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Queens Chronicle

A Giants revival?

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Posted: Thursday, November 14, 2013 10:30 am | Updated: 6:15 pm, Thu Jan 2, 2014.

Don’t look now, but the Giants, who started the season by losing their first six games, have now won three straight after beating the Oakland Raiders 24-20 at MetLife Stadium last Sunday.

The game was not as close as the score indicated. While Giants QB Eli Manning had an average day for him in terms of passing statistics, he did not have to do much as running back Andre Brown came off the injured reserve list to rush for over 100 yards.

Raiders QB Terrelle Pryor was ineffective, and the Raiders were able to muster 20 points only out of the Giants’ propensity for turnovers that turned into near-immediate touchdowns. You would have thought that the Raiders were an IRS-approved 501(c)(3) charity the way the Giants aided them.

If the Giants can beat the Green Bay Packers, who will be without injured All-Pro QB Aaron Rodgers, next Sunday, they will be very much alive in the NFC playoff hunt.

The New York Jets held their annual “Taste of the NFL” in SoHo the day after they raised their fans’ spirits by upsetting the New Orleans Saints 26-20. The event raises funds for organizations that feed the hungry in the tri-state area. Chefs from such famed Manhattan restaurants as Nobu, Tao, Delmonico’s, the 21 Club, the 40/40 Club, Dos Caminos and Patsy’s served sample dishes off their menus. Among the Jets in attendance were center Nick Mangold, offensive lineman Willie Colon and quarterback Geno Smith.

Colon grew up in the South Bronx and wished that some of the restaurants he loves, such as his many favorites on City Island, could have been invited to take part. The Jets should have tried a little harder to get outer-borough representation.

Smith admitted that the upcoming road games against the Buffalo Bills and Baltimore Ravens following the bye week for his team will be an accurate litmus test of how good or flawed a team the Jets are. Smith chuckled when I said to him at the Taste of the NFL that I hope Buffalo wings and Maryland crab cakes agree with him more than Cincinnati chili did. The Bengals made Smith look like a Pop Warner QB as they routed the Jets 49-9 three weeks ago.

The Mets were also doing their part to fight hunger as they held a canned food drive in the Citi Field parking lot last Tuesday. The goods were immediately sent to City Harvest to be used in the group’s food pantries.

See the extended version of Sports Beat every week at qchron.com.

Jets and Giants fans have to be thankful that the bizarre Richie Incognito-Jonathan Martin saga happened to the Miami Dolphins and not to one of their teams.

Incognito must have spent days with a public relations/crisis management professional before his Sunday interview with Fox Sports’ Jay Glazer. He was well-spoken and calm as he claimed that he is not a racist and that the epithets he used are part of NFL locker room culture, a world in which political correctness does not exist, according to him. He relayed a series of text messages that he alleges shows that he was not harassing Martin but was rather his friend and mentor.

For argument’s sake, let’s say that Incognito was an insignificant locker room drill sergeant who meant well and was merely partaking in a longstanding part of NFL culture that the public doesn’t know about. His NFL career is probably over anyway. You can be certain that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, who is very aware of the importance of public relations, will come down hard on him if for no other reason than to send a message to every player and coach in the league.

Goodell is still smarting over how the NFL appeared to be callous on the issue of player concussions, and the last thing he needs is this black eye. He is well aware of how many anti-bullying campaigns are currently running, including a very successful one promoted by World Wrestling Entertainment. He knows that his television partners and their sponsors don’t want to be associated with a product that includes bullying and harassment as part of the norm.

Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin and his staff, who all claim ignorance of what was going on in their team’s locker room, will almost surely get the axe at the end of the season from team owner Stephen Ross.

If Ross’ name sounds familiar, it’s because he is a major real estate developer. He built the Time Warner Center and is ready to be Mets CEO Fred Wilpon’s partner in developing Willets Point as part of Mayor Bloomberg’s political giveaway (it will be interesting to see if Bill de Blasio will try to overturn that). Real estate developers are always dealing with politicians, and they don’t want to be associated with needless public headaches such as the Incognito-Martin affair.

