Wednesday, June 29, 2011
Who would have thunk it?
Facing two of the American Leagues top two teams in a row, and the New York Mets have not wilted under the pressure. Instead the Mets have delievered the TKO to both the Detroit Tigers and Texas Rangers over the past few days.
First it was a 14-5 victory in Texas on Saturday, followed up by a solid 8-3 victory on Sunday. Then last night the Mets exploded for 14 runs on 18 hits against the Tigers to get over .500 for the first time since game five of the regular season.
The game also marked the first time the Mets hit a grand slam in a game since 2009!
With New York up 2-0 in the fourth inning, Josh Thole went yard with a solo shot, his first of the year, to give the Mets a 3-0 lead. Later in the inning, with the bases loaded, Jason Bay, that's right JASON BAY, hit a grand slam homer to left to make it 9-0 Metropolitans.
Wow are these guys?
Fast forward to the fifth, bases loaded for Carlos Beltran, and kiss it good-bye another grand slam to left -- and Comerica Park is supposed to be an even harder place to hit homeruns than Citi Field. Mets grab a 13-0 lead.
R.A. Dickey, who has struggled this year, got is fourth win of the year, pitching seven strong innings, scattering 10 hits and allowing three runs.
The Mets are now 40-39, and phase the abysmal Phil Coke tonight, while, Chris Capuano, arguably the second best pitcher for the Mets this year, tries to get to .500 on the season.
The Mets are kicking AL tail-who would have guessed it. Jose Reyes has been amazing. Another four hit day for the shortstop brings his average up to .349. With the Mets now over .500, and just four games out of the Wild Card, it will be hard for the Wilpons to trade Reyes at the deadline, let alone anyone with a big name and contract.
The Mets players are making it very hard on the front office, it's like something out of the movie Major League. There is a scene in that film when the players in the Indians clubhouse get word that they will all be traded no matter how the season ends, because the owner wants to move the team to Florida. The team decides to unite in a cause against ownership and win the whole thing, inspite of her.
Here we go again -- I wonder if there is a cardboard cut out of Fred and Jeff Wilpon in the Mets clubhouse -- then again I don't want to know.
Sunday, June 26, 2011
Once again the New York Yankees proved why they are one of the few franchises that knows how to honor its past.
The Yankees held their traditional Old Timer's Day at the Stadium, but this year was extra special. First it marked the first time that both Lou Pinella and Joe Torre returned to the Bronx in Yankee uniforms.
For Torre the reunion ends three bitter years, where Torre was not a part of the Yankee tradition. He left the Yankees in a bitter contract dispute after the '07 season. He moved onto LA to manage the Dodgers the past three seasons, but was never acknowledged by Yankee brass during that time as a part of the franchises tradition.
Last season, Torre had a chance to reunite with his old team, when the Yankees came to LA to play the Dodgers, yet everyone waited for this moment. He got a nice ovation, and was even seen speaking with GM Brian Cashman, whom he had a bitter dispute with years ago.
The day also belonged to recent retirees, Tino Martinez and Bernie Williams. Martinez (NYY from 1996-2003) and Williams (NYY 1995 - 2008) received the loudest ovations, and even delivered at the plate. Williams doubled off the wall in left-center. Then Martinez cracked a two run homer to right field off David Cone.
The Yankees also honored retiring trainer Gene Monahane with various gifts that included a truck, a lawn mower, and a dog.
Other names who came to the old timer's day included: Joe Pepitone, Rick Cerone, Dwight Gooden, Darryl Strawberry, David Wells, Lee Mazzilli, Mel Stottlemyer, Yogi Berra, Whitey Ford, Reggie Jackson, and Goose Gossage.
Monday, June 20, 2011
According to SI's Peter King, he thinks the Steelers would be a good fit, since coach Mike Tomlin is a family friend of Barber, having coached his brother Ronde in Tampa Bay.
Pittsburgh would make some sense. Rashard Mendenhall is a solid starting back, but they have nobody behind him. With teams implementing more two back sets, Barber, if he has anything left, would be an interesting change of pace from Mendenhall's bruising style of play.
