Twins making great moves on, off field

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Twins making great moves on, off field

Post  RedMagma on Sat Jan 26, 2008 11:02 pm

Twins making great moves on, off field


http://www.startribune.com/sports/14456197.html

Not only did the team sign Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer to long-term deals, but it agreed to cover the cost overruns of the new stadium.

By SID HARTMAN, Star Tribune


In a conversation with Twins owner Carl Pohlad some time ago I was asking some question about the signing of several players.

His answer was: "I do what I am told these days."

Well, I'm sure nothing major is done without Carl knowing what is going on, but it's obvious Jim Pohlad is calling the shots these days.

The headlines in Saturday's papers all raved about the signings of Michael Cuddyer and Justin Morneau to long- term contracts, and the Twins management should be complimented for those moves.

But I thought the bigger news was that the ballpark was coming in more than $20 million over budget and that the Pohlad family had agreed to come up with the money.

The Pohlad family had already agreed to contribute $15 million for the land purchase, something that wasn't in the original plans.

Twins executives Jerry Bell, Dave St. Peter and Bill Smith all report to Jim Pohlad. And even though Jim might not be the biggest baseball fan in the world, he and his brothers Bobby and Bill and his dad Carl should be heroes to local baseball fans.

And furthermore, if Smith came to Jim with a reasonable plan to keep Johan Santana, there would be a chance of retaining the Cy Young winner.

But after spending all that money on Cuddyer, Morneau and Joe Mauer, the chances are good

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Re: Twins making great moves on, off field

Post  RedMagma on Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:02 am

Hank Steinbrenner: Don't question Yankees' championships


http://www.nydailynews.com/sports/baseball/yankees/2008/01/27/2008-01-27_hank_steinbrenner_dont_question_yankees_.html



BY JOHN HARPER
DAILY NEWS SPORTS WRITER

Sunday, January 27th 2008, 4:00 AM
Hank Steinbrenner Antonelli/News

Angered that Yankee integrity was called into question, Hank Steinbrenner spoke out this past week about the Mitchell Report that last month named 20 current or former Yankees as users of steroids or human growth hormone. Mostly Steinbrenner defended the legitimacy of the four championships won from 1996-2000.

"Don't make any mistake about it," the Yanks' senior VP told an Associated Press reporter in Tampa, "our teams in the late '90s beat everybody, and we beat everybody because we were that much better than everybody. And they had just as many players doing stuff - all the teams. I guarantee you, go through every team in baseball and they all have the same basic percentage of players doing stuff. They just weren't as good as us.

"You think the Red Sox didn't have players doing stuff back then? Give me a break. They just weren't as good as us, and neither was anybody else."

In the same interview, Steinbrenner pledged to be patient with the Yankees' young pitchers, but also issued what could be interpreted as a warning to Brian Cashman that the GM better be right in not wanting to trade for Johan Santana.

It is Cashman, as well as Hal Steinbrenner, who so far has convinced Hank not to trade Phil Hughes and other prospects to the Twins for Santana.

"I will be patient with the young pitchers and players," Steinbrenner said. "There's no question about that because I know how these players develop. But as far as missing the playoffs - if we miss the playoffs, I don't know how patient I'll be.

"But it won't be against the players. It won't be a matter of that. It will be a matter of, maybe certain people in the organization could have done something else."

CANO DEAL: Some baseball people wonder if it was a smart move to agree to give Robinson Cano a four-year contract worth a guaranteed $30 million, given that he is still three years away from being eligible for free agency. As one AL scout said yesterday. "He has a tendency to put it on cruise control. He's got a world of talent, but I know the Yankees had concerns at one point about his work ethic. Sometimes young guys get that first big contract and their intensity comes and goes." - Harper
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buddio Jan 27, 2008 5:48:05 AM Report Offensive Post
Hank we love you, but your GM is right in trying to develop your kids. Me personally, I don't want to see columns like Lupica's Shooting from the Dip one in today's publication where he took a shot at the payroll, of course Lupica fails to append that some of that salary never saw the playing field, and the yanks had a triple A pitching staff for a third of the season due to injury's, plus the clemens debacle inflated the total salary, but no excuses, the spending is hideous no doubt. I think a high percentage of your fans don't want Santana, enuff with the hired gunslingers. The Cano signing IMO was a good one, I believe this kid is gonna be a big star in the league, and I think with some of the character guys in the locker room they'll keep his complacency issues to a minimum.

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Re: Twins making great moves on, off field

Post  RedMagma on Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:07 am

Will loyalty or money win?

