Sunday, February 28, 2010
The Thomas Jones era is coming to an end in New York.
The Jets will release the 31-year-old running back, who was due $2.8 million in 2010, as well as a $3 million roster bonus. The Jets fearing that Jones' skills would eventually diminish decided not to risk paying him and get younger at the position.
During the playoffs Shonn Greene stepped up and became the teams new number one running back. He led all NFL running backs with 304 rushing yards in the playoffs, and proved to be a spark for the offense, while Jones disappeared during that crucial stretch.
Fans will miss Jones who ran for more than 1,300 yards in each of his last two seasons with the Jets, however getting younger is a great decision by the Jets. Better to get out of the contract a year early than a year too late.
This will allow the Jets the time to find out if Greene, who was a terrific running back at the University of Iowa, can be their number one back. Leon Washington who is coming off leg sugrery, will be a huge question mark this spring and summer as to whether he can return to the same productive player again.
Look for the Jets to trade up in the draft and select a running back with their first pick in the April draft.
Friday, February 26, 2010
New Meadowlands Stadium which will open this April for a college lacrosse tournament, before giving way to a Mexico vs. Ecuador soccer match in May, put in a bid to host Super Bowl XLVIII just before Super Bowl XLIV earlier this month.
Commissioner Roger Goodell was intrigued by the idea of having a world championship game in the elements. The Giants and Jets have no interest right now about putting a dome on the stadium because it would cost too much, so right now Super Bowl XLVIII looks like it could be the first super bowl in snow!!
The host city for Super Bowl XLVIII will be announced in May. Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, and Dolphin Stadium in Miami are the other bidders. Those two cities just hosted the Super Bowl in the last year.
New Meadowlands Stadium will have plenty of attractions for fans. There will be interactive game and events outside the stadium on game days, and Xanadu will feature Lego Land, 17 movie theaters, a bowling ally and a shopping mall. Not to mention that the stadium is eight miles from Manhattan.
Saturday, February 20, 2010
Woods apologized to his wife Elin, his family and friends for his behavior that saw the golf superstar fool around with 16 different women, most of whom were prostitutes.
Woods looked pale and drawn out during his 14 minute speech, in which he declared that he has "disappointed all of you. I am embarrassed that I put you in this position. For all that I have done, I am so sorry," Woods said.
Woods then went on an the offensive attacking the media and blaming them for fabricating stories about him and his wife. He stated that the car accident on Thanksgiving was not a spousal dispute, and that Elin didn't beat him up as previously rumored. He even lashed out at paparazzi who photographed his two and a half year old daughter for following her to school. "Please leave my wife and kids alone. I recognize that I brought this on myself."
Woods admitted that he once thought he was invincible because of the fame and power that he gained over the last decade as he became golf royalty.
Woods stated that he would stay away from golf for the foreseeable future, but didn't rule out returning this season. In short forget about seeing Woods in Augusta in April for The Masters. The U.S. Open is not until mid June, and the British Open is in July. Will we see Tiger at one of those? Time will tell.
"I have a lot of work to do, and I am dedicated to doing it."
Gone are Johnny Damon, Melkey Cabrera and Hideki Matsui. In are Curtis Granderson, Javier Vazquez and Nick Johnson. The Yankees off-season was addition by subtraction. Granderson give the Yankees a legit center fielder, who is young, 30, and can hit home runs and steal bases. Johnson, a former Yankee prospect, will take over the DH roll for the popular Matsui, who won the World Series by himself in Game Six.
There will be pressure to win it all again, there always is in Yankee land. Plus much has been made in recent weeks about the clubs reluctance to negotiate extensions for Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera and manager Joe Girardi. However the club's M.O. is to not discuss contracts until the season is over, this one is just beginning.
Jeter, Rivera and Girardi will get paid in due time, they have earned it.
The Yankees only concerns in camp is to see who will be the fifth starter between Joba Chamberlain and Phil Hughes. The loser gets to set up for Rivera this season; not a bad cons elation prize if you ask me. They have to find out if Vazquez can pitch in New York. Last time he was a Yankee in 2004, Vazquez was a complete bust, highlighted by his dreadful performance in the 2004 ALCS. And they have to figure out whether to lead off with Granderson, or move him down in the order.
YAWN! Boring! But when you win a World Series, a boring Spring Training is actually a good thing.
The Mets skipper wants to move Jose Reyes, who is coming off a hamstring injury, into the third spot in the Mets batting order, while Carlos Beltran heals up from knee surgery. This means the top of the Mets order would look like this:
1-Luis Castillo - 2B
2-Daniel Murphy - 1B
3-Jose Reyes - SS
4-David Wright - 3B
This is terrible!!! Why would you bat two of your weakest hitters at the top of the lineup! Sure Castillo hit over .300 last year, but he is so inconsistent at the plate, and lacks the nessecary speed to steal bases at the top of the order. As for Murphy he is still learning how to be a major league hitter. Why put him in a position where he could fail and fall even further behind. Sure, Murphy has the potential to be a solid number two hitter, but the Mets should gradually graduate him there as the year wears on.
