Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Knicks and Nets set to get LeBron James

July 1 is just a few days away, and so is the beginning of the much ballyhooed NBA free agent period, where LeBron James, Dwayne Wade, Chris Bosh, and Joe Johnson are all ready to make it rich this off-season.

James is the pearl of the pack. The former Cavalier, has been rumored to head to the Chicago Bulls on Sunday, but who really knows?

Both New York and New Jersey have been trying to put their best foot forward to court James since the middle of winter. Whether it be Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Donald Trump, C.C. Sabathia (who is James old buddy, who Sabathia played in Cleveland with the Indians), Spike Lee, Mikahl Prokorov, or rapper Jay-Z, Beyonce, and Queen Latifa, every top celebrity has tried to send messages to James to come to the Big Apple.

The attraction? Its New York. Who wouldn't want to play in New York, where we treat champions like heroes forever. I have heard arguments that there is nothing like winning in New York for weeks; it's true in many ways. New York fans never forgot the 1968-69 Jets, the 1986 Giants, the 1986 Mets, the 1994 Rangers, the 1996 and 1998 Yankees - those teams are cherished in this city to this day.

But as of late, let me ask you, other than the Yankees, what is like to win in New York? The only teams to win a world title in this town in the last 15 years, other than the Yankees were the Giants in 2007-2008 and Devils. The Giants were treated as gods for about a year; now people talk about Tom Couglin getting fired again. The Devils won three Stanley Cups in this time frame, and nobody in New York and New Jersey really cared; heck they celebrated their championships in the Meadowlands parking lot.

In short, it hasn't been easy for teams in this area to bring home the gold. The Knicks and Nets are not even close to being contenders this year, and maybe for the next two to three years. Does someone like LeBron James want to be on a team that really can't win right away? As great a place as New York is to play, it is as unforgiving as place when teams lose. Does LeBron really want that?

James will never come to a city where he will not be the number one sports personality in the city, and where he cannot win a championship. Dream New York, as in dream on.

Valentine out of running for Marlins job

According to the Florida Marlins website, former Mets manager Bobby Valentine is out of the running for the Marlins managerial job.

Why? Not money, but philisophical differences with the owner Jeffrey Loria.

What a shock! Valentine and Loria are two big personalities, it is not surprising that they can't see eye to eye. Valentine wants to add talent to make a run at the postseason, while Loria, who is notoriously cheap, is best known for shreeding the team for younger talent.

It was a marriage that would never work.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Nets' President Rod Thorn Stepping Down

With the biggest free agent signing period in NBA history about to begin, Nets GM Rod Thorn has stepped down as President/GM of the team, effective next month.

He is not being forced out by new owner Mikhal Prokhorov, who reportedly wants Thorn to stay. Thorn has yet to even sign a contract extension offered by Prokhorov.

Thorn will likely stay with team through the first part of free agency, but if the team had any plans of signing LeBron James or Dwayne Wade, they are probably squashed now that there is no stability in New Jersey.

Yankees Outlast Dodgers in LA


It was a warm and fuzzy reunion between Dodgers manager Joe Torre, and his former Yankee players, by the end of the night it was anything but warm and fuzzy.

The game was a terrific pitchers dual between C.C. Sabathia and Vicente Padilla, a match-up that had some fireworks. Early in the game, Padilla hit Robinson Cano in the back of the thigh, a pitch that many of the Yankees, including Sabathia took as intentional, because Sabathia retaliated later. Sabathia hit Padilla with a pitch the next inning, resulting in Padilla starring down Sabathia as he walked to first.

Both benches were warned by the home plate umpire, Phil Cuzzi.

With the score tied at one, Alex Rodriguez rocketed a homer to left center to give the Yankees a 2-1 lead in the sixth. From there Sabathia cruised. He went eight brilliant innings, giving up only four hits and a run.

Then in the ninth it got even more interesting. With two out, and Mariano Rivera facing James Loney, Cuzzi called the first pitch a strike. It was clearly high, and Torre was seen screaming at Cuzzi for the high strike call. The next pitch --- a low strike, that was too low to even be a strike. Now Torre and former Yankee great Don Mattingley, now Torre's bench coach with the Dodgers were both screaming at Cuzzi. The third pitch, strike three, game over, Loney slammed his helmet to the ground.

As Cuzzi walked toward the Umpire's dugout, Torre and Mattingley were thrown out of the game for continuing to scream at him over the two pitches.

So much for reunions.

Wright Propels Mets Over Mauer' & Twins


The Mets express kept rolling past American League competition last night, as David Wright led the Mets to a 5-2 victory over the Minnesota Twins.

