I read something very silly in the NY Post today about all the nasty mud slinging and recrimination being passed between the parties in this latest NFL tug of war.
Even on a modest scale, no Charlie Sheen—TV mogul comparisons here, considering the magnitude of the situation, things have been reasonably civil at least in terms of outspoken forays meant to engender any kind of public support.
It's pretty evident neither side stands a chance on that front. In a depleted economy—where fan bases everywhere have continued to pay insane PL, Ticket, Jersey, Memorabilia, even Beer & Hot Dog prices making all of these guys richer by the passing moment—disgust is bound to be the only response to an inconclusive month or more of labor talks which will now head into the deeper than deep abyss of the American legal system.
Amidst a plethora of ludicrous stances or rationalizations from both sides, the one that really jumps out, at least for us, is the owners dogged refusal to turn over their books while in the supposed midst of negotiating revenue sharing.
That stand comes on the fast heels of numbers that have only recently came back to us from the world of baseball where talking franchise heads like the Marlin's, "Cry Poverty Kid", Jeffrey Lauria, were suddenly shown to be reaping sizable to enormous, annual operating profits, if not a significant chunk of those altogether golden, retained earnings.
As infuriating as it is for the fan base, and no, you don't get to ask your boss to open his books when it comes time for your year ending bonus—that is if such a thing even continues to exist—to an extent you have to be able to relate or at least conceive of the apparent, player side dilemma—in essence, "You say we're going to equitably share the in pie, but you're not under any circumstances willing to let us in on how big the pie actually is."
That kind of, "Don't even think of dictating terms to us", mentality has deep roots in American Sports franchise ownership going back to the days of ruthless fat cats like Walter Comiskey, one time reluctant check signer of the old Chicago Black Sox.
We all know how that ended up, and wouldn't it be nice if an Arlen Specter like Senatorial voice would suddenly come streaking to the forefront of this seemingly impassable NFL labor debate before things actually reach a point where the 2011 season is even more seriously endangered then it is now.
Because it's clear the principals are not coming to an agreement on their own.
The court system? Well it's upon us that's for sure, but realistically speaking unless the man or woman holding the gavel is a monster football fan this walkout/lockout thing might just get mired in the kind of litigation enhanced bog that will ultimately come to threaten the 2012 season much less the one currently pending.
So why not a few formidable, poll conscious, vote seeking members of government barking signals that call for a Packer like slant up the middle that results in season saving compromise?
After all, if they were willing to stick their elongated noses into the business of steroids in baseball, which in truth was only nominally affecting the fan base, then why not the NFL, where a lost season is the last thing our once robust, but currently problem plagued nation needs to suffer.
In fact, we've got a sports loving President who right about now could use the kind of political shot in the arm tens of millions of NFL fan could readily supply come phase two of the election process.
So what do you say Mr. President?
It's third and long, can't you please step in and do something before these mule headed NFL opposites turn this football loving nation over on downs?
Knicks-Denver trade looking awful sweet on the Rocky Mountain side
Of course the Carmelo half of it continues to get all the New York and most of the Nationwide Media hype, but not so quietly Nuggets management have to be laughing their collective asses off all the way to a likely playoff berth after swapping out a player piece that would have been void and/or value-less at seasons end for a trifecta of young studs, Danilo Gallinari—who's been out as of late with an aching toe—Wilson Chandler, and the vastly under-rated, ubiquitous point, Raymond Felton.
Denver's 6-2 since the swap, playing their best defense in years, and trail Oklahoma City by 3.5 in the winnable NBA Northwest.
The Knick's are 5-4 since the coming of St. Carmelo and have shown sustained high level glimpses in the nine game run with a pair of losses to Cleveland and last nights wipeout by Dallas amongst the lowlights.
Veteran point guard Chauncey Billups looked good early, but has been out with a nagging calf the last five or six games. Even at their new found best the Knicks still seem to lack the kind of physical presence or depth in the middle to compete with the leagues elite five or six teams—Boston, Chicago, San Antonio, Dallas, L.A. will all be tough match-ups—but that's a playoff tale yet to be told, much like the residual benefit of the swap between New York and Denver that rocked the league a few weeks ago and may be weighed in terms of relative impact for some years to come.
The Boston Red Sox appear locked and loaded heading into the 2011 season
With ex Tampa speedster Carl Crawford and slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzales joining an already formidable line up—Jon Lester, Josh Beckett, John Lackey and Clay Buchholz fronting one of the games most impressive staffs Beantown fans have much to be excited about heading into 2011.
On the Evil Empire side, the Yanks will roll out a typically impressive lineup of their own, hope most of their vets start the season right and continue to swing the bats well as the year progresses.
Does that onto itself mean the Yanks can stick with or even overcome the Red Sox in the ultra tough A.L. East?
Probably not, the essential issue for now the starting staff, made up of the sturdy lefty, CC Sabathia, Phil Hughes—who will hope to duplicate last years success—AJ Burnett—who will hope to wash away the stench of a god awful 2010 with a much improved performance in 2011—for the most part untested second year man Ivan Nova, and the veteran right hander Freddy Garcia who figures to benefit from a steady dose of Bomber run support and put up satisfactory numbers out of the five hole for as long as he holds the spot.
Waiting in the pitching wings though, are strapping Yankee phenoms, Dellin Betances, Manny Banuelos and Andrew Brackman who all figure to start the season in the minors, but also figure to be ready for major league duty at some point down the 2011 road.
In combine with young Jesus Montero, masked man with booming bat—who has shown enough improvement behind the plate to be accorded a reasonable amount of Major League playing time early this season alongside veteran Dodger import, Russell Martin—these four Yankee prospects, thrown into the mix with burgeoning superstar Robbie Cano, represent the Bombers best chance of recapturing the core winning gold once ably provided by the well know foursome, Williams, Jeter, Posada and Pettitte.
The City of New York has enjoyed the impressive St. John's run back to relative glory these past couple of month and hopes the tough injury to D.J. Kennedy hasn't short-circuited the teams apparent run to the NCAA's 64 Team Tourney.
Kudo's to Coach Steve Lavin who's done a great a job in his first year on the East Coast with the promise of even bigger things to come off one of the countries best recruiting classes for 2012.
Even bigger kudo's to Lavin for his choice in women. His wife, actress Mary Ann Jarou, is by far his best recruit of all.