Saturday, March 31, 2012

Jeremy Lin likey out for the season

Linsanity has ended as quickly as it began.

Knicks point guard Jeremy Lin, who sparked a dying franchise and revitalized a frustrated fan base during the month of February, spawning "Linsanity" across the New York area, will likely miss the rest of the Knicks season with a torn meniscus in his knee. Lin will have surgery this week and will miss six weeks, which means that unless the Knicks win their first round playoff series at the end of the month, Lin won't see the court again this year.

This is a huge blow to a team that has been struggling with injuries lately. While the Knicks have played well since Mike Woodsen took over, posting a 9-2 record including a 91-75 victory over Cleveland on Saturday night, the Knicks had already learned this week that they would be without the services of Amar'e Stoudemire for the remainder of the season with a back injury; meanwhile Tyson Chandler and Carmelo Anthony have played through groin injuries.

Said Lin before the Knicks game on Saturday: "I can't really do much. Can't really cut or jump, so it's pretty clear that I won't be able to help the team unless I get this fixed right now. It's disappointing for me; it's hard to watch the games and I think I'd want to be out there obviously more than anything right now. But, hopefully, it's a six-week rehab process but I tend to heal fast, so hopefully, I can come back as soon as possible and still contribute this season," (ESPN).

This means that the Knicks will have to rely on veteran Baron Davis, who has been inconsisent coming off the bench and had to deal with his own injury problems this season; moreover, Tony Douglas, who was awful at the point before former coach Mike D'Antoni discovered Lin, is in the mix.

The  Lin injury leaves plenty of questions for the near future of the Knicks.

For Woodsen, judging the coach on how this team finishes this season is not exactly fair, considering he will be coaching with a beaten up basketball team down the stretch. No one knows what this team would look like if everyone were healthy on the court, but the fact that this team has played inspired defense the past two weeks since Woodsen took over, should be enough for him to keep his job going into next season. On the other hand, we have to wait until next season to get a feel for Woodsen and this star-studded team. 

For Lin, this was essentially his rookie season. Everyone knows what a great story Lin has become in the NBA, and his consistent play is evidence enough that he is the real deal. However, there will be questions from many about how Lin would fare in a full regular season, and whether he can continue to elevate his star status. Those questions would have come anyway since it was lockout year, but with this injury, Lin will come into next year with two months worth of work under his belt -- certainly a dent in his development.

Lin is a restricted free agent this summer, and this injury could have an effect in contract negotiations next year. The Knicks will likely exercise their option on Lin, but how he rebounds from this injury and whether he can continue his rise in stardom will determine his longtime future with the franchise.

It was fun while it lasted. Hopefully for Lin and Knicks better days lie ahead.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Michael Pineda gets bombed in final effort to make Yankees squad

When news came out Thursday that Yankees manager Joe Girardi was considering heading North with a rotation of CC Sabathia, Hiroki Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Freddy Garcia while leaving either Ivan Nova or Michael Pineda out, it was enough to raise some eyebrows.


The Yankees spent the off-season expecting that both Nova and Pineda would be mainstays in the Yankees rotation once the 2012 season began. While that may still happen at some point this year, the fact that neither Pineda nor Nova have established themselves this spring leaves the question open as to which will start the year as the Yankees number five starter and which will toil in the minors.

Nova pitched well on Thursday, dropping his astronomical ERA to 6.88, but Pineda was bombed Friday night against the Philadelphia Phillies. Pineda has struggled with his control all spring. He has had a hard time getting his fastball to the upper 90's, and he hasn't truly developed that secondary pitch.

Against Philadelphia in what was likely his final start of the spring, Pineda's fastball was floating, and he rarely hit 94 mph on the radar gun. The line: 2-2/3 innings, seven hits and six earned runs. His ERA jumped to 5.68.

What exactly did the Yankees get in Pineda? The Bombers had traded their top catching prospect, Jesus Montero, to the Seattle Mariners for Seattle's stud number two starter. When the trade went down, it was surprising, considering Seattle was willing to part with a young flamethrower, opting to keep Felix Hernandez, a more experienced pitcher who is not getting any younger, and who is the more logical piece to get traded to a contending team.  Did the Yankees get sold sour goods in Pineda? They better hope not.

The Yankees have to find a way to get Pineda to pitch well on a consistent basis. He has been working on a slider, but he still needs to develop a better change-up, and the Yankees staff has to find a way to get Pineda to hit 97 mph again the way he did in Seattle. Then again, was Pineda's success in 2011 a mirage, and is he on a Dontrelle Willis-like pace? It's a lot of doom and gloom for the 23-year old pitcher which is not a fair assessment but when a young pitcher's velocity and control hits a wall it makes people begin to wonder.

The Yankees rotation entering 2012 is also fragile at best. Betting on the inconsistent Kuroda, Hughes and Garcia is playing a game of Russian Roulette, a gamble that will look much worse IF Pineda and Nova do not get on the ball here quickly.

Granted Andy Pettitte is tossing down in the minor leagues, waiting to return in May, but who knows how much he truly has left at age 39? If the future of the Yankees IS Pineda and Nova, which they tried to "sell" to their fans in the off-season, then the time is now for both (not one) to step it up big time.

Open Mike 03-30-12 Major League Baseball Preview

In the first hour of "The Open Mike Program" of March 30, Michael Cohen takes a look at the prospective rosters for both the Yankees and Mets. Can the Yankees get their starting rotation issues straightened out before the regular season? Are the Mets capable of overachieving this year?  Listen on Posterous!

In hour two, Michael welcomes in Warning Track co-host Karen Vankat to preview the entire MLB season. Listen via Posterous!

