Thursday, December 27, 2012

MERRY CHRISTMAS, YOU'RE FIRED


Well that didn't take long. The Nets decided after their 3-10 run in December, that Avery Johnson was not their guy. Johnson was getting complaints from Deron Williams about his system. Johnson even changed his system to try and get the team back on track but that didn't work either. He started off as the Coach of the Month in November but that didn't last. Johnson has compiled a 60-116 record with the Nets for the last two and a half years. P.J. Carlesimo will be the interim coach.

There are a number of coaches who are unemployed right now. Stan Van Gundy, who is a really good coach, is one of them. And then there is the Zen Master, Phil Jackson. I can definitely see Jackson taking the Nets job for one reason and one reason only, just to piss off the Knicks. He was a thorn in the Knicks side during his Chicago days and now he could walk back into the city as the Head Coach for a  team in Brooklyn and not Manhattan.

Interesting what will play out here in the next few weeks.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

DEFENSIVE COORDINATOR NEEDED

With speculation brewing this past week with who should be traded, who should be released, who should be hired and who should be fired, no one saw this one coming.

The only bright spot in this awful season was the aggressive play by the defensive unit and now their leader, Mike Petine has told the Jets, thanks but no thanks. Petine turned down a contract extension and will now go peddle his wares someplace else.

Let's recap. The Jets will have two vacancies to fill immediately. A defensive coordinator and a special teams coach. The retirement of Westhoff is going to be another gaping hole to fill. The two bright spots for the Jets over the last few years are becoming dim with the vacancies of two outstanding coaches. Hopefully these two vacancies will not detract from another glaring problem, the rest of the team.

If Woody Johnson would like to send me an e-mail, I can offer him a group of guys, including myself, to come as a package for his next coaching staff and front office. We would come cheaper than you think and you would be surprised at the results. Come on Mr. Johnson, could it get any worse? But on the flip side, think of the feel good story it would make by hiring a group of unknowns to take the Jets to their first Super Bowl in 34 years!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

THE JETS ARE DRUNK


Tis the season to be ridiculous.

The Jets have some major problems and a glaring one is under center. The newspapers have reported that Tim Tebow and the Jets have decided to part ways after the season. That is a good move for both parties. The newspapers have also reported that Mark Sanchez would be shopped around. That is a good move for Sanchez' career but I doubt the Jets will get anything for him which will make Sanchez a possible back-up for the Jets. These sound like all good sound decisions but remember the Jets are a three ring circus. What is lurking in the third ring? The Jets are thinking of picking up Michael Vick when the Eagles release him!!!! Are you joking me?

The Jets are going to get rid of Tebow only to try to pick up an older, former great, version of Tebow?  Sources have said that Vick is interested in coming to the Jets if Sanchez is gone. This now becomes a lesson in financial responsibility for the Jets as well as not keeping the circus in town.

If they try to get rid of Sanchez they will have to eat a large portion of his salary and get nothing in return. No team is going to give the Jets any value for a veteran back-up quarterback. The Jets are better off trying to salvage Sanchez' career, even as a back-up, than just giving him away and still having to put out a large sum of money.

I think the financial aspect of Sanchez' departure is pretty straight forward and an owner would have to have his head examined to keep throwing good money after bad money.

By picking up Vick would only prolong the circus for another year. Vick's dogfighting days are behind him but by him coming to the largest media market, you know these issues will be dug up again. They were distracted by the Tebow experiment for an entire year, are they going to just keep up the distractions with another player?

Here is a mantra Woody Johnson must repeat to himself over and over again,

"If you don't learn from history, you are doomed to repeat it."

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

JUST HORRIBLE


I have seen many Jets seasons but this season takes the cake.

The Jets were a team that played pretty good defense but their offense was non-existent. Their offense appeared to be lost on every play. They couldn't catch any balls thrown at them, they would throw up interceptions way too many times, their offensive line looked disinterested and they couldn't even do the most basic thing, substituting, without looking like an 8 year old Pop Warner team.

The defense did it's fair share of keeping the Jets in the game but when the offense is always going three and out, the defense gets a little frustrated and tired.

The chaos starts at the top and trickles down. The team needs a good cleaning in the off-season. Woody Johnson has got to take this team and give it an enema. There are a number of things that need to get done but due to the money owed number 6 next year, the Jets will have to keep him. Woody Johnson needs to get rid of Tannenbaum and replace him with a better football mind. He needs to get rid of Rex Ryan because he has proved in the last two years that he has no clue about how to operate on the offensive side, keep him as your defensive coordinator if he wants it. While Woody is cleaning up, Sporano needs to go wait in the car because he doesn't appear to know anything about calling an offensive game. Perfect example of this incompetence is the inserting of Tebow on a drive because the coaches wanted to get him a series. Drives are all about rhythm, timing and getting into a flow. By removing Sanchez just to put Tebow in, did way too much damage. Sometimes you just have to go with feel and not what is written down on a piece of paper. The offensive play calling was completely robotic this year and without any common sense.

Johnson needs to get a complement of coaches that are all like minded in their willingness to buy into one system. The head coach needs to come up with a game plan. A game plan that will be a blueprint for years to come and then start to fill in the pieces. It might take a few years but when you look at all the successful teams, the constant game plan is there year after year.

It's not an easy task but it can be done.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

12.12.12 THE CONCERT FOR SANDY RELIEF















Last night at Madison Square Garden, the 12.12.12 Concert for Sandy Relief was a huge success. From Bruce Springsteen to Paul McCartney, the stars were shining and the music was great. They all came together for a very worthy cause.