Plus it's the Steelers. They run a tight ship, and Barber would have to toe the line if he is to make in the Steel City. If Barber doesn't have anything to offer, the Steelers could release him with no injury to their roster or finances.
It's a possible deal that could work for both sides for sure. Barber wants to redeem himself after his broadcast career and marriage crumbled when he was caught with a 23-year-old intern. Redemption can be a funny thing, especially in the NFL. If someone has a purpose -- it tends to make them that much better on the field.
After taking a one shot lead into the fourth round at Tory Pines, in his hometown of San Diego, CA. Woods started to struggle on that incredible Sunday. He was rumored to have injured his knee that day, and couldn't close out a charge by Rocco Mediate, who went into the clubhouse -1 under par, and a slim lead over Woods.
Woods was able to make up for the dip, by scoring on par on 18-to tie Mediate, and force a playoff Monday morning.
That Monday was the last time we have seen Woods as the hero. Limping around the course, Woods, again came back to tie Mediate after 18 holes, forcing a Sudden Death playoff that same day. In Sudden Death, Woods scored a par 4 to win the tournament by a very small margin. The lasting image from the tournament being Woods clutching his young daughter in his hands afterwards.
Since that time it has been a wild ride for Woods. Even though he didn't win a major in 2009, he was still winning smaller tournaments, and hanging around in all four majors. Then the unbelievable happened; over Thanksgiving stories started to come out about Tiger's infidelity.
The 15 prostitutes that Woods had slept with brought irreparable damage to his once squeaky clean image. Woods was forced to divorce, and since that time Woods has battled mental anguish and leg injuries. He missed parts of the 2010 season, even skipping a major. When he played, he was the shell of his former self.
Now in 2011, Woods is likely out for the year with knee and Achilles tendon injuries. At 35, Woods might be done.
Enter in Rory Mcllroy. The young Irish kid, raised eyebrows with his first three rounds at the Masters in April, only to blow the four shot lead on Sunday. Then this weekend, Mcllroy put together a Woods-like performance, shooting -16 under par for the tournament and winning by eight shots.
He made a difficult course look easy.
Now golf has a new superstar. With Woods spending much of 2010 out of competition, golf really suffered -- nobody cared as much, and people wondered when the next "great thing" would come. Fans could look to golf's other aging superstar Phil Mickelson. He is the antithesis of Tiger; an very down to earth man, who dedicated last year's Masters victory to his wife, who was recovering from breast cancer.
But at 40, and only four major titles, how much does Phil have left? Ernie Els, Vijay Singh, Davis Love III, Sergio Garcia are all Woods contemporaries who have grown older, and are not as good as they used to be. No, golf needed someone younger to take the sport by storm the way Woods did in 1997.
Turns out they didn't have to wait long. Mcllroy looks like the real deal. His performance in the last two majors was so impressive that even his contemporaries are talking Mcllroy up as the best golfer ever, who has a better shot at Jack Nicklaus record 18 major wins. This was the kid's first.
Time will only tell, whether this was just a fairy tale, or the coronation of the new king of golf. David Duval was supposed to be that next great golfer back in the mid 1990s, then Tiger came around and took away all the attention. Duval slipped away into obscurity, as Woods became the dominate player of the past decade.
So, who knows how good Mcllroy will be a year from now, two years from now or five years from now. But if the Masters and U.S. Open are any indication, then we will hear from the 22-year old more often in the years to come.
Maybe when Woods does return physically and mentally fit enough to play, maybe then we can get a showdown between the two -- that would be great television.
Chad Pennington is finally hanging up the cleats, at least for this year.
The former injury riddled Jets quarterback, who spent much of eight years for Gang Green injured, before sticking it to the Jets in 2008 as he led the Miami Dolphins to the AFC East crown is now done with football.
Pennington, who injured his knee in a pick-up basketball game in April, has signed on with Fox Sports to become a tv-analyst for the network. He will team up with N.Y. Rangers play-by-play man Sam Rosen during the season, meaning that Pennington will be covering a lot of game involving the dregs of the NFC, i.e. the Lions, 49ers, Cardinals, et al.
Pennington lost his job in Miami in 2009, when he injured his shoulder in week three at San Diego. Chad Henne stepped in and lit it up in '09, before he stumbled in 2010. Pennington got a chance to start in the middle of last season, but was injured on the first play of the game -- ending his season. How ironic!