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Giants will open 2012 vs. Cowboys

Atypical of the NFL owners meetings, they love to give NFL fans a small glimpse of what's to come this fall by highlighting a couple NFL games a month before the schedule is announced.

Accordingly last night, the NFL made it known that the World Champion New York Giants will play host to the Dallas Cowboys on Wednesday September 5 at 8:30 on NBC. As most know, the game was originally scheduled for Thursday night, but since President Barack Obama is delivering his DNC speech on Thursday, NBC and the NFL decided to push the game back to Wednesday.

This will mark the third straight Dallas-Giants game to be broadcast on NBC, which must be driving executives at FOX Sports nuts. This also marks the second straight year that the Giants open the season against the same team they closed out the previous season. In 2010, the G-Men finished the year at Washington, then opened 2011 in Washington. This past season, Big Blue closed out the regular season at home against Dallas, and now open up against them.

This is also the second straight year the Cowboys thrust themselves into the opening night spotlight at MetLife Stadium. Last season, they opened at the Jets on the 10th Anniversary evening for 9/11.

Many thought the Green Bay Packers would be scheduled for this game, but the NFL decided to go with a clash between division rivals. This is the first time the two clubs open the season against each other since the 2007 season, when the Giants visited old Dallas Stadium on a Sunday night, and the second time in the last five seasons that New York will NOT open the season against the Redskins.

There are also rumors that Eli Manning's big brother, Peyton, will lead the Broncos into the Sunday night season opener on September 9. The most likely opponent for the Broncos that evening will be the Patriots, Steelers, Chargers, or Texans.

The full schedule will be released in three weeks.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Tebow introduced to New York/ New Jersey media

The bizzaro show that has become the New York Jets took a new wacky turn Monday when Tim Tebow was introduced as the new quarterback, er, back-up quarterback for Gang Green.

While Tebow said a lot of the right things, like complimenting the Denver Broncos as a class organization and expressing the hope to develop a good relationship with Mark Sanchez, he share some interesting thoughts.

1) Tebow admitted that it was the Jets front office that wanted him to do this press conference. Neither Rex Ryan, Mike Tannenbaum nor Woody Johnson showed up for this presser, forcing Tebow to do a solo. Apparently, the trio was in Florida for the NFL meetings, but it leaves no excuse for them not to be there to support their coveted quarterback ... er ... back-up quarterback.

2) Tebow said that he wants to work hard and expand his role in the wild cat. Translation: Tebow expects to compete for the job with Mark Sanchez. There is a reason why Tebow chose to come to New York over his hometown Jacksonville. Ignoring the fact that the Jaguars coaches didn't want him, Tebow knows the Jets coaching staff; he shares the same agent with Rex Ryan and is aware of Sanchez's struggles. Tebow is a hard worker, while Sanchez has been depicted by his teammates as lazy! Watch out for this melee.

3) Tebow said that he can't wait to find out how New York fans will react on game day. Tim, ignorance is bliss. Tebow has no idea what he is getting into with New York fandom; they will be chanting for him to overtake Sanchez from the first day of training camp, and he will hear it throughout the regular season until the Jets make a move. Once Tebow takes over under center, and Jets fans see how mediocre he really is, he will experience a cascade of boos the likes of which he has never heard.

4) Tebow believes the quarterback meetings will be a lot of fun with himself and Mark Sanchez in the room. We all agree; it will be fun as the inevitable battle over who should be the starting quarterback will likely flash in the classroom. That will be Must-See-TV; too bad HBO won't be there for a "Hard Knocks" reprise.

Joba Chamberlain likley out for 2012 season

Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain's road back to the Bronx made a wrong turn late last week, leading to debate about whether he will play at all this season. In a year when he was coming off Tommy Johns Surgery, Chamberlain did something only a Mets player could conceivably do, get injured while on a trampoline!  It happened Thursday night.

While the image of a 250 pound man bouncing off a trampoline may cause an uninhibited giggle, the story is quiet serious.  Chamberlain dislocated his right ankle, and the bone burst through his skin; reports early on said the Yankees reliever lost a "life-threatening" amount of blood.

Chamberlain was released from the hospital on Sunday after successful surgery and will be in a cast for six weeks. Joe Girardi is optimistic that Chamberlain could see mound-time by June.

However, it is hard to imagine that Chamberlain will return this year. He was coming back from elbow surgery, which cost him the entire 2011 season, and now he has to make a return from surgery on the ankle that he uses to plant his balance on the the rubber when pitching. It will be extremely difficult for a comeback this year.

Nevertheless, the Yankees bullpen is pretty stacked right now with David Robertson, Rafael Soriano, Boone Logan, Cory Wade, and Phil Hughes set to come up to New York in a week and a half. Unless somebody is struggling or gets injured, which is always possible, Chamberlain will have to compete for a job and might lose out even if all is well.

Moreover, Chamberlain would have to spend time coming back from the two injuries in the minor leagues, which means any return may be on hold until July or August, if at all this season. Tough break from a guy who was once the sensation of New York back in 2007.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Open Mike 03-23-12 Tim Tebow & N.Y. Jets

On this edition of "Open Mike," host Michael Cohen takes the Jets front office to the woodshed after the team acquired cult sensation Tim Tebow to be the "wild cat" quarterback. Are the Jets for real? How long will it take before Tebow overtakes Mark Sanchez as quarterback? Karen Vankat of "The Warning Track" joins Michael on the discussion.

Listen to Part I!

