How to say goodbye

A tape of Peyton Manning’s farewell to Indianapolis yesterday should be required viewing for aging or not-so-aging superstars who find themselves having to say farewell to friends, teammates, fans and an entire city.

Manning got it right, leaving everyone with class, dignity and a lesson in how to say goodbye.

Although acknowledging that there has never been anything quite like it, WFAN’s Mike Francesa today compared Manning’s departure from Indianapolis to LeBron James’ decision to bolt Cleveland for Miami. How each elected to handle their situation, with Manning playing his role as the classy pro and LeBron playing the role of Ryan Leaf, completely devoid of class, dignity or professionalism. Continue reading

Peyton and the Jets

The Peyton Manning era is over in Indianapolis after 14 years. The Peyton Manning in (fill in the city) will begin soon.

As a lifelong Colts fan, from Johnny Unitas to Bert Jones to Manning, it’s pretty tough to accept. But only half as bad as seeing the four-time MVP wearing anything other than the horseshoe.

Like seeing Unitas with a lightning bolt or Jones in a Rams uniform. The only saving grace, from my point of view, is that the Colts’ Andrew Luck era gets underway next season. Continue reading

Fantasy Baseball: For Starters

You don’t have to have a no-doubt-about-it stud in your starting rotation to win a fantasy baseball championship, but there’s nothing better than having one of these aces pitching twice for you in a single week. If you’ve done your due diligence elsewhere, it’s the closest thing to a guaranteed victory in fantasy’s head-to-head competition.

The problem is, everyone wants one of these guys and there’s so few of them out there. In fact, I would put the number at three, as in the Tigers’ Justin Verlander, the Phillies’ Roy Halladay and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw. Continue reading

A Dog’s Tale

A story about family and the magic of Christmas in the old neighborhood.

“One Christmas Knight” is overflowing with colorful characters that sparkle on the digital page. They’re composites of family members, friends and acquaintances, all of whom I grew up with in the old neighborhood. Their names have been changed to protect the innocent – or not so innocent. All, that is, but one.

Jake, also known as “The Christmas Puppy” or simply “Crazy Dog,” is the real deal. And, for some reason, he has become the overwhelming favorite of many readers. So much so that Jake has let it go to his head. He’s let it be known that he expects a larger role in any and all sequels.

This isn’t your ordinary family dog. Continue reading

Yanks doing back-handed flips

How did we ever get by without the MLB Network? Just days after new Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine made news by tweaking Yankees captain Derek Jeter,  video has surfaced that supports Jeter.

On Tuesday, Valentine dismissed Jeter’s back-handed flip that caught Jeremy Giambi at the plate in the 2001 Division Series against the A’s.

“We’ll never practice that,” Valentine told Gordon Edes of ESPNBoston.com. “I think he was out of position and the ball gets (Giambi) out if he doesn’t touch it.”

Valentine added, “That was amazing that (Jeter) was there. I bet it’s more amazing that he said he practiced it. I don’t believe it.”

Jeter’s reaction? Continue reading

Sports movies with lasting power

“The Artist” was the big winner last night at the Academy Awards, taking home the Oscar for Best Picture, Best Director and Best Actor.

As for my predictions in the major categories, I was correct on 2 of the 6 picks (supporting actor and actress). A .333 lifetime average would get me into the Baseball Hall of Fame, but it’s not so hot when you’re trying to read the minds of Academy winners.

That’s what you get for picking with your heart instead of your head.

“Moneyball” got shut out last night, but I’ll leave you today with my favorite 10 sports films of all time. And when I say “favorite,” I mean they are all films that I can watch over and over. High praise in my book. Continue reading

The height of ridiculousness

When the top story out of the meat market known as the NFL Combine is a quarterback’s measured height, well, that’s a red flag for me. Not on the player, but on the system.

Never mind that the top three rated quarterbacks in the draft won’t throw tomorrow. And forget about the fact that the top running back and the top receiver won’t run. We’re talking weights and measurements here.

A little perspective: The combine takes place in Indianapolis, where Peyton Manning has put together a Hall of Fame career since emerging as the top pick  in the 1998 NFL draft. But many people seem to forget that Manning was not the clear-cut No. 1 choice of NFL experts at that time. Some preferred Ryan Leaf, who was a bit bigger and had the stronger arm, so they said. Continue reading

Lin finds it’s a long way to top

Eight turnovers. Eight points on an awful 1-for-11 performance from the field against the high-flying Miami Heat, the greatest show in the NBA right now.

It’s no time to panic, though. It’s time for Jeremy Lin to go back to school. Every other team in the league will study how the Heat took the air out of New York’s sensational young point guard last night in Miami. Lin, his teammates and the coaching staff had better come up with some answers soon or this Garden party is essentially over.

But I’d be surprised if J-Lin didn’t learn from this beating, a 102-88 defeat, and evolve into a better NBA player because of it. Continue reading