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Tuesday, February 28, 2012


The incomparable, lying windbag known as Freddie Coupon showed up at the Mets' training facility in Port St. Lucie Monday to offer his state of the Mets address.

And after listening to this deceitful disgrace spew one falsehood after another over the years, I didn't think he was capable of lying even more.

I was wrong. Freddie Coupon, who obviously and truly believes that loyal Met fans are both stupid and gullible, made like Pinocchio again and said that the Mets did make a $100 million offer to former franchise shortstop Jose Reyes, who took his freshly shorn dreadlocks and scurried to Miami, even though he wanted to stay.

Now, this latest claim comes on the heels of Reyes and his agent both stating after Reyes signed with the Marlins that the Mets never made a single offer at all. They were led to believe that the Mets had no interest in re-signing him at all.

But Coupon, who becomes more of a laughingstock than his beleaguered team every time he opens his trap, laid that bombshell on the media yesterday. It's a flat out lie.

Then, he manages to throw yet another general manager under the proverbial bus, by saying that it was Sandy Alderson's idea to cut the payroll by some $60 million and that the drastic dip in payroll had nothing to do the with the Bernie Madoff situation.

First, let's address the claim about Alderson wanting to cut payroll. What general manager with any sense of sanity wants to actually cut payroll to put an inferior product on the field? Every GM wishes they had unlimited payroll to go out and sign the best free agents possible, not the bottom of the barrel dregs. It makes the GM's job that much easier, knowing he doesn't have to worry about every single penny when it comes to signing talent.

So does anyone with at least one brain wave still operating inside their noggin believe that Alderson actually asked Coupon and Coupon, Jr., the lying son who actually took a helicopter to the Knicks-Heat game last week, for a payroll cut? Seriously, does Coupon think we're all that stupid?

If I'm Alderson, who was begged by MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to take the Mets' GM job in an effort to save the whole ridiculous franchise, I'm looking to bail out now, especially since my so-called boss just got out the team bus _ chartered, of course _ and drove it right over me.

I guess Freddie Coupon expects Alderson to be a loyal soldier. Coupon expects a lot of things.

Like he expects everyone to believe that the team's financial woes have nothing to do with the Madoff investigation. You have to be kidding me. If there was nothing wrong, then why would Coupon be looking to divest and bring in other owners? Why would you have to cut payroll? Because you want to be fiscally solvent? That might work in Pittsburgh and Kansas City, but not New York, especially not when the richest franchise in all of sports is located right across the river from you.

Why does Coupon persist with the idea that there's nothing wrong? A quick glimpse at the Mets' roster and you see a team that simply cannot compete in the NL East, especially when everyone else in the division has improved and you've brought in immortals like Jon Rauch and Frank Francisco. It's been a while since the Mets were this much of a non-factor a month before Opening Day. They're destined for last place in the division by far.

Of course there's something wrong, way wrong. If there wasn't anything wrong, the Mets wouldn't be in the state they're in _ thanks to the lying windbag and his equally liar of a son.

Coupon said that he had received some investors who are putting their money into his beleaguered franchise, that there could be an influx of approximately $250 million with the new investors' money.

But a quick glance shows that four of the seven investors are actually from Coupon's stable. He's basically doing the wise thing, taking some of the millions he receives in revenue from the SNY cable network and divesting that money into his team. SNY makes money, hand over foot, some $290 million in revenue last year.

And this way, Coupon is protecting himself as well if there is a settlement to be made in the Madoff case.

One last thing. The idea that the Mets lost $70 million last year is absurd. They didn't lose $70 million, because no company could afford to operate at a $70 million deficit. They just made $70 million less last year than the year before. It wasn't that they lost $70 million. Just made $70 million less. Big difference.

Coupon made a mockery of the whole proceeding by showing a wad of money, apparently all $5 bills, as a way of saying everything is all right.

"It's OK," Coupon said. "I've got fives."

Is that supposed to be funny?

He also vowed that he would own the Mets until he died. That was the worst news of all. Because as long as he continues to hold on to the Mets, the team is as laughable as he is.

He offered one last lie in his series of falsehoods: "I think we have a pretty good and a competitive baseball team."

No, Mr. Coupon, you don't.

