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Hello, Goodbye

Ed Botti



Week 1 of the New Year is behind us.

2022; I am still having trouble dating documents with a slash 22. It usually takes a week or 2 for my mind to accept the New Year.

As 2021 played its way out of our lives, I looked back to see some improvements over the dismal 2020 we lived through. Many, me included, believed we would have this whole Covid epoch in our rear view mirror by now.

Although things have improved over 2020, we are still not out of the woods.

Wintertime is a special time of the year for Baseball fans in general, and Yankee fans more specifically. The hot stove is officially cooking. Let the deals begin!!

Well, we all know that isn’t happening so far this year for the Yankees, and I am not going to rehash the whole lockout right now.

Yes, deals were made at the 11th hour leading to the lockout, but not in the Bronx. I believe they are waiting for the new Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) to be put in place so they know the new luxury tax level.

That is not good news for a Yankee fan. I can appreciate that from a business perspective, but we Yankee fans are not used to a budget conscious owner. We like to spend.

Whoever you support in this latest fight is up to you. I do not have a dog in that fight. I just want Baseball back.

As each day unfolds and less and less wood is thrown onto that baseball hot stove, and there is no baseball news to intrigue us whatsoever, it angers me more. Nonetheless we have no choice but to be patient and hope the Commissioner and the MLBPA can get a deal in place.

Don’t hold your breath.

Until that point, we do have some baseball related matters going on in our world, and of course we have many other sporting events and drama to see on a daily basis.

So looking back on our first full week of 2022, let’s see where we are.

Sunday

Giants and Jets.

I have mentioned in the past that we New Yorkers haven’t really had competitive football to watch for some time now. My winter sport is Hockey, but I have always been a fan of the NFL, and specifically the Giants. It has gotten to the point of the 2021/2022 Giants being nothing more than the 1989 Yankees in shoulder pads. The part Syd Thrift is played by Dave Gettlemen and the part of Dallas Green is played by Joe Judge.

The team is an unwatchable mess. They routinely draft players that are over matched at the pro level, and trade away players that develop on other teams.

The on field play is nothing short of abysmal.

This past Sunday vs the Chicago Bears was no different.

The Jets actually played a pretty competitive game against the World Champion Buccaneers only to lose at the very end on a TD pass from the ageless Tom Brady.





Photo Charles Wenzelberg/New York Post


Pay attention when Brady plays. You will not see someone like him for many many years.

In this past week’s Jets game we saw something close to a Jimmy Piersall meltdown, as the lightening rod Antonio Brown decided to undress from his shoulder pads and uniform top, and storm off the field shirtless while the game was actually being played.

Of course, what weekend would be complete without several NFL Wags going to social media to “defend” their husbands or boyfriends from the evil fans?

It has gotten ridiculous.

Note to NFL Wags- You’re not defending them, you are embarrassing them!

I discovered the TV Show Ted Lasso. I highly recommend!

Monday

Sports Media

I can actually remember the days leading up to July 1 1987. Reading about it in the papers and anxiously awaiting the day. What happened on that day?

That was the day that the Yankees very own Suzyn Waldman uttered the first words ever heard on WFAN. From that point forward, I have been a loyal listener, and caller (back in the day, not so much anymore) of the various shows. The time slot that never really connected for too long with an audience has always been the 10:00 AM to 2:00 PM slot. Many shows and combinations of hosts have tried, only to fail.

From the days of Ed Coleman and Dave Sims to the more recent Maggie and Moose show, it just never really worked out.

This week we have another new “Mid-Day Show” taking over the reins. Ex-Giant Tiki Barber and longtime sports analyst and radio personality Brandon Tierney get their shot.

We’ll see how it goes!

I would have kept Marc Malusis on and teamed him with someone else. In my opinion, Maggie Gray was simply horrible and they lost listeners (me included) because of her, not Moose.

Moreover in the sports media world we further learned that Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred has thinner skin then even I believed. This week he finally got even with Baseball “insider” Ken Rosenthal, as he let his contract expire without re upping him. Why?

You may recall that in the summer of 2020, Rosenthal was not very complementary of Manfred’s handing (or mishandling) of the delayed Covid 19 season and some of the ridiculous rule changes Manfred implemented. MLB owns the MLB Network, and Manfred got his way. You have to wonder now, if many of the other MLB Network talking heads are afraid to speak their minds in fear of losing their jobs, and thus tow the company line, instead of being honest with us, the Fans?

I am not a big fan of Rosenthal, he is fine, but I did agree with what he wrote about Manfred leading up to the 2020 season.





Photo Robert Sabo


Somehow the New York Rangers are 22-8-4 and tied for the Best record in the League.

Note to Yankee fans. The Garden unloaded the Rangers’ GM and Head Coach at the end of last season. The world did not implode, and they are back to playing good solid Ranger hockey.

Sometimes change is good, Yankee fans!

Tuesday

Many writers and commentators here at Start Spreading the News (me included) have voiced their displeasure with the inexperienced Aaron Boone coaching staff.

