Friday, March 30, 2012

Knick Knacks: Obi Wan Anthony, You Are My Only Hope

Article first published as Knick Knacks: Obi Wan Anthony, You Are My Only Hope on Blogcritics.

A holographic vision appears and tells Carmelo Anthony he is the only hope. Hope for the season, for the playoffs, for staving off the calls for "Wait until next year." The person speaking is Mike Woodson, interim head coach who has somehow lit a spark under these fledgling padawans that call themselves The New York Knicks. Yes, okay, enough of the Star Wars references, but you get the idea. The Knicks are in trouble, even if they have won seven of their last ten games.

One of the biggest problems is Amar'e Stoudemire, the 29 year old forward who has looked ancient at times this year. The history of bad knees were always a problem, but now he has a definitely more serious issue with the bulging disc in his back. No one around the Knicks is saying it, but Amar'e is done for the season. He has to be or he may risk being out for the rest of his career.

Now you can talk about Linsanity all you want, but down the stretch toward the playoffs Jeremy Lin is not going to be the most important factor. Neither are Tyson Chandler, Baron Davis, Steve Novak or any other Knick. It all falls to 'Melo, whether or not any of us like that or not. The equation is simple in the Mike Woodson era (its brevity not withstanding). Even before Amar'e's injury, it was clear Woodson's game plan was built around Anthony. Now there is no choice at all but to believe in this because nothing else will get the Knicks there.

Right now the Knicks are 25-25 and the playoffs loom a month from now. Some people around New York are talking about overtaking the Celtics and Sixers and taking first place, but those guys are dreaming up the wrong tree. They are looking up when they should be looking down at Milwaukee. Right now they lead the Bucks by two games in the playoff race. That is the number they should be concerned about because, like Obi Wan Anthony, it's their only hope.

Photo Credit:

Monday, March 26, 2012

Bewitched's Darrin Stephens and Larry Tate Were TV's Original Mad Men

Article first published as Bewitched's Darrin Stephens and Larry Tate Were TV's Original Mad Men on Blogcritics.

As the AMC original series Mad Men starts its fifth season, there is great buzz over the return of the dapper Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and his crew. The show certainly captures the 1960s with great precision, but there is an even better way to catch a view of advertising execs in this era by watching the classic television sitcom Bewitched.
The premise of the show is simple: less than average looking guy Darrin Stephens (Dick York, and later Dick Sargent) marries gorgeous Samantha (Elizabeth Montgomery) and learns afterwards that she has a little secret: she is a witch. While that would be enough for countlessly awkward situations beyond belief in the quiet New York suburb where the sitcom was based, the added tension came from Darrin's work: he was an advertising executive at McMahon and Tate. With deadlines for ad campaigns always looming, Darrin's creativity was constantly challenged by Samantha and her loony family of witches, including the incomparable Agnes Moorehead as Samantha's mischief causing mother Endora and side-splittingly funny Paul Lynde as Uncle Arthur.

For me the most interesting thing about the show was the advertising angle. People watching it now will perhaps think that it has not aged well, but the dynamic of Darrin having to be creative all the time and the pressure put on him by his spineless boss Larry Tate (David White) is interesting in perspective. Also, the fact that the offices always had their cocktail bars and Darrin and Larry were always lubricating their clients (and themselves) fits well into the world now depicted on Mad Men.

Those fans of the current show probably would laugh at this comparison, but the high pressured advertising world depicted in Bewitched, and the fact that all the historic aspects of the 1960s are available in less than impressive technicolor, makes the juxtaposition of the old sitcom and the current AMC drama a must for serious viewers of Mad Men. It also provides a unique perspective for many fans who were not even born when Bewitched first aired, or who saw the disappointing Will Ferrell film and define Darrin by his performance.

Darrin Stephens and Larry Tate were TV's original Mad Men. Those who take the time to watch some episodes of the old show will be surprised by the depiction of the advertising world and get more than a few chuckles along the way as well.