I venture to guess that Pennington won't be able to get injured in the TV booth. Maybe he should stay there permanently, and not consider a comeback in 2012. Hey, he might become the next John Madden. BOOM!
Friday, June 17, 2011
It has been well documented how the Oakland Athletics changed the financial game in the late 1990's, when Billy Beane helped invent the money ball theory. The Theory, for those who don't know, is to look at every statistical equation possible for major league baseball players to determine their value on the open market in free agency.
The A's used this theory to their advantage, as they were able to afford players at a low costs, who could produce consistent results, i.e. Barry Zito, Mark Mulder and Tim Hudson all in their prime. The theroies of Money Ball have shaken the game for general managers throughout the game; New York Mets GM Sandy Alderson was one of those moneyball pioneers, and he is trying to do the same stat crunching in New York, even to the chagrin of Mets fans who can't stand watching Ruben Tejada every single night.
But I regress.
A film based on the Money Ball phenomenon is set for release this fall, starring Brad Pitt and Philip Seymour Hoffman. Pitt plays Billy Beane in this flick, while Seymour Hoffman plays Art Howe. The film is based off the book by Michael Lewis, the same guy who wrote the Blind Side.
The feature film, "The Blind Side" became a big hit nearly two years ago, and earned Sandra Bullock an Academy Award, in spite of her pompous, over-the-top performance.
The Blind Side detailed the story of Michael Oher, who was raised as a foster child, and "discovered" the unique talent to be an offensive lineman. The real Michael Oher is of course a left tackle for the Baltimore Ravens.
As popular as the Blind Side movie was it was incredibly flawed. It's opening monologue stating that no NFL coach had figured out the importance of a left tackle until Joe Theisman broke his leg on a hit from Lawrence Taylor was beyond ridiculous. The film took a lot of liberties, painting Oher as an idiot, who could push people around. Oher didn't appreciate the interpretation, and last time I checked, no player can be a dummy and play a three-technique position like left tackle.
But again, it's Hollywood, they don't understand much of anything, other than looking good and sounding good in front of a camera.
Let's hope that Money Ball delivers the goods; we could use it, especially with audiences in the midst of one of the WORST summer movie season's ever! Here is the trailer.
One of the bright spots about interleague play is the rare occurrence that you get to see some of the legendary franchises playing each other for the first time in years. Of course since interleague's inception, the New York Yankees and Chicago Cubs have played each other a few times, but a chance to renew the rivalry is something that is always special.
Unlike the 1932 World Series however, the Cubs found a way to top the Bombers.
The Yankees who have been really struggling of late; losing Derek Jeter to the disabled list, and getting swept by the Boston Red Sox last weekend, were punchless in game one at Chicago.
Doug Davis, who was winless this season, dazzled for the Cubs shutting down the Yankees for seven - and - a - third innings giving up only a run on three hits. Davis was virtually unhittable, holding A-Rod and Curtis Granderson to respective 0-for-4's at the plate. Even though Mark Teixiera had the Yanks only RBI, even he looked over-matched against Davis.
The struggling Cubs offense did enough against starter Freddy Garcia. Sterling Castro's double to center brought home Kosuke Fukudome for the game's first run. Later in the first, Aramis Ramirez singled up the middle to drive in Castro to make it 2-0 Cubbies.
Game two tomorrow night on FOX. The Yankees need to get rolling, as they trail the Sox by 2 1/2 games.
Tuesday, June 14, 2011
"Some things that I didn't agree with, with the way he went about things. And the only way to show my way was to just rebel. Is that who I am? No.
"That was one of the biggest problems when I left Pittsburgh when I came here. I had a relationship with (former Steelers coach) Bill Cowher inside of football and outside of football. He always had an open-door policy to where you could come talk to him or tell him what was on your mind. When that was taken away from me, I kind of felt it was like: I'm the coach, you are the player. It doesn't matter what you have to say. You just do what I tell you to do.
"This is not college. This is professional sports. If you can't sit down and go talk to a man that you are busting your tail for, not even have the respect for anything that you have to say, like I said, the only thing I knew then was to rebel." Burress told reporters on Monday.