In hour two of Open Mike from March 23, 2012, Michael Cohen and Karen Vankat welcome in Zig Fracassi of Sirius XM NFL Radio to talk about the Jets move for Tim Tebow, as well as a break down of the stiff penalities on the Saints bounty program. Mike and Karen then talk baseball with the Yankees, and Mets. Did Fred Wilpon get off easy in the Madoff case?

Listen to Part II!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

It's official: New York Jets acquire Tim Tebow

A wild and wacky day has come to a close and Tim Tebow is officially a New York Jet.

Earlier today, the Jets swiftly agreed to a trade with the Denver Broncos for a fourth and sixth round pick; however, two hours after they apparently agreed to acquire Tebow, a stipulation in Tebow's contract that the Broncos had to pay $5 million to Denver in order to acquire him, the deal looked dead, and the Jets squabbled over the langauge of the stipulation. Here is the sick joke to all of this: the Jets hadn't read the fine print before agreeing to the trade!! Oops.

The Jaguars and Rams jumped into the negotiations as the afternoon wore on, and as of 9:00 pm, the deal was completed with Tebow deciding to pick the Jets over his hometown Jaguars. What is surprising is that Tebow's brother tweeted that Tebow wanted to go home to Florida. But, the idea of the glitz and glamour was apparently too much to pass on for Tebow, who picks the J-E-T-S, JETS! JETS! JETS!

More important, the Jets agreed to pay half of the $5 million to the Broncos salary advance to complete the deal.

Now the headache of Tebowmania vs. Mark Sanchez can begin. The deal for Tebow is mute testimony that the Jets front office clearly has little to no faith that Sanchez is their starting quarterback, but, even if that is not the case, they could have handled it a lot better than bringing the circus to town. What an embarassing, but typical, day in the history of the New York Jets.

Jets acquistion of Tim Tebow could fall through

According to Adam Schefter of ESPN has reported that there is an apparent hangup in the Jets-Broncos trade for Tim Tebow.

Via Schefter's Twitter account: "Filed to ESPN (1): Denver and Jets have encountered hangup in language in Tim Tebow's contract that could nullify trade. (2) If the Tebow trade to Jets falls apart, St. Louis could wind up getting back into play. Sides sorting through details."

So while Jets fans have been screaming the past two hours over the deal, it could be null and void fairly quickly.

Jets acquire Tim Tebow from Broncos

Now the Jets have two quarterbacks who can't throw a football into the side of a building.

Tongue and cheek aside, the Jets have acquired former Broncos quarterback sensation Tim Tebow for a fourth and sixth round pick in this year's draft.

Tebow, who lit the world on fire last season in Denver with miracle comebacks and a heavy dose of religion, became a cultural phenomenon overnight, but his inconsistency in throwing the football, poor completion percentage and awkward style of play became an albatross for Broncos GM John Elway and coach John Fox. Both had to deal with constant questioning about the progress of Tebow and an offense that wasn't getting it done; nonetheless, with smokes and mirrors, the Broncos found a way to win games and get to the postseason.

With that, the Broncos were not convinced that Tebow was a franchise quarterback, and the only way they could quiet the Tebow fanatics was to go out and sign Peyton Manning, a future Hall of Famer to take over at the position.

Enter in the Jets, the same New York Jets that struck out in the Manning sweepstakes; the same New York Jets that decided to overpay Mark Sanchez with a ridiculous $58 million five year contract, with $20 million guaranteed, less than 24 hours after the team suffered an egg facial from the Manning fiasco.

On the day Manning decided to sign on with the Denver Broncos, the New York Jets emerged as a favorite to land Tebow, so even if it sounded dubious, they were considered serious players for him. 12 hours later, the Jets have Tebow on their team.

Yet what the Jets showed their fans in acquiring Tim Tebow is that they truly don't have any confidence in Sanchez whatsoever. It's hard not to blame them, considering how inconsistent Sanchez has been the past three seasons, but there are other circumstances that contributed to the Jets poor play this year from a bad offensive line to a terrible running game.

If the Jets truly don't have confidence in Sanchez, why on earth did they give him a contract extension with $20 million guaranteed?

While offensive coordinator Tony Sparano runs a gimmicky offense known as the wild cat, which might suit Tebow well, the effectiveness of that offense dwindled the past couple seasons in Miami, leading to Sparano's firing. In addition, if the Broncos divisional playoff game against New England is any indication, teams are starting to figure out how to play Tebow.

In short, bringing Tebow in makes no sense. He is a terrible passer, who completes only 40% of his passes, making Sanchez and his 55% completion percentage look like Joe Montana. There were times this year when Tebow didn't complete a pass for long stretches in a game.

While the Jets will try to cover themselves and insist that Sanchez is their starter, nobody will believe them. Not even Sanchez. Once Sanchez leads from behind another stinker, Jets fans will be chanting Tebow's name at the Meadowlands. They will be calling up talk radio shows demanding Tebow start. Even talk show hosts might concede that Sanchez has to sit for Tebow. The mania will begin almost immediately the two of them grace the Jets practice field in Florham Park, NJ.

For the Jets front office, this is another screwy move. Clearly, the only motivation for owner Woody Johnson is to sell PSLs, jerseys and tee-shirts. Anyone who believes Johnson's missive that the Jets passed on Peyton Manning is a fool. The Jets wanted Manning to do the same thing, sell Jets tickets. While Manning is by far an improvement over the mediocre Sanchez, Tebow is not except from a marketing standpoint; Tebow in New York is a gold mine.

The question will be whether this move will ignite a fire under Sanchez, who has had a free pass the past three seasons; even teammates have come out to criticize him as a quarterback who was coddled too much. If the Jets wanted to bring in a legit back-up quarterback to threaten the Jets franchise quarterback, they would have signed either Chad Henne or Kyle Orton, but both were scared off by the Sanchez contract extension.