Plus, the number three hole is for a power bat. Reyes is not a power bat, he is a guy who is supposed to drive the ball into the gap and steal bases. The worst thing that could happen to Reyes is that he develops the bad habit of aiming for home runs, instead of trying to get on base and steal bases. This has disaster written all over it.
They are going nowhere, and have been going nowhere for years.
However, coming this summer, the Knicks will have reason to hope, at least a little. On Thursday, the Knicks pulled off two trades. 1) The Knicks traded Nate Robinson and Marcus Landry to Boston, for Eddie House, J. R. Giddens and Bill Walker. All have expiring contracts, so the trade had no effect on the cap. 2) The Knicks traded away their 2011 and 2012 first round draft picks to the Houston Rockets to acquire another expiring contract: Tracy McGrady, the Knicks also acquired Sergio Rodriguez for Larry Hughes.
The reason this is news has to do with the Knicks dream plan to acquire LeBron James, who is a free agent after this season. The Knicks have enough cap room to offer major contract to two star players. They want James, but even the bright lights of New York and an A-Rod like contract may not be enough to lure James here. Money talks, but if James cares about winning he should stay in Cleveland. The Knicks won't win right away next year, even with James in fold.
If the Knicks can't nab James, they could look to Miami's Dwayne Wade or Toronto's Chris Bosh. Wade is a great player, a leader, and a World Champion, having won the NBA title with the 2005-2006 Heat.
Either way, it is going to get interesting this summer. It's make or break for the Knicks.
David Wright spoke about how he expected the Mets to go far into the postseason this year. Johan Santana declared that he was the best starter in the NL East, an obvious slap at Phillies ace Roy Halladay. Overall there is a jovial feeling in the Mets clubhouse, a feeling that the can begin to put the painful memories of 2009 behind them.
Jose Reyes, who is coming off a bizarre hamstring tear that resulted in him missing a majority of the season this year, is reported to be spry. "On his first day at the Mets' complex this spring, Reyes high-stepped through a rope ladder laid on the grass. Then he pronounced himself fully healed from a torn hamstring and tendon, the latter of which required surgery to address.
"The last five weeks I've been feeling very good," Reyes said.
Reyes had been working out indoors on Long Island, N.Y. Four times a week he sprinted and worked out his legs at one facility. Two days a week he went elsewhere to hit in a cage and take groundballs on artificial turf. His arrival in Port St. Lucie, Fla., marked his first time working out on a baseball field since August." (Yahoo Sports).
This is a big year for the Mets. They have to prove that they can stay healthy for the long term. However with the absence of Carlos Beltran from the lineup for the foreseeable future, things have not gotten off to a good start.
This is a big camp for Dan Murphy to prove that he can be the teams everyday first baseman. Murphy struggled in the field last year in left and at first. If he can't hack at first this time around, he won't be with the team much longer.
This is also a big camp for the Mets rotation. Outside of Santana, the Mets failed to improve their pitching staff. John Maine is coming off two straight years of elbow problems. Oliver Perez is a hard-case, and Mike Pelfrey needs to get his self-confidence back after a rough 2009. Did I mention the Mets don't have a fifth starter?
Anticipating their eventual move to Brooklyn, New York, the New Jersey Nets will move to the Prudential Center in Newark for the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 seasons.
"An administration official briefed on the terms of the deal reached today said the Nets will be allowed to break the lease at Izod with the payment of $2 million to the Sports Authority annually over the next two years. The account was confirmed by another official with direct knowledge of the negotiations.
Those early termination fees could be partially offset by the Nets with credits of up to $250,000 for proceeds to benefit Newark Symphony Hall, under the agreement approved by the authority. It would be further offset with $100,000 in credits for the lease of suites at the Prudential Center for Nets games and general events. Advertising revenues could generate an additional $100,000 in credits against the termination fees.The agreement also contains a non-disparagement clause aimed at ending the arena wars between Izod and Prudential -- which are just miles apart and compete for many of the same concerts and entertainment." (NJ.com).
In many ways this is a good move. The Nets should be playing in Newark at the Rock. For starters Newark is one of the state's largest cities, and second having a basketball team there could be a boon to the economy over there as well.
It is sad in a way that the move will be temporary, because the Nets belong in New Jersey, not Brooklyn, New York. Then again, the way this project in Brooklyn has been delayed over the years, maybe the Nets stay in Newark will be a lot longer than two years.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
However, the Nets (4-48), who are chasing the 1973 Philadelphia 76ers mark for the worst record of all time (9-73), are obviously looking for a new head coach.
Rumors started swirling from the Daily News this morning that Louisville coach Rick Pitino contacted the Nets, expressing interest in the position for the 2010-2011 season.
The coach quickly denied the interest in working for the Nets next season.
"There's not an ounce of truth to it," Pitino told ESPN.com's Pat Forde.
"I have no interest, period," Pitino said Thursday. "I'm done with coaching professional basketball. I've put the professional ranks behind me."
Good thing too, considering that when Pitino last coached in the NBA he was a total disaster. He had a decent two year stint with the Knicks, compiling a 90-74 record, that included a division title in 1989, this was his only winning season as an NBA head coach. His Knick teams lost in the first round in 1988, and in the conference semi's in 1989.
