Archive for the ‘Sports’ Category

New Jersey is YankeeLand

June 11, 2009

If you think more people in New Jersey wear pinstripes, you’re right. At least so far as their baseball rooting interests are concerned.

NY Yankees Logo

NY Yankee fans rule NJ

A new Quinnipiac University poll found that Yankee fans outnumber Philly and Mets fans combined in the Garden State. The numbers are particularly strong in North Jersey, not surprisingly.

“Dress New Jersey baseball fans – men and women, young and old – in Yankee pinstripes. There are just about as many Yankee fans as there are Phillies and Mets backers combined. Only in the Philadelphia suburbs do the Phillis dominate,” said Clay F. Richards, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute.

One interesting side note is that Red Sox nation has about 5 percent of the fans in New Jersey. Since the Yankees can’t seem to beat the Sox this season those 5 percent are living mighty high on the hog right now.

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Pinstripe Blues: Will Ticket Prices Change the Spirit of Yankee Stadium

March 29, 2009

I remember back in the mid-1990s driving to Yankee Stadium with a friend from Connecticut for a ballgame between Seattle and New York. The Yanks were slowly coming out of their decade long funk and it was a chance to see Ken Griffey Jr. in his prime as well as an exceptional Mariners team.

We parked, walked up to the box office, and for $20 a ticket we had field level seats along the first base line. I don’t remember how the game turned out for the Bronx Bombers but all-in-all it was a great way to spend an evening in the summer.

I’ve been thinking about this night recently because single-game tickets for the Yankees went on sale this week. I’ve spent a good bit of time trolling Ticketmaster with some fairly depressing results.

I looked into getting tickets for the opening series at the stadium against Cleveland. The moment of gratification I felt when four tickets popped up for my request was tempered when I saw the $900 price tag per ticket. Yes, for a mere $2,700 I could treat the family to similar seats that I got for $40 a little e more than a decade ago. I let those tickets go.

I tried a few other games, the best I could do was a pair of $375 field level seats for a series against Detroit in July. The priciest, a whopping $2,700 a ticket for seats against the world champion Phillies, albeit 5th row, field level seats. Sorry Yankees, at those prices I need a seat in the dugout next to Derek Jeter, perhaps a ride home from Jeter after the game as well.

It’s been well-chronicled this past week what cathedrals have been built in the Bronx for the Yankees and over in Queens for the Mets. It’s also been well-chronicled what premiums have been paid by fans to see these monuments to baseball extravagance.

Little has been written so far about what has been lost. The days of the average fan walking up to a gate and gaining entrance may be gone, at least in the short-term. Little has been mentioned how the pursuit of corporate-cash in the form of premium seating and luxury-box style amenities will change the atmosphere of baseball in New York.

Despite the sky-high free-agent salaries, which in the past were driven mostly by television revenues, a night at Yankee stadium always had a blue-collar feel. From the bleacher creatures-to the field level there was no mistaking it for opposing teams. You were in hostile territory, expecting harassment from hard-working citizens of the tri-state. Will the $2,500-a-ticket corporate clients manning the lower bowl of the stadium display the same passion? I’m not optimistic.

JC

Prudential Center Finally Opens

October 26, 2007

Happy days are here again, the Prudential Center finally opened the other night with what looks like a pretty well reviewed concert by Jersey’s own Bon Jovi. Two reasons why JerseyCool is really glad about this. One, we can stop reading articles about the arena’s construction, traffic in Newark, parking so on and so forth.

We think every angle on this has been covered and maybe we can move on to some more important news. It’s an arena folks.

Two, this is really good news for Newark. A downtown area should revitalize a neighborhood in sore need of revitalizing and give New Jersey an urban sports and entertainment presence it sorely needs. This is no Tweeter Center, which is an exit off of the highway. No getting to the Pru Center will requite Jersey residents to visit the largest city in the state and that alone should help Newark change it’s image in the minds of most  residents.