Enter the New York Jets. The Jets are in trouble of losing one or both Braylon Edwards and Santonio Holmes to free agency. The popular theroy is that the Jets will sign Holmes, but lose Edwards because of money. Burress might come cheap, considering he's 34 years old and coming out of prison.
He would fit right in with the Oakland Raider-like mentality that has been established in Florham Park. Holmes and Edwards had their share of off-the-field issues, while Shaun Ellis was pulled over for drug possession, Antonio Cromartie fathered seven children of whom he proved he doesn't know the names in Hard Knocks, and the Jets players and coach Rex Ryan heckled and threw footballs at a smokin' TV Azteca reporter last fall.
The big question is what does Burress have left? I am sure he has the motivation to play extremely well and be a "good boy" now that he's out of the slammer, but at 34 his legs may not be the same. Sure Michael Vick spent two years behind bars, but he was 28 when he was released.
Burress to the Jets is an improvement over any idea of the Jets landing Randy Moss who is a headache in his own right.
Maybe the Jets could tap Ocho Cino or T.O. while they are at it and have every boneheaded receiver in the NFL on their roster.
Rex Ryan prides himself on controling the lunatics of the NFL, so maybe he can find a way to keep Burress' personality in check, something the Steelers and Giants could not do. Cue the music: "Bad Boys."
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Colon injured the hammy while covering first on a ground ball during Saturday's 4-0 victory over the Cleveland Indians.
Colon has been surprisingly good this year. After replacing Phil Hughes in the rotation after his own injury, Colon went 5-3 for the Bronx Bombers. Anyone who knows Colon and his history of weight problems, would tell you the good fortune was on a timer to begin with. The Yankees never expected Colon to deliever much for them this year -- he and Freddy Garcia have been revelations this season.
With the loss of Colon, the Yankees will have to dig deep into the minor leagues to find a replacement until he returns in a few weeks.
Thursday, June 9, 2011
For the seventh time in eight games, the Boston Red Sox dominated the New York Yankees. The Sox, who were led by three hits from Jacoby Ellsbury, and a two run shot by David Ortiz, and a three run blast from J.D. Drew dominated New York yet again, this time to move into first place in the AL East.
It is now easy to forget that Boston opened this season 1-10. Since that time the BoSox are 34-16 one of the best records in the majors, and a team that looked dead in the water is very much alive.
The Sox once again put the Yankees in an early hole jumping out to a 3-0 lead in the first inning thanks in large part to Big Papi's homer.
A.J. Burnett didn't have it for the Yankees. In five and two-thirds innings, Burnett gave up seven earned runs, while walking four. His record falls to 6-4. In spite of a positive start to the 2011 campaign, Burnett still can't shake off the doubts he amassed in all of 2010, when he couldn't pitch out of a paper bag. This start is another example of his ineffectiveness.
Now should Yankee nation panic? No. Two seasons ago, the Yankees opened the season 0-8 against the Boston Red Sox, then went on to win the next 10 matchups en route to a World Series championship. So not all is lost, and not much can be taken from regular season match-ups in June.
The Yankees are only a game out of first, and for the most part, have put the troubles that lurked around the clubhouse in May far behind them.
And even if the Yankees lose the division to the Red Sox, does it really matter? Considering how mediocre the rest of the AL is, two teams will most definatley come out of the Eastern Division, and with Tampa Bay having trouble remaining over .500, chances both Boston and New York will make their seemingly annual trip to October.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Contingency plans were revealed this morning that the NFL has plans to cut the upcoming season in half, and play only eight games set to begin in late November, pending a settlement in October!
If the owners and players agree to a new CBA in October, the league will allow a brief free agency period and short training camp before opening the truncated 2011 season at the end of November .
It was hoped that the worst case scenario would be that the first three weeks would be wiped out in September, thus allowing the league to re-schedule those three games for late January.
Every team in week three of the regular season, set for Sept 25, was intentionally scheduled with a same bye week as their opponent for week three. That game would be made up on the bye week of the two teams; (i.e. the Jets and Raiders are scheduled to play each other in week three, both teams would have a bye week on Halloween, and if the game on Sept. 25 was canceled because of the lockout, it would have been moved to Halloween weekend).
