Bio: I cover the Brooklyn Nets, the St. John's Red Storm men's basketball team, and the Brooklyn Cyclones. I support the Fort Hamilton Tigers football team, a 3-time city champion. I am a graduate of Fort Hamilton High School (2003) and Brooklyn College (2008).
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By Lloyd Carroll of the Queens Chronicle – BrooklynFans.com Contributor
The second week of May is when the broadcast and major cable television networks present their fall lineups to advertisers and the media at what’s known in the trade as “upfronts”. With viewers now being able to watch their favorite entertainment shows after they originally air thanks to the Internet and DVR technology sports has taken on new importance. Sporting events tend to be watched live by fans at home and that is a big premium for the advertising community.
ESPN president of sales, St. John’s University alum Ed Ehrardt, happily informed his audience of this indisputable fact at his network’s upfront. “The worldwide leader in sports” brought in name athletes as NBA superstar Dwyane Wade and Jets cornerback Darrelle Revis to pose for photos with advertisers at the Miskoff Theater.
Ehrhardt also reminded the audience of the countless broadcast rights of top events that ESPN has the rights to including the college football championship games and “Monday Night Football.” The MNF broadcast team of Jon Gruden and Bayside High School alum Mike Tirico (pictured above) discussed the 2015 schedule. They were aided by impressionist extra ordinaire Frank Caliendo who impersonated Gruden to perfection.
ESPN’s popular morning drive time tandem of Mike Greenberg and Mike Golic announced that they would be moving their show to NYC in February.
CBS CEO Les Moonves made sure that the world knew that the Tiffany Network owns the broadcast rights to Super Bowl 50 (the first one that will not use Roman numerals). Nine former Super Bowl MVPs, including Joe Namath and Phil Simms, walked onto the stage of Carnegie Hall carrying gold-plated footballs.
To nobody’s surprise, NBC Entertainment CEO Bob Greenblatt touted the success of the nation’s most viewed primetime fall show, “Sunday Night Football. The Peacock Network will be televising the 2016 Summer Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro and NBC Sports chief Mark Lazarus had our modern day Mark Spitz, swimmer Michael Phelps, discuss them on the stage of Radio City Music Hall.
Fox Television executives surprisingly did not play up either the NFL or Major League Baseball packages they own but instead took pains to promote next month’s big golf event, the US Open, and the Women’s World Cup that will take place later in the summer.
Turner Entertainment announced that its popular NBA studio team of Ernie Johnson, Shaquille O’Neal, Charles Barkley, and Lefrak City native Kenny Smith had all just signed long-term contracts at its upfront at Madison Square Garden. The quartet did a takeoff of their halftime and postgame shows at the upfront that was supposed to critique Turner’s upcoming slate of shows. The problem was that none of the four could recall any of the clips of the shows that were shown which couldn’t have made Turner executives happy. Incidentally, Forest Hills native, comedian Billy Eichner, will have a show on Tru TV this fall.
In the spirit of the 1996 film “Jerry Maguire” and the old HBO series “Arli$$” the Esquire Network announced last Thursday at the NBC Universal Cable Networks upfront that it would be launching a series about real life sports agents titled simply “The Agent.” At the same time the young female-skewing Oxygen Network that is also owned by NBC Universal will be debuting a show about female professional football players with the apropos title, “Pretty Strong.” Longtime television/ radio sports personality Anita Marks, who just joined ESPN Radio here in New York (98.7 FM) played for a few years in the Legends Football League. The chairperson of NBC Universal Cable is Hollis native Bonnie Hammer.
The NBC Universal Cable Networks upfront took place the day after the New York Rangers defeated the Washington Capitals in the deciding seventh game which went into overtime until Derek Stepan’s goal won it. Linda Yaccarino, NBC chairman of ad sales, saluted the Blueshirts from the stage of the North Hall of the Javits Center. While Yaccarino is a Rangers fan she was probably more excited about the fact that the NBC Sports Network has exclusive rights to the National Hockey League playoffs and the Rangers mean ratings.
Hispanic television networks were very visible during Upfront Week and soccer was a big selling point. Univision promoted the fact that it has rights to the Mexican pro soccer league, Liga MX, and will broadcast the Copa Americas Centenario in 2016, which is the Western Hemisphere’s answer to the World Cup. Not to be outdone, Telemundo touted that it has the rights to televise the home games of two popular Liga MX teams, Leon and Pachuca, and will be the Spanish language home to the 2015 Women’s World Cup.
Finally, ESPN Deportes has the rights to Major League Soccer and the Hispanic arm of “the worldwide leader in sports” brought in New York City Football Club star David Villa to mingle with advertisers last week.
Univision is borrowing a page from ESPN’s mid-July ESPY sports awards extravaganza as it will be creating its version to be called Premios Univision Deportes that will be telecast on December 20.
The New York Jets took it on the chin from nearly everyone for accepting close to $400,000 from the Department of Defense for holding on-field ceremonies honoring those who have served our country. Congressman Peter King pointed out the team contributes more than a million dollars every year to nonprofits that benefit both veterans and currently serving military personnel. Given the multi-billion dollar annual military budget, the amount that the Jets and other NFL teams receive is not even a blip on the radar screen. This is a gigantic non-story.
It has been difficult to gauge the Mets because of the high number of players on the disabled list. Of course that seems to have become the norm given how things have gone on the medical front for our Flushing heroes in recent years. The Mets seemed to lose a lot of mojo dropping two out of three to the Yankees in the Bronx three weeks ago and then appeared to hit rock bottom losing five straight games last week including four games to the Cubs in Chicago. A sense of crisis was averted when the Amazins took 2 out of 3 from the woeful Brewers at CitiField over the weekend. Nonetheless it appears likely that the Mets will drop towards the bottom of the National League East standings if David Wright and Travis d’Arnaud need more time than what has been budgeted to recover from their injuries.
The Esquire Network renewed Spike Feresten’s “Car Matchmaker” show for another season. Feresten hosted a show on Fox, “Talkshow with Spike Feresten,”which competed with NBC’s “Saturday Night Live” for three seasons (2006-2009) and was often far funnier than its big-budgeted world famous competitor. It remains the most successful late night program in the history of the Fox Network.