Photo Credits: Bewitched ( and Mad Men (

Thursday, March 22, 2012

As Gang Green Turns: Euphoria Limited in NYC After Tebow Trade

Article first published as As Gang Green Turns: Euphoria Limited in NYC After Tebow Trade on Blogcritics.

The announced trade of Tim Tebow from the Denver Broncos to the New York Jets has not sent crowds running through Times Square in joyous celebration. Jets fans know the score: Tim Tebow is no Peyton Manning - not by a long shot. Manning gets to go to the Mile High city and soak up the big bucks, and we get the detritus of this deal in a trade that takes two draft picks and cash.

There is another side to this story too, one that all fans of the soap opera As Gang Green Turns can appreciate: Mark Sanchez, the newly signed to an extension Sanchez, now has to fester in his own brooding way until training camp to see what this all means. If this is not a good reality show what is?

I guess the Jets could not resist the headlines this deal would give them. Headlines here in New York have kind of been rare for Gang Green, while Big Blue sucked up all that ink and screen time on the TV news with winning a little thing called the Super Bowl. I guess this is the Jets' way of grabbing back the spotlight - but how long can this last?

There is one other truth to consider here - Tebow may not be Peyton Manning, but neither is Sanchez. One can run and one can throw; one can pray and one can play, but the truth is that both of them have come up short and have a long road ahead to become anything resembling a Manning brother.

We Jets fans will have to just sit back and see how this all works out. We can only wonder what King Rex is thinking now, and I am sure his mouth will roar in the days ahead. Stay tuned because there will be more to come in the best soap opera in sports.

Photo Credit - AP

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Verdict in the Tyler Clementi Case a Victory Against Bullying Everywhere

Article first published as Verdict in the Tyler Clementi Case a Victory Against Bullying Everywhere on Blogcritics.

Ex-Rutgers University student Dharun Ravi received guilty verdicts in the case against him for spying on his roommate Tyler Clementi. This involved Ravi's use of a webcam to capture Clementi's intimacies in his dorm room with another man (identified as M.B. during the trial), who testified that he noticed Ravi's webcam pointed toward Clementi's bed in the room. That testimony and many other facts obviously sealed Ravi's fate, and now he faces up to ten years in prison.

The story would be bad enough if it ended there, but Clementi was so distraught over the spying - and the fact that Ravi had invited other students to view Clementi's trysts with the man - that he was driven over the edge, causing him to commit suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. Clementi's devastated parents sat in court as the verdict was read (and to their credit have even called for leniency in the sentencing of Ravi), but no verdict or penalty could assuage their grief for the loss of their son.

Of course, this verdict should be taken not as justice in this particular case but as a victory against bullying everywhere. What Ravi was doing was clearly bullying in every sense of the word. He brought in silent witnesses who did nothing to prevent the act, and he intimidated Clementi with those actions and drove him to suicide (something that happens more frequently than people can imagine in cases of bullying).

School districts all over the country are investing millions of dollars in anti-bullying programs. These districts have recognized that bullying is not just a rite of passage in schools but a distinctly ugly and dangerous practice that should have been addressed many years ago. Sadly, we will never know how many young people have been lost because of this, but now things are changing (slowly) for the better.

It used to be it was a given that the big kid pushed the little ones around. Kids got lunch money taken, toys, jackets, etc. Many films have made light of this as an expected part of childhood. Even in last year's blockbuster film Captain America, we see skinny Brooklyn kid Steve Rogers getting roughed up by the bigger bad boys in town. While all of this can reach a level of parody that is familiar and sometimes comic, in reality kids who have had to face this can tell you a far different story.

There are many different kinds of bullying, each with facets that are tangible and intangible. A bully doesn't just have to rough another kid up. Bullying can be verbal, it can involve gestures, written notes, suggestions, and drawings. Technology has brought bullying into a new era because of the immediacy of cyber-bullying: e-mails, text messages, and social networking. What Clementi obviously feared was that a video of his tryst could go viral, and he could not take that ultimate invasion of his privacy. Many others face similar situations and may contemplate the only way out just as Clementi did.

