Adam Gase and Mike (Sports Pope) Francesa have much in common.
They are cocky, arrogant, know-it-alls, who have been known to lie when it suits their purposes. Now they even have a common antagonist to focus on — Le’Veon Bell. Gase might wind up having a very rare media ally in the Sports Pope.
In the aftermath of Mike Maccagnan’s Wednesday dismissal, reports surfaced that Gase was against spending big money ($52.5 million) to acquire Bell. Francesa has been against the Jets signing Bell, who he calls a “selfish, me-guy who is not a winner.” The pontiff predicted Gase “will drive Bell crazy. “Starting at 0-0, I’m putting my money on the coach,” Francesa said on the air.
Francesa’s ire was directed more at Bell and Jets boss Christopher Johnson than Gase, who he appeared to respect for capitalizing on weakness in the Jets’ hierarchy to convince Johnson that he’s the man with gravitas and a plan.
The Pope’s decision to put Bell on full blast was directly out of the playbook he used on the Giants’ Jeremy Shockey and most recently Odell Beckham Jr. He hammered away at both players until they were eventually shipped out of town. Does anyone doubt Francesa will put the same heat on Bell if he does not deliver the goods? Does anyone doubt Francesa would like to drive Bell out of town?
A Francesa-Gase alliance will likely be one of a few (maybe the only one) the coach will have with the media.
Gase is scheduled to make weekly appearances during the NFL season on ESPN-98.7’s “The Michael Kay Show.” After Maccagnan was fired, Don La Greca, one of Kay’s cohorts, ripped into Gase on a variety of fronts. The Gasbag referred to Peyton Manning, who was coached by Gase in Denver, as “Adam Gase’s security guard.” Also, La Greca sarcastically suggested Johnson was so smitten over getting a call from Manning, he immediately hired Gase.
If he heard DLG’s critique, would Gase even care? Since he became Jets head coach, his public encounters with notebooks and microphones show Gase sees the media like a piece of chewing gum stuck to the bottom of his shoe, a nuisance, easily discarded.
During his introductory press conference, Gase wasn’t looking to make any friends. More recently, when given the chance to respond to questions about a pre-draft reports of a rift between him and Maccagnan, Gase said: “I don’t read much because a lot of this stuff is crap.”
On that occasion, Gase was bending the truth. The very moment Johnson fired Maccagnan, the owner’s actions confirmed “a lot of this stuff” was not “crap.” As previously reported, but denied at the time by the Jets, there had really been static between the new coach and the old GM, who was coming off a $120 million shopping spree. Indeed, Gase’s power play ended with Maccagnan getting the boot.
In a rare show of almost unanimous opinion, the Jets — who had a brief flirtation with stability — were once again labeled a dysfunctional franchise. The green and white clown car was on the road again. There’s really no use in putting the words “Jets” and “normal circumstances” in the same sentence, but here goes: Under normal circumstances the coach might come out engage in damage control, publicly trying to adjust perceptions.
Johnson tried doing it himself Wednesday but failed miserably. He said his decision to fire his GM “was not about Adam.” No one believed him. His spiel left more questions to be answered, like: How can you give the keys to the organization to Gase? We’re sure Gase has an answer for that too but believes it’s not worth his time.
No matter how much he believes in his own abilities, even his ability to manipulate — look what he did to Johnson — Gase, like any other coach, needs a few media allies. Considering Gase has already lied here publicly, it might be hard for him to make friends in the Valley of the Stupid, or other media precincts.
Unless Adam Gase becomes a member of the Sports Pope’s congregation.
T A YES ON CC
With CC Sabathia on his farewell tour, there are already indications (like doing work for ESPN) that the big man is looking at a media career.
Could the Yankees Sports & Entertainment Network’s Bombers booth be in his future?
Judging by the responses of MLB sources, that’s a long-shot. YES already has multiple analysts, including Ken Singleton who, fortunately, decided not to retire this season. Singleton is a major fan favorite and a favorite of his YES colleagues.
If Singleton decides he’s had enough, that could open a spot for Sabathia or some other analyst. If Singleton returns for the 2020 season the status would likely be quo in the YES booth.
We’re number three….We’re number three……
Knicks fans were not exactly chanting those words when their “Tanking for Zion” campaign went down in flames Tuesday night at the NBA draft lottery in Chicago. Not to worry, Knicks fans: Landing Kevin Durant is a sure thing, right?
At least that’s what “reliable insiders” are telling you. Knicks fans have a history of being gullible. But it’s getting to them. Some were upset the ‘Bockers “lost” out in the lottery. Even more upset is CBS Sports Radio’s Brandon (Tiki &) Tierney who verbally launched on these particular fans, saying: “Do you know what I’m not fine with? The dopes who call themselves Knicks fans who embarrassed themselves (Tuesday) night and continued to do that (Wednesday). I almost don’t want to say this, but Knicks fans are clowns. Knicks fans are pathetic.”
Ouch! The bigger question is how will Tierney handle those “clowns” deciding whether to jump out a window when Durant decides not to come to the Drecka. Be very careful.
Harold Lederman —the unofficial scorer for HBO’s fight cards who died last Saturday after a long battle with cancer at 79 — never needed an introduction when you met him. Because he often wore a shirt with his name stitched over the pocket.
It was a blessing that no introductions were needed. Lederman loved to talk and talk and talk. He had plenty of stories and was always ready to provide plenty of notes, helping us get through a big fight week. The only cat who could out-talk Harold was the late, legendary Ferdie Pacheco, Muhammad Ali’s doctor and long-time NBC/Showtime boxing analyst.
The trademark of a Lederman performance was his ability to weave an insightful bit of analysis into his brief scoring updates. This frustrated the guys in the truck, but they always smiled after the fact.
Amazingly, although his work was presented in quick snippets, Harold Lederman’s voice was one of the most recognizable in television sports since the mid-1980’s. It will be missed.
AROUND THE DIAL
Since it debuted last April, ratings for ESPN’s “Get Up” are up 30%. So, if you’re keeping score on the breakup of Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg, Greenie, anchor of “Get Up,” is well in the plus column. Golic, who teams with Trey Wingo and Mike Golic Jr. on the morning ESPN Radio/ESPN News simulcast, is not doing quite as well. And that’s an understatement. … Francesa’s all-out war on the Giants has not ended. Wonder if Big Blue will put a weekly guest on Francesa’s show when the season starts?
DUDE: KAWHI LEONARD
For producing a signature moment for himself, his team, the NBA and all who were watching. When Leonard sent the Raptors on to the next round, eliminating Philly, he also netted the first Game Seven buzzer-beater in NBA postseason history. This is why we all still watch: to witness the extraordinary.
The Yankees opened the Stadium gates at 4 p.m. for Monday’s 6:35 p.m. tilt against the Orioles despite the rain and cold. Then fans waited while the grounds crew attempted to drain a soaked left field. With MLB pressuring teams to get these early season games in, the crew kept working until the game was postponed at 8:35 p.m. Fans who waited it out should never have been put in such a long holding pattern. Disgraceful!