There is this idea around the country that the New York media is tough,opinionated and not afraid to criticize the local teams and the people who run them.Let me tell you that is a myth.In reality they’re a bunch of overractive bashers whose assessments are wrong more often than right.Now understand something here,there are some very good writers, columnists and talk show hosts that I read and listen to who have good and fair opinions.Its the ones who delight in bashing someone either because they don’t like them or they don’t know what’s going on.Phil Jackson has not done a good job as Knicks President so far.Many people,including me,thought the team could make the playoffs this year but instead they have the worst record in the NBA.The bashing of Jackson has been relentless by those who think he’s in it just for the money and will be gone back to L.A real soon.They don’t want to recognize that the Knicks will have a top draft choice this June and will have tons of money under the salary cap to add players.Jackson should be given time to get the right players.Alex Rodriguez is another one the mythical ones delight in bashing because of his PED use and steadfast denial of doing it.I’ve said in a previous blog about Rodriguez that I can’t and won’t defend what he did.But he’s paid the price being suspended all of last season.The bashers had their feelings hurt and felt betrayed like a jilted lover and need to get over it like the fans who gave Rodriguez a loud ovation on opening day.It was said he’d never play again,that he wouldn’t make the team,that he would break down and not make it to opening day.The bashers are batting a thousand, they’ve been wrong on all counts.Tough no,petty absolutely.That’s my opinion.
The Major League Baseball season starts tomorrow and all baseball fans are full of hope that their team will be the last one standing this coming October when the World Series concludes.Here in New York, Yankees and Mets fans are hoping their respective teams can at least reach the playoffs.The Mets hopes ride on the return to form of ace Matt Harvey,who missed all of last season following Tommy John surgery.They are also hoping for a big year from their captain,David Wright,who was injured most of last season and only hit 8 home runs.Another big year from first baseman Lucas Duda,who hit 30 homers last season,along with Curtis Granderson and newly acquired Michael Cuddyer is paramount for the Mets to make that postseason push.Manager Terry Collins is on the hot seat because this is the best team he has had in his four seasons and he will not last if the team struggles.The Yankees are all about one word,health.Many people feel if they stay healthy they could actually win the AL East.Masahiro Tanaka,CC Sabathia and Michael Pineda were all injured at some point last season so it’s imperative that they remain healthy.Carlos Beltran and Mark Texeira are two more who missed time last season.Brian McCann and Jacoby Elsbury need to do better than last year.Then there’s A-Rod,who was suspended all of last season for using ped’s.I’m saying this right now,if A-Rod has a good season (20-25 homers 75-80 rbi’s) the Yankees will make the playoffs.No one is expecting him to contribute anything but I have watched him in spring training games and he has hit very well.Of course,like the others,health will be the issue because he will turn 40 during the season.Anyway it should be very interesting for both teams this season and,health permitting,a very exciting one also.That’s my opinion.
The Dallas Cowboys have signed former Carolina Panthers defensive end Greg Hardy to a new contract.In case you didn’t know,Hardy was accused of domestic violence against his girlfriend,choking her and threatening to kill her.The charges have been dismissed because the victim failed to appear in court. He’s currently on the Commissioner’s exempt list and is waiting to see how long he will be suspended.People are going nuts saying Hardy should not be allowed to play and the Cowboys are being villified for signing him.Let’s understand something here.The only reason Hardy was signed is because he’s still a very good player.Two years ago he had 15 sacks for the Panthers which lead the team.The difference between him and Ray Rice is that Rice isn’t a very good player anymore.The Minnesota Vikings want Adrian Peterson back because he’s still one of the best running backs in the league.As long as a player can still perform at a high level there will be a team out there ready to throw millions his way,public relations be damned.Jerry Jones,the Cowboys owner,doesn’t care what Hardy allegedly did,all he cares about is the ability Hardy has to rush the quarterback which his team had trouble doing last year.Even the fans of the team just care about how Hardy can help them win.So while the NFL has a big problem of domestic violence to deal with,if a player is very good like Hardy,it doesn’t matter.That’s my opinion.
