Friday, June 29, 2012

Mets rock slumping Dodgers


Well, the Mets are back at it again. After an awful start to the week that watched New York drop their first two games to the Chicago Cubs, on the heels of a draining Subway Series with the Yankees, the Mets are once again turning heads with the way they win games.

First it was an offensive outburst on Wednesday as the Mets pounded the Cubs for 17 runs, thanks to multi-RBI games by David Wright, Ike Davis, Scott Hairston, and Daniel Murphy.

On Thursday it was a combination of solid pitching and clutch hitting that got it down for New York, as the downed the Dodgers 3-2 in LA to start a crucial four game series.

Wright, who had five RBI on Wednesday remained hot, lining an RBI single down the left field line to give the Mets a 1-0 lead in the first inning. Then in the fourth, Wright cracked a solo homerun to left center to extend the Mets lead to 2-0.

The Dodgers quickly responded, scratching out two runs in the bottom of the fourth on an RBI triple by Elian Herrera and an RBI single by Juan Rivera to tie it.

Mets starter Chris Young found a way to get out of the jam, and keep the game tied, when got James Loney to pop out, Scott Van Slyke to fly out, and struck out Adam Kennedy.

Overall, Young was very good, going six and a third innings, giving up six hits, a run and striking out six. He is 2-1 on the year.

The Mets didn't wait long to take the lead back. A double by Andres Torres drove in Mike Nickeaus with the go-ahed run in the fifth. Former Met, Chris Capuano, gave up three runs over seven frames for the Dodgers.

Finally, in the ninth, Bobby Parnell earned his stripes in a big way, overpowering the Dodgers hitters with 96 mph-plus heat to get the save for New York.

The Mets knock the Dodgers out of first place in the West. New York is 41-36, still 3.5 games behind first place Washington. 

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Open Mike 06-28-12, Yankees' rotation injuries

On this edition of Open Mike, host Michael Cohen takes a look at the sudden issues regarding the Yankees rotation after the lose of Andy Pettitte and CC Sabathia to injury. Michael also looks at the resurgent Mets offense, and the elimination of the BCS Bowl system.

Michael also discusses the Yankees latest lose to the Chicago White Sox, as Dayan Viciedo hit a three-run home run to beat the Bronx Bombers. Box Score. 

Listen on Posterous!

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Yankees rotation woes: Sabathia & Pettitte on DL

One constant for the New York Yankees over the past month, since they turned up the heat and catapulted their way to the top of the AL East with a record of 24-7 over their last 31 games, has been their starting pitching.

Yes, the same starting pitching that was much maligned the first month and a half of the year, as the Bronx Bombers got off to a sluggish 21-21 start. Alas, the reason for the Yankees success in the rotation had to be credited to the steady pace of CC Sabathia and the heroic return of Andy Pettitte.

Well, it appears that the Yankees will be without either for quite awhile. First, Sabathia will hit the 15-day disabled list with a strained muscle in his left leg. Rather than risk Sabathia injuring it further, with the All Star break coming up the Yankees decided to DL him, so he could return healthy when the second half begins.

Sabathia, who was 9-3 this year, apparently felt the discomfort in his leg during the Mets game on Sunday.

However, during the Yankees game against the Cleveland Indians on Wednesday, Andy Pettitte took a comebacker off his foot, and had to be removed from the game in the fifth. As it turns out, Pettitte will miss the next six weeks, and will be on crutches and placed in a walking boot.

For Pettitte this is a huge blow. He had a terrific comeback from retirement, pitching to a 3-3 record and a 3.22 ERA. If he misses the next six weeks, the earliest Pettitte could pitch again for the Yankees is mid-August.

The Yankees, who were not in desperate need of a starting pitcher before this news, will be looking heavily to deal for  starter, especially with the idea that Freddy Garcia will be back in the rotation, with Phil Hughes, and Ivan Nova.

