Tampa Bay Sports Day

Sports Beat: “Harvin Help Them”

Jets general manager John Idzik must have felt the pressure of having a 1-6 team combined with the fact that he was doing business on the cheap by keeping the player personnel payroll a whopping $20 million below the NFL salary cap. Idzik used some of that payroll reserve to acquire talented wide receiver Percy Harvin from his old employer, the Seattle Seahawks, for what appears to be a bargain price; namely the mysterious conditional draft pick.

The defending Super Bowl champions have a surplus of talent, particularly at the wide receiver position. It would be nice to think that they were being altruistic by helping out Idzik and giving Harvin a chance to get more work instead of languishing on the Seahawks bench. The reality is that Harvin will never win an award from the NFL for congeniality as he has been known to get into altercations with teammates. In addition, he is injury-prone. However John Idzik obviously concurs with that old childhood axiom that beggars can’t be choosers.

Former Pittsburgh Steelers head coach and current CBS NFL personality Bill Cowher has defended Jets QB Geno Smith by citing the lack of offensive weapons at his disposal. With the receiving tandem of Eric Decker and Percy Harvin, that is no longer the case. Before Jets fans start getting giddy they should keep in mind what SiriusXM NFL Radio weekend host and “Jets Confidential” editor Dan Leberfeld has frequently stated. Quarterbacks make great receivers and not the other way around.

The Jets may not be very good on the football field but they are the best team in the NFL when it comes to staging food events.

On Saturday the held their second annual Jets +Chefs Tailgating Party at Pier 92 which was a key part of the New York City Wine & Food Festival that raises money for a number of organizations that fight hunger. Former Jets Marvin Jones, Tony Richardson , Erik Coleman, and Wesley Walker as well as current players as Quintin Coples and Tommy Bohanon were on hand to greet patrons. Of course the main draw was Joe Namath.

On November 10 the Jets will sponsor their annual “Taste of the Jets” event in lower Manhattan that will also aid an array of hunger-fighting nonprofits. In addition the Jets sponsor classes at the Institute for Culinary Education. Perhaps they would have a better record if the Food Network televised their games instead of CBS.

The Mets are doing their part to feed the hungry as well. This Sunday at Citi Field from 10 AM to 5 PM the Mets will hold their annual fall food drive that will benefit City Harvest. Donors who provide ten or more non-perishable items will get a voucher for two free tickets to a select game in April.

The idea of a professional football minor league is a good one but the Fall Experimental Football League (FXFL) seems to be doing things in a half-baked manner. There are only four teams and one of them is a traveling team that doesn’t have a home city. The three teams that have home stadiums are the Brooklyn Bolts (which are owned by the Mets and play at MCU Park in Coney Island), the Boston Brawlers, and the Omaha Mammoths. I get the feeling that the FXFL founders just threw darts at a map of the United States.

No American sports league has worked as hard to market its product to all parts of the globe as the National Basketball Association has. It’s not a surprise then that the NBA dispatched the Brooklyn Nets to play two preseason games against the Sacramento Kings in China.

You have to wonder if this trip will have a deleterious effect on the start of the regular season for them. New Nets head coach Lionel Hollins admitted in his post-game press conference on Sunday that his guys ran out of gas in the second half that day in a preseason contest against the Boston Celtics.

The brief China trip couldn’t have been easy on 20-year veteran forward/center Kevin Garnett. He missed Sunday’s game with a stomach virus. With Brook Lopez’s balky foot aching again, the Nets will need to rely on Garnett to provide more minutes on the floor than they would have preferred.

You can tell that times have changed when last week’s annual Sports Business Journal Sports Marketing Symposium held its first ever panel on how to sell tickets and merchandise to the LGBT community. This is revolutionary when you think of the historical homophobia that has existed in professional sports.

I spoke with former NFL cornerback Wade Davis, who is the executive director of the You Can Play Project which seeks to end any anti-gay attitudes in sports as well as encouraging LGBT youth to take part in athletics, after the panel concluded its discussion. I half-jokingly said to him that the “Kiss Cam,” which tries to prod couples at sporting events to smooch during a stoppage in the action, such as between innings of a baseball game, has never shown a gay couple kissing.

We agreed that the Kiss Cam is an invasion of privacy and creates awkwardness regardless of sexual orientation. Davis then added that he complained to the National Hockey League about how many teams end their Kiss Cam segment by showing two players sitting on the bench of the visiting team. The home fans go wild with laughter at the players who have to do their best to appear oblivious to the fact that they are being ridiculed. Davis rightfully claimed that this type of punchline fosters anti-gay stereotypes.

The New York Islanders got off to their best start in years by winning their first four NHL regular season games before losing to the Penguins in Pittsburgh last Saturday evening. With the team moving to the Barclays Center next October, and new ownership slated to take control in 2016, it would behoove everyone in the Islanders organization to step up their performance.

No one is under the microscope more than their general manager Garth Snow is. Snow, a former Islanders goaltender, has not done a good job as the team’s general manager going into this season. Many believe that current owner Charles Wang gave him the general manager’s job because he liked him as a player.

John Cena has long been the face of World Wide Entertainment. To reinforce that fact, he appears on the box of the WWE2K15 video game and engages in a couple of duets with hip-hop star Wiz Khalifa on Atlantic Records’ tie-in CD with the video game. In addition, Wicked Cool Toys has produced an almost three-foot action figure of him in time for holiday gifts.

It seems as if many comics have an affinity for automobiles. Queens College alum Jerry Seinfeld has created a hit web series entitled “Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee,” in which Jerry takes a fellow comedian to a diner for coffee while driving a different automobile every week. In 2015 CNBC will debut “Jay Leno’s Garage” in which the former “Tonight Show” host will show off many of the hundreds of cars that he owns. Currently, Spike Feresten, who used to host a very funny talk show on Saturday nights on Fox that frequently made me laugh harder than what I’d see on the “Saturday Night Live” episode that was airing against him, is hosting “Car Matchmaker” that can be see Tuesdays at 9 PM on the Esquire Network.

This month NFL teams are having their players wear pink to promote breast cancer awareness. Ties.com is selling a stylish a bow tie decorated with pink breast cancer awareness ribbons with a good portion of the proceeds being used to fund research to eradicate this disease.

The organizers of the aforementioned New York City Wine & Food Festival made sure that no one would think that this year’s event was for effete snobs by kicking things off Friday night with a hot dog tasting event that had some of the city’s best frankfurter purveyors offering their wares. The event was hosted by witty Cooking Channel and “CBS Sunday Morning” air personality Mo Rocca. Incidentally, Mo’s brother is the respected sportswriter Larry Rocca.

The NYCWFF also gave an upscale Chelsea sports bar & restaurant, Bounce Sporting Club, which competes with the nearby 40/40 Club, a chance to promote themselves.

While on the topic of food, last week I mentioned that if you want to spice up hamburgers you should try Lee Kum Kee’s ketchup. I neglected to add the brand name which is Sriracha Chili Ketchup.

Just as Best Buy has its Geek Squad, Radio Shack has opened “Fix It Here” kiosks in many of its stores. A lot of us wouldn’t know how to survive without our smartphones and tablets and Radio Shack is promising same-day or next-day service to repair damaged electronic devices. Radio Shack has been struggling in recent years but this type of needed service may very well reverse its fortunes.