At the Fox Upfront, Fox Television CEO Dana Walden announced that one of Fox’s most successful primtetime programs, “The X-Files,” will be returning to the air this January after a 14-year hiatus. I think that it’s time for Fox executives to bring back “Talkshow with Spike Feresten.”
National CineMedia (NCM) took advantage of television upfront week by having a presentation to advertisers about the benefits of advertising in movie theaters. NCM produces the familiar “First Look” which integrates upcoming film trailers and other entertainment news with commercials before the main feature begins. The company showed press and advertisers the prototype for a theater that will have screens on three sides to simulate a 3-D effect without needing those annoying special glasses.
Mexico is trying to promote itself as a shopping destination. Five years ago Mexico started a program called Moneyback that allows visitors to receive a rebate of close to 9% on purchases of most consumer goods but it has gotten little attention. The Mexico Tourism Board is stepping up public awareness.
Visitors to Canada have long known to save their receipts to get a good chunk of the sales taxes that they paid in order to get a refund from Revenue Canada, our northern neighbor’s answer to the IRS.
In order to be eligible for the sales tax rebate you have to either fly in and out of Mexico or be on an international cruise. Crossing by foot into a border town such as Tijuana or Nogales won’t cut it as you have to show a plane ticket ro cruise boarding pass. For more information, log onto moneyback.mx.
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19
The New York Knicks had visions of this being a repeat of 1985 when they received the top pick in the NBA Draft, but it was not to be as the snakebit organization got the 4th pick in the NBA Draft Lottery on Tuesday night at the Hilton in Midtown.
The Minnesota Timberwolves received the top pick, followed by the Los Angeles Lakers, who will choose second, and the Philadelphia 76ers third.
The Knicks, Timberwolves, Sixers, and Lakers’ representatives were seated in the same row, so it was quite humorous when the Knicks’ representative, General Manager Steve Mills was left by himself in the row (pictured above) when Timberwolves Owner Glen Taylor, Sixers star Nerlens Noel, and Lakers Head Coach Byron Scott all got up for the revealing of their picks.
Mills addressed the media afterwards and here is what he said:
Q: History has proven that you can get a good draft pick at four. How do you feel about the pick?
Mills: We feel really good about this pick. We felt that in this draft we could have gotten a good player with any pick on through five. We went into this very optimistic and we will remain that way.
Q: What impact will free agency have on this draft pick?
Mills: It will have a big impact. What kind of guys we think will move in free agency and make our draft plans accordingly.
Q: Are you willing to wait for someone you choose with this pick to develop?
Mills: I think this pick is complementary to where we’re going, with a guy like Carmelo in place, and what we plan on doing with the $28 million we have in cap space. Even if we got the first pick, I think that player would take some time to develop, so our view hasn’t changed.
Q: How many of these guys have you worked out already?
Mills: We’ve worked out a couple of guys, in terms of having individuals and we haven’t worked any of them out on the court yet.
Q: What’s your view on Emmanuel Mudiay and his potential, since he’s projected around your pick range?
Mills: Mudiay is potentially a good player. We haven’t worked him out yet, but he’s a guy that we think will obviously be in the mix, but we will look at all of our options and we will feel good about whoever we end up selecting.
Minnesota Timberwolves Owner Glen Taylor on getting the top pick:
Q: To be able to add this first pick to Andrew Wiggins has to be very exciting, right?
Taylor: It’s very exciting for me and I think for our fans. There’s going to be a lot of enthusiasm – who you’re going to pick and how you’re going to do that. And that’s a process that will start now.
Q: Any inkling on what you might do with the No. 1 pick?
Taylor: No, I don’t think so. I really think that’s why you have somebody like Flip Saunders and his staff that has to pick players a little bit differently, getting into personalities and find out which guy will best fit the needs of our team.
Q: How soon does the joy and elation of tonight turn into pressure of making sure you get it right?
Taylor: It’s immediately. I think that Flip Saunders probably up to this moment was wishing he would get this. Now that he has that, I think it is a lot of pressure with our young team. We have to find the one guy that will work in and complement the other guys.
Q: How much will having Kevin Garnett help with a young team?
Taylor: Ever since Kevin said he was interested in coming to our team – he was the first person that we drafted when I bought the team. And I just think that his ability to be there with these young guys, to motivate them and tell them how hard it is to work towards it and how hard it is to get a championship – which he has and we haven’t. I think it will be a great thing.
Q: What are your thoughts on some of these players at the top of the draft?
Taylor: Flip has given me a list of about six guys that he wanted me to watch in the tournament and to do that. But I don’t know anything that you guys don’t know. I think what it’s into now is you want to know the heart, and which guy really wants to make the extra special effort to not only be good now but to be better. I’m a big believer that you can sit down and meet people, and find out which one is going to be the leader and which one is going to show the other guys that he’s going to help lead them to a championship.
Q: Is Flip definitely going to be the coach next season?
Taylor: It’s not definite but in my mind with the effort that he put in this year to bring this team along that it’s probably 90 percent. If he sees somebody and he changes his mind, he certainly could convince me. I think eventually I want a different coach. I want him to be the GM. My guess is that he’ll go another year.
Lakers Head Coach Byron Scott on getting the second pick:
Q: What kind of identity are you looking to build?
Scott: A lot of that will be determined in June with our draft picks and then obviously in July with free agency. There is still a whole lot of work to be done, but this is part one of probably a three-part series. We got this part done, so we look forward to the next part, which is June 25, and then July 1 is the third part.
Q: How did you feel leading up to today? Excited? Nervous?
Scott: More excited than anything. This is the first time I’ve done this. I was excited to do this because of our organization. You guys know how much pride I have in the organization, so this was a big deal to me. To be able to come here and secure the second pick, I guess I can go back home and say, “Damn, I’m sorry I didn’t get the first pick for you guys, but No. 2 ain’t bad.”
Q: Was there a sense of relief [when you knew you’d be keeping your own pick]?
Scott: That never really crossed my mind. The only thing that kept crossing my mind was No. 2, No. 2, because that number was thrown [around] so many times in the past two weeks. Like I was telling all my friends, I wanted No. 1. But I’ll settle for what we have right now.
Q: How do you feel that you were the only team in the lottery to move up?
Scott: I didn’t know it until you said it. That’s good, I guess. I’m very excited with what happened tonight and I’m looking forward to it.
Q: How much, if any, prep have you guys done with discussions about where you might end up and who you might take?
