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Posted on: January 15, 2012 11:33 pm
 

Giants win, despite the referees

The New York Football Giants are being forced to win games the hard way. Want a baseball analogy: its like when an umpire completely misses a call, and your team has to get 4 outs instead of three. It almost felt as if the NFL was telling the officials to miss a call here and there to get Green Bay back to the Super Bowl. Examples: 1. The Giants clearly stripped away a fumble in the first quarter. That ball was out before the player was down, but the call got overturned. The Packers kept the ball and eventually scored a touchdown. 2. On third down, DJ Ware ran just enough to get the first down. The spot was horrific and the Giants had to punt. 3. Late in the game, Osi Umenyiora is flagged for a late hit (? To the head) which makes it 1st and 10 instead of 4th and 10. Even in slow-motion it was a bang-bang play. Neither Umenyiora nor Tuck came close to Rodger's head. A brutal call. The Giants win ugly. It's what they've always done. Just like 4 years ago, it's starting to feel magical.
Category: NFL
Posted on: August 11, 2011 7:54 pm
 

The New York Football Giants: What happened here?

I always thought that the Giant's GM, Jerry Reese, was a smart man. Since he took over for Erine Acorsi, he has signed several key players that have made this team a contender every year (late season collapses aside). This training camp however is a completely different story.

Let's begin with the soap opera that is Osi Umenyiora. Was a deal really put into place that if Osi was one of the top 5 players at his position that his contract would be renegotiated? If that's the case he deserves the cash. The man had an NFL-record 10 forced fumbles last year and is amazing pass rusher. His rush defense aside he is one of the top defensive ends in the game. The two sides need to sit down and work this out before it becomes more of a distraction.

Kevin Boss had been more than a pleasant surprise as a tight end. He came on at just the right time becoming a key player in that miraculous Super Bowl run in 2008. He has very soft hands for a big player and is a great down field blocker. So what's the problem? Apparently the two sides were nowhere near each other when it came to money. Now Boss will be a waste in Oakland and the Giants have no one in the tight end position.

Now we turn to the wide receiver position, which at one point was one of the Giant's strengths. Now, I'm not so sure. I can understand not wanting to resign Plaxico - 34 years old, just finished 20 months in prison and all that history bewteen him and Coughlin. However, who said he needed to be the featured receiver? Who said he couldn't be used in the red zone as a big target for Eli? They had amazing chemistry before, who's to say they shouldn't have taken a chance on him. Finally there was the mishandling of the situation with Steve Smith. Reese and the Giants totally dropped the ball when they allowed him to find another team. Did they actually believe Smith would let the Giants come back with a counter offer? Truth be told, they had no business letting him do that. Now he's on a team, that on paper, looks Super Bowl bound.

I sure hope Reese and the Giants know what there doing. Because from where I'm sitting it doesn't look to good.

Posted on: August 2, 2011 1:09 pm
 

Say It Ain't So

The people have spoken. Well, 100,000 of the almost 900,000 people who live in Nassau County have spoken. With a 56% nay vote on the referendum to borrow money for a new arena, the New York Islanders look to be as good as gone. The prospect of this team, with all of it's rich history and tradition, moving away from New York is devastating for me. The idea of not seeing the retired numbers of Potvin, Smith, Nystrom, Bossy, Trottier and Gilles hanging from the rafters as well as all the banners that they won is sickening. The idea that one of the most storied rivalries in the Islanders-Rangers may be gone is hard to fathom.

The building itself is old and delapidated and doesn't have the same charm that Shea Stadium did (I'm pretty sure most Islander fans wouldn't say, "It may be a dump, but it's our dump"). The fact that the NHL hasn't stepped in and required Nassau County (the owners of the arena) to make improvements is laughable. The main reason a new arena, in one from or another, is not being build is because of the bureaucrats in Nassau County and the Town of Hempstead. I understand that the residents of the area are already taxed to the hilt and don't want to pay for it, but there has to be a middle ground that the politicians and Charles Wang can reach to get something done.

Speaking of Charles Wang he claims to have lost $250 million since purchasing the team 11 years ago. Some of it has been from his own stupidity (see contracts for Alexei Yashin and Rick DiPietro) and some of it went to trying to develop the Lighthouse Project only to fail because of the political atmosphere on Long Island. However, his heart is in the right place. He loves Long Island and wants to keep the team there. It's time for him to consider the option of privately building a new arena on the 63 acres on which the present arena is presently standing.

