Tampa Bay Sports Day

Sports Beat – 3/23/11

One week after the NFL announced that it was locking out its players, Jets head coach Rex Ryan made his first public appearance, doing a meet and greet for Revolution Eyewear at Vision Expo East, an optical trade show held at the Javits Center.

Rex told me that he expected the League and the Players Association to cut a deal before training camp gets underway. I tend to agree with Rex because I can’t see the NFL’s television partners–CBS, FOX, NBC and ESPN, collectively sucking their thumbs while they fork over a billion dollars to greedy owners who are guaranteed to get paid by the networks even if there is no football in 2011. You better believe that CBS’s Leslie Moonves, FOX’s James Abernathy, NBC’s Dick Ebersol, and ESPN’s CEO George Bodenheimer will call Roger Goodell into a closed door meeting where the language won’t be pretty if the owners are playing hardball.

It is ridiculous to expect the players association to give up any economic benefits when the owners are making money hand over fist while refusing to allow the union’s CPAs to examine their financial books.

Jets owner Woody Johnson has reenforced his image for unmitigated avarice. Despite the fact that it is the off-season and that he has more money than most nations combined, Woody announced that Jets front office personnel would be furloughed and that Rex Ryan’s assistant coaches would have to absorb a 25% pay cut. This is the same Woody Johnson who wanted New York taxpayers to help finance a stadium for him near the Javits Center in 2005 even though he was cited that year by the Senate Finance Committee for trying to evade the IRS by having too much money in Cayman Islands bank accounts. It should be noted that Giants CEO John Mara has not reduced anyone’s pay in his organization.

“Are you really going to write that about Woody?” Rex asked me. He did not go out of his way to dissuade me. To answer your question Rex, as Sarah Palin likes to say, “You betcha!”

Speaking of the Vision Expo, Melville-based Marchon Eyewear introduced fashionable 3-D glasses that can be used as well as sunglasses and can even be used for prescriptive purposes to correct nearsightedness. Marchon’s Lacoste line has elongated side frames with magnetic tips that can be folded around your neck so that it is harder to lose them. Oakley, which has long been a favorite of baseball players with its stylish wraparounds, introduced sunglasses designed by snowboarding legend Shaun White. Oakley’s sister company, Revo, signed Jacques Cousteau’s beautiful granddaughter, Alexandra, to promote its collection of sunglasses that are specifically designed for those who spend a lot of time at sea such as fishermen and sailors. Hauppauge-based Clearvision displayed its always fashionable Cole Haan aviators while Viva International was promoting its Harley-Davidson line of eyewear.

The Rangers have had an up-and-down season and it always seems as if their traditional April Sunday matinee with the Flyers in Philadelphia is a referendum on their post-season aspirations. The Blueshirts will be at the Wells Fargo Center this Sunday at 1 PM.

Supermodel Carol Alt, who grew up in East Williston, turned 50 this past December. She still looks smoking hot based on her appearance at the Wilhelmina Modeling Agency’s press conference promoting a search for models who are over 40. Alt, who was married to former Ranger Ron Greschner, and is now reportedly romantically linked with former Islander Alexei Yashin, added a touch of needed glitz to hockey when it truly was a niche sport in the late ‘70s and early ‘80s.

Renown sportscaster Bob Wolff recently turned 90 and he is still not thinking about retirement. He still contributes to Cablevision’s various News 12 operations in our area and he has just written his latest book titled Bob Wolff’s Complete Guide to Sportscasting (Skyhorse Publishing) which is humorously subtitled “How to Make it in Sportscasting With or Without Talent.”

Unlike pedantic sportscasting historian Curt Smith, Wolff engages the reader in a relaxed conversational manner. He singles out the Mets radio tandem of Howie Rose and Wayne Hagin (who has not gotten the accolades from the media that he deserves) for brightening up many a dreary Mets loss with witty banter and timely storytelling. Rose and Hagin will clearly have their work cut out for them again this year.

This year marks the 70th anniversary of Joe DiMaggio’s 56-game hitting streak, a record that many doubt will ever be broken. Sports Illustrated editor Kostya Kennedy recounts the events of the 1941 season in his latest book that is simply titled “56″ (SI Books) although we don’t get much insight into the kind of guy Joltin’ Joe really was. While Kennedy’s book is readable much of the ground was covered better a few years ago by Post sports columnist Mike Vaccaro whose 1941 (Random House) is still available in paperback.

Catching Hell, the ESPN film about unfortunate Cubs fan Steve Bartman that was supposed to be part of its “30 for 30″ 30th anniversary documentary series, will finally make its debut at the upcoming Tribeca Film Festival.

The National Enquirer has been dipping its gossipy toes into the world of sports lately. After enjoying a field day with Tiger Woods’ foibles, The Enquirer has recently run stories on why veteran NASCAR drivers resent newcomer Trevor Bayne who won the 2011 Daytona 500, and how singer Carrie Underwood demanded that the Ottawa Senators trade her husband, Mike Fischer, to the Nashville Predators, which they eventually did.

Rock & roll legend Lloyd Price inducted his old Specialty Records boss, Art Rupe, at this year’s Hall of Fame induction ceremonies. Price though seemed more excited to discuss his bowling prowess in the Waldorf press room as he claimed that he has rolled six perfect games and has a 212 average.

On the sneaker front, the Air Jordan 2011 is definitely going with a retro feel. Their black and white athletic shoe resembles spats from the 1930s. K-Swiss has been promoting its tubular-soled sneakers with actor Danny McBride playing his Kenny Powers role from HBO’s “Eastbound and Down” (which is about to start its new season) in the company’s billboards and subway ads. Finally, Under Armour, which is best known for body-fitting gym clothes, has quietly gotten into the footwear business and was recently Major League Baseball’s official shoe supplier.

Dark chocolate has a lot of medicinal benefits since cocoa leaves contain anti-oxidants. Forget Hershey’s and Nestle’s; if you want to step up in quality try Green & Black’s Organic chocolate bars which have a far higher cocoa concentration than the big names in the industry.

Popcorn has long been considered one of the healthier snacks and one of my favorite brands is Popcorn, Indiana which makes generous size bags of kettlecorn.

Sure, Florida may have orange and grapefruit juices, but upstate New York has the best apple, nectar, and cherry juices. Zagat has rated Red Jacket Orchards from Geneva, NY as having the best juices on the planet. While that may be a bit extreme, their juices do come straight from the orchard and provide fiber, Vitamin C, and anti-oxidants. And yes, they do taste great.

Red wine is great for heart health as well as getting a gentle buzz. The only downside is staining your teeth. A new product called Wine Wipes will safely clean off your pearly whites after you imbibe. So now you can drink up and not worry.