Chris Borland,the 24 year old fast rising star linebacker of the San Francisco 49ers,has decided to retire from the NFL after only one season because of the concussion problem that has rocked football.While I have absolutely no problem with Borlands decision,I do have a problem with the idea that parents will now look to not let their kids play football.Look,for every Chris Borland out there,there are also a hundred or so players that would jump at the opportunity he just walked away from,to play professional football in the National Football League.The concussion problem is a serious one and I applaud the NFL for the steps it has taken to make the game safer.While I never played football in college or even high school I have suffered two concussions playing in pickup games.I have a scar on the side of my head from one and I had severe headaches after the second one.I thank God that today I don’t have any lingering symptoms but the scar is noticeable.I’m old enough to remember the days of the legendary Dick Butkus and SamHuff,when if you got banged in the head you just tried to shake it off and keep playing.If you didn’t you got the reputation of not being tough.My second concussion I was playing in a league that was called touch but was anything but.I was the quarterback and got hit from the blind side just as I threw the pass.My head hit the pavement and I knew I was hurt.I didn’t loose consciousness but my ears were ringing and my head was spinning.The opposing coach leaned into me and said, “you know the tough guys in the pros get up” so naturally I tried to get up but everyone was saying no don’t.The ambulance came and took me to the hospital.That was my last game but the league continued on.So while Chris Borland made the right decision for himself,the National Football League will continue to thrive because players will keep coming to live their dream.That’s my opinion.
If you haven’t seen the video of the Los Angeles Police Officer shooting a homeless man,you should.It is one of the most disturbing scenes I have seen in recent memory.There were at least 3 policemen who wrestled with this man and had him down on the ground.Although the homeless man continued to put up a fight,the police were in no danger because he was being pinned to the ground.Then suddenly six shots are fired (I counted them from the video) and you can hear people yelling that the homeless man is dead.Then you see a Black Policeman emerge to keep the angry crowd back and he’s being yelled at as the shooter.While the video doesn’t actually show the Black Officer shooting the victim,there is no doubt six shots were fired and the Officer is standing over the dead man.This was a senseless and blatant overreaction.They were in no danger,the man was on the ground.And why six shots? He emptied his gun into this mans body.It’s acts like this by policemen that turn the public against them.This wasn’t a White cop killing a black man,it was a Black cop.This is not a race killing like Missouri or the choking on Staten Island.What it is is a cop who did not want to deal with a man that was putting up a struggle and decided enough is enough and took the man’s life.If he’s not prosecuted for manslaughter then it means a policeman can shoot you six times if he has you on the ground and you pose no threat physically.Be careful.That’s my opinion.
February is traditionally the slowest month in the sports calendar.The football season is over,basketball and hockey still have alot of games left before the playoffs,college basketball’s tournament starts next month and baseball just started spring training.You know there is nothing happening when the NFL combine garnered big ratings.The biggest sports news at the moment is Alex Rodriguez reporting to Yankees camp after his one year suspension.Derek Rose,star point guard for the NBA Chicago Bulls,is injured yet again with a torn meniscus in his knee and will miss the rest of the season.It should remind all of us who follow sports just how easily a player’s career can be short lived.Great players like Gail Sayers,Sandy Koufax,and Bo Jackson all had great careers cut short due to injury.I was fortunate enough to see all of them play and a testament to their greatness was Sayers and Koufax being inducted into the Baseball and Football Hall of Fame,respectively,having played no more than six seasons.Jackson was a two sport marvel who dominated baseball and football until he injured his hip and just like that it was over.We who follow the teams and love the games should take this lull in the sports calendar to appreciate the athletes that play it because they could be here today and gone tomorrow.Enjoy them while they’re here.That’s my opinion.
The media vultures are circling Alex Rodriguez and they’re just waiting for the opportunity to feed on his carcass.He literally wrote an apology to the fans acknowledging he used Ped’s and acted like a jackass defending himself.I can’t and won’t defend what he did but the idea that he should make himself available to the media so they can grill him like a steak is ridiculous.No one is going to believe anything he says anyway so why do it? The reason is that the media loathes Alex Rodriguez and wants to bring him down even further,as if that’s possible at this juncture.Rodriguez gave the federal government testimony into his Ped use and if he answered questions that differed from his testimony,he could wind up in jail.All he has left is his ability to play baseball and many people doubt if he can do that anymore.He’s been away for a year,is coming back from two hip surgeries,will be 40 years old and the Yankees don’t want him around.I’m not one of them.As a Yankees fan I hope he can hit and help them win,but I also hope he can prove all the so called “experts ” wrong.People want to see him fail so badly that he will have to retire and leave the game in disgrace.I’m really rooting for him to have a good season so he can make all the writers and talk radio gasbags who are so sure he can’t play anymore and want him to go away that he’s not going anywhere and he makes them all look like idiots.That’s my opinion.