I was watching on HBO and when they showed clips of the devastated areas it really hit home. When Jimmy Fallon came on and spoke about Coney Island, it completely got to me. I was watching this and I was sitting and saying, "That could have been my family and me." The area that I grew up in was devastated but I didn't know the extent of the devastation.

I have friends and family who were without power, water and the necessities of life but they were lucky in comparison to some of the people.

I am donating to the Robin Hood Foundation so the needed support can go to the people that were once my neighbors. I ask everyone that is reading this to take the time and go to www.121212concert.org or call 1-855-465-4357 and make a contribution.

BASKETBALL HAPPENINGS


Last night in Brooklyn, the New York Knicks took game 2 in the Battle of the Boroughs.

The Nets have been having trouble in the last six games. The loss of Brook Lopez has been a tough loss. Lopez is day to day with a bad foot. With Lopez in the line-up the Nets are a real good team but without him, the Nets are just about average. I don't know why but I keep getting this feeling that Lopez is going to have a Bill Walton like career. He is going to battle with this foot injury for his entire career just like Walton. When Lopez is in there, he shows signs of being like Walton, but the injuries are going to take it's toll. Lopez will probably be moved a number of times, like Walton, until he ends up on the Celtics bench at the end of his career. Everyone is going to say, "if Lopez could of only stayed healthy, he would of been great." Since Lopez has went down with his injury, the Nets have not looked like the same team.

The other trouble that the Nets are having is the performance they are getting from Deron Williams. He is not draining the important shots at the important times. Without Lopez in the line-up, this becomes glaring.

The Nets are getting good production out of Andray Blatche and Reggie Evans. Blatche scored a team high 23 points and Evans pulling down 18 rebounds.

Across the country, the Lakers are having problems. I don't want to say I told you so but I told you so. D'Antoni was not the answer. D'Antoni was not the answer with the Knicks nor is he the answer for the Lakers. D'Antoni is a track coach not a basketball coach. The Lakers are an older ballclub and D'Antoni's system is just not working. If the Lakers are smart and before their entire season goes down the drain, they have to fire D'Antoni. I kept saying the same thing with the Knicks and they finally did and now look at them.

With the rate things are going in Los Angeles, the Nets might just get Dwight Howard next season in free agency.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

THE YANKEES SIGN YOUKALIS


Kevin Youkalis decided that the Bronx is where he wants to play for at least one year. Youkalis is not the first Red Sox player to move south. He is definitely the most un-liked Red Sox to move south just ask Joba who has thrown at Youkalis' head on a number of occasions.

With A-Rod out for who knows how long, there was a gaping hole at third. Youkalis is a right handed bat that plays third and also can play first. Youkalis is a great addition to the line-up and a great addition to the locker room. Youkalis is one of those players that will go deep into the count and he comes to play everyday.

The Yankees are trying to be frugal so they are signing players to one year contracts. Ichiro is signed for a year as well as Petitte, Rivera and Kuroda.

Youkalis will bring something to the Yankees that they have not had in a long time. Youkalis is a baseball star of the Jewish faith. The last time Jewish Yankees fans have had someone to relate to was when Ron Blomberg became baseball's first designated hitter.

Welcome to the Bronx Yooook!!!!

12.12.12 CONCERT


Wednesday night is going to be the largest gathering of musicians ever put together at Madison Square Garden. The performers are all trying to raise money for the people that are still being effected by Hurricane Sandy. All proceeds from this concert will be going to the Robin Hood Foundation.

Some of the performers are Bruce Springsteen, The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Paul McCartney, The Who and Billy Joel. This concert is also going to be streaming live and it is also going to be televised live on a number of cable channels. The concert starts at 7:30 PM EST.

Great performers for a very great cause.

Monday, December 10, 2012

SPORTSMAN OF THE YEAR


It didn't take long for Messi to tie the goal scoring record and then break the goal scoring record. Messi tied the record at the 16 minute mark of Barca's game against Real Betis. Messi dribbled the ball to his left and when he nearly got to the top corner of the penalty box he let loose with a left footed shot that met the back of the net for goal 85.

Goal 86 came about nine minutes later. This goal was typical of a Barca goal. Andres Iniesta had the ball on the left side of the box. He started to dribble forward and then with a quick back heel flick, he put the ball right onto Messi's boot. Messi one timed the ball into the back of the net for his 86th and record setting goal.

I received my Sports Illustrated this week and LeBron James was on the cover for Sportsman of the Year. I whole heartedly disagree with this because the award belongs to Lionel Messi. The record that he broke was on the same level as the 60 homers that Ruth hit and the consecutive games played that was set by Gehrig and broke by Ripken.

2012 is the year that Lionel Messi has shown the world that he is the most dominant athlete of his sport.  In my book he is Sportsman of the Year.

Friday, December 7, 2012

SANCHEZ NEEDS TO GO


I have been a strong supporter of Mark Sanchez through this year's roller coaster ride with the Jets.  Sanchez was sabotaged by the New York Jets unintentionally and the way he has declined as a quarterback is the residual effects of that sabotaging. The Jets coddled Sanchez for three years and then the organization doesn't give Sanchez the personnel to play around him. Sanchez, Tannenbaum and Ryan each get a third of the blame for this season. The Jets hired Tony Sporano as offensive coordinator, brought in Tim Tebow and replaced Plaxico Burress with Stephen Hill. This was bound to happen. Mark Sanchez is not good for this organization anymore and he needs to go to another team to continue his carer. He is not a bad quarterback but his staying with the Jets will make Sanchez a footnote in NFL history.

