

So now, we’ve got players trying to outplay, out-think and outdo each other.  You know what I have to say about that?

SNAP OUT OF IT!!!!!

And quit pissin’ me off!

OK so here’s my conclusion: if you can’t blame Rex 100%, can’t blame Sanchez 100%, or Schotty, or defense or the offense…blame everyone.

I guess the good news, as Jon Presser pointed out to me on Twitter, is that they haven’t played their best ball yet…they’re trending upward.  Blah blah blah. I guess I can take that with a grain of salt, especially playing the Dolphins at home next week as well, that can be a very good thing for the team, to beat a bad team.  Perhaps they’ll take the week to sit in the corner and think about what they’ve done.

In the meantime, though, we’re having a full moon upon us, la bella luna, la pazza luna, and the Jets will be playing Monday night against Miami, in full moon territory.

Stranger things have happened.  As long as the hope that Rex Ryan has for his team comes out, they’ll be okay.

They just need to snap out of it.

Rangers Play Like Swedish Chef Cooks

See the resemblance between Henke and the Swedish Chef?

No? Well, they both have similar facial hair.  The resemblance was more of how the Rangers played in Sweden, and how the Swedish Chef cooks.  Disorganized, disjointed, a bit haphazard.

I suppose starting a year 0-0-2 could be much worse.  I hate those goddamn shootouts.  And OT games need not apply in the first two games of the season. Just sayin’.

Few things: I watched only Friday’s game, since I was away from home most of Saturday afternoon.  I followed the game closely on Friday, since I watched it, and Saturday I followed on Twitter.  It was funny listening to Sam Rosen calling the game for Rangers on Friday, as every time he stumbled over Mike Richards from the LA Kings’ name,  like he wanted to say “RICH-ter.”  Saturday, I heard that Bradley Richards scored his first goal.  Welcome to New York!  Or rather, Stockholm.

It just sucks though because I think the Rangers just aren’t used to a guy who not only knows how to score but can set it up too.  What a novel thought. It’s almost as if they weren’t prepared though they’ve been practicing with him for quite some time.  It’s like – holy crap, we’re no longer Smurfs On Ice!

Like, the whole la-la-la look-at-me I’m-so-pretty thing is no longer applicable.  Except it kinda is, cause if they’re not prepared for a shooter-and-doer like Richards, then we’re in bigger trouble than we thought.

But fear not, Ranger fans, we’ve got this one.  So we drop two in Sweden to start the season, big deal.  Though it was kind of a big deal for the homecoming for King Henrik or “Henke” as they call him in his homeland.

So how appropriate that the Swedish Chef throws shit around in his kitchen, and the Rangers threw shit around during their games in Sweden?  They must have thought he was saying “Bourque Bourque Bourque,” like it was code for something for Ryan Bourque, rather than “Bork Bork Bork,” like his usual tune.

Ah well.  Get back to the states boys, I miss you. Bork Bork Bork indeed.

Phrontrunners

Every sport has them.  I couldn’t help but think of them today when I thinking about my last post on the New England Patriots, and how much I dislike them.  No one ever talks about how they could barely give tickets away in previous years, when no one really gave a shit about them as a team, especially in their own region, especially before they became Brady’s bunch.  Well, maybe that’s a little harsh.  But I suppose three Super Bowl championships in the last decade, and also in a span of five seasons can get some national recognition, especially with a pretty boy quarterback.

A fine recipe for frontrunning.

It’s tough to see what came first: the frontrunner or the fan.  I couldn’t help but think of that during the baseball playoffs this year, especially with two teams, the Yankees and the Phillies.  Of course, I have a direct hatred of both these teams.  The Yankees pretty much for what they represent.  The Mets could literally pitch their first no-hitter in history, and the local papers would say, “Mets Lose Perfect Game in Third, Get First No-Hitter.”  This has to do with the Yankee-bias in the local media for sure.

Fuck GMJ and His Old Man!

But homerism abounds in the Yankee world as well as in Philadelphia.  See, Philly cries (like Sarge said the Mets do) each year whether they win or lose, claiming they are in New York’s shadow, but they bring a lot of that on themselves.  When Jimmy Rollins stands up at the parade in 2008, and calls out Jose Reyes…and player he didn’t even FACE let alone who didn’t even make the friggin playoffs that year…it says to me there’s a little bit of a bias in their own eyes, and it didn’t even fuckin matter then.

I guess my point of this ramble is that I’ve seen a lot of frontrunning on either side of that spectrum, and it’s a question I’ve raised with myself: are these people “fans” before the team starts to win, or after?  It seems simplistic, and I’m sure it’s an open-ended questions.  Yet, I feel in the case of the Phillies and Yankees, it’s worse more-so in the case of the Phillies simply because they rarely win anything.

