Posts Tagged ‘Jets’

So, How was Your Sports Weekend?

Wednesday, September 13th, 2023

By Bob Gaydos

Aaron Rodgers’ Jets season, and maybe his career, end after four snaps in the Meadowlands.

Aaron Rodgers’ Jets season, and maybe his career, end after four snaps in the Meadowlands.

   “What fools we sports fans be.”*

    Sports (is/are) often looked upon as a microcosm of life, offering highs, lows, stirring victories, deflating defeats, rewards, failures, memories and might-have-beens, despair and, seemingly always, hope and, as a town that prides itself on providing something for everyone, New York delivered in spades for sports fans on all of that in the past few days with the (1.) incredible situation in which New York Jets fans, whose team won its opening game on a 65-yard punt return TD in overtime, possibly feel worse than New York Giants fans, whose team (2.) was embarrassed on the same field the day before, losing to the hated Dallas Cowboys, 40-0, because (3.) the Jets lost their new future Hall of Fame quarterback, Aaron Rodgers, after just four snaps when he went down with a torn left Achilles tendon (the Greeks knew drama, too), and is out for the season and, at 38, maybe for good, meaning all that money and preseason time spent training the team to play the way Rodgers plays may have been wasted, or (4.) maybe not, since the Jets former starting quarterback, Zach Wilson took over and played well enough to win and the defense stymied the vaunted but sloppy Buffalo Bills offense, all of which took the spotlight off (5.) 19-year-old local girl Coco Gauff winning the U.S. Open tennis championship at Forest Hills, joining Serena Williams and Tracy Austin as the only American teenagers to win the tournament, a feat she (6.) immediately gave thanks for by dropping to her knees in prayer, which apparently confused some people, but not as much as the news that (7.) the New York Yankees’ potential new centerfielder (and former Hudson Valley Renegade), rookie Jasson (The Martian) Dominguez, a 20-year-old sensation who has been hitting home runs with astonishing regularity since joining the team a short while ago, has been diagnosed with a torn ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow that will (8.) require surgery, ending his 2023 season and likely costing him the first half of 2024, this being (9.) only the latest in a season of mysterious injuries to key Yankees players, (10.) raising questions (at least here) about the capabilities of the team’s training regimen, something that was never in doubt concerning (11.) Deion Sanders, a former Yankees top draft pick, who played 14 years in the NFL and nine years in Major League Baseball, including a day in which he played an NFL game in between two baseball playoff games, who earned the nickname Neon Deion for his flashiness and thus had lots of doubters when he said he would (12.) take over and coach the unheralded University of Colorado football team into a winner, then proceeded to (13.) lead them to stunning wins over TCU and Nebraska in the first two weeks of the season (14.) with his son, Shadeur, starring at quarterback (talk about good genes) and stirring thoughts about winning combinations and fond memories of former champions, such as (15.) the cast assembled in the Bronx for Old Timers Day, which featured the “Core Four” of the Yankees’ 1998 World Series champions: Andy Pettite, Jorge Posada, Mariano Rivera and Derek ! Jeter, incredibly now an oldtimer, who got his 3,000th hit on a long ago Old Timers Day, back in the town that on this weekend truly had something to offer every sports fan.

     “All the world’s a stage,  And all the men and women merely players: They have their exits and their entrances …”**

(PS: The Mets were out of town and lost a game, but hired a new head of baseball operations.)

(PPS: Just to top it all off, the day after Old Timers Day, the Yankees were held hitless by the Milwaukee Brewers for 11 innings, got a game-tying two-run home run by Giancarlo Stanton in the 12th and a walkoff double by Kyle Higashioka to win in the 13th. But hardly anybody noticed.)

*Slightly edited Shakespeare.

**Real Shakespeare.

Nothing Up Here but Us, Uh, Balloons

Tuesday, March 7th, 2023

By Bob Gaydos

A U.S. fighter jet approaches the first balloon over Alaska.

U.S. fighter jet approaches the first balloon over Alaska.

  Remember those “balloons“ that were shot down in rapidfire order, bang, bang, bang, a couple of weeks ago? Whatever happened to them? Anybody hear anything more about them?

    I’m not talking about that Chinese spy balloon, OK? They said it was theirs, but that it was just a runaway weather balloon so why’d we have to make such a big deal and shoot it down? We said we didn’t believe them so our Secretary of State canceled his trip to Beijing. Navy divers are still looking for the hardware at the bottom of the ocean off South Carolina. Not that one.

    The other three.

    No sooner had the bus-sized balloon become a political balloon in the U.S. (“Shoot it down! Don’t shoot it down! Why’d you wait to shoot it down? Our air space has been violated! Biden’s too old!”), than U.S. fighter jets shot down three smaller unidentified flying objects over Canada and the U.S. in the following week.

