Tag Archives: MItch Albom

The Mets and Jets are awesome, is it 1986 and 1969 all over again? Larry David as Bernie Sanders is fabulous. And 2 amazing college football plays I must share

Mets.Jets

Growing up on Long Island, I’d say 80 percent of kids are both Mets and Jets fans.
The fan bases are centered there, the teams both used to play/practice closer to us than the Yankees and Giants, and there has always been a tortured fan base vibe to both teams.

Luckily for me, I escaped one misery and became a Yankees fan. But still, the Jets have given me enough misery for a lifetime.

To be a Mets/Jets fan is to know the ending of the movie long before the credits, and to expect disappointment and take comfort in it; losing for Mets/Jets fans is a security blanket you can always count on.

Which is why I’m thinking about people like my friends David K. and Scott S. today, lifelong Jets/Mets fans, who’ve experienced more sports fan suffering than any human should.

But today, their world is upside down. Look: The New York Mets are two wins away from the World Series, with dominant starting pitching and a pretty-good infielder (Daniel Murphy) who’s suddenly the greatest hitter in the history of baseball.

And my New York Jets, with another impressive win Sunday to move to 4-1, suddenly with a shot to go to Foxboro next week and prove they’re a first-place team in the AFC East.

It’s nuts. It’s impossible. It NEVER happens.

Only twice in the history of these two terrible teams have they both been good in the same calendar year: 1969, when the Jets won the Super Bowl and the Mets won their first championship, and 1986, when the Jets ran out to a 10-1 start and the Mets won their last World Series (The Jets collapsed that season, but still, for a few months were the best team in football).

And now, it’s happening again. Do you know how much losing these fan bases have endured? How many injuries and bad luck and coaching ineptitude they’ve seen (we’re looking at you, Rich Kotite and Jeff Torborg)?

And now, at least temporarily, there’s joy.

Up is down. Black is white. Pat Buchanan’s a liberal Democrat and Jesse Jackson has joined the Tea Party.

It’s a mad, mad world. And I know lots of people are enjoying the hell out of it.

**Next up today, I love Larry David like most Americans do, and I love me some Bernie Sanders, as you all know. So when I discovered on Sunday that America’s comedian curmudgeon had surprisingly played America’s political curmudgeon on “Saturday Night Live,” well, there was no way this wasn’t going on the blog today.

That it happened to be really funny was a bonus; Kate MacKinnon’s Hillary has really gotten almost as good as Amy Poehler’s was, and David’s rant about emails, and the pens at the bank, had me laughing out loud.

**Finally, I don’t talk much about college football on here because, quite frankly, I don’t follow it or care for it that much. College football is by far the most corrupt college sport (I know, my beloved college basketball can be a cesspool sometimes too, but it’s not in the same cheating league as football), and it’s never meant too much to me.

But two plays in the past few days blew me away, first for its athleticism and the second one for its shock value.

The first one (video above) was a type of catch I don’t think I’ve ever seen before. Stanford’s Francis Owusu on Thursday night made this incredible catch against UCLA, trapping the ball against the defender’s back to score a touchdown. The close-up replay starts at :35… I watched it five times and I still can’t believe he caught it that way.

The second one got way more attention, because it was on Saturday, and it was the final play of the Michigan-Michigan State game. If you haven’t seen it, it has to be seen to be believed. Michigan was up 23-21, with 10 seconds left, and was about to pull off a big upset in this huge rivalry.

All the Wolverines had to do was have punter Blake O’Neill punt the ball, anywhere and for any distance, and they’d win. But O’Neill dropped the snap, and well, this happened… I’ve never seen a game end like this. Absolutely soul-crushing for 100,000 UM fans in Ann Arbor.

Just wow.

The lede from the great Mitch Albom’s column in the Detroit Free Press Sunday:

Rub your eyes. Shake your head. Rub your eyes again. You will never see a play like that again and you will never see an end like that again and there may never be a game in this storied Michigan-Michigan State rivalry like that again, not one that ends more strangely or turns more fortunes than the final seconds of this chilled Saturday evening.

 

A beautiful tribute to the late, great “The National” newspaper. I get bummed at the eye doctor’s office. And a computer repairman with a dirty mind

If you’re too young to remember “The National Sports Daily,” let me try to explain it to you.
Twenty years ago, before the Internet and before there were sportswriters spouting nonsense on TV, there was this idea: A daily newspaper in America, devoted solely to sports. It would come out five days a week, be filled with the best writing on sports in the country, and would have all the info you could possibly want.
The National hired every great sportswriter working in 1990, it seemed: John Feinstein, Mitch Albom, Dave Kindred, Charlie Pierce, Scott Ostler … it was the most amazing collection of sportswriting talent ever seen before or since.

I was in high school during The National’s brief life, and I vividly remember reading it every chance I got. My parents had recently gotten divorced in 1990, and I can still recall going to my Dad’s apartment in Great Neck, N.Y., walking to the newsstand near his place, and buying The National and savoring it.

It was everything I loved and everything I wanted to do, and I dreamed of one day being able to write for such an amazing newspaper.

But, well, there were problems. Distribution was awful, the paper wasted an insane amount of money on travel and salaries, and after a year and a half it folded under a pile of bills.

Why am I telling you all of this now? Because ESPN’s new website, Grantland.com (which is fabulous so far, by the way), did a beautiful two-story piece on The National and its glorious successes and failures. The first part is a hilarious oral history from the men and women who worked there, and the second is a beautiful essay by Charlie Pierce, an ode to the best place he ever worked. I highly recommend checking them out, whether you, like me, miss The National all the time, or if you just want to know what it was like.