Prior to 2007, no one went to Mets/Phillies games at Citizens Bank Park.  NO ONE. I could go to Mets/Phils there and it would easily be 65/35 in favor of Mets fans.  Then 2008 rolled around, and there was probably close to 50/50.  Today, you’d be hard-pressed to see someone in blue and orange, and even if they do root for the Mets, they might not be wont to wear their colors.  Funny what “winning” will do to a franchise.

Here’s my thing: everyone will point and say no one cared about the Phillies prior to 2007, and they’d be right.  Hell, I think even Philly sports fans agree with that.  I’ve often said five World Series rings mean nothing, as they’d trade it all in for one Super Bowl.  Even when the Flyers made their improbable Cup run, I theorized the same thing (a few Philly fans shot me down, but I know them, and I know they are real fans…like, two out of the five I know).  Anyway, my point is, booing Ryan Howard as he collapsed from an Achilles injury, as he made the last out the second year in a row to end the Phillies’ postseason run, means that Philly fans have met our expectations loud and clear, literally.

Winning can also bring the worst in storied franchises.  Look at the Yankees.  I know they are deep-rooted in baseball history, they are the winningest franchise, etc etc etc.  If you’ll excuse me, barf.  Anyway, I get it.  But prior to 1996, no one was a Yankees fan.  None, at least, were out and proud about it.  And I will venture to say many “lifelong Yankees fans*” (*Since 1996) were turncoat Mets fans.  I know this, because I know at least five people in my family who qualify for that title (after we openly rooted for the Mets together in 1986…wearing Mets stuff…that had nothing to do with an East Coast bias, trust me). Meanwhile, the Yankees main concern is whether their overweight overpaid “ace” CC Sabathia will opt out.  As Tyler Kepner said, the Yankees after an unsuccessful postseason is akin to a banker running to Tiffany’s to fix a damaged relationship.

A team with a $200mm payroll has to spend more in order to gather goodwill with its fans?  No wonder they are all spoiled brats: winning the World Series each year is an unrealistic goal.  Period.

Sports teams all over have frontrunners.  But I couldn’t help but wonder when the Mets start winning, will all those annoying fans be ours?  I know that I’m not going anywhere, I know I’ll have my season ticket package, will still follow them on the road, will still write about them.  I feel like because I am super connected with all these folks that I’ll be rejoicing with several close friends whom I also consider family.  Yet, there will be a shit ton more people who are going simply because the Mets are winning.  I know they are hard to watch at times now, but I still manage to watch, even live, even on the road (even chronicled here, as a devoted female fan in the area!).  Am I somehow better than the people who won’t go?  Can’t say I am.

All you hear is silence in CitiField now.  But the Yankees and Phillies fans have shown they can be spoiled brats because of a taste of winning they have.  Which is frontrunneritis.  Their players better get used to it, especially Ryan Howard, whose 5/$125mm contract goes into effect next year…which he’s already projected to be out.  This should be entertaining (also, for other Phillies schadenfraude, read Studious Metsimus‘ post on Phorecasting the Phuture).

I know sports are not immune to frontrunneritis.  It’s just something to keep us entertained when teams win, then their ultimate downfall when they lose.

The HATETriots: An East Coast Bias

I really have no idea why I dislike Boston (and Massachusetts, and hell, most of New England) so much.

I don’t *hate* the Boston Bruins, although a rivalry would be realistic between my Original Six team (the Rangers) and their O6 team.

I don’t *dislike* the Boston Red Sox, although my Mets played them in the 1986 World Series, but you know the old saying…”The enemy of my enemy…” Etc., etc.  (And well, I really REALLY dislike the Yankees, for certain).

My mother makes fun of me.  She claims that my bias against Boston and surrounding areas is a “New York Superiority Thing.”  I can’t disagree, although it’s not a conscious thing.  My friend Ms. Chap said it best…when she moved to Boston for three years after spending most of her life in the New York surrounding areas, she said, “I hated it on sight.”  I felt the same way the first time I ever visited Beantown.

No disrespect to my Boston brothers and sisters.  I just don’t care for it all that much up there.

But hey, my dislike of the New England Patriots? Yeah, it’s intense.  And it’s for shizzle.  For realz.  You get the idea, I’m sure.  I certainly have an East Coast Bias, and it has nothing to do with their location.  They’re certainly my Jets’ enemy, and I relish that like no other.  Like I’ve said before, there’s no shit talker like an NFL shit talker, and there’s no bias like an NFL bias.

Look at these two pretty boys!

Possibly because their pretty boy Tom Brady is their star QB.  Although I think he’s kind of like the “Derek Jeter” for lack of a better term QB of NE.  He’s a media ho’, a guy whose likeness is everywhere.  I can’t deny he is talented.  I really can’t.  And yes, I can acknowledge that my guy, Mark Sanchez, is a teensy bit overrated.  That, I think, has more to do with New York-sized expectations, though.  This is the pretty boy bowl, for sure.  And no one likes a pretty boy.  Unless, you know, you root for one.

