Tiger Woods wins, which means the action’s just beginning

tiger-woods-wins-which-means-actions-just-beginning
Today's tabloids, March 26, 2012. ()
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Each day, the New York tabloids vie to sell readers at the newsstands on outrageous headlines, dramatic photography, and, occasionally, great reporting. Who is today's winner?

New York Post: It's a fairly common preoccupation to link the romantic lives of sports stars to their performance in the game. In the case of Tiger Woods, an extended, nasty sex scandal culminated in two years of tying for fourth at the Masters and his international ranking slipping from 1 to 58. But he's just had a reversal, winning yesterday's Arnold Palmer invitational. So, he was successful while he was fooling around, the theory goes, and unsuccessful while he was trying to get his life back together. We therefore infer from his success yesterday that he is once again on the prowl romantically. "LOOK OUT LADIES!" reads the enormous knockout-white type at the bottom of today's front page, over a picture of a triumphant Woods in Orlando. "He's back! Tiger wins for first time since sex scandal."

This link between winning and #winning is what they were getting at on "Parks and Recreation," when it is explained that Ron Swanson always comes into the office wearing red and black, Tiger-like, if he's gotten laid the night before. That joke is slightly funnier than this one.

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Daily News: Woods makes the wood at the News today, too, but less of it. A box in the upper left corner has a picture of him holding a trophy with the words "TIGER'S BACK!" in small white type.

Yankees reliever Joba Chamberlain gets much more of the page, pictured being wheeled out of a Tampa hospital where he spent the weekend after a horrific trampoline accident that dislocated his ankle severely enough that the bone was exposed and he was in serious danger of bleeding out. Over the weekend there were some questions about whether Chamberlain would suffer permanent disability from the injury but now the Yankees are confident that he'll play this coming season. This is a "FIRST PHOTO," in the slightly British way the News is putting things these days; but it's not just an exclusively negotiated photo use. News photographer Andrew Theodorakis actually took the picture, so it's all theirs. "JOBA GOES HOME" reads the Yankee-blue type.

But the main story is a John Marzulli exclusive. Remember when we wondered why the News fronted Marzulli's snorer about a standard parole plea by a mobster? "Doesn't [News editor Colin] Myler realize that Marzulli will have a real exclusive on something fun soon enough?" I said then.

He has, now:

He's a convicted gun-toting extortionist and a reputed mobster, but that didn’t stop a New Jersey statewide law enforcement group from saluting a local caterer as “honored citizen of the month.”

Frank (Frankie D) DiMattina was nominated for the award from the New Jersey Honor Legion — a nonprofit with more than 6,000 members in law enforcement — on Feb. 1, three weeks after his Jan. 6 conviction for using a gun to shake down a rival bidder for a Staten Island school lunch contract.

It was after his conviction that the organization held a ceremony to give him the plaque, a video of which was directed to the judge as part of a plea for leniency in the sentencing. The award was given in acknowledgement of the catering-hall owner's having "consistently answered the call to open their facility and staff for the benefit of police, fire, EMS and the community in general."

But the Waterfront Commission, which has its own police force and which has been plagued with mafia corruption before, had to investigate when they learned that a leader of the nonprofit organization that gave DiMattina the award works for them. It's fun stuff, straight out of "The Sopranos."

Observations: The Post knows how to commit to a bit, as we already know, and they get it done today. The News couldn't have, with all this to juggle. The "FIRST PHOTO" is a great get but can't really hold the whole page; Tiger Woods is bigger news anyway. So why not divide the page three ways, and give Marzulli some real estate? It was the wrong decision two weeks ago, but it's right today. Still, "LOOK OUT LADIES!" gets lots of real estate, and its a big, aggressive grope at readers. In my head, it's being screamed by Jerry Lewis, and it works.

Winner: New York Post.