However, bringing in a guy who isn't any good, and is only popular because of his personality and beliefs is utterly ridiculous.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Peyton Manning picks Denver Broncos

Peyton Manning started his NFL career as a Colt. He will finish it as a Bronco.

The four time MVP and Super Bowl XLI MVP will take his talents to the Rocky Mountains, after telling his agent Tom Condon to begin negotiations with Denver.

Kudos to GM John Elway for pulling this off. He put together a full court press effort to bring Manning to Denver, and didn't let delusional Bronco fans high opinion of Tim Tebow delude his decision making.

Manning will take over a team that needs help at several key positions like wide receiver and tight end, but Denver has enough cap room to afford Manning and sign former Steelers receiver Mike Wallace, and Manning's old teammate Dallas Clark, if they should choose.

The question now is what happens to Tebow? Tebow's fate could hinge on what former 49ers quarterback Alex Smith does. Smith is negotiating with the Miami Dolphins and may feel spurned by the 49ers and won't return there. If that's the case, Tebow could end up in San Francisco. Tebow could also end up in Miami if Smith decides to return to the Niners. Jacksonville has also been rumored to be in the mix for Tebow if he became available. The Jaguars had an infinity for Tebow since he grew up in Jacksonville, and went to nearby Florida University.

Wilpon's settle in Madoff suite

Either in a move of fear of culpability on part of the Wilpons, or fear they didn't have a solid lawsuit on the Pichard side, Fred and Jeff Wilpon and partner Saul Katz have settled the Irving Pichard suit that was to bring down the Mets owners for $386 million.

With the trial set to begin Monday morning, and with the prospect that a jury would force them to pay up $303 million, the Wilpons agreed to pay up $162 million to Pichard and settled the suit.

The good news for the Wilpons is that they will not have to pay anything for at least three years and could recoup $16 million if they can force the Madoff party to pay up to $178 million in a separate lawsuit. 

Still there is the disturbing fact the Wilpons are basically admitting that they knew something was going on in the Bernie Madoff scheme by settling. There was a prolonged fear that the jury would throw the book at them because of anger over the Madoff scam, and angry New Yorkers who are tired of their dreadful ownership of the Mets franchise.

This does not mean that the Wilpons are out of the woods. They have to pay $25 million to MLB and $40 million to the Bank of America for unpaid loans. They also have to divey up money to Pichard which will include the $162 million settlement and the $83.3 million from a previous case.

However, the bad news for Mets fans is that it also means that the Wilpons will remain owners. Don't expect the Wilpons to spend much on this baseball team as they will be more focused on paying off these debts than actually supporting the team. Plus, whenever the Wilpons did spend money on the team, they never spent it well, i.e. Jason Bay, Pedro Martinez, Mo Vaughn to name just a few. So get ready for more mediocre years Mets fans.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Andy Pettitte returns to Yankees

Here is story right out of left field.

The New York Yankees are set to welcome back Andy Pettitte to the team after both sides agreed to a one year $2.5 million deal. The flirtation to have Pettitte return has been going on for several months according to multiple reports.

Back in December Brian Cashman spoke with Pettitte about a possible return, and offered him a shocking $10-12 million, according to ESPN. What in the name of George M. Steinbrenner was Cashman thinking there? $10-12 million for a pitcher who hasn't pitched in well over a year?

Pettitte declined Cashman's offer, and the Yankees went ahead a traded for Michael Pineda and signed Hiroki Kuroda. In February Pettitte called Cashman into Joe Girardi's office after Pettitte was invited to spring training as a special instructor. What Cashman apparently didn't know was that Pettitte was working out.

The Yankees watched Pettitte slowly throw on this side, and coupled with their sudden rotation concerns with Freddy Garcia out with a bruised wrist, the organization's lack of confidence in Phil Hughes and Michael Pinenda's apparent velocity struggles, the Yankees decided to go all out on Pettitte.

The question remains though, why? Why would Pettitte want to come back now after a whole year off? He's 39 years old, picking up a baseball and trying to throw it 88 to 90 mph is not as easy as it used to be. Pettitte also prided himself as a family man, and the reason he retired before the 2011 season was to return home to be with his wife and kids, thus making his decision to return all the more curious.

It's anyone's guess how much Pettitte has left in the tank. While he may have the itch to pitch, how his body reacts to throwing 90 pitches is another thing. Many players have had the "itch" to come back and play, but physically, they are unable to do it. Pettitte is healthy, but the last time we saw him on a major league mound, he missed a better part of the second half of the 2010 season with injuries, a season that got off to a great start with an 11-3 record and a 3.28 ERA but ended abruptly, so too did a career ... or so we thought. 

The Yankees rotation, which looked set in stone about a month ago, is now in flux. Pinenda's fastball has topped out at 92, far below what the Yankees thought they were getting when the traded their top catching prospect Jesus Montero to Seattle to acquire Pineda. If Pineda is injured, or if his velocity is rapidly on the decline, makes it look like the Bombers were sold a lemon.

Plus, the Yankees have never believed in Hughes. Hughes has struggled with his control, injuries and his weight in recent years. This spring Hughes has pitched well. In 8 1/3 innings he has a 1.08 ERA, but is it enough to earn and keep the number five spot in the rotation?