In short a great start could get very ugly for the Yankees, especially in the very competitive AL East. 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Yankees' blasts Blow Up Chris Young Gem

Yankees 4
Mets 3

For six innings, Chris Young was dazzling for the New York Mets. The Mets number five starter, and arguably the most forgotten man on New York's roster was dominating the New York Yankees. He held the Bronx Bombers to two hits, befudled the middle of the Yankees order, holding A-Rod, Mark Tiexiera and Robinson Cano to a combined 0-for-7. Young, even contributed offensively, with an RBI single in the sixth to build a 3-0 Mets lead.

It looked like the Mets were well on their way to taking their second straight against the Yankees, after Ike Davis and his three-run bomb in the first inning led the Mets to a 6-4 victory on Friday night.

Instead, as we all know, no lead is ever safe when facing the Yankees.

After a lead-off walk to Tiexiera, Nick Swisher popped the ball up to Lucas Duda in right. Duda misplayed the ball, and watched as it bounced off the ground and trickle under his legs for double.
Then, on Young's next pitch, Raul Ibanez blasted a three run homer to the right field corner to tie the game at three.

Just like that a 3-0 Mets lead disappeared, and with it, the hopes the Metropolitans had of taking a 2-0 lead in this weekend series.

Shortly after Terry Collins removed Young for Jon Rauch, Eric Chavez cracked a solo homer to left to give the Bombers a 4-3 lead.

For the rest of the evening the Mets threatened, but never chased in. In the bottom of the seventh, Boone Logan struck out both Duda and Daniel Murphy swinging to get out of trouble. Then in the eighth after Omar Quintanilla and Josh Thole walked, Justin Turner struck out looking and Kurt Nieuwenhuis struck out swinging, killing the Mets momentum again.

The Yankees and Mets will finish up the Subway Series tomorrow night, with a classic match-up. R.A. Dickey who has 42.2 consecutive innings without an earned run, squaring off against Yankees hefty-lefty CC Sabathia. It should be a heck of a night. 

Monday, June 18, 2012

Dickey Dazzles Again, 1-hits Orioles


What can anyone say about R.A. Dickey? The man has been incredible all season long for the New York Metropolitans; he has been their rock, the one steady presence in a sea of constant chaos.

While the Mets struggle to stay relevant, Dickey has kept the Mets' heads above water since the season opened. At 11-1 and an ERA of 2.00, Dickey is coming into his own, perfecting the way knuckle-baller's influence this game, and paving a way to the All Star Game next month.

If Dickey doesn't get the ball for the All Star start, then NL manager and former St. Louis manager, Tony LaRussa must really (and I mean REALLY) hate the Mets. Because, Dickey deserves it.

Dickey had a hard road to this opportunity. He toiled in the majors for years with the Twins, the Rangers, the Mariners, before finding a home with the Mets in 2010. Since becoming a Met, Dickey has become the Mets number two pitcher behind Johan Santana. Hell, he is even more reliable than Santana, especially with number 57 having spent time on the shelf the past couple years.

He is 30-23 in his career with the Mets, 52-51 in his career, and has more complete games (6) and shutouts (3) than any Met pitcher in the past three seasons combined.

On Monday, Dickey threw his second consecutive 1-hitter, this one coming against the Orioles. Last week he made history recording 32.2 consecutive shutout innings, breaking the franchise record held by Jerry Koosman.

This time Dickey not only shutout the Orioles, and recorded 13 strikeouts, but he threw the first consecutive 1-hitter in baseball since 1988 when Dave Stieb did it for Toronto. Dickey's consecutive 1-hitters are also the first by a National League pitcher since Jim Tobin of the 1944 Boston Braves.

He has not permitted an earned run in 42.2 innings, which is the second longest streak in franchise history behind Dwight Gooden's 49 innings in 1985.

For a franchise defined by pitching, Dickey, 37, has redefined how the knuckle-ball can be throw in baseball. Before the knuckle-ball was a rariety, used by those who didn't have hard throwing stuff. Dickey's kunckler tops 81, which is very high for that kind of pitch. He has used it to befuddle hitters in both leagues, with 88 strikeouts during a personal nine-game winning streak.