How is it that the Devils can get a brand new arena in Newark and the Nets are getting a brand new arena in Brooklyn? Who paid for those? How much of it was public and how much of it was private?

This team is on the brink of something great. The core of young players are primed to make this team a perennial winner. Without a new arena it's all for nothing.

Posted on: December 27, 2010 4:34 pm
 

Gary Betman and the NHL are morons.

It's official. The powers that run the NHL, Gary Bettman & Co. have no clue what they are doing. Last night my beloved New York Islanders were forced to play a home game while the winds and snow howled outside. Newsday reported on its website that the NHL turned down the requests of the Islanders and Nassau County to postpone the game. What were they thinking? That their wouldn't be a better day to reschedule a game? That this one game was going to have incredible playoff implications? The NHL would rather put the fans' lives in danger by making them drive on the Meadowbrook parkway in a freakin' blizzard. Tthe paid attendance for last night's game was a paltry 3,136 and most of them were Canadiens fans.

The NFL on the other hand didn't need a slide rule to postpone the Sunday night matchup of the Eagles and Vikings in Philadelphia. That game was being played outdoors, but that's besides the point. The NFL knew that not too many fans would make the trek out to Lincoln Financial Field and they like to have their Stadiums full for primetime games.

I realize that the Islanders are considered a joke of a franchise - horrible on the ice, an arena that's falling apart and no end in sight. But for the NHL to actually think that playing last night was a good idea is ridiculous. The Lighthouse Project? That's just a dream. A new arena of any kind? Only if it's in Kansas City.
Category: NHL
Posted on: November 23, 2010 11:33 pm
 

The Joke of NY Hockey

From top to bottom, my favorite hockey team is an absolute joke. The New York Islanders, once a proud franchise that posted 4 consecutive Stanley Cup Championships in the 80s have become a complete laughing stock.

We have all read the well-documented missteps of the team's owner, Charles Wang. The guy has completely lost focus on the team in favor of the Lighthouse Project - an amazing idea that will never come to fruition.

For Garth Snow to go from the crease, to retirement and then directly to the front office as the team's GM is laughable. Although I like where the team is headed with this youth movement, there are no legitiment scorers on this team. And the one's they have (Tavares) need a lot of help.

Now we come to the most recent embarrassment. The team's TV play-by-play man is Howie Rose. A man who will forever be linked to the 1994 NY Rangers Stanley Cup. He made the infamous call when the Rangers advanced to the Cup Finals with ".....Matteau, Matteau, Matteau!!! The Rangers have one hill to climb! And it's Mount Vancouver!" when Stephane Matteau scored the game winner against the Devils in overtime. Three nights ago during a TV timeout, Mr Rose thought they had gone to commercial break when he let loose with some very stupid comments about the team in reference to their current 13-game winless streak. Comments like"....is it spring training yet?" or "...let me know how this game ends....not that I really care." are not going to endear him to Islander fans. Then to come on in between periods with some lame apology and blaming it on a techinical problem is complete BS. Howie just go away.

I've been saying for many years, that I wish they'd bring back Jiggs McDonald. The guy has an amazing voice and does fluid play-by-play. I believe Rose only calls games for the Isles in the hopes of "furthering his career". NY Hockey fans know that he's truly a Rangers fan at heart. He should be removed from the broadcast booth and replaced with someone who'd have pride in the job.

It's just another reason why my beloved Isles are the Joke of NY Hockey.
Category: NHL
Posted on: September 11, 2010 1:41 am
 

Meet The Mess

Another year, another lost season for the New York Mets. This year, unlike years past, pitching was not their downfall A team ERA of 3.76 (that ranks 5th in the NL), should garner more than 69 wins. Spectacular outings by RA Dickey were wasted on a complete lack of hitting. There is no true leader on this team and in my experience everyone is expendable. Let's take a look at what's on the horizon for next year:

1st base: Ike Davis had a nice rookie campaign. He swing reminds me of Will Clark - powerful and long. He's glove at first base is extremely dependable. He certainly saved David Wright of many more errors. Is he a true superstar, only time will tell.

2nd Base: Why in the world is Luis Castillo still playing for the Mets? Oh right, that horrific contract that Omar gave him. Do yourself a favor Omar, cut your losses (more on this regarding Oliver Perez). Eat the contract and get someone who not only has range in the outfield, but does more than just slap at the ball. Ruben Tejada has shown great defensive skill and tremendous range. His offense needs tons of work.

