Not since Balloon Boy has a nation sat on the edge of its collective seat watching with dread at the possible upcoming disaster. What exactly am I referring to? Charlie Sheen? The New York Carlos Beltran's knees? The New York Mets' financial situation? Well, all of them actually. One, some or any of these things need to be looked at with only one eye open, as they could come crashing down in an ugly, fiery mess. While the Blueshirts should be ok and there's nothing we can do about Beltran's rickety knees but let them heal, we're not so bullish on either the Two and a Half Men star or the owners of the Mets. The two can make as many claims about "winning" or being a "victim" as they please, but each successive day is crazier than the next. Maybe we can combine the craziness and have Sheen buy the Mets (I always thought that Gary Busey was the Cadillac of insane celebrities, but Sheen is quickly moving up the list). Sheen has the commitment to winning thing down, has time on his hands now that he's been fired, would steal the back pages from the New York Yankees and we'd forget about the Wilpons pretty darn quickly. And let's not forget, he's pitched in some pretty big games himself. If he can get Clu Haywood out in a big spot, helping his Indians to become the Cinderella team of the late-'80s, coming out of nowhere to win the AL East, maybe he can impart some of that hard-earned experience and wisdom to this year's version of the Mets. Is Fred Wilpon investing his Mets money with a criminal any zanier a concept than Ricky Vaughn purchasing the Amazin's? I don't think so. And is Wilpon a rock star from Mars? Let's face it, the Mets have been on a drug called "Fred Wilpon" for years now and the hangover is beginning to take its toll.' playoff chances?
And now on to the top stories of the week in the world of New York sports.
Hello/Goodbye: Last Friday we featured arrivals and departures in this spot, and this week we have returns, suspensions, injuries and demotions among numerous other things, which means many local players will have to update their Facebook status. Beltran returned and then quickly disappeared because of tendinitis to his "good" knee. He's had all of three at-bats as a DH this spring, and that was all he could handle. He looked gimpy, slow and even a little chunky rounding third base and heading for home in his one run scored in his one game played. "Setback" might as well be Beltran's middle name. Will we ever see him again? Is it now Lucas Duda time? The situation for Oliver Perez? Prognosis negative. He's been temporarily demoted to the bullpen, which we hope will just be a pit stop on his way out of town. Francisco Cervelli broke his foot and will be unavailable for a while. Marian Gaborik saw his first bit of ice time on Sunday after sustaining a concussion, and scored a goal in his second game back, on Wednesday. Trevor Gillies returned to the New York Islanders for just a few minutes after being suspended, but couldn't help himself with yet another high hit, and was suspended once again for 10 more games. The New York Knicks are still waiting for Chauncey Billups to return from his thigh and knee issues. Roger Mason escaped from purgatory and found his way into some action after being buried on the bench by Mike D'Antoni. Amar'e Stoudemire was finally whistled for his 16th technical, which means a one-game suspension. Deron Williams missed Wednesday's New Jersey Nets game and will also be out for Saturday's contest, as he went back home to be with his wife who gave birth to a son. And in the days of New York past category, Yogi Berra slipped and fell in a Florida dugout though he's thankfully ok, but now I'm getting nervous--I'm not sure I want to live in a Yogi-less world. Dwight Gooden is jetting off to California to begin filming Celebrity Rehab with Dr. Drew. Hopefully this will be the plan that sticks for Doc. And in news that came out of nowhere, Tiki Barber wants to resume his NFL career. It won't be with the New York , though. The team couldn't have issued a "There's-no-way-in-hell-he'll-be-coming-back-here" press release fast enough. He sure turned his dream life into a complete shambles in only four short years.
A+ in Chemistry: The week for the Knicks got off to a rocky start when they lost yet again to the Cleveland Cavaliers. But that seems like a lifetime ago, as the Knicks have gotten on a roll and seem to be finding the cohesiveness and chemistry they've been searching for since the trade. Stoudemire and Carmelo Anthony have become pick-and-roll, give-and-go monsters, playing off of each other and confounding defenses. They whipped the Hawks down in Atlanta, destroyed the Jazz, turned a romp into a thrilling nail-biting victory against Memphis, with Anthony proving why he's one of the best late-game clutch shooters in the NBA, and we'll even give the team a mulligan on Thursday's loss to Dallas. It was the second of back-to-back road games for them so they'll get a little slack here. Everyone on the roster is chipping in, doing whatever they have to do to win a game, as they've had to play six straight games without their starting point guard. Meanwhile, things are falling into place over in Newark (and London) for the Nets. Williams has got his team playing better than ever. His influence is there even when he himself isn't. The formerly undynamic, floundering Brook Lopez is a new man these days, dominating the end of the game in the win over the Warriors on Wednesday. On Friday, the Nets played (and won) the first-ever regular-season NBA game in Europe and then followed up that victory with the game of the year--the triple-overtime spectacular. Stay, Deron, stay.
Winning: Chemistry doesn't mean a thing for the Rangers or New Jersey Devils nowadays. The only thing that matters is racking up points. The Blueshirts were off to a good start, with a win against Ottawa on Friday and the satisfying shellacking of the Flyers on Sunday afternoon, but Wednesday's dismal 5-2 loss at the hands of Anaheim (is it doubly frustrating to not only lose but to lose to a team named the Ducks?) keeps their playoff possibilities precarious as ever. Buffalo and Carolina are hot on their heels and have those dreaded games in hand as their secret weapon. The Rangers need a sustained winning streak and they need it now. The Devils went 2-1 this week, which sounds good, but New Jersey really can't afford to lose any games. Especially to the cellar-dwelling Senators. If they don't play their cards right, they could see the Islanders pass them by in Saturday's matchup between the two teams. Of course, it's not inconceivable that the defeat to Ottawa is New Jersey's last one of the year. As for the Isles, they keep rolling along, building up a foundation and hope for the future.
Florida Hodgepodge: Is anybody enjoying spring training more than Cameron Diaz? Alex Rodriguez is showing off for his babe, who seems to be at every game. And A-Rod is surely impressing her with an impressive spring. Is anybody enjoying spring training less than Perez? He got hammered again, and his status is now bullpen or see-ya-later. Stop the insanity, please, and just tell him to pack his bags, shake his hand and wish him well for the future. Maybe the Mets can just use that statement that the Giants released and cross out "Tiki Barber" and write in "Oliver Perez." In a good sign for the New York Yankees, A.J. Burnett, Freddy Garcia and CC Sabathia produced scoreless outings this week and Bartolo Colon also was impressive. The same could be said about a plethora of New York Mets pitchers, as Chris Young, Mike Pelfrey (in his start over the weekend) and R.A. Dickey all looked fairly sharp. As for the relievers, long-shot, recidivist-Met Jason Isringhausen continues to make his case for a spot in the bullpen, pitching in back-to-back games for the first time this spring. Rafael Soriano debuted with a shutout inning. Frankie Rodriguez isn't having any troubles on the mound (or with his anger--yet). And to paraphrrase George Costanza, Mariano Rivera eased into his spring training routine the way an old man eases into a warm bath, by throwing batting practice on Wednesday.