With Minnesota up 1-0 in the fourth, the Mets had yet to get a baserunner against Kevin Slowey, until Jose Reyes' single in the bottom of the fourth. Later, Wright doubled down the left field line to score Reyes to tie it at one. Then Ike Davis singled to center; Wright moved to third, but, catcher Joe Mauer bobbled the relay throw to the plate, allowing Wright to score to give the Mets a 2-1 lead.

Finally, Jason Bay's double off to right center brought home Davis with the third run of the inning.

Mike Pelfrey pitched well for New York, scattering six hits and two runs over six innings of work. He is now 10-2.

Wright added a solo shot to right in the sixth to make it 5-2.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Yankees Ready To Rumble With Joe Torre & Dodgers

For the last two plus years we have waited for this match-up.

When schedules came out each of the last two Novembers we looked around, hoping to see the L.A. Dodgers making a trip to the Bronx to play the Yankees, if for no other reason than to see Joe Torre return to his old stomping grounds.

Well, the reunion will finally take place, some 3,000 miles away from 161st Street in the Bronx, in L.A.

Joe Torre will finally coach against the New York Yankees.

A lot has been made about Torre's rude departure from the Yankees following a crushing playoff series lose to the Indians in 2007, which was followed by Hal and Hank Stienbrenner refusing to give him the proper extension.

So Torre went off to L.A. From the moment when he donned a Dodgers cap, it looked strange, and the Yankee brass looked foolish in 2008, when Torre led the Dodgers, with arch-rival Manny Ramirez at his side to the NLCS, while the Bronx Bombers missed the playoffs.

Last season, the pain of losing Torre was all forgotten, when the Yankees won the World Series in dominating style over the Phillies. Torre's Dodgers? They lost to the Phillies in the NLCS, the series prior for the second straight year.

Now they finally collide. There will be plenty of emotion from Torre, and his ex-players, Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettitte, Jorge Posada, and even current manager Joe Girardi who all played for Torre during their dominant years in the late 1990's. Then of course there is A-Rod, who's lack of admiration for Torre was never lost between them.

Right now the Yankees are in first place in the AL East, while the Dodgers have struggled to fend off San Diego and San Francisco in the western division of the NL.

Dodgers/Yankees has always had a great history, dating back to the days when the Dodgers played in Brooklyn, and fought with the Yankees for World Series titles in the 1950's, then again in the late 1970's, when the Dodgers were Hollywood's team.

Chalk this up as another great chapter in baseballs lost, and, best rivalry.
  • Game one: 10:15 ET on YES Network
  • Game two: 7:10 ET on FOX
  • Game three: 8:00 ET on ESPN

Bobby Valentine Could Be Next Manager of Marlins

With Fredi Gonzalez's ouster in Florida, as Marlins manager, rumors have been flying that former Mets manager Bobby Valentine could take over the Fish as early as next week.

In an ESPN article late last night, sources said that Valentine will meet with Florida management today to discuss the possiblity of a deal. The article states that Valentine could be offered a four year deal.

He could take over Monday, but interm manager Edwin Rodriguez is a Puerto Rican native, and the Marlins will be in Puerto Rico to play...the Mets.

Maybe the Marlins want to avoid the media frenzy that could be created if Valentine starts his Marlins career against his old team.

Then in an article from USA Today, Valentine denied any interest in running the Marlins.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Just Amazin'! Mets Shut Down Yankees


The Mets are the hottest team in Major League Baseball.

Led by brilliant performances by Hisanori Takahasi and Pedro Feliciano the Mets shutout the New York Yankees in the Bronx, Friday.

The Mets held a 1-0 lead for most of the night, as Takahasi walked the tight rope for most of the evening, and still found a way to hold that one run lead through six brilliant innings of work. In that sixth inning, Takahasi got into some big trouble. He gave up singles to Mark Teixeira, and Nick Swisher, then walked Robinson Cano to load the bases for Jorge Posada. Posada had two grand slams this week, could he get a third?

Nope. Takahasi got Posada to ground out to David Wright at third to end the inning. That ground out was the turning point.

Then in the seventh after a lead-off double by Francisco Cervelli, Pedro Feliciano came in and got Curtis Granderson to strike out, Brett Gardner to ground out, and Derek Jeter to ground out to end that threat, and keep it 1-0.

Then the Mets tacked on. A Ruben Tejada walk was followed by a double to right by Jose Reyes to set the table for Angel Pagan. And Pagan didn't disapoint. Pagan laced a double down the left field line to bring in both runners to make it 3-0 Mets.