Scott: Mitch [Kupchak], Jim [Buss] and I never discussed that. A matter of fact, I will meet Mitch tomorrow when I get off the plane, go right to the office and we’ll start discussing it. He just said, “Good luck.” We never talked about the process or if we had the first pick or the second or the third or the fourth.
Q: Were you as nervous as when you coach your team?
Scott: I wasn’t nervous. I felt pretty good. I told our guys earlier today, “I have a really good feeling about tonight.” I don’t hope to be back here anytime soon, either, but I’m happy with the way things turned out tonight.
Q: Do you feel like this is a way to announce that the Lakers are back?
Scott: I can’t say it’s a way to announce that we’re back. I think we’re on the right track.
Philadelphia 76ers star Nerlens Nowl addressed the media. Here is what he had to say:
Q: How do you feel?
Noel: I think it’s a good pick to have, an interesting pick. The whole front office is going to work it the best they can and pick the best available player.
Q: Do you worry about maybe not being with Philadelphia, given how Sam Hinkie likes to make trades?
Noel: No. That’s not on my mind it. I’m focused on helping build this team and being on the right path, bringing in the right coaches and the right young guys to really make a difference for us.
Q: How much do you familiarize yourself with the players that are available in the draft?
Noel: I’ve gotten to know a few of these young guys through this process, and over the summer. I know Willie (Cauley-Stein) and Karl (Anthony Towns) from Kentucky. I think it’s a great crop of guys and I think they can all come into the NBA and make a splash sooner than later. Hopefully, it will be for us.
Q: Was there a sense of disappointment when it came up at three?
Noel: No, not at all. We also have our picks next year. So, this year I think the third pick is a definite positive for us, and we’ll try to make it work as best we can.
Q: If you had to play general manager, how would you handle having this pick?
Noel: I would pick the best player on our board.
Q: If the two bigs are gone, who would you pick?
Noel: The two bigs aren’t gone, they’re right here in this room.
Q: Do you feel like you and Joel Embiid are the cornerstones of this franchise?
Noel: I think so. Me and Joel have been talking diligently and we feel really good about how things are going, happy with what the front office is doing. When they ask us to do stuff for the organization, we’re very open to it. We feel like we’re heading in the right direction.
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19
Khiry Shelton got a goal in the 91st minute to help New York City Football Club complete an impressive comeback and get a 2-2 tie against the Chicago Fire on Friday night at Yankee Stadium.
Shelton said of scoring the goal, his first in the MLS, “The effort that David (Villa) and everyone showed tonight was big, the goal was a team effort. It definitely builds confidence, I still have a lot of stuff to work on and I know that going forward it will be big for me.”
Even though the New York City FC winless streak reached nine games, this felt like a win as they got a point out of a game that looked like it could have been real ugly in the early stages. They have not won since March 15th, when they won the home opener, and they now have 1 win, 4 draws, and 6 losses, for a total of 7 points.
Chicago put pressure on right from the start, and it appeared they had a goal in the 7th minute, when Shaun Maloney, right next to the post, tipped in a shot off a rebound from a save by NYC FC goalie Josh Saunders. Maloney was ruled offsides, as he was past the last NYC defender and it invalidated the goal.
Chicago kept pushing, and in the 14th minute, Maloney had a free kick and he found Razvan Cocis for a header to give the Fire a 1-0 lead. Chicago got three corner kicks in the 17th minute, but couldn’t cash in and through 20 minutes, they had 10 shots to 0 for NYC.
In the 27th minute, NYC FC defender Chris Wingert made a bad pass to R.J. Allen at the center line, and David Accam stole it and got a breakaway. Allen caught up with him and took him down as Accam hit the crease right in front of Saunders, who came out to play it. Allen received a red card, putting NYC down a man and gave Chicago a penalty kick. Jeff Larentowicz took the kick and buried it to make it 2-0 Chicago.
As the first half neared its end, it was looking like the worst half NYC had played all year, as they were outshot 14-2 and put little to no pressure on the opposing end. But then, out of nowhere, in the 46th minute, David Villa got an opening, fired a rocket that was stopped by Chicago goalkeeper Sean Johnson. The rebound kicked over to Mehdi Ballouchy, who came in from the left side and he drilled it to pull NYC within 2-1 heading into halftime.
New York City FC Head Coach Jason Kreis said of that changing the momentum of the game, “Goals can come at really critical moments in matches. Early in the match, as we saw last week, that really took the wind out of our sails a bit. Scoring right before halftime really shifts the momentum and sends us into the locker room thinking we can do this.”
Ballouchy said of his goal providing a spark, “I think, yeah, the timing of it might have been the best thing. I think, just to do it right before halftime, where we come in and kind of get a pep talk and get ourselves and get back out there, I think the timing was definitely very good for us.”
NYC FC goalie Josh Saunders did an amazing job keeping them in the game in the first half, as he saw many point-blank opportunities from Chicago. Saunders said of that, “I credit my trainer, but at the same time, the chances that we were limiting them to were favorable for me, so yeah, the defense did a good job of shading guys in the right direction, so I think our team did a very good job and our midfield did a good job of pushing them outside to create less chances.” On not many of those chances being screened, Saunders said, “Exactly, they were available chances that I had good sight of the ball.”
In the second half, New York City started to apply more pressure, as David Villa had quality chances in the 66th and 7th minutes. Also, after not getting any calls in the first half, the Fire were given two yellow cards within a minute. In the 61st, Joeven Jones got a yellow for a challenge on Mix Diskerud, and Shaun Maloney got a yellow for a challenge on Andrew Jacobson.
Chicago also got chances, but nowhere close to the sustained pressure they had in the first half. In the 74th minute, David Accam had a chance, but Saunders saw it all the way, and they had another strong chance in the 90th minute.
In the 91st minute, NYC forwards were clustered at the top of the crease with Chicago defenders, but Villa found an opening, and got a pass to Shelton, who kept his shot low and it got under Johnson to tie the game and send Yankee Stadium into a frenzy.
