Archive for February, 2009

The passing of Brad Van Pelt

February 19, 2009

I like to tell the story of one my earliest Giant memories. It was the last Sunday of the season, the Giants were playing the LA Rams, they were 9-4 and a win meant the Giants were in the playoffs. They lost. That was 1970, and it took 11 more years until they got to the playoffs. During that time, being a Giants fan meant a whole lotta misery. How you got through it was basically an exercise in self-deception. You focused on the defense, and that meant watching guys like Mendenhall and Van Pelt. Van Pelt made the Pro Bowl 5 times, so that was the way you wore your colors. At least we had a guy who could make a difference.

Bluenatic tells the story of how Van Pelt was the oasis in the 1970’s desert. And like others who wandered there too long, his star faded just as the championship arrived.

Russ stated in yesterday’s comments that the Giants would be fortunate enough if they could get a LBer this year who could play like #10. Amen to that.

Long live Brad Van Pelt in our fondest of Giant Big Blue memories.

It doesn’t cost that much to go Il Mulino!

February 17, 2009

The Sports Industry would like to believe they are immune to the economic downturn, but even they have to confront the brutal facts: ticket sales and advertising dollars are slowing down. It is back to earth for every sport across the board.

In Baseball, headlines are in the form of Citi being challenged on its $400M sponsorship of the new NY Mets Stadium despite the company essentially being (all but in name) nationalized by the US Govt.

NASCAR is facing contraction in ticket sales (Daytona prices had to be dropped to sell out) and racing teams (many are merging to cut costs).

In football, this past weekend Ultimatenyg got the email from the NY Giants:

Dear New York Giants Wait-list Member,

As you may know, the Giants will be moving into a new state-of-the-art stadium scheduled to open for the 2010 season. The new stadium will provide Giants players, coaches and, most importantly, Giants fans with the first class facility, services and amenities they deserve.

Our records indicate that you have been a Giants wait-list member for a number of years. Please call us at (deleted) to update your contact information and to discuss your opportunity to become a Giants season ticket holder in the new stadium.

We look forward to hearing from you.

Very truly yours,

I never thought it would be this fast. I have been on the wait-list since 1998. I’ve got the big screen hdtv giving me plenty of football enjoyment. You think they are going to get me out there for the December night games and the flex-screwed schedule games and then ask me for a license fee on top of that? VOTE WITH YOUR FEET. Send a message with ONE SINGLE VOTE. The fact that I got the notification from the Giants surprises me, but then again it really should not. IT IS BROWNING AWFUL OUT THERE, FOLKS. This economic downturn is not a drill. This is the real deal. Many people are clueless to how real and severe this is, and for fans to shell out the money for this entertainment “right” when they can still go to individual games on a pay-as-you-go basis is nothing but a luxury.

Considering that fans in attendance at Giants games are in the NY Metro area and that Wall Street has imploded, why BID? The landscape has changed. Time for the Giants, who wore the risk the entire time (no crying, season’s tickets holders who cannot afford this!), to feel it and make the players back off on salaries and give the fans something a little (how about a lot) less costly. VOTE WITH YOUR FEET. If you want to support the Giants owners and buy a license, go ahead. I would suspect that there will be enough people who will end up going for it. Let’s look at what is still available: go to the NY Giants New Stadium site. Click on “Seat Allocation,” tab to “Pricing and Seat Views.” Before you look at the PSL prices, look at the ticket price column. There are essentially two groups of seats, those for $85-160/ticket, and those for $400,$500, and $700/ticket. Would it shock you that all the premium tickets are still available?!! Those “clubs” have corporate written all over them. For an extra four hundred to five hundred dollars per game they feed you! It doesn’t cost that much to go to Il Mulino!! And let’s not forget that the tailgating is one of the most important parts of going to the game. But wait, we cannot eat, we have to wait until we get inside to eat the Club food. Huh? That these seats are still available is not only not surprising, it is completely logical. Oh, and one more small minor item, those seats also come with the $7500, $12500 and $20000 personal seat license price tag. So if you are going to be rich enough to spend $20G’s on a seat license, you go to Field 1 and pay $160 per game instead of the Coach’s Club, were they basically charge you another $540 to get all you can eat.

There was one other location that was still available besides the 3 Club locations.. Field 3. While they only carry the $120/ticket price per game, they are imo the worst seats in the stadium. I do not like the end zone and the end zone on the first level also has no perspective once they get past the 30-40 yard line. Logical once again that these seats are still around. No thanks.

I am sure there are plenty of people still behind me who are chomping at the bit to buy. But the resale market is going to change now because by the time they are done there will not be the pent up demand BEHIND THE CURRENT BUYERS. So the secondary market in coming years (when, fyi, this economic downturn is worse than it is now… we are just getting started) is going to be where the real opportunities will be. Two years from now when that emotional purchase of a seat license needs cash, you will see the secondary market seek the TRUE level of what these licenses are worth. A chunk of people who were contacted and made commitments months ago are already regretting their purchases.