Anyway for a review of the Bon Jovi show visit NJ.com.

JC

Playoff Fever Hits Newark

September 21, 2007

There’s another week of baseball season left — good for Yankee fans not so much for Met fans — but if you have a yen for playoff baseball there are games this weekend in the Garden State.

The Newark Bears take on the Somerset Patriots 7:05 p.m. tonight in Bridgewater in a five game series to decide the Atlantic League Championship. The series shifts to Newark on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday if necessary.

JC

Excitables for the Weekend of May 18-20

May 18, 2007

Because of time constraints this week we have a truncated excitables column. Sorry folks but the world has gotten busy for the one man media department here. Anyway, if we missed anything feel free to add it to our comments below.
Cheers and onward

The weather will be crappy this weekend but if they play then all eyes in the area will be on the annual grudge match between the Yankees and Mets this weekend at Shea. The novelty isn’t quite what it used to be and the Bronx Bombers aren’t helping things out by royally sucking so badly this year, but it still is great theater.

Elsewhere this weekend:

Shrek is Back — In the theater’s the mighty green ogre, Shrek returns for a third go-around in the appropriately title “Shrek the Third.” The impressive cast of characters are back and here’s to hoping that this trilogy works out better than the Spiderman series did.

Sopranos winding down – We haven’t written about it in a while but the final episodes of the Sopranos are delivering as advertised. Without giving too much away it looks like each character is getting a swan song and things are coming to a head and according to at least one of the actors on that show the end could be quite bloody. An article in today’s NY Post quotes Steven Van Zandt as saying the last few episodes will be very violent to the point where if you think they could do a Soprano’s film it would have to be a prequel.

Happy weekend everyone,

JC

Excitables for the Weekend of May 11-13

May 11, 2007

It’s all about Mom this weekend as families give Mom a break and head out in droves to brunches throughout the area. If you haven’t made reservations by now you’re probably out of luck and will be condemned to wait in line at the local pizza parlor for a table. Better to head to any one of a number of NJ farmers markets and pick up some fresh ingredients to cook mom a Sunday meal better than any you could find in a restaurant.Georgia Rule

Or if Mom is a cinema fan the new Jane Fonda-Lindsey Lohan-Felicity Huffman “Georgia Rule.” Lindsey plays a rebellious teen, Huffman her put-upon mother and Fonda the strict grandmother charged with shaping Lindsey up. You’ll probably be better entertained at “Spiderman 3” but the material suits the holiday. OK, you might be better off renting “On Golden Pond.”

Elsewhere this weekend:

Horse racing – inspired by last week’s Kentucky Derby? Slate your thirst not far from home as Monmouth Park opens on Saturday. Call 732-222-5100 or visit www.monmouthpark.com for more information.

Munchmobile – speaking of NJ.com, the Star Ledger’s Munchmobile is all over its front page today. The newspaper of record for the Garden state kicked off the latest incarnation of the summer eats series with a barbecue on its parking deck. The paper has made it part of the Friday morning experience launching its readers into heated arguments and “Why didn’t they go there?” questions.

Westerns from the East West and inbetween – The Loews Theater in Jersey City is quickly becoming the place for watching old movies in their big screen glory. This weekend’s “East Meets West(ern), Western Meets Spaghetti” theme is a great example.

The theater will be showing Sergio Leone’s “The Good, The Bad and the Ugly” tonight at 8 p.m., Akiro Kurosawa’s “The Seven Samurai” Saturday at 2 p.m. and a screening of “The Magnificent Seven” at 8:30 p.m. While it’s always nice to see Clint in his prime on the big screen and the Magnificent Seven is very important in the Western cannon of film, Samurai is the star here. The film is newly restored with newly translated subtitles. There will also be several demonstrations of Japanese culture before the movie. Visit the Friends of the Loews site for more information.

Have a good weekend everyone.