Shortstop: Jose, jose, jose, jose....Not too bad a year. Still dealing with injury issues and lack of concentration on defense. I have to be honest, I really don't mind his antics. If he scores, it usually means the Mets win.

3rd Base: David Wright is nothing more than a good major league ball player. His defense is suspect (horrible throws to first: see Ike Davis), he strikes out way too many times, and for the most part this season is Mr. UN-clutch - he's not your man with 2 outs (or even 1 out) and runners in scoring position.

Outfield: Angel Pagan has been the one of the bright spots this season (wait for RA Dickey). That kid can flat out play. Great speed, good defensively. He runs out everything and he hustles, an aspect any Met fan can and will get behind. Year one for Jason Bay was an absolute flop. We were all waiting for him to come out of a slump and have a nice long streak, but it never came. Did he make a mistake and come to Citifield? Only time will tell. Carlos Beltran...Did anyone notice except me that as he came back to the team after the All-Star break that the team really began to play very poorly? Is he a cancer? Is he "bad" in the locker room? He'll be in the final year with the Mets, likely playing for his last big contract. This usually translates into a player really giving everything he has. With Carlos and the injured knee, I'm not so sure.

Catcher: Josh Thole is not going to be a power hitter. He's a good contact hitter who is tough to strikeout. This translates into a top of the lineup kind of player that Paul LoDuca was in 2006. His defense has been good and he handles the pitching staff quite well. Let's face it, there aren't too many Joe Mauers out there to be had.

Pitching: RA Dickey will be the COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR in major league baseball. A 35-year old guy who re-invented himself with the knuckle ball. He is 10-6 with a 2.91 ERA, and remember he was called up when Maine and Perez went down, one with injury the other with an attitude problem. As far as I'm concerned John Maine is done. He's barely a number 5 starter. Oliver Perez is a waste of a roster spot and a cancer on this team. The only reason he's still on the roster is because of his seniority (can reject going to the minors) and the size of his contract. Too bad it matches the size of his ERA. Johan Santana will finish this year the same way he finished last year, in the operating room. He always shows toughness in big games, but gives up the long ball way too often.

Bullpen: It's always tough from year to year to tell how a bullpen is going to perform. At least I'd expect them to be upstanding people. As far as I'm concerned, if they're able to cut Francisco Rodriguez they should do it. What is it with the Mets and closers by the way? They're great with the original team, but when they get to New York it's like they get infected with some kind of virus and forget how to get anyone out.

I'd like to close this little rant with a rewording of the classic song, "Meet the Mets". Enjoy.

Meet the Mess, Meet the mess.
Spend all your money, and meet the mess.

They used a check book, to pay some scrubs.
Make the fans feel completely unloved.

Because the Wilpons and Omar really don't care.
They'd rather toss a coin right up into the air.

Strike one, strike two, ground out into a double play
Just come and see the M.E.S.S., you'll just have to pay.

Category: MLB
Posted on: April 11, 2010 11:04 pm
 

Hockey in New York

The NHL season is over in New York (good luck to the New Jersey Devils in the playoffs - tough break getting the Flyers in the first round). With an excruciating loss in the shoot out today, the Rangers are going to be booking tee times next week with my beloved Islanders. Of course my opinion is biased, but I think the future looks brighter on Long Island than it does in Manhattan.

To start off with, both teams scored the same amount of goals this season - 222. I believe it is a major problem when one player accounts for almost 19% of the teams total amount of goals scored. Marian Gaborik scored 42 goals this year totalling 86 points. There were 2 players who scored 20 and one that scored 19. On the contrary the Islanders spread the scoring around with a very young team. Matt Moulson had a break out year with 30 goals and rookie phenom John Tavares had 24 goals and 30 assists (one point shy for leading rookie point scoring this season). Players like Blake Comeau (17 goals), Josh Bailey (16) and the Islanders next Captain Kyle Okposo (19) are the core for the next 10 years.

