Sunday, August 31, 2008

Mets vs. Brewers Preview

This is what baseball is all about. This is why they play 162 games over six months. For the first three days of the month of September, with pennant races gallor, all eyes will be tuned in for this three game series.

The New York Mets (76-61) a game in front of the Philadelphia Phillies for first place in the NL East, and the Milwaukee Brewers (80-56) 6.5 games ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals for the NL Wild Card, and 4.5 game back of the Chicago Cubs for first place in the NL Central. If things continue to pan out as they are, the Mets and Brewers are on a conllision course in October baseball.

But, first it is this series. Tomorrow afternoon the two teams will throw up a gem in front of Brewer fans, as Mets Ace Johan Santana (12-7 2.70 ERA) will face off against Ben Sheets (12-7 3.05 ERA). Santana after struggling at the start of the season has really turned it on and has been the ace that the Mets thought they were getting in Feburary. Santana has been going deep into games of late, and most recently put together two complete games in a span of just four weeks from the end of July to mid-August. Even when he didn't have his best stuff against the Philadelphia Phillies, he still managed to pitch six innings allowing only three runs.
Sheets, likewise, has had a brilliant year. A guy who has had a history of being bothered by injuries, is finally living up to the hype he set back in 2000, when he won a gold medal in that year's Olympic games. Unfrotunatley for Sheets he has not faired well against New York. Even though he has a winning record (4-2) against the Mets, his ERA is an astronomical 5.10.

Still this is a different Sheets who has gotten better as the year has moved along.

In game two, the Mets will try to throw a dart while blindfolded, hoping it hits its intented target, as Jon Niese will make his MLB debut. Niese who showed promise in Spring Training is the Mets top pitching prospect. He was 11-8 with a 3.13 ERA in double-A and was promoted to tripple A last month. How will he react going up against the likes of Prince Fielder (28 HR, 80 RBI), the unbelieveable Ryan Braun (34 HR 95 RBI) and Cory Hart (20 HR 81 RBI)? Even old Met fan favorite Mike Cameron is starting to look like the offenseive play he was when he was with Seattle. Cameron has 24 HR and 64 RBI and is batting .261.

This could be a long afternoon for Niese, and the Mets will need the bullpen. If Niese gets KO'ed early, Nelson Figeroura, and Brian Stokes will be waiting to come in in case the Mets are close.

Niese will square off against Manny Parra, who is having a brilliant year in his second year in the Bigs with a 10-6 record and a 4.00 ERA.

In the finale, set for 1:30 ET on Wednesday, Oliver Perez who, dispite a 9-7 record, is having a great season and is living up the possiblities of making big bucks in the offseason. Whenever the Mets are in need of a win, Perez seems to deliever. Whether it is his brilliant perfromance in Game Seven of the 2006 NLCS, or his mastery of the Yankees, Phillies and Braves, Perez is usually on top of his game when the lights are brightest.

He will square off against Dave Bush (9-9, 4.12 ERA) who has been a decent starter for Milwaukee this season.

Offensively the Mets also have a bunch of guys that are having big years. David Wright has 27 HR and 102 RBI, Carlos Beltran is starting to heat up with 21 HR and 93 RBI. Carlos Delgado is clearly the teams most valuable player, as he has resurected his career with 30 HR and 93 RBI. Delgado has been in the middle of most of the Mets big innings this season. Even Jose Reyes who is having an off-year as far as stolen bases are concerned is putting up decent numbers (13 HR 56 RBI).

The Mets have also gotten contributions from unlikely scorces like Fernando Tatis (11 HR 43 RBI) Dan Murphy (2 HR, 13 RBI) and Damion Easley (6 HR 39 RBI).

One thing that these two teams seem to have in common is the fact that they are both angry. Much was made of the Mets collapse at the end of the 2007 season, but lets not forget that the Brewers had a big lead on the Cubs in the Central last year, and choked in the final month and a half to blow it. Both teams are pissed off about the past, and want to redeem themselves; if you know anything about sports in general, no team is more dangerous than one that feels it needs to prove a point.

This should be fun series. Predition: Brewers win series 2-1.

Mets Beat Up Fish In Finale


You have to hand to interim Manager Jerry Manuel, he has completely turned around the Mets, and they continue to play inspired baseball right through the month of August. After today's 6-2 win against the Florida Marlins, Manuel is 42-26 as Met Manager, and has put the Mets in prime position to win the NL East.

Today, the Mets had to fight off a distrubing loss from Saturday night, as well as the threat of a tropical storm in order to win this one.

Pedro Martinez was shaking once again. It seemed that he would put two men on in every inning he pitched. In the first, Martinez gave up a lead-off single to Hanley Ramirez. Next, Luis Gonzalez doubled to right driving home Ramirez for the 1-0 lead. Two batters later, Mike Jacobs skyed to right for the sacrifice, as Gonzalez came into score, 2-0 Fish.

Martinez was so upset by his effort that he slammed his hat and glove on the bench in the dugout and was screaming at teammates as he walked down the stairs into the locker room.

Yet, the Met bats picked up the angry veteran. In the second, Carlos Beltran drilled a homerun around the left field foul pole to cut the Marlin lead in half. It was Beltran's 21 homer of the year, his 92 RBI.

In the third the Mets went yard again. Nick Evans, who had never hit a major league homerun in his life, did, as he blasted a fastball over the scoreboard in left-center to tie the game at two. David Wright followed with a solo shot of his own, in the same spot over the scoreboard in left-center to give New York a 3-2 lead.

Fastforward to the seventh and the Mets played some small ball. With Damion Easley and Dan Murphy on base, Jose Reyes singled to right to drive home Easley to give New York a 4-2 lead. Ryan Chruch then followed as a pinch-hitter and delivered with a single to center to score Murphy. It was Church's 38 RBI of the year and second since coming off the DL last week. Wright singled up the middle to load them up for Carlos Beltran. However, Beltran couldn't get enough of the bat on the ball, and flew out to center, but it was good enough to score Reyes from third to give the Mets a 6-2 lead.

Jerry Manuel mixed and matched with his bullpen for the final three innings of play, as he used five different relievers.

With the win the Mets maintain a one game lead on the Phillies who are winning 4-2 over the Cubs in the fifth inning as we speak.

The Mets now travel to Milwaukee to play the Brewers. C.C. Sabathia is not supposed to pitch for the Brew Crew, but Ben Sheets will. This should be a preview of a very likely NL Division Series that will start in early October.

Finishing Line; RIP 2008 Yankees


There is not much left to say about the 2008 Yankees, their collapse is as complete now as it was three weeks ago when the completed a 3-7 road trip that took them from Toronto to L.A. to Minnesota.

It is amazing that a franchise with a $210 million payroll could be playing for peanuts come September 1, but that is life in Yankee land right now.

The Yankees who were five back of the Red Sox when the week started, are now seven back. They are also 11.5 and pushing 12.5 games back of the first place Rays. If you don't call this lackluster performace from this week as giving up on the season, then I don't know what you call it.

The Yankees never gave themselves a shot today against the Blue Jays, as Andy Pettite continues to be one in a long line of overpriced All-Stars to struggle here in the last two months. In the first inning Pettite walked Marco Sutaro to start the ballgame, and then gave up a single to Alex Rios. Vernon Wells then came up and poked a single to right to drive in Scutaro for a 1-0 lead. All of this with one out in the inning.

Rod Barajas then doubled to left,driving home Rios and Wells to give Toronto a 3-0 lead. The game was virtually over then, because with Blue Jay's Ace Roy Halladay on the mound the Yankees could ill afford to give up more than two runs. Well they did and it was too late.

Halladay once again mastered the Yankees, beating them for the third time this year. He went seven innings, surrendering eight hits and two runs. It was not like the Yankees didn't have chances they did, and left 16 men on base in the process. The most guilty parties being Hideki Matsui and Robinson Cano, who each left three men on base.

So lets start playing TAPS for these Yankees. Their season is over. The clutch performers like Jeter, A-Rod, Matsui, and Giambi are not doing enough. A-Rod has had a strange year - as ususal, failing to produce in key situations and looking distracted. Andy Pettite looks old, Mariano Rivera is being overused, and can't seem to get out of games that are tied without giving up more runs to the opposing team to break that tie. What a disaster - if the elder Stienbrenner was still running the show and not his two idiot sons, then someone would be fired.