 Pettitte likely won't be ready to return to the Yankees, if his arm doesn't fall off first, until May at the earliest. That means Hughes will have exactly one month to impress the Yankees when it counts in the regular season. If Hughes pitches great, he could be safe, and the pressure will be on Kuroda, who is always inconsistent, and Pineda if he doesn't pick up his velocity and control. However, I find it hard to believe that the Yankees will relegate Pineda to the bullpen or minors even if he struggles because New York invested so much in him.

As for Freddy Garcia, he can forget about being a Yankee. Garcia is out for the foreseeable future until the bump on his hand cools down and is re-examined at a later date. He will likely start the season in the minor leagues and battle with Pettitte for a call-up should the Yankees lose faith in Hughes. In all likelihood the Yankees would give the nod to Pettitte, not Garcia, based on Pettitte's storied history with the Yankees.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Nets' PG Deron Williams will opt out

After failing to land Dwight Howard in a pretty dubious deal to begin with, the Nets have to get set for a reality check: Deron Williams is going to leave town.

The All Star point guard who has lit it up this season with games of 57 points and 38 points in recent weeks is set to leave his misery behind in New Jersey and head for greener pastures.

"I'm not going to opt-in. It's not monkey-see, monkey-do," Williams told the New York Daily News Friday morning. "Wherever I go is, hopefully, where I'm going to retire."

Williams has been miserable in New Jersey since the Nets acquired him last year. He is the only legitimate NBA player on the team, and with all of the boasting from the front office of Jay-Z, Mikhal Prokorov and GM Billy King that the Nets would be serious players for top free agent talent, they have come up snake eyes time after time. What Williams has realized is something this front office fails to realize: It doesn't matter whether the Nets play in Brooklyn or New Jersey, they are still the Nets, a loser basketball program with fringe NBA talent.

The fact that the Nets even pursued Howard with any real conviction that they could convince both star players to stay in New Jersey was laughable, especially with the Nets 14 games under .500 and 4 1/2 games out of the playoffs. Howard is on a playoff team, and for him to leave it for this disaster on the Hudson River makes zero sense. The Nets instead settled for Gerald Wallace of the Portland Trail Blazers, and, again, tried to sell the idea that they are playoff team. Yuck, Yuck!

The Dallas Mavericks have been rumored in pursuit of Williams heavily, so expect him to either go there, or elsewhere to a team that has a legit shot of competing for a title.

Jets sign Drew Stanton for back-up QB job

A week after the Jets signed quarterback Mark Sanchez to an insane five year extension, there was a understandable fear that they would have a hard time luring any quarterback to back-up Sanchez, since they would not be able to compete with Sanchez for the starting job.

The Jets watched as Chad Henne signed with Jacksonville, and Kyle Orton sign with Dallas, but on Friday the Jets settled for former Lions back-up Drew Stanton to the position. Staton did fill in admirably for quarterback Matt Stafford in 2010 when the Lions star quarterback was injured.

While his stats are not impressive, he's an improvement over Mark Brunell.

Meanwhile, Sanchez has been emboldened by his new deal. On the Michael Kay show, Sanchez ripped into his teammates for criticizing him anonymously, calling their actions gutless. Hey Mark, if you had any class, maybe you should tell that to their faces instead of running to the media and complaining. The Jets zoo continues.

49ers jump into Peyton Manning derby

New developments in the Peyton Manning sweepstakes developed big time on Friday. For starters, the Miami Dolphins were informed by the Manning party that the quarterback will not be signing with them. Not really a surprise, considering the club traded receiver Brandon Marshall to Chicago, and Reggie Wayne opted to stay put in Indianapolis.

However, while Manning went to work out with the Denver Broncos, a workout that GM John Elway called productive and comfortable, word got around that a new team has entered the derby: The San Francisco 49ers. Manning gave the Niners a workout in North Carolina this week, and later told the Arizona Cardinals that they should consider moving forward without Manning.

This is an interesting development. The Niners just recently signed former Patriots receiver Randy Moss to a contract, and with the team still not sold on re-signing Alex Smith a new contract, bringing in Manning would be a no-brainer.

While the 49ers boasted a solid ground attack and a top five defense last season, they came up short in the playoffs because Smith proved to be inadequate at the quarterback position. Having Manning in San Fran could change all of that.  The 49ers also make a lot of sense for Manning. They have a newly established brand of success, having won their division going away last year, and making it all the way to the NFC title game. The solid core of talent, along with former Colts quarterback Jim Harbaugh at head coach, makes San Francisco a very attractive option. 

Manning is still expected to workout with the Titans, who are the new favorites to land Manning, but the 49ers are in the mix, and, who knows, maybe they will sign the Super Bowl XLI MVP?

Open Mike 03-16-12, Peyton Manning, free agency and Andy Pettitte

In Part 1 of this brand new edition of the Open Mike show, host Michael Cohen welcomes back Dan Feuerstein of "Feuerstein's Fire" and "Triple Coverage" to talk about the movers and shakers so far during NFL Free agency. Will Peyton Manning land in Tennessee or Denver? Is there a surprise team in the mix? What about Tim Tebow?

The boys also discuss the hot topics in New York football regarding the contract extension of Mark Sanchez with the Jets and Mario Williams signing with the Buffalo Bills. Listen here via Posterous.

In Part II of March 16th's episode of Open Mike, Michael Cohen and Dan Feuerstein break down the fallout from Mike D'Antoni's resignation as head coach of the New York Knicks, and what it means for the future of Jeremy Lin. Did Carmelo Anthony and Baron Davis get their way, and will Linsanity come to an end?

Then the boys talk about the latest revelation that former Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte is a former Yankee no longer after signing a one year, $2.5 million deal. How does this impact Phil Hughes?