Fast forward to the ninth, Jerry Manuel elects to bring in Raul Valdez to close the game instead of K-Rod!?! Valdes quickly gave up two singles to make things very interesting, and Manuel had no choice but to bring in K-Rod. Rodriguez got into a heck of a battle with Brett Gardner, but walked him to load the bases for Derek Jeter! K-Rod was able to strike out Jeter on a check swing for the second out, then got Swisher to pop out to Wright for the final out.

No worries about dropped pop ups tonight. Mets win 4-0.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Revis and Mangold Upset At Jets Contracts

The drama that is the New York Jets has gotten really interesting this week.

With mandatory mini-camps taking place in Florham Park and East Rutherford this week, both Darrelle Revis and Nick Mangold are upset over their current contract status.

As most have heard, Revis came to camp, but skipped out on certain practices because he feels the Jets are playing cheap on his contract. Revis' contract which has two years left on it, wants to be paid as the highest paid corner in the NFL. Currently Raiders cornerback Nnamdi Asomugha is the highest paid corner at $15 million. It is believed that Revis wants $20 million per season. Meanwhile, Ryan did talk with Revis about his protest.

Center Nick Mangold is also unhappy.

"It's deeply disappointing," Mangold said Tuesday after the morning practice. "I've tried to do the right thing, on and off the field. I feel it's the Jets' turn. Not having the security of an extension is bothersome."

Mangold is entering the final year of his contract, due to make $3.3 million. The Jets have yet to make a proposal for a new contract, claiming they're handcuffed by the CBA rules and the uncertain labor landscape. (ESPN).

The Jets built this grave themselves. They released Alan Faneca without the player's knowledge. Released Thomas Jones which upset people in the clubhouse, and traded Leon Washington after his leg injury, and a year after the Jets couldn't give him a new contract with guarenteed money. The Jets also approached Revis after the season about ripping up his current contract and giving him a new one.

Obviously the players are a little jumpy about the Jets front office dealings. They don't trust that Mike Tannenbaum and Woody Johnson will take care of them financially. This mess could get worse as time moves on.

Keep in mind, Santonio Holmes, Braylon Edwards, and D'Brickshaw Ferguson are also in the final years of their contracts.

Surging Mets Hold Off Indians


The suddenly surging Mets won their fifth straight, and fourth on the road, with a 7-6 nail biter over the Cleveland Indians, last night in Cleveland.

Johan Santana struggled yet again, but at least this time the Mets put up some runs for him. Santana went seven innings, gave up four runs, walked two and struck out only one. He got the win, but didn't look good doing it.

With a 1-0 lead, Santana gave up a solo homer to Travis Hafner in the second. Then, he gave up a two run single to Trevor Crowe to give the Indians a 3-1 lead. The Indians tacked on one more run on Santana in the fourth when Jason Donald singled to center to drive in Johnny Peralta to make it 4-1.

Luckily for Santana, the rest of the Mets brought the bats. David Wright's infield single brought home Alex Cora, and then Jose Reyes' swipping of home, on the Indians botched relay throw to home tied the game at four. Finally, Ike Davis cracked a two run homerun to deep center to give the Mets a 6-4 lead.

It got really interesting in the ninth, when K-Rod surrendered a two run blast to Shelly Duncan to cut the Mets lead to 7-6, but he was able to get Crowe on a deep popout to end it. The Mets are 36-28, and just a half game behind the Braves for first in the NL East.

Yankees TKO Roy Halladay & Phillies


New year, same stadium, same result.

The New York Yankees picked up where they left off in October in their budding rivarly with the Philadelphia Phillies, smacking the Phils 8-3 at Yankee Stadium. The win was equally special, since the Bombers destroyed Phillies ace Roy Halladay.

Halladay just didn't have it against the Yankees. He lasted six innings, gave up eight hits and six runs, including three homers.

The Yankees were in control from the start. In the second, Brett Gardner lined a two run triple to center to bring in two runs to give New York a 2-0 lead.

Then in the third, the Yankees went yard on Halladay. First, Curtis Granderson hit a solo shot to right, his third homerun since coming off the DL. Nick Swisher followed that up, with a solo blast of his own to right center to make it 4-0 Yankees.

C.C. Sabathia who has had a rough season did his part, giving the Yankees seven quality innings, allowing only three runs while striking out seven. Sabathia is now 7-3 with a 4.00 ERA.

