Another week of baseball has just passed. The Yankees are in first place as usual, while my beloved Mets have left me with another summer of character building. But now baseball has a companion, as (yes!) it's time for football season to begin. And football is truly what makes America great. For the next five months we get to drink all day on Sunday, from the first pregame show to the last minute of play of the Sunday night game. We eat every type of food that will eventually kill us. There's the gambling, and the ignoring of work while we tamper with our fantasy football teams. We get to tell our wives, "Not now, honey, Terry Bradshaw's about to say something he thinks is funny and then laugh at his own joke. And his false teeth may fall out at any moment." There's the putting off of yard work. There's more gambling. There's tailgating. There's fantasy football. Of course, there's Monday Night Football. And later the Thursday game (well, for the few who have the NFL Network). There's more drinking. And don't forget about the gambling and even more drinking. And did I mention fantasy football? And it's all in the name of watching a gathering of behemoths try to take each other's heads off. God bless America. Love it or leave it.
Here are the top stories of the week in the world of New York sports:
It's Over, Part I: Revis Island is back in business. After being stranded like Gilligan all summer, keeping up with the news of the team through a radio fashioned out of a coconut, Darrelle Revis finally signed on the dotted line. His new contract is worth $46 million ($32 million guaranteed) for four years. It turns out the real reason Revis held out is that he already committed himself to a TV special this summer and wasn't contractually allowed to appear on Hard Knocks. He was busy filming The Harlem Globetrotters on Revis Island. In other news, the Jets punk'd Tony Richardson by pretending to cut him, and then had Ashton Kutcher show up at his house the next day to reveal the hoax. So everybody's finally on board for the Jets now, and it's Super Bowl or bust.
It's Over, Part II: The Ilya Kovalchuk miniseries has finally ended, too. Starring Steve Carell as Gary Bettman, Gavin MacLeod as Lou Lamoriello and David Schwimmer as Kovalchuk, the twisting and turning saga of a Russian boy's journey from Milan to Minsk - maybe I'm mixing this all up with Rochelle, Rochelle - has mercifully played itself out. The league approved his 15-year $100 million contract, and we can all get back to our lives now.
QB or Not QB, That Is the Question: The Rhett Bomar era ended quickly. The Giants traded for Sage Rosenfels and return man Darius Reynaud from the Vikings for a couple of draft picks (and my Vikings-fan brother is not happy about the trade, so that bodes well for the Jints). Two needs were filled without giving up that much of a ransom. The biggest quarterback swap between these two teams was, of course, the Fran Tarkenton for Norm Snead/Bob Grim trade before the 1972 season. I randomly mentioned Snead last week, so I just wanted to sneak him there again today for good measure. He did lead the league in passing in his first season with the , but he never did host Saturday Night Live the way Tarkenton once did. And to no one's surprise, Victor Cruz made the team, but to most everyone's surprise, the guy with one cool name, Duke Calhoun, also made the cut. Most importantly, it looks like the Giants will have all 22 starters available for the opener against Carolina. We're down to two days and counting - New Meadowlands here we come (well, not me; I've had to make a not-quite Sophie's Choice the last few years: Feed and clothe my child or attend a professional sporting event).
The Curse of A-Rod: Somebody better round up the Scooby-Doo gang so they can solve the mystery of why the Yankees can't win with Alex Rodriguez in the lineup. It will be their toughest case since trying to solve The Mystery of A.J. Burnett (the Yankee hurler would be a lot more consistent if it weren't for those meddling kids). My math may be wrong, but the Bombers are 62-1 when A-Rod isn't playing, 6-113 when he is and 2-27 when he's late for a game because he got distracted deciding which unwritten baseball code to break next (it all started in his rookie season when he infuriated the opposition by stealing second base in a Toyota Corolla). Everything was going fine and dandy for the Yankees until A-Rod showed up at Yankee Stadium once again. They beat Toronto on Friday and Saturday, and in the third baseman's return from the DL they lost on Sunday and then, horror of horrors, were almost swept by the Orioles. It was only Nick Swisher's heroics that saved them from complete humiliation. Maybe the series was more The Revenge of Buck Showalter than the "A-Rod is a bad luck charm" theory that's hitting the town like wild fire. We all know the team is better with him than without him, but still, we need to sprinkle some Scooby snacks around third base to get to the bottom of this. Meanwhile in Trenton, Andy Pettitte threw four scoreless in innings in a rehab start. The Yankees are crossing their fingers that he'll return to form in time to help out with their like-a-box-of-chocolates starting rotation.
The Magic Is Back: Unfortunately, it's 2010 Mets type magic. Which means one day they score 18 runs, on 21 hits (13 with RISP), along with three straight five-run innings, and the next day it's Oliver Perez time, getting hammered, 13-3. The Mets veered off the road of mediocrity that they were riding on in August, took a brief turn into Palookaville in Atlanta, and then got back to their familiar mediocre surroundings, going 3-3 this past week. Dillon Gee amazed in his debut outing, R.A. Dickey got hammered on Friday in Chicago but rebounded on Wednesday with a solid outing (and went two for two at the plate), Ike Davis is hitting the ball with authority all over the park but the highlight of the week was the aberrational shellacking of the Cubs on Sunday. Their offense was saving itself all season for that one game. And when they went to DC, watching the Nats and Mets play out the string is like seeing one of those old Washington /St Louis matchups come to life. Finally, it wouldn't be a normal week for the Mets unless there was a little controversy. The team went to Walter Reed Hospital to visit wounded veterans, but Carlos Beltran, Luis Castillo and Perez didn't make the trip for one reason or another. Haven't our soldiers been traumatized enough by the horrors of war, though? Do we really need to subject them to Oliver Perez as well?
(For in-depth analysis and discussion of the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets and Devils, go to SB Nation's Pinstripe Alley, Amazin' Avenue, Big Blue View, Gang Green Nation and In Lou We Trust, respectively.)