Listen here on Posterous.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Knicks coach Mike D'Antoni resigns

Hours after several reports surfaced that players inside the Knicks, including Carmelo Anthony and Baron Davis, were unhappy with head coach Mike D'Antoni, and wanted the coach out, D'Antoni resigned.

No James Dolan didn't come down on him; D'Antoni was unable to get a team full of stars from Anthony to Amar'e Stoudemire, Jeremy Lin and Tyson Chandler, and reliable players, Steve Novack, Iman Shumpert to gel and become a complete unit.

Anthony has been miserable offensively. He has not played well with Lin, and his poor play has also carried over to Stoudemire who has been completely lost both offensively and defensively this year. Lin, who lit the world on fire in February, has watched his production go down as the league adjusts to his style of play. Lin has also had difficulty working with Anthony, Stoudemire and Chandler, who are basically two centers and a power forward, and can't run the offense he wants; moreover, he has had Baron Davis bearing down on his playing time.

Mike Woodsen, who was brought in as a defensive coordinator, will likely take over as the team's head coach. Woodsen was forced on D'Antoni at the beginning of the year to get this team to play better defense.

The D'Antoni Mutiny: Carmelo Anthony wants out if coach stays

A six game losing streak that has the New York Knicks reeling and hanging on by threads to the final slot in this year's playoffs, are on the cusp of a complete and utter meltdown; word has it from multiple accounts that the memo is: "it's either us or the coach."

First, the New York Post reported late Tuesday night that there is an apparent rift that has developed in the Knicks clubhouse between Coach D'Antoni and struggling All Star Carmelo Anthony. The Knicks are 2-9 since Anthony returned to the line-up, and the shooting forward has struggled offensively, managing only 39 percent  from the floor.

Yet, the Post reported that Anthony wants to be traded if D'Antoni should remain coach. He apparently requested Knicks brass fire D'Antoni after the Knicks were swept out of the playoffs last year; he obviously didn't get that wish. The Post also reported that  Anthony feels that D'Antoni and interim GM Glen Grunwald are buddies.

However, Anthony is not the only one upset with D'Antoni. Other players are now complaining of playing time, including Baron Davis who is unhappy about his limited playing time because of the impact of Jeremy Lin.

"Davis, averaging just 17 minutes a game, has already spoken to D'Antoni about giving him more playing time, according to the sources. While Lin wants to run D'Antoni's system, Davis is more in line with running the offense through Anthony and Stoudemire, the sources said" (ESPN).

It is interesting to note that once Anthony and Davis returned to the club, this entire team went into a downward spiral. The Knicks have struggled to adjust to the presence of both players, especially Anthony, who seems unable to get on the same page with Lin. Although Anthony insisted that he and Lin are on good terms, it has not transpired on the court. Anthony's poor shooting has put pressure on the others to make plays, and, as a result, everyone is in a collective funk.

D'Antoni, who doesn't coach any defense, has shown an inability to get this team to gel. The team had five days during the All Star break to work out and get accustomed to each another, but even that was a colossal failure with a handful of Knicks players participating in the All Star game. Clearly, D'Antoni's time is coming to an end.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Knicks fall to Bulls, losing streak hits 6


Well, at least the Knicks were somewhat competitive this time.

That's saying a lot, considering the lackluster performances that New York has strung together for the past week, but even a solid effort was not enough to derail the streaking Chicago Bulls as Derek Rose led the way with 32 points for Chicago and the Knicks lost their sixth straight game.

Early on it looked as though this game was going to turn into another blowout loss as the Bulls built a 12-5 lead thanks to a three pointer by Rose, and a long range jumper by Carlos Boozer, but the Knicks fought back. Two huge buckets by Tyson Chandler and a long range two by Carmelo Anthony brought the Knicks in front 14-12.

Yet no matter how close the Knicks drew in this game, the Bulls always had an answer, and the two teams jockeyed for the lead throughout the first half ; New York led by a slim 50-48 margin.  The Bulls grabbed full control of this game midway through the third quarter on a Rose three-point jumper to give Chicago a 58-57 lead; that three pointer was the start of an extended 10-3 run by the Bulls to take a 68-61 lead, their largest of the night.

For the rest of the night, the Knicks were playing catchup. Whether it was Amar'e Stoudemire, Anthony or even Jeremy Lin with a basket, Derek Rose, Joakim Noah, or Taj Gibson had an answer to keep Chicago in front.

For his part, Anthony didn't have a bad game. He shot much better than he had in the Knicks previous five losses. He shot 8-of-21 from the field for 21 points. Even Stoudemire contributed 20 points on 7-of-12 shooting, but it was not enough to curtail the might of the Bulls.

Lin, who has watched all of his luster disappear in recent games, was practically invisible on Monday night. He managed 15 points, but it was a quiet 4-for-11 shooting night, as he was out-hustled by Rose's heroics.

The Knicks now head home for a clash with the equally slumping Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday, a game the Knicks must win; they are now percentage points behind Milwaukee for the final playoff spot.

Friday, March 9, 2012

Mark Sanchez gets multi-year extension from N.Y. Jets

Here is the good news for Mark Sanchez: he is getting an extension.

Here is the bad news for all Jets fans on the Planet Earth: Mark Sanchez is getting an extension.

It was reported late Friday night that maligned quarterback Mark Sanchez has received a three year extension from the Jets that will keep him in green and white through the 2015 season, according to multiple accounts. Sanchez will earn $27 million guaranteed over the next two years, which were originally the final years of his rookie contract. He will make $58 million over the course of the contract.

After contacting and not hearing from Peyton Manning, the Jets felt obligated to try to patch up their relationship with the sensitive Sanchez with what many believe represents an undeserved extension.