It's a great story, and great to see that a guy who earned his stripes the hard way is finally make it pay off. Just goes to show you that hard work does indeed ... work.

Yankees Beat Braves, win 10th in a row


So much for that early season slump. The New York Yankees continue their feast on the NL East, winning their 10th straight game to improve to 41-25, best in the American League.

Since their hideous 21-21 start, the Yankees are 20-4 ever since.

Four of the Bombers 10 consecutive victories have been at the hands of the Braves, who blew a 2-0 lead on New York, Monday night.

For four innings Braves starter Mike Minor was dazzling for Atlanta, retiring the first 12 Yankees to face him, but in the fifth, the Yankees offense exploded. A single by Alex Rodriguez was followed by a walk to Robinson Cano. After Andruw Jones grounded out, Russell Martin cracked a ground rule double to drive in A-Rod to make it 2-1 Braves.

Three batters later, Derek Jeter's single to center drove in Cano and Martin putting the Yankees in front 3-2.

The Yankees would tack on in the sixth and seventh innings. First Mark Teixiera blasted a solo shot to left to make 4-2, and Jeter added another RBI single.

After a bumping start, Yankees ace CC Sabathia went the distance, nine innings of seven hit ball, giving up two runs, while striking out 10.

See the symmetry? 10 strikeouts - 10 wins. 

The Yankees will now try to make it 11 tomorrow night, but it might be tough with Tim Hudson going for Atlanta. Stay tuned to see if this streak hits historical proportions.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Open Mike 06-13-12, Stanley Cup, Mets & Yankees

In the first hour of this week's Open Mike program, host Michael Cohen takes the NHL refs to the woodshed after the disgraceful finish to Game Six of the Stanley Cup Finals between the LA Kings and NJ Devils. Did the Brenier hit warrant a 5-minute major penalty that cost the Devils the game? Michael is joined by Dan Feuerstein (a Rangers fan), host of Feuerstein's Fire to debate the issue.

Listen on Posterous!

In hour two of the Open Mike program from June 13, Michael is joined by Warning Track host Karen VanKat to talk about the Yankees and Mets as both teams head toward mid June. Karen also sounds off on the NJ Devils as well!  Michael is then joined by Mike Sanfillipo of Triple Coverage, to talk Mets and the addition of new part-owner Bill Maher, (That's right the controversial Bill Maher) to the franchise.

Listen on Posterous!

Monday, June 11, 2012

Major Penalty Kills Devils Stanley Cup Hopes

LA wins 4-2

It is widely accepted in sports that no official should have an mega impact on the result of any championship game. 

Well, it just so happens, that the refs made their mark on Game Six of the 2012 Stanley Cup Finals with an absolutely hideous Major Penalty call on Devils' right winger Steve Bernier for boarding and roughing Rob Scuderi, resulting in a bloody nose for Scuderi. 

While a penalty was justified, a major penalty, which gave the Kings a five minute power play was beyond ridiculous. It changed the face of the game.

According to NHL rules, a major penalty should only be called when a major infraction occurs like a fight. In this case, all Bernier did was charge Scuderi in order to get the puck and, in doing so, slammed him to the glass. A minor penalty would have been justified, not a major penalty. 

The NHL refs were notorious for bad calls throughout this postseason, a postseason that for all intents and purposes was one of the best in recent memory for the league, and brought fans to the game in droves. 

For the refs to make such a hideous call in Game Six of a Stanley Cup Final was irresponsible, and what's worse, the Kings made equally questionable infractions that were not called. This is not whining; it's fact. Case in point: the Devils spent 47 minutes in penalty, while the Kings had only six minutes of infractions. Boxscore.

Imagine if referees decided not to overturn an obvious call during a Super Bowl and that call turned out to be the deciding factor in the game. Can you imagine the reaction from the public?

We have seen MLB umpires blow big calls in playoffs all the time. Remember the phantom home run off the bat off Yankees' first baseman Tino Martinez in the 1996 ALCS? 

