Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Mets Dynamic Duo Harvey, Wheeler Get the Job Done

METS 4, Braves 3 GM1 
METS 6, Braves 1 GM2

The future of the the New York Mets was on full display for one entire day and night at Turner Field in Atlanta.

A team that has so little to play for in 2013, and seemingly so little to look forward to, left Turner Field, Tuesday night with full knowledge that they have not just one, but now two aces at the top of their pitching staff.

We all know who Matt Harvey is. The unquestioned number 1 starter of the New York Mets has been nothing short of brilliant this year; he's flirted with perfection twice, and dominated the competition throughout the schedule. He is well on his way to getting the ball for the All Star game next month at Citi Field.

In Game 1 of the Mets' double-header in Atlanta, Harvey once again flirted with a no hitter. He walked only two hitters through the games first six innings, before Jason Heyward reached on an infield single in the seventh that could have easily been ruled an error.

Harvey blew away the Braves; he struck out 13 batters, and at one point struck out six consecutive batters, flirting with the franchise record for consecutive strikeouts in a single game, which is 10 set by Tom Seaver.

In a year where Harvey could easily have nine or ten wins, if it weren't for the lack of run support, the Mets gave him four runs to work with in the first game which was more than enough for Harvey to earn his sixth win of the year.

As for Wheeler, his debut has been even more anticipated than Harvey's was last season. Wheeler, who was acquired in a trade with the San Francisco Giants two years ago for Carlos Beltran, shot up through the minor leagues the last two seasons.

Everyone has been waiting for his first appearance in Mets blue and orange, but after a rough start to his season in Triple-A Las Vegas this Spring, Wheeler's debut was delayed until he got his mechanics straightened out.

After tonight, there will be no question about mechanics for at least a while.

Wheeler was unbelievable, matching zeros with Pat Maholam all night long. It wasn't easy early on, as Wheeler had to work out of trouble in the first inning when he walked two batters, but from that point on, he was practically flawless.

Wheeler struck out seven batters, allowing only four hits and five walks. He never allowed Atlanta move any runners in scoring position.

Finally in the top of the seventh the Mets gave their newest ace pitcher a lead, when Anthony Recker cracked a two-run homer to give the Mets and Wheeler a 2-0 lead.

The Mets would tack on and win 6-1, but this was not a day and night about what the Mets did offensively -- this was a day and night about what could be for the Mets moving forward for years to come.

If all goes well, Harvey and Wheeler will be the 1-2 punch that could lift the Mets out of the basement.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

LISTEN TO NEW JERSEY JACKALS BASEBALL

As most have noticed on Michael's biography, he is doing play-by-play for the New Jersey Jackals baseball team this season.

So far this year the Jackals are 14-13, and climbing back into the Can-Am League standings, trailing Quebec and Rockland by only three games. The Jackals open up a three game series against the Newark Bears this week, on June 17, 18, 19.

Game 1 will be on Monday morning at 10:35; Game 2 is Tuesday at 6:35, and Game 3 is Wednesday night at 6:35.

Listen live to the broadcast at the following LINK...First pitch is at 10:30 Monday morning, with pregame coming up at 10:20 a.m.


Open Mike 06/16/13 Reaction to Jason Kidd Becoming New Nets Coach

In this edition of the Open Mike Program, host Michael Cohen breaks down the recent news that future Hall of Famer, Jason Kidd has signed on to coach the Brooklyn Nets. Is this a good move for both Kidd and the Nets, or a sign of desperation? Michael analyzes.  Michael then brings on Doug Rush of Giants101 and Yankees101 to talk about the latest news surrounding the Yankees and G-Men. 

Listen HERE! 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Nets tap future Hall of Famer Jason Kidd as Head Coach

When Jason Kidd officially hung up his basketball sneakers two weeks ago, it was easy to assume that he was ready to accept a life outside of the spotlight.

We would see him occasionally at Nets games when they honored him with the retiring of his jersey, and then see him years later during his Hall of Fame induction -- and that would be about it.

Never did we think Kidd was ready for this.

Jason Kidd is now the Head Coach of the Brooklyn Nets.

In a move that reeks of both desperation, and serious question marks, the Nets, who failed at wooing the likes of Phil Jackson, Jeff Van Gundy, and Doc Rivers felt the need to make a splash for a head coach. Instead of settling for someone like Brian Shaw, who has been a long time assistant coach with both the LA Lakers and Indiana Pacers, they decided to go with the "sexy pick."

As has been proven by the brain trust of Mikhail Prokorov and Jay-Z, the Brooklyn Nets decided, once again, that making money is more important than trying to win ball games.