JC

Excitables for the Weekend of May 4-6

May 4, 2007

Months and months of eager anticipation end today when the Drew Barrymore-Eric Bana Las Vegas romantic comedy Lucky You opens today. It promises to begin the summer movie season with blockbuster proportions. Oh, wait, wrong movie.

Yes, this weekend is all about Tobey Maguire and KirstenSpiderman Dunst and more importantly it’s about the return of Spiderman to the lives of children young and old. We give a lot of hat tips to director Sam Raimi who breathed life into comic book movies with the first two Spiderman movies. Sure there have been some clunkers since Maguire first donned the red and blue, namely the aforementioned Bana in the Hulk, but buoyed by Spiderman studios relaunched both the Batman and Superman franchises.

Now we come to the third installment. Traditionally, this is where a trilogy flaters and can sometimes outright fail. For every LOTR: The Return of the King, there’s a Superman III, Batman and Robin even last year’s X-Men movie wrapped up its trilogy with a decided whimper.

The reviews have been mixed. The NY Times said it fizzled while Entertainment Weekly gave the movie a B-. If any movie is review proof though, Spiderman 3 is it. It’s already taken in some $30 million in just three days of release and could possible garner the biggest movie weekend gross in film history. It’s a good sign for Hollywood as this year’s summer releases are chock full of familiar faces including Shrek (Shrek the Third), Jason Bourne (The Bourne Ultimatum), John McLain (Live Free or Die) and even Homer Simpson (The Simpson Movie).

Elsewhere this weekend

And they’re Off –– Hockey and NBA playoffs drone on this weekend along with the baseball season but there is only one Kentucky Derby from Churchill Downs. Coverage begins 4:30 p.m. Saturday.

Viva Cinco de Mayo — If you’ve passed anywhere near your local Mexican place then you’ve notices that it’s Cinco de Mayo . Most people think the holiday celebrates Mexico independence but actually it commemorates some victory over the French (who the heck hasn’t beat France at one time or another.) Anyway, we sorta think it’s just an excuse to drink margaritas and Mexican beer. Nothing wrong with that. If you like crowds and noise check out your nearest Mexican restaurant. The odds for cheesiness increase with number of restaurants in the chain (think Chilli’s). Anyway, if that isn’t you thing try a French restaurant tomorrow. They won’t be celebrating anything.

Greek to Me — Mexican culture is not the only one out in force this weekend. The Greek Orthodox Church of St. George is holding its annual Greek Festival in Clifton this weekend. There is both indoor and outdoor dining. Lot’s of lamb and moussaka will be had by all. The church is at 818 Valley Road in Clifton.

Excitables for the Weekend of April 27-29

April 27, 2007

I’d be more excited about Boston’s return to Yankee Stadium this weekend if Jerseycool had not spent last night freezing and bored along the first base side of the House that Ruth Built. Yes, ducklings it’s tough times in Yankeeland. Six losses in a row and the hot Boston Red Sox on the way into town. Another sweep and the Yankees could find themselves with a new manager on Monday, so in terms of the sporting world this weekend all eyes will be on Boston-New York part two.

The other big sport event in town is the annual NFL Draft. Football honchos around the country will gather at Radio City Music Hall to pick teams for next season. Truly, it’s the first day of the new season and every fan will be filled with hope as their teams select the next batch of “sure-fire” hall of famers.

Elsewhere this weekend: Looking for a flick? Well, it’s not long until Spiderman3 opens folks. This week’s box office entries including the Cold Stone Steve Austin in the action flick “The Condemned” and a gaggle of teens in the creepy-deep “The Invisible.” We got an absolute rave in our in box from one of our movie buddies about “Hot Fuzz”, the action movie send up by the same guys who brought you Shaun of the Dead. You may not get a better return on your money there.

For readers out there, we’ve been trying to get into Elizabeth Kostova’s The Historian but it’s been slow, slow going for the novel that’s trying to bring back life to the Dracula tale (pun intended). No, we’re going to have to go with Charles C. Mann’s 1491, which we recommended a few weekends ago and we’re sticking to our story there.