Martin, the purported victim, has not said much since leaving the Dolphins. He was a scholar-athlete at Stanford and his parents were Harvard grads. Although no one wants to say this, there has always been a feeling among many of the NFL rank and file that smart guys don’t have the toughness that is needed to survive on the gridiron.

It’s always fun to watch your favorite team on the road. The Jets will be in Buffalo this Sunday and Queens’ own JetBlue has frequent flights from JFK to the “Queen City,” and the flight time is only an hour. Buffalo’s Ralph Wilson Stadium holds more than 80,000 and it is easy to buy a seat on the day of the game. The face value of a ticket is far less than you pay to watch a game at MetLife Stadium.

The Giants will be playing the Chargers in San Diego on Dec. 8. The Giants are known for being a tough second-half team, and there is a good chance this game will have significance to their post-season hopes. Even if it doesn’t, San Diego, which is beautiful anytime, is a great place to escape the December Northeast chill. Two of my favorite hotels, the Grande Colonial La Jolla, which is celebrating its centennial, and the Hyatt Regency La Jolla, have terrific long weekend packages. JetBlue has two daily flights between JFK and San Diego.

Considering that he is one of the few Mets players to grow up in Queens, Mike Baxter’s release from the team garnered no attention. The Dodgers claimed Mike on waivers two weeks ago. Mets fans will always remember how Mike crashed into a wall on that fateful night of June 1, 2012 to preserve Johan Santana’s no-hitter, the first and only in Mets history. Neither he nor Johan was ever the same after that game.

But whether he was doing well or battling a slump, Mike was always gracious in the clubhouse. He will be missed.

In what was one of the worst-kept secrets of 2013, the Mets’ new radio home will be 710 AM, WOR. The current average age of a station listener is north of 85.

New York Water Taxi executives told me they would like to restart service between Manhattan and the World’s Fair Marina on days when the Mets are playing at home. They would like to find a sponsor to help defray costs. They should contact Clear Channel, the corporate owner of the Mets’ new radio home, WOR. Clear Channel is becoming a player in sports radio as one of its Miami stations, WINZ, landed the rights to broadcast Marlins games.

It’s still early in the NBA season, and perhaps it’s simply a matter of needing time to jell, but the Brooklyn Nets have looked every bit like the NBA’s AARP team, as the Cleveland Cavaliers, Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers have all used their speedy young legs to get by the geezer-like Nets in the first two weeks of the 2013-14 campaign. It is ironic that the Nets match up well with the two-time NBA champion Miami Heat. It is the rest of the league that they are going to have to fear.

If Sunday’s lopsided loss to the San Antonio Spurs is a harbinger, Knicks fans are going to be counting down the seconds until center Tyson Chandler can return to action from his knee injury, which he suffered when the Knicks lost to the Charlotte Bobcats. Knicks general manager Steve Mills should make a call to unemployed center Jason Collins, who of course made history by becoming the first active athlete in an American team sport to announce that he is gay. Putting sexual orientation aside, Collins is a very effective rebounder and shot blocker, albeit a lousy shooter. Then again, the Knicks have enough guys who can score.

Life and style

I had never heard the surname “Duda” until first baseman Lucas Duda joined the Mets. Earlier this year, while attending the quarterly Editors Showcase food trade show, I learned of a Florida produce company, Duda Farm Fresh Foods, that competes with Del Monte and Dole. When I mentioned their existence to Lucas, he said he was aware of the company and would love to have an endorsement deal with them.

Lucas may have a second option. At last week’s Ad Tech trade show at the Javits Center, which brings in hundreds of software companies that create and track internet ads, there was a four-year-old company out of Palo Alto, Calif. called Duda Mobile that creates ads and sites for the burgeoning smartphone market.

Healthy snacks often have the image of not being very satisfying in terms of taste. Bare Fruit is a Southern California company that has come up with a viable alternative to potato chips. Its Sea Salt Caramel Apple Chips are high in fiber and gluten-free, and eating a bag will set you back only 100 calories.

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