 Kidd has never coached -- ever. He had a wonderful 19-year NBA playing career, including 6-1/2 years as the star point guard for the New Jersey Nets, leading that club to back-to-back appearances in the NBA Finals; but leading a team on the court and leading from the bench are two different things.

We have no idea what goals or plans Kidd has. We don't know what schemes or formations he would favor. We don't even know if he can handle managing players who don't have the same skills set or athletic ability he had as a player.

What makes it even more interesting is that he just finished his playing career -- and a decision to suddenly jump up and become a head coach seems like a huge leap.

This isn't like Mark Jackson, who while he never coached either prior to his hiring by the Golden State Warriors two summers ago spent his time studying and analyzing the league from afar as a lead analyst.

Has Kidd spent as much time looking at video tape over the past year? I highly doubt it. I highly doubt he ever sat during Knicks practice this season and thought about finding ways to stop the Miami Heat with different defensive and offensive formations.

Now he will have to.

While hiring Jason Kidd as a head coach will certainly sell more tickets this season, it likely will not produce more wins. Great players don't always transition to great head coaches in any sport. Bill Russell tried to be a head coach in the NBA, it didn't work. Larry Bird gave it a shot to mild success, but he did have Reggie Miller playing for him in Indiana, which made things a little easier.

Kidd takes over a team that does have the talent to win, but not enough talent to win a championship. The Nets lack a clutch shooter; they also have built a reputation as a lackadaisical basketball team -- something even a disciplinarian in P.J. Carlesimo couldn't fix.

Now it is up to Kidd to find a way to motivate Joe Johnson and Deron Williams to play hard for 48 minutes every night; good luck.

In a lot of ways it is a shame to see arguably the greatest player in the history of the franchise put into a position where he has to win or else. As they say "coaches are hired to get fired" -- and Kidd should best be remembered for all of the good things he did for the club when it was in New Jersey. To expect similar success now with him in a three-piece business suit is asking a lot.

While Kidd is not a horrible hire -- it is one that does not come with a track record of success.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Tebow looking for revenge on Rex & Jets, joins Patriots

It is no story that Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick hates the New York Jets with a passion. The reasoning behind it is one that only Bill can understand, and maybe one day, after he is long retired he'll tell us in a book or something about why he resigned as HC of the NYJ back on a early January Monday in the year 2000.

But until that time, Belichick and the Patriots have found more and more ways to undermine the Jets, with a couple of exceptions like New York's shocking playoff victory in Foxboro in 2010.

The latest move by the Patriots reeks of "lets see if we can get the fat boy down there fired."

The Patriots signed quarterback Tim Tebow on Monday night, with the hope that he can be a big contributor to the football team, not necessarily at quarterback, but as a change-up in Tom Brady's pocket.

...and they did it without needing a "Welcome Tim Tebow" press conference...Woody... .

Last season the Jets brought Tebow in because they were initially not convinced that Mark Sanchez was their guy; not to mention Woody Johnson is obsessed with having superstars on his football team in order to rip headlines away from the Giants, Yankees, Mets, Knicks, and just about every team in NYC.

The acquisition made little sense. The Jets had more holes to fill than swiss cheese, and adding Tebow was the equivalent of putting a square peg into a round hole.  The Jets then didn't know how to use Tebow -- forcing him to play punt protecter, which didn't work too well, as well as clipboard manager.

What made it even more puzzling was the fact that Sanchez continued to stink it up in Mark Sanchez fashion. Buttfumbles anyone?

Jets coach Rex Ryan had plenty of chances to insert Tebow, who has proven to be a winner at the NFL level in the past, but refused to do it. At one point he deactivated Tebow before a game against Arizona, and felt no qualms about putting the inept Greg McElory into that game to relieve the fan-base of Sanchez.

In short Rex hated Tebow -- didn't fell he had a use for him, and couldn't wait to get him out of town. The Jets treated Tebow like garbage without even kicking the tires to see what kind of talent could surface from him.

Now he is in New England, the team and the coach that Ryan said he would refuse to kiss rings.

Now he might have to stick another foot into his mouth.

The Patriots signed Tebow for two reasons: 1) They are going to use him and use him effectively in the backfield with Brady as a H-Back/Tight-end/QB option -- and knowing the Patriots this is going to work very well. Remember Danny Woodhead, Rex, you know the guy you called a "little F---er" during Hard Knocks in 2010 and proceeded to cut him loose.

 2) Belichick is tickled by the idea of seeing Brady pitch the ball to Tebow, only to have Tebow chuck the football to Rob Gronkowski for six points against the Jets.

You know it's going to happen.

If Tebow records even five touchdowns this year, don't be shocked if all of them are on the Jets.