I'll try to keep talking about the Yankees in the month of September, but it is getting hard to do. The Yankees are quickly not becoming a stroy anymore. They are now a story for the comics section. With the Mets racing for a division title, and NFL football about to start, the Yankees are not important anymore. I apoligize, but the Yankee players and manager leave me no choice.

Friday, August 29, 2008

Mets Wake Up In Time


Well after nearly two hours and 10 minutes of boring baseball that saw the Mets sleepwalk through the entire contest trailing the feebel Florida Marlins 2-1 going into the ninth inning, a miricale happened in unlikely fashion.

Florida closer Kevin Gregg came into to close out the Mets in the ninth and just could not complete his job. He was wild with his control and left balls hanging over the plate. With two out in the inning and the Mets just about done, Luis Castillo, who is just coming off a long stint on the DL, singled innocently up the middle. David Wright followed up with a single of his own, and the snowball started to get bigger.

On the first pitch to Carlos Delgado, Gregg hit Delgado on the leg putting him on base to load the bases for Carlos Beltran. Now if anyone knows Beltran's history with runners in scoring position in potential game changing situations, he has come up small. Look back at Beltran's caught looking at Adam Wainwright's curveball in Game Seven of the 2006 NLCS as an example.

On the first pitch, Beltran wacked the pitch deep into the right field stands for a grand slam homerun. It was the second grand slam of the year for the Mets, Carlos Delgado had one in late June in a 15-6 win over the Yankees. Beltran, who has been struggling this year, is starting to catch fire and now has 20 homeruns and 91 RBI on the year.

One would think the game would be over, but that was not the case. Luis Ayala could not get out of his own way. With one out he allowed a single to Jeremey Hermida. Hanely Ramirez then singled with two out, and finally Mike Jacobs singled up the middle to drive home Hermida to cut the Met lead to 5-3. Jorge Cantu followed with a double in the left field gap, allowing Ramirez to score and moving Jacobs to third. But, Ayala found a way out, getting Wes Helms to ground out to shortstop to end the game.

The Mets are now two games up on Philadelphia who lost their thrid straight game this afternoon, a 3-2 loss to the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Mets Fight Off Phillies


Just what the doctor ordered after a terrible collapse on Tuesday night for the New York Mets. With Johan Santana having a bad night on the mound, the Mets found a way to beat the Philadelphia Phillies and reclaim first place in the NL East.

Santana was off all night. In the first inning he gave up a lead-off single to Jimmy Rollins and allowed the pesky shortstop to steal second with two out in the inning. Ryan Howard took a Santana fastball into the left field stands to give Philadelphia a 2-0 lead.

Jayson Werth opened up the second inning with a homerun to deep left handing the Phillies a 3-1 lead.

It looked as if Santana would not last long, but he found a way to get through six innings without his best stuff on the mound.

Fast forward to the sixth, and Carlos Delgado delivered, hitting a solo homerun to deep right field to get the Mets to within one at 3-2.

Brian Stokes proceeded to hold the Phillies in the seventh, opening the door for the Mets to make some noise, and once again, Delgado was in the middle of it. Delgado lifted a pitch on the outside corner of the plate, and flicked it just over the wall near the left field foul pole to tie the game at three.

Brad Lidge had to come for Philadelphia and he got rocked around by the Mets. First Carlos Beltran singled and stole second. Ryan Chruch was intentionally walked to set up a double play with Dan Murphy coming up to the plate. Murphy lined a double into the right field corner to dive home Beltran. Brian Schnieder dropped a base hit over the head of Rollins, good enough to score Church and Murphy, giving the Mets a 6-3 lead.

Luis Ayala came into the ninth and shut the door, earning his second save of the year. The Mets are a half a game ahead of the Phillies for first in the division.

Yanks Destroyed Again


Another day and another defeat for the sinking New York Yankees as they were blasted by the Boston Red Sox for the second straight night, this time losing 11-3. The Yankees are now seven games behind Boston for the Wild Card, and if they should lose and get swept tomorrow night, then you can put the 2008 season in the books for the New York Yankees.

Sidney Ponson got the start tonight for the Bombers, and for the past month and a half, Ponson has been on the money, surrendering two or three runs a game and keeping the Yankees in games whenever he started. However, tonight was a different story. Ponson got rocked for four runs on seven hits in just four and two-thirds innings; he even walked four batters. It was the second straight game that a Yankees starter has failed to complete five innings of work.

The Red Sox wasted no time in this one. With David Ortiz and Dustin Pedroia on base, Jason Bay doubled to left to drive home both runners to give Boston a 2-0 advantage.

The Yankees fought back. Alex Rodriguez drove home Bobby Abreu with a double in the first. In the fourth, Robinson Cano singled up the middle to drive home Rodriguez to tie the game at 2-2.

Still the Red Sox found a way to perceiver. Ponson loaded up the bases and proceeded to walk Kevin Youklis to bring home the go-ahead run. Later, Bay hit a sac. fly to right to drive home Pedroia; that was it for Ponson, who was lifted for Edwar Ramirez.

Finally, in the eigth the Red Sox teed of off Jose Veras and David Robertson, scoring seven runs in the inning to put the game away. With Youklis on first, Bay once again delivered, this time lacing a tripple to right center to drive in Youklis. Later in the inning with the bases now loaded, Pedroia cracked a grand slam homerun to deep left off of Robertson to give Boston a 11-3 advantage.

Paul Byrd got the win, as he pitched six quality innings, surrendering only two runs. Photo is of Jason Bay, when he was a Pittsburgh Pirate.

Mets Blow Lead In More Ways Then One


Here we go again Met fans!!! It is almost September and it is almost time for the Mets to have their annual plane crash in the standings.

With a 1/2 game lead over the Phillies for first, and holding a 7-0 lead with Perdo Martinez on the mound, the Mets still found a way to lose. What else is new? Nothing.

Thing's got really interesting in a hurry, when Martinez started to struggle to get out of the fifth inning. First he allowed Clay Condrey to get his first double of the year, as a ground ball went past outfielder Fernando Tatis. Later, Jimmy Rollins, who was 5 of 7 in this contest, homered to right to pull Philadelphia to within 7-3.

Pedro soon got wild walking Chase Utley, and serving up a cookie to Ryan Howard who blasted the ball all the way to Allentown PA. 7-5 Mets, all of a sudden.

Still the Mets found ways to avoid serious damage. Brian Stokes was able to get out of a huge jam as he struck out Pat Burrell with two on in the sixth. In the eighth Joe Smith got Burrell to fly out to deep center field, avoiding a possible go-ahead homerun.

In the ninth it was up to Luis Ayala to get through the Phillie batting order. This was a huge save situation for Ayala, and it would really change his image from a typical reliever to a potential closer, but he failed. After getting Ryan Howard to fly out to the warning track in center, Jayson Werth continued to kill the Mets as he singled up the middle with two out. Eric Bruntlett, who was hitting just .214 coming into the at-bat laced a double into the right/center field gap to drive home Werth. The play at the plate was not even close, as Damion Easley's relay throw to Brian Schnieder went passed the catchers glove allowing Werth to score.

Seven Up. New Ballgame.

Aaron Hielman came in for the Mets, and put together a yoeman's effort going three innings, giving up three hits and walking two, but he also struck out four to get out one jam after another.
But, the cuda gras came in the 13th inning. With Scott Schoenwise on the mound for the Mets, Shane Victorino trippled down the first baseline to get things started. Victorino really stepped on the jets here, once the ball was past first, Victorino was already turning for third base!

The Mets decided to walk Bruntlett, and Werth to load the bases for pitcher Brett Myers. A good strategy by the Mets. If they could get Myers for the first out they left open the possibiltiy of getting a double play ball to get out of the jam. The Mets were able to get the first part of the plan executed, as Myers struck out looking on a 3-2 pitch, but Chris Coste had other ideas.

Coste took Schoenwise's first pitch and drove it over the head of Carlos Beltran to bring home Victoriono for the winning run.