Jets regular season schedule as it stands today:
@ New England
Jets schedule if September only is wiped out:
@ New England
*- moved from week's 1, 2, 3 of the original schedule.
Possible Jets schedule if only 8 games are played: *** (Not official)
There is a chance that no games in the first half of the year will be played.
Both the owners and players are miles apart from any compromise, so it looks more and more likely that the dispute will head into the fall.
This lockout has become so ridiculous that the NFL is better off canceling the entire season. Without a full off-season, rookies have not been able to meet with their coaches and players and get little chance to learn their playbooks. All veteran and rookie players will be out of shape if the NFL returns in late November, that even a blitzkrieg training camp won't do much to alleviate the problem of hamstring pulls and various injuries.
If the players and owners can't come to an agreement by late July, just cancel the season and save the players from injuring themselves badly in a short season that will have virtually little meaning.
Monday, June 6, 2011
Plaxico Burress is now a free man.
After having served two years in a state prison for gun possession at a New York night club in 2008, when the Super Bowl winning wide receiver accidentally shot himself in the foot, while having a good time with fellow former Giant Antonio Pierce, Burress is now free.
Arguing whether Buress deserved the harsh sentence is an argument long ago in the past. I personally believe that Buress didn't deserve the harsh sentence. Yes, his punishment was for possessing an illegal fire arm, but he never pointed the gun at anyone, never shot anybody, and certainly didn't commit as heinous as crime as say Michael Vick, who got a similar two year sentence for killing and mutilating dogs.
The Giants probably won't bring back Buress at all this year, if there is a football season in 2011. Even though the memory of Buress making the winning touchdown catch in the end zone of Super Bowl XLII three short years ago is still engrained in the memory of Giant fans alike, the G-Men would be foolish to bring him back.
Buress was a trouble maker in New York long before the gun incident. Consistently late for team meetings, and causing head coach Tom Coughlin to pull his hair out of his head, because of his lazy personality on and off the field, Buress was a handful.
Plus the 2011 New York Giants are solid at wide receiver. From Steve Smith to Mario Manningham and Hakeem Nicks the Giants have three good receivers for Eli Manning to throw to.
With that trio of receivers, Manning has had the two best seasons of his life. He threw for 4,021 yards and 27 touchdowns in 2009, and 4,002 yards with 31 touchdowns in 2010. Sure you can never have enough talent, but at 33 years-old, and assuming there is a season, what does Buress really have left?
He could be a cheap option for the Giants this summer, but if they want to move on, no one will blame them.
Rumor has it the Philadelphia Eagles would target Buress, and vice versa. The Eagles are no strangers to bringing in jail birds into their nest, having nabbed Vick in 2009, and reaped the benefits of that gamble in 2010, when Vick earned Pro Bowl honors as the team's starting quarterback.
The Eagles have Mr. Everything in DeShaun Jackson, but lack any true depth behind him at wide receiver. A tandem of Burress and Jackson is hard to pass up in Philadelphia for an Eagles team that will try to hold off both the Giants and Cowboys this season for the NFC East title.
If Burress behaves himself, he will be a great addition to any team. It is hard to find receivers who possess the size and skills that Burress had when he was in his prime. Plus if the Michael Vick experience is any indication, then Burress may still have something left in his legs.
Now all Burress has to do is wait even more, because he returns from prison waiting liking everyone else as the 2011 NFL season remains in limbo.
Friday, June 3, 2011
"Following a long series of discussions regarding his future role with the New York Knicks, Donnie Walsh and I have mutually agreed that he will be leaving his position ... at the end of June," Dolan said in a statement.
This marks then end of Walsh's wonderful job turning around a disaster that was a basketball team, decimated by the hands of Isiah Thomas.
In three years, Walsh stripped the Knicks of their salary cap woes, and rebuilt the team into an Eastern Conference contender with the acquisitions of Amar'e Stoudemire, Carmelo Anthony, and Chauncey Billups.
Walsh wanted full control of the franchise, which was a huge sticking point with Dolan. Another problem with the relationship between Walsh and Dolan was Isaiah Thomas. During the past year, Dolan was reported to be contact with Thomas about player personnel, which angered Walsh, and set forth rumors that Thomas was on his way back to the Garden.