Rex Ryan is going to go with Sanchez again this Sunday. Sanchez needs to sit and calculate his exit strategy. Every time Mark Sanchez goes under center in a Jets uniform, is another layer stripped away from the promising career Mark Sanchez had and possibly can have with another team.  McElroy is not the answer to the QB problem in New York but it is a better situation all the way around for all interested parties right now.


Wednesday, December 5, 2012

REMEMBERING DAVE BRUBECK



Dave Brubeck died today at 91 years of age.

In 1951 Dave Brubeck and alto saxophonist Paul Desmond created the most popular West Coast jazz band, the Dave Brubeck Quartet.

Brubeck played jazz with time signatures that were almost unheard of in the world of jazz. Between him and Paul Desmond they made some of the best jazz coming out of the west coast. The bands album Time Out would sell more than a million copies. This was never done by a jazz artist.

The above video is from the Ken Burns' series on jazz. He did a piece just of Brubeck.

Brubeck appeared on the cover of Time magazine and in 2009, Brubeck won the Kennedy Center Awards.

RIP Dave, we will miss you.


Tuesday, December 4, 2012

BECKHAM WINS AGAIN


David Beckham arrived six years ago and what will be remembered of his time in Los Angeles is the four championships he helped the Galaxy win. The other night Beckham helped the Galaxy rally to a 3-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo in the MLS final.

A friend of mine has season seats to the Galaxy. The seats are extremely close to the field and right at one of the corners. I was fortunate to have used these seats and watching Beckham play was incredible.  While Messi is a jazz musician in how he works the field, Beckham is more of a painter. He takes his time and when he sees his opening he is able to place the ball on a dime. Sitting at the corner, I was able to watch Beckham set up the corner kick and basically place it within inches of a Galaxy players boot.  When that movie was called Bend It Like Beckham, I was able to see why. The curve that he would put on the soccer ball was phenomenal. He was another talented athlete that I was lucky to see play live.

Beckham announced that Saturday nights match would be his last match in the MLS. He said that he intends remain involved in American soccer. He might even become part owner of a franchise.

Besides Beckham leaving the Galaxy, Landon Donovan might call it quits.  Donovan is the league's biggest American star. If he leaves, it will mark the end of a six year era for the Galaxy.

Congratulations go to the Los Angeles Galaxy for winning again.

Monday, December 3, 2012

SKETCHES OF SPAIN




Over the years of watching sports, I have been lucky to see some of the greatest athletes at work.  I was lucky to see the tail end of Roberto Clemente's career and I have been able to watch Derek Jeter. I have seen Magic Johnson change the face of basketball and then Michael Jordan take it to another stratosphere. Watching Wayne Gretzky on a hockey rink was seeing someone do things on ice that ordinary people could not do on solid ground.  Seeing Walter Payton and Barry Sanders slash and run their way through teams was breathtaking.

When I was younger, I used to go watch the New York Cosmos and I was able to watch a soccer legend by the name of Pele play the game. I became a fan of the sport and I have been lucky to watch many a soccer talent plying their craft. After watching Pele, I thought I would not see anything like him again until Lionel Messi came along.

If you have not watched a FC Barcelona soccer match, do yourself a favor and sit down and watch one of their games. This Barcelona team is like a great jazz band. They improvise and play off each like jazz musicians jamming on stage. One takes the lead while the rest follow and then the next player steps in at the right time to take the lead. They do this without missing a beat. It is amazing to watch. Soccer fan or not, if you like sports, this FC Barcelona team is a team for the ages. They will make you say, "Did you see that?" on a number of occassions. I like to say that this Barcelona team allows the other team to borrow the ball a few times before they take it back to start their next improvisational song.

Leading this band is Messi, the Miles Davis of soccer and this 2012-2013 team is producing a Sketches of Spain type jazz album.

Lionel Messi is having a year that is going to go down in the record books. Messi is one goal short of Gerd Muller's 1972 record of 85 goals for goal and country. Messi could become the first player to ever win the FIFA Player of the Year Award 4 times. Messi has scored 21 goals for FC Barcelona in their first 14 games this season. FC Barcelona is currently in first place in the Spanish League with a record of 13-0-1. Here is the most astounding statistic, Messi is only 25 and he probably won't reach his prime until at least 29.

Saturday, December 1, 2012

YANKEES OFF SEASON


The Yankees have locked up Mo for one more year, they have locked up Andy Petitte and Kuroda for another year. The Yankees starting pitching looks set for 2013. CC, Kuroda, Phil Hughes, Petitte and the fifth will be a combo of Nova and Phelps. This can all get turned around when Michael Pineda comes back in the middle of the season, if he can still actually have the stuff that was promised.

The problem that the Yankees have right now is who is going to catch them. Russell Martin left for the Pirates which leaves last year's back-up Chris Stewart, Francisco Cirvelli and Austin Romine. Cirvelli spent most of last year in the minors but he has the most experience with the Yankees. He is a fan favorite but is he an everyday starter? Austin Romine is coming off an injury and does not have a lot of major league at bats and Stewart is a back-up, case closed. I say use Cervelli and have Romine learn the ropes behind him. The Yankees have a 20 year old catcher, Gary Sanchez, in the minors who is rated as a top prospect. Use what you can until this kid is ready because the free agent market is bleak for catching. Even if the Yankees would sign a Piersynski, he would be asking too much for too long.