Summary: Sit back and let the secondary marketplace determine the value of a seat license. The economy is going nowhere for a while, so consider it a short hedge vs Gilbrown and the Giants to be on the sidelines in cash while this water seeks its level. The secondary market will offer you precise locations for what you want instead of these dregs of SuperPriced Club seats and 5K end-zone seats. And if the PSLs and ticket prices are not attractive, do the Ultimatenyg Seat Plan- 1 big screen hdtv for $1K and $0 for each game, $0 for parking, temperature controlled, no parking lot traffic after the game. With the money you save, you can go to Il Mulino, and I guarantee the food will be better.

Clayton on Rosenhaus and Burress

February 16, 2009

This was from Thursday. I for one do not believe this was a ‘clerical error.’ Rosenhaus is letting the world know of the frosty relations between his client and the Giants. The Giants were pissed because it reduces Burress’s trade value to have him outed like that. But Clayton’s perspective on the Giants’ decision (latter part of the excerpt) should be appreciated, because he has just enough distance from the situation to be objective.

Bruce Juice

February 15, 2009

The Giants, New Jersey, The Super Bowl… BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN! From his journal, the Boss talks about a 12 minute gig at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium that was one of the biggest shows of the band’s life. Shout out to Max Weinberg (seen in between/behind Bruce and Patti), drummer for the East Street Band, Conan O’Brien, and Columbia High School grad (where my daughters currently attend).

Reese tags Jacobs

February 14, 2009

The Giants put the franchise tag on Brandon Jacobs. Not sure if you remember, but we noted when Charlie Casserly of CBS first suggested it as a possibility. Logical. Jacobs is injury-prone. So you insure that you get his services in his prime without giving him the store so that he is gone from football after 2 years of a 6 year deal. Jacobs may not be happy not getting a long term deal, but he’ll get paid well this season and the Giants may use it as leverage to extend the deal with incentives instead of simply an enormous signing bonus.

Jacobs’ transformation up the leadership ladder was tied to Strahan’s retirement. Strahan was the emotional leader of the team. He had the voice that everyone looked to. Jacobs filled the void and the players responded to him. It wasn’t #27’s fault the Giants fell to the Eagles. He led them and they came into that game with the intensity needed. You can talk all you want about his pounding opposing defenses, but to me the indispensible part of Jacobs is the man who the players gather around before the game. He has also matured.. got smacked in the head by his mother for showboating after TDs and showing up opposing players.

Note the details about the CBA, and how the Giants may be able to get Jacobs next season as well if the contract is not renegotiated beforehand. Right now everyone is saying the right things, that everyone wants a deal done. Jacobs wants his years and bonus, the Giants want the incentives. Jacobs better realize that 2010 is a dead year too and make some concessions, because otherwise this deal is not going to happen.

Soap Box

February 12, 2009

Some rants and some Giants talk.

1) Anyone who plays for ONE team in the NFL for 10 years or more deserves a modicum of recognition from the franchise they played for. If that franchise does not understand that, then there is something wrong. No, their jersey need not necessarily be retired, but to play for one organization and to play that long in the NFL is noteworthy. The way Toomer has apparently been cast off is inappropriate, to say the least. Does he deserve to have his # retired? Some here could make that argument. I will not. He wants to play more and the Giants no longer want his services, but he can still be recognized for representing the franchise in a tremendous way over the years. Every year in the NFL is like 2.5 years in any other industry. Toomer is not deserving of a ticker-tape parade, but he certainly was a big reason why the Giants got furnished one.

2) Favre already got his retirement press conference. What is this, his third retirement?! Only one allowed.

3) The Jets did exactly what they should have done in giving Favre a shot. It did not work out. You make that bet. You take that chance. At least you are trying. And anyone who wants to be a Monday morning QB and criticize the Jets for wasting a season does not know what they are talking about, because they obviously were not there/watching the game in Foxboro on Thursday Nov 13 when this man lifted the team to the biggest win for the franchise in many years and made everyone believers. He played hurt at the end and cost the team. But at least that guy is a warrior. Sour grapes from Jones et al? Perhaps. It is time for Ratliff to be given the keys. There is a foundation.. enough talent on that team to go for a title. Rex Ryan is going to put them in a position to win. 2008 was not a bad year for the Jets. And the fact that they got rid of Mr. Prevent-gini was a step in the right direction.

4) I am reminded that Reese likes to plug up needs before the draft by getting cheaper veterans like Mitchell (LB), Clark (LB) and Knight (S) to protect his flank in case the draft presents him with different solutions. It is a reasonable methodology to have body count there to promote necessary competition at positions lacking a minimum of talent. So look for Reese to do this again and get a linebacker or two in March. We have not seen Reese open up his wallet in free agency YET, so you have to assume (until proven otherwise) he will be behaving the same way again. Walmart, not Neimans. Reese is a scout. My read on him is that he always believes his organization can draft the talent. You have to assume he is not opening the wallet, so he better draft HIGH TWICE this year on LB.