Have a good weekend everyone,

JC

Excitables for the Weekend of April 20-22

April 20, 2007

It’s Earth Day — springtime finally hits the northeast just in time for Earth Day. Without getting to crunchy folks it’s a good time to break out the bikes, dust off the planters and hit those hiking trails people.

Jerseycool’s personal favorite hiking spot is Ramapo Mountain, but there will be events in just about eRamapo Mountainvery local community on Sunday including Lewis Morris County Park in Morris Township and Washington Lake Park on Saturday. Check your local papers for events closer to home. NJ.com also has a listing of events.

Yankees-Red Sox; Mets-Braves — the first real set of baseball weather also brings with it the first two marque matchups of the baseball year. Yankees and Red Sox will meet in Boston for a three game set with a prime time matchup on

ESPN slated for Sunday night. Not to be outdone the Mets host their long time rival the Braves, who are off to a hot start this year.

If you’re the type to have a few amongst friends when watching the game today’s Star Ledger has a roundup of Garden State sports bars. You can also find the article on NJ.com.

In the cinema, Anthony Hopkins reprises his role as Hannibal Lecter…oh wait, that’s a different movie. Anyway, Hopkins breaks out his creepy persona to chew up scenes (no pun intended) in the courtroom drama, Fracture. Fans of the indie hit Shaun of the Dead probably already have today circled since Hot Fuzz, a send up of action flicks by the same comedy team of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright hits theaters.Hot Fuzz

Vacancy is the other big release of the weekend. Luke Wilson and Kate Beckinsale get trapped at a homicidal motel. Resemblances to Psycho are purely intentional.

Have a good weekend everyone,

JC

Excitables for the Weekend of April 13-15

April 13, 2007

Throw some salt over your shoulder, beware of black cats and be extra careful around mirrors today. Yes my faithful readers we begin the weekend on Friday the 13th. Obviously, the best and only way to honor and appease the date is with a marathon of Friday the 13th movies so fire up the DVD. May we suggest “Friday the 13th – From Crystal Lake to Manhattan”Friday the 13th a tidy collection of 8 FT13 flicks.

Not into horror? You could opt for the Freaky Friday series. We’re partial to the Barbara Harris/Jodie Foster version.

Elsewhere this weekend:

Hockey — You may not have noticed but there are hockey playoffs going on right now. Yep, the NHL playoffs have kicked of and not one, not two but three area teams are involved. The Devils, Rangers and Islanders all made the annual NHL round robin.

Robinson Remembered — On Sunday it will be the 60th anniversary of Jackie Robinson breaking the color barrier in baseball. To honor this event 200 players in the league will wear Robinson’s retired number 42. The number was retired from the entire league 10 years ago on the 50th anniversary. The movement was not planned. It started spontaneously by a request from Cincinnati slugger Ken Griffey Jr. and quickly spread throughout Major League Baseball. The NY Times has an excellent piece on the memorial today.

Professional baseball has a lot of problems as do all major sports but sometimes they do manage to get things right.

In the theaters — As we all hold our breaths a few more weeks for Spiderman 3, the movie studios are treating us with a eye candy like the Bruce Willis-Hallie Berry Perfect Stranger and Gen Y Rear Window remake Disturbia. Indie fans may find more treats with Year of the Dog, a dramedy about pet loss, yep, pet loss that’s getting very good reviews across the board. Bring the Kleenex dog lovers.

On the Johnny DramaTube — Stormy weather is expected to settle in over the region on Sunday, just in time for episode two of The Sopranos and Entourage. The two JerseyCool favorites both started off well last week, more so for the Sopranos than for Entourage. Word on the street is that all those Soprano fans more interested in the mob family than the family family will not be disappointed in episode two.

Happy weekend folks,

JC