It was just another episode in the Phillies pesky dominance over the Mets in the last two seasons. The Phillies are now in first place all by themselves, a half game ahead of the Mets. Photo is of Chris Coste.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Umm, The Yanks Are Still Dead


Ok now I am convinced the Yankees are indeed dead! The Red Sox thrashed the Yankees in the opener of a huge three game series at Yankee Stadium expanding their lead over the Bombers to five games in the Wild Card.

With the Yankees up 2-1 in the third inning, the Red Sox found a way to come back on starter Andy Pettite. David Ortiz doubled to start things off. Later, Kevin Youklis doubled to left to drive home Ortiz to tie the game. Jason Bay followed with a single to center to bring in Youklis to give Boston a 3-2 lead.

It would stay 3-2 Boston until the fifth, when the Red Sox piled on more runs on Pettite, knocking him out of the game after just four and two-thirds innings pitched. First, Bay singled to center. Then Coco Crisp single to the right center gap, driving in Bay to give Boston a 4-2 lead. Finally Jeff Bailey put the nail in the coughin when singled down the third baseline to drive home Crisp and Jed Lowrie: 6-2 Boston.

Tim Wakefield got the win for the Sox. He only went five innings, but his bullpen was fantastic. The combination of Javier Lopez, Manny Delcarmen, Justin Masterson, Hideki Okajima, and Jonathon Papelbon allowed only two hits in the final four innings of the game locking up the effort.

Glazer: Strahan Tells G-Men Thanks But No Thanks

Looks like Michael Strahan will stay retired after all. A day after his agent fielded an offer from the Giants to return to the Meadowlands as a saviour, after the sudden injury to lineman Osi Umenyoria, Strahan offically turned down the Giants offer.

In Jay Glazer's article on Fox, he quotes Strahan as saying: "This has been one of the toughest nights of my life," Strahan said from Greece. "But after long deliberation and throwing around a million scenarios in my head for the past day, I think it's just best if I stay retired.
"I have gone back and forth on this because as a player you'll always want to play, you'll never lose that urge to be out there. But I could only do this if I could commit 100 percent, physically, mentally, emotionally and I can't do that. I've tried to convince myself and my body to give it one more year, but in the end I just don't think I could turn it on like I need to again" (Glazer).

This should not be surprising. It is hard for a professional athlete to suddenly turn on the jets after shutting the game out of his mind for several months. The guy is in great shape to live a normal life, but it is not a good enough shape to survive the punching, smacking, kicking, and body slamming of the NFL. Strahan has his health and has to pay child support, it would not be a good idea for him to go out onto an NFL field to play, when he his not phyisically prepared - he would risk serious injury.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Giants Like Mike

Yes call it Brett Favre Part II, only this time plug in Favre's buddy Michael Strahan into the staring role of "Should I Stay or Should I Go Now."

A day after learing that Osi Umenyiora is now out for the season after suffering a torn ligiment in his left knee is a preseason game against the New York Jets, the Giants are very much interested in bringing back the gap-toothed leader to the Meadowlands.

According to a story on New York, the Giants' people are talking to Stahan's people about a comeback. However, unlike the Favre situation, where the quaterback never wanted to retire and recognized the decision as a mistake in early July, Strahan signed a sweet $4.5 million deal to work with Terry Bradshaw, Howie Long and Jimmy Johnson on the FOX NFL SUNDAY Pregame show in June.

Also, unlike Favre, Strahan retired in June when mandatory workouts were taking place, and with training camp in the horizon. So, one would thing that Strahan would have had a good gauge on whether he was really done with playing at that point.

Then again, Starhan is a guy who always hated to practice and really just loved playing on Sundays. (Sounds like Favre doesn't it). Remember last year, Strahan missed all of camp, raising a rucous and came back just before the regular season opener to play.

If he does take the Giants offer, don't expect Strahan to start and play 60 minutes in week one or two. The Giants will probably treat the first two games like preseason for Strahan, who is not in football shape yet. He's in great physical shape for a healthy life, but does not have the nessecary bulk needed to play the defensive end position.

If nothing else, the Giants will scower the wire for any players that become available after rosters are cut to the mandatory 53. Maybe a big name will show up on the radar? Who knows? A trade is unlikely, because it will be hard for a team to wing a trade at this point in the season, because teams don't want to start sheeding nessecary roster spots and depth when the regular season is about to begin.

Pelfrey Does It Again


Ok, stop the presses, the Mets have had another complete game; and this one was the second in a week for new ace Mike Pelfrey. Pelfery, once again found a way to master his opponent; as he surrendered only six hits in the contest, two of which came in the game's final inning.

Big Pelf's ERA continues to drop like a stone, now recoreded at 3.70. He also owns the club lead in wins with 13. Pelfrey is on pace, if he keeps it up for his next five remaining starts before the end of the regualr season to win 17 to 18 games, in just his second full season in the big leagues.

Still, this night didn't just belong to the team's Cy Young Award Winner, it also belonged to the team's MVP, Carlos Delgado. In the first inning with Jose Reyes and David Wright sitting on the base paths, Delgado laced a homerun the oppiste field that just hit the foul poll near the retired numbers in left field. 3-0 Metropolitans.

Later, in the seventh, Delgado was at it again, this time rocketing a pitch long over the center field wall. Easily the ball went 420 feet from homeplate.

Finally in the eighth, Ryan Church who still finds ways to rake, even though he was on the DL for almost the entire summer, barely missed an oppisite field homerun as the ball caromed off the top of the left field wall. Church had to step on the breaks and remain at second. A few batters later, Jose Reyes trippled to the right field corner to score Church and Pelfery. 9-0 New York.

The Win is huge, considering the Mets were in desperate need of a victory after dropping the last two against the Astros, as well as losing ground in the NL East to the Philadelphia Phillies.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Umenyiora Is Out For The Year

It is tough enough to defend a world championship, when your ball club is a full strenght; it is even harder when there are key pieces missing.

Giants' defensive end Osi Umenyiora will have season ending surgery on his left knee, after sustaining an injury in last night's 10-7 loss to the New York Jets in a preseason game.

Apparently there is a tear in Umenyiora's lateral meniscus.

The Giants will have to turn to Mathias Kiwanunka, once a top prospect that the orgainization drafted a couple of years ago to fill the void. Another possiblity, although highly unlikely, is bringing Michael Strahan out of a retirement and a sweet multi-million dollar deal with FOX Sports.

In the article from Yahoo sports, Coach Tom Coughlin blocked out any idea of lurring Strahan back, “The only thing I talked with Michael about was his new challenge, moving forward in his new assignment and he was very excited about that,” Coughlin said (Canavan).

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Jets Beat Champs in Sloppy Affair

Usually the third preseason game is a dress rehearsal for the starters to showcase what they will be in the regular season, and if this game is any indication, than maybe New Yorkers and New Jerseyans should hold off on reserving hotels in Tampa Bay for the Super Bowl.
This was a downright mess and fiasco at the Meadowlands between the Super Bowl Champion Giants and the rejuvianted Jets. Even though the statistics say that Eli Manning and Brett Favre had good nights, neither quaterback could move their respective offenses anywhere.
Manning had trouble avoiding sacks. One of which included a huge sack on thrid and goal at the Jet 5 yard line. Manning dropped all the way back to the 20, trying to avoid defensive end Calvin Pace, but he couldn't pull off another miracle as he was sacked for a huge loss. New Giant kicker Jeff Houston proceeded to miss a field goal that ended the first half in a scoreless tie.
As for the Jets offense they could nothing right. Whenever the Jets got some positive yardage a flag was called because of holding or facemask penatlies on the offensive line. Two plays in particular stand out. On one play, Favre was trying to desperately avoid a sack and heaved the ball down the field, to a Brad Smith who was singled covered down the sideline. Smith made a terrific one-handed grab that would have given the Jets a first down at the Giant 15 yard line, but it was called back because of a Jet penalty.
Later in the second quarter, Favre found Jerricho Cothery streaking down the sideline and hit him from 49 yards out for a touchdown, but again, it was called back because of a face-mask on the Jets. Just plain sloppy. Even Favre struggled a bit, as he overthrew some recievers, or shrank in front of pressure, dumping the ball off to his running backs who were unable to get much seperation from the converging linebackers.
The backups somehow found a way to score. Brett Ratliff hit Paul Raymound in the endzone from 24 yards out to give the Jets a 10-7 lead. The game would end by that score.

