Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Football frenzy

For those of you, like me, who are counting, we are a little more than 48 hours away from the return of high school football.

And if you've been following Don Treat's excellent previews on each of our local teams, you know we're going to have one heckuva season. I can't remember the last time we've had so many really good teams (with a lot of question marks, however) in the same season.

It's the first season in a long time that I can say you really can't fall asleep on any one team. That makes things exciting for all football fans. I, for one, like it when you have a lot of really good teams instead of one or two super teams.

So here's to the possibiities this season will bring. Have fun boys. Give it all you have and remember, HAVE FUN OUT THERE!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Call me a bit of a homer, but I enjoy it more when we can write stories about locals excelling, whether it's in sports or life.

I kind of find myself rooting for area teams and athletes to succeed, which is why it was nice to see Mike Tulacz win the Wiltwyck Pro-Am the other day. I was equally excited to follow the exploits of the Ulster Fillies at nationals, Chris DeForest in his PGA Tour events and the Kingston senior and junior American Legion at states and regionals.

These are only a few examples from the summer.

Now that we're a little over a week from the grind of the high school and college seasons beginning, I just wanted to take a moment to congratulate all those teams and athletes for excelling this summer.

It's been a lot of fun following your exploits. Let's do it again next summer.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

Kudos to the Captain

Don't know if anybody's noticed, but Derek Jeter's batting average is closing in on .300.

I bring this up because quietly, or at least as quietly as anything Derek Jeter does, the Yankee captain is having a pretty good season. I guess now that the pressure of reaching that milestone 3,000th hit is off, Jeter has been much more relaxed in the past month or so.

I'm not saying Jeter is at the level he was five, six, seven years ago, when he was arguably one of the top players in the game, but he seems far from done.

By Jeter's standards, last offseason was awful. Messy contract negotiations (although how messy can contract negotiations when you still end up with around $17 million) were followed by screams from many early in the year he should be dropped in the order, benched or released.

With all that, Jeter kept plugging away and now finds himself a big part of this Yankees team.

Maybe the Captain has a couple good years left.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Curious statement

Since he arrived at Giants' camp a few years back, Eli Manning has always been a blue-collar, low-key, do-what-you-need-to-do-to-win kind of quarterback.

That's why it surprised me when he was recently quoted as calling himself a top-five quarterback in the NFL. Don't get me wrong, Eli Manning is a very good quarterback, one who's won a Super Bowl title, but top five? I don't think so.

I'm sure we can all think of at least five quarterbacks off the top of our heads -- Tom Brady, big brother Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, Michael Vick, Phillip Rivers, Ben Roethlisberger, Aaron Rodgers (just to name a few) -- who I think most Giants fans would take over Eli in a New York minute.

Now, a quarterback saying something like this at this time of year, probably won't raise the eyebrows of too many. I mean, it's preseason, and heck, all you have to do is listen to the coach of the other New York team to hear even bolder claims.

But, come November or December, if the Giants are nothing more than a .500 team (as many experts are predicting) and Eli is nothing more than an average quarterback (which is how many of these same experts rate him already), his preseason statement from the middle of August might just come back to bite him.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Back to action

Is it just me, or has this summer flown by?

It seemed like it was only yesterday that Rhinebeck softball was on its quest for its third straight state title, while Kingston and Saugerties were going for their first state crowns in baseball.

And, starting today, practice begins for fall sports, with the high school sports season 17 days away. Kickoff for the football season starts a day later.

Maybe it's just that I'm a year older, so time seems to move even more quickly, or perhaps the scholastic sports calendar begins earlier or ends later.

In any case, the "offseason" gets shorter and shorter every year.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Keeping things in perspective

So, the headlines this past week have been dominated by Alex Rodriguez and Tiger Woods.

Will A-Rod be suspended after allegations he participated in illegal poker games? Were these games even illegal? Would he be guilty if he were a participant? And, finally, was he even part of these games at all?