Published on Sunday, Jan 27, 2008


After the Indians' season ended in October, General Manager Mark Shapiro said he hoped to have a contract extension with left-handed ace C.C. Sabathia concluded by the start of spring training.

The other night at the Cleveland Sports Awards Banquet, Shapiro said he would keep talks alive with Sabathia until the last second, which includes right through free agency.

Maybe it's me, but this does not seem to bode well for a deal getting done by spring training.

Tonight, Sabathia will be in New York to pick up the hardware for his Cy Young Award. Eric Wedge (who will be picking up the Manager of the Year hardware) might want to tether himself to Sabathia — just to prevent the pesky New York writers (awards are presented at the New York Baseball Writers Dinner) from wining and dining Sabathia to convince him to play in the Bronx or Queens.

See, if Sabathia does not sign an extension, the big-money teams will all pony up to pay Sabathia the big money that comes with being a big-money team.

Consider that when the New York Yankees were trying to acquire left-hander Johan Santana from the Minnesota Twins in a trade, numbers for his possible contract extension were being discussed in the $20-million-per-year range.

If true, the Indians have to hope that Sabathia's fondness for Cleveland trumps the millions he can make in a city like New York — or Los Angeles or Boston.

Let's suppose that the Yankees or the Boston Red Sox, one or the other, acquires Santana — either via trade or free agency.

Does it not make sense that the team that does not acquire Santana would go full bore toward acquiring Sabathia?

How in the world, after all, could the Yankees sit still if the Red Sox, the dreaded Red Sox, had Santana and the Yankees did not have a match?

If both of these players make it to free agency after this season, teams might need to go to Bill Gates for a loan to sign them.

With that on the horizon, loyalty is the only thing that might entice Sabathia to stay.

But can loyalty outweigh the difference between a four-year deal that the Indians might offer and a seven-year deal that Sabathia might get on the open market?

Shapiro is not discussing any details on talks between the Indians and Sabathia's ''people,'' so any contract figures are pure conjecture.

Word is that the Indians will pay market value for Sabathia, but that they will make the contract shorter.

So let's say for argument's sake, the Indians go to the $20-million-per-year figure for Sabathia.

Four years, $80 million is pretty good coin for a guy who makes his living throwing a baseball. But it's also not a seven-year, $140 million deal that might be available on the market.

The difference in those deals is only $60 million.

Is there enough loyalty and sentiment in the world to account for $60 million?

The Indians played the loyalty card with Jim Thome when they showed him a video extolling his virtues and promising a statue of him outside Jacobs . . . err . . . Progressive Field.

Then they gave Thome his contract figure, and he was ''insulted.''

Guys always get ''insulted'' in these talks at one time or another.

Why they get ''insulted'' when they're going to make more in one week than the entire neighborhood does in a lifetime is a mystery, but they do.

If Sabathia doesn't get ''insulted,'' he'll be the first.

Thome, though, was ''insulted'' and went to the Philadelphia Phillies, because they gave him a sixth year and the Indians had offered five. Same money per year, but one year less.

There is some talk that Santana wants $25 million. For each season. If Santana gets it, $20 million might ''insult'' Sabathia.

Usually when a player says ''It's not about the money,'' it is really about one thing: The money.

If it's not about the money with Sabathia, it would be a first for the Indians since the days of Toby Harrah.

Really, it's almost always about the money.

Which is why this ''loyalty'' thing, at this point, sounds like a tough sell.

BROWNS
Quality wins for Patriots

Of the many impressive achievements of the New England Patriots this season is this one: Nine of their wins have come against teams with a winning record.

This reality only embellishes the greatness of this team in New England.

One of the better Web sites dealing with football calls itself Cold Hard Football Facts (http://www.coldhardfootballfacts.com). It takes a real look at the NFL, without bias, and gets behind numbers to explain what team is good and what team isn't.

One of the tenets of said Web site is a statistic it calls ''quality wins.''

That is, how does a team do when it plays other good teams?

The Washington Redskins, for example, were a playoff team, but they would suffer in the CHFF standings, because they went just 2-5 against winning teams.

The Patriots, though, are 9-0 in quality wins.

Which leads us to the Browns. Doesn't it always?

In 2007, the Browns played four teams with winning records and beat only one of them.

The Seattle Seahawks were the only team the Browns were able to beat that finished the season above .500.

This seems worthy of further examination.

The Browns' wins were over Cincinnati (7-9), Baltimore (5-11), Miami (1-15), St. Louis (3-13), Seattle (10-6), Baltimore (5-11), Houston (8-Cool, the New York Jets (4-12), Buffalo (7-9) and San Francisco (5-11).