**Here’s a little life moment. I went to the eye doctor Friday, and in addition to finding out he grew up in the same town as my cousins in New City, N.Y., I learned something else:
My right eye vision is only 20/30. This bothered me a lot, because nine years ago I had LASIK surgery and they swore to me then that I’d have 20/20 sight.
And as far as I know, I’ve had 20/20 vision since the surgery.
And now I’m down to 20/30.
Maybe I just had a bad day guessing the letters. Maybe the assistant was wrong.
Or maybe, I’m just getting a little bit old.
20/20 was a beautiful thing while it lasted.

**Finally today, here’s a man we all can be proud of. 20-year-old computer repairman Trevor Harwell was arrested after he put spyware on the computers of women that allowed him to take candid photos of them, often in the nude, by having remote access to their machines.

Trevor, sweetheart, there are a lot easier ways to get nude photos of women, pal.

What a sleazebag.

Three and oh, my New York Jets keep flying. And a great old Jewish joke at the end

jetsweek3

Well, this is getting a little ridiculous, isn’t it?

It’s getting increasingly difficult for me to strike my usually pessimistic, gloomy view of my New York Jets.

Yet another Sunday afternoon, and yet another day I leave Houligan’s (sports bar where I watch the games) happy. After a great start, a very shaky 2nd and 3rd quarters, and a terrific 4th, Gang Green beat Tennessee, 24-17.

It was quite different from the first two games, but at the end all I care about is the W. Three and oh. Never, in a hundred years, would I have predicted the Jets would be 3-0 after this brutal early schedule they had.

But hell, maybe after 40 years everything is starting to go right again. Heck, the Jets got two gift touchdowns from the Titans’ returner (or should I say ex-returner) Ryan Mouton, Mark Sanchez didn’t panic under pressure, and they’ve got a quarterback crazy enough to take on defenders while leading with his head. It’s great!

— Let’s start with Mark Sanchez. Love the kid’s poise in the pocket, but hey Mark, bubeleh, next time you’re going to try to run it in for a touchdown, please slide or try to go around the big dude trying to tackle you? This play scared the hell out of us fans (fast forward to about the :32 mark). Still, really bad attempt at a mustache aside, the kid is making all the right moves. Sure he had some mistakes Sunday; the ball slipped out of his hand a few times, and he threw an INT that wasn’t his fault. But he’s making progress every week.

— Big game for David Harris and Bart Scott, the Jets new linebacker combo. They harassed Kerry Collins in the fourth quarter. The D looked shaky for quite a while in the second and third quarters, but you know what? When it mattered most and they HAD to get stops, they did. I love that Rex Ryan throws so many different looks at opposing offenses; three straight weeks now, in the fourth quarter, the opposing QB looked rattled.

–I’m officially concerned about the Jets running game. It’s been three games now, and the O-line hasn’t been opening too many holes. Thomas Jones had two good runs in Week 1 and that’s been it, and Leon Washington hasn’t done much, either.

— Jerricho Cotchery, you rule. Couple of fantastic catches Sunday. Overall, the offense was subpar, but they took advantage of the chances the Titans gave them.

— Tennessee’s receivers totally let Kerry Collins down most of the day. Justin McCareins, where have you gone? Oh wait, he stunk, too.

— Next week is a freebie in my mind. I don’t expect the Jets to go into the Superdome and shut down Drew Brees (though Buffalo did a pretty good job on him Sunday.) Even if the Jets lose that one, they’re 3-1 with two games against Miami, one against Buffalo and one against Oakland the next four weeks. Sounds good to me.

OK, enough giddiness. These are my Jets I’m talking about here. They’ll break my heart again at some point this season. But for now, man this is fun!

Other NFL thoughts:

— Congrats to the Detroit Lions and their fans, as the Leos finally broke a 19-game losing streak with a win over the Redskins. If I’m Washington head coach Jim Zorn, I’m not answering the phone for a few days. It’ll probably be crazy owner Dan Snyder looking to fire him. Great column on the Lions here by the great Mitch Albom.

–HUGE comeback win for the Cincinnati Bengals, HBO’s favorite team. Down 20-9 at home to the Steelers in the fouth, Cincy comes back and wins with a Carson Palmer touchdown in the final minute. Psychologically, Pittsburgh has owned the Bengals, so this one is huge. Who’d have figured Pittsburgh would be 1-2 after three weeks, with two crushing last-minute losses? Check out Cincy Enquirer columnist Paul Daugherty (who I always read after Bengals games because even when they’re terrible, he’s wildly entertaining) with a good column here.

— We have two legit opportunities for a team to go 0-16 this year. I don’t have a clue who the Cleveland Browns will be able to beat; they look horrendous. And the St. Louis Rams, well, they’re not much better, especially if Marc Bulger is out for a while.

— Apparently some guy playing QB for the Vikings had a last-second touchdown to win the game. Sorry, I’m still in a Brett Favre blackout. Can’t discuss it.

— The Miami Dolphins’ receivers stink. All of ’em. Man did they drop a lot of passes Sunday in their loss to San Diego. Ted Ginn, especially, can’t seem to catch a cold. Poor Chad Pennington got hurt again, too; I love Chad but he gets hurt practically every year.

— Miami is 0-3, my Jets are 3-0. That’s just beautiful.

**Finally today, for those of you, like me, going without food for Yom Kippur, here’s a great joke from a very cool website called, Old Jews Telling Jokes. It is, well, exactly what it says is: A web site where old jews stand up and tell jokes.

This one is unsafe for work at the end, so maybe turn your volume down if that’s where you’re hearing it:

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