The dream is over.
This year’s version of the J-E-T-S Jets, Jets, Jets certainly doesn’t look like “the same old Jets,” though. They’re more like the 1973 "Ya Gotta Believe" Mets, arriving out of nowhere to come oh-so-close to a championship.
They’re a team we’ll look back on with positive feelings, and one worth celebrating. They went further than anyone imagined, and have a future that certainly looks bright, with a successful coach and franchise quarterback in place (though Mark Sanchez now needs surgery on one knee and will be rehabbing the other—maybe he really is the reincarnation of Joe Namath ).
The whole weekend was pretty much a nightmare for New York sports, though. The Rangers were embarrassed by Montreal on Saturday night, 6-0, the Knicks were humiliated by Dallas, 128-78, the Nets lost to Utah, 116-83, the Islanders lost to New Jersey (OK, one local team won, but one of them had to) and, of course, the Jets were knocked out of playoffs.
Unfortunately, I can think of worse weekends that took place in my life.
I once spent a rainy Saturday and Sunday trapped in my house when I was nine years old while my father tried to sell me life insurance for 48 straight hours. There was the time when my wife went out of town, and I had to make my own dinner. Twice.
Oh, the horror...
Then there was the occasion when I drove down to spring break with John Sterling and Suzyn Waldman. For a full weekend I was stuck in a Volkswagon Beetle with the duo as they gushed about Roger Clemens and the Giambino. So all of those hellish scenarios help to put this past weekend in perspective.
Here are the top stories this week in the world of New York sports:
Close But No Cigar
The AFC Championship game pitted the No. 1 D against the No. 1 QB, and the QB won.
The day can be summed up easily: Too much Peyton Manning (but let’s not forget about Pierre Garcon—with a name like that, why isn’t he playing for the Saints?).
Manning is one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, and even the Jets’ vaunted defense could do nothing to rattle or stop him. The Shonn Greene injury hurt the Jets, but Greene wouldn’t have helped in stopping Manning. At least they were beaten by a better team.
There was no controversy. No nightmarish ending. Imagine being a Vikings fan right now.
Losing certainly didn’t stop Rex Ryan from talking. After his Super Bowl favorite theory went up in flames, he took a little potshot at the Giants, declaring the Jets the “biggest show in town,” and he was absolutely outraged that Andre Dawson will be going into the Baseball Hall of Fame wearing a Montreal Expos hat instead of a New York Jets cap.
Yes! The Nets win the pennant! The Nets win the pennant! The Nets win the pennant!
OK, the Nets didn’t win the pennant. There isn’t even a pennant in basketball.
But they finally won their fourth game of the season on Wednesday, beating the Clippers, 103-87. It was their first victory since beating the Knicks on Dec. 30. Kris Humphries pumped in 25 points coming off the bench, Keyon Dooling added 18 points—10 in the fourth quarter—and eight assists, Brook Lopez had 19 points and nine rebounds, and Terrence Williams was all-around spectacular—seven points, eight assists, nine rebounds.
And, yes, they played defense, too.
In other news, Lopez will be playing in the Rookie Challenge for the second year in a row.
Let’s See How They React
The Knicks followed up their routine loss to the Lakers, with a 50-point drubbing to Dallas. It was the worst home loss in franchise history.
How would they react to that? By blowing out Minnesota, 132-105.
Well, at least we know they’re resilient. Unfortunately, they then lost a squeaker last night in a game they should have won (and Jared Jeffries and Al Harrington could be headed for surgery).
Danilo Gallinari was chosen to play in the Rookie Challenge during All-Star weekend, but David Lee was shunned by the All-Star selection crew. He took his frustrations out on Toronto with his 29 point, 18 rebound effort. The last Knicks to be named to the All-Star game were Latrell Sprewell and Allan Houston, all the way back in 2001.
The good news: Johan Santana threw off a mound for the first time since last season on Tuesday, and felt great.
The bad news: Oliver Perez also threw, which means he’s still on the team.
Perez has grown a beard and has a new and improved physique in the hopes that nobody would recognize him (except for the team’s payroll accountant, of course).
In other minor Met news, the team traded for Gary Matthews, Jr.
Here are the pros of that acquisition: He adds outfield depth, can play center, and he’s cheap (the Angels will be paying over $20 million of the rest of his contract, while the Mets only pay $1.25 mil a year the next two seasons).
Here are the cons: he’s a PED cheat, which was the reason behind his one good season in his career, he’s a supposed “clubhouse cancer,” he stinks, he’s old, and the Mets gave up a serviceable reliever to get him.
If the Angels can eat all of that money and find a sucker to take Matthews off their hands, couldn’t the Mets do the same thing with Luis Castillo ?
Oh right, the Mets are the sucker. I keep forgetting.
It looks like Fernando Tatis will be back yet again, and the starting rotation will also be the same old story. So much for any kind of overhaul or change in clubhouse culture. Omar Minaya just can’t let go of the past, can he? No matter how nightmarish it’s been.
The New Yankee
Say hello to Randy Winn. Say good-bye to Johnny Damon.
Winn can play all three outfield positions, but his main asset is, much like Greg Brady when he became Johnny Bravo, he “fits the suit”—meaning he signed for the $2 million the Yankees had left in their budget. Let’s face it, in these difficult times it’s hard finding 25 players for $200 million.
The Sinking Rangers
Nothing’s going right for the Blueshirts. They can’t score, they have no confidence, Marian Gaborik and Henrik Lundqvist are struggling, they have a four-game losing streak, James Dolan is still their owner, Glen Sather is still their president/GM, they’re sinking in the standings.
Things are snowballing out of control.
“The best thing for us to do is to get out of town; the further the better,” stated John Tortorella after Wednesday’s game.
You can run, but you can’t hide.