NYC FC defender Chris Wingert on if this was the signature moment of the season, as it felt like a walk-off (taken from baseball, we know where they play, “Well, the only thing I would say is, in a sense I wish it was a walk-off, but to be honest, we had to keep playing, so that’a a big part of it too, you’ve got to make sure you don’t lose your focus because there’s another five minutes left, so that was a big thing we talked about even as guys are celebrating – let’s make sure that we focus here and finish the game out. If they come back and score, that would have been devastating, so we had to make sure that we hung in there and finished the game out and, I know a lot of the guys were kind of eager to try to go on and win the match, but at the same time, you want to make sure you preserve the point that you worked so hard to get after being down two goals and a man. Yeah, certainly one of them (signature moments), I mean, I don’t know, you could argue, first goal, first win at Yankee Stadium, hopefully there’ll be more signature moments, more positive ones throughout the year.”
Wingert said of taking a tough first half and getting a point out of the game, “Yeah, we’re clearly very happy with the result after going down a man and two goals. I think it’s a testament to the fight of the team, and led by our Captain, I mean, David (Villa) was unbelievable today, the effort he put forward in a role I think he’s not maybe used to in terms of having guys kicking him and draped all over him and trying to hold the ball up for us because we had to play a little more direct than we’d normally like to since we were down a man and he was just an animal up there. You could see his work rate and his effort and everybody followed suit. I think that inspired everybody right up until the last minute. I think there was a lot of belief there, I think there was a lot of belief that we could come back and get a result even considering the circumstances.”
New York City FC Head Coach Jason Kreis said afterwards of David Villa and the team’s hard work paying off with a late goal, “I’d say that the entire team [earned it]. It’s not fair to single out anybody. There were quite a few players that really were willing to do anything tonight to get us that result. It was incredibly important. I think it’s one of the more special moments of my coaching career, to be honest. To be two goals down and a man down for as long as we were and to come back and draw shows what kind of character this group has.”
Kreis said on what tonight’s result means going forward, “I’m very hopeful that this is set as sort of a landmark for our group so that they understand that they can get results if they’re willing to do whatever it takes. I need them to understand and believe that we’re good enough if we work that hard. And if we don’t work that hard, we’re not going to be good enough.”
Kreis said of the team giving an extra effort tonight, “We believe that we’re a better team than our points indicate right now. And truthfully, if you go back game by game, you can say if something had gone here—just one bounce here, just one player had made a different decision, one guy had not made a really silly mistake, or a free kick that deflects off somebody—then we have more points and are probably are about where we belong.”
On Khiry Shelton scoring his first career goal, Kreis said, “I’ve been in Khiry’s shoes, so I can say this with a lot of clarity and a lot of belief: I think that goal can put him to the next level. I think that’s what he needed. I’m quite certain that’s going to mean a lot for his confidence and that’s what he needs right now because he has got sky-high potential, but he’s still a young player.”
New York City FC David Villa said of playing with 10 men for most of the match, “I’ve been in this situation a few times in my career and to have the attitude that we had I feel that was fantastic. To score two goals and not concede any was unbelievable. I think that we needed this and I think that is going to be a good morale boost ahead of the next game against Real Salt Lake.”
New York City FC Mehdi Ballouchy on the importance of tonight’s draw, “Being down 2-0 and to come back and tie it is incredible. When we talk about expansion teams I think one of the uphill battles is the togetherness and fighting for each other, sometimes it takes a long time and I don’t think that it took long for this team. You see the way that we fight our butts off for each other and we made the come back.”
Ballouchy said of David Villa’s performance, “Some guys have played two or three different positions for us. David took a beating for us tonight and I don’t think he’s ever had that in his career. He’s used to playing a role and getting the ball at his feet and to play target man with two center backs kicking him for that ball and staying positive while leading us, he’s incredible.”
NYC FC defender Jeb Brovsky said of what this result does for the mood of the clubhouse, “I think it’s huge. I think guys came in here feeling like this is a huge moral victory. A lot of teams two-nil (British for zero) down with a man down would crumble very easily, it could end up a 5-nil game. And, I think the guys showed a lot of passion, a lot of grit, and we were smart at times, we had to be smart, we knew we couldn’t go 3-1 down in the second half and that was our Number One goal at halftime was to keep it 2-1 as long as possible. We knew we’d get an opportunity, and we had to bury it, and Khiry (Shelton) buried it.”
By Lloyd Carroll of the Queens Chronicle – BrooklynFans.com Contributor
It is safe to say that the WNBA’s New York Liberty, who are now entering their 19th season, have never gotten as much publicity from the mainstream New York sports media than they did last week when Madison Square Garden CEO James Dolan announced that Isiah Thomas would serve as the president of the team as well as obtain a minority equity stake in it.
Thomas had both a stellar college and NBA playing career and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame 15 years ago. What New Yorkers remember however is the damage that he inflicted as president of basketball operations of the Knicks which included numerous bad trades the forfeited lottery draft picks as well as signing players to bloated contracts that used up all of their salary cap room for years.
If that weren’t bad enough, Thomas was accused of sexual harassment and creating a hostile work environment by a former Knicks executive, Anucha Browne Sanders, who filed suit against the Knicks’ corporate overseer, Cablevision. In 2008, Sanders was awarded an $11 million judgment by a jury.
The idea of Isiah Thomas running a professional women’s basketball team sounds like an idea hatched by the writers at “Saturday Night Live.” James Dolan, who has always been a target of media derision once again felt the full barrage of outrage from the press for showing misguided and inexplicable loyalty to an old friend who had actually cost his company millions in the past.
The funny thing is that I don’t have a problem with what Dolan’s decision to hire Isiah. The New York Liberty have been underachievers for years. They are still haven’t won a WNBA championship and have been an afterthought at best in the world of New York sports for certainly the last 15 years.
I have noticed that a lot of the folks who are outraged over Isiah Thomas getting a second chance are the same ones who thought that the Yankees should never Alex Rodriguez play for them again after he was suspended in 2014 by Major League Baseball and yet are now cheering for him as he is helping the Yankees to stay in first place in the American League East.
Not to minimize the Sanders case but it should be pointed out that Isiah Thomas was found guilty in a civil suit and not in a criminal matter. Even his biggest detractors have never accused him of being stupid. My guess is that he learned from his mistakes of nearly a decade ago and will not repeat them and certainly not in this high profile position.
The Liberty have a strong roster led by center and Jamaica Estates native Tina Charles. Isiah has a far better chance of winning a title than his Knicks counterpart, Phil Jackson, does right now.