Make no bones about it, the reason why Coupon is holding on to the Mets and every thing else is the fact that he still holds the right of emminent domain on the area outside CitiField. All the auto body shops and car repair businesses right outside the ballpark could be removed in a heartbeat if Coupon bought them all out, then took over the area and redeveloped it with shops, restaurants, commercial and residential areas. It has the potential to be worth billions. Coupon gives up the Mets and that right of emminent domain goes out the window.

He's still seeing $$$$ flash across his eyes, even in a depressed real estate market. It's how Coupon made his fortune in the first place. He knows real estate much better than he knows baseball.

But please, Coupon has to stop lying to us all. Enough is enough. You weren't signing Reyes. Alderson didn't ask for a payroll cut. That was your idea. And your team is in shambles and you have only yourself and the lying helicopter boy to blame. No one else. It's your mess.

Can it be cleaned up? Not as long as Freddie Coupon is calling the shots and lying through his choppers with every single syllable that comes out of his narrowminded head.

As a member of the Met fan contingency, I can attest to one thing. We are not morons. We're only morons if we head out to that mausoleum this year and watch Coupon's folly.

The Golden Eagle Warriors of Marquette are 23-5 and are currently ranked No. 7 in the entire nation. It's really an unbelievable feat and credit has to be given to coach Buzz Williams, who could be Big East Coach of the Year if voters just forget about what has happened with Mike Brey and Notre Dame again this year. Despite the Irish's two straight setbacks, Brey has done a wonderful job in South Bend this season, but he was both the Big East and National Coach of the Year last year. Can he win it again?

Yes, I'm offering praise to Williams, who I lambasted here a year ago. He deserves praise. I'm a big man. Literally.

You can read more of my stuff at, and

Saturday, February 25, 2012

MLB drug testing thrown for a loop

So let's get this all straight now, because the information about Ryan Braun's suspension being erased is mindboggling.

His 50-game suspension is eliminated because the urine sample he gave on Oct. 1 sat on someone's desk and wasn't sent via FedEx (when you absolutely, positively need it send overnight) until Oct. 3?

That Braun's pee became tainted because it sat there for two days? Or that you can't get a positive read on two-day old pee? Or just that the technicality of the whole thing, that it wasn't properly sealed and sent, because, after all, it had to get from Milwaukee to some lab in Canada absolutely positively overnight?

So what was it? From what I'm reading this morning, the suspension was tossed out because the proper procedure was not followed and that since there might be some ambiguity involved with two-day old pee, then the suspension goes bye-bye and everything is good with the world.

So was Braun really positive for performance-enhancing drugs or not? We'll never know. However, if his performance at the plate dips dramatically this season, even with former teammate Prince Fielder now in Detroit, then we should know the answer to that.

Did anyone catch Fielder's comments about Braun having his suspension removed?

"Hey, I don't know anything about it, but I'm glad for Ryan," Fielder said.

That's OK, big fella. None of us really know anything about it. Only Braun knows for sure.

And Braun's stance yesterday was absurd. He stood there, holding a press conference, boldly proclaiming his innocence like he did all along, saying that "the truth prevailed."

No, Ryan, the truth didn't prevail. You got off on a technicality. It's the same as a murderer walking free because some cop didn't read him his Miranda rights. There's no truth being revealed here.

His words are very disturbing.

"I am a victim," Braun said at a press conference in Arizona Friday. "If I had done this intentionally or unintentionally, I would be the first one to step up and say I did it. This substance never entered my body at any point. … There were a lot of times I wanted to come out and tell the entire story, to attack everybody as I’ve been attacked and had my name dragged through the mud."

He continued on: "Today is about anybody who has been wrongly accused. The system and the way it was applied to me in this case was fatally flawed. This simple truth is I’m innocent."

Nope. You're not guilty of one thing. You're not guilty of someone not taking your pee and having it shipped properly to the lab in the proper time.

How about Braun's comments about "admitting" it. If you did it, you would have admitted it? WOW, we're going to believe that? It's like believing that Pete Rose didn't bet on baseball. No one admits they do ANYTHING illegal unless they're caught red-handed.