The Yankees decided late in 2021 to revamp the coaching staff and have doubled down on MLB playing experience not being a requirement.

Not only that, but once again, the Yankees under Boone/Hal/ Cashman are followers not leaders, as they look to Gabe Kapler and his 2021 Giants staff of 13 coaches, and decided to follow their lead.

The Yankees’ staff for 2022 expended to 11 last week when they revealed the addition of six new coaches to replace the four that were either fired, took positions with different teams or went the collegiate route.

Newly hired assistant hitting coach Eric Chavez, a veteran of 17 MLB seasons is the only household name most will recognize. Puzzlingly, the other five new coaches combined for one MLB game during their playing careers.

New first base and infield coach Travis Chapman has that one game played in MLB with the Phillies in 2003 before beginning his coaching career. 1 AB.

New third-base coach and former Mets manager Luis Rojas played in the minor leagues.

The other three additions to the Boone staff, hitting coach Dillon Lawson, assistant hitting coach Casey Dykes and assistant pitching coach Desi Druschel all never got past the college level as players.

I am not of the opinion that every coach has to be an ex MLB star. But it sure does help to have coaches around that have “been there, done that” available.

I guess Cashman and his crew don’t see the value of MLB experience set in leadership roles. When the core four showed up for good in 1996 they had men like Joe Torre, Mel Stottlemyre, Don Zimmer, Chris Chambliss, Tony Cloninger, Jose Cardinale, Willie Randolph, GM Bob Watson and advisor Gene Michael ready willing and able to teach and guide the team.

We all know the results.

Once again, this Yankee administration shows us all that they think know better and are smarter than their predecessors.

Wednesday

For the first time in 197 days, Kyrie Irving took to the floor for the Brooklyn Nets. The last time he played was Game 4 of the Eastern Conference semifinals when he tore up his ankle.

After a little bit of a slow start it all came together and he was back to being what he is; one of the best basketball players on the planet. When the smoke cleared he had 22 points, 4 assists, 3 steals and a plus/minus of 16.

Not too bad for a guy that hasn’t played competitive basketball since June 13, 2021.

Due to the Covid 19 laws in New York City and his reluctance to get vaccinated, Kyrie cannot play games in the 5 boroughs. Initially, the team did not allow for a “part time” player, but as the season wore on, and the work load of his teammates increased, the team conceded and will allow him to play road games.

A very odd situation to say the least. What will happen in the playoffs?

Under the status quo Irving will get 21 more road games (barring injury). The next road game is Monday night in Portland.

In another Covid-19 related sports issue, a story was leaked that the NFL is exploring options to relocate this year’s Super Bowl, scheduled for Sunday, February 13, 2022 at brand new SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles.

The uncertainty rose due to speculation surrounding the escalating cases of the Omicron variant in the LA area.

Currently Los Angeles County does not have COVID-19 restrictions which would prevent the Super Bowl from being played in a stadium at full capacity.

SoFi Stadium had over 70,000 fans for Chargers vs. Broncos this past week.

The fear is that Los Angeles County and/or the state of California may well go back to more stringent early pandemic restrictions.

Dallas television network WFAA reported that the City of Arlington “proactively” contacted the NFL and offered AT&T Stadium, home of the Cowboys, as a possible venue if Los Angeles becomes an unworkable situation.

Dallas last hosted the Super Bowl in 2011, when the Packers defeated the Steelers.

It’s quite possible they will move the game. Remember, last year’s Rose Bowl moved from Pasadena to AT&T Stadium.





Photo Getty Images


Thursday

So much for the only coach on Boone’s staff with any real MLB experience. In a blow to the new and revamped Boone coaching staff, it was reported that newly hired assistant hitting coach Eric Chavez decided to bolt across town to take the job as Buck Showalter’s hitting coach with the Mets.

The Yankees only just hired Chavez in December as their assistant hitting coach. Coaches are commonly permitted by teams to leave for a promotion.

Chavez and new Mets GM Billy Eppler have a long history together.

Chavez played with the Yankees in 2011 and 2012 putting up a solid 2012 by hitting .281 with 16 home runs and of course his stellar defense.

He then became a special assistant to GM Brian Cashman after retiring in 2014.

Good for the Mets. Bad for the Yankees.

Friday

As if we needed more of Michael Kay (ESPN Radio “The Michael Kay Show”, Yankee YES telecasts and “Centerstage”) he is being paired with Alex Rodriguez in what is being termed a “Manningcast”.

Don’t get me wrong, I like Kay and think he has done pretty well calling games (I do think he was better when paired with John Sterling over the radio), but it does get to a point of over exposure.

The formation of a “KayRod” duo equates to AROD being removed from the weekly “Sunday Night Baseball” (SNB) telecasts, which I have no problem with.

In a complete makeover the SNB booth will now be made up of David Cone and Eduardo Perez as analysts, paired up with Karl Ravech as the play-by-play announcer (not ideal).

The good news is that Cone is expected to stay at YES, but he will not be covering as many games as we have become accustomed to.