So the Jets have a huge amount of expectations steeped upon them this year.  Two years in a row, the young-ish team has made it to the Conference championship game, to fall just short each year.  To say there’s a high level expected of them this season is without a doubt an understatement.

Yet, after a strong home start, then falling short two games on the road, people are freaking the funk about them potentially coming back to JetLife Stadium next weekend being 2-3.

Yet, they seem to forget that this is a team that goes through these hiccups each season, that they could just as easily be 3-2 coming back home.  It wouldn’t be the best case scenario, but it’s a decent case and they could make up for the lack of goodwill these last two games by taking this from the Patriots.

It also would intensify the rivalry.  I mean, look at Twitter during these games.  Lots of shit talkers on each side.  It’s fun, and it’s real.  It’s East Coast Bias, through and through.

The Jets are taking this game seriously too.  The Jets know they’ve been knocked around, they don’t need to read the local papers and listen to the Monday morning QBs about it, they are very aware. They also realize how important it is to win against the Jets.  Key to the game this week: Make it Physical.

Nick Mangold has been out nursing an ankle injury.  There was a chance he was to come back last week, but he’s declared himself fit for duty today.  This will certainly change the dynamic of their running game, which happens to be the Patriots’ strong point.  Either way, the dynamic needs to change.  One game can change that dynamic, for better or worse.  Things can get a little hairy, as Santonio Holmes, Plaxico Burress and Derrick Mason have voiced grievances over the playcalling (recent whipping boy Brian Schottenheimer coming under fire too for it).

You know what I say about that?  PUT ON YOUR BIG BOY PANTS AND DEAL WITH IT!  You’re playing the New England goddamn Patriots, for fuck’s sake.  Take the bull by the balls, and kick their asses all over Gillette Stadium.

Now, that I’m done with that.  I really really don’t like the Patriots.  So we win this week, and do what you want when you get back to JetLife, as long it means winning.  Kthxbye.

Hocktoberfest!

Can you hear that bitchezzz?  That’s the puck dropping on the ice for the first time.  YEAH!

As a baseball chick, nothing takes the place for me as the “most wonderful time of the year” as baseball’s Opening Day.  A close second, though, would be the start of hockey season.  I’ve always felt that hockey was a better place holder for me to keep me occupied from the start and end of baseball season. Since the seasons typically overlap, if the Mets piss me off, I can have the Rangers to get my blood pressure even or at very least the same level.  When the Mets aren’t playing in October, I can look forward to having more games during the week and a better redemption factor than football once a week (and let’s not get me started on redemption factors with Jets, okay?).  Hmm. As a matter of fact, maybe I shouldn’t be watching sports, if all they do is make me miserable.

I came to football later in life.  I always dabbled in my fandom, always for the Jets, but didn’t start to truly “get into it” till around 2002.  That was also the year I started going to live games.  I saw no coincidence that the year I started going to live hockey games was also the year I consider myself becoming a true fan, which was in 1988.

I was a contemporary of John Vanbiesbrouck, Brian Leetch and Tony Granato.  I remember the Ogrodnick-Kisio-Mullen line.  My heart was broken when Granato was later traded for Bernie Nicholls (what the what?).

I was across the street from the Garden when Mark Messier hoisted the Cup for the Garden Faithful.  I partied in the streets of New York City after that moment.

I gave up on hockey, after their strike year.  I was done with it.  I was tired of putting energy into a product that wasn’t caring enough for its fans.  My dad warned me though, “You’ll be back…That kid Lundqvist…his jersey will be hanging from the rafters after he’s done.”  Before I knew it, I was back, as fate would have it, after the Mets broke my heart in 2007. (And have I mentioned how much I LOOOOOVE Henrik Lundqvist now???)

The joys of being a Mets, Jets and Rangers fan: I have three chances a year to get my heart broken.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Some people don’t understand being a hockey fan.  I can tell you this: go to a live game.  Find a rooting interest.  Just do it.  I can’t watch hockey on TV since I’m an old lady with slowing reflexes but I can tell you that watching on TV takes away from the game, and watching live is an experience in and of itself.  Just do it.  Then make the decision if you are a hockey fan or not.

The Rangers won’t have a home game till later in the month…but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy yourself in the meantime.

There will be a viewing party tomorrow at 12:30 till 3:30 at Local West, the Beer Garden at 1 Penn Plaza, to see the Rangers open their season in Sveeden, ya, against the Los Angeles Kings.  May the best Richards (Mike or Brad, ha ha) win!

In the meantime, my NYR partner-in-crime, @sfmerkakis, and I are trying to drum up interest to see the Rangers play the Icelanders at the Mausoleum on the 15th. Who’s with us???  We like to drink and make fun of the team.  Actually, it’s not much different from going to a baseball or football game with me.

FACE OFF!!!!!