This is one of the incongruities when you make opinions for a living:
Sometimes, it’s good to be wrong.
Actually, most of the time it’s good to be wrong. I like being surprised. I like seeing things work out in the end. One of the great fallacies of newspapers is this: we crave the negative. We like it when the home team loses.
And that just couldn’t be more wrong, because the home teams being good is good for business. When the Mets were in the World Series two years ago, you couldn’t find a Post on a newsstand anywhere in New York; they were all gone. Same when the Giants won the Super Bowl. I’ll take it on faith it’s that way when the Knicks aren’t lighting themselves on fire.
Being wrong is a fine thing. Hey, a couple of weeks ago, I mentioned that I’d never hate-watched a show more intensely than “The Affair” on Showtime. Then a funny thing happened: “The Affair” suddenly has gotten really, really, really good again. I’ve given up on “Homeland” plenty; same thing. The list goes on.
It applies to sports, too, especially given my job description. What I feel on a certain matter is rarely a mystery because that’s how I pay the mortgage. Thankfully, the check clearing isn’t reliant on my always being right. Because sometimes, it wouldn’t be terrible to be wrong. Here are 10 things I hope I can one day admit I was wrong about.
1. Mickey Callaway: By all appearances, he’s getting Year 2, and, well, let’s just say I have my doubts that “Callaway: the Sequel” will do any better box office than the original. But as this summer has reinforced: July and August are so much better when there are two baseball teams to talk about. If he’s better next year we’re all better off.
2. Saquon Barkley: Look, based on one 39-yard run, he’s already moving the conversational needle. I hope he rushes for 1,800 yards this year and only improves on that, and I hope Eli Manning looks 10 years younger than 37 and keeps it up for three more years. Even if I am convinced the Giants blew it by not taking a QB.
3. Gary Sanchez: Even before he got hurt, he just looked … different. Less intense. Less intimidating. Less everything. I don’t think he’s completely fallen off the cliff, but I also don’t think his woes this season were an aberration. I hope I’m wrong. Back when he was right, I thought he swung the bat like a young Albert Pujols.
4. Todd Bowles: I like his overall approach. I like the way he isn’t afraid to be frank with players. I certainly admire his commitment to losing 60 pounds, especially because it’s hard to believe he had 60 to lose. But I think he is, and always will be, a dreadful (and, worse, boring) game-day coach. I really want to be wrong about this.
5. The Knicks: Put it this way: I probably have a good 15 years left in this business (assuming they’ll have me), and I don’t see any way possible I will ever write a column about the Knicks winning an NBA title. Man, I’d like to be wrong about that.
6. Chris Mullin: Nobody wrote more purple prose about No. 20 coming home than yours truly. But unless we have a serious move north in the Big East this year, you wonder if it will ever happen. I don’t see that. But I’d sure like to see it.
7. Tiger Woods: I think he’ll be stuck on 14 majors forever; the game is just much, much better than it was in his heyday, more great players. I’d like to see him with one more green jacket or Claret Jug.
8. “This Is Us”: I worry that it’s inching toward jumping the shark way too soon. But I also trust Dan Fogelman implicitly.
9. Life after Tavares: I am not at all optimistic about the Islanders now, this year or in anything resembling the near future. I know they won exactly one playoff series with him, so how much worse could it get? Worse. Much worse.
10. The Canyon of Heroes: I think it’s going to stay dormant down there for a good long while. I would be delighted if the Yankees prove me wrong in 2 ½ months.
We’ll have more to say about this in the weeks to come, but Mets broadcaster Josh Lewin has founded a terrific web site, okaytogether.com, which is something of a safe gathering space for anyone who has dealt with depression and anxiety, as Josh has for “a good part of life.” If there’s even a chance that might apply to you, it’s well worth your time.
I don’t care if he made those moves against the New York Post’s sports staff; it’s going to be fun to watch Saquon Barkley tote a football in his arms, regardless of how you felt about whether the Giants should have picked him in the first place.
You know how you can go months or years without talking to a good friend and then you pick things up as if in the middle of a conversation? I feel the same way every time “Better Call Saul” comes back on AMC, even if it’s been way too long.
Does anyone play Ring-a-levio anymore?
Whack back at Vac
Richard Ievoli: After that traumatic weekend up in Boston, I DFA’d myself to a Charlotte Stone Crabs (Single-A) game. Result: $4 parking, $11 front row behind home plate, young players with big dreams and everybody hustles. Kid-friendly 6:35 start, over before 9:00. I think I may be onto something here.
Vac: Every baseball fan really should invest one day each summer, at least, to watch a minor league game and remember the finer points of why you fell in love in the first place.
Michael Hogue: If you can, try to imagine the following. Another season of Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce, Jose Reyes, Kevin Plawecki, Devin Mesoraco and Jose Bautista …
Vac: I would add “Austin Jackson” to that list, though since making a similar point on Twitter he’s been hitting like Tony Gwynn.
@CTGabe: Age is not Eli’s problem, the fact that he has mostly been mediocre his entire career is the problem. Will he be better? Of course, too much talent around him not to be, but he hasn’t been good in a long time. It’s unrealistic to expect him to be a top-15 QB again.
@MikeVacc: After watching Davis Webb’s adventures Thursday, one thing is abundantly clear: the most important stat of Eli’s year this year will be “games played,” and for the Giants it better be his standard-issue “16.”
Mark Rottenstein: Your column today was: 👍👌👋