Losses were to Pittsburgh (10-6), Oakland (4-12), New England (16-0), Pittsburgh (10-6), Arizona (8-Cool and Cincinnati (7-9).

So the Browns beat up on mediocre and bad teams, going 8-2 against teams that were .500 or below and 1-3 against teams that were above .500.

The Browns were good enough to beat the bad teams, but not good enough to beat the good teams.

It would seem reasonable to conclude that the Browns benefited from a weak schedule, since 12 of the 16 teams they played were .500 or below.

Further evidence of this fact comes when figuring the won-lost record of the teams that the Browns beat compared to the won-lost record of the teams that beat the Browns.

The teams that lost to the Browns went 55-105 (.344).

The teams that beat the Browns went 55-41 (.573).

Teams the Browns beat won 55 games, teams the Browns lost to also won 55 games. This is symmetry rarely achieved in sports.

And it surely shows the poor strength of schedule the Browns played in 2007.

Next season things will not be so easy. Two divisions in the NFL sent three out of four teams to the playoffs: The AFC South and the NFC East. The Browns play them both.

Now, things can change a lot with schedules from one year to the next. This season's did not turn out the way it was expected to turn out.

And Browns General Manager Phil Savage rightly points out that the rest of the AFC North plays the same schedule as the Browns, so things will be equal.

But let's take a look at quarterback Derek Anderson's numbers against winning and nonwinning teams.

In the team's 10 games against teams that were 8-8 or worse, Anderson completed 218-of-373 passes for 2,829 yards, with 23 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.

Rating: 87.3.

In games against winning teams, he was 80-for-154 for 958 yards with six touchdowns and five interceptions.

Rating: 70.8.

In one way this, should not be surprising. Teams usually win because they're good, so it makes sense that most quarterbacks would struggle against good teams and good defenses.

But the rankings disparity is large, and if Anderson is to take the ''next step'' (there's a lot of those ''next steps'' in sports anymore), he must maintain what he does against losing teams and improve what he does against winning ones.

What does this all mean?

Three things: 1) Statistics can be fun. They can be your friend.

2) The Browns really did have a weak schedule last season, and they took advantage of it.

3) Ten wins are still 10 wins no matter who you're playing, and even if the 10 wins came against Mount St. Holy Water, it still provides the chance for a great springboard for the future — if the Browns take advantage of it.

RANDOM THOUGHTS

• Got a few e-mails from angry Kent State folks who said my criticism of Haminn Quaintance was unwarranted. Quaintance was involved in a small ruckus late in KSU's win over the University of Akron on Wednesday, then taunted the Zips after the game before being ushered away by his coach.

There's no problem with this?

• Seriously, I can't blame KSU folks for defending their player, and for pointing out UA's role in the ruckus. Quade Milum, as they said, made things worse by being the third man in.

• But that doesn't make what Quaintance did OK.

Taunting UA after the game the way that he did almost invited another ruckus. Kent State coach Jim Christian deserves much credit for getting Quaintance away from UA's players.

• Always interesting that we tell our kids something and then ignore what we tell our kids when it comes to our sports teams. In this case, it'd be ''two wrongs don't make a right.''

• To be fair, Gary Richter, the Media Relations Director for the Mid-American Conference, said he expected no further discipline would be imposed because nobody was ejected from the game. So let's not make more of this than need be. Perhaps it was just emotions getting the better of players briefly.

• But let's also recognize Christian, who got Quaintance off the court after the game and stopped one of his players from leaving his bench to enter the ruckus. He also made it clear he did not want anyone throwing objects from the stands.

• This was the way to handle a ruckus.

• Really, I see no reason for throwing anything from the stands. Just like there's no excuse for chanting obscenities about an official's call or toward an opposing player. Call me old-fashioned, but I'd rather go to a game and not hear words banned from TV chanted in a public place where kids are present.

• The game Wednesday didn't need the incident that took place. It was too good of a game. Many teams play rivalry games without incident. KSU and Akron have as well. Let the next one be about competing and playing hard and well. Let it just be about basketball.

• Much was made of the fact that New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady was caught delivering flowers to his girlfriend in Manhattan wearing a walking boot.

Little was made of the fact that Brady had a horde of cameras following him while he was acting like a normal person.

Sad that our culture has gotten to the point that many people make their living harassing someone living his life just because he can play a sport.

• These interviews of NBA coaches between quarters of TV games? Stupid.

• Whoever is in charge . . . enough of the single-digit temperatures, please.

• Sorry, it's just too cold to continue.

