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Neil Best leaves no stone unturned in the world of sports media.

SNY draws healthy audience for Mets' home opener

SNY announced Monday night's Citi Field opener averaged 4.65 percent of area homes and 434,500 viewers, making it the highest-rated and most-watched Mets home opener on a regional cable sports network.

It helped that the opener was in prime time, which most are not. On the other hand, the game also was on ESPN, which attracted 1.1 percent of homes, drawing away some viewers that otherwise would have watched SNY.

(UPDATE: SNY's 2.26 rating for its pregame show surpassed YES' 2.08 game rating Monday night.)

The NFL Network will devote two hours Tuesday night to the announcement of the '09 schedule. When I was a Giants beat writer in the olden times of the 1990s, we received this information in the form of a simple news release. Sigh.

Interesting commentary on Lance Armstrong from Bryant Gumbel on HBO's "Real Sports" that debuts Tuesday night. Bryant uses some French words. Click below for that."Finally tonight a few words about Lance Armstrong, the cyclist whom many Americans view as a champion and many Frenchmen have labeled a tricheur, or cheater. Having won the Tour de France a record seven times under a never ending cloud of suspicion, Armstrong is saying that he may not be allowed to compete for an eighth title this July as a result of his latest run-in with the drug police.

"The run-in happened a month ago when a French anti-doping official paid Armstrong a surprise visit and demanded some samples. Lance, in what French officials say is a violation of the testing rules, then disappeared for 20 minutes. During that time, while he had an aide supposedly confirming the official’s credentials, Armstrong found it oh so convenient to take a shower. That shower may or may not have helped Lance pass the test, but it did nothing to cleanse Armstrong of the scent that’s defined him for a decade.

"In a sport notorious for the pervasiveness of doping, Armstrong, throughout a series of accusations and denials, has always claimed that he was what the French would call drogue librement, or drug free. Like Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Roger Clemens and assorted other suspected dopers, Armstrong has never failed a drug test…but he’s also never quite passed the duck test. That’s especially fitting for the French, who see Armstrong’s entire act as a canard.

"Those who buy his act and think Lance is being victimized by foreigners who can’t stomach an American’s superiority, will no doubt see his exclusion from this year’s Tour de France as patently unfair. Others will surely see karma at work and feel that his banishment has been a long time coming. Either way, it seems that Lance Armstrong may have finally given French officials good reason to tell him not just au revoir, but also bon debarras. That’s French for good riddance.”

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