Couple that with the retirement of Ken Singleton, and the YES booth will be much different this season.

I for one, thought Ken Singleton was fantastic and a breath of fresh air during a somewhat pedestrian YES broadcast crew.

Kay’s YES schedule is not being changed.

Boy, do I miss Rizzuto and White!

What exactly the format of a KayRod show will be like is still unknown. My guess is that it will be similar to the silly Payton/Eli Manning show.

The KayRod show will air during 10-12 games of the total package of 25 SNB games.





Photo USA Today Sports


Straight from the pages of the “some people just never learn” book, Knicks embattled power forward Julius Randle must not have paid much attention last summer. As we saw last August from the Mets’ Javier Baez and Francisco Lindor, attacking the fans is a no win situation.

Thursday night Randle gave the fans the exact same treatment and disrespect the Mets pair did last summer, and after making a key bucket ran down the court with a thumbs down gesture to the fans.

When asked afterwards why he did that and what it meant he replied “To shut the F*** up.’’

Not very smart.

Just one year ago, during the cardboard cutout days at the Garden when the Knicks were playing a surprisingly good brand of basketball, Randle was quoted as stating “It’s so unfortunate our fans can’t be a part of this”.

Now that Knicks have come back down to earth and Randle’s game has been inconsistent and witnessed by a packed MSG crowd each night, he is singling a different song.

New York is a tough town, Julius. You knew that before signing your new 3 year/$62,100,000 contract.

Charles Barkley nailed it when he stated on TBS last night “I never understand why players think you’re supposed get cheered when you’re playing bad. No, you’re going to get booed when you’re playing bad and you’re going to get cheered when you win. This is the way this thing works. We ain’t doctors, we ain’t lawyers. If you play good, people cheer you. If you play bad, people boo you. That’s the deal you make with fans,”

Words of wisdom.

I am sure some do, but I’d like to see a modern day athlete appreciate the fact that the fans are the ones paying them these ridiculous salaries!

Saturday

Online and Mobile Sports gambling hit the shores of New York Saturday at 9:00 AM. As of this morning, bets can be made anywhere in the Empire State using a smartphone or other device.



New Yorkers no longer have to go to a sports book inside a casino to place a bet (legal since 2019), or cross a bridge or tunnel to New Jersey to do so.

Timing is everything, they say, and the new law kicks in just in time for the NFL playoffs, which start next weekend. The Super Bowl, the single biggest sports betting event of the year, is set for Sunday February 13.

The state is allowing four outfits to officially launch their platforms today.

Caesar’s Sportsbook, Draftkings, Fan Dual, and BetRivers.

Cha Ching!

An additional five other platforms will join the party as soon as they complete New York’s approval and licensing process (is that what they are calling it these days)?

In the on deck circle are PointsBet, BetMGM, Resorts World, BallyBet and WynnBet.

New York State immediately became the largest market to jump into the online betting racquet so far.

The state has joined up with some of the top names in sports gambling.

The highest tax rate of 51% of revenues for the platforms, notwithstanding.

In the interim, New Jersey has exceeded Nevada, home to Las Vegas and Reno, as the biggest sports betting market in the U.S.

Data ending in November 2021 has nine casinos and the three horse tracks located in the Garden State that take sports bets generated almost $10 billion in revenue.

Industry authorities are estimating as much as 30% of sports bets in New Jersey are placed by New York residents.

Pandora’s Box is officially open.

In my view there are pros and cons, and I think the cons outweigh the pros by too large of a margin.

From the state’s viewpoint, an individual who does not gamble isn’t contributing anything to the overall pool of gambling tax revenue. However an individual who gambles and loses away their disposable income or even their life savings does contribute to the gambling tax revenue pool but isn’t going to able to contribute to the local economy(s) tax base.

So the states get their share, and the local business and jurisdictions are the ones that will ultimately get the short end of the stick.

Anyway you slice it or try to sell it gambling and sports betting has a high potential for addiction.

Additionally, it may very well impact the overall integrity of pro sports.

Historically in sports (both pro and amateur), there has never been a scarcity of gambling scandals. We all know about shoeless Joe Jackson (see my article here)

https://startspreadingthenews.blog/start-spreading-the-news/2021/8/14/throwing-it-all-away

and of course Pete Rose, CCNY NCAA basketball point shaving, Paul Hornung and Alex Karras, John “Hot Rod” Williams, Rick Tocchet and others.

Above the board and authentic competition is one of sports’ most esteemed principles. When you throw in a potential monetary enticement that subordinates an athlete’s devotion to integrity, the ground work is laid for the exploitation of sports betting.

In other words- throwing games.

The potential revenue for the States and the Leagues is so immense, that they agreed to risk their integrity for the pay day.

Worse, it appears they couldn’t care less.

If you think the nonstop gambling commercials on WFAN, SNY, YES and MSG were annoying, just wait!

Monday Night is the College Football Championship game. Looks to be a good one. Go Georgia!!

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