• Until next time . . . there you have it.

Patrick McManamon can be reached at pmcmanamon@thebeaconjournal.com.


After the Indians' season ended in October, General Manager Mark Shapiro said he hoped to have a contract extension with left-handed ace C.C. Sabathia concluded by the start of spring training.

The other night at the Cleveland Sports Awards Banquet, Shapiro said he would keep talks alive with Sabathia until the last second, which includes right through free agency.

Maybe it's me, but this does not seem to bode well for a deal getting done by spring training.

Tonight, Sabathia will be in New York to pick up the hardware for his Cy Young Award. Eric Wedge (who will be picking up the Manager of the Year hardware) might want to tether himself to Sabathia — just to prevent the pesky New York writers (awards are presented at the New York Baseball Writers Dinner) from wining and dining Sabathia to convince him to play in the Bronx or Queens.

See, if Sabathia does not sign an extension, the big-money teams will all pony up to pay Sabathia the big money that comes with being a big-money team.

Consider that when the New York Yankees were trying to acquire left-hander Johan Santana from the Minnesota Twins in a trade, numbers for his possible contract extension were being discussed in the $20-million-per-year range.

If true, the Indians have to hope that Sabathia's fondness for Cleveland trumps the millions he can make in a city like New York — or Los Angeles or Boston.

Let's suppose that the Yankees or the Boston Red Sox, one or the other, acquires Santana — either via trade or free agency.

Does it not make sense that the team that does not acquire Santana would go full bore toward acquiring Sabathia?

How in the world, after all, could the Yankees sit still if the Red Sox, the dreaded Red Sox, had Santana and the Yankees did not have a match?

If both of these players make it to free agency after this season, teams might need to go to Bill Gates for a loan to sign them.

With that on the horizon, loyalty is the only thing that might entice Sabathia to stay.

But can loyalty outweigh the difference between a four-year deal that the Indians might offer and a seven-year deal that Sabathia might get on the open market?

Shapiro is not discussing any details on talks between the Indians and Sabathia's ''people,'' so any contract figures are pure conjecture.

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Re: Twins making great moves on, off field

Post  RedMagma on Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:24 am

Published: January 27, 2008 12:37 am print this story email this story

Giants fans feel more love than Yankees fans, anyway
Terry Date

Leo Feeney knows the loneliness of New York Giants fans in New England — especially with a Super Bowl ring on the line.

“It’s tough, it’s tough,” said the 69-year-old Salem, N.H., resident.

Sure it’s tough, says Scott Menario, 49, also of Salem. But he loves the razzing he gets from — and gives to — the army of Patriots fans surrounding him.

And from the standpoint of Lawrence police Chief John Romero, a 57-year-old Giants and Yankees fan who grew up in the Bronx, the hassles he endures during football season pale in comparison with the ones that come with baseball.

Being a Giants fans in Patriots country isn’t exactly easy as the Feb. 3 Super Bowl matchup approaches. But the rivalry certainly doesn’t equal the Hatfields-and-McCoys, Capulets-and-Montagues, Yankees-and-Red Sox wars.

New Englanders are loath to dare any affection for a New York squad. But those who live here, and live and die for the Giants, say they can do so without much fear of retribution.

Feeney, whose Giants addiction was sparked in 1953 when he saw them play the Washington Redskins on his aunt and uncle’s first television, thinks he knows why New England’s aversion for the team lacks a certain vitriol.

He makes his point by way of example. Feeney was at a Patriots vs. Giants preseason game three or four years ago at Gillette Stadium, wearing his Giants gear. As expected, some Patriots faithfuls in the stands threw insults his way.

Then someone came to his defense.

“He’s OK. He’s a Y.A. Tittle fan,” the person yelled, referencing the balding weather-beaten quarterback who landed in New York late in his career and led the Giants to unexpected success in the early 1960s.

Back in the day, the Giants were the fan favorite in these parts.

The Patriots weren’t even a team until 1960, when they were called the Boston Patriots and were part of the upstart American Football League, thought to be inferior to the established National Football League. The two leagues merged in 1970.

In years prior, the Giants, founded in 1925, were the professional football team shown most often on televisions in Massachusetts and New Hampshire households where football-hungry fans, especially working-class ones, identified with the crew-cut, broken-toothed warriors of the gridiron.

Giants games of old conjure the smells of pot roast or boiled dinner, both the game and meal served early Sunday afternoon, some viewers balancing plates on their laps.

The Giants were us.