Bad calls can and have happened in sports, so here's a tip for refs in all leagues. If it is too close to call, and it's a big game, don't call it. Let it go, and let the teams play the game. It's the end of the season. Emotions are already high enough as it is. Let them play. 

This is not to make excuses for New Jersey. The Kings were the better team throughout the series; they took advantage of the Devils inability to cash in on their own power plays and took advantage of Jersey's inability to keep the puck out of their own end. 

The Kings were a remarkable team this season, going 16-4 in the playoffs, including 10-1 on the road. They were the best team in the League and should be commended.

But once the major penalty was called, it opened the floodgates for the Kings. One minute after the penalty, Dustin Brown connected on a 11-foot tip-in goal to give the Kings a 1-0 lead. Brown, who was silent throughout the series, scored his first goal of the series on that play. Seconds later, the Kings scored again on a Jeff Carter tip-in to make it 2-0. 

At this point, the game was totally out of hand. New Jersey couldn't muster any offense as LA feasted on the power play, taking shot after shot after shot on Martin Brodeur, before Trevor Lewis scored the money-maker to make it 3-0. 

At that point, the air was completely taken out of the Devils tires, and they spent the rest of the night playing up hill. New Jersey did score a goal late in the second period on Adam Henrique's fifth goal of this postseason, but that was not enough. 

The Kings put the Devils on ice in the third period when Lewis scored his second goal of the night on an empty netter with 3:48 to go. Where was Brodeur? Who knows? The empty net rule was not in play at this point in the game. 15 seconds later, Matt Greene shot the puck right past an unsuspecting Brodeur to give the Kings a dominating 6-1 lead. 

For the Devils, this represented a painful loss. They will not get the chance to win their fourth cup in 17 years, and now there will be questions about whether Brodeur will retire, and whether Zach Parise will test the fee agent waters. 

Expect Brodeur to return. He has hinted in recent weeks that he plans to comeback at age 41; he will not go out like this. Either way, the Devils have to begin thinking about developing a young goalie underneath him next year. 

As for Parise, don't be shocked if he stays in town, but in a New York Rangers jersey. Rumors are they are interested in him.  

The Devils have a lot to be proud of this year. They reinvigorated the franchise after a rough 2010-2011 season, and beat the odds this season as the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference by beating their arch rivals the Flyers and Rangers in the playoffs. 

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Devils Avoid Elimination...Again, Force Game 6

LA leads 3-2

Now the heat is turned up on the Los Angeles Kings.

Needing a win to avoid elimination for the second straight game, the New Jersey Devils came out with a virtuoso performance against the Kings winning 2-1, and cutting deep into the Kings Stanley Cup Finals lead, 3-2, forcing a game six on Monday night.

Throughout the series the Devils struggled early in games offensively, but not on Saturday night.

The Devils were much more aggressive on the power play, and pushed the puck extremely well on the Kings defense and on Jonathan Quick, even though New Jersey took only 19 shots on the night.

More than half way through the first period, the Devils struck as Zach Parise tapped the puck into the net, as he swooped around the left end unbeknownst to Quick, who didn't see Parise until it was too late.

For the first time in this series, and in these playoffs, the Kings faced some adversity. LA lost only two games all postseason coming into these Finals, and thoroughly dominated the Western Conference in doing so. They almost never trailed in a game.

The Kings managed only seven shots on goal in the first period, as Martin Broduer dazzled once again at goal for New Jersey. Broduer made a series of terrific saves during the night, especially with the Kings trying one hard shot after another.  Broduer recorded 25 saves in the game.

The Kings finally scored in the second period on a slap shot by Justin Williams, as the puck skated past Broduer's ear to tie it at one.

New Jersey wasted little time in answering. Six minutes later the Devils scored again, this time on a deflection off the body of Bryce Salvador to give New Jersey a 2-1 lead.

The Devils would never relinquish that lead, as Broduer saved the next nine shots in the final period. The Devils travel back to LA, still trailing 3-2 in the series, but the momentum is starting to creep over to their side.