This verdict is a sound one and sends a clear message - bullying cannot and will not be tolerated. School districts have embraced a variety of programs and are educating young people; sadly, Clementi and Ravi did not benefit from this in their education. Hopefully, this will help change perceptions and bring awareness, but the verdict is a powerful statement by the jury and bullies everywhere should realize that their reign of terror will be short lived.

None of this brings back Tyler Clementi, or any person lost to suicide because of bullying, but his legacy should be that he will be remembered by others and his case will spark even more change for the better for young people everywhere. That will be a good thing but achieved at a terrible price.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Knick Knacks: D'Antoni's Departure Means This Season Is Doomed

Article first published as Knick Knacks: D'Antoni's Departure Means This Season Is Doomed on Blogcritics.

If anyone thinks that the "resignation" of Knicks head coach Mike D'Antoni is a good thing, he or she is living in an alternate universe where the Knicks lead the Celtics in the standings. In this real world things are getting ugly as they can get for the Knicks and their fans, and the writing was on the Madison Square Garden wall when fans were booing the team on Monday.

Whether or not D'Antoni actually resigned is not the point, even if Knicks owner Jim Dolan says he and the coach "mutually agreed" on this decision. The truth is that the whole thing came down to Carmelo Anthony or Mike D'Antoni. That's like saying it came down to a 1965 Chevy and 2012 Mustang (admittedly with a few dents). Obviously, there was only one way this thing could go.

Last year Dolan gave away some quality players to get Anthony, so if he had traded him before tomorrow's deadline, it would have been an admission that move was flawed. Anyone who has watched the Knicks knows that to be the case, but here we go trying to put spit and polish on the lackluster efforts of Anthony.

Make no mistake, he is not alone in this debacle. Amar'e Stoudemire has been doing his best Madame Tussaud impersonation all season. Watch him under the net and you may see birds resting on his head. Jeremy Lin, Tyson Chandler, J.R. Smith, and all the other assorted Cratchits are to blame as well, but it is easier to just to say "Off with his head" and be done with D'Antoni than to address the deep trouble that exists on this team right now.

Assistant coach Mike Woodson will be the interim head for the remainder of the season. With the Knicks losing six in a row and eight of their last ten, I don't think anyone can seriously believe this change is going to do anything to stop the insanity (with the Linsanity almost all but forgotten now).
D'Antoni is gone but the problems remain. Look for the Knicks to be overtaken by the Milwaukee Bucks for the last playoff spot, and be realistic and thankful for this merciful exit out. I don't know about you, but I don't want to see this squad anywhere near any of the teams in the first round of the playoffs.

Go gentle into that good night, Knicks fans. It's over.

Photo Credit - NY Daily News

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Knick Knacks: Linsanity Is Running Out of Gas

Article first published as Knick Knacks: Linsanity Is Running Out of Gas on Blogcritics.

The climate in New York is not good these days for Knicks fans, who are coming down off an artificial high created by Linsanity, the amazing celebratory crush of excitement that involved Jeremy Lin's shooting star. Alas, as with all shooting stars, they peter out, and you are left with the same dark sky filled with many other stars that are still shining.

We Knicks fans should have known better, but we were caught up in the tidal wave of Linmania, unable or unwilling to admit it would ever ebb. We didn't want to think about the fact that it was a short period of time, in the absence of Amar'e Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony, and that when they returned and the team played more challenging opponents, that the Lin fire would die down.

Right now Lin looks like at best an average player. Other teams have been watching him, scouting him, and figuring out his game. He still fits into the Mike D'Antoni theory of things (outscore your opponents by taking as many shots as possible), but that doesn't solve the continuing defensive problems (magnified when Tyson Chandler is not in the lineup). Lin is clearly not a defensive player, and we can wonder if he ever will match the type of play that caused Linsanity in the first place, or if he will just settle down and be that average player - for the rest of his career.

I still keep thinking that Lin's talent and personality will win out, that he will rise to become a much better player again. He will never be a Kobe Bryant type talent (or even a Carmelo Anthony), but he could still surprise us and that is something to look forward to for Knicks fans.