Quiet Heart Beat for Yankees


Maybe the Yankees aren't dead yet. After the Red Sox got blown away by the Blue Jays by a score of 11-0, the Yankees had a chance to trim the Red Sox Wild Card lead to five, if they could take care of businees against the Orioles.

With Johnny Damon on second, Alex Rodriguez sent a double to center to drive home Damon to give New York a quick 1-0 lead. Later Jason Giambi singled to second base to score Rodriguiez.

Yet the Yankees gave up the lead. The infamous Carl Pavano surrendered three runs in the second inning to give the O's a 3-2 lead. Yet Pavano settled down and lasted five innings to earn the victory; his first in years.

Later in the third, Giambi blasted a two run homer to center field to give the Yankees a 4-3 lead. Finally, in the seventh, Hideki Matsui is making good on his comeback, hitting his second homerun in as many days to give New York a 5-3 lead.

The Yankee bullpen did the job, as Mariano Rivera earned his 30 save of the year.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Santana, Heilman, & Ayala Stop Astros


Pitching wins championships! That is the common phrase that describes how baseball games are won and lost at any level, and tonight at Shea Stadium in Queens N.Y. we had ourselves great pitching on display, as Johan Santana hooked up in a duel with Houston's Roy Oswalt.

Both pitchers were fantastic. Oswalt gave up only three runs early in the contest, but was effective for the rest of the game, as he didn't allow a hit in his final six innings of work. The Mets had to get Oswalt early in this one, and they were lucky to.

In the first, the Mets used some small ball to get a run across. Jose Reyes singled to lead things off, and later took second on a wild pitch. Argenis Reyes then moved Jose over to third with a sac. bunt. Then, David Wright singled to right to drive in Reyes. It was Wright's 99 RBI of the year.

In the second, two former Washington Nationals did some damage on the Astros' ace. Ryan Church, who returned for the first time after spending two months on the DL with a concussion singled to right. Later, Brian Schnieder launched his third homer in a week into the Mets bullpen to give New York a 3-0 lead.

That was all Santana needed. Santana didn't have his best stuff, throwing 121 pitches in seven innings, but he worked through the high pitch count to stimmy the Astros. In fact his 119 pitch was recorded at 94 MPH, meaning that Santana still had a lot in the tank.

After a slow start to his 2008 season, Santana has really caught on and is showing all of us why he is one of the game's great pitchers. Santana has now thrown 16 straight shutout innings, and is now 12-7 on the year with a 2.64 ERA.

Aaron Heilman came into the eighth inning and got threw the middle of the Astros' order with complete ease. Finally, another ex-National contributed as Luis Ayala closed down the Astros in the ninth, strking out two on just 11 pitches. Of his 11 pichtes, Ayala threw only one ball!! Fantanstic effort for the Mets, who will maintain a 2.5 game lead on the Philadelphia Phillies.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Delgado Propels Mets in Sweep

MVP! MVP! MVP! That's what they should be chanting for Carlos Delgado right now, because the first baseman is having a terrific season, and has been in the middle of most of the Mets victories this year.

No player has been more valuable to the Mets than Delgado. Early in the season, when Delgado was floundering around .220 the Mets were usually a game or two under .500. Ever since his resurgence the Mets are flying high, now 2.5 games ahead of the Phillies for first place in the NL East.

Tonight was no exception, Delgado went 5 for 5 with three RBI, including the game winner in the bottom of the ninth inning.

With the Mets trailing 1-0, Delgado singled up the middle, off of the glove of the shortstop Yunel Escobar to drive home Jose Reyes with the tying run. Later, in the third inning, Delagdo singled up the middle again, this time driving in David Wright to give New York a 2-1 advantage.

In the fifth, Wright lifted a Mike Hampton fastball deep in the New York night giving the Mets a 3-1 advantage.

But, Pedro Martinez gave it right up. Pedro was brilliant in the first five innings, giving up only a solo homerun to Escobar in the first inning, but, as usual, struggled in the late inning. After giving up a double to Escobar and walking Chipper Jones, Brian McCann doubled into the right field corner to drive home both baserunners to tie the game. Next, Omar Infante drove home the go ahead run with single to center.

Still the Mets fought back, and Delgado was in the middle of it. With Nick Evans on with a double and Carlos Beltran on with a walk, Delgado grounded to the second baseman Will Ohman. It was a sure out at first, but Ohman's throw went wide of the first baseman, allowing Evans to score from third to tie the game.

Later in the inning, Fernado Tatis got into one to left, but the ball died in front of the warning track, landing the Infante's glove. As a way to stick it to the Shea fans sitting behind the screen in outfield wall, he slammed his glove on the fence, and made some guesture to the fans as a way to shut them up.

In the ninth there was some controversy. What else would you expect? With a man on, Gregor Blanco grounded to second and it appeared that he beat the throw to first, but the umpire called Blanco out. It was a bad call that the Mets got away with.

Finally in the ninth, Wright doubled to right center to set the stage for Delgado. Delgado lifted the ball to Infante in left, but the outfielder tried to hotdog it by attempting a sliding catch, however Infante closed his glove before the ball was secured in his glove, allowing the ball to drop on the ground. Wright stepped on the jets and scored from second with the winning run.

Ironically Infante was not given an error on the play, and Delgado was credited with a 5 for 5 night.

The Phillies also lost to the lowely Washington Nationals, dropping them to 2.5 back of the Metropolitans.

Thief Pavano to Start Saturday

Mega thief Carl Pavano will actually make a start for the Yankees, before he finds a way to hit the disabled list again.

The righty who has had a tourtured stay here in New York, as he has had one injury after another, and one excuse after another will make a start for the Yankees this Saturday in Baltimore.

"We liked the way (Pavano) was throwing the ball and we felt that Hughes needed some more work,” manager Joe Girardi said before Thursday’s game against the Blue Jays. (Yahoo Sports).

It should be very interesting to watch.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand Hello SIRUS Radio

It didn't take long for ex-WFAN host Chris "Mad Dog" Russo to find a new gig.

The long time partner of the now defunct "Mike and the Mad Dog Show" that entertained millions of radio listeners and TV viewers for 19 years has completed a deal with SIRUS Satellite Radio to compete for ratings with the "Francesa on the FAN"show of 660 AM WFAN.

The show will kick off Monday September 15 and will air from 2 pm to 7 pm, which starts and ends an hour later than Mike Francessa's program on WFAN. It can be heard on SIRUS channel 123 and XM channel 144. Of course you have to subscribe just to listen to these networks.

"SIRIUS channel 123 and XM channel 144 will relaunch as Mad Dog Radio, a reformatted channel that will cover the spectrum of sports with engaging talk, high profile interviews, up-to-the-moment news and live remote broadcasts from the biggest sporting events."(SIRUS Satellite Radio Press Release 8/19/08).

Unfortunately, for Russo, the show will start long after the Tennis U.S. Open has concluded, which is sure to drive the Dog nuts, since he love tennis with a passion. Knowing how much Russo hates New York Sports teams, he will likely talk about how the Yankees are dead; why he thinks the Jets and Giants are going no-where after two weeks of NFL action, and don't be suprised if Russo rubs stones in hopes that it will jinx the Mets for another September collapse.

So if you are a Mike Francesa detractor, don't fret for to long, because the Dog will back to save the day.

Mets Storm Back to Beat Braves


How about them Mets? eh? Even when the get the news that their closer, Billy Wagner, is likely out for the remainder of the season, and when their starter, Oliver Perez is once again erratic in a big game, the Mets found a way to beat the Braves 7-3 at Shea Stadium in Queens N.Y.

The Braves were a pathetic 0-19 on the road in one run games, and they were able to grab a 3-2 lead in the third inning and maintain it until the eighth inning. These are the types of games that the Mets would find a way to lose, because they are..the Mets!

The Braves chipped away when Chipper Jones singled to center to bring home Gregor Blanco to cut the Met lead to 2-1. Later, Brian McCann grounded out into an RBI, as Yunel Escobar was able to score from third, when the bases were loaded. Finally, Jeff Francoeur hit a sac. fly to right center to drive home Jones to give Atlanta the lead.

