St. John’s 60-59 upset of the Pitt Panthers thanks to Dwight Hardy’s last-second heroics at Madison Square Garden last Saturday have to make Red Storm faithful start dreaming that their team could very well be part of the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament for the first time in nine years.
The Red Storm have knocked off countless nationally ranked teams this year and there is no reason why they can’t win the Big East Tournament that gets underway March 8 at Madison Square Garden, a place where they have been invincible recently. Even if they don’t win the Big East championship my guess is that if they win their first two games then they should earn an at-large berth in “the big dance.” NCAA officials are cognizant of the importance of having a New York City-based team taking part, particularly in light of the new TV pact with CBS and Turner Sports.
If you are looking for a sign that spring is just around the corner, the Mets play their first exhibition game this Saturday. It will be televised on Channel 11.
Channel 11 is the New York affiliate of the CW network, best known for its prime time lineup aimed at young women. In a rare deviation from that programming strategy, the CW debuted “Shedding For The Wedding,” a knock-off of NBC’s “The Biggest Loser,” last night. The gimmick here is that nine overweight engaged couples compete for a dream wedding. The couple that loses the most weight wins the big shebang.
While there is nothing wrong with promoting exercise and combating obesity, shows such as “The Biggest Loser” and this one are mean-spirited and exploitative. The audience at the CW Upfront last May, where network executives unveil their fall lineup for advertisers and the media, laughed derisively when snippets of “Shedding For The Wedding” were shown at the Theater at Madison Square Garden.
Rangers’ left winger and resident instigator Sean Avery has always had an interest in fashion and even spent a summer as an intern at Vogue Magazine. Last Monday night Avery hosted a party at the American Express Skybox during Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week. When I joked with him that his coach, tough guy John Tortorella wouldn’t be caught dead there, he laughingly replied, “It’s true that this isn’t his scene, but (Rangers goaltender Henryk) Lundqvist would love this!”
Coinciding with Fashion Week was Toy Fair, where the latest gizmos aimed at youngsters were on display at the Javits Center. Franklin Sports introduced the“Slurve Ball,” a Wiffle-style ball that allows you to throw more curves, sliders and even knucklers. A rival company, Junk Ball, has created a line of fluorescent plastic bats and balls which make it possible to play even after it gets dark.
For those who want to learn the secret of kicking a soccer ball with every part of your foot, Franklin has created the “Soccer Leash.” A soccer ball is tethered to one’s hand allowing you to practice kicking it with both feet without having to chase it after the kicks.