Then, there's the he said-he said between Woods and former caddie, Steve Williams. Did Tiger fire him by phone as Williams alleges, or was he fired face-to-face as Woods' said. And what about the statement that winning the Bridgestone Invitational with his new golfer, Adam Scott, was bigger than any win Williams had with Woods, which included 13 majors.

With all this going on, a college lacrosse player from Marist was killed in a car accident in his hometown in Pennsylvania. He was all of 19 years old. I didn't know the young man, never met him or even knew his name, but you can't be anything but sad when someone with so much life left to live dies all too young.

You hear this and think that maybe all this other nonsense about million dollar athlete-celebrities with these psudo-problems doesn't amount to much.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Happy for Tiger return

Although his comeback has not gone nearly as well as he would like, I, for one, was glad to see Tiger Woods back on the golf course.

I have said this before, I have always been an admirer of Tiger Woods the golfer, much like I was always an admirer of Mike Tyson the boxer. (Not that I'm in any way trying to compare Woods' marital transgressions to Tyson's problems with the law).

I admire true greatness in an athlete. Iron Mike had that greatness in the 80s and Tiger had from the time he burst onto the golf scene in the late '90s until a couple of years ago.

Do I think Tiger will ever return to the dominance he held over the golfing world for more than a decade? Probably not.

But any tournament that has Tiger Woods is a better tournament to watch.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Rivalry revisited?

I don't know about the rest of you, but these Yankee-Red Sox series, like the one beginning tonight at Fenway, doesn't have as much pizazz as they once held.

Maybe it's because year-after-year both teams qualify for the playoffs anyway, or maybe it's because the players on these teams are a little less hostile than the players of the past.

Boston pitcher Bill Lee's shoulder getting dislocated by Yankee third baseman Graig Nettles in a brawl in 1976 and Boston ace Pedro Martinez throwing down Yankee bench coach (and former Red Sox manager) Don Zimmer in the ALCS in 2003 are just a couple of examples of that hostility.

Don't get me wrong, there is still a buzz whenever these two longtime, heated rivals get together, whether they're playing to open the season in April or playing for a spot in the World Series.

But it's just not the same.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Not again, A-Rod

So ESPN New York, through the celeb site Radar, is reporting — using unnamed sources — that Yankee third baseman Alex Rodriguez participated in illegal poker games where cocaine was involved.

According to the ESPN story,
MLB investigators are taking the allegation very seriously.

If the story is true, I ask this: Can A-Rod ever get out of his own way?

If the story is false, I ask this: Can the media ever get out of A-Rod's face?

From steroids to contract opt-outs to all his famous girlfriends and subsequent breakups, Alex Rodriguez has been a lightning rod of controversy since coming to the Yankees in 2004.

It looks like that won't change anytime soon.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Dizzying week

So let me see if I this straight:

In the past week, the Jets signed former Giant Plaxico Burress and re-signed Santonio Holmes and Antonio Cromartie; flirted with Nnamdi Asumogha before the All-Pro cornerback signed with the Eagles; and all but said goodbye to Braylon Edwards after watching Brad Smith bolt to Buffalo.

The Giants said goodbye to stalwart, but aging, linemen Sean O'Hara and Rich Seubert; welcomed back Osi Umenyiora only to tell him he could shop himself around for a trade; flirted with a possible Burress return before he bolted to Jets; and swiped punter Steve Weatherford from Gang Green.

The Yankees flirted with Rockies' ace — now Cleveland Indian ace — Ubaldo Jimenez before deciding the price-tag was too high and for the first time in a long time stayed completely quiet at trade deadline.

The Mets, who traded closer Frankie Rodriguez earlier this month, said goodbye to All-Star outfielder Carlos Beltran, but didn't completely rule out a chase for a playoff spot be keeping Jose Reyes and other very tradeable pieces.

Dozens of trades, hundred of signings in football and baseball this past week alone.

Stop the (sports) world. I want to get on.