Perez just didn't have it. His command was off all night long, as he walked five and gave up three runs in just six and a third innings of work. He even got into trouble in the seventh, when he gave up a tripple to Escobar, and walked Chipper Jones. New Met Luis Ayala came in and was able to get Omar Infante to pop out to second and McCann to fly out to center.

Then, in the eighth, the Mets got hot. Nick Evans walked, and was substited for Endy Chavez as a pinch-runner. Later, David Wright walked, and Carlos Beltran singled to load them up. Will Ohman came into relieve and his presence didn't make a difference, at least for Atlanta that is.

Carlos Delgado took one of Ohman's pitches and launched it to right center and barely missed a grand slam as the ball caromed off the wall, allowing Chavez and Wright to score to give New York a 4-3 lead. Next, Damion Easly singled up the middle to drive home Beltran, and Ramon Castron, then, doubled to left to drive home Fernando Tatis and Easley to make it 7-3 Mets. A stirring comeback that the Mets badly needed.

New York is now 69-57 and maintains their one and a half game lead on the Phillies, who beat the Washington Nationals tonight by a score of 5-4.

Burnett Kills Yankees, Again.


Ok, enough already with trying to act like the Yankees will somehow find the Foutine of Youth and find a way to reverse their bad fourtunes in hopes of catching the Red Sox for the Wild Card. It 'aint happening. The Yankees are indeed DEAD!!!!

Tonight, A.J. Burnett who has been struggling as of late for the Toronto Blue Jays, mastered the Yankees for eight innings of five hit ball, while striking out 13 Yankees. Burnett is now 3-0 lifetime against the Bombers, and improves his 2008 numbers to 16-9 on the year with a 4.51 ERA.

Darrell Rasner was not bad for the Yankees; he did a decent job going six shutout innings, but then the roof caved in. In the seventh, Rasner left one over the plate and Adam Lind, of all people, took the pitch into the right field seats to tie the game at one a piece.

Fast forward to the eighth, the Yankee pen continues to stink it up, the lastest culprit Jose Veras. Veras surrendered a two out single to Jason Inglett. Later, Marco Suctaro continues to haunt the Yankees, as doubled in Inglett with the go-ahead run to make it 2-1 Jays.

B.J.Ryan came into the ninth and handled the Yankees nicely to end it. The Yankees will fall to six back of the Sox, who are blowing out Baltimore this evening.

Wagner Likely Out For Season

Mets closer Billy Wagner may not be back this season, thanks to a linggering "pain and swelling" in the pitcher's left arm.
Wagner hit the DL two weeks ago because of arm pain, and was scheduled to come off the DL for tonight's game against the Atlanta Braves, but he just can't do it.

Now Omar Minaya, who acquired Luis Ayala earlier in the week, will have to go out and try to get a top reliever from a club that is out of playoff contention. It won't be easy, because any player Minaya wants to acquire will have to clear waviers, meaning that any team can swoop in and claim the player.

If the Mets can't land another pitcher, perhaps John Maine, who has struggled with arm trouble all year, may have to move to the bullpen where he could be more effective pitching less innings.

The Mets are in big trouble; injuries have spelled the Mets season. First they lost Mosies Alou for the year with several leg injuires, then the lost Ryan Church for most of the season with a post-concussion symptoms, and even lost Pedro Martinez and John Maine at different points this year with arm stiffness. READ PRESS RELEASE.

NFL Preseason Power Rankings

Like NCAA college football, specifically Division I, that ranks each team based on BCS and Coache's polls, I will rank each NFL team by a similar power ranking based on who is playing the best for each week of the season.

A team ranked number one could easily drop big if they are playing poorly. In other words I don't rank teams based on history, but on weekly performance. As we know, in the game of football, as in life, performance matters...

Since the season doesn't offically kick off until September 4, I will make a preseason ranking, based on how teams have improved themselves in the offseason and training camp. Here are teams ranked 1-7. More later....

1) New York Giants - They are the World Champions for a reason. Don't let people tell you that last year was just a fluke, the Giants have a very good defense that can get pressure on any quaterback in the leauge. Offensively, Eli Manning should have a big year, considering he has a title under his belt, and his biggest critic, Jeremy Shockey is off the team.

2) New England Patriots - They will not go undefeated in 2008, but the Pats still posses the most experienced and consistent team in the leauge. Tom Brady's leg injury is a concern, but remeber Bill Belicheck put Brady on the injured list every week last year, and the guy threw 50 touchdowns.

3) San Diego Chargers - Early in 2007, many people questioned the desire and hunger of the Chargers as they stumbled out of the gate. Yet, the Chargers put together an unpredictable run at the end of the year beating the Colts, and giving the Patriots all they could handle in the playoffs. The Chargers still have a very good defense and a great running back in LaDanilan Tomlinson, but with quaterback Phillip Rivers earning the confidence of his teammates after he showed a lot of guts in the playoffs, will go along way to helping the Bolts in 2008.

4) New Orleans Saints - The Saints are coming off a misreable 2007, where an early hole prevented them from making a run late in the year. Sean Peyton should have this team re-foucused for a big run in 2008. The Saints did alot in the offseason to help their club, by adding Shockey and ex-Patriot corner back Randall Gay. Drew Brees is still one of the best QB's in league, which means that the Saints will score at will in 2008.

5) Seattle Seahawks - This is Mike Holmegren's final year as a head coach, or at least his last year coaching in Seattle, and the Seahawks are still one of the top teams in the NFC. Adding Julius Jones to the running back corps as a replacement for the aging Shaun Alexander is sure to be a plus. Jones lost out on the starting job in Dallas, and should be extra motivated to show that the Cowboys made a mistake letting him go. Defensively the Seahawks are solid with veterans at all positions, and quaterback Matt Hasselbeck is one of the leauge's best winners.

6) Indianapolis Colts - Why are the Colts sixth? Because this group is starting to show its age. Dwight Freeney is coming off off-season surgey, Peyton Manning may not be completely ready for the season opener when he returns from knee surgery, and Marvin Harrison was slowed by injuries and distractions last year. Maybe the great run by the Colts is coming to an end.

7) Pittsburgh Steelers - Coach Mike Tomiln and his staff are given the task of replacing guard Allen Faneca, who left via free-agency to the Jets. Replacing offensive linemen is never easy, and it could hurt your entire offensive production. If the Steelers can get past this, they will be fine. They still have Willie Parker, Sanantonio Holmes, Hines Ward and Ben Roethlisberger to lead the way offensively. Their D-line is young, but a strong linebacker corp. and secondary should make up the difference.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Eli & Giants Looking Super


Who cares that the Dallas Cowboys get all the coverage and hype this year by the experts this preseason, the New York Giants are and will remain the best team in the NFC, if not the NFL.

Even though it was preseason, the Giants showed the nation on ESPN's Monday Night Football, why they are the World Champions, and why Eli Manning is one of the leauges' preimere quaterback's.

The Giants starters rolled up 23 points on the Cleveland Browns in the first quater, on route to a 37-34 victory, the Giants first of the preseason.

Manning looked great, going four of seven for 52 yards and two touchdowns. Trailing 3-0 early, Manning hit Domenix Hixon from 11 yards out to take a 7-3 lead. Later in the first, Manning threw a bullet to Hixon from 24 yards out to take a 14-3 lead. Manning looked sharp, relaxed and poised. Don't be suprised if Manning has a breakout regular season - something he has not had yet in his career.

After a Cleveland punt was blocked in the endzone for a saftey, Hixon took the following kickoff-after-a-saftey all the way back for an 82 yard touchdown. No Giant has had three touchdonws in a quarter in a regular season game, so maybe Hixon is giving us a preview of coming attractions.

Cleveland fought back getting to within three points, as both Brady Quinn (7 for 12,124 yards, 1TD) and Ken Dorsey (9 for 11,143 yards, 1TD) picked apart the Giants second and third stringers, but it was not enough to complete the comeback.