You wanted to tell your entire story? OK, then do it. The story Braun gave MLB investigators is that he was taking a cream to battle a sexually transmitted disease, either herpes or gonorrhea, and that cream is what caused his testosterone level to explode off the charts, apparently reaching levels never before reached in any tests. Was that mentioned Friday? No way.

Apparently, he's the "Hebrew Hammer" in more ways than one.

So Braun gets off scot free and everything is good with the world, right?

Hardly. It's going to send every single MLB test for performance-enhancing drugs right to the court room. Every single one from now on will be appealed.

Right now, Roger Clemens is appealing all uses of syringes. Barry Bonds is appealing the fact that he ever visited BALCO or that his name appears on the Mitchell Report. Hell, let's not stop there. Let's appeal the entire Mitchell Report. Rafael Palmeiro is appealing the fact that he never really appeared in front of Congress to say he never used steroids. It's going to be one litany of appeals.

Because this screw-up leaves the door _ and window, for that matter _ open for every single PED case in baseball, and maybe other sports, from now on.

And a sport that has been ravaged by cheaters over the past 20 years or so will now get even more destroyed, simply because people who are paid good money to make sure that urine tests are accurate screwed the whole thing up.

What about the hit FedEx takes with this? "When it absolutely, positively has to be there overnight, unless it's pee." Maybe they have to change their motto.

So what do we know?

Do we know Ryan Braun is innocent? No.

Do we know he didn't do anything illegal? No.

What we do know is that two out of three arbiters agreed that there were no legal grounds for suspension because the drug test COULD have been tainted.

Yes, our national pastime. It's more like our national pisstime.

And if I'm Ryan Braun, I better hope to the Lord above that I hit .330 with 30 homers and 110 RBI this year, to prove that maybe, just maybe, the test was inaccurate. Because if he slumps just a hair, then everyone will think the same thing. His MVP year was enhanced by the cream he was putting on his privates.

Plain and simple, the Star-Ledger's "investigation" and subsequent reporting on the North Bergen "recruiting" situation has now become an obsession, a vendetta and a witch hunt.

Both reporters Craig Wolff (who I've spoken to and written e-mails to about his inaccuracies) and Mike Vornukov continue to bombard the paper about the stories that legendary football coach Vince Ascolese "recruited" two players to play for the North Bergen football team that won the state championship.

The fact of the matter is this: Ascolese did not recruit anyone. There's no proof of recruitment.

These reporters, one of whom used false pretenses to gain access to people in North Bergen, continue to write the dirtiest word in high school athletics, namely recruiting, and associate it with Ascolese when they have no legitimate proof.

They're basing the entire story on the words of a disgruntled parent, who abandoned his 17-year-old son and left him unattended in an apartment that he was supposed to pay only $300 a month for, then when he refused to pay and the landlord got upset, he went scurrying to the Star-Ledger to cry.

The only problem in the story is that the landlord was Ascolese. He should have never set up a cushy deal for the players. He should have never gotten involved in their housing in the first place. That was his mistake.

But recruiting? There's no way.

However, Wolff and Vornukov (who couldn't bother to stand at attention during the national anthem at a recent Seton Hall game, drinking his soda and Tweeting and texting throughout the anthem, like he was on some important deadline, even though the game started at NOON) continue to berate and pound this non-story.

Vornukov can't even stop drinking and typing for a minute and a half to give the country that he works in a proper sense of respect? It was embarrassing to watch. I know, because I was two seats away from him on press row.

What do they hope to happen? That the NJSIAA strips North Bergen of its state championship and they can put that in their pelt collection? Well, guess again. It's not going to happen. The NJSIAA's Controversies Committee, which will hear the case, isn't about to strip a state championship over the cries of a disgruntled father who didn't want to pay rent after abandoning his child.

To write their first story as part of their ''investigation" is one thing. To continue makes it a witch hunt. Who do you think the NJSIAA is going to believe? A coach with 50 years of dedication to the game of football, with an unblemished record for all those years, or two reporters on a witch hunt and a father who wasn't doing his job as a parent? I'm betting on the coach.


You can read more of my work at, and I'm not conducting any witch hunts in any of those publications.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

God bless "The Kid"

I vividly remember the day that changed my life forever as a Met fan, that Monday night in December of 1984.

At that time, my best friends and I used to go watch Monday Night Football together as a group in a bar in Bayonne. It was a fun tradition that I sorely miss.