     All the Defense Department said was that a balloon the size of a small car was shot down over Alaskan waters on a Friday, a cylindrical object was shot down over the Yukon Territory in Canada on Saturday and an octagonal object with strings dangling off it was shot down over Lake Huron on Michigan on Sunday.

    A busy weekend for the Air Force and UFO enthusiasts.

    Of course, today, UFOs are called UAPs (Unidentified Aerial Phenomena) by the Pentagon because, god  forbid, people would have a familiar reference point to know they were talking about stuff flying around out there and the government had no clue about its purpose or its origin. You know, Unidentified Flying Objects.

      The idea, of course, is to discourage talk and speculation about aliens being involved in these sightings, which the Pentagon recently acknowledged publicly were common enough to our pilots that further study was warranted. So the UAPs/UFOs are out there. And sometimes, apparently, we shoot them down and sometimes we don’t. Usually, apparently, because they’re too fast.

    Following the weekend string of UFO shootdowns, White House Press Secretary Karine Jean/Pierre told gathered reporters, “I know there have been questions and concerns about this, but there is no — again no indication — of aliens or extraterrestrial activity with these recent takedowns. I wanted to make sure that the American people knew that, all of you knew that and it was important for us to say that from here because we’ve been hearing a lot about it.”

     Well, yeah, but what do you expect when you scramble fighter jets to shoot down objects in the sky that you can’t identify (UFOs) and don’t tell people anything about what you just shot down except that they were comparatively small and posed a flight risk to commercial aircraft.

      People tend to start speculating about stuff like this when the government doesn’t tell them anything more about it. What else is floating around out there? If they weren’t extra terrestrial, who sent them up there and what were they for? What was their source of propulsion? How can you be sure that they weren’t alien?

     The three shootdowns occurred a week after that Chinese spy meandered across the United States.

     NORAD, the military radar command center housed deep in the mountains in Colorado, rejiggered its settings after the Chinese balloon incident, to be more sensitive to, umm, aerial phenomena. That means it’s now picking up more objects, including lower-flying unidentified objects, than before.

     Which begs the question, why weren’t we looking for these objects before? Did we not think they were there? Why not, when the sky seems to be full of them? And why do we automatically rule out alien civilizations clever enough to send an apparently harmless octagonal-shaped thing with stuff dangling off it as a way to check us out?

     Look, l’m not a conspiracy fan and I don’t see ET lurking around every galaxy, but I also believe it’s possible that there is intelligent civilization elsewhere in the universe and we should be open to that possibility.

     I also live next door to a community known as the UFO center of the Northeast — Pine Bush, N.Y. People here take UFO sightings seriously because there have been enough of them to warrant it. There’s even a museum downtown dedicated to such phenomena and a UFO-themed parade every spring.  

      Bottom line for the Pentagon? Don’t patronize people who want to know what the heck is roaming around our atmosphere and don’t act as if shooting down, never mind just seeing, a few UAPs or UFOs is no big deal. Local or interstellar, tell us what’s going on out there and get NORAD to fine tune its radar.

      Oh, and we still need to hear what you’ve learned about those three mysterious balloons, the ones not made in China.

rjgaydos@gmail.com

Bob Gaydos is writer-in-residence at zestoforange.com.

A Husband/Father/Ballplayer Gets It Right

Thursday, April 10th, 2014

By Bob Gaydos

Victoria and Daniel Murphy, proud new parents

Victoria and Daniel Murphy, proud new parents

Witnessing the births of my two sons were moving experiences for me. I was a grab bag of emotions, equipped with a camera. Anxiety, impatience, excitement, irritability, awe, relief, exhilaration and happiness played tag at different times in my head. In the end, gratitude won out.

It still does. I like being a father. I love my two sons and I am proud of them. Witnessing their entrances into the world was, for me, the right way to begin our lifelong relationships. I think being there is important. Yes, their mother did the hard work, but I never felt my presence at their births was pro forma. You know, show up, look concerned, puff your chest out, then go hand out cigars and leave mother and child alone. Old-school fathering.

It’s not me.

Daniel Murphy apparently isn’t an old-school father either. Murphy plays second base for the New York Mets. He’s an average second baseman, but one of the best hitters on the team. Instead of being with the team for Opening Day, Murphy, 29, took three days of paternity leave allowed major league ballplayers to be with his wife, Victoria, when she gave birth to their first child, Noah.

For this, he was assaulted with a flood of criticism from — not teammates, not fans, not baseball officials — but by three windbags on WFAN Radio and one on Fox News. They said Murphy should have checked in to see his first child born, then rushed to be back with his team. One day off tops, they said. None of this three-day paternity leave nonsense.