The Yankees offensive barrage continued in the fifth as Mark Teixeria pulled a homerun to the right field corner to make it 5-3 Bombers.

With the win the Yankees remain tied with the Tampa Bay Rays for first in the AL East.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Jets cut prices on 18,000 PSL's

So it comes down to this.

As a last ditch effort to sell out GIANTS Stadium for Jets game, the Jets organization has decided to cut prices on 18,000 seats up for PSL's. Cuts are going for as much as 50%. After the Jets failed to coax fans with constant phone calls and emails to buy the seats at the previous, ridiculous rates, the Jets have no choice but to cut prices.

But don't jump on that credit card that fast Jet fans, because the prices are still steep. Lower end zone seats have been reduced from $5,000 per seat to $2,500 per seat. Second level mezz. end zone, has been cut from $4,000 a seat to $2,500 a seat. Finally, the lower sidelines have been slashed from a whopping $15,000 per seat to $10,000 per seat. Overall, the cuts are costing the Jets $47.25 million in losses.

The prices are still ridiculous. Jet fans should continue to protest the costs until these prices are reduced to a resonable rate, if not eliminated. The Giants have sold out the building, with the exception of 1,500 seats that could always be sold on a individual game basis, or sold to brokers on Stub Hub.

At least the Giants have a recent history of success; they won the Super Bowl more than two years ago. The Jets are a bigger gamble for investors, they were a lucky lot to get to the playoffs last season, and have not had a season of more than 10 wins in 11 years.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Yankees Can't Ignore Toronto Now

So Yankee nation, confident that your defending champions are better than the Blue Jays?

For the past two days it didn't look like it, as Toronto beat the Yankees in each of the first two games of a weekend series. The Jays have hit, pitched and totally dominated the Yankees in the first two games.

In game one, Jose Bautista cracked two homers, and went 3-for-3 against the Yankees. Bautista has a MLB leading 18 homers this year, and is clearly the most ignored All Star this season - as he is getting no votes in the fan balloting. Bautista is in the midst of a career year.

Meanwhile Brett Cecil dominated the Bombers for eight strong innings, yielding only one run as Toronto won 6-1.

In game two, Andy Pettitte was great, giving up only two runs (homers to Veron Wells and Alex Gonzalez) in seven and two-thirds, but the homer happy Jays were too much for the Yankees pen as Aaron Hill won it in the 14th with a single to left-center for the 3-2 victory.

Now the Jays will go for the sweep today, and who is on the mound for the Yankees? Well, it's just Javier Vazquez and his six ERA. The Jays (33-24) are a game and a half behind the Yankees (34-22) for second place. Obviously the Jays are for real and are not going anywhere.

Mets Get Their Wish: No More Oliver Perez

Well the Mets are no longer being held hostage by Oliver Perez.

No, the Mets didn't release him, or trade him, or option him to Triple-A. No Perez is now on the disabled list.

Before the Mets 6-1 victory over the Marlins, Saturday, the Mets announced that Perez would be on the DL with Patella Tendinitis in his right knee.

Manager Jerry Manuel insists that this move is only about getting Perez healthy.

"This, purely, is Oliver Perez. Oliver Perez came in and said his knee is bothering him," Manuel said. "I've been [with the Mets] for a number of years and the integrity of those men [in the front office] has not wavered when it comes to these situations."

Sure Jerry, sure. I am sure there was a bottle of wine popped open in the clubhouse when word of Perez's injury came filtering through.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Tom Brady Wants Patriots To Pay Up

Over the last few years we have seen a lot of high profile NFL stars move to other teams, that we would never think was possible. Brett Favre left the Packers to play for the Jets and Vikings; Donavan McNabb was recently traded from the Eagles to the Redskins.

Can you imagine if Tom Brady joins that list?

It could happen.

In a story from Yahoo sports, Brady, 33, is in the final year of a $60 million contract, and right now negotiations between his party and the Patriots has stalled. "there’s a growing sense of disconnect between the two camps,"(Yahoo).

"With the specter of a work stoppage following the 2010 season looming, Brady’s situation seems entwined with the uncertain labor landscape, to the point where he could be angling toward prospective free agency after a new collective bargaining agreement is reached," (Yahoo).

The new CBA has yet to be reached between the players union and the NFL, meaning that there is the threat of a work stoppage next March that could cancel the 2011 season. However, the two parties come to an agreement on player contracts, could play a big role in determining what a 34 year old Brady will make come 2011.

He probably will finish his career in New England, but never say never. We have seen it enough in the recent past -- maybe one day Brady will wear another uniform other than the Patriots.