I was working for the Morristown Daily Record and I was in the office when the news came over the AP wire that the Mets had acquired Gary Carter in a trade with the Montreal Expos.

I couldn't wait to get to Bayonne and share the news with my good friend and fellow diehard Met fan, Glenn Gardner.

So I drove like a madman from Parsippany to Bayonne. I approached Glenn and asked him a question.

"What would be the one thing you'd want as a Met fan right now? If there was one player you'd want on the Mets, who would it be?"

He responded, "Gary Carter."

I retorted, "Well, we got Gary Carter."

The amazing news was instantly celebrated. We hugged, high-fived, jumped up and down a few times, in disbelief that we got the best catcher in baseball for four mediocre players. I mean, we would miss Hubie Brooks, but he wasn't going to give us a World Series. Gary Carter was going to.

On Opening Day, 1985, my friends and I all went to Shea Stadium as part of another tradition. It was a brutally frigid day, way below the freezing point. But we didn't want to leave the game because we felt something magical would happen.

Sure enough, in the only way he knew, Carter hit a dramatic 10th inning homer off former Met Neil Allen to win the game against the Cardinals. It set Shea Stadium into a place of pandemonium.

Ralph Kiner had Carter on Kiner's Korner and repeatedly called Carter in typical malaprop fashion, "Gary Cooper."

"Well, I guess you can call me the Pride of the Mets," Carter told Kiner.

He was a Met. First game in the uniform and he was already a Met.

He might have gotten a bad rap as being someone who liked to be in front of a camera. Some called him "Camera Carter." Others called him "The Kid."

But he provided a lot of great memories for me as a Met fan.

I'll remember the two homers he hit against the Red Sox in Game 4 of the 1986 World Series, helping the Mets draw even at 2-2. I'll remember the game-winning single he had against Charlie Kerfeld in the 10th inning of Game 5 of the NLCS, a game that I attended and felt Shea Stadium rock after that hit.

I'll remember the three homers he hit in a game against the Padres. I'll remember the single he had in Game 6 of the World Series that started that miraculous rally that culminated with Mookie hitting the little dribbler up the first base line.

I'll remember the clutch hit he got in the 1988 NLCS against the unbeatable Orel Hershiser that enabled the Mets to win Game 1 of that series. Unfortunately, we lost that series.

And I'll remember the times I got to meet him.

The first came in 1988, when I was in a Chicago bar, in town to see some college friends and to see the Mets play the Cubs. Sure enough, who walks into the bar but Darryl Strawberry, Jesse Orosco, Doug Sisk and Carter.

I walked up to them like a star-struck Met fan and said, ``Hi Darryl, Hi Jesse, Hi Doug, Hi Mr. Carter."

He stopped, "Did you call me Mr. Carter because of my age?"

"Nope, it was out of respect," I said.

The next time I saw him was Opening Day in Atlanta in 1991, where I attended the Braves' opener against the Dodgers with famed sports personality Ed Lucas.

Ed and I got caught in a torrential rainstorm and were soaked to the bone. I wanted to go back to the hotel, but Eddie made sure that we went to the Dodgers' clubhouse to see Strawberry, Bobby Ojeda and Carter.

Lucas had to see Carter, who signed every piece of memorabilia that Lucas had on him. He was a joy.

The next time I saw Carter was only a few years ago, when he was the manager of the Long Island Ducks and I was the official scorer for the Newark Bears.

I went into the Ducks' clubhouse and sitting behind the desk by himself was one of my all-time favorite Mets. I introduced myself as the official scorer and was there to get the game lineup.

"Well, you do a good job as the scorer," Carter told me. "You're fair on every call and you don't play favorites and you're not a homer."

Imagine that. Carter was paying me a compliment.

There was a controversial call during that game. The next day, I saw Carter again and he said, "Well, Jimmy, you might have missed that one."

"No, I didn't, Gary," I said stoically, sticking to my guns.

"Well, at least you're honest," he said. "I like that."

We all knew this day would come, once Carter was diagnosed with brain cancer a few months ago. It's a disease that doesn't lose, as it also took the lives of great Met reliever Tug McGraw and great Yankee slugger and announcer Bobby Murcer over the years.

