Some Things I Read Today

We’re in the absolute dead season for Mets baseball, so how about some Giants and Knicks reading to hold you over?

This first piece is a retro-link I saw today, via Will Leitch over at New York Magazine‘s The Sports Section. By the way, if you’re a fan of New York sports but not RSS-subscribed to NY Mag’s sports section, I heartily recommend you do so. Anyway here’s this seven-year-old piece from the New York Times:

The droop of his shoulders, the hangdog look, the soft and gentle face, the tendency to greet every question with a blank expression and a high-pitched note of uncertainty (”Ummmmm”) — everything about Eli Manning’s outward appearance suggests indecision and youth. ”If I was a cop and I saw him out driving a car, I’d pull him over,” says Shaun O’Hara, the Giants regular center. His picture has for months graced billboards around New York City, but Eli has been able to walk the length of the fancy part of Fifth Avenue with his mother — untucked red alligator shirt, unpressed chinos and sneakers without socks — without once being recognized. By nature he is very private, but what he’s withholding from the public is unclear. ”I’m Eli’s oldest friend,” James Montgomery says, ”and I don’t think I’ve ever had a serious conversation with him. The last time he called we spent 15 minutes trying to figure out the last song in ‘Teen Wolf.’ ”

- Michael Lewis, “The Eli Experiment”
The New York Times Magazine

I find it interesting that Mannings’s qualities, which in this piece from 2004 make him seem a disinterested and goofy kid, have now come to represent his unshakable cool under pressure. Reading this piece now, it doesn’t seem as if Manning has changed his personality. He’s basically the same aw-shucks, practical joker he’s always been — check out this piece from the Wall Street Journal from October for more on Manning’s jokes. The only thing that’s changed is our reaction to Manning’s personality. What was once interpreted as immaturity and all-encompassing awkwardness is now interpreted as the steady guiding hand of a team’s captain.

I don’t know. I guess it’s easy to make judgments based on Mike Pelfrey a player’s personality, and harder to let his or her play just speak for itself.

Speaking of which:

Anthony, even at his worst, plays like someone who has spent hours rehearsing possible outcomes. He makes his move, runs through his script, and then assumes his expertise will bail him out. Kobe Bryant plunges into the unknown and wants defenders dragged there with him. Melo knows the right thing to do, or at least believes he does. He may make mistakes, but Anthony rarely takes risks. Or at least he wouldn’t see it that way.

- Bethlehem Shoals, “Carmelo Anthony Is Right Even When He’s Wrong”
GQ’s “The Q” blog

The Q is another blog I recommend adding to your RSS feed-reader, a wonderful source of sports writing over on GQ’s website, hidden among the slideshows of gaunt, hairless men wearing loafers without socks. It seems to me that the Knicks’ offensive problems have had a lot to do with their guards missing open shots and Amar’e Stoudemire barreling blindly into opposing bigs, and less to do with Carmelo Anthony, who is currently posting a career-high assist percentage and clearly playing hurt. The Knicks are an impatiently constructed science project, like the 2008-10 Mets, and their fans are blaming the stars, like the fans of the 2008-10 Mets. But they’ll be fine.

If not, blame Beltran.

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2 Comments

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2 responses to “Some Things I Read Today

  1. The perception of Eli Manning back then seems very similar to the perception of Mark Sanchez right about now. Amazing what can happen with a little patience.

  2. ‘He’s so Mellow’ received a solid basketball education from his single season at Syracuse. (No, that’s not sarcasm.) I haven’t watched him play since he turned pro, and it’s hard to believe that he’s on the verge of becoming an ‘old’ player, but ‘Melo always knew what to do. He could take over a game, or turn it over to Jerry Mac, crash the boards when he needed to, shoot from downtown when the zone was impenetrable, or drive to the hoop past defenders who didn’t even see him blow by. And he was always unselfish. Despite being the best player on that team, and maybe the best ever to play at Syracuse, ‘Melo always seemed to be number one or two in assists, and by far number one among the forwards.

    My suspicion is that he didn’t come to the Knicks for the money, but because for all Syracuse players the Garden is their second home. We always have home court advantage there, even against St. Johns. Although it’s a little hard to get used to the tiny audience.

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