Said GM Mike Tannenbaum, "Taking the long view of things, we're excited and encouraged at the trajectory of Mark's career." That trajectory is no ascent or even a bell curve but more a plumb line to the center of Middle Earth.

Sanchez regressed so much in his third year as the Jets starting quarterback that it left many of his teammates squabbling about whether he should be the starter. It just goes to show that turning the ball over 26 times and looking like a lost fawn, can garner millions in cash.

Maybe Sanchez should turn the ball over 32 times next year, so he can get a brand new six-year extension, as in "Pick-6," and I don't mean a lottery ticket.

It was one thing to strike out on Peyton Manning. Nobody expected Manning to come to New York to play in his brother's town. But for the Jets to ignore the fact and forget the fact that Mark Sanchez has done nothing to prove that he is the leader of this team, let alone its franchise quarterback, is a mistake that they will live to regret.

So let's say that Manning does sign with the Dolphins. What does that make the Jets? Third best in their own division, if lucky.

Sanchez is the Teflon quarterback. He has teammates that aren't fond of his performance, and fans that are beginning to see him for what he is, yet he finds ways to keep his starting job without a single challenge from someone who might be better.

With this extension Jets fans, and Jets wide receivers for that matter, can forget about the Gang Green front office signing a solid quarterback to challenge for the starting job; this signing means that it will not happen. Sanchez is the Jets starter, through thick and thin, whether Jets fans like it or not.

Giants cut ties with Brandon Jacobs

The New York Giants have rid themselves of their latest albatross, Brandon Jacobs.

The troubled running back, who spent all of last season pouting about playing time, throwing the fans under the bus for booing him, and talking trash to every single Giants opponent will be a free agent after the World Champions decided not to pick up his club option. 

Jacobs ruffled a lot of feathers in New York. He was despised by the fan base, and only after Big Blue won the Super Bowl this year, did Jacobs do a complete 180 trying to tell people that he loved being a Giant.

The Giants will likely draft a younger and faster running back in the draft. They can't rely too much on Ahmad Bradshaw, who has been slowed by injuries over the past couple seasons.

Manning to meet with three teams immediately

Peyton Manning will be making the rounds this weekend, with the plan of having a team by Tuesday, the beginning of NFL free agency.

Manning is schedule to visit the Denver Broncos on Friday night. He will sit down with GM John Elway to discuss the team's quarterback situation. Elway was not convinced by Tim Tebow, in spite of the cult following the quarterback earned through the course of the season. Tebow's inaccurate passes and unothrodox throwing motion is a concern for a lot of people.

The Broncos have been looking for Elway's replacement at the quarterback position since he retired after the 1998 season. They have gone through just about everyone from Bubby Brister to   Brian Griese, Jake Plummer, Jay Cutler, and now Tebow.

The Broncos had a franchise QB in Cutler a few years ago, but traded him to the Bears in a dumbfounding move.

After Manning meets with Denver, he will meet with the Arizona Cardinals, who have been linked to Manning for months, and finally he will meet with the Dolphins, who coveted Manning since this story heated up late in the season.

Like Denver, Miami has struggled to replace their star quarterback, Dan Marino, after his retirement in 1999. The Dolphins have had 17 different starting quarterbacks since the 2000 season.

The Jets were not mentioned as a team that Manning plans to visit. While the Jets have let it be known that the would perfer Manning over incumbent Mark Sanchez, no word if Manning will bite. The prospect of playing in brother Eli's back yard probably has scared Peyton off.

Even if the Jets strike out on Manning, don't think they will rest with Sanchez as its starter. They will likely go hunting for a legit quarterback to push Sanchez for the starting job. If Manning should push out a solid quarterback elsewhere, like Kevin Kolb in Arizona, don't be shocked if the Jets go after that player.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Peyton Manning will become a free agent

Get ready for Manning Watch! When NFL free agency officially begins next Tuesday at midnight, teams will be lining up to woo the services of Peyton Manning.

Even though Manning had four procedures on his neck, making him a very risky gamble indeed for any team willing to bank on him, it won't matter to teams who feel that adding the future Hall of Famer will result in instant success in 2012.

The Colts cut ties with Manning Tuesday night, refusing to pay a $28 million roster bonus and his $90 million contract. The Colts instead will go forward with the Andrew Luck era. Luck, who is expected to be the first round selection by the 2-14 Colts in April, will be thrust into the Colts starting lineup almost immediately. Luck to the Colts has been such a lock the last few months that Colts owner Jim Irsay has been talking about getting Luck into the offense and camp for a long time.

Now the question is where will Manning end up?

The Jets, Redskins, Cardinals, Dolphins, Chiefs, 49ers, and Seahawks have been the hot rumored teams for Manning's services.

The Jets are interested in pursuing Manning according to the New York Post. The Jets want to see if Manning is fully healthy before making a commitment to the quarterback. The Jets have shown before that they are not afraid to pursue the big time quarterback.

Four years ago, the team went after Brett Favre after he changed his mind on retirement. The Jets acquired Favre in trade, even though he never wanted to play for the Jets and subsequently acted that way. While the Favre/Jets marriage got off to a great start when New York won eight of its first 11 games, it all fell apart down the stretch. The Jets missed the playoffs, Eric Mangini was fired, and Favre left for Minnesota.

Or, the Jets could be scared off by Manning because of their bad experience with Favre.