So it's not a shock that we lost Gary Carter today at the age of 57. But it doesn't lessen the sting of the loss, the pain, the hurt. He should have lived for a long time, lived to hear the thunderous applause he would receive at Met games. It hurts that he's gone.

But he will forever be a part of my deepest memories and in my heart, because he was the final piece to the puzzle that made that 1986 dream season a reality.

God bless Gary Carter and thanks for the memories, Kid!!!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The remarkable run of the Giants

First of all, let me apologize to the loyal readers, who might have wondered if I had fallen off the face of the earth or was finally kidnapped by the aliens that hover about North Bergen's Braddock Park.

I had a bit of a hospital stay, complete with an assortment of surgeries, infections, fevers, what have you. It was a wonderful way to spend late January and early February, stuck in a hospital bed, then hooked to a portable IV pump for two weeks.

Most of you might not have known I was under the weather, but I have a funny story. On my worst day in Clara Maass Hospital in Belleville, I had a fever that was hovering in the 104 range. I was totally dilusional and speaking jibberish. I couldn't see well.

As people were coming in and out of my room, a priest walked in, wearing the purple sash around his neck. I perked up a little to ask, ``Are you here for that?" Meaning last rites. He said, ``No, son, just a prayer for the sick." As I eventually told my friend Bill Herenda, I thought I was a candidate for the proverbial Catholic favorite, "extreme unction."

Certainly didn't want any of that extreme unction stuff. Not ready for that.

Anyway, I am grateful to all of those who called, texted, sent e-mails and even came to pay a visit. I got a refresher course in "Liar's Poker" with my great friend Glenn Gardner, who posted a picture of me in my hospital bed, causing international hysteria and concern. Yes, I got two phone calls and texts from overseas, one from England, one from Germany.

I also got a great visit and a card from my friend Buddy Matthews,the long-time Hoboken baseball and basketball coach, now coaching the girls' basketball team at St. Anthony. Buddy got to see me in my hospital gown glory and I even let him cop a peek at my business.

But to all those who sent messages via Facebook, I am humbled by the care and concern. I guess, in the immortal words of Sally Field, you like me, you really like me. Thanks for all your well wishes. I am doing well and had the IV removed from my arm this morning.

Now, back to sports:

It still amazes me that the Giants actually won the Super Bowl. It's incredible that the Giants have won the Vince Lombardi Trophy four times now -- and only once (1986) were they the best team in the NFL. The other three times (1990, 2007 and 2011) were downright shockers.

But of the four, none was more startling and amazing than this year's championship. I remember watching the game against the Redskins in mid-December, a game where the Giants couldn't do anything right, and lost at home. It forced me to write a blog stating that the reason why the Giants (or Jets, for that matter) wouldn't make the playoffs was because they had no home field advantage.

Maybe they don't need one, because in both of their latest Super Bowl runs, they were the quintessential road warriors, even better than Mel Gibson as Mad Max.

When you take a look at it, it's amazing that the Giants won the Super Bowl because they needed so many things to go right for them down the stretch. One after another, it's almost miraculous.

The game against Dallas in the Jerry Jones Dome, they trailed by 12 with a little more than five minutes left, yet came back to win. However, if Tony Romo hits a wide-open Miles Austin with that pass with three minutes left, the whole late-season run is over before it begins.

Flash forward to two weeks later and Christmas Eve at the Meadowlands. The Giants are getting beat up physically by the Jets and they're losing by 10 in the second period. They have the ball on their own 1-yard line and Eli Manning hits Victor Cruz for a nine-yard curl and he takes it to the house, 99 yards, the longest pass play in the team's history. Cruz's salsa down the sidelines turned that entire game around and enabled the Giants to get a victory. Without that play, more than likely the Giants lose, the Jets win and they go to the playoffs instead of the Giants.

A week later, it's do-or-die against the Cowboys again. They win, they're in. Lose and go home. They take a big 21-0 lead in the first half, but the lead is dwindling in a hurry. It's now 21-17 in the third quarter and Manning somehow finds Hakeem Nicks for a 44-yard gain that keeps a scoring drive alive. The Giants win the NFC East, but wouldn't have without that play.