Only the 1942 Toronto Maple Leafs were able to erase a 3-0 deficit and win a Stanley Cup Final. The Detroit Red Wings also erased a 3-0 deficit in the Cup Finals in 1945, but lost game seven to the Maple Leafs. No team has come close since until the Devils in 2012.

For the Kings, while they are still in the drivers seat in this series, the pressure is squarely on their shoulders. No team in modern NHL history has blown a 3-0 series lead in the Finals. Plus, this was a historic postseason for L.A. having won 10 straight road games, which ended on Saturday night, and having won 15 of their first 17 playoff games this season. 

If LA were to blow this completely it would be the biggest disapointment in sports.

For the Devils, they are playing with house money. They know that they are on the doorstep of elimination, and when a team plays with nothing to lose they can be very difficult to beat.

Plus New Jersey has faced plenty of adversity in this postseason. They were trailing the Florida Panthers 3-2 in the first round of the playoffs and came back to win that series. After losing game one of round two to Philadelphia, the Devils went on to destroy the Flyers over the next four games to take that series. And, of course, the Devils came back from a 2-1 series deficit against the New York Rangers, winning the next three to get to these Finals. So the Devils are used to the dramatic -- I guess they perfer it. Can they pull off the greatest rabbit out of the hat trick, yet?

It should be interesting to see how to long cross country flight affects both of these teams. One thing is certain if the Los Angeles Kings have to make another flight to Jersey, things will be looking up for the Devils. Devils' fans can only hope that becomes the case.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Suprise Mets vs. Yankees has meaning in 2012

Who would have guessed it five months ago when the New York Mets were toiling in the midst of the Bernie Madoff mess that come June 8th, the Subway Series would actually mean something.

Five months ago, just the very thought of Mets vs. Yankees was laughable, a true display of the Have's and Have Not's at its worst.

The Mets went through an off-season full of turmoil; from a pending lawsuit by a trustee in the Bernie Madoff case that could have brought Mets owners Fred and Jeff Wilpon to their knees, to not signing their super star short stop, Jose Reyes to a contract, because they didn't have the money made things look worse.

That on top of a team full of minor league prospects, who were not exactly highly touted prospects made this Mets team look like a surefire loser.

Then the miracle happened. The Mets have played with extremely well, thanks in part to the firm guidance of manager Terry Collins, who has kept this team of underachievers afloat and near the top of the National League East all season.

Granted the Mets have been helped by the fact that the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies are having down years, but the fact remains this Mets team has been fun to watch.

There is no more talk of trading David Wright, and Johan Santana. Instead there is talk about Wright being an MVP candidate, and talk about Santana's no-hitter last Friday, the first in Mets history.

Lucas Duda has performed. Unlikely heroes like Mike Baxter and Kurt Nieuwenhuis have become household names for their clutch hits in big moments.

R.A. Dickey looks more like Cy Young, posting a sparkling 9-1 record a third of the way through the season.

As a result the Mets find themselves a 32-26, a game and a half behind equally surprising Washington.

Can the Mets keep this up? There are worts on this Mets team. Their bullpen is a nightmare. Jon Rauch has been unreliable, Tim Byrdak has been ok, Manny Acosta was a disaster, and Frank Francisco has somehow recorded 15 saves with an ERA over six!

Yes, there are problems with the Metropolitans. And don't forget about the ineffective Ike Davis who has been hitting under .200 all season, and Jason Bay, who has been ineffective for three years in a Mets uniform.

Sure there are worts, but what team in MLB, this season, doesn't have worts. This season has been a pretty even playing field.

And don't the Yankees know that.

The Yankees, who have been starring up at the Baltimore Orioles and Tampa Bay Rays for most of the season in the standings.

The Yankees got off to a slow start this year, at one point standing a 21-21.

They lost Mariano Rivera for the season, lost David Robertson to the DL. Mark Teixiera and Alex Rodriguez haven't been great. The Yankees as a team this year have only hit .217 with runners in scoring position, one of the worst in the league.

The Yankees rotation has been littered with inconsistent performances from Phil Hughes, Hiroki Kuroda and Ivan Nova. Forget about Freddy Garcia and his flat 80 mph fastball.