If the Tebow experiment works in New England, you can rest assure that Ryan will feel the wrath from both the media, a woe-was-me fan-base, and of course Robert Woody Johnson.

I think Belichick and company up in Massachusetts would be laughing their tails off if Jets fans start calling up radio stations demanding Ryan's head because Tim Tebow caught a touchdown pass from Brady.

Some may say that bringing Tebow in is not about wins, but in New England, moves like this are always about wins -- unlike the Jets where its about the pomp and circumstance. And that is the difference between 12-4, and likely 4-12.

Friday, June 7, 2013

MLB Targeting A-Rod for Possible 100 Game Ban, Now What?


Alex Rodriguez already knew his 2013 season is in serious doubt as he recovers from hip surgery. While there is an outside chance that Rodriguez could return to the field by mid-to-late August, the lingering ramifications from his dabbling in steroids from the Biogenesis lab was never going to leave him.

Rodriguez, an already admitted steroid user during his time with the Texas Rangers, was supposed to be clean since coming to New York. That was until a story in February revealed that Rodriguez was one of the top clients for Tony Bosch, who ran a chemical/steroid lab in Miami, Florida.

Now Major League Baseball is trying to work out a deal with Bosch to provide further information on Rodriguez, Milwaukee slugger Ryan Braun and 20 other players before doling out 100-game suspensions.

If there is enough evidence provided by the former steroid supplier, it would give Commissioner Bud Selig tremendous power in handing out suspension. While first time offenders typically receive 50-games suspensions, this case would count as two suspensions. The first offense would count from a previous suspension or denial of using performance enhancing drugs, which A-Rod has already done, although he never served a suspension.

The second offense comes from obtaining drugs from Bosch. In short A-Rod is screwed two ways to Sunday.

There are manifold reasons as to why Bosch is willing to come out now:

"According to a source familiar with the negotiations, Bosch is close to cooperating for two primary reasons: he fears the cost to his family, friends and associates of litigating the lawsuit MLB filed against him this spring for tortuous interference with player contracts, as well as possibly facing obstruction of justice charges if federal authorities prosecute him."(NY Daily News). 

Many players have come out in denial of any connection to Bosch, including Melky Cabrera who has already been suspended, and Ryan Braun who avoided suspension after MLB botched a urine sample that would have gotten him suspended as well.

However it is Rodriguez who is most interesting. He has never faced a suspension, even though he's admitted to using steroids in the past.

He came out Thursday and basically pleaded the Fifth, saying he wouldn't comment on the Bosch/Biogenesis scandal until further information is revealed.

The Yankees owe Rodriguez $114 million over the next five years in an initial 10-year contract he signed back in 2007. Coming off that 2007 season, Rodriguez threatened to opt out of his contract, during the World Series, and become a free agent. He was coming off a monster offensive season in which he hit over 50 homers, and the Yankees felt pressured to bring him back.

Why? The Yankees at the time were becoming an irrelevancy in the AL East; Boston had just won two World Series titles in four years, and the Yankees were still stinging for the indignation of blowing a 3-0 series lead to Boston in the '04 ALCS.

Plus Rodriguez was on pace to reach many home run and offensive milestones, and they knew that if Rodriguez reached them it would put the YES network on the map.

Now Rodriguez is an albatross that the Yankees can't get rid of fast enough. They have been playing good baseball this year without him, as Robinson Cano, Vernon Wells, Lyle Overbay, Mark Teixeira, and Travis Hafner have played very well so far this year. The Yankees also seem settled at third base with the play of youngster David Adams and veteran Kevin Youklis.

If Rodriguez were to return from hip surgery in August, it could ruin the dichotomy of this baseball team. In short A-Rod is to the Yankees what Bobby Bollnia was to the Mets years ago. He's to the Yankees what Mark Sanchez is to the Jets, and what Stephan Marberry was to the Knicks. An overpaid pain in the ass.

Still getting rid of A-Rod is easier said than done. Cutting him would result in a monster cap hit. Trading him now, with his value at an all-time low is not going to happen.


Earlier this week, Yankee GM Brian Cashman told ESPN of the one-time superstar who still has five years and $114 million on his 10-year, $275 million contract: “(It’s) complicated. It’s kind of like the Clint Eastwood movie, ‘The Good, The Bad and the Ugly.’ . . . (His contract) is something I think even Alex would tell you, he couldn’t live up to that (contract). It’s an enormous contract and I think that, I would say probably, he couldn’t live up to it. But he’s doing everything he can to try to do so” (NY Daily News). 

All the Yankees can hope for is that Rodriguez misses the rest of this season with his hip injury, and then he misses 3/4 of the 2014 season due to suspension. Only then, maybe Rodriguez, who would essentially be two years removed from his last game, would concede and retire.