Now that the Great Balloon Hoax of Aught-Nine is over, we can concentrate on sports again (C.C. Sabathia’s uniform is so big and baggy, it could probably be filled with helium and flown across the country, too).
This past week in New York sports, the Yankees swept the Twins and now have to take on those pesky, team-of-destiny Angels. The Giants killed the Raiders to stay undefeated, the Jets suffered their second consecutive loss, the Rangers kept on winning, the Devils heated up, but the poor Islanders still couldn’t manage to notch their first victory of the year.
The most bizarre moment of the week, though, was the Mickey Rourke sighting on the Giants sideline. And Kevin Bacon showed up at Madison Square Garden for the Knicks preseason home opener. Is the cast of "Diner" making the rounds of the local sports teams to commemorate the 27th anniversary of the movie?
Besides being at the Knicks game, Bacon could also be seen hiding in the Yankees dugout on Friday because, unbeknownst to A. J. Burnett, that was Shrevie’s wife , donned in curly black wig, behind the plate and not Jose Molina (or even Carol Heathrow for that matter).
And wasn’t that Daniel Stern with a headset on standing next to Rex Ryan on "Monday Night Football?" I’m not an expert in lip reading, but I think Kris Jenkins put Stern’s James Brown album in the jazz section, and Stern was none too happy about it. I’m pretty sure he was also yelling at the Jets defense, “You never ask me what’s on the flip side!”
Paul Reiser was spotted sitting at the end of the Islanders bench on Monday wondering if John Tavares was going to finish his sandwich and telling him, “You know what word I’m not comfortable with? Nuance. It’s not a real word. Like gesture. Gesture’s a real word. With gesture you know where you stand. But nuance? I don’t know. Maybe I’m wrong.”
Tim Daly ended up in the penalty box during Wednesday’s Rangers game, and was heard yelling at the Kings, “I’ll hit you so hard, I’ll kill your whole family!” And, yes, that was Steve Guttenberg playing goalie for the Devils against Washington on Monday. He did play Jim Craig in made-for-TV movie Miracle on Ice , after all. Martin Brodeur was busy taking Guttenberg’s hockey quiz, so the actor had to fill in for him.
Player of the Week
Alex Rodriguez: The Yanks’ third baseman batted .455, with two home runs and six RBI in the division series against the Twins, and belted a game-tying two-run dinger in the bottom of the ninth on Friday. His transformation from a steroid cheating, adulterous, narcissistic, megalomaniac phony to just a regular narcissistic phony is the talk of the town. He’s even going to star in an upcoming movie, The Pride of Scott Boras .
Ahmad Bradshaw: The Giants backup running back only had 11 carries, but gained an impressive 110 yards and scored two touchdowns.
Andy Pettitte: Sunday was Pettitte’s 36th postseason start, the most in MLB history, and his 15th win tied him with John Smoltz for most victories. Of course the postseason lasts almost as long as the regular season now. Whitey Ford could have won 30 games if had a chance to pitch in the “postseason” and not just the World Series.
Mariano Rivera: It’s Mariano Rivera Appreciation Week. Look at Joe Nathan, Jonathan Papelbon, and Huston Street as exhibits A, B, and C to see how good the Yankees have it. The best closer in the history of closers pitched 3.2 scoreless innings, with seven strikeouts and one walk in the three game series.
Mark Teixeira: The MVP candidate blasted a walk-off homer that just cleared the fence on Friday. Now that it’s playoff time, the deep-pocketed Yankees have specially made shaving cream pies flown in direct from the Gillette factory (though the Yankees had to hire a shaving cream taster to test them for poison beforehand since Gillette is located in South Boston).
Eli Manning: Things couldn’t have worked out better for Manning and the Giants. He was in the game Sunday just long enough to test out his foot and build up a quick 28-0 lead. He went 8-for-10, throwing for 173 yards and two touchdowns. He finished with a perfect quarterback rating of 158.3, which was, coincidentally, the same score I got on my SATs.
David Carr: The backup quarterback mopped up for two-plus quarters, going 9-for-14 (90 yards), and had a rushing touchdown.
Justin Tuck: The monster defensive end recorded two sacks, a forced fumble and a fumble recovery. He led the defense, which dominated―six sacks, three forced fumbles, 124 total yards allowed, and they didn’t give up a first down until well into the second quarter.
Braylon Edwards: The new Jets receiver made his presence felt in his debut, hauling in five passes for 64 yards, including a few acrobatic catches and a touchdown.
Vinny Prospal: The veteran left winger notched two goals and four assists in the three games the Rangers played this week, and netted the 200th goal of his career.
Marian Gaborik: Mr. Third Period scored two goals and had two assists in three games. He has a point in all seven contests played by the Blueshirts this season.
David Clarkson: The Devils’ winger scored the game-winner in Saturday’s victory over Florida, and tied the game in the third period in Monday’s shootout win against Washington.
Schmuck of the Week
Rex Ryan: Uh-oh. Did Ryan take classes at the Herm Edwards school of clock management? His defense didn’t seem prepared, but at least he blamed himself for the Jets’ loss to the Dolphins. So he practically volunteered to be the Schmuck of the Week. Don’t forget, he’s a rookie, too. You could throw a few of the Jets players on here for whining about Miami’s wildcat offense.