Since that time, the Yankees have gone 10-4. The return of Andy Pettitte has steadied the rotation, and Pettitte has been pitching like its 2009, posting a 2.78 ERA in five starts.

In their last seven games, the Yankees pitching has improved. Hughes, Nova and Kuroda have settled down. Hughes just recently tossed his first complete game ever in a victory over Justin Verlander and the Tigers.

While the Yankee bats continue to struggle, strong performances from Derek Jeter, Curtis Granderson and Raul Ibanez have carried the Yankees thus far this season.

The Yankees, as usual, were expected to roll in the East, but with all of their glaring weaknesses, the question about whether this Yankees team is even good enough to make it to the postseason is a legit question.

Now they square off with the Mets, a team budding with confidence. If the Yankees are to show New York that they are indeed coming out of their first half duldrums, then clobbering the Mets this weekend is a must.

If the Mets want to show New York, that this rambunctious group is for real, then taking two of three in the Bronx is a must.

Who knew back in January that the 2012 Subway Series would mean so much ... once again.

Friday, June 8, 2012
Johan Santana vs. Hiroki Kuroda

Saturday, June 9, 2012
Dillon Gee vs. Phil Hughes

Sunday, June 10, 2012
Jon Neise vs. Andy Pettitte

I'll Have Another Scratched From Belmont Stakes

"I'll Have Another," the surprising colt who snatched victory out of the jaws of defeat in the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes by winning both races by a head, will not go for the Triple Crown on Saturday afternoon.

Trainer Doug O'Neil said on ESPN's Dan Patrick Show that the horse suffered a leg injury and will be scratched from the race.

This news not only means that it will be 35 years and counting since the last Triple Crown winner in 1978, but it kills the sport.

Horse racing has been suffering for years because of the lack of a true championship horse, not to mention the past few years have seen the Kentucky Derby winner lose in the Preakness taking all the potential air out of the Belmont Stakes.

When a horse died on the track during the Derby a few years ago, that put into question the role drugs played in the horse racing sport, chasing people away. 

Horse racing suffered plenty of bad PR in recent months, after HBO's failed series "Luck" depicted the ugliness of the sport, including euthanizing real horses on film.

Without "I'll Have Another," all of the sizzle will be out of the Belmont Stakes once again. Nobody will be watching this race when they take off at 6:25 pm ET. 

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Giants give Tom Coughlin deserved extension

Four months after he led the New York Giants to their second Super Bowl title in four years, the Giants extended the contract of coach Tom Coughlin.

Coughlin and Big Blue signed a three year extension worth $20 million, making him the third highest paid NFL coach per season, behind Bill Belichick and Mike Shanahan.

To say that he deserved it is the understatement of the year. Ever since he came here, Coughlin has found a way to dodge the crticism and guided the Giants with a firm hand. He finally changed his own coaching strategy in 2007, and united his team in the process as New York went on its first Super Bowl run.

Now players want to play for Coughlin, and as a result he has the team he wanted when he came to New York in 2004. A team that is disciplined, plays hard and makes no excuses. That is why New York has won two Super Bowls in Coughlin's career with the Giants.

Now, the Giants can rest asure that Coughlin will retire as a Giant when he hangs up the head-sets. And who knows maybe Coughlin will add one more trophy to that display case while he's at it.

Monday, June 4, 2012

Niese Leads Mets Past Cardinals and into First Place


The red hot Mets keep on rolling along.

Two days after Johan Santana's no-hitter, and a day after R.A. Dickey's complete game gem against the Cardinals, Jon Niese threw his hat into the ring and dominated St. Louis as well.

Niese, who has had his share of problems this season had his best start of the season. He was pinpoint with his pitches, striking out 10 batters, and rarely fell behind in any count.

Meanwhile the Mets offense continues to stay hot. This time it was Kurt Nieuwenhuis and Andres Torres who delivered for New York. First, Torres' doubled and came around to score on Lucas Duda single to give the Mets a 1-0 lead.