Stay the course because Cervelli can handle the staff and Romine can fill in. Romine might end up being the catcher that he was tauted as being, only time will tell. Let's not make another mistake by giving away a young catcher like Jesus Montero for damaged goods. If that trade was not made, the Yankees would be in the same spot except they would have a decent catcher.

I am still waiting for that trade to get rid of the albatross known as Rodriquez.

Friday, November 30, 2012

ANOTHER BOSTON RIVALRY?


The next time the Nets and the Celtics meet will be on Christmas Day in the Barclay Center. Are we looking at a new Boston rivalry? Are we looking at a change in the balance of the Atlantic Division? The season is young but why not hope for a Christmas miracle.

After Wednesday's game, Rajon Rondo was given a two game suspension for his involvement in the brawl, that he started. Kevin Garnett, who flopped his way into igniting the already hot-headed Rondo into retaliating, placed the blame on Kris Humphries. Gerald Wallace was fined but wasn't suspended.

Garnett seems to think Humphries "is always extra". Garnett explains that he thinks that Humphries plays out of control. He said that Humphries is trying to hold up the whole Brooklyn mentality. If these are not words to start a rivalry and some friction, I will continue.

Jason Terry basically called Humphries soft. Terry went on to say that when he played with Humphries in Dallas, Humphries pretended to be tough. He was told that Doc Rivers called his Celtics team soft and Terry stated, "Humphries might as well play with us if that's the case." We just had the friction and now let's throw the match on.

Boom, instant grudge!!!




Wednesday, November 28, 2012

BASKET BRAWL


These are not the Nets of New Jersey or Long Island. These are the Nets of Brooklyn and if you want to fight, they'll fight, if you want to play basketball they will play basketball. Last night in Boston they did both.

Rajon Rondo has been known to be a hot head, a sore loser and just an all around bad sport and last night he proved it again.

Just before halftime the Nets had a big lead and their defense was causing Boston and Rondo fits. Kevin Garnett was fouled by Kris Humphries and Rajon Rondo took exception to this and instigated a fight. Humphries and Rondo ended up in the stands. Rondo lost his temper and his shirt. Gerald Wallace and Garnett were off to the side wrestling around. A referee got dumped and even the security guards were trying to break things up. After everything calmed down the Nets were given the worst end of it. Humphries was called for two technicals and ejected, Wallace who was already carrying a technical was called for another and tossed. The officials reviewed the whole situation via video and awarded the Celtics an extra free throw.

The Celtics suffered Rondo being straight ejected and Garnett picked up one technical. If you were watching, Rondo started his shenanigans way before this incident. With a 1:10 left in the half, Rondo scraped Gerald Wallace across the face and no call was made. This was how Wallace received his first technical.

Good news was that the Nets held onto their lead and won 95-83. They are in sole possession of 1st place in the Atlantic Division with a 10-4 record.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

THANKSGIVING WAS GOOD FOR THE JETS


After the Thanksgiving Day debacle, there are a lot of things that were good for the Jets in the scheme of things.

This is not something that you can put a band-aid on. The Jets are just a bad team. If the Jets were eeking out a 9-7 record and backing into the play-offs the Jets would be justifying the usual if this would of happened or that would of happened. They would of brought up Revis and Holmes missing. They would of brought up the fact that next year those players would be healthy and that the Jets record would be better. Thanksgiving has probably shown us the Jets reality.

The people that assembled the talent for this year's team has done a bad job. The team needs to be broken down and built up all over again by someone else. The personnel that the Jets have in the front office are just not cutting it. The mess that was Thanksgiving Day had to make that clear. It basically humiliated the owner and something will be done. Sometimes an owner needs to be prodded into action and if Sanchez' head hitting Moore's butt wasn't prodding enough, than this owner just doesn't care.

Their most significant offensive player can't catch. Stephen Hill just can't catch. Maybe he needs glasses but the guy just can't catch. He is the Jets' most dangerous and only offensive weapon and he can't catch. He is one of the reasons Sanchez has such a low percentage of completions because his number 1 receiver just can't catch. Jeremy Kurley is a good number 3 receiver but the Jets have to use him as a number 1 because Stephen Hill just can't catch. The running game is horrific and the offensive line is well below average. The quarterback situation is a complete catastrophe and possibly the worst in the league. The quarterback situation was caused by the addition of Tebow and the shenanigans that have followed Sanchez and Tebow all year. They are just a complete mess.

They fired Schottenheimer, which I thought was a good move, and they hired Sporano. So far Sporano looks like a complete blithering idiot running the offense. Who is responsible for having a quarterback that you believe in, that you traded up in the draft and have him regress, year after year after year. I place that blame on Tannenbaum.  Woody Johnson needs to go out and find a Bill Polian type guy and have him sit down and reconfigure this mess. Tannenbaum just isn't cutting it in the world of pro football and player operations.

If the Jets lose their next game, this will be the first time since 1996 that they have had two back to back losing seasons. They have not had two consecutive seasons with less than 9 wins. They also have had three losses this year by 21 points or more, first time since 1962. That record is worse than what Rich Kotite did as the coach. What I am getting at is that Rex Ryan has to share some of the blame by coaching a team to do something that Rich Kotite did not do.