Feeney, who works at a manufacturing plant in Wilmington, Mass., and grew up in Dorchester and Wakefield, even has recruited a partner Giants fan, his wife of almost 50 years, Gail.

Leo Feeney doesn’t sit for Giants games, he paces. From living room to kitchen to den to the upstairs. His four televisions are tuned to the game in those rooms, and nervous Feeney gets loud.

“Calm down, Leo, calm down,” his wife will call out after he cheers a touchdown or hollers at Eli Manning for getting sacked.

Feeney has been a Giants fan through thick and thin, through the winning and the losing seasons. Even people who don’t know him know his car, a mobile shrine to his beloved Giants decked out in duffel bags, hats and flags. The seat covers are made from Giants sweat shirts.

Scott Menario, who grew up in Portland, Maine, can relate.

Menario became a Giants fan in the early 1970s because a friend’s big brother liked the team.

Menario’s mother was constantly after her son to throw away his Giants sweat shirt. He wore it so often it looked like a rag.

He’s since replaced it, but with more Giants shirts.

Menario has recruited a few Giants fans, too. His daughter Emily, 15, a Salem High School sophomore, wears a Tiki Barber jersey to school sometimes.

Gina Menario, 18, now a student at Messiah College in Pennsylvania, had one of her Salem High School senior photographs taken wearing an Eli Manning jersey. She gave it to her dad.

Scott Menario’s recruits also include friend Steven “Benny” Callahan, 44.

Callahan’s left shoulder is tattooed with a New York Giants helmet, right next to a similar New England Patriots one.

“The Giants are a fantastic football team,” said Callahan, who got swept up in his friend’s enthusiasm for the Giants. “But not as good as the Patriots.”

Menario said he was the most rabid Giants fan among his peers growing up in Portland. There were others, though, often older people still loyal to their first favorite team.

Menario thinks New Englanders can relate to the Giants because they know the heartbreak of defeat, just like Red Sox fans.

And there may be yet another reason why anti-Giants feelings don’t run so deep in these parts, according to Romero.

He said growing up in the shadow of Yankee Stadium, it was ingrained in young people to give the Bronx cheer to the rival Red Sox. The chief has a commemorative Bucky Dent baseball on his desk, signed by the weak-hitting shortstop who ruined the Red Sox season in 1978 with a home run off pitcher Mike Torrez.

But the Patriots? That’s a different story.

“You have to like the Patriots — the organization,” said Romero, wearing a tie emblazoned with Giants logos.

Just then Detective Mike McGrath entered the police chief’s office, and his assistant announced, “There’s a Giants fan.”

“No,” McGrath said. “Where do the Giants play? In what state?”

And so began an office discussion about the New York Giants, who play in East Rutherford, N.J., at the Meadowlands, and the one-time Boston Patriots, who are now called the New England Patriots but play in Foxboro, Mass.

As the big day approaches, Feeney, Menario and Romero can’t wait to watch the action with family and friends.

They aren’t brash in their predictions.

Romero thinks the Patriots will win, but just barely.

Feeney believes the Giants will win, but just barely.

“If we play good football we can beat them,” Feeney said.

Menario agrees.

He launched into a story from the other day at the gym where he works out in Methuen, when he was teasing a young New England Patriots fan. Menario asked the kid why in the world he wanted the Patriots to win another Super Bowl.

The kid said he wants those two famous players who haven’t got Super Bowl Rings to get them.

Menario said, “Oh, you mean Amani Toomer and Michael Strahan?” referring to two ringless Giants.

“No, no, no,” the kid answered, “I mean Randy Moss and Junior Seau.”

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Re: Twins making great moves on, off field

Post  RedMagma on Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:25 am

Alexander: It's not Yankees-Red Sox, but New York vs. Boston a heavyweight rivalry


http://www.pe.com/sports/breakout/stories/PE_Sports_Local_S_ja_col_27.351e493.ht

10:00 PM PST on Saturday, January 26, 2008

Alexander Column

It didn't take much time for the Worldwide Leader in Self Promotion to put next Sunday's Super Bowl in its own peculiar perspective.

It was, ESPN pronounced, New York vs. Boston. The Yankees vs. the Red Sox, only without any actual Yankees or Red Sox on the premises. A baseball rivalry -- one incessantly promoted by their network, by the way -- transferred to football.

Sounds like a good angle, except for one minor detail. The New England Patriots haven't played their home games in Boston in 36 years. And the New York Giants left the city -- and state -- of New York 31 years ago.

Indeed, the franchises have this in common: Both tested the loyalty of their hometown fans with their choices of stadium sites.

