SPORTS BEAT: JOBA

You have to wonder if the Daily News headline writers suffer from anger issues. The day after Joba Chamberlain broke his ankle in a freak trampoline accident, the News back page headline was “Boob Joba.”

In an era where athletes are routinely pulled over for DUI incidents and put innocent lives in danger, what was Chamberlain’s crime here? Trying to have fun with his five year-old son? Joba has always been accommodating to both fans and the media. He promised Brian Cashman that he will be back in July and I hope that he proves prophetic.

Since I am on the topic of the Daily News, you would have thought that it was either V-E Day or June 20, 1969, the day that Neil Armstrong walked on the moon, given how deliriously happy they were that Madoff trustee Irving Picard settled with Mets ownership for a “mere” $162 million instead of getting the $300 million that he was seeking.

The News has a business relationship with the Mets-owned cable network, SNY, and they have always been the Wilpon’s newspaper of choice. Picard knew that even if he got the jury to grant him the full $300 million, the Wilpons would have appealed and it would be years until he got a red cent out of them. He can now turn his attention to others who he thinks may have benefitted from their dealings with Bernie. The Mets’ brass, particularly Fred Wilpon’s brother-in-law Saul Katz, was spared from having to give embarrassing testimony that would have made them look like bumblers at best and criminals at worst.

A week before the start of the season, the Mets held “A Taste of Citi Field” to give media and select season ticket holders a preview of the dining options available to them. Given the way things are looking, food may be the best part of any trip to Citi Field this year. Myriad Restaurant Group, which owns the Tribeca Grill among other Manhattan dining establishments, runs the Acela Club at Citi and their osso buco was tender and quite good. Mama’s of Corona had a terrific selection of deli meats and cannoli while Brooklyn Burger showed off the Keith Hernandez Mex Burger.

Vision Expo East, the annual optical trade show, held every March at the Javits Center is where optical manufacturers show off their latest styles and technological advances. Nike Eyewear, a division of Melville-based Marchon Eyewear, was promoting its Max Transition lenses in which sunglasses automatically adjust to even the most subtle change in lighting which is certainly of interest to golfers. Likewise, ICU Eyewear’s Fisherman line of sunglasses is designed for those who spend a lot of time on boats, be it for recreation or commerce.

Oakley, which has more endorsement deals with athletes than all other optical companies combined, displayed their Crosslink line of glasses, in which you can easily change lenses if your prescription changes because they snap in and out of the lightweight but durable stylish frame. Zeal Optics showed off performance eyewear similar to those of Oakley but their prices are half of what Oakley charges. Finally, the long-reigning kings of aviators, Carrera, promoted its X-Cede line which greatly reduces glare, something that is very helpful when driving at twilight.

Glasses for big guys have always been a niche market. Former Eagles QB and current ESPN NFL analyst Ron Jaworski is a spokesman for A&A Optical’s XXL Eyewear division while hip-hop artist Christopher Boykin is involved with Fatheadz Eyewear.

I don’t have a problem with the Jets’ acquisition of Tim Tebow. Keep in mind that Mark Sanchez’s backup last year was ancient Mark Brunell. There were plenty of times where Sanchez was beaten to a pulp, such as in last December’s debacle against the Eagles, but he had to stay in because Rex Ryan did not trust Brunell. Sanchez performed best when Brad Smith, who left last summer for Buffalo as a free agent, was able to spell him and run the wildcat offense.

I wonder if NuVo Condoms, a company that takes delight in sending boxes of “protection” to celebrities unsolicited, will do the same for the virtuous Mr. Tebow.

You get the feeling that unless Phil Jackson makes it clear that he wants the Knicks job, Mike Woodson will be the team’s head coach at the start of next season.

Detroit Pistons head coach Lawrence Frank was in town two weeks ago when his team faced the Knicks. Frank reminisced with the New York media about his days coaching the woeful New Jersey Nets. When I mentioned to him that it would have been more difficult to lose 18 straight games this year because of the lockout-shortened season, he quickly replied, “I lost 16!” He was fired before the Nets had a chance to set their infamous record two years ago.

He congratulated Nets minority owner Bruce Ratner for persevering and getting his Brooklyn arena (albeit in a far smaller real estate project than what he originally envisioned) and mentioned how everything in the NBA is cyclical and that the Nets will turn it around. Frank did not disagree with me that the Nets’ down cycles tend to last far longer than most teams. He laughingly said “No comment!” when I asked him if the Nets’ corporate culture was different than that of other teams and that is why they seem to have longer troughs.

Lawrence Frank must have felt that he was coaching the Nets again as his Pistons lost to the Knicks by 22 points. At least he could enjoy watching the Knicks City Dancers grind out a routine to Mitch Ryder & the Detroit Wheels’ “Devil With The Blue Dress On” in honor of their guests that night from the Motor City during a timeout.

Shaquille O’Neal has certainly kept busy during his first year of retirement. He is an NBA analyst for Turner Broadcasting, has written a candid autobiography titled Shaq Uncut (Grand Central Publishing), and is currently an endorser for Dove’s Men + Care line of products.

If you go to Philadelphia the weekend of April 13-15 to see the Mets take on the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park be sure to cross Pattison Avenue and check out Xfinity Live!, the new dining and entertainment center that just opened on site of the old Spectrum.

Now that the Dodgers have been sold to a syndicate headed by Earvin “Magic” Johnson, movie mogul Peter Guber, and longtime baseball executive Stan Kasten, it should make for a happier 50th anniversary of Dodger Stadium which still looks as pristine as when it opened. There is no reason why Mets fans couldn’t be looking forward to the same for Shea Stadium in two years had the Wilpons showed even the slightest inclination for maintaining the Mets’ former home.

By the way, when visiting LA you can’t go wrong staying at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza which has long been a favorite of visiting sports teams.

Skateboarding, which has always been big in California, has become a part of everyday New York life. An Italian design company that emulates Japanese pop culture stylings, TKDK, is quickly becoming to the skateboard industry what Toyota and Honda are to the automobile industry. The company’s stylish artwork, as well as its licensing of Marvel cartoon characters, has made them a major manufacturer.

Sure, it doesn’t have the prestige of the NCAA Tournament, but the National Invitational Tournament just celebrated its 75th anniversary. Although there wasn’t a local team in this year, Madison Square Garden drew a decent crowd for the semi-finals thanks to the number of rabid UMass fans who bought tickets.

The current issue of Conde Nast Traveler profiles the top 121 golf resorts in the world.

It wasn’t that long ago that if you wanted to watch a sporting event on TV outside of a residence, you had to go to a neighborhood dive. Those days thankfully are in the rear view mirror as there are a number of great places where you can have a good meal, perhaps take a date, and still catch your favorite team.

Tribeca’s Trattoria Cinque, located across the street from the renown and always terrific Tribeca Grill, is spacious, has tasty Italian cuisine as well as seafood dishes as salmon and monkfish, and has plenty of large screens to watch a game. Sports fans who love American food should try the Park Avenue Tavern as well as one of Manhattan’s best known evening spots, Jay-Z’s 40/40 Club. NY Sports Day will continue to look for more dining establishments of note.

If you need proof that women are a large percentage of sports fans, Victoria Secret’s VS Pink line, which showcased NFL Women’s Apparel in the Fall, now has clothing representing all 30 MLB teams.

Boxing writer Bert Sugar loved a hearty laugh, a good drink, and a big Macanudo. He was a brilliant raconteur and had a gift for making you feel like his best friend. He will be missed.