They beat the snots out of an outmanned Atlanta team in the first round, then go to Green Bay and shock the Packers, again using one big play to get the win. Manning throws up a Hail Mary prayer right before halftime and Nicks catches it for a touchdown. How many times do you see that play work? Three, maybe, in a lifetime. But the Giants get one, keeping their miracle run alive and getting past the 15-1 Packers.

They then go on to San Francisco in the NFC title game and had yet another miracle happen when the punt grazed off the returner's leg in one instance and then the same returner fumbled a punt in overtime, leading to the game-winning field goal. At that point, you would think that maybe St. Peter or St. Paul or Mother Theresa or some holier than thou person was standing next to Tom Coughlin on the sidelines.

It gets better. In the Super Bowl, the immortal, wonderful, splendiforous lover of foul-mouthed supermodels Tom Brady throws a lollipop toss to Wes Welker late in the game. If Welker manages to make the catch, the Patriots win, but the pass falls incomplete. Announcers and analysts are quick to blame Welker, but he stands only 5-foot-9 on top of the Manhattan phone book no less. That ball was overthrown and softly thrown. I blame Brady. A typically strong Brady release and the wide-open Welker catches the pass and the game is over.

So think about it. The Giants needed all of those things to happen their way to win the Super Bowl. They needed Romo to overthrow Austin, needed Cruz to turn a little play into a season-saver, needed the Hail Mary against the Packers, the two miscues on punt returns against the 49ers and the Welker drop/Brady overthrow in the Super Bowl. If they don't get all of those, then they don't get Lombardi Trophy No. 4.

So congratulations to the Giants and their fans. It's a Super Bowl run for the ages. One thing is for sure: The so-called experts who were calling for Coughlin's head in December can slink back under the rocks from which they crawled. Coughlin, who was never, ever the problem with the Giants, gets to stay for as long as he wants.

Here's one aspect about these Giants. In all my years of covering pro sports, I have never seen a team totally adore their coach like these Giants love Coughlin. Never. There's not a soul in that locker room who wouldn't go to war for the guy and that's a rarity in pro sports. There's usually one or two dissenters who cry the blues about the coach and let everyone know about it. Not this team. They totally love the man like he was their own father.

I'm certain that love for their head coach went a long way in bringing that big shiny silver thing back to the Meadowlands to stand with the other three. It was a remarkable and unthinkable run, one to behold.

And yes, I'm jealous, because as a Rams fan, I have one big shiny silver thing. Should have had two if it weren't for the cheating conglomeration known as the New England Patriots, but that was 10 years ago now and I should let it go.

Congrats to the Giants and their fans. You are all in. And have every reason to be PROUD TO BE A NEW YORK GIANT.

Seton Hall basketball coach Kevin Willard has to stop being a fair-weather coach. When his team is winning, everything is hunky dory. He tells jokes to the media, some of them off-colored quips about the caucasian background of some of his players. And then the locker room is opened for the reporters to ask questions of his players.

But twice this season, against Villanova and then last week against UConn, Willard acted like a spoiled brat in defeat. He wouldn't allow the media access to his players. He even went as far as to first say he wasn't speaking to the media after the loss to UConn, but then was somehow cohearsed into doing the right thing and speaking.

You can't have it both ways. In all sports, you have to take the good with the bad. You have to be equally gracious in defeat as in victory. You can't have two sets of rules, simply because you felt the officiating was poor and you got ejected for saying so.

Willard has to learn to be the same person in defeat as he is in victory. He has to swallow his pride and do the right thing. The spoiled brat routine was wrong when he did it the first time. Now, it's already stale and awful.

Sure, he was gracious again Wednesday night, when the Pirates defeated Rutgers at the RAC. He was glib and he allowed access (which by the way is an NCAA and Big East rule) to his players. Here's to hoping that's a consistent thing for the remainder of his career, because the other way doesn't work at all -- and only puts Willard in a bad light.

Because let's face facts. Even his predecessor, the horrendous schmuck known as Bobby Gonzalez, never pulled such crap. He might have kept his locker room closed for an hour, even after a win, but he never closed his locker room door the way Willard has now done twice.

Willard has to learn a valuable lesson here. Take the good with the bad and it makes your life as a basketball coach much easier.

You can read more of my work at (a look at the new North Bergen football coach this Sunday), and