The obvious difference between the wins and losses of these 2 teams starts and ends with the goaltending. Henrik Lundqvist is an exceptional goalie. He is the only reason the Rangers had even the smallest of chances of getting into, as Steven Somers from WFAN in New York would say, serious spring hockey. The Islanders are going nowhere fast when it comes to the crease. Rick DiPietro is as good as anyone...when he's healthy. The problem is, he's never healthy. Friends of mine for years have been making fun of the 15-year contract the Islanders gave him. He's turing into the next Dan Cloutier. The Rangers definitely have a leg up (or two or three or four) in the goaltending department. If I could find a team that would take him, I'd trade DiPietro for a bag of pucks.

Defensively, it's a wash. I'd go to war with the group of Streit, Meyer, MacDonald and Gervais against Staal, Callahan and Del Zoto. Signing Wade Redden, who's been an absolute bust and booed out of MSG, was a terrible deal for the Rangers.

Speaking of signings, let's talk about the general managers. Glen Sather has been in charge for 10 years now and really has nothing to show for it. Yes he has gone out on July 1, the first date to sign free agents and made some big splashes, but he's only gotten the team to the second round of the playoffs. The big acquisitions of Chris Drury and Scott Gomez 3 years ago hasn't worked out. Gomez only lasted 2 years and now plays with Montreal. Drury is the team captain, but he's production has been in a steady decline over the past three years and he was a minus 10 this year - not great stats for the team leader. On the flip side, Garth Snow, has done a decent job making the team younger. Stockpiling draft picks to bring in hungry young players.

When you take into account that the Islanders had an NHL-low 61 points last year, this season was a dramatic improvement. Seventy-nine points, 34 wins and a lot of hope for the future with the current players. The biggest problem is that just when the Islanders will start to become relevant again, they won't be on Long Island anymore. They may not even be in New York anymore. But it won't matter to me. No matter where they go, I'll still root for them.

Category: NHL
Posted on: April 7, 2010 2:59 pm
 

The State of Citi Field

For a team that is predicted to only win 85-87 games this season, it was nice to see a win on opening day for the Mets. I have not missed the home opener in 9 years, and have to say this was the warmest one in recent memory (In 2006, we signed up to get a Mets MasterCard just to get the free Fleece Blanket to keep us warm). My brother was saying to me at the game, how ridiculous it was that both Jose Reyes and Carlos Beltran were on the DL.  We could go on all day discussing the Mets' medical staff (they were booed to no end during the player introductions by the way; as was Oliver Perez). But what I want to comment on, is the playing address of the Mets.

Citi Field has come a long was since last year. Walking down the stairs from the LIRR or the #7 Train, there is already a feel that this is my team's ballpark. The old Homerun Apple is prominently displayed across the road from Jackie Robinson Rotunda. It represents a great meeting venue as well as a place for a wonderful photo opportunity. Secondly, the banners that are now prominently displayed on the street lights that highlight Met greats is also a great addition. Finally on the outside, the fan 'Brickwalk' is an amazin'l addition. Twelve areas highlighting great momemnts in Met history, deliniated by a plaque, are surrounded by the bricks purchased by Mets fans. Incidentally, the brick that my family purchased in honor my dad is in area 8 - Todd Pratt's HR in the 2005 NLDS to beat Arizona. We love you Finque.

On the inside some things have changed. On the main concourse, there is still duct tape on the ceiling, sealing off where pipes enter it. The walls of the stairwells have been painted blue and orange for a nice splash of color. Also, black and white murals of players have been painted on certain walls for a nice touch. While eating my $9 pulled pork sandwich from Blue Smoke, I noticed that the advertisments are way too big and colorful. In fact, these ads represent the only color inside the park this is mostly a dark green from the seats.

The last thing I will comment on is the amount of garbage on the field during the course of the game. The field, especially the outfield along the warning track and down the right field line is like a land fill. During the opposing pitcher's windup, a Nathan's hotdog box would blow in front of the batter's box. Or a napkin or newspaper would stop in front of the pitcher's mound. Of course the players would just swipe at these pieces of refuse with their bats and just move on. Every so often, a gust of wind will come out of no where out there causing dirt from the warning track to swirll like a small tornado. I cannot remember if there was that much garbage around the field at Shea Stadium. One idea my brother and I kicked around, was to have men (or women) serving time in prision in orange jumpsuits come out between innings to pick up the trash using a poker. The suits could have D.O.C. (Department of Corrections) stensiled on the back.
The new season has begun and my new dump is starting to look a lot like my old dump.  Go Mets!!!  

Category: MLB
Tags: Citi Field, Mets
 
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com