The story of the night is the Giants, and the obvious swagger that they posses; Winning Super Bowl's will do that for you. The G-Men look confident and relaxed. If the first quarter of tonight's game is any indication, then the Giants are going to put together another special season.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Dr. Santana Give Mets A Boost


Once again Johan Santana was marvelous for the Mets, as the $137 million man gave the Mets and their beleaguered bullpen a needed boost as he went the distance for his second complete game victory of the season. Santana threw 113 pitches in the effort.

This is the second complete game for Santana this year. A couple of weeks ago, Santana pitched brilliantly in a 9-1 victory over the St.Louis Cardinals for a 105 pitch complete game performance when the Mets needed it most. Today, he did so again, striking out seven and walking none. Santana gave up only three hits on the day. He is now 11-7 on the year with a 2.75 ERA.

Offensivley the Mets didn't have to do much to give Santana enough to work with. With Dan Murphy on second, Brian Schnieder blasted a homerun over the gigantic scoreboard in right field to give New York a 2-0 lead. It was Schineders fourth homer of the season, and second on this roadtrip.

Fast forward to the fourth and Schnieder delivered again, as singled down the right field line to bring home Carlos Beltran, who slid in ackwardly, as he barely touched the plate with his fingers.
Finally in the sixth, Beltran blasted a homer of his own, his 17th, over the right field scoreboard to make it 4-0.

The win is the Mets sixth straight victory. The Mets play one more in Pittsburgh tomorrow afternoon. Also, the Florida Marlins lost their game, and will fall to four and a half behind the Mets, and the Phillies, after losing last night in San Diego, are two back of the Mets.

Slight Pulse As Yankees Bomb Royals


It doesn't take long to begin the process of turning around a miserable season. A day after rookie Brett Gardner delieverd his second career walk-off hit to give the Yankees a comeback win over the Kansas City Royals, the Bronx Bombers bombed the Royals in a Sunday matinee at the Stadium.

Offensively the Yankees pounded out 17 hits; four players had more than two hits on the day, and three players had more than two RBI.

After Kansas City grabbed a quick 3-0 lead in the first inning, the Yankees woke up from their long slumber to show the pesky Royals whose boss. A-Rod got it started with a three - run blast to left to tie the game. Next, the X-Man, Xavier Nady hit his seventh homer as a Yankee and 20th on the year, shooting one to right field to give the Yankees a sudden 4-3 lead.

Later in the inning, Jose Molina doubled home Robinson Cano, and Gardner continued to rake as he trippled to right to bring home Molina.

In the second with the bases loaded, Jason Giambi put the Yankees up for good, blasting a grand slam deep into the right field stands to give New York a 10-3 lead.

Finally in the seventh, Bobby Abreu doulbed home Derek Jeter to make it 12-3; A-Rod then drove home Abreu to make it 13-3 and Cody Ransom hit a two run shot to make it 15-3 Bombers.

Mike Mussina got the win, his 16th of the year. He went six innings giving up only three runs and striking out five. Mussina has a very good chance to win 20 games this year. The Yankees are creeping back into things as the Red Sox lost big to the Blue Jays, shrinking the Wild Card lead back to five games.

Another Stupid Move By Minaya

Once again, Mets GM Omar Minaya pulled one over the eyes of Met fans, this time going out of his way to acquire one of his priceless pieces of trash from his Montreal Expos days, Luis Ayala to help a beleaguered Mets bullpen.

Ayala who has spent his entire career with the Montreal Expo/Washington National franchise brings a awful 1-8 record and 5.77 ERA to big Shea, as he will be expected to give the Mets another arm. Ayala hasn't been completely a bust in his career; in 2003, when Minaya was the Expos GM, Ayala went 10-3 with five saves and a 2.92 ERA in 65 games. Career Stats.

In 2004 he pitched in 81 games, and collected a 6-12 record, 2 saves and a 2.69 ERA. However once the franchise burned its Expo history in order to move to D.C. Ayala began to struggle. He didn't pitch at all in 2006, and in 2007, Ayala had a 3.19 ERA, a career hight untill this year.

This season Ayala has given up 41 runs, 37 earned runs, both career highs and has been prone to walking people, 22 walks in 57 and 2/3 innings.

Don't expect much from Ayala; if Minaya thinks this guy can somehow tap into the Ayala of old he might be pretty foolish. Then again, considering the moves Minaya has made throughout his GM career with the Mets, foolish is Minaya's middle name.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

How About Them Mets


All of a sudden the New York Mets are red hot again; just goes to show you what an easy schedule can do for ya'.

Tonight the Mets won their fifth straight ballgame, 7-4 over the pathetic Pittsburgh Pirates, and preserving their one game lead over the Philadelphia Phillies.

Pedro Martinez, put together his best start of the entire season. In fact it looked like the old Pedro was back in toe for the Metropolitans. Martinez went seven glorious innings, scattering eight hits and a run while striking out four. He even pitched six shutout innings. The only blemish on Martinez's night was a solo homerun he gave up to Andy LaRoche in the seventh inning.
As for the Mets offense, they were on fire!! In the first inning, Jose Reyes, who has been asleep at the plate for most of the season, finally took off, as he homered to left field, near the foul pole to give New York a 1-0 lead. Later, with David Wright on, Carlos Beltran doubled to right center to drive home Wright to give the Mets a 2-0 lead. Finally, Fernando Tatis drove in Beltran, as he singled to center.

In the second inning, with Pedro Martinez on first base, Reyes laced a tripple to right, and Pedro, believe it or not, scored all the way from first. There was no play at the plate, because the ball came up the first base line, preventing any catastrophe from happening.

In the sixth, Ramon Castron, who loves to contribute big time when called upon, homered to left center; it is Castro's seventh of the year.

Pittsburgh made it interesting in the ninth, as they were able to put together three runs off of rookie Eddie Kunz, who could not close the deal. Jerry Manuel went to Joe Smith and Pedro Feliciano to end. Both Smith and Feliciano have been money for Manuel lately. Felicano got the save, his second of the year.

BTW, some bad news, as Billy Wagner will stay on the Disabled List with tightness in his arm. He tried to pitch tonight in a rehabilitation game, but had to come out because he just didn't feel right.

So Favre So Good


Dispite the fact that the Jets failed to convert on a last second field goal that would have tied the game and sent it into overtime, the Jets still looked sharp, especially Brett Favre.

Favre, who recieved three different standing ovations during his first quarter of action in tonight's game, was on the money going five of six for 48 yards and a touchdown.

Favre looked crisp, proving that all the complaining and concern that he would struggle in the Jets offense was mute. In his second drive of the night that started at the 50 yard line, because of a penalty on Washington, Favre drove the Jets all the way down the field for the go-ahead TD. He hit Jericho Cothery in the flat on a key third down for 15 yards to extend the drive. Later, he hit Brad Smith to bring the Jets down to the five yard line. Finally Favre hit tight-end Dustin Keller for the touchdown to give New York a 7-0 lead.

That was it for Favre, as the Jets differed to Kellen Clemens, who was totally pathetic as he failed to move the Jets in his one and a half quaters of play.

However, it was the other Brett, Brett Ratliff who shinned again for New York. He completed 13 of 19 passes for 148 yards, and drove the Jets to the Washington two yard line in the final 1:09 before Eric Mangini elected to kick for the tie with :05 to go.

The Redskins on the otherhand looked awful. Jason Campbell could not move the Washington offnese as he struggled to avoid the heavy blitz packages of the Jets; and the backups of Jason Collins and Colt Brennon were no better. In fact, Collins was knocked out of the game after taking a nasty hit by Marques Murrell, late in the second quarter.

Still, the efforts of the Jets D was not enough as Colt Brennen hit J Goode in a freakish 33 yard touchdown to give Washington a 13-10 with 1:09 to play. Washington is now 3-0 in preseason play. They played an extra game at the beginning of the month, when the played the Indianapolis Colts at the Hall of Fame Game. The Jets fall to 1-1 in the pre-season.

Next week Jets vs. Giants. Brett Favre vs. the Super Bowl Champs!!!

Friday, August 15, 2008

Tearful Good-Bye: Mike & Mad Dog Final Minutes Together

It was a really sad radio show this afternoon as the "Mike and the Mad Dog Radio Show" concluded for the final time as a tearful Christopher Russo called in at around 1:20 pm to say good-bye to his long time partner and millions of loyal listeners.