Because, of course, missing a couple of games out of 162 is an act of disloyalty or lack of work ethic. Unmanly even. C’mon, Murph, hire a nanny, they said. Where are your priorities? You should be fielding ground balls, never mind being by your wife’s side for the first three days of this exciting new chapter of your lives. This is stupid personified.

For the record, Murphy appears to be doing just fine in the stereotypical, outdated, macho, male-providing-for-the-family role that seems to underlie much of this criticism. He’s getting paid $5.7 million this year by the Mets, which means, as one of his critics suggested, he could hire 20 nannies if he wanted to. The thing is, he apparently doesn’t want to. He preferred to be at the hospital when his son woke up crying.

“We had our first panic session,” Murphy recalls. “It was dark. She tried to change a diaper, couldn’t do it. I came in. It was just the three of us, 3 o’clock in the morning, all freaking out. He was the only one screaming. I wanted to.”

That’s a memory he and his wife will always have and some day share with Noah. Nothing unmanly about it.

But here’s what Mike Francesa, the big name in WFAN Radio’s lineup of sports personalities, had to say about Murphy’s decision: “I don’t know why you need three days off, I’m going to be honest. You see the birth and you get back. What do you do in the first couple days? Maybe you take care of the other kids. Well, you gotta have someone to do that if you’re a Major League Baseball player. I’m sorry, but you do … Your wife doesn’t need your help the first couple days, you know that.”

There’s more: “One day, I understand. Go see the baby be born and come back. You’re a Major League Baseball player, you can hire a nurse to take care of the baby if your wife needs help … What are you gonna do? Are you gonna sit there and look at your wife in the hospital bed for two days?”

Well, at least we know what Francesa did when his son was born. Wonder what his wife thought about that.

Boomer Esiason, who also hosts a show on WFAN, went so far as to suggest that Murphy should have told his wife to have a Caesarean section before the season started so he wouldn’t have to miss Opening Day. After all, the former pro football quarterback said, baseball pays Murphy well, so he should make baseball his priority. (Note: Victoria Murphy, in fact, gave birth via Caesarean section and Esiason apologized a day later.)

Esiason’s partner on the morning radio talk show, Craig Carton, was his usual crass self: “You get your ass back to your team and you play baseball … there’s nothing you can do; you’re not breastfeeding the kid.”

I stopped listening to WFAN’s morning show years ago when Carton was teamed with Esiason because I thought Carton was the most misogynistic, immature excuse for a radio sports host I had ever heard. He was insulting, crude, sexist, arrogant and not especially knowledgeable about sports either. This incident only solidifies my opinion and I think he continues to be an embarrassment for WFAN, but maybe his bosses don’t care.

Let’s not let Fox News host Gregg Jarrett of the hook. Here’s what he had to say about Murphy’s paternity leave. “He’s rich. He could have like 20 nannies taking care of his tired wife, and he’s got to take off two days? It’s absurd. It’s preposterous.”

No, Gregg, it’s about being a father first, not a baseball player. Let’s talk about priorities. Imagine this scenario: It’s Noah’s 20th birthday. Mom is recalling that second day in the hospital when, all of a sudden, the infant’s temperature started rising. Nurses were rushing around and calling for a doctor. She was trying to stay calm, she says, but was really scared to death. “What about you, Dad,” asks Noah. “I was grounding into a double play in Queens,” he replies.

Fortunately, that didn’t happen. Instead, Murphy was there to share the first diaper-changing “emergency” with Victoria.

Not everyone thought Murphy did the wrong thing. Mets fans, his manager and teammates all supported Murphy’s decision to take the full paternity leave. Major League Baseball, in fact, is among the few employers in the United States that allow paid paternity leave — a fact that begs changing — and about 100 ballplayers have reportedly taken advantage of it since their union got it written into their contract three years ago.

It makes sense. Baseball players are undeniably well paid. But they are also away from their families for much of the time for eight months in the year. Half of their games are played away from home. Three days out of a 162-game season is a pittance. And for Murphy to be criticized for missing games is absurd since he played in 161 of the Mets’ 162 games last year, often with injuries. He’s what they call a “gamer.”

(In my case, paternity leave was not available, but I had an understanding boss who let me spend as much time as needed with my sons and their mother. Besides, my work was a 10-minute drive from home; Murphy’s son was born in Florida and the Mets were playing in New York. A tough commute.)

Taken aback by the harsh criticism, Murphy described his decision simply: “We felt the best thing for our family was for me to stay.” That says it all.

