By Ernie Palladino
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Some weeks, you just have to love New York sports.
In a week where the Cardinals pushed the Dodgers to the brink of NLCS elimination and the Red Sox did the same in their ALCS matchup with the pitching-rich Tigers, this area’s teams gave the hometown fans at least a good chuckle.
Between the misunderstanding Rex Ryan sparked in his locker room with his “Rest and Relaxation” edict in prelude to Sunday’s game against the Patriots, to a fringe group’s absurd demonstration outside the MLB offices over multi-gazillionaire Alex Rodriguez’ suspension hearings, there was enough to keep us all in stitches if the mundane business of baseball playoffs didn’t spark our interest.
These types of controversies, or perhaps they’re just misunderstandings, are nothing new. Ryan has stirred up the pot for four full years now, especially when it comes to playing the much-hated Patriots and their chief ring-bearer, Bill Belichick. Only this time, Ryan didn’t take his ire out on Belichick. He simply made a suggestion that his players take it easy once they get home to the wife and kids.
No taking out the garbage. No running the kids to practice.
It seemed reasonable until, that is, some of his players took it that one further step which, let’s face it, every red-blooded left tackle thinks about, anyway.
Yep. That’s it. “Not tonight, dear. I have a Belich-ache.”
It really shouldn’t have created such a stir. Pro boxers have abided by that rule since Cain TKO’d Abel in the first. Fearing weakness in their legs, they postpone all the fun stuff until after the fight. Once that final bell tolls, all bets are off.
Ryan’s philosophy actually would have made a lot of sense, except that he never meant to infringe on his players’ constitutionally guaranteed pursuit of happiness. He apprised the media of that after a public relations rep pulled him out of a meeting to clear up the matter. No harm. It was undoubtedly a tiny, insignificant conference, considering the 3-3 Jets are only preparing for the perennial AFC East leaders.
The A-Rod situation also offered a glimpse into our own theater of the ridiculous. Members of Hispanics Across America (HAA) have camped themselves in front of Major League Baseball’s Manhattan offices since Rodriguez’s hearing on his 211-game suspension began on Sept. 30. Obviously, those people had nothing better to do than bang the drum for a Yankee who not only earned $29 million for rehabbing his hip more than half the season and doing next to nothing the rest of it, but also now battles accusations of lying, using PEDs, and interfering with baseball’s Biogenesis investigation.
Despite all that, everything was fine. The constitution guarantees peaceable assembly, even if the cause for which one assembles makes him look like some mindless screwball.
But it was revealed Wednesday that the group is now looking for contributions. For just a $50, $100, $500, or $1,000 donation, you, too, can help stop this horrible “injustice regarding the 211-game suspension,” according to the group’s website.
With just a few creative keystrokes, HAA president Fernando Mateo rocketed his group into the surreal ether of non-reality. It’s one thing to allow your organization to be hoodwinked by a cheat and a phony like Rodriguez. People back bad issues all the time. But asking people for money to help the group in its madness is taking it about 10 steps too far.
Throw in the recent silliness over Tom Coughlin having to answer a question about the possibility of benching struggling two-time Super Bowl MVP Eli Manning, and you’ve got a fairly complete week of high comedy. Of course, Coughlin won’t ever consider benching Manning, even if he throws five picks Monday against the Vikings. Coaches tend to stick with guys who have won them two of those shiny trophies.
“He’s the guy,” Coughlin told the media Thursday. “We’re going to win again with Eli.”
And that’s that.
Not enough? Hey, there’s always tomorrow.
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