All you have to do to know Linsanity is running out of gas is to watch the games, or you can ask some of my fellow Knicks fans, or better yet some of the kids who know what's going on. When my nephew was asked if he wanted a Lin jersey for his birthday, the reply was a firm "No thanks." He would take a Stoudemire or Anthony one though. Enough said about Linsanity, at least for now.

Photo Credit - NY Daily News

Sunday, March 11, 2012

As Gang Green Turns: Jets Sanchez Extension Means Manning Turned Rex Down

Article first published as As Gang Green Turns: Jets Sanchez Extension Means Manning Turned Rex Down on Blogcritics.

In my previous article I indicated that Jets head coach Rex Ryan had to change his spots if the Jets had any chance of landing superstar quarterback Peyton Manning. One day later we learn the Jets have given current quarterback Mark Sanchez a three-year extension worth $40.5 million, meaning now we have five years more of the Ryan-Sanchez era. Excuse me, but the silence in New York is deafening this morning.

We Jets fans have to know what this means: we are stuck with King Rex and his brand of football, kind of the way we Mets fans are stuck with the 2012 team that is already beaten up and destined for .500 ball or less. I guess we should be kind of used to this by now, but it gets old pretty fast always waiting for next year.

Now don't get me wrong, there is a snowstorm's chance in July of me ever switching to Giant blue or Yankee pinstripes. I have Jets green and Mets orange and blue in my blood, born from losing and the hope that once sprang eternal from the mists over Ebbetts Field, the Polo Grounds, and Shea Stadium. Still, I think we Jets fans all woke up this morning, saw this headline about Sanchez, and wondered how things can go this way.

Quickly clicking on the radio to listen to my favorite sports stations (WINS, WFAN, and ESPN here in New York), I switched back and forth to get more details. One thing I heard really hit me hard: Jet icon Joe Namath advised Manning not to get into the Jets soap opera. If good old Willie Joe thinks Ryan and company are toxic, the prospects for the future (as long as Ryan reigns) are dismal to say the least.

You can imagine that Peyton was seriously considering the Jets chances for a trip to the Super Bowl, but with Namath's advice and his legacy to consider (no doubt also realizing how well things worked out for Brett Farve here) he decided it was not worth it. This is what Rex Ryan has done to the Jets; instead of attracting the best players the way he thinks, he is turning them away.

Some may feel that this extension confirms the Jets belief that Sanchez is their man for now and the future, but don't be fooled: this is strictly damage control. They are saying "Sanchez is our man; and this is Ryan's team." In reality this is pure desperation because the team was backed into the corner by Manning's decision to say no to Rex.

So Jets fans you know what we're in for now and for the next five years: more of the same, mediocrity disguised as a game plan. Better get used to it because Rex and Sanchez are here for there long haul on the road leading to nowhere.

Photo Credits - Daily News

Saturday, March 10, 2012

As Gang Green Turns: Manning Up - Rex Has To Prove He Has the Right Stuff

Article first published as As Gang Green Turns: Manning Up - Rex Has To Prove He Has the Right Stuff on Blogcritics.

The old adage is that talk is cheap, which means in Jets head coach Rex Ryan's case that he has a 99 cent store full of throw away quotations. Most notable is stuff along the lines of promising his team will win the Super Bowl, anyone wanting to win a Super Bowl should be a Jet, and so on. Obviously, none of these things are anything that you can take to the bank to earn interest (or to make the great quarterback Peyton Manning want to wear Jet green).

Still, a compelling possibility exists for Ryan and the Jets: Manning is free and available and is looking for work. Manning currently has more opportunities than a kid in a candy store, but you have to know that he wants to connect with a winner: not a team that looks good on paper, but one that can get the boots on the ground drive all the way to the Super Bowl.

One of my vices is listening to sports talk radio shows here in New York, and everyone is buzzing about Manning and the possibility of him in a Jets uniform. As a Jets fan I couldn't say that doesn't get me excited, but I have also learned over the years that nothing is easy in the soap opera known As Gang Green Turns. While this should be a simple equation: Manning + Jets = Super Bowl, there are so many cooks ready to spoil the broth, and chief among them is Ryan and his mouth that roared.