The Patriots, who at least changed their name to New England to represent their entire region, play in a venue that is essentially inaccessible, and never mind that not even the people who produce the road signs can't decide whether the name of the township is spelled "Foxborough" or "Foxboro."

It's 30 miles or so south of Boston -- think of the relationship between the City of Industry (the latest proposed SoCal stadium site) and LA, yet with less highway access. The only road in and out of Gillette Stadium is a two-lane highway that becomes three-wide on game days only because people are allowed to drive on the shoulder. To attend a Patriots home game requires an all-day time commitment, whether you're traveling south from Boston or north from Providence, R. I.

(So if you wonder why people were tailgating in the parking lot in 20-degree weather with a wind chill of 4 before last Sunday's championship game against the Chargers, it's only partly because they're nuts.)

Meanwhile, consider the plight of the New Yorker.

Ordinarily, anything originating in New Jersey is treated about the same as something you'd scrape off the bottom of your shoe. But to get that NFL fix, that proud and haughty Manhattanite who grew up with Tittle and Huff and Robustelli and Gifford on the sod of Yankee Stadium back in the day must swallow his or her pride and make the journey through the Holland Tunnel into the wilds of Jersey.

(The worst part of East Rutherford, N. J., where the Meadowlands complex is located? You can see the Manhattan skyline from there, but it somehow seems inaccessible. Sort of like San Francisco's skyline from Oakland.)

So there you have it. Mass. Route 1 vs. Exit 16W off the New Jersey Turnpike, for the Lombardi Trophy and the championship of the NFL.

Nah. Not nearly sexy enough.

So, for the purposes of our annual comparison of the competing municipalities (done, as always, in lieu of any actual football expertise), we'll play ESPN's game. Boston vs. New York it is.

Population: New York is the nation's largest metropolitan area, 18.8 million people (including, as it turns out, northern New Jersey). Boston is 11th, 4.4 million. Edge: Depends on whether you're trying to drive in the city or not.

TV market: New York is the nation's No. 1 media market with 7.3 million TV homes. Boston is grouped with Manchester, N. H., at No. 7, with 2.3 million homes. Edge: Fox, the network of this year's Super Bowl, as soon as the Giants defeated Green Bay.

Literary: New Yorkers, as the stereotype goes, publish books. Boston English Lit professors assign them to their students (who would go looking for the Cliff's Notes in an earlier era but now merely Google the plot summary). Edge: Not as obvious as you might think.

After all, New York professors probably assign their students books published in Boston, as well. And, for Boston's reputation as the "Athens of America," New York actually has more colleges and universities.

Nicknames: Beyond that unfortunate "Athens" reference (which led Peter Gammons to refer to the Boston-New York relationship as "Athens vs. Sparta"), Boston is known more familiarly as "Beantown," less so as "The Hub (of the Universe)."

But New Yorkers consider themselves the center of the universe. Anyway, "Big Apple" and "City That Never Sleeps" speak for themselves. Edge: Gotham.

Chowder: New England white vs. Manhattan red. Is there really a choice? Big edge: Boston.

Specialty food: New Yorkers brag about their pizza -- but to be honest, Chicago's deep-dish is better. Boston restaurants serve a mean lobster dinner, but more often than not it comes from Maine. Edge: To the first one who comes up with a lobster pizza.

Classic TV sitcom set in the city: Think Boston and you think "Cheers," and the bar that was the inspiration for it is still serving drinks. Think New York and you think "The Honeymooners" -- OK, maybe you didn't, but I did -- but I don't think Ralph Kramden's bus route has been memorialized in any way. Edge: Boston.

Kids, you might want to Google that one.

iPod tunes: "Please Come to Boston" by Dave Loggins, versus "New York, New York," by Sinatra. Big edge, New York. (Hey, it's my iPod.)

Newspapers: The New York Times Co. owns the Boston Globe, which would at first glance seem like edge, New York. Ah, but the Times Co. also owns minority interest in the Red Sox, and some company executives faced a dilemma over accepting World Series rings in 2004. No one else in New York has had that dilemma in seven years. Edge: Boston.

Current sports success (non-football): Besides the perfect Patriots, Boston also has the reigning World Series champs and the annoyingly successful Celtics. New York has the Knicks. Do you even have to ask who has the edge?

Iconic baseball figure of the past: Joe DiMaggio vs. Ted Williams. Edge: New York, nine World Series rings to zero.

Iconic basketball figure of the past: Bill Russell vs. Willis Reed. Edge: Boston, 11 NBA championship rings to two. (See, things do even out.)