I am not sure what kind of competitive advantage New England Patriots QB Tom Brady got by using slightly deflated footballs in last January’s AFC Championship game with the Indianapolis Colts. What is clear is that the tabloid sports media loves this story not just because it involves Brady and his head coach, perennial NFL villain Bill Belichick, but it gives headline creators liberty to come up with every possible double entendre involving the word “balls.”
The annual Sports Emmy Awards took place last week at Lincoln Center’s Frederick P. Rose Hall last Tuesday.
NBC Sports’ Cris Collinsworth won yet another Emmy for best sports analyst. I asked him about the infamous turning point in the last Super Bowl when Seattle Seahawks QB Russell Wilson inexplicably threw a pass from the New England Patriots’1-yard line that was intercepted in the final seconds of the game instead of calling for a less risky running play. At the time Collinsworth basically uttered, “What the hell was he thinking?”
“Calling a game knowing that 115 million people are watching is a strange thing. You wonder if other people are thinking exactly the same thing that you are. When Wilson dropped back I thought that he was running a quarterback draw and would try to run it into the endzone himself,” Cris said.
Cris is also racking up frequent flyer miles points flying into New York City this month. He appeared on the stage of Radio City Music Hall this past Monday as he was part of the NBC Upfront, the annual presentation to advertisers and media of the Peacock Network’s fall programming plans. “They wanted me to sing something. I am afraid that will become a YouTube moment that will haunt me forever,” Cris said with a hearty laugh.
Mike “Doc” Emrick, who calls National Hockey League games for NBC Sports, won the Emmy for best play-by-play broadcaster. Emrick told me that he thinks that the New York Islanders will be Stanley Cup contenders for years to come. “They will learn and get invaluable experience from coming up on the short end of that grueling seven-game series with the Washington Capitals,” said Doc.
Stephen Espinoza, the president of Showtime Sports was understandably a bit weary from all of the stress and preparation that he and his network had to invest in the Floyd Mayweather-Manny Pacquiao fight in Las Vegas that was held three days earlier. I asked Espinoza about the economic impact that the fight had on Las Vegas. “It was crazy. You couldn’t get a flight from any Southern California airport into Las Vegas after the Tuesday before the fight,” he said.
Major League Baseball players don’t get a lot of off-days during the season so when they do they go to all lengths to maximize every free second. The Mets had last Thursday off before beginning a three-game series in Philadelphia. Major League Baseball, like all professional sports leagues, encourages teams to travel the day before a series starts.
The Mets team bus dutifully left Citi Field for Philadelphia last Thursday evening but pitcher Dillon Gee decided to splurge and take the Acela the following morning. “It only took an hour and I love trains.” Gee told me Friday at Citizens Bank Park. Sadly there are many mornings when it takes longer than an hour to get into Manhattan on the subway from Forest Hills.
I told Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer that the Phillies’ accounting department had to be thrilled that the Mets were in first place since it means Mets fans will come down the New Jersey Turnpike and buy tickets at Citizens Bank Park. “Let’s hope that they help us stay there then!” he replied with a chuckle. The Phillies did not roll over by any means for our Flushing heroes but the Mets did manage to take 2 out of the 3 games from them in South Philadelphia last weekend.
Madison Square Garden honored their longtime in-house photographer, George Kalinsky, with a plaque on the Garden Walk of Fame on Monday. George has had countless books published over the years including those dedicated to the Knicks and Rangers.
After years of the toy industry creating needless apps and bells & whistles for kids, there are signs that old school toys that encourage better eye-hand coordination are making a comeback. Zing continues to do well with its bow and sponge-based arrow target games while Mattel’s Boomco, Blip’s Hovertech, and Nerf’s various Strike blasters were other target practice games that were displayed at the toy biz’s spring showcase, TTPM.
A literal toy Hall of Famer, Slinky, is celebrating its 70th birthday. Yes, there is a Toy Hall of Fame in Rochester, New York.
After a long winter a lot of us are understandably eager to hit the beach. The heat and the inevitable fragments that are in the sand can wreak havoc on your feet. Xenna’s Callex Ointment and Kesh Beauty’s Argan Oil from Morocco will help heal any foot fissures.
As recently as the early 1970s it was considered revolutionary for television when fictional Queens resident Archie Bunker (who was portrayed by real life Forest Hills native, the late Carroll O’Connor) flushed a toilet on “All In the Family.” Toilets were a TV no-no and it was even rare to see commercials relating to bathroom products in general back when Richard Nixon was the president.
Things have certainly changed. Nowadays there are numerous products competing in the bathroom air freshener market. A new company cleverly called Pottymints has created packets of pellets that you drop into your toilet that are healthier alternatives to aerosol sprays for clearing away unpleasant aromas.
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19
The New York City Football Club saw its winless streak reach eight games as they lost to the Red Bulls 2-1 in Harrison, NJ, on Sunday in the inaugural New York Derby.
New York City FC’s record is now 1-6-3 and they have not won since March 15th, when they got a victory in their home opener against the New England Revolution.
The Red Bulls were powered by two goals from their star Bradley Wright-Phillips, in the 4th and 52nd minutes. NYC FC had a man advantage from the 36th minute on, when Red Bull defender Mattt Miazga took his second yellow card and was ejected, but could not take advantage. Despite having the ball for 71 percent of the second half, NYC could only muster a Patrick Mullins goal in the 76th minute.
New York City FC Head Coach Jason Kreis said of if this was the atmosphere that he was expecting, “Yeah, incredible, incredible fan support tonight and just a great atmosphere for a match, no doubt.”
NYC FC forward David Villa had a tough game, as the Red Bulls gave him nothing all night and he was pulled in the 68th minute for Mullins. Kreis said of Villa’s performance, “I think David was a little frustrated tonight, I think he’s coming back from an injury and he’s got a little bit out rust he needs to knock off and, at the end of the day, we have to make decisions that are a little more future-thinking than just about trying to get a result tonight, so at 70 minutes, the decision was made, let’s protect him for the next one and keep him healthy.”
Villa looked very frustrated as he left the field when he was substituted for, and Kreis said of being concerned about Villa’s level of frustration, “I’m not, I’m not. I think he was a little bit confused as to why he was coming out. He’s such a born, natural competitor that he wants to stay on for all the 90 minutes and probably, if it was up to him, he would go ahead and get injured if he thought he could help us get a point tonight. But, I spoke to him briefly and there’s no problem there.”