Manning doesn't want promises of a Super Bowl: he wants to be there. From what I've heard on those radio shows, Peyton has no desire to play in the NFC and face his brother more than necessary. He wants to be in the AFC and hopes that he gets to the big game, and then facing his brother would be the stuff of legends. If you think New York got crazy for the Yankees and Mets in 2000, the New York Giants vs. Jets with the Brothers Manning opposing one another would send this metropolis into sheer lunacy.

Still, getting Manning to sign on the dotted line is going to be a challenge. I think Ryan and the Jets have to court Manning, prove they are winners, and Ryan has to change his style quite a bit. If he goes from big mouth to a more measured and methodical approach (similar to Giants head coach Tom Coughlin), Manning might be more secure in coming here.

People calling into the radio shows question Manning's health. If the Jets get him, will he be the superstar he was once, or will he suffer a mid season breakdown and burst everyone's bubbles? We know Manning didn't play a game last year, and there has to be some concern about his ability to throw a ball, his velocity, and his endurance. Certainly, even a compromised Manning might be better than Mark Sanchez, but medical tests will determine his health and we can take it from there.

The Jets have to go for Manning, and perhaps Mark Sanchez gains a mentor and will learn to be the same kind of player. Will it be hard for Sanchez to take a step backwards? Of course, and maybe even the Jets trade him to drop payroll to accommodate Manning's salary. That would be sound financial planning and investment to be sure.

I want to see Manning in Jets green next year. If Ryan and company want to see him there too, they have to show they are ready to win - not just talk about it. Ryan is the key here, and if the whole thing doesn't work out, you have to wonder if Manning figured he would avoid the dubious pleasures of being Rex Ryan's quarterback. If that would be the case, Ryan has to get out of town faster than you can say "Mangenius." I'm sure former Jets head coach Eric Mangini will welcome him to the club.

Photo Credits: Manning -; Ryan - Boston

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Super Tuesday - Should We Pass Obama the Kryptonite?

First published on Blogcritics.

The prospects of choosing one of the Republican candidates today - Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, or Ron Paul - is kind of like having to vote for one of the Marx Brothers (and don't you dare call Ron Paul "Zeppo"). Together they constitute as much Presidential timber as Charlie Brown's poor choice of a Christmas tree, and no one should go thinking that Linus can come along and restore one of them with his blanket anytime soon.

All this "super" talk is beyond ludicrous at this point. Even together these guys are about as super as Don Knotts in Three's Company. Not one of them is anything close to a "super" candidate, but when one will emerge as the ersatz Clark Kent of the Republicans by tomorrow morning, Mr. Obama will have his Kryptonite ready and he looks unbeatable right now.

The Republicans are really on a roll lately. Take their candidate John McCain in the 2008 race: how could they have even put that man on the ticket? The answer is clearly there was no one else. Four years later we have much of the same thing going on. The Republican party seems to have a lot in common with the New York Mets: bad investments and players who are already out of the race before it even started.

Whoever emerges as the Republican version of a winner on Wednesday morning is going to be a lot like Clark Kent looking for a phone booth in present day Manhattan. I guess the smart money is on Mitt Romney, but putting him up against Mr. Obama is like betting on Rush Limbaugh to win Humanitarian of the Year.

The Republicans will have their convention with their candidate this summer, but in the end Mr. Obama will still stand as the obvious favorite in the election this November. He has that Kryptonite in his pocket, but it is doubtful he will ever have to use it.

Photo Credit - wikipedia

Monday, March 5, 2012

Why Disparage the Monkees After Davy Jones Death?

Article first published as Why Disparage the Monkees After Davy Jones' Death? on Blogcritics.

