Wednesday, January 12, 2011

I’m baaaaaaaaaack!

Please forgive the long hiatus. Between several freelance writing assignments, my Jim Boeheim biography manuscript being due, weekly WROC-TV blogs about the Bills and SU hoops, book signings up the wahzoo and holiday time with the family, it’s been a crazy few weeks. That said, it’s time to play some catch-up and look ahead:

• My NFL Elite Eight picks (and if you’re wise, you won’t wager any of your hard-earned money on these): Pittsburgh edging Baltimore in a true slugfest; the New England Bradys silencing a garrulous Jets team; red-hot Green Bay nipping Atlanta, and Da Bears smothering the Seahawks.

• That was indeed a beastly run by former Bill Marshawn Lynch, but it wouldn’t have been possible without some of the most pathetic tackling I’ve ever seen in an NFL game. No wonder the Saints won’t be defending their Super Bowl title.

• I love what Carmelo Anthony did for Syracuse University, both in helping the Orange men win the national championship and donating $3 million to build a state-of-the-art basketball practice facility on campus. But I’m growing tired of this never-ending Melo-drama regarding his potential trade to the Nets.

• Had a whale of a time with my son and friends watching Syracuse defeat Kansas State, 36-34, in the Pinstripe Bowl at the new Yankee Stadium a few weeks ago. Great back-and-forth action, with lots of big plays. It was strange, though, seeing all that snow piled up behind home plate and in the bullpens. And it was no fun being gouged $40 by the Steinbrenner clan to park your car in the safety of their garages.

• Glad to see Bills wide receiver Andre Reed make the cut to the final 15 nominees for the Pro Football Hall of Fame. I covered his entire career with the Bills and he definitely deserves a bust in Canton. Here’s hoping it’s this year.

• I have a funny feeling that SU’s unbeaten basketball run is going to end next Monday at Pitt.

• With all due respect to Jack Kemp and others associated with the Bills of the 1960s, the late Cookie Gilchrist was not as good as the incomparable Jim Brown. He was, however, the Bills first big star, and one of Buffalo’s most irrepressible characters. At 6-foot-2, 250-pounds with a 52-inch chest and a 34-inch waist, Gilchrist was a true freak of nature – a human bowling ball who earned AFL Most Valuable Player honors in 1963 and played a pivotal role in Bills first league title a year later. The thing about Cookie is that he always was looking for ways to supplement his income, and many of his get-rich-quick schemes backfired. Gilchrist, whose real first name was Carlton, ran a maid service called, “Lookie, Lookie, Here Comes Cookie.” He once purchased thousands of ear muffs he planned to have sold at the ’64 championship game, but the Toronto resident couldn’t get them through customs. He also reportedly once purchased a tract of land in Canada, only to discover that it was at the bottom of a lake. And he offered to play both running back and linebacker if Ralph Wilson doubled his salary – and offer the Bills owner refused.

• I still can’t believe that my dad would have been 98 years old this past Sunday.

• It’s got to be the genes rather than the shoes. Marcus Jordan, son of his Airness, is having a pretty good sophomore season for Central Florida, averaging 16.3 points and 3.1 assists per game.

• I’m still wondering why Gil Hodges and Buck O’Neill aren’t in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

• I’m no Jack Garner, but I believe The Social Network beats The King’s Speech for best picture at this year’s Academy Awards.

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