NYC FC’s other top threat, midfielder Mix Diskerud, had a tough game as well, unable to get any openings against the tough Red Bulls defense and he was yanked in the 64th minute. Kreis said of pulling him, “I thought Mix was just not great tonight. I thought he was in and around things and not making plays, either in the attacking half or the defensive half, so we need to recognize that we’re not gonna all have great games all the time and we’ve got guys on the bench that we believe in, so we’ll make those changes if we need to.”
NYC FC midfielder Ned Grabavoy got a few chances coming up the left side. Grabavoy said of the hostile environment, “Well, obviously not great, they scored a goal right away. Maybe not enough urgency I think, probably a better word than energy. Goals change games, they score early on, and I think we did decently well to respond to that. Then, after the red card, I think it took us a little bit of time to figure things out and, obviously, I think the adjustment at halftime helped tremendously, and once again, two goals, now it’s two-zero, and goals change games. So, it’s obviously frustrating all around, I’d certainly be lying if I said anything differently.”
Kreis said of how tough giving up the early goal was, “Crushing, it was crushing. Credit to the Red Bulls, I thought they came out with a tremendous amount of energy and put us under, as we knew they would. But we just had a couple of mental errors there, and it’s difficult with a team that’s dealing with things like we are right now to give up an early goal, it hurts.”
Kreis said of NYC getting chances after the red card to Miazga and the Red Bulls’ holding them off, “I think New York is a very well-disciplined, well-put-together team that defends extremely well and hits you on the break extremely, extremely well, so played right into their hands a little bit because, they were in the second half going both of our outside backs forward and taking all kinds of risks, probably a little bit too early, and they hit us on the counter, which effectively killed the game.”
On if this was one they had to get since they had the man-advantage for 65 minutes, Kreis said somberly, “Yeah, for sure.”
Kreis said of what he said to the team after the game, “I haven’t spoken to them yet. There are some nights where you need to keep your emotions in check and have a little think before you speak. At the end of the day, I still have to walk away and say that I’m proud because my guys continued to fight and gave themselves a chance in the end by scoring a goal.”
Grabavoy said of how the team felt after Mullins made it 2-1 Red Bulls in the 76th minute, “I still felt like, at two, we could come back and tie that game and get something out of it. Just feels like this momentum against us is such a headwind and we’re trying everything we can to break out of this and start finding results. We’ve had red cards against us where we can’t quite find the result. We’ve had red cards in our favor where it’s the other way around, and so we’re screwed and we’re searching for answers.”
Grabavoy was asked if this game, taking away the spectacle of the New York Derby, felt like other games this year, where they had many chances in the first half, but just couldn’t finish and he said, “I don’t know if we had super clear chances in the first half, we had the goal called back (in the 18th minute), obviously I was shocked that he (Chris Wingert) was called offsides. I haven’t seen it, I just find it hard that he’s offsides when the ball’s in that position, but he could’ve been. So, we have that goal called back, and we had a few other chances well, like you said, so yeah, I think we still need multiple and more guys to step up in that final third to make something happen.”
Kreis said of expectations changing based on how the first ten games of this season have gone, “No, no, I continue to see a lot of quality and I continue to think that we’re close. I really do feel like every opponent we play we’ve been very close. We’re not quite there yet, I think we need some improvement and we need some more time together, but I continue to believe.”
Kreis said of what the rivalry means to him, “I think right now I’m little more concerned with Friday night against Chicago (at Yankee Stadium) than I am about the next meeting with the Red Bulls. But, as I said, I think that was a terrific atmosphere for a game and I’m certain that the return leg will be just as high an energy.” On what the thought about the fans, Kreis said, “Super impressed with their fans, really pleased.”
Defender Jeb Brovsky was out of action, and Kreis said of that, “Jeb had a nerve issue that he’s been dealing with the entire week through training, less than 15 percent. If it had been a playoff game or something, it was very emergent we may have considered playing him, but because of that, I wanted to go with someone who was 100 percent.”
NYC FC will be facing their first repeat opponent in the Chicago Fire this Friday night at Yankee Stadium. They lost to them in Chicago 1-0 on April 24th. Grabavoy said if this makes a difference in their preparation, “No…it doesn’t matter if we’ve played the team six times or this is the first time we’ve played them. We’ve put a tremendous amount of focus on ourselves. I think the easiest thing to do is watch yourself week in and week out – we do that, we’ll keep doing that and, like I said, we have to keep searching and find a way to first stop this thing and then get it rolling the other way. It’s on a number of us and I still have the belief that we’ll do that.”
By Jason Schott – BrooklynFans.com Reporter / Assignment Editor - @JESchott19
The New York Red Bulls beat the New York City Football Club 2-1 on Sunday night at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ. This is the first time they have ever met in the inaugural New York Derby, adopted from the British term for rivalry games, and the match lived up to the hype.
Red Bull Arena had an electric atmosphere, and it was a sell-out with 25,217 fans, most of which were for the home Red Bulls. There was a contingent of NYC FC fans known as the Third Rail in one end, opposite the Red Bulls’ Supporters’ section. These superfans dueled all night with their various songs, as Red Bulls fans sang The Beatles’ “Twist and Shout” and the NYC FC fans singing “Are You Gonna Be My Girl” at various points, in addition to their chants.
The Red Bulls came out strong from the opening whistle, forcing a corner kick in the opening minute and sustaining the pressure. In the fourth minute, Lloyd Sam came in on the right side and drew three NYC FC defenders. Sam found Bradley Wright-Phillips alone coming down the center of the crease, and he buried it to make it 1-0 Red Bulls.
In the 18th minute, Red Bulls defender Matt Miazga got a yellow card for taking down NYC FC’s Khiry Shelton just outside the box. The result was a free kick and NYC FC defender Chris Wingert broke in on the left side and scored, or did he? The side referee had the flag up, declaring him offsides and invalidating the goal.
Miazga challenged NYC FC defender Josh Williams for a loose ball in the 36th minute and took him down. Miazga received a second yellow card, equalling a red card, and he was sent off, forcing the Red Bulls to play with ten men.
Despite the man advantage, NYC FC did not get sustained pressure for the rest of the first half, and the best chance came from Wright-Phillips in the 46th minute, as he broke free. NYC FC goalie Josh Saunders kicked it away, and that was the final play of the first half.
