Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Brooklyn Nets: Flagpole From Ebbets Rededicated At Barclays Center

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

BROOKLYN  NETS: The Flagpole Of Flatbush

I had a chance to ask Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz what the chances were that a blue line could be painted downtown along Court Street to signify and pay tribute to the Brooklyn Dodgers 1955 victory parade route.  He said, "No, no way."  He pondered the question for another second.  I understood then there were very real reasons why that would never happen.  But the Borough President finished his response by telling me, "...that is over.  The Dodgers are done here.  This (the Brooklyn Nets) ends that."  It was hard to argue with that reasoning.  Then I thought perhaps I didn't really want to know the real reason.  Responding in fan-speak was perhaps the best way he could have answered.

I met the Borough President today because the old Ebbets Field flagpole was rededicated and given new life at Barclay Center.  While the flagpole has been in place since the arena opened last month, this afternoon a plaque affixed to the base was unveiled.

(left to right) Nets CEO Brett Yormark; Jerry Stackhouse;
Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz; Sharon Robinson; Bruce Ratner.

Here is the background.  This was the flagpole perched atop the scoreboard along Bedford Avenue.  I can speak for a VFW post once owning it.  The casket company is a little fuzzy to me.  When the Veterans vacated the property, the location on Utica Avenue became a church.  And so, the flagpole became the property of the pastor.  There it stayed for many many years on a side wall, not quite in front.  Most of the neighborhood residents were aware of it.  My baseball teams utilized indoor batting cages on the same block.  That's how I became aware of the flagpole.  After seeing it so often as a younger boy, I returned a few years ago to take a picture.  However, I arrived two weeks too late.  The businessman next door told me a flatbed truck came by and took it away.  The pastor sold it.  No one ever found out where it was taken.  I heard a rumor someone from Long Island purchased it.  On a side note, I've read some of the media's background stories, and I'm not sure who they're talking to.  Anyway.....

As part of this afternoon's presentation, Borough President Marty Markowitz clarified the matter.  Apparently, when he became aware of the flagpole's availability, in 2007 he suggested Bruce Ratner purchase it - which he did.  The Borough President also related to me later during our personal exchange, that it came at a rather high price.  Let's just say the pastor did very well in the transaction.  I do not mean to paint the wrong picture.  Truth be told, the church was struggling financially, and the flagpole was an asset.  Five years later, the flagpole thankfully has a new home in Brooklyn again.


The daughter of the late Jackie Robinson, Sharon Robinson, was also on hand for today's dedication.  And in meeting her, I freely admit I was a little overwhelmed.  I told her as much.  I told her I didn't even know where to start expressing how privileged I felt at that moment, much less making mention of her family's place in history.  So I just told her I was humbled and extremely honored to have met her.

Marty Markowitz, Bruce Ratner, and Sharon Robinson were also gracious enough to grant me a shameless photo request.  And so did Jerry Stackhouse..!  My man!  The small ceremony concluded by raising the American colors up the flagpole, followed by a Brooklyn Nets flag.



Wednesday, December 05, 2012

New York Giants: Injuries Causing Problems At Right Tackle

From the desk of:   DO IT FOR THE DUKE

NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL: Offensive Line Depth Is Suddenly A Big Problem.

Hello again folks.  My post-Hurricane Sandy schedule is finally starting to loosen up.  So allow me a post or two in order to re-establish a flow.  The last time I posted anything about the Giants was just prior to the Bengals game.  Obviously many things have transpired between now and then.  And aside from the Packers game, I'm kind of glad I was unable to watch the other contests, although the radio did a fine job of raising my blood pressure all the same.  I'm not going to waste time rehashing stuff.  Let's just move this along..., shall we?

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The Giants now have a huge problem at Right Tackle.  Sean Locklear will be out for the rest of the season with an injured knee suffered Monday night against the Redskins.  He didn't exactly have his best game Monday.  In fact, it was probably his worst game.  But he was having a fine season substituting for David Diehl.  And therein lies the rub.  Most recently, Diehl has been sidelined by a stinger to his neck and shoulder.
Sean Locklear has done his part to improve the Giants running game somewhat over last season.   And his pass protection has been stellar.  The nine year pro definitely provided a noticeable difference on the right side this year.  David Diehl should be able to finish out the season.  But moving forward, the Giants' offensive line depth will be severely tested.  Second year Jim Cordle is more of an interior lineman.  That leaves second year Tackle James Brewer next on the pecking order.  Remember Mitch Petrus?  Well, Coach Coughlin would rather not.  He never found favor with Mitch.  But the Giants could use him right about now.
It is becoming more evident by the week, this may very well be David Diehl's last season.  His performance has not been up to normal David Diehl standards these last two seasons.  I have a strong sense Jerry Reese will make replacing Diehl an off season priority.  David Diehl will then join Shaun O'Hara, Rich Seubert, and Kareem McKenzie as former Giants.  That would leave Chris Snee as the lone remaining member of the Giants former record setting offensive line.
Redskins 17
I'm not going to get bent all out of shape over Monday night's loss.  There is no doubt the offense has red-zone issues.  But you still have to like the way the Giants can move the ball.  Even though it has been a season long issue, going from three point to six point drives I feel is only an adjustment or two away.
The Giants only surrendered seventeen points, and six of those came on RGIII's freak TD fumble.  Big Blue also drew penalties at an uncharacteristically high rate, and at the worst possible times. Then quite obviously, if Lawrence Tynes nails that field goal, the Giants win.  So I take the loss in stride.