The show opened with the familiar Mike and the Mad Dog jingle followed by a tape recording of Russo's always familiar "A...AAAAAAAAAA...ND Good Afternoon Everybody, how are you today, weclome to the Mike and the Mad Dog program..." only to be interupted by a mournful Francesa who confirmed the news that the show is now over.

"For 19 years that is how we welcomed this program to New York everyday," said Francessa after the recording was played.

"The response to me has been overwelming," said Francesa, "We started this program on Sept. 5, 1989. It was a shotgun wedding. We did not get along very well in the beginning. The show was considered to be a colossal misjudgment within the first couple of weeks. Within nine months it was the toast of the town. Fortunately for Dog and myself it has remained that way for these many years. For many of you, and for me and I know for Dog this is a very sad occasion."

Francesa said that the two have only had five or six quarrals in 19 years, and that the two didnot split because they could not get along anymore. Russo left because of an new "opportunity" beckoned and he had to take advantage of it, since he is only 48 years old with four small children.

"Over 19 years we experienced a lot here," said Francesa, "We have gone through marriages, the birth of seven children...with you, with us all the while. We became a part of the fabric of this great city."

"I will put together a new program with new elements. I said that I did not want a new partner and I won't; that's not the idea," Francesa admitted.

"I know what you (the people) are feeling. This show has been a part of my heart for years," said Francesa. "It has been a pleasure doing it. It has been an honor doing it."

Both Francesa and Russo had contracts that were running out. Francesa said that it was important for him to finish his career at WFAN, so he signed a five-year extension. He will be 59 when the contract ends in 2013.

"A lot of opportunites present themselves. I really wanted to stay and finish my career here. It was really important to me," said Francesa. "Dog decided to take a different avenue; nothing wrong with that. We made have had our ups and downs, but it didn't mean we couldn't work together."

At about 1:20 pm, Francesa broke company rules a bit, and invited Russo on the program, via telephone, to say good-bye to everyone. Russo was very emotional, breaking into tears and crying for about a minute over the phone.

"I'm 48, its time for a little change personally," said Russo, "I think you will do very well. Sooner or later you will find out what I am going to do. It was the right move at the right time."

"I love that talk show. I love those fans," said Russo. "I am going to miss the hottness of that New York topic. This is a very, very tough call."

"I think you and I did a good job, inspite of our problems. Mike knows me better than he knows Roe (Francesa's wife) and I know Jeanne (Russo's wife). I am going to miss that show," as Russo broke into tears.

"I could not be prouder than of the work we put together over the last 19 years. "Mike and the Mad Dog" happens to you once in a lifetime. It has been a very special gift," said Francesa.

You can listen to the entire 40 minute opening on In the meantime I will scower Yes and Youtube for a video of the opening to this great and wonderful program from today.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Sad To See MIke & the Mad Dog End

It is true that things do not last forever. Nothing can be more shocking or painful when something that seems so good, ends abruptly.

For 19 years Mike Francessa and Christopher Mad Dog Russo co-hosted a five and a half hour radio show every weekday from 1:00 to 6:30 pm, and whether it was a rainy March Tuesday, or a week before the Super Bowl, or a nice sunny crisp day on a Friday in mid-October, the "Mike and the Mad Dog Show" gave me and many listeners enough news and entertainment to make the middle of day grand.

It will be hard to accept football Fridays without both Francessa and Russo making their NFL picks for week during the 5:00 hour.

It will be hard to accept that the two of them drilling a coach, or general manager, or player for making a stupid play or managerial move, that will now, only include one voice of reason.

It will be hard to accpet that "Mad Dog's" always right to the point analysis of various topics from Adam 'Pacman' Jones, to the phoniness of over-paid pro athletes in the Olympics, or steroids in baseball will no longer grace the airwaves of 660 AM.

It will be hard to go through the drudgering of the week between the NFC and AFC Championship games and the Super Bowl without Russo dressing like George Washington to help Francessa award Super Bowl tickets to fans who can succesfully answer NFL trivia questions, only to have both Russo and Francessa yell and scream at fans who can't answer an easy question like, "Who was the MVP of Super Bowl III?"

It will be hard not to hear Russo put Francessa through a segment on tennis, or his beloved San Francisco Giants, or even proclaiming the Francessa's Yankees dead every June 1, as the two of them always found a way to get a chuckle out of each other on those topics.

And, it will be strange to hear Francessa broadcast the annual summer finale at Bar-A in south Jersey by himself. The event became something of a staple, as both Francessa and Russo would end their summer vacation, a week early, to broadcast down there signifing the end of summer and the unoffical beginning of football season and fall.

Whether the topic was World Series, NBA Finals, Super Bowl, Jets, Giants, Yankees, Mets, Knicks, Isiah Thomas, Bill Parcells, Eli Manning, A-Rod, Mike Piazza, Armando Benitez, San Francisco Giants in Game Six of the 2002 World Series, the Red Sox run in 2004, or the Mets collapse in 2007, Francessa and Russo covered it all - and we will never forget all of the good times they gave listeners for 19 years.

The show will always be missed because things never, ever last forever - unfortunatly.

Chris Mad Dog Russo is Done With WFAN

Breaking news that just happened at around 10:10 p.m. Thursday night.

Christoper "Mad Dog" Russo who was a key player in the weekly afternoon "Mike and the Mad Dog Radio Show" has been released from his contract by WFAN. According to a story from the New York Post, Russo and WFAN Radio have "agreed to go seperate ways." (Read the Article).

Meanwhile, Mike Francesa has signed a multi-year contract with WFAN to remain in his regular spot - this time flying solo.

There were no specifics as to why Russo was let go. This ends speculation that started back in June when a Newsday article from June 22 reported that there could be a split between Russo and Francessa because the two were not getting along anymore.

The next week, Russo went on the air and said that there were no problems between he and Francessa and that the two had worked things out.

However, when Francessa returned after a brief vacation to do a show before the Yankee-Met Subway Series, Francessa hinted that something was going on behind the scenes.

Now, the article from the New York Post says that Francessa will host the show alone for the "short term," but, knowing how aburpt and surly Francessa can be, it is not likey that he will want to be paired with anyone.

Possible replacements could be Joe Beningo, host of the mid-day show; Chris Carlin, co-host of SNY's "LoudMouths," who once produced the "Mike and the Mad Dog Show" for a few years, and maybe Marc Malusis, who is a rising star in the WFAN orgainization, spliting time with Tony Page on the overnights.

But, chances are Francessa will want the show all to himself since he is usually selfish and somewhat of a blowhard, who has to get his views across.

Don't be surprised if Russo lands at ESPN Radio or Satellite Radio and competes with Francessa and the FAN sometime in the future.

Mets Sweep Nats; Sole Possesion of 1st Place.


Yes folks, the Mets are hot!?!? Believe it or not! The Mets are also in sole possesion of first place in the NL East! Believe that or not!!!!

One again, the Mets put together another dominating performance against the Nationals, beating up and sweeping the worst team in the NL, exteding the Mets winning streak to three games, and temporarily putting the concerns of this club into the rear view mirror.

The Mets got it going in the fourth as they scratched out two runs on a Carlos Delgado grounded out to short to bring home Argenies Reyes to take a 1-0 lead. Later, Carlos Beltran hit a sac. fly to center to drive home David Wright to make it 2-0.

Fast forward to the fifth inning, with a man on, Brian Schnieder hit his third homerun of the year to left field, as the ball feel into a bunch of plants that lined the outfield wall. 4-0 Metropolitans.

Oliver Perez pitched well. He held the Nationals scoreless through the first six innings of the game tonight, but got into to trouble in the seventh as he surrendered three runs to get Washington back into the game at 5-3. Perez was removed from the game for Joe Smith who proceeded to get out of the inning, getting Ronnie Belliard to fly out to center. Perez got the win; he improves to 9-7 on the year.

Still, the Mets offense was not done, adding four runs in the ninth inning to put the game away for good. Dan Murphy and Fernado Tatis started the inning with back - to - back hits. Later, Damion Easley singled up the middle to drive home both Murphy and Tatis.