The death of Monkees lead singer Davy Jones at 66 is another sad loss for those of us who love music. In recent years we have lost Whitney Houston, Michael Jackson, George Harrison, Amy Winehouse, and many others. I tend to look at all this starting with the death of Elvis Presley - all this referring to not only a loss of innocence but perhaps the loss of what defined our youthful days. Certainly the murder of John Lennon turned the page in a way that many of us never saw coming, and since then things have changed the world in ways (many of them not good) that Lennon could never have imagined (yes, I know).

Thinking back to the Monkees and their brief and soaring brush with fame, they were for many of us a poor cousin to the Beatles, but any relation to the Fab Four would be welcome in our homes. When the TV show came out in 1966, the Monkees were a fabricated band (perhaps truly the first boy band) that threw together Peter Tork, Mickey Dolenz, Mike Nesmith, and Davy Jones. The Beatles had started to leave the mop-top look behind, but the show was meant to capitalize on the band and the good natured fun of their films A Hard Day's Night and Help.

The Pre-Fab Four (as the jokes were made back then) had to have a British lead singer, so enter Jones. The TV show was what could be called a zany, Marx Brothers type of musical comedy, with the four guys getting caught up with spies, assorted other bad guys, and pretty girls. The show shrewdly featured videos of their songs, beating all those lip-synching videos one would see on MTV by fourteen years. Songs like "Last Train to Clarksville," "I'm a Believer," and "Pleasant Valley Sunday" became great big hits, and to this day they always bring a smile to my face when I hear them on the radio.

For two years the show was on and then, like many fads, the thrill was gone and the show went off the air. For kids like me, it was gone way too soon as was Batman, Planet of the Apes, and Star Trek, but those shows helped define a generation and pave the way for new incarnations in the years to come.
The last few days I have heard so many people on TV and the radio disparaging the Monkees and their TV show. Surely, they have no legacy as do the Beatles, Rolling Stones, and the like, but The Monkees was a children's show that was entertaining, and we kids pushed our parents to buy the lunch boxes, the singles, and other paraphernalia associated with the group. They may have been a joke to some but to us we were in on the joke, or at least we thought as much, and that was all that mattered.

Once the show was gone and the group disbanded, Davy Jones went on to have a decent career and the Monkees would eventually reunite and tour (minus Mike Nesmith). I know my sister and countless other girls still had Davy's picture up on their bedroom walls next to ones of David Cassidy, Bobby Sherman, and Donny Osmond. And who could forget when Jones guest starred on The Brady Bunch, making Marcia (Maureen McCormick) and all the little girls around the country squeal in delight? Of course, The Brady Bunch was on the same time on Friday nights as my beloved Planet of the Apes, dooming it to cancellation after one season, but that's another story.

Still and all the Monkees and their TV show hold a place in TV and musical history. Yes, they didn't play the instruments on their recordings (session musicians did); they didn't write their songs (but people like Neil Diamond and Carole King did), and their fame didn't last long. They were prefabricated and no Beatles (not even Herman's Hermits) to be sure, but they did have a memorable presence in our lives for a time and remain beloved by those who watched the show all those years ago, so I just wish people would stop knocking them and let their fans enjoy their memories.

Rest in peace, Davy Jones!

Photo Credits - The Monkees/NY Times; Davy Jones - FOX

Sunday, March 4, 2012

MLB Announces Expanded Playoffs for This Year

Article first published as MLB Announces Expanded Playoffs for This Year on Blogcritics.

If you go by the old philosophy of less is more, then you may be baffled by the announcement by Major League Baseball that it is expanding the playoff schedule for this season. Commissioner Bud Selig has been hinting at this happening for years, but now it is a reality that was condoned by Players Association executive director Michael Weiner, who claims players are in favor of the expanded format. "Players want to expand the the importance of winning the division." You have to wonder if Bud has his hand up this guy's back and is working his lips.

I have never liked the idea of expanding anything in sports because more games mean more risk for injuries. Look at the NFL going to a sixteen game season. There have never been more injuries and more players threatened by not just losing a season but also their careers.

