Sunday, February 16, 2014

How would these Winter Olympic Games Play in NYC?

With one of the worst winters in recent memory taking place, I thought what if the 2014 Winter Olympics were being held in NYC instead of Sochi, Russia. (the city put in a bid for the 2012 Summer games but were rejected)

Ladies and Gentlemen, we present the 2014 Winter Olympic Games from New York City:

There are venues throughout the city, events include:

SNOW-HOARDING: We've got plenty of that to go around for five Winter Olympic games

GO-FIGURE SKATING: Competitors skate on an ice surface that runs on the 9th Avenue bike lanes during a weekday rush hour

CROSS QUEENS BLVD: Skiers have to navigate one of the worst roads in the city using poles to ward off maniacal drivers during a winter storm (manufactured or natural)

DOWNFALL SKIING: numerous venues (aka "No Salt Zones") throughout the city will be hosting this event

BOB'S SLED: Competitors go on a search for a sled that was stolen from a guy named "Bob" and is hidden near one of the City Bike Stations in Midtown that's been buried under a pile of snow that was put there by the Sanitation Department (the "Fredonia" Olympic team has dominated this event in the past)

SIDEWALKING (SLIP STYLE): Olympians and anyone else should get a Gold Medal for trying to walk city streets during a winter storm event

SCALE-A-TON: Competitors must be able to scale a 60' high mound of chemically treated salt

ICE HOCKEY: Teams from around the world will play with an ice cube instead of a puck

SNOW JUMPING: Olympians will have to hurdle over mounds of snow in Times Square to avoid being recruited by the US Military

SUPER-NYC: Alpine Skiing will never be the same. The route runs West on 79th street, between West End Avenue and Riverside Drive (that stretch of road features an extreme decline)

SWIRLING: Olympians skate behind two slow moving SUV's on the Belt Pkwy while trying to dodge snow that flies off the roof

In a move unique to the games, the five Olympic rings will be split up into each of the five boroughs.

The "street vendor" Medal stand will be on 49th Street and Sixth Avenue and the Closing Ceremonies will take place in the South Ferry Subway Station

Friday, February 7, 2014

Ralph Kiner, From A Yankee Fan's Perspective

Being a small part of the "baseball fabric" in New York City has been a wonderful experience over the years.

The people you meet (not just the celebrity names but the others who put in work behind the scenes) make it both wonderful and memorable.

When someone in that "baseball fraternity" passes on, you are saddened as if that person were your blood relative.

So it goes with Ralph Kiner, who passed away yesterday at the age of 91.

I grew up a Yankee fan in the 1960's.

The pinstriped dynasty was still going in the early part of the decade, but the Mets came into existence and, at the same time, so did Ralph Kiner's broadcasting career.

If you were a Yankee fan in the 1960's, you still tuned in to Mets games whenever there was a chance, because you were a baseball fan.

There was Kiner, with Bob Murphy and Lindsey Nelson doing the broadcast together as they would for such a long, glorious time.

Of course, following the games came "Kiner's Korner".

I was the farthest thing from a Mets fan in the 1960's but here I was, humming the tune from "Kiner's Korner".

I remember the graphic showing a bat rack and the theme song played, (that sounded a little like a "Polka") the sponsors were introduced and there was Ralph interviewing a Met after a win, or the opposing team if they lost.

Admittedly, I rooted for the Mets to lose just so I could see Ralph interview Willie Mays, Bob Gibson,  or other great stars.

When I began my professional career in 1980, one of my responsibilities was to cover select Yankees and Mets games.

At Shea, I got to meet Ralph Kiner and Bob Murphy, which was still a thrill, even though my "baseball roots" were in the Bronx.

Ralph just "oozed" with class and you could feel the "respect in the room" when he was there, but he never let it go to his head.

Those who worked the press room couldn't wait to "serve" Ralph, either a meal or a drink and it was always their pleasure. (and from what I remember, Ralph was a pretty good tipper)

As the years went by and Ralph's role diminished, everyone around the NY baseball scene was always pleased to see him when he did come to the games.

Unfortunately, that won't be happening anymore.

I wouldn't say I was close to Ralph but I knew him and respected him a whole lot.

His death reminded me of those who were close to me but who I have lost from my "baseball fraternity" over the recent years, the late Bill Shannon and the late Bob Shepard.

Life goes on, but special people are just a good memory away.

RIP Mr. Kiner

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Sapp Should Shut His "Trapp"

This morning's back page headline of the Daily News reads like this, "Brawl of Fame".

Former Giants Defensive Lineman Micheal Strahan is one of 15 finalists who are eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Strahan missed out last season, his first time eligible, while former Bucs DE Warren Sapp was elected on his first try.

Strahan and Sapp have had an on-going feud since their playing days and it has extended to their post-careers, but the vitriol took on a whole new level yesterday.

During the NFL Network broadcast, Sapp said about Strahan's candidacy, "When you really measure him, he comes up short".

I haven't been one of Micheal Strahan's most ardent supporters over the years. There were times when Strahan seemed to "disappear" during games, but the bottom line is that he has the credentials to be in the Pro Football HOF.

I don't care about the "tainted" one season sack record. Strahan played 15 years in the NFL and recorded 141 and a half career sacks.

Sapp played 13 years as a defensive tackle and recorded 96.5 sacks, which is more than impressive for an interior defensive lineman. Strahan, the former Giant, played defensive end, mostly on the left side, something that the former Buc uses as part of his critique.

Sapp claims that Strahan had it easier playing the left side of the "D-Line", instead of the right side, which is a ridiculous assessment.

Now comes the part of Sapp's critique that really "hit a nerve" with me.

In the Daily News article, Sapp claimed Strahan is a "product of New York-media hype".

Sapp said, "You all don't take that same critical eye as when you're looking at somebody else".

There is an obvious rift between the two former players, but Sapp is way off base with his comments on how we cover sports in this area.

Sapp played 9 years in Tampa Bay, and the final four years with the Oakland Raiders. Those two cities do not feature media contingents like New York, and compared to the "Apple", the "critical eye" that Sapp refers to is as large as Raymond James Stadium.

Sapp has always had a big mouth.

In 2002, the Bucs DT leveled a "blind side" hit on the Packers Chad Clifton during an interception return. Clifton was hospitalized for a week and could not walk unaided for five weeks. (In 2005, the NFL Competition Committee made new guidelines for "unnecessary roughness" based on this hit)

Then Green Bay Head Coach Mike Sherman accused Sapp of a "chicken-shit play", who responded by calling the coach a "lying, shit-eating hound" and challenged him to a confrontation.

In December of 2007, while playing for the Raiders, Sapp got into a heated confrontation with Referee Jerome Boger, who claimed the Bucs DT made physical contact. Sapp was ejected and eventually fined $75,000.

If Sapp played here, he wouldn't have received the "passes" that he got for those incidents.

I'm not comparing the on-field behavior of the two, just making a point of how Sapp runs his mouth.

Whether it's the Pro Football HOF of the Baseball HOF, there will always be controversial selections.

It's not Warren Sapp's place to determine Micheal Strahan's eligibility for the Hall of Fame. Thankfully, it's up to the voters.

It's not Warren Sapp's place to assess the media coverage in a place where he never wore the home uniform. The media around here will not give you a pass. Sometimes, we are too critical.

Hey Warren, enjoy your HOF candidacy, you had a nice career, but don't say things that you know absolutely nothing about