Thursday, November 18, 2010

Opining on Jeter, T.O. and 'Cuse hoops

The public posturing between the Yankees and Derek Jeter over his contract extension has heated up. But don’t worry. A deal will get done because this guy is the face of the Bronx Bombers – a modern-day Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio – and Hal and Hank Steinbrenner and crew wouldn’t want to face the public backlash that would ensue if they ushered him out of the Big Apple.
Still, it’s interesting to hear that Jetes reportedly turned down a three-year, $63-million offer because he wants a four-, five-, even six-year deal. There’s one opponent that no athlete can ever defeat, and that’s Father Time. And if last year’s dramatic dropoff in batting average (44 points below his career average) and fielding range (forget the Gold Glove; that’s an award based more on politics than fact) is any indication, the 37-year-old shortstop has begun the inevitable decline faced by most ballplayers his age. (Particularly ones who don’t use performance-enhancing drugs.)
I know Jeter is an incredibly prideful guy – it’s part of what has made him great for so long – but he can’t possibly think he will be able to continue playing shortstop for three more seasons without hurting his team. And I can’t see him hanging on the way Mantle did, and watch his career batting average plummet.
The other signing dilemma facing the Steinbrenner boys involves the other legend of the most recent Yankee dynasty – Mariano Rivera. Mo will be 42 next season, and he, too, began to show signs of mortality this year. I think the Yankees should structure contracts where both of these legends are given salary thank you’s for all they’ve done for the franchise – kind of like an Academy Award for lifetime achievement, if you will.
It would be terrible to see either end his career in anything but Yankee pinstripes. And I really don’t believe that’s going to happen – but this is a new regime. And the Steinbrenner boys, unlike their dad, can be penny-pinchers.


Terrell Owens clearly is having a very good season for the Cincinnati Bengals, with 59 receptions for 834 yards and 7 TDs.
But despite the gaudy stats, the Bengals have been major underachievers teams with a 2-7 record. Some Bills fans still think Buddy Nix and Chan Gailey should have re-signed T.O.
I disagree.
Had the 36-year-old returned to Buffalo, it would have retarded the growth of Stevie Johnson, a 24-year-old who has emerged quite nicely as the Bills No. 2 target with 44 receptions, 591 yards and 6 TDs. Yes, T.O. would have been entertaining, but the Bills needed to clean house and start rebuilding this leaky ship with young players who will be here for years to come.


I'm 7-2 in my Bills predictions this season. That said, I like the Bengals to win this week, 27-20 with Owens scoring at least once.


The biggest disappointment for the Syracuse basketball team so far has been the play of Kris Joseph. He emerged as the Sixth Man of the Year last season, and expectations were great for him to fill the sizeable role left by Wesley Johnson. I think Joseph is just pressing too much and will be fine once he learns to relax. For a more thorough take on the Orangemen, please check out my weekly ‘Cuse basketball column at

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