Another worry is weather, and that is not coming into play in the thought process here. Teams like Minnesota and Milwaukee can realistically expect that being in the playoffs (and then the World Series) could mean snow delays instead of rain delays, and even canceled games because of snow. I doubt that Selig is going to grab a shovel and help out in that case, so why is he so hot for this expansion?

Of course, the answer is revenue. By expanding the playoffs to include ten teams, the idea is to no doubt push the playoffs to a longer (and more lucrative) format. For this year only the scheme will involve a one-game playoff between the four wild card teams, with those teams then having the home field advantage for the first two games of the division series. Yes, you read that correctly! It doesn't make much sense rewarding the teams who did not finish first in their divisions, but that is how it will be this fall.

In the 2013 season the Houston Astros will move to the American League west, making two fifteen team leagues with three divisions of five. While Selig isn't saying so, the future looks like there will be more playoff games in the future, meaning perhaps two more wild card teams (giving each division a wild card) and more games between these teams (perhaps a three-game series).

I don't know about you, but to me this "expansion" is all about more money, and the prospect of watching Game 7 of the World Series over Thanksgiving weekend becomes more of a possibility. So if you like the idea of hearing "Play ball" and passing the sweet potatoes, enjoy! For me this is just another example of a executives ignoring what is good for a sport, the players, and the fans. I hope all that revenue allows teams to purchase long johns for their players; their going to need them.

Photo Credit - Sports Illustrated

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Bobby Valentine Attacks the Yankees - The Spin Starts Here

Article first published as Bobby Valentine Attacks the Yankees - The Spin Starts Here on Blogcritics.

Whether you like Bobby Valentine, new skipper of the Boston Red Sox, or not, you have to admit he knows how to stir the pot and cause a commotion. Bobby V (as he is affectionately known here in New York) is a master provocateur, a spin artist of the highest caliber. Bill O'Reilly's famous catch phrase is "The spin stops here." Bobby's might as well be "The spin starts here." Believe it or not, he would not have it any other way.

It has been ten years since Bobby has managed a Major League Baseball team. In that time he has not climbed a mountain in Tibet and become enlightened; no, Bobby hasn't changed one bit. He started talking to the press and you know there is always a game plan. There was some negative press going on about the Red Sox: beer was being banned in the clubhouse, Jason Varitek was retiring, the team blew it last year, etc. What better way for Bobby to spin things his way than to attack the New York Yankees? You can either get agitated about it or sit back and admire how crafty Bobby V can be.

Today Bobby Valentine is splashed across the headlines in the New York papers. Yankees fans are outraged that he spoke about the sacred cow Derek Jeter, and the less than sacred cow A-Rod. Jeter lied about a play being practiced by the Yankees a decade ago; who can even remember what happened last season? Varitek beat A-Rod up; I am not even sure about when or where this happened. For Bobby V the devil is not just in the details - it is the light of his life to get people agitated about them.

As a Mets fan I still like Bobby Valentine. I admire how he managed my team, how he stood up for New York after 9/11, and the way he pushed his team to be the best team it could be (even when that was difficult to say the least). All the other stuff with Bobby V is the package deal: getting thrown out of the game and sitting with a disguise in the clubhouse, for example. Saying things that he knew were going to get people angry or talking. That's Bobby and there's no changing him.

The problem is that Yankees fans now want to break down Bobby's comments and defend their guys. They want to prove that Jeter did practice that play, that A-Rod didn't get beaten up, and on and on. The problem is that is exactly what someone like Bobby wants. You argue about what he says, you get into a debate, you rage against him and the Red Sox, and he thinks he is winning. You know what, since the focus is off his team and on these silly comments, he has succeeded exactly as planned.

So take it from a Mets fan who knows Bobby V's act - the devil is in the details. Yankees fans (and anyone else for that matter) should not get sucked in by what he says. They shouldn't get angry and bothered and want blood, because in that way Bobby thinks he is winning, and maybe he is because it is his fault the spin gets started but it's everyone else's for letting it spin out of control.

One thing is for certain, the baseball season will be a lot more entertaining with Bobby V back in the picture. Welcome back, Bobby Valentine!

Photo Credit - AP