Who will replace Walsh is anyone's guess, but the Isiah back to the Knicks rumors will surely heat up again. Thomas and Dolan have remained close friends inspite of Thomas' firing and disregard for the Knicks brand when he was here.
If Thomas returns to take over the Knicks, it could be the beginning of the end of a possible Kincks run in the Eastern Conference.
Coach Mike D'Antoni is entering the final year of his contract, and there has already been speculation that he could be replaced by former Lakers coach Phil Jackson if the right situation permits itself.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
After New York lost their second straight crushing loss to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Collins had just about enough coming off as testy and angry during his post game press conference. WATCH IT HERE!!!
Now this was not in the ilk of Lou Pinella, or for that matter, Mike Ditka, Dennis Green, or Jim Mora Sr., but it was clear that the Mets manager had steam coming out of his ears.
"I try every night to figure it out," Collins said. "I don't have the answers. I'm wringing the rag dry of coming in here and having to look at (the media) and sit here and have you look at me like a stinking fool. ... I'll take all the F***ing blame you want to dish out."
The most interesting part of Collins rant was that he promises that the atmosphere will and must change, even if he has to get different players. Now that's the spirit. That has been the Mets big problem the past four years. They have gone through three mangers and none of them have been able to figure it out. It falls on the shoulders of the players, who don't know how to execute on the field of play.
You have to appreciate Collins passion, but let's remember this is the same guy that rubbed people the wrong way in Houston and Anaheim for his short temper, which led to his firing. And keep in mind, Collins was not the first choice for this job, that was Clint Hurdle, who has done a fabulous job managing the same Pirates who are smacking around the Mets this week.
According to WFAN, a baseball source believes that if the Mets re-sign Jose Reyes, they would not object to trading Wright to save payroll.
Wright who has two years left on his contract, became the subject of a slight by owner Fred Wilpon, when the bankrupt owner called the All Star a "good player, but not a superstar" in the New Yorker magazine a week ago.
According to the scout who spoke to the Daily News: “Look at their club and look at the other shortstops around the league, and trading Wright makes more sense,” said the scout. “You can play (Daniel) Murphy at third and he’ll give you enough offense there. But you can’t replace Reyes’ offense with (Ruben) Tejada.”
The scout added: “Really, there are only a couple of shortstops in baseball that are on Reyes’ level, and Sandy is all about value, so I think when it comes down to it, he’d rather re-sign Reyes and trade Wright.”
True, Reyes has a lot more value than Wright at this point of the year, and his importance to the Mets success trumps that of Wright as well. Reyes' ability to steel bases, hit with some power, and gather up triples is hard to find, especially for a short stop. The Mets could always find a power hitting third baseman.
That being said, Reyes' value may never be higher. Trading Reyes now would make the most sense, since the Mets could get the most in return in terms of prospects and young major league ready players.
Wright, would not garner a lot in a trade right now. In the off-season, he could, possibly garner a lot more interest from teams in search of a third baseman, or even a DH.
Either way it is clear that stars like Carlos Beltran, Francisco Rodriguez, Johan Santana, Wright and Reyes are ALL on their way out of town.
Last week Gary Carter was very worried about a pending MRI regarding tumors that surfaced on his brain. As it turns out the tumors are inoperable.
Doctors will begin immediate surgery and recovery for Carter, who will undergo chemotherapy.
Carter's daughter Kim, described the tumors as a "snake" that crawls across to the back of the brain. The left side of Carter's brain holds the largest tumor.
Doctors hope that they can help Carter complete a full recovery.
This is a tramatic time for the New York Mets hall of famer. A man who helped spearhead the Mets turnaround in 1985, when he was acquired from the Montreal Expos, Carter helped lead the Mets to the 1986 world championship.
He hit 32 homers and drove in 100 in his first year with the Mets. Even though his average dipped severely after 1985, Carter was still a consistent centerpiece to the Mets successes.
If the Mets ownership was smart, which we know they are not, they would retire Carter's number. Give the man a day to be honored by the Mets fans, because you don't know how much longer he has. Hopefully, Carter will recover, and live into and through his golden years.