The notion that new Mets Manager Terry Collins will light a fire under the collective butts of his roster is laughable. The reality is that the players know he’s little more than a cheap retread off the managerial scrap heap. He hasn’t managed a major league team in 11 years; he never won anything with the Angels and Astros when he was with them; and he never even played a game in the majors. Those are three big strikes against a manager, especially in a market like New York.
Collins won’t get much help this winter from the man who hired him, Mets General Manager Sandy Alderson, who says the team lacks the “financial flexibility” to sign any big-name free agents. Even worse, ace pitcher Johan Santana will be on the disabled list for at least half of the 2011 campaign.
Since Alderson is not likely to acquire name talent, perhaps he ought to reach out to Hollis native son Russell Simmons, who is frequently seen wearing a Yankees cap. Simmons, who founded both a wildly successful entertainment company, Def Jam, as well a clothing company, Phat Farm, and later sold them to corporate behemoths for well over $100 million each, has just launched a new men’s clothing company, Argyleculture, to compete with Armani Exchange, American Eagle Outfitters and Ralph Lauren Polo. If Alderson could get Simmons to wear a Mets cap, the team may not do any better but would at least be seen as far hipper than they are now.
Despite a 9-2 record the Jets have some troubling flaws. I bet head coach Rex Ryan wishes that reliable Jay Feely were still the place kicker instead of shaky Nick Folk. The Jets’ pass rush, led by Bryan Thomas and Jason Taylor, is woeful. Two weeks ago Houston Texans QB Matt Schaub could have devoured a Subway foot-long and still have had plenty of time to hit receivers on long passes thanks to Gang Green’s weak pass rush.
Late last year the Jacksonville Jaguars came to Giants Stadium and knocked off the Jets, which at the time appeared to be a fatal blow to their playoff aspirations. Last Sunday the Jaguars came to New Meadowlands Stadium and for the first half of the game it appeared that they were going to do the same to the Giants. But trailing 17-6, Giants running backs Ahmad Bradshaw and Brandon Jacobs became unstoppable in the second half, while receivers Mario Manningham and Kevin Boss caught big passes to help pull out a 24-20 win.
Jimmie Johnson just won his fifth straight NASCAR Sprint Cup championship. That puts him in the same class of athlete as Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Roger Federer, though his success is virtually ignored by WFAN and every New York daily paper. The successes of both Johnson and rival Jeff Gordon (both of these guys have movie star looks) have helped popularize NASCAR in every part of the USA but ours.
Another vestige of my youth is gone, as the Spectrum was finally razed in Philadelphia. The old sports structure went down fighting, however, as it took the wrecking ball six hard stabs before it made its first dent.