Jose Reyes singled, and David Wright reached on an error by Belliard to load the bases. Next, Carlos Delgado hit the ball into the shift, but Emilo Bonifaco threw the ball away to allow Easley and Reyes to score. 9-3 New York. Ballgame OVER!

The Mets are a half a game ahead of Philadelphia for first place - pending the result of the late game between the Phillies and the Dodgers.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Mets Come to Life


A day after the Mets had to sweat out another ballgame, they finally got a much needed laugher as they walked right past the Washington Nationals 12-0, Wednesday night.

The Mets got all they needed in the third inning as 13 men came to bat against starter Jason Bergmann. The Mets scored a season high eight runs in the inning to take a 10-0 lead.

Dan Murphy, who had a huge night, singled to left to drive home David Wright to get things going in the third. Later Fernando Tatis, who had homered in the second inning, singled to left to drive home Delgado giving the Mets a 4-0 lead. After John Maine walked to drive home another run, Jose Reyes drove home two more with a single to left center to make it 7-0 Metropolitans.

Finally, Carlos Beltran doubled to left center, to bring home two more runs to make it 10-0. It was a total debacle for Bergmann, who had to gut it out and stay through the punishment to save the National bullpen.

In the fifth, Murphy added to his big night, slapping a two run homerun into the bullpen in left field to give New York a 12-0 lead. Murphy has two homers and eight RBI since being called from Double-A Bigimton.

John Maine was ok in his first start off the DL, going five shutout innings for the win; he gave up only one hit all night. Brian Stokes, who was called up from Tripple-A New Orleans last week pitched four shutout innings in relief to earn a save.

Favre Feels "Tired"

Brett Favre is non too happy about how he is performing in practice right now. In a post practice media session the three time MVP said that his arm was "dragging a little" and that he feels "tired" and will "speak to Eric" Mangini about his aparent fatigue.

Favre still doesn't feel that his timing with Lavernous Coles, Jerricho Cothery and David Clowney is up to par yet, but is still hopeful that things will get straightened out soon.

Watch video from the NFL Network of Favre's interview.

Still Favre's teammates are impressed by how quickly Favre is grasping the offense. Bubba Franks the Jets tight-end who played his first eight years with Favre and the Packers feels that Favre is picking things up quickly, and remarked about how smart the quaterback is.

Favre will start Saturday against the Redskins, kickoff is at 7:00. The game can be seen on CBS channel two in the New York Metropolitan region, or on the NFL Network.

Put A Fork In 'Em, Yankees Are Dead!


A night after the Yankees blew two leads and stormed back to win, thanks to an Alex Rodriguez homerun in the twelfth inning, the Yankees proceeded to lay an egg in Minnesota, Wednesday afternoon.

The Yankees who gained a game on Tampa Bay, and are five back of Boston for the Wild Card, badly needed this one, and could not deliver. It says alot of about this team, that has a $200 million payroll, and has added All Stars in Xavier Nady and Pudge Rodriguez, and still, still the Yankees can't win games. Maybe it is time to stick a fork in the Yankees and determine that this season is over, becasue if this team continues to play listless baseball they will be looking from the outside in.

Other teams have injuries. The Rays lost Carl Crawford and Evan Longoria for 15 days; Boston lost Big Papi David Ortiz for the entire first half of the season, and yet these two clubs have been consistent winners all year long.

Today's disaster started to turn in Minnesota's favor in the fourth inning with the Yankees up 1-0. Joe Mauer walked to lead things off, then Justin Morneau reached on a fielders choice, after a fielding error by Robinson Cano, who continues to play with his head up his butt this season.

Fianlly, Delmon Young, who has killed the Yankees in this series hit a three run shot to right center field for a homerun giving Minnesota a 3-1 lead.

Later in the game Melky Cabrera gave us more evidence as to why he should NOT be in center field as he dropped a easy popup that he had in his glove, putting a man on late in the game.

The Yankee are not totally dead, since they are still just five and a half back of Boston for the Wild Card, but it is starting to get late fast. This team is showing no signs of life, and whenever they seem to win a big game, they come out the next day and lay out a stinker.

The Yankees brass has always said that they would love to have former Met manager Willie Randolph involved with the franchise sometime in the future. Maybe Joe Girardi should start looking over his shoulder, because if this club fails to make it to the postseason with this talent - Randolph might be managing the Bombers in 2009 and not Girardi.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Mets' Pen Finds A Way; Finally!


Well, well, well, the Mets bullpen finally figures it out, and closes a game, and preserves a victory for Johan Santana. About time, never thought it would happen, considering the agita that this bullpen has given not just Met fans, but the starting staff and manager Jerry Manuel.

Santana did not have his best stuff tonight. Twice he was given a lead, and twice he fretted it away. Up 2-0 in the first, Santana gave up a single to Ryan Zimmerman to score Carlos Guzman to score from third; later Santana allowed a single to Jesus Flores to bring home Zimmerman with the tying run.

With a 3-2 lead in the seventh, and with mounting pressure for Santana to pitch deeper than seven innings, because of the pen, he gave up a rocket to ex-Atlanta Brave Ryan Langerhans to tie the game again.

Still, the Mets fought back, loading the bases against Saul Rivera. THen in one of the most twisted and strange plays of the season, Rivera hit Damion Easley in the head with a 2-2 pitch, allowing David Wright to score from third with the go ahead run.

Now it was up to the pen to hold it, and they did not disapoint.

After giving up a leadoff hit to Austin Kearns, Joe Smith beared down and struck out ex-Met maniac, Lastings Milledge swinging for out number one. Later, he got Flores to strike out swinging and got Ronnie Belliard to pop up to end it.

Then in the ninth, Manuel had a decision to make, go with young Eddie Kunz or start Pedro Felicano in the ninth and take him out in favor of Kunz for a right handed batter. Manuel, instead, opted to leave Feliciano in the game for the whole inning and it paid off.

Feliciano got Willie Harris to fly out to center field, and proceeded to strike out Will Nieves and Emilo Bonifacio to end the game and nail it down for New York. The save was Felicano's first since September 1 of last year in a game against the Braves. Feliciano now has three career saves.

For Santana it is his tenth win of the year. The Mets are still two back of Philadelphia for first in the NL East.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Perkins Pelts Punchless Yankees


The struggles for the New York Yankees continue, as the Bombers dropped their fourth straight game, this one to the Minnesota Twins, Monday night in Minnieapolis.

Glen Perkins dominated the Bombers for eight brilliant innings, surrendering only four hits, all of which were singles. The only opportunity the Yankees had to do anything against Perkins was in the first inning, with two out and Bobby Abreu and Alex Rodriguez on base, Xavier Nady lined out to right to end the threat.

Other than that the Yankees offense did absolutely nothing. Perkins is now 9-3 on the year, and his ERA dropped to 4.07.

The Twins found ways to manufature runs from players you wouldn't expect. With one on and two out in the second inning, former Astro Adam Everett homered to left to give the Twins a quick 2-0 lead.

Sidney Ponson was great yet again for the Yankees going seven and two-thirds innings and surrendering only four runs on seven hits. Most nights this would be enough to win, especially with the offense of the Yankees, but it was not the case. After Ponson gave up the fourth run of the night and was removed by manager Joe Girardi, the hot headed pitcher slamed his hat and glove on the Yankee bench as he left.

Joe Nathan closed down the Yankees in an easy ninth inning, striking out the side.

The Yankees are now nine games behind the first place Rays, and could fall to five and a half behind Boston if they hold on in their game against the Chicago White Sox.

In past seasons, one would not count the Yankees out, becasue they are the Yankees. They are used to coming back from big deficits to win the division or wild card. They did it the last few seasons, when it appeared that the Bombers were dead; most memorably the did it in 1978, coming back from 14 games back in the final weeks of the year to win the division from the Red Sox.

But, this is a different season, and a different team. Injuries and age have plauged the Yankees all year long. This group of Yankees, particularly the Derek Jeter's, and Mariano Rivera's of the world are not used to falling apart in August and September. They are used to using August and September to come out of a big June or July hole. How will these Yankees react?

So far it is not so good. Giardi will be tested, because we all can suspect that if Joe Torre was still the manager the Yankees would find a way out of this. I don't know if the leadership is there to find the way out now.