The second half started with a bang, as NYC FC midfielder Ned Grabavoy got a quality shot off from the top of the box, but it went wide right. Two minutes later, Lloyd Sam broke in on the right, got by Saunders, but NYC FC defender R.J. Allen, in his second game with the club, stood tall on the goal line and knocked it down.
In the 52nd minute, Sacha Kljestan came in on the left side, and the NYC FC defense was slow to get back, and Wright-Phillips walked right in for his second goal to make it 2-0 Red Bulls. The NYC FC defense was pretty good in this one, but on this and the first goal, there were complete breakdowns.
To get the New York City FC offense going, Coach Jason Kreis pulled midfielder Mix Diskerud for Kawadwo Poku in the 64th minute, forward David Villa for Patrick Mullins in the 68th minute, and midfielder Pedro Alvarez for Mehdi Ballouchy in the 70th minute.
The moves worked, as they started to sustain pressure and in the 76th minute, they got a quick rush and Allen and Poku got it to Mullins at the top of the key for a goal to cut the Red Bulls’ lead to 2-1.
The final 15 minutes of the game were marked by players being taken down and no calls, quite a turnaround from the first half when Miazga took two yellow cards. Grabavoy was taken down a couple times and there was one play when Poku was taken down in the box and, seconds later, a Red Bulls player was taken down at midfield. Ultimately, cards were pulled out, as Ballouchy got a yellow in the 88th and Kljestan got a yellow in the 90th.
The Red Bulls improve their record to 4 wins, 4 draws, and a loss, for 16 points, in 3rd place in the MLS Eastern Conference. NYC FC’s winless streak reached 8 games and their record fell to 1 win, 3 draws, and 6 losses, for 6 points, tied for 7th with Orlando SC.
New York Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said of what his message to the team was and thoughts on the performance, “We have talked about if we go a man down what the tactics need to look like. We still want to find moments to try and press and now compress the field and win balls and then when we do play forward and see if we can catch teams on the counter. We were able to do that effectivelytonight, we make it easy on ourselves getting the second goal was hugely important, but it would’ve been – obviously the third goal was there for us and that would’ve made the game a lot easier, but in the end the test of the will of this team and the mentality and what it takes to be when you’re a man down I thought we grew so much today and it was a character win and I’m proud of our team. I’m proud of our team probably more now than ever.”
Marsch said on if the derby exceeded his expectations and if he sees NYCFC getting stronger later in the season, “I knew it would be awesome in the stadium tonight and I think it was incredible. It did exceed my expectations and I think what I like about our crowd right now is that they get what we’re trying to do, they get how we’re trying to play, and they respond to it so it makes it even have more energy at the right time so it feels like an educated crowd and an educated fan base.
“For New York, I don’t want to comment too much on them. The only thing I can draw on is to say that its not easy. Okay, and the ability to stay on track and stay on course is so important when you’re an expansion team and at some point it starts to turn and it’s not always easy, you need to go through tough moments – it’s the only way to do it as an expansion team. You need to go through tough moments and then understand how to handle them and then understand how to move forward so next time we play them I have no doubt they’ll be better,” said Marsch.
On the importance of the early goal, Marsch said, “I think the early goal was huge. We’ve been talking about better starts so obviously that was big. I think the second goal was probably even bigger because when you’re down a man, and again with the way that we’re trying to play even when we’re down a man to get that second goal gives you a little bit of breathing room and knowing that you can still make one mistake, but keep yourself moving forward so every goal’s big in every game, but I thought the timing of both goals was very vital.
Marsch said of this possibly being the Red Bulls’ best defensive outing of the year, considering they shut down David Villa and Mix Diskerud, “It was a different kind of game for us because we get the early lead, then we go down a man, and now a lot of the things that we’ve tried to accomplish tactically this year almost get changed a bit and we have to readjust. We’ve addressed it in training so we knew how to play a man down, but there was a lot of big defensive plays that were made by all the guys on the back line and Felipe and Dax [McCarty] and for that matter everyone on the field, but our back line continues to be a strength of this team. Kemar Lawrence and Chris Duvall put in so much hard work and covered so much ground and put out so many fires so and then when we put in Roy Miller, a third center back, we wanted to give them the freedom to try and go out because they were causing us trouble with their wide play so wanted Chris and Kemar to step out more and to start to close that down and I actually thought that that was a good move and those guys executed that very well.”
Red Bull forward Bradley Wright-Phillips said of this being a statement game, and if he’s the biggest star in the area after all the hype about NYC FC and David Villa, “No, not at all I don’t think I am a star. I say it all the time you know, people think I am not being serious. I am the kind of player that doesn’t feel like they get people out of their seats. I try to get on the end of good plays, I don’t want to be the star, I just want a championship ring.”
Wright-Phillips said of his emotions after scoring the first goal, “I think we started well and I could feel a goal coming but didn’t know who would score it. I was just happy to be on the end of it I didn’t have to do much. I think Lloyd Sam did all of the work but it was a great feeling to score in the derby.”
Wright-Phillips also said of the feeling to having this performance, “A lot of work that we put in and what we have been trying to achieve in training it showed when we went down to 10 men.”
On how the NY/NY derby compared to England, Wright-Phillips said, “Every derby is different they all have their own thing. This one is special because it is new and both teams are trying to get off to a best start and we did it, I am just happy we won. We can let history tell the story and in the future, for me it’s not about that we got three points it is not about that we won the battle for our fans. I am just delighted.”
Marsch said of how much this felt like a rivalry game, “I think there’s a lot to it. I think having the energy of the stadium was awesome. Certainly we all knew about the fact that this will be a future rivalry and that’s just a fact, that’s the way it’s going to work itself out. There weren’t too many crazy moments in the game which surprised me a little bit. There was emotion, but, and I think maybe that the red card kind of took some of that out of the game, but overall, what a great crowd, what a great event, I think a great moment for our league, a great moment for both of these clubs. We’re going to benefit, but seriously, I knew this when I was at Chivas [USA], we benefited from that rivalry we had with the Galaxy. Those were always good games, those were some of our best games of the year, the games are played with high energy, high emotion, very physical, we’re so much better for playing this game tonight.”
By Lloyd Carroll of the Queens Chronicle – BrooklynFans.com Contributor
I guess that it’s safe to say that Mets fans have had shortstop issues ever Jose Reyes was forced to leave the team as a free agent after the 2011 season after general manager Sandy Alderson failed to make him even a nominal offer to retain his services in spite of winning the National League batting title that year.