 That said, players in the Jets locker room are not crazy about incumbent Mark Sanchez. Several anonymous players blasted Sanchez as a guy who was "lazy" and carried himself with a sense of "entitlement" for the starting job; moreover, Sanchez has shown next to zero progress as a starting quarterback. His completion percentage and quarterback rating are among the worst in the NFL. This past season, Sanchez had a horrendous season. He looked like a rookie quarterback who couldn't handle the pressure. He turned the ball over 26 times and made one bad throw after another this season.

Even though the Jets offensive line was in flux this year, it was a healthy unit down the stretch, but Sanchez still stunk it up.

The Jets have also been rumored to be interested in signing Chad Henne, the former Dolphins quarterback because of his familiarity with new offensive coordinator Tony Sparano.

If the Jets were able to convince Manning to play for them, then Sanchez will be shipped out of town. Clearly, the Jets won't pay two quarterback's starting quarterback money.

In any case, chances are Manning won't want to come to New York. The idea of playing against the Patriots twice a year, coupled with playing in the same town as his kid brother Eli Manning, who is coming off a second Super Bowl title, and the pressure to win in New York, may be too much for even Manning.

Miami has been linked as a favorite with the great weather down there, but the Dolphins make absolutely no sense. They don't have a lot of great pieces, unless you consider Brandon Marshall who drops every big pass that comes his way, and an inconsistent Reggie Bush.

On the other hand, Arizona and San Francisco make the most sense. The Cardinals have a talented crop of young players, including receiver Larry Fitzgerald. They are also three years removed from a Super Bowl trip back in 2008-2009, and some of those players from that team are still in camp.

The 49ers, while they don't have any talent offensively, do have a great defense, and were in the NFC title game this past season with a mediocre quarterback in Alex Smith.

What follows will be a fun couple weeks. Don't expect Manning to sign anywhere come the 13th. It will be a long, drawn-out process that will take a few weeks to develop.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Open Mike 03 - 06 - 12 Saints Bounty Program

On a special 1 hour edition of the Open Mike program, broadcast live on MTR Radio on Tuesday March, 6, 2012, host Michael Cohen gives his take on the scathing New Orleans Saints bounty scandal, and what it means for the perception of the NFL.

Michael then takes a look at the Fred Wilpon vs. Irving Pichard case as Pichard came away with $83.3 million in the lawsuit. If the Wilpons should lose more money, can they hold onto the Mets?

Open Mike 03-06-12

Judge tells the Wilpons to pay up big money to Madoff trustee

Embattled New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon is going to get a lot lighter in the pocket.

The Mets owners had the book, or at least a lengthy chapter, thrown at them Monday as they were ordered by Judge Jed S. Rakoff to pay $83 million immediately to trustee Irving Pichard, who initially sued the Mets for $386 million.

The Wilpons are not out of the water, however. With a court date set for March 19, if a jury finds the Wilpons guilty of negligence about the Madoff investments, then Pichard will walk away with $303 million of the Mets riches, and, almost certainly to the glee of Mets fans, spell the end of the Fred and Jeff Wilpon and Saul Katz regime. 

Meanwhile, Judge Rakoff said he found it dubious that the case will end in favor of Pichard. "The court remains skeptical that the trustee can ultimately rebut the defendants showing with good faith, let alone bad faith, to all the defendants." He added that the evidence against the Wilpons was not great.

That is bad news for Mets fans who watched Fred Wilpon laugh in their faces last week, stating that he plans to own the franchise for a very, very, very long time. If the jury finds little evidence to convict Fred and Jeff Wilpon then Met fans can forget about seeing them sell off more shares, and they can also forget about the Wilpons eventually selling off their majority stake. In short, get used to watching ownership continue to spend money on aging players who have nothing left in the tank, and, basically, trot out a Double-A baseball team on a major league field.

If a jury allows the Wilpons to walk, it would be a great injustice. Evidence has poured in over the past two years that shows the Wilpons knew, or at least were ignoring the fact that Madoff was a risky gamble. Remember the story that came out when Saul Katz was informed about Madoff's sleazy practices, but he allowed the movement of a financial transaction to Madoff's desk? Throw the book at 'em jury!

It's not like the Wilpons and the Mets will be free to spend money like it's 2006 again after this trial is over. The Wilpons are already in to OPM (other people's money) for $40 million to Bank of America, $25 million to MLB, and now $83 million to Pichard. The only shares that they have "sold" for the team are shares they bought themselves through SNY. Moreover, the team has lost $70 million at the box office last year, and that number will likely hit $100 million as sad sacks like Lucas Duda, Dan Murphy and Dillion Gee will likely lead the Mets to a 90-plus loss season and into the toilet of the NL East, and Major League Baseball.

All Mets fans can hope for, other than a bizarre and miraculous season that results in the team winning 85 games this year, is that the jury throw the book at the Wilpons and force them to sell. Keep your fingers crossed Mets fans.

Friday, March 2, 2012

Open Mike 03-02-12, MLB Wild Card & NFL Free agency

In Part I of the Open Mike Program, host Michael Cohen lets Major League Baseball have it for installing the new wild card playoff system into this year's postseason that could take all of the fun out of the final days of the regular season. Michael then welcomes in Warning Track host, Karen Vankat to talk about the Mets and Yankees, as both prepare to open up the preseason. 

In hour two of the Open Mike program, Michael Cohen and Karen Vankat discuss the latest in Linsanity, as the New York Post tried to drum up a point guard controversy between Baron Davis and Jeremy Lin. The pair also evaluates Davis' bold prediction that the Knicks will win the NBA title this season. Sean Bretherick of Triple Coverage then joins the jam to talk NFL free agency. The Round Table takes a look at the needs for the Eagles, Giants and Jets.

Listen to Part I
Listen to Part II