While Murphy was being criticized for wanting to be with his wife in the first three days of their son’s life, other ballplayers who had taken performance enhancing drugs — cheated — were being greeted back from their 50-game suspensions. Pro football and basketball players continue to be arrested for assaulting their wives or girlfriends. The New York Jets recently signed quarterback Michael Vick, who served time in prison for running a dog-fighting enterprise.

These are the role models professional sports have offered to today’s youth for much too long. Rich, macho, spoiled, selfish, arrogant, self-centered, young men.

Murphy returned to the Mets after three days with his wife and son, was cheered by fans and singled in his first at bat. He’ll be able to tell Noah that story some day. Way to go, Murph.

bobgaydos@zestoforange.com

 

The Party of Lincoln, Herman Cain, etc.

Wednesday, November 28th, 2012

Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln

By Bob Gaydos

(With a nod to the great Jimmy Cannon.)

It’s none of my business, but …

  • I haven’t seen a movie the likes of “Lincoln” in a long time. A recent 5 p.m. Sunday screening in a crowded theater at The Galleria drew tears and cheers (well, applause), both deserved. It’s a wonderful movie, the kind Hollywood seldom tries to make these days. Yet as I watched Daniel Day-Lewis bring the 16th president to life, with wit, wisdom and a willingness to play dirty for the greater good, I couldn’t prevent the present from worming its way into my thoughts. “Can you imagine,” I thought to myself, “if Mitt Romney had been president during the Civil War? Or George W. Bush? What would have happened to the country? The world?” It got me thinking about … well … fate. They say great events make great presidents, but this country has had a lot of commanders-in-chief who, in my view, might well have seen greatness escape them if faced with the issues confronting Lincoln — a civil war and slavery. Sometimes, I think, it takes the right person coming along at the right time to produce the most beneficial results, in our own lives as well as in history writ large. Of course, we have to recognize that moment, in the same the way the people who voted for Lincoln recognized theirs. Fuel for future blogs.

Meanwhile, it’s none of my business, but …

  • Herman Cain wouldn’t be my choice to lead a third-party movement by disaffected Republicans. The onetime presidential candidate and adulterer said after Obama’s reelection that the GOP no longer represents the interests of conservatives and is unable to change, so a new party is needed. So far, so good, either way you feel about the current GOP. But Cain made his name in business as the man who rescued Godfather’s Pizza by closing 200 pizza stores and eliminating thousands of jobs. A Romneyesque approach to success, wouldn’t you say? Is that what “real” conservatives want?

It’s also none of my business, and maybe no one cares, but …

  • Has anyone figured out why the New York Jets signed Tim Tebow, or how the team’s professional training staff missed his two broken ribs for two weeks? Just asking.
  • Has anyone missed the hockey season? I don’t get how owners and players in a league that has trouble attracting fans can argue over how much money they want to get from games to the point they don’t even play the games so don’t get any money at all. Is it just me, or is that nuts?
  • I also just don’t get the charm of camping out on concrete for two days outside big box stores for the opportunity to spend my money earlier than everyone else.
  • And aren’t people of a certain age who complain about e-mail and texting and Facebook and Twitter and who bemoan the fact that “people don’t talk to each other anymore” at risk of falling into fuddy-duddyism? If they aren’t already there?

It’s probably should be my business, even though I wish it weren’t, but:

  • Don’t Republicans ever get tired of signing pledges to do something or never do something (Remember the abandoned Gingrich-era pledge to serve only two terms?) Are they that unaware that the world we live in changes all the time and governing in an ever-changing world requires flexibility, not blind stubbornness? Yes, of course, I’m talking about the Grover Norquist “I will never vote to raise taxes” pledge that virtually every Republican member of Congress has signed and which is a crucial reason we are being told the nation is heading for a “fiscal cliff.” Large, mandatory spending cuts are due to take effect next year, along with an end to Bush-era tax cuts (a development the GOP typically refers to as a tax increase), unless Congress and President Obama can agree on a spending plan beforehand. If nothing is agreed on, Obama early next year will surely ask for what he has always asked for — a tax increase for the wealthiest Americans. That would be done by giving everyone else a return to Bush-era tax rates, which would of course be described as a tax cut by Democrats. How can Republicans oppose that? To head that scenario off, some Republicans are already talking about flushing their Norquist pledge and looking for revenues (taxes) this year to lessen the need for deep spending cuts. They’re doing this for the “good of the country,” they say, not for political reasons. Also, they lost the election.

Finally, it‘s thankfully no longer my business, but:

  • Does anyone, Republicans included, still think Sarah Palin was a good choice to be commander-in-chief in waiting? And, if not, why should we listen to anything the blustery John McCain says today? Coulda, woulda, shoulda named your own secretary of state, Senator.
  •  What the hell happened to the Republican Party between Lincoln and Romney?

bob@zestoforange.com