New York Sports Express

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Best Knicks trade
Latrell Sprewell to Minnesota, Terrell Brandon to Atlanta, Glenn Robinson to Philadelphia and Keith Van Horn to New York.

This is a great trade for the Knicks, despite outward appearances. What Van Horn lacks in toughness, athleticism, leadership qualities, and statistical productivity, he more than makes up for in the ability to hit the wide-open 17-foot jumper at least one-third of the time, and this is an important part of Don Chaney's offense. True, Van Horn is too weak a rebounder to play the four spot, and can't play defense at the three spot, and he often looks lost on the court despite the fact that he apparently has no other interests in life, but he will reenergize a fan base that for too long has had only good, overachieving black players to cheer for. GM Scott Layden should be applauded for this bold move to lock up a disappointing young player with a max contract for many years to come.

Best Rookies
The New Mets

We believe the children are the future. The 2003 season may be a wash for the Mets, but they brought up six players this season who may be around for many New York summers. The best of the New Jacks is Jose Reyes who, by next year, may unseat Derek Jeter as New York's best shortstop. Reyes is hitting over .300 and may be the fastest man in baseball. He gets down the first base line faster than a crackhead chasing a dealer.

Jason Phillips-even with his Bono-like insect glasses-has hit over .300 all year and has played solidly at first and catcher. Ty Wigginton-he looks like the chubby white cop "Herc" in The Wire-has been New York's best third-baseman.

The other three, Jeff Duncan, Aaron Heilman and Jae Seo, have shown promise. At least the Mets are going down with new faces and young men getting a shot at stardom. We'll take six kids over a dozen burnouts like Mo Vaughan any day.

Best Whiners
Jet Fans

Bomber fans: you're number two. Jet fans moaned like they were in a nursing home when their golden boy, Chad Pennington, went down with a broken wrist in the August preseason game against the Giants. Sports radio was filled with Jet fans claiming the team was cursed and Pennington's injury was the final proof. Never mind that the Jets have an excellent back-up in Vinny Testerverde-who, 11 months ago, was the starting quarterback.

Yo, Jet fans, clam up. Injuries are a part of football-that's why each team has 50 players. Take your licks out at the Meadowlands and hope Vinny and the Jets can fly again. If not, tough titties. There's no curse: The Jets just suck.

Best Bronx Bar on Yankee Game Nights
135 E. 149th St. (betw. Gerard & Walton Aves.), 718-585-7082

From bombers to bombed. It's not really in the shadow of the stadium, but then again, everyone and everything lies about "being in the shadow" of this particular structure. To get to Glacken's, go down toward the Sanitation Garage, near the black prostitute leaning on the orange Mercedes, the homeless shelter, the freelance valet parking attendants and the Bronx lock-up. The stroll itself has provided the proper post-game atmosphere for the Glacken's experience-an oasis of booze and bonhomie that's been anchoring the block since 1940.

Family-owned and -operated, this step-down joint pulls no punches when it comes to hefty drinks, like a rum and Coke that equals five of the same beverages at other places. The rum bottle is held high, and a mist comes off the downward pour destined for extra-large plastic cafeteria cups. That Glacken's is not Stan's, adds yet another dimension to its already abundant greatness.

Glacken's also has free popcorn and thousands of uniform patches on its walls, some from public servants as far away as Idaho. The locals play chess and get serious about playing dominoes and watching the NBA offerings on the tv, but with Mike Glacken behind the bar, the night is always young and more often than not, he's got a story about Wes Unseld or Mike Stanley or Ed Koch.

Be sure to ask him how he manages to be a Giants fan with Jets season tickets. Or is it the other way around?

Best Queens Bar on Mets Game Nights

None. Shea Stadium is surrounded by parking lots and an auto-restoration yard, yo. God bless Robert Moses and his grand ideas. We can thank him for the "atmosphere" on game day in Queens.

Best Late-Night WFAN Commercial
Umberto's Clam House

No relation to Eco. It's almost worth it to stay up and hear overnight host Joe Benigno read the Umberto's Clam House copy with the extended "o" at the end. He always points out that at 3:30 in the morning or whenever, "you still have 15 minutes to get over there" to see "Robert and the boys," as they claim to be the late-night destination in the "hawt" of Little Italy.

Yeah, right, as if any of Benigno's listeners ever leave their houses. At least it's not another hair-restoration ad.

Best Bob Murphy Mets Radio Call
Any routine Mets single

Lye-een drive left-center field, a base hit for Edgardo Alfonzo. Fill in the name of any player who has worn the sickly blue and orange over the years. Take any play, like a ground out to short that ends with "got 'eem!" and the retiring broadcaster who has been with the Mets since day one shines again. After this season, the radio will have to go into the shop-something's wrong if the Mets are playing and Bob Murphy's not describing.

Best Reasons the Nets (and Devils) Should Move to Brooklyn

We got lots. Because BAM would no longer rule that part of downtown Brooklyn with its cultural-district iron fist. Because the local bars hit hard by the smoking ban could use a boost. Because the scalpers would have plenty of nooks and crannies in which to operate on Flatbush Ave. Because Post columnist Andrea Peyser says they should. Because the dollar vans on Flatbush might get national tv exposure. Because it would make developer Bruce Ratner seem less of a nerd. Because it's more exciting than Target and Red Lobster, and Brooklyn is dying to root for something-anything-to call its own. Look at the insane support for the Cyclones as an example.