Later, Niewenhuis (3-for-5, HR, 3 RBI) cracked a two run homer to deep right to make 3-0 Metropolitans.

Finally, Niewenhuis and Torres were at it again. This time, Niewenhuis singled up the middle to bring in Omar Quintanilla to make it 4-0. Then, Torres (3-for-4, 2 RBI) legged out a triple to drive in two Mets runners to make it 6-0 Mets. 

Torres even flashed a little glove work. In the fifth inning, Torres threw a strike to home plate, and Josh Thole applied a terrific tag on David Freese to preserve the shutout.

The Mets are now in a three-way tie for first in the NL East. The Mets have won three straight against St. Louis and go for the first ever four game series sweep of the Cardinals on Monday. The Mets will then set their sights on the Nationals, whom they share first place.

Not bad for a team full of unknowns. The Mets have exceeded expectations and are playing terrific baseball. It is time for the fans to start showing up at the ballpark to support this group.

NOTE: John Franco was inducted into the Mets Hall of Fame. He was joined by former teammates Todd Ziele, Al Leiter and Edgardo Alfonzo during the ceremony. Franco, who grew up a Mets fan, is fourth on the All Time Saves list.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Say What? Bill Maher Buys Stake in the Mets

"There are more things in Heaven and Earth ... than are dreamt of in your philosphy." (Hamlet)

The quote above, which we all recognize from Shakespeare's play Hamlet, basically means this: sometimes in life the most bizarre, idiotic and baffling things happen that just leaves you wondering (in the poetic words of Vince Lombardi) "What the hell is going on out here?!?"

As the Mets have been busy exercising their demons on the field, slowly rebuilding trust between the team and its fans, and playing outstanding baseball more than a third of the way through the season, leave it to Mets ownership to find a way to screw things up a bit.

Before the Mets took the field to play the St. Louis Cardinals, and before New York welcomed John Franco into the Mets Hall of Fame, the Mets owners made a baffling announcement: Bill Maher is partner in everything Mets.

That's right, Bill Maher is a part owner of the New York Mets!

The same Bill Maher who has publicly trashed women, Christians, the military, and just about anyone who doesn't fit into brand of very, very, very far to the left views on political and social issues, is now part of the decision process in New York.

The Wilpons have been looking for shareholders to buy into the team since the Bernie Madoff mess almost bankrupted the franchise and the Wilpons.

The Wilpons put up 12 partnership shares worth $20 million a piece, meaning that any shareholder would own 4% of the franchise. However, it is not known how much stock Maher is invested in.

Granted money is money. It's green no matter what political spectrum one comes from. But, the fact that the Mets owners were willing to sell a piece of the team to a person as divisive and hated as Maher is about as dumb a move for a franchise that is struggling to bring people to the ball park.

Perhaps Maher, a devoted Socialist, is actually a willing Capitalist? Who knew.

No matter, this is another black eye for the Wilpons -- a poorly timed one that they didn't need at all.

Phil Hughes Earns 1st Complete Game in Yankees Win

Yankees 5
Tigers 1

In a whacky and wild year for the New York Yankees, where they have watched their starting pitching become of the most mediocre in the American League, and watched their bullpen become depleted thanks to injuries to Mariano Rivera and David Robertson, they badly needed someone to step up and deliver on the mound.

While the Yankees have played better on this recent road trip, games against the Royals and Athletics will do that for a struggling ball club, they are not all the way back. They have struggled offensively with runners in scoring position, and down years for A-Rod, Robinson Cano, and Mark Teixeira have been well documented.

That is why Phil Hughes start against Detroit was so important. The righty went the distance for his first complete game of his career. He gave up only four hits and struck out eight Tigers, dominating a Tigers lineup that has also struggled this season.

Hughes got stronger as the game wore on. After giving up a solo homer to Prince Fielder to cut the Yankees lead to 3-1, Hughes was practically un-hittable. He gave up only two hits from the fourth inning on, and never once sweated out an inning for the Yankees.