Wilmer Flores first arrived in Queens at the end of the 2013 season and then spent roughly half of last year with the Mets. Mets management felt that he had paid his dues and was ready to be the team’s 2015 Opening Day shortstop. It’s no secret that their brain trust had soured on Reyes’s immediate successor, Ruben Tejada.
While Flores has delivered some big hits, he has struggled both at the plate and in the field. His bobble on what looked to be a tailor-made double play ball against the Washington Nationals last Thursday night changed the complexion of the game. Jacob deGrom should have left the fourth inning of that game with a 2-0 lead instead of trailing 3-2. There is no guarantee that the Mets would have won the game but it certainly deflated the Citi Field faithful.
The next night was not much better for Wilmer. While he did not make a glaring game-changing mistake, he did strike out four times while making yet another error.
To Flores’s immense credit, he has not hidden from the media nor has he wallowed in self-pity. “Hey, we play 162 games. You have to have a short memory both for good and bad things,” he told me on Friday.
There is no way of knowing if Wilmer will live up to expectations. Mets fans won’t be helping matters however if they make him an object of booing derision. Flores is not some highly paid free agent who is clearly coasting on a big contract. He’s a talented young guy learning to play a tough position in Major League Baseball’s biggest market. After six straight losing seasons it’s understandable why Mets fans lack patience but they should cut him considerable slack as far as 2015 is concerned.
The Mets will be spending this weekend in Philadelphia which is great news for the Phillies’ accounting department since they’ll be counting on Mets fans to come down the New Jersey Turnpike and buy tickets. The Phillies used to routinely sell out beautiful Citizens Bank Park but they have been unable to replace their aging stars and a last-place finish appears to be a certainty. That obviously takes a toll on the gate.
Construction was finally completed on the New Jersey Turnpike to make it a twelve-lane road right up to the Pennsylvania Turnpike extension which makes getting to Philly a lot easier from Queens. And while you’re there you might as well check out that city’s many great restaurants and museums.
Mets outfielder Michael Cuddyer told me that the proximity between New York and Philadelphia reminded him of when Twins fans would travel on I-94 East to go from Minneapolis/St. Paul to Milwaukee whenever their team played there. “Because we played in an indoor stadium it was a chance for our fans to watch a game outdoors in the sunshine,” Cuddyer said admirably about Twins fans.
One of the more fun promotions at CitiField is the “Bark In The Park” days where dog owners can bring their four-legged friends with them to watch the Mets play. The most recent one took place this past Saturday. Unfortunately the dogs made more noise than the Mets’ bats, as the Washington Nationals defeated the Amazins by a score of 1-0. DreamBone, which makes canine chews and was an organizer of the event, gave out free samples to man’s best friend. “Bark In The Park” helps raise funds for no-kill animal shelters.
The Mets lost again the day after “Bark In The Park” to the Washington Nationals by an identical 1-0 score. Someone needs to remind our Flushing heroes that they are playing baseball and not soccer.
Remember all the talk about how the Yankees and the Mets were going to experience a reversal of fortunes? Someone must have forgotten to get the memo to Yankees general manager Brian Cashman and team skipper Joe Girardi.
In spite of losing ace Masahiro Tanaka to arm issues, the Bronx Bombers are clicking. Cashman now looks like a genius for trading catching prospect Jesus Montero to the Seattle Mariners for starting pitcher Michael Pineda who had been a habitue on the inactive list due to a variety of ailments the last two years.
Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner always seem to be on base while Alex Rodriguez appears to have been rejuvenated by his enforced sabbatical from Major League Baseball last year. First baseman Mark Texeira still has a batting average barely above .200 but he always seems to pick the most important times to belt home runs as Mets fans will attest.
The old acid test about whether you are on optimist or pessimist about the glass being half-full or half-empty certainly applies to the Brooklyn Nets season.
On the upbeat side, the Nets appeared to be out of the playoffs for most of the season but a strong late run in the regular season, coupled with help from the Memphis Grizzlies who knocked off the Indiana Pacers on the last day of the season, got them into the NBA post-season. To no one’s surprise, the Nets were bounced in the first round of the playoffs by the Atlanta Hawks, but the series went six games, two more than the minimum four that a lot of us expected. The Nets were even competitive for most of the series, including the three games that they lost in Atlanta, with the exception of the second-half of Game 6 in which the Hawks ran them out of the Barclays Center.
The downside was that on most game nights, point guard Deron Williams gave minimum results for the maximum NBA salary that he is receiving. Forward Joe Johnson’s shooting stroke clearly diminished with age. Only center Brook Lopez, who stayed healthy for most of this season for a change, proved to be a consistent offensive threat.
What is most concerning for Nets fans is that the future of this team does not appear to be very bright. They don’t have a quality first-round pick for the foreseeable future thanks to some ill-advised trades made by general manager Billy King. Add to that fact that center Mason Plumlee is the NBA’s version of “The Emperor’s New Clothes.” The Nets made him a centerpiece of their marketing campaigns this year as well as their franchise face for the 2015 All-Star Game activities that took place in New York. Plumlee has no offensive skills and frankly his defense isn’t much better. Whenever he is asked to spell Brook Lopez in a game the Nets stop scoring while the other team runs off one bucket after another.
The New York Islanders gave it their all this season but it was obvious that they were fatigued the last two months of the regular season and ran out of gas at the most inopportune time as far as playoff seeding went.
You can’t help but think that they would have made it to the second round of the National Hockey League playoffs had they been able to finish ahead of the Washington Capitals and thus have had home ice for a Game 7 instead of losing by a third period goal at the Verizon Center in DC.
Losing Kyle Okposo for two months to an eye injury in January was definitely a momentum changer for the Isles.
According to NFL Draft experts, the Jets got a steal when they selected USC defensive end Leonard Williams with the sixth pick in the first round of the National Football League’s annual foray into socialism. Hopefully things will turn out better for the Jets compared with 2008 when they last had the sixth pick in the first round and selected defensive end Vernon Gholston who turned out to be a bust.
Now what was the big deal again about that Manny Pacquiao-Floyd Mayweather fight last Saturday night? I did not see the fight but it seemed to be a rather dull affair based on the accounts that I read.