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The New York Sports Index

Robinson Cano hits a grand slam to give

Robinson Cano hits a grand slam to give the Yankees an 8-1 lead over Detroit in the sixth inning of Game 1 of the ALDS. (Oct. 1, 2011) Credit: Thomas A. Ferrara

The New York Sports Index is a weekly rewind and ranking of the biggest players, athletes, teams and stories from the past week. The biggest newsmakers and noisemakers, be it through winning or losing or some combination thereof. It also prepares you for what's ahead this week on the New York sports landscape.

NEW YORK TOP 10 (Sept. 26-Oct. 2)

1. ROBINSON CANO

Already a star, Cano shined a bit brighter and claimed full ownership of the No. 3 spot in the Yankees' batting order last Saturday night. Cano hit a grand slam and drove in six runs total in the Yankees' 9-3 win over Detroit in Game 1 of the ALDS.

2. JOSE REYES

The soon-to-be free agent made it no secret what he was looking to do in the Mets' season finale, bunting for a single and then promptly being removed from the game in an effort to clinch the NL batting title. The maneuver infuriated several baseball pundits and a half-empty Citi Field. Once the bunt blew over, attention turned to Reyes' future, one that fans hope involves a long-term stay in Queens. By the way, he did become the first Met to ever win the batting title, hitting .337 to beat Milwaukee's Ryan Braun (.332)

3. IVAN NOVA

This kid is a rookie, right? Nova "started" Game 1 of the ALDS on Saturday in the continuation of Friday's suspended game and was lights out. Nova went 6.1 innings and gave two runs on four hits and four walks while striking out five. The runs he did allow came in the ninth inning with a 9-1 lead and were scored off hits against Luis Ayala.

4. ELI MANNING

The Giants' quarterback, who catches more heat from fans than most other Super Bowl winners, threw two touchdowns in a 58-second span late in the fourth quarter to rally the Giants to a road win against Arizona. Manning was 7-for-8 for 126 yards and two TDs on those last two drives. For the game, Manning was 27-for-40 for 321 yards.

5. NICK MANGOLD

Wait, he didn't even play on Sunday night for the Jets against the Ravens and he's on the New York Sports Index this week? Yeah, well, did you see what happened to the Jets' offense that game? They gave up twice as many points as the Jets' defense did, so, yeah, the All-Pro center makes the list.

6. OSI UMENYIORA

If this is Umenyiora as a digruntled pass rusher, we'd hate to see what he could do if he was happy. But the Giants' defensive end who still doesn't like his contract returned to the field for the first time this season and picked two sacks and a forced fumble.

7. JOE McKNIGHT

Lost amid those three defensive touchdowns scored by the Ravens, let's not forget that this Jets running back forced an interception while playing defense and returned a kickoff 107 yards for a touchdown on Sunday. It was the longest play in Jets history. It also helps put McKnight into the discussion for getting a shot at some carries in the backfield since Shonn Greene isn't getting it done right now.

8. TERRY COLLINS

When he was brought on board to manage the Mets, Collins had a reputation for being a loose cannon. His final postgame press conference was anything but that, Collins breaking down when talking about the trust he'd earned from his team during the season. While the Twitterverse gave Collins a hard time for saying he was proud of what his $100 million-plus team had accomplished -- a sub-.500 record -- his emotions were clearly raw, showing how much the veteran manager grew attached to the ballclub during the season. He was rewarded for his work this past season when the club picked up his 2013 option.

9. A.J. BURNETT

Thanks to the rain on Friday suspending ALDS Game 1 and forcing Girardi to use four starters instead of three against Detroit, Burnett was elevated to Game 4 starter on Tuesday in Detroit. It will be either an elimination game for the Yankees or a clinching game for the Yankees. And folks have spent the past three days talking about it. Or was that dreading it?

10. RANGERS

The Blue Shirts are 3-0 so far during their preseason road trip to Europe. Not too shabby.

LAST WEEK'S TOP 10

1. Giants
2. Yankees
3. Mariano Rivera
4. Deon Grant
5. Antonio Cromartie
6. Jorge Posada
7. R.A. Dickey
8. Islanders
9. Citi Field
10. Valentino Pascucci
 

WHAT TO WATCH THIS WEEK (October 3-9) 

Monday: Yankees vs. Tigers, ALDS Game 3, 8:37 p.m. on TBS

How long will this CC Sabathia vs. Justin Verlander matchup last this time?

Tuesday: ALDS Game 4, TBD on TBS

It's going to be an elimination game for either the Yankees or the Tigers.

Friday: Rangers at Kings in Stockholm, 1 p.m. on MSG

Hockey is back! The Rangers begin their extensive season-opening road trip overseas agains Los Angeles.

Saturday: Islanders vs. Panthers, 8 p.m. on MSG+

The Isles kick off their 2011-12 campaign at Nassau Coliseum in primetime against Florida.

Saturday and Sunday: ALCS Games 1 and 2 on FOX

The second round of the AL playoffs starts this weekend. Will the Yankees be around, or will they be watching from the sidelines?

Sunday: Giants vs. Seahawks, 1 p.m. on FOX

The going's been tough for Seattle the last couple of seasons; can the Giants capitalize?

Sunday: Jets at Patriots, 4:15 p.m. on CBS

The last time the Jets took on the Pats, they sent them packing. Then again, the time before that, the cover of Newsday read "Patsies" after a 45-3 loss.

MUST-WATCH VIDEO 

Will this be Jose Reyes' final act as a Met?

 

PHOTO OF THE WEEK 

What a surprise! Rain stole the show last Friday in the ALDS series opener, soaking CC Sabathia and the Yankees.

QUOTE OF THE WEEK

"I can understand anybody in this room, or anybody in the stands, being offended by it or being upset by it. But when I now walk in that room and say something, they know I'll stand behind it, and down the road, that's going to mean a lot." -- An emotional Terry Collins on his granting Jose Reyes' wish to be removed following his first at-bat in the Mets' season finale against Cincinnati.

SECOND-GUESS

We'll lend this space to Newsday columnist Anthony Rieber, who made a terrific point about the MLB playoffs following last Wednesday's dramatics:

"The last day of this baseball regular season will forever be known as 'Wild Wednesday.' Some have called it the greatest regular-season day in baseball history. It may have been that . . . Wild Wednesday would not have happened under the proposed new format, which could be in place by next season but is more likely to debut in 2013 along with minor realignment." 

PLAY OF THE WEEK 

What it lacked in excitement, it more than made up for in controversy. Jose Reyes' first inning bunt -- his final at bat of the season -- was enough to garner him the NL batting title, and drive the Mets' broadcasting crew crazy.

The New York Sports Index is updated every Monday at noon. You can access it any time during the week at newsday.com/nysi.

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