He then left the Knicks to coach Kentucky University from 1989 to 1997, leading the Wild Cats to a National Championship in 1996.
Once he returned to the NBA, Pintio sank to a new low in Boston. He failed to lead the Celtics to any playoff appearances, and compiled a 102-146 record with the Celtics. Pinto moved back to Kentucky to coach Louisville, where he has been ever since.
It is beyond me why the Nets would want a mercenary like Pitino, who is always looking for the next best gig. Plus coaching the Nets would ruin Pitino's credibility. The Nets and Pitino should thank themselves if this union never happens.
The Mets signed 35 year old left-hander Hisanori Takahashi to a minor league contract, with a chance to make the major league roster as a starting pitcher or reliever. Takahashi went 10-6 with a 2.94 ERA for the Yomiri Giants last season, which means he will be a total flame out with the Mets.
Can you say Masata Yoshi, Hideo Nomo, or Ken Takahashi? All pitched for the Mets, and were complete busts. I guess the Mets just can't help themselves. Hey, it's better than signing Jarrod Washburn or John Lackey, right? That's what Omar Minaya and the Wilpons want you to believe.
Next the Mets made a move to re-sign first baseman Mike Jacobs to a one year deal. Jacobs was the Mets first baseman during the 2005 season, hitting 11 homers in his first 100 at bats. He showed great promise as the Mets potential every day first baseman until the Mets traded him to Florida for Carlos Delgado before the 2006 season.
Jacobs has gone on to have a checkered career with Florida and Kansas City. He has developed an all or nothing reputation. He has struck over 100 times in each of the last three seasons, and has hit 30 plus homers only once, 2008.
The Antonio Pierce era is now over.
The former voice of the Giants defense over the last three seasons was released by the team after a horrible 2009 season, which saw the linebacker miss seven games due to a bulging disc in his neck. Pierce was a three-time captain with the Giants from 2007-2009.
"He has worn that Giant uniform very, very proudly,'' coach Tom Coughlin said.
In spite of his productivity on the field, Pierce will be best remembered for being involved in the Plaxico Burress shooting in November 2008. As most remember, Burress accidentally shot himself in the foot with an unlicensed gun at a N.Y. night club. Pierce was with Burress that night, and allegedly tried to hide the gun, and clean the troubled receiver up.
Sunday, February 7, 2010
They are the Aints no more.
The New Orleans Saints are world champions for the first time in their once star crossed history. With all of Louisiana and parts of the country pulling for the Saints to deliver to their fans, who were once ravaged by Hurricane Katrina in 2006, winning this Super Bowl is big for this franchise.
No one in their right mind would have thought the Saints would beat Peyton Manning and the Colts. Sure, the Saints were 13-0 this year, and were the number one seed in the NFC playoffs, but beating a four time MVP and former Super Bowl MVP in Manning was not going to be easy.
Once New Orleans fell behind 10-0, they could have easily folded under the brightest lights the franchise has ever played under. Not this Saints team. Not with Drew Brees and Sean Payton leading the way.
The Saints dominated from the second quarter on. They allowed the Colts to score on seven points the rest of the way, and the New Orleans offense kept the Manning and the Colts offense on the sideline for most of the evening.
With Indianapolis up 10-6 coming out of halftime, the Saints pulled some trickery. They attempted an onside kick, and recovered it at the 40. From there Brees picked apart the Colts D, completing four straight passes to move the ball to the 23. Two plays later, Brees hit Pierre Thomas on a screen pass at the 10, and Thomas dove into the end zone for the score and a 13-10 New Orleans lead.
The Colts would answer. Manning's 27 yard pass to Dallas Clark set things up at the Saints 20. Joesph Addai took it from there rushing four yards up the middle for the score, recapturing the lead 17-13.
That was as close at the Colts would get to the Lombardi Trophy all night.
On the next Colts possession, the Colts stalled at the New Orleans 33, forcing Matt Stover to come out and kick the field goal. Stover's 51 yarder was wide left, giving the Saints great field position.
Brees slowly picked apart the Colts offense, completing passes of eight here, and six there. Finally, Brees hit Jeremy Shockey, the former N.Y. Giants from two yards out to give New Orleans a 22-17 lead.
The Saints attempted the two point conversion, when Brees hit Lance Moore caught Brees' pass, tried to dive over the end zone line, bobbled the ball, still held on, and was pushed out of the end zone by a Colts defender.
The original ruling was that Moore had bobbled the ball and it was incomplete. However, replay showed that Moore held on to the ball, and it was across the goaline, even though he was tumbling and spinning on top of his head. Two point conversion good. Saints lead 24-17.
Later in the quarter, Tracy Porter put his name in the books, and delivered the Lombardi Trophy to New Orleans when he stepped in front of a Manning pass, picked it off and went to the races for a 74 yard touchdown, giving the Saints an insurmountable 31-17 lead.
The commercials? Just dreadful, the worst ever. The Super Bowl halftime show featuring The Who? Forgettable. Was Super Bowl XLIV a classic? No. But to the people of New Orleans, who had to sit through 42 years of absolute misery, this was their Magic Moment.