Iconic hockey figure of the past: Bobby Orr vs. Mark Messier. Edge: Boston. Orr won two Stanley Cups, all with the Bruins. Messier won six, but only one of them in New York. (But, Rangers fans often remind me, they'll always have 1994.)

The current quarterbacks: New England has Tom Brady. New York has Eli Manning. Both, presumably, have given Chargers GM A. J. Smith indigestion lately, Brady for obvious reasons and Manning because he'll play one week longer than the guy Smith traded him for, Philip Rivers.

But, presuming that walking boot that drove the gossip-mongers crazy wasn't anything to really get worried about, edge: Patriots.

And that will be the difference. Call it Foxborough 31, East Rutherford 21.

Reach Jim Alexander at 951-368-9543 or jalexander@PE.com

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Re: Twins making great moves on, off field

Post  RedMagma on Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:28 am

What will it take for rivalry to brew in Atlanta?
By Coley Harvey - charvey@macon.com

http://www.macon.com/160/story/249531.html


Superman and Lex Luthor. Batman and the Joker. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton.

Having a rival or bitter enemy makes winning all the more sweeter.

So it was with the New York Giants and Brooklyn Dodgers in 1951 when Bobby Thomson's globetrotting shot lined its way over the left field bleachers, giving the Giants the National League pennant that year and drumming up all kinds of controversy in a rivalry that has now moved its way to the West Coast.

That's the way it was for the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS, when Aaron Boone's 11th-inning home run fell into the left field stands extending the Boston Red Sox's "curse" to 86 seasons. The next year, the Red Sox held off the Yankees to advance to the World Series for the team's first championship since 1918.

Rivalries just make winning better.

Sunday, when the New England Patriots and New York Giants strap up for Super Bowl XLII, a metropolitan-based rivalry that has existed for decades will surface yet again. The winner of this game won't just be able to proclaim itself the victor of the famed Vince Lombardi Trophy for the next year, but the winner also will be able to retain bragging rights in this historic intercity rivalry.

The question is, "Will we ever see a day like that again in Georgia?"

There have been few championship-worthy parades held in Atlanta since professional sports franchises moved to the state capital 42 years ago. Only once has an Atlanta team won a professional championship - in 1995, when the Braves beat the Cleveland Indians in six games.

Over the past seven years alone, the city of Boston has partied down the Charles River five times, toasting the Patriots and Red Sox for their combined three Super Bowl and two World Series wins.

So why doesn't it seem as if we'll ever have that type of dynastic success from teams around here? I could pontificate on several things, like: poor front office management on Atlanta's teams; the plethora of distraction players on their rosters; or even undying apathy Atlanta's fan base shows its teams. But I won't. I will say, however, that it could all be solved by a good, old-fashioned rivalry.

Sure, there's Georgia Tech and Georgia, but where in the area's professional sports landscape is there a true, gritty rivalry?

The Hawks haven't had one since battling Larry Bird's Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals some 20 years ago. The Falcons lost their budding rivalry with the Minnesota Vikings in the late 1990s when both teams ran into a string of mediocre seasons. And the Braves-Mets series for a while has lacked the attention fans gave it 10 years ago when John Rocker's mouth inflamed New Yorkers during postseason play.

To revitalize the competitiveness of Atlanta's sports teams, and to renew fans' passions for them, roster reorganization and new marketing strategies are needed to turn Atlanta into somebody's rival city.

With that, maybe in the coming years we'll be able to watch our own set of winners parade down Peachtree and the Chattahoochee.

Coley Harvey can be reached at 744-4248 or charvey@macon.com

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Re: Twins making great moves on, off field

Post  RedMagma on Sun Jan 27, 2008 6:29 am

Two cities still taking it outside

By GARY SHELTON, Times Columnist
Published January 27, 2008

http://www.sptimes.com/2008/01/27/Bucs/Two_cities_still_taki.shtml


Where the hard feelings began, nobody knows. Only that they are older than football and older than baseball, older than Broadway and older than Back Bay.

Even historians struggle to find exactly where the rivalry began between Boston and New York. Except for this:

Back in the mid 1600s, Boston founder John Winthrop thought New York's Peter Stuyvesant was a bit of a twit.

On the other hand, when the Founding Fathers got together to play cards, John Jay always said that John Adams was a blowhard.

So it has been since the beginning, New York vs. Boston, Boston vs. New York. The city that is very big on apples vs. the city that has an unsettling fondness for beans. Sigh. Those two wacky towns just cannot get along.

And speaking for the rest of the country, isn't it a hoot?