Best Reason the MetroStars Should Build a Stadium in Harrison, NJ

Brilliant, innit. Because it would be reachable by public transportation, unlike that NFL dump in East Rutherford. Because ersatz hooligans could take over the entire PATH train, go to the game, then a curry shop and do a runner. It would make our pal Tony Blair quite proud, and the MLS would no longer be an embarrassing co-tenant victim of the ever-crooked New Jersey Sports and Exhibition Authority.

Best Way to Wake Mets Manager Art Howe from his Stupor

Art, we hardly even knew ya'. Give Jay Bell one of those annoying airhorn cans. In fact, give Jay Bell the chair in the manager's office and change the locks. Art should know that JetBlue has some great deals from JFK to Oakland, and while we appreciate his time and efficient oversight of the dismantling of the horrible collection of overpaid veterans and sandbagging mid-career louts, it's time to scoot back to the American League. Or to Pittsburgh.

Best Yankee Stadium Subway Platform Renovation

You fools! It's Earth! The D-train renovations of the past year have resulted in a bit of platform seating that would make Dr. Zaius proud. Set designs from The Planet of the Apes-in particular the tribunal scene when Taylor is paraded around in front of the council-seem to have inspired designers over at the MTA. We're thinking of the individual seats with large pylon formations of tile behind them. May we suggest Yankee reliever Jeff Nelson stand in for James Franciscus in the sequel? We'll let you do the rest of the casting, just let us know where you would put Ruben Sierra in all this.

Best John Huston Real-Life Sports Movie Moment

The oval in Queens. It's the mecca of pick-up soccer and regional leagues bearing teams with kooky Anglophile spoof names and some pretty good game action. One fine day during the Champions tour in July, a few Manchester United players showed up to have a kick around with whoever was there. Paul Scholes and Ryan Giggs were out punting with the punters. Oy mate, ever seen the Yankees do that with the local softballers? No word on bodyguards or security for these soccer superstars slumming it in Queens.

Best Blade Runner Sports Info Innovation, Pt. 1

Do androids dream of electric doubleheaders? A cab drifts by the snooty hotel bar you are stuck in. There's no tv, and there is plenty of sports action going on in the real world, away from the Prada this and the Birken bag that. You've got a window seat, and here comes this cab and there is an orange electronic sign on its roof with Matrix lettering, an ESPN logo and the score of the game. Pirates 5, Marlins 3 (F).

Another round of $24 Manhattans, please.

Best Blade Runner Sports Info Innovation, Pt. 2

Scores of scores. You're stuck in a cab and the driver has the radio wedged halfway on KTU and halfway on his Rai music cassingle in the rigged Audiovox tape player with half a speaker dangling in the rear. Drifting down the mess that is 7th Ave. as it becomes Varick, high in the sky near Spring St.-there's an ESPN billboard that flashes real-time scores and updates. Pirates 8, Marlins 3 (F).

Driver, take the scenic route!

Best Uses for Madison Square Garden While the Knicks and Rangers Play Golf

Shoot out the star, win a prize. Maybe a fractured Green Party convention, or an egg basket for Godzilla, or a large swap meet would be nice. Actually, the Shoot the Freak paintball attraction at Coney Island could be moved here, and the freak in this case could be ownership mogul James Dolan and his GM toadies Scott Layden and Glen Sather, with Knicks and Rangers season ticket holders getting the first shots while the "freak" sports suits attempt to hide behind large tractor tires and various concrete planters.

Best Prospective Franchise Additions for YankeeNets

Empire building. George Steinbrenner should be able to get along with the senior management from the following glowing competitive entities:

The Long Island Lizards of Major League Lacrosse, the Newark Bears independent league baseball team, Riker's Island junior varsity team handball, the Martha Stewart Living softball team, Jared Paul Stern's upstate butler, the Brownsville chess club and the Atlantic City bus driver's b-league bowling champions from the Port Authority league.

Best Sports-Related Item that Screams out "Mug me!"
All those preppy guys walking west on 23rd St. toting their golf clubs.

Best NYC Venue for Red Sox GM Theo Epstein's Stupid Rock Band

The Epsteinettes. Any tavern founded in 1918 with a terrible Peavey sound system that with a lame last call at 1:30 a.m. Early October dates will be fine. Or perhaps our very own MUGGER will suggest a place where the overrated preppy baseball executive can gig down in Baltimore?

Best Use for Unused Knicks and Rangers Tickets

Do your part. The Department of Sanitation website has listings of cardboard recycling days for various neighborhoods. Otherwise, these dusty ducats can be used to light cigars on the top deck of the Wall Street ferry to Jersey.

Best Candidate to Light the 2012 Olympic Torch

A special blue flame. Don Zimmer via his old Brooklyn Dodger-era fart-lighting trick, wearing the same generic uniform he wears in his hemorrhoid-cream commercial. He can borrow Lee Mazzilli's Bensonhurst Knights of Columbus Zippo lighter to do it. The IOC will be sure to send a tape to Lee's lodge and to the Yankees clubhouse.

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