Perhaps it’s the silver and black uniforms. Maybe it’s those crazy fans dressed like Darth Vader who populate Oakland’s McAfee Coliseum. Or it could be the intimidating aura of owner Al Davis. No matter how you slice it, the Jets have won only one game in their history against the Raiders in Oakland. And that’s going back some 47 years.
Even though these Raiders are now one of the worst franchises in the NFL, they still had the wherewithal to prevent the Brett Favre- ballyhooed Jets from doubling their win total by beating them 16-13 in overtime. Jets fans will remember this game if their heroes fail to make the playoffs.
It seems Mets manager Jerry Manuel will retain all the coaches with whom he finished the 2008 season. I’m frankly surprised that there has not been a greater outcry from fans and media about whether to fire hitting coach Howard Johnson. HoJo is a great guy, but the Mets suffered from situational hitting problems all year. The Amazins incessantly left runners in scoring position, and were particularly atrocious at getting people in from third base with less than two out. David Wright, for all his gaudy stats, was a major culprit.
The Mets also lacked leadership in the clubhouse, and unfortunately, that is one area where it will be difficult for GM Omar Minaya to quickly correct through trades or free agent signings. A key reason for the Phillies’ success is that they have no shortage of guys who know how to play the game and pick each other up. Mets fans may not be fond of the Phils’ stars, but they are gamers in every cliched sense of the term. If the Mets had not traded for Johan Santana during the off-season, they probably would have finished a dozen games behind the Phils.
Backup Rangers goalie Steve Valiquette had the game of his life last week when the Rangers beat the Toronto Maple Leafs 1-0. Valiquette and Leafs’ counterpart Vesa Toskala put on a clinic on how to stop shots, as neither team scored for three periods and the five-minute overtime. The Rangers won as they scored two goals in the gimmicky shootout, whereas the Leafs could only put one puck past Valiquette. Someone has to explain to me why the National Hockey League set the final score as 1-0 instead of 2-1.
The CNN/Time Magazine 2008 Politics Symposium held last week at the Time Warner Center drew big-name politicos and media types. At the end of the first day, “Mr. 360” himself, Anderson Cooper, interviewed anger shtick comedian Lewis Black.
To lighten the mood from presidential politics, someone asked Black about the Yankees.
“Who cares about the Yankees?” Black replied. “I grew up in DC. I have been through two Washington Senators teams and now we have the Nationals. I also follow the Orioles. Between the two of them they still can’t field a team that would keep them out of last place!”