They are at it again. Can't you hear it? The Super Bowl is still a week away, but already, the noise is rising. From a distance, it sounds a lot like Denis Leary and Joe Pesci shouting at each other across Connecticut.

The easiest prediction about this game? It's going to be loud.



Benjamin Franklin vs. Teddy Roosevelt. Bill Russell vs. Willis Reed. Lobster vs. steak.



New York considers itself to be the Capital of the World. Boston calls itself the Hub of the Universe.

As cities go, these two don't mind thumping their chests a bit. And perhaps that's where the friction begins. The arrogant New Yorkers vs. the aristocratic Bostonians. To both places, the rest of America is the suburbs.

Say this: When it comes to talk about this Super Bowl, the New Yorkers are on the board first.

Take the New York Post, which continues to include an asterisk when describing the Patriots undefeated* season. Already, the Post has predicted a Super Bowl upset. When Tom Brady, the quarterback of the Patriots, was photographed carrying flowers and walking in a protective boot toward his girlfriend's house, the Post referred to Brady as a "girlie man."

Another New York news outlet, Pagesix.com, suggests that Brady might be going bald. Furthermore, the reason might be stress.

"You want to know the difference between Boston fans and New England fans?" asks New York Daily News columnist Filip Bondy. "Boston fans throw beer bottles. New York fans throw batteries. I mean, why waste beer?

"Mostly, it's that they're so small and feisty. Remember what Lou Grant said to Mary Tyler Moore? 'You've got spunk. I hate spunk.' That's what we feel about Boston. They're small and annoying like mosquitoes. You just want to stomp on them or swat them."



Edgar Allen Poe vs. Herman Melville. Ted Williams vs. Joe DiMaggio. Cheers vs. Seinfeld.

There was a time, back when baseball defined this rivalry, that New York treated Boston like a trophy shop. Every now and then, the Yankees would swing by to pick up another piece of hardware.

In those days, the Yankees won all the pennants and they had most of the Hall of Famers. Boston? It had the scars of Harry Frazee, a lunkhead Red Sox owner who sold the contract of Babe Ruth to New York. Some Red Sox fans are still cursing.

These days, the results are different. Professional sports in America seem to orbit around Boston. The Red Sox, Patriots and Celtics have won 52 of their last 58 games. The Celtics have won both of their games this season against the Knicks. The Red Sox have won two World Series titles since the Yankees last won one.

And the Patriots?

They have a chance to win their fourth Super Bowl title in the last seven years.

The Giants haven't won one in 17 years. The Jets haven't won one in 39 years.

It probably doesn't help the psyche of New Yorkers, either, to see Bill Belichick leading the way. Once, Belichick was the defensive coordinator for the Giants. For a few hours, he was going to be the head coach of the Jets.

Instead, he has become the modern answer for Ruth. Call him Babe Belichick. By the way, it was a New York team (the Jets) that turned Belichick in for cheating this year. Also by the way, Belichick has won 12 of his last 13 games against New York teams.

In the meantime, no one in Boston seems to feel as if the city is in anyone's shadow.

As Steve Buckle of the Boston Herald wrote this week: "Boston sports fans just don't give a damn what New Yorkers think anymore."



The Kennedys vs. the Rockefellers. John Cazale (Fredo Corleone) vs. Al Pacino (Michael Corleone). New England clam chowder vs. Manhattan clam chowder.



Some would suggest the rivalry goes back for centuries, back to when Woody Allen was funny, back to when Ben Affleck was making good movies. Yes, back to the American Revolution.

At the time, Boston had Paul Revere and Bunker Hill and the Boston Tea Party. New York was where the Tories seemed to congregate. New York was where Nathan Hale was hanged.

"That's another reason," Bondy said. "It goes back to the colonial war and how they take credit. 'We're the Tea Party and Sam Adams.' The real battles were at places like Trenton."

As the cities prospered, however, they also became codependent. New Yorkers go to Boston to go to college. Bostonians go to New York to go to work. And the familiarity seems to create friction. As they pass each other on the way, one supposes, they argue about sports.

"There they go again in Boston," Newsday columnist Johnette Howard wrote last week. "How do I say this nicely? What a bunch of freaking nut jobs.' Try the decaf tea, won't you?

"Boston must be stopped. This is cool reason talking. Think of the calm that would descend over the land."

Perhaps not. There are only 215 miles between the cities. It's a quick train ride. It's a shorter hop on a plane.

Judging from the sound of the fans' voice, it is hardly any distance at all.



Tom Brady vs. Eli Manning. Bill Belichick vs. Tom Coughlin. The perfect season vs. the greatest upset.

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