5) Shocking! Not. Burress, Johnson and Boldin can be moved, says agent Drew Rosenhaus. If the Giants could somehow get a #2 (unlikely, given the ‘holes’ in that trade), where do I browning sign!! At this point if the Giants get ANYTHING for Burress, it would merely be so that the suitor could fend off others before he goes on waivers. Beggars can’t be choosers, so take what you can get. Realistically, who would want to take on Burress’s contract NOW? And have to deal with impending uncertainty of what will stand monetarily on the morals clause? Or the legal system? If I am any of the other 31 teams, there is very little getting me moved. Wait until the contract issues get sorted out before taking that over. This situation is not that much better than Pacman Jones or Michael Vick.

The Giants administration simply does not want or need unpredictability in its midst. We want things that are predictable, like the underachievement of Gilbrown, damnit!

Separately, the angered posturing of the Giants against Rosenhaus is predictable. Rosenhaus is a dirtbag, always has and always will be. He works hard for his clients and seems to cross the line regularly. Effectively he ‘outed’ his client/s. TFB. He is ‘calling the question’ on these organizations, making them admit that they will be parting ways unless something dramatic changes. He’d rather get that done NOW than after the free agent money has already been spent.

Carr re-signed for 1 year. Madison, Droughns & Knight cut.

February 10, 2009

David Carr was signed to a 1 year, $1M contract as the Giants’ backup. Surprising that the Giants could get him this cheaply, as his stock price increased this season. No, he is not a terrific #1, but he got it done as the #2 and looked good out there. Thumbs up.

As for Droughns, this was a numbers game. Older running backs are not going to get the playing time when younger guys like Bradshaw get wasted with less playing time. Wait. Stop. Wasn’t that supposed to read Bradshaw getting MORE playing time? Ooops, sorry. Foolish of me to try to make sense of that. Well, you know.. Droughns was so far down the depth chart that he was relegated to specials, and you can get a rookie for that job.

Sammy Knight? He had some injuries, but Safety was crowded too. Butler’s lack of speed was supposed to limit his playing time and give Knight more oppty, but Butler only got roasted a few times (Steelers game for one, remember?). Last year someone did not like it when I referred to Knight as sausage filler, but that is exactly what he was. Please remember that whenever you bring in a 33 year old free agent for a lower sticker price, it is as a role player. We doubted him playing through his contract, and that is exactly what happened. Knight is a good player, but this business takes older players and spits them out. This is yet another reason why Pierce is perishable now, and why LBer is so incredibly vulnerable. Considering Pierce is the best of the bunch and he’ll be out there with a wheelchair pretty soon, you better start getting MANY LBers, not 1 or 2.

Sam Madison was voted off the island months ago by the Giants. It is never pretty watching a talented veteran slowly lose just enough of their skills to become expendable. Guys like Madison and Toomer need to be celebrated a little more in their exit. We get guys like Favre with multiple press conferences and retirement fetes, while guys like Toomer (and Madison) win you rings and get discarded with the garbage. I thought the Giants were better than that.

the non-news story of the Super Bowl

February 8, 2009

The officiating this season was horrendous. Goodell et al have been defending the year’s penalty ugliness with carefully selected (horse manure) statistics, but they are in denial and are not confronting the brutal facts. So when the Super Bowl devolved into the same set of problems as we have seen all year, it was barely any story… merely the continuation of an existing one. Yes, yes, it is a shame that the biggest game of the year for the NFL should get tarnished, but this is EXACTLY what denial gets you… continuation of the SAME problems.

For anyone who gets dismayed by the outcome being affected by these blind bats, get some peace by being a Bill Walsh “quality win” adherent. His philosophy was that if you were winning by less than 7 points your fate was essentially ALWAYS in the hands of the refs, so you had to target winning EVERY game by greater than 10+ points. This way, when some ref did something stupid which cost you big time, it would hopefully not cost you entirely with the W becoming an L. The next time your coach goes into the prevent (why were the Cardinals in zone at the end when DRC was doing fine on Holmes for the first 58 mins?) and you lose, understand that that would not have happened with Bill Walsh as your coach. The only thing uglier than the officiating in ANY season is always going to be watching a coach going into the prevent offense or prevent defense.

Jay Glazer gives us some February Giants news

February 7, 2009

As busy as it was for me at work this week, it was equally as SLOW or even slower for Giants news. So we have two things noteworthy:

1) Jay Glazer reports that Plaxico Burress is fighting with the Giants to force them to honor their contract. Yesterday the players union filed a grievance and a few more items came to light. Whether you or any player thinks that Burress should come back in 2009, it certainly looks more doubtful when these details come to light. Could it simply be a financial manuevering ploy? Yes, and arguably for both sides. But as long as they are fighting over money he is not wearing blue.

2) It is not often (read: never) that you hear about someone from my alma mater getting attention for sports. Hey, it’s February and there is no football, so if the NY Times can give it some ink, we can too.

Pittsburgh 27 Cardinals 23

February 2, 2009

This was a terrific game. Pls feel free to comment.