Offensively, New York did just enough to put Hughes on top. A Derek Jeter homer to open the game put the Yankees up 1-0. Teixeira recorded a sacrifice fly to make it 2-0 Bombers. Later, Alex Rodriguez hit his 9th homer of the season, this one to dead center to make it 3-0 Yankees.

Finally, Robinson Cano's triple brought home a red hot Curtis Granderson to make it 4-0. Cano would score on a fielding error.

The Yankees are now 29-24, and a game behind the Rays and tanking Orioles for first in the AL East. New York is 8-3 in their last 11 games after standing at 21-21 two weeks ago. The Yankees have a big week ahead with the Rays and Mets on the docket. 

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Johan Santana pitches Mets First Ever No-Hitter



St. Louis 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

NY Mets 0 0 0 2 0 3 3 0 X 8 8 0

WP: J. Santana (3-2)
LP: A. Wainwright (4-6)

Tom Seaver. Jerry Koosman. Nolan Ryan. Ron Darling. Bobby Ojeda. Doc Gooden. David Cone. Al Leiter. Rick Reed. Tom Glavine. Pedro Martinez. These are a few of the many names that have pitched for the New York Mets franchise.

But none of them pitched a no-hitter for the Mets. Sure, Ryan pitched seven no-hitters after he left New York; Seaver pitched a pair after he was traded to Cincinnati; Al Leiter had his no-hitter before he ever became a Met when he was still a Florida Marlin.

For 8,019 games the Mets had become synonymous with no-hit futility. Coming into Friday night's game, only the Mets and San Diego Padres had failed to garner a no-hitter in their histories. That was about to change.

Johan Santana changed all of that in a season when Santana was coming off shoulder surgery that kept him on the shelf for over a year, and there was question about how much Santana had left. He looked good at times this year, but at other times, he looked like the shell of the guy who had dominated the mound for the Mets in 2008 and 2009.

Friday night became his night, the culmination of his pitching brilliance, an exclamation point that Santana was back as the true Ace of the New York Metropolitans. More importantly, his feat ended years of close calls as the Mets finally achieved their first ever no-hitter.

It took 50 years, yet, for Mets fans, the longn wait was worth it.

The game itself was truly bizarre. Former Met Carlos Beltran returned to Citi Field and narrowly missed an extra base hit down the left field line, but the ball landed just foul.

Mike Baxter, while trying to preserve the no-no, sacrificed his body by smashing into the wall in left while making a catch of a Yadier Molina fly ball. Baxter, who grew up in Queens, was taken out of the game, but without his work, the no-hitter would have been lost.

Then, of course, there was Daniel Murphy's great grab on a looping popup by Beltran in the eighth to preserve the no-hitter. What made this play even more impressive was the fact that Murphy was about to collide with short stop Omar Quintanilla, who was only in his second game in the majors.

With Santana inching closer and closer to immortality, his pitch count got higher and higher. Through seven innings, he was well over 100 pitches; concern grew whether he could avoid aggravating his injury.

He never did; instead, he got stronger.

Santana forced Matt Holliday to fly out to shallow center, then got Allen Craig to line out to left, and, finally, he struck out World Series hero David Freese swinging on a 3-2 pitch to win it.

The fans at Citi Field started chanting "Jo-han, Jo-han" as early as the eighth as they pushed Santana and the Mets to finish the job. The fans had seen many pitchers come close to this mark, and they didn't want to be disappointed again. Unlike past near no-hitters, this one had a feel that it was meant to be.

After the final strike, Santana was mobbed by his teammates. Even a fan, wearing a Gary Carter jersey, jumped onto the field and joined the celebratory action before security carried him off the field.

Manager Terry Collins, who had to battle himself over Santana's pitch count, stood atop of the dugout and watched his players celebrate. When Santana approached Collins, the two embraced and Collins, who was very emotional during his post game conference, called Santana his "hero."


Sure, the Mets are now a game out of first in the NL East, but for one night the Mets rid a giant albatross off their collective backs. Like this franchise has done so many times in the past when you least expect it, they make you ... believe. Just amazin'.

Box Score.