This has become such a mess that Fireman Ed left the game early and is done with the franchise.






Monday, November 26, 2012

ANOTHER RIVALRY BEGINS




Tonight at 7 o'clock, the official rivalry between the Nets of Brooklyn and the Knicks of Manhattan begins.

These two teams have played each other 177 other times but that was not a rivalry. Those were games between an established New York Knicks team, with a home called The Garden against a nomadic suburban team that never had a home once it entered the NBA. Now this nomadic team has a home, The Barclay Center and a city by the name of Brooklyn backing them. This is going to be good.


The best rivalry that the city has ever had was between another Brooklyn team called the Dodgers and a team that hailed from the island of Manhattan, the Giants. Once these two teams split, the next rivalry to come down the pike is between the New York Rangers of Manhattan and the New York Islanders of Hempstead, soon to be the Islanders of Brooklyn. (If hockey ever plays again)

This rivalry between the two teams boils down to one chant, POTVIN SUCKS!!! This chant still fills the rafters of The Garden whenever the two teams meet. The chant started after Potvin bodychecked the Rangers high scoring forward, Ulf Nilsson, who sustained a broken ankle and was never the same after. The date that the chant was born was February 25, 1979.



No one wants a Net or a Knick to get hurt but something memorable will have to happen to make this rivalry reach the pinnacle of Dodgers/Giants or Rangers/Islanders. They meet four times a season and anything can happen. Maybe a fight can break out and Avery Johnson is last seen going for a ride on Tyson Chandler's leg a la Jeff Van Gundy and Alonzo Mourning. The point is, don't rush it. These are two city teams and something will happen, eventually.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

MOVING IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION


With everything trying to get back to normal in the borough of Brooklyn after Hurricane Sandy roared through, the Nets are showing signs of normalcy.

Last night against the Cavaliers, Deron Williams and Joe Johnson combined for 51 points, leading Brooklyn to a 114-101 win.

Williams was outstanding in moving the ball to the open man, driving the lane and just being in charge. Joe Johnson finally found his shot and he was on fire in the second and fourth quarter. This is a fun team to watch when they are operating together. It will be more fun once Gerald Wallace and MarShon Brooks come back from injury.

While watching Brooklyn play an up tempo style of basketball, I could not help but notice number 2 for the Cavaliers, Kyrie Irving. If you get a chance to see this kid play, do it. He is the future of the NBA. He is a combination of Magic Johnson and Pete Maravich.

Big game for Brooklyn on Thursday when the Celtics come to Brooklyn.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

BROOKLYN NETS


Last night the Brooklyn Nets took on the Toronto Raptors at the Barclay's Center. This was the first home game for this brand new team in Brooklyn. They won 107-100 but this is not so much about the game but how a long time Knicks fan has become a Brooklyn Nets fan.

About a year and a half ago, I read a book called Heaven is a Playground by Rick Telander.  This is a true story about the time that the author spent in Brooklyn living the playground life of a basketball player. This all takes place in the summer of 1973 and 1974. He meets a bunch of playground basketball players and observes, questions, travels and plays with these players. What brings all of these subjects together is their passion for basketball.

The time period that Telander writes about is the time period that I spent playing basketball in my playground at P.S. 209. We had our cast of characters and each of us had our own story. The difference between us and the guys Telander wrote about was basically that we didn't have a journalist following us around but I am pretty sure we could of been our own book. Telander's book took me back to a time that I will always remember.


Awhile ago I wrote about how my father was broken hearted about the Brooklyn Dodgers leaving Brooklyn. This was something that I didn't find out until after his death in 1993. This has been something that has stuck with me since the news of his passion for a team and a city. I sometimes wonder how my father-son conversations would have been different if I had known this back in those same summers that Telander wrote about. Maybe if I knew that, I might of asked him to come shoot hoops with me at 209 but I thought that he just didn't like sports but boy was I wrong. I sometimes wonder if he wanted me to ask him to the playground, I sometimes wonder if he wanted me to ask him to have a catch but I mostly wonder what was going on inside of his head when I would leave the apartment with my stick ball bat or basketball and scream, "I'm going to the schoolyard with Cliff!!!" I'll never know.

Those days of basketball in P.S. 209 were filled with talk about Walt Frazier, Earl Monroe, Bill Bradley, Dave DeBusschere and Phil Jackson. The Knicks were our team and Marv Albert was imitated on any sweet move or shot. "YES AND IT COUNTS!!!!, coming from anyone who was fouled and his shot made it through the hoop with no net. Talk was also getting around about this doctor that was playing out on Long Island with an ABA team called the New York Nets. We heard stories about this doctor that could basically fly through the air. He could jump from the foul line and soar through the air and dunk. Each and everyone of us fools tried that and succeeded in getting nowhere. This doctor was Doctor J, Julius Erving, and supposedly the Nets were going to come to the NBA. We thought that it would be cool to see this guy against our beloved Knicks and it eventually happened but the good doctor was wearing a 76ers uniform by then.



When I heard that the Nets were moving to Brooklyn I thought that it was a good idea. Brooklyn has always been known as a great basketball city and they would support that team like no other. I never gave much thought about the move because there always seemed to be problems with the Atlantic Yards Project.



When I finally realized that the Nets were going to make that move, I contemplated if I had to root for the real home team, the Brooklyn Nets. I went back and forth but a few weeks ago in Sports Illustrated there was a feature article by Rick Telander. The article was all about Brooklyn basketball and the memories of those days in P.S. 209 came rushing back. The memory of my father and his heartbreak also took center stage. I know that if my father was alive, he would be wearing the black and white of the Nets because he was from Brooklyn. I know it would of never replaced his beloved Dodgers but he would of had a team that he could call his own.

The Knicks of my youth will always be with me. but it feels right to put on the black and white of the Brooklyn Nets. I am thinking of getting a Brooklyn Nets jersey with a number 1 and the name Irving on the back. Not for the good doctor, Julius Erving, but for my father, Irving.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

BREEDER'S CUP CLASSIC


There is a lot of talk about this afternoon's Breeder's Cup Classic at Santa Anita. There is a buzz about Mucho Macho Man and Game On Dude. The buzz is that Mucho Macho Man can upset Game On Dude and the other buzz is that Game On Dude can be Horse of the Year if he wins this Breeder's Cup Classic.

These are all good points but I have been looking at my racing form and I like what I see in Flat Out. The horse seems to be in a cycle right now and this is the second time that Rosario is in the saddle.

Morning line odds on Flat Out is 5-1. If you can get a price, bet the horse Win/Place. We will see what all the buzz is about at about 5:30 this afternoon after Trevor Denman states, "The flag is up and aawwaay they go!"

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

A WEEK OF FIRSTS


On November 1st, 2012, Brooklyn will have it's first home game since 1957. Brooklyn will be taking on the New York Knicks. Hurricane Sandy will not stop this event. More on the Nets in a later blog.


This is the first time in this generation that the New York area was hit with such a hurricane. Just looking at the picture of the subway stop in my old neighborhood makes me realize how forceful and powerful Hurricane Sandy was. To all my friends and relatives, I am glad that you all made it through safely.


And not to add insult to injury but the above picture was taken today at Santa Anita Park where this Friday and Saturday the Breeders Cup will be held. This is going to be the first time that 2-year old horses will not be allowed to be injected with a drug that restricts pulmonary breathing. This is basically Lasix.

There is a lot of debate on the pros and cons of this drug but the racing authorities are trying to make a stand on the rampant use of drugs in this industry. The debate between the authorities and the owners/trainers will go on forever but the rest of the racing world does not use these forms of drugs as haphazardly as we do. The rest of the racing world does not have so many fatal accidents as the United States does. Is it the over use of drugs? Is it the racing on dirt as opposed to just turf? I am not sure what the answer is but something needs to change in the racing industry in the US before all race tracks are torn down and Wal Marts are put up.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

LINCOLN BASKETBALL





I found this on NYC.gov. It appears to be a 13 part series on my high school's basketball team. I watched the first episode and it sure appears that Lincoln has not changed much since I left.


Saturday, October 20, 2012

PUT HIM IN THE BATHROOM



Everyone knows that I am not an A-Rod fan. Everyone knows that when they obtained A-Rod before the 2004 season, I said that they Yankees will not win a World Series with A-Rod on the team. They fooled me and won in 2009 but every other year it has been an A-Rod mush-fest.

If you look around the league many of the good teams are built around young talent. They have key veterans on the roster and a pitching staff that keeps you in ball games.

This was how the Yankees became the team of the late 90s and early 2000s. They built from within and then added the additional players that stepped up in October. Paul O'Neill, Scott Brosius, Luis Sojo, Aaron Boone and if you really want to go back, let's throw in Brian Doyle who replaced an injured Willie Randolph for the World Series.

The Yankees need to walk away from this last debacle and learn from it. As much as I like Swisher, his comments about being booed tells me that he is not a big game player (as well as his stats). Do not resign him.



There is a scene in the Bronx Tale when all the guys are playing craps in the basement and little C is on a roll with the dice. Sonny looks over and see Mush hanging around the game and Sonny screams to anyone who will listen, "Put Mush in the bathroom!!!" That is exactly what the Yankees need to do with A-Rod. Put him in the bathroom!!!! The Yankees need to work a trade for A-Rod, even if it means eating some salary. Get some young talent for him. Granted you might not get A list talent for A-Rod but you need to look a little further down the road. Trade for this talent and then put a trade together with some of the young talent with some veterans (Robinson Cano) for extremely good young talent.

Yes, I said Robinson Cano. Love the guy's talent, love what he brings to the Yankees but sometimes you have to give something up to get something else. He is a player that can get you talent that you need for the long haul. I hate to say this but he is a little like Alfonso Soriano, he has a tremendous season but when he is on the big stage he chokes. (Alfonso Soriano was one of the key players in the A-Rod deal, one choke artist for another)

Keep Jeter on a year to year basis. He was one of three players actually playing in the play-offs. Keep Ichiro because he just comes to play everyday. Keep Petitte for another year. Right now you need to keep arms available. We are all unsure if Pineda will ever be the pitcher the Yankees traded for.

If the trades can not be seen from management's stand point then you have to get rid of management. These are supposed to be baseball people and if they can't figure out who has the unproven talent then they need to be put in the bathroom too!!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

PANIC IN DETROIT


This whole play-offs and season has been wacky.

This whole season the Yankees have been a softball team with the bats. This whole season the Yankees pitching has been held together with string. This whole season the Yankees have been decimated with injuries.

The play-offs come around and the Yankee bats have become silent and the pitching staff has been incredible. The only constant is the injury factor. The injuries started in spring training, through the season and has continued into the play-offs.

It has been an interesting season and a very interesting play-off. CC takes the mound and he will probably pitch a doozy but unless the Yankees decide to hit, the doozy that CC will toss will be lost in the box score. If the Yankees don't start hitting, I can start concentrating on the upcoming basketball season.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

THE "NEW" MR. OCTOBER AND THE BAD BREAK



Baseball is a funny game. It has it's ups and downs, it's highs and lows and yesterday's Game 1 play-off game proved it.

With the Yankees down by two in the bottom of the ninth and down to their last strike, Mark Texeira drew a walk. Up came Raul Ibanez. Everyone remembered what Raul had done during the Baltimore series. Ibanez did not disappoint and he deposited the baseball into the right field stands to tie the score at 4.  Delight engulfed Yankee Stadium and Yankee fans throughout the world. The Yankees had their "New" Mr. October. The Yankees and their fans were hopeful that they could take game 1.

But whatever goes up must come down and this one came down in a heap in the 12th inning. Derek Jeter was tracking a ball to his left. He came up with it and then he started to stumble. He eventually fell to the ground and he was in agony. The prognosis was a fractured ankle and the loss of Jeter for the rest of these play-offs.

Wow, no one saw this one coming but with the year that the Yankees have had with freakish, unexpected injuries this one was the icing on the cake.  The Yankees need to step up as a team and start playing baseball the way each and everyone of them is capable of playing because the play-offs will continue. Who knows, maybe Girardi will put ARod at short.


Friday, October 12, 2012

A-RUSTYGATE



This has been a fascinating and exciting play-off series. The pitching has been great, the drama has been extraordinary and A-RustyGate was pinch hit for.

Last night was another extra inning marathon. Phil Hughes pitched real good, getting himself out of jams and keeping the Yankees close. The bullpen did a real good job but what it came down to was the fact that the Yankees are not hitting, at all. Every phase of the offense has gone stagnant.

Last night was another night that ARustyGate should have been pulled. This time it came in the bottom of the eighth and the Yankees had runners at second and third with one out and here comes A-RustyGate. He takes three feeble swings at three pitches and all of a sudden you have two outs. A-RustyGate didn't even come close at putting a ball in play so the Yankees could have a chance at scoring. No, A-RustyGate waved at three pitches like a guy shooing away flies at a restaurant.

I know, the Yankees as a team, are just not hitting, which brings me up to Dr. Girardi, Brain Surgeon. His reasoning for not bringing in a pinch hitter for A-RustyGate was because he thought that Schowalter would walk the pinch hitter. Hey Dr. Girardi, Buck Schowalter saw A-RustyGate coming up to the plate and he called my house to see if I could pitch to him because A-RustyGate isn't hitting water if he fell out of a boat. Hey, Dr. Girardi, what does that say to you when Schowalter won't walk A-RustyGate to set up the double play but your afraid to use a pinch hitter out of fear of him being walked? The whole world knows A-RustyGate was going to do nothing in that situation. Dr. Girardi, you basically gave the Orioles one free out and they didn't even have to field a ball. After A-RustyGate cooled off the front row of Yankee Stadium with his swings, Swisher came up and flew out to right to end the inning.

It now comes down to today. Not sure what bright ideas Dr. Girardi has for today but he definitely needs to look real hard and use his instinct on making his order today because I sure can't take seeing A-RustyGate come up in another crucial situation and doing what he does best this time of year, nothing.

Win and your in. The Yankees have CC going for them and if the Yankees can not win with their ace on the mound then they don't deserve to move on.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

RAUL!!!!!


The back page of the NY Daily News says it all.

Girardi finally came to his senses and got that rusty gate, A-Rod, out of the line-up. Bottom of the ninth and Girardi pulls A-Rod and replaces him with Ibanez. Raul crushes a home run to tie the game and then wins it in the bottom of the 12th.

These are moments in Yankee play-off history that are remembered such as Reggie hitting three home runs in the World Series, Tino Martinez, Scott Brosius and Derek Jeter hitting late home runs in 2001 and Aaron Boone crushing one to send the Yankees to the World Series.

What has A-Rod done to secure his place in Yankee play-off history?

If someone has an answer to that question please post it because I sure can't think of one.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

A-BYSMAL


It has become a common theme. With the game on the line in a play-off series and A-Rod at the plate, A-Rod chokes.

When is Girardi going to notice that A-Rod is not a number three hitter in the play-offs. Here are a few stats and you make your own decision. Outside of 2009, A-Rod has been horrible. Here are A-Rods batting averages for his play-off time with the Yankees.

2004 ALCS vs. Boston .258

2005 ALDS vs. Angels .133

2006 ALDS vs. Detroit .071

2007 ALDS vs. Cleveland .267

2010 ALDS vs. Minnesota .273

2010 ALCS vs. Texas .190

2011 ALDS vs. Detroit .111

And after last night's play-off game against the Orioles his batting average is .111.

Put Cano in the three spot and drop A-Rod to the bottom.

AGAIN?



It is pretty sad when you watch the Jets and at the end of another loss you can only say, "At least they didn't get blown out!" The Jets lost to the Texans last night 23-17 and their offense looked feeble. Thank you special teams for a touchdown!!

The Jets seem to be running a schoolyard offense. We will make it up as we go. They seemed to have every opportunity to win this game but Sanchez and the offense would come up short.

The Jets were trying everything and they know that they couldn't go toe to toe with the Texans. Why else will you go on 4th and 1 twice in your own territory? Why else would you throw in an onside kick (that they lost), after McKnight runs back a 100 yard return? They even allowed Tebow to throw the ball long only to see it bounce off the receiver's hands. And to add to your offensive mess, you have Cromartie lining up as a receiver.

Sanchez once again had an awful game. He went 14 for 31 with 230 yards. He added four tipped passes and 2 interceptions. He was also sacked three times. Sanchez is not the only offensive offensive player. His receivers couldn't catch, his lineman couldn't block and his running backs can't run.

Granted, the offense is missing Santonio Holmes, Dustin Keller, Stephen Hill and John Conner. Nick Mangold is now hobbling on a bad ankle. Tony Sparano needs to sit down and devise a system that fits this offense. His goofy trick plays are fooling no one and he is wasting the talent he has. If things don't change, I am going to have to ask for Schottenheimer to come back.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

THE JEFFREY MAIER CLASSIC




The Yankees and Orioles will start their best of 5 game series at Baltimore tonight. The last time these two teams met in a play-off series was in 1996. These two teams remember that series well, especially Game 1.  On October 9, 1996, nearly sixteen years ago to the day, the Yankees trailed the Orioles 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth of Game 1.  At the plate was (and this sounds funny) the rookie, Derek Jeter.  The rookie shortstop sends a fly ball to right field. The Orioles right fielder, Tony Tarasco, moves back to the wall and when you think he is going to catch it, Jeffrey Maier, sticks his glove over the wall and hauls the ball into the stands. With all the arguments that ensued, remember no instant replay, the Yankees were given the home run to tie the score at 4. The Yankees eventually will win in 11 innings on Bernie Williams' walk-off homer.

Let's fast forward 16 years and look at these teams.

The Orioles that have any connection to that series will have to be Buck Schowalter. He was the manager of the Yankees in 1995 before Torre took over but he was the architect of the nucleus of all of those great Yankees teams.

The Yankees still have that "rookie" Derek Jeter playing shortstop, Andy Petitte, who was the starting pitcher for that game, is still on the mound, Joe Girardi, who pinched hit in that game, has become the manager and Mariano Rivera, who got the win in that game is on the Yankees DL. Rivera was not the closer for the Yankees in 1996, he was the setup man for John Wettland.

Tonight brings some of the same players to the ballpark but these are two different teams than 16 years ago. This will be a good series as long as the Yankees starters don't have a major meltdown. This is the first time in sixteen years that the Yankees will not see a familiar 42 warming up in the bullpen. The Orioles are a Buck Schowalter team and they will find a way to win and make it exciting.

Looking forward to seeing this rematch and I will guarantee that the Orioles will not allow Jeffrey Maier anywhere near the field.

Friday, October 5, 2012

LORD STANLEY'S CUP



Having played hockey and having followed hockey since I was a young kid, no trophy fascinated me as much as the Stanley Cup. Each year, growing up in Brooklyn, I would say, "This is the year that the Rangers will drink from the Cup!!!" and every year they would find some way to fall short. Then came 1994 and the Rangers were Stanley Cup Champions. I had already left the NY area so I did not get a chance to see or be close to this magnificent trophy.  Jump ahead 18 years and the Los Angeles Kings won the Stanley Cup and their fans probably felt the same way I did back in 1994.

We have cousins who have season tickets for the Kings. They called to tell us that on October 3, 2012, season ticket holders could come down and take pictures with the Cup. What was even better was that they could bring two guests. My wife and I were going to be their guests.

The Stanley Cup is like no other trophy, there is no new Stanley Cup made each year. Once you are crowned Stanley Cup Champion, you get to keep the trophy until a new champion is crowned. Players, coaches, management and staff have their names engraved on the trophy. Since 1914-15, the Stanley Cup has been awarded 94 times to 18 teams. The Montreal Canadians have won it 24 times.

When we get up to see the Cup, I look down to see the teams and the names. It was as if the hockey gods were looking down at me because the first team I see is, who else, the 1993-194 New York Rangers. I was very content to know that the Rangers actually won the Stanley Cup and it wasn't a figment of my imagination.


Tuesday, October 2, 2012

LONG BEACH SIRENS DOMINATE OC SHERIFFS




On Saturday September 29, 2012, the Long Beach Sirens took on the Orange County Sheriffs in a charity football game. The Sirens were the second game of a football doubleheader. The first game was a match between the Santa Ana Police Department and the Orange County Sheriffs. The first match ended with OC Sheriffs coming out on top 18-7.

We started the festivities of this doubleheader event at 11 in the morning. The first game was going to start at noon and our game was not to start until 1:30. So, what is a team to do with nearly two and a half hours to wait for their game in 90 degree heat? I don't know if any of the Sirens were consciously thinking this but I know each of them were envisioning what was going to happen on the field and every now and then I will guarantee that the bitter taste of last years loss would creep into their minds.  Their play on the field showed that this team was on a mission and they were not going to be stopped.

When the Sirens took the field for their warm-ups you could tell that they were ready. They stretched with intensity and their passing drills were crisp. While all this was going on, the OC Sheriffs waited in their locker room. I walked behind our team and kept looking towards their locker room. There wasn't an inch of movement until almost game time. In my mind I was thinking, "you cocky SOBs, you think you're going to just walk out and start to play against us?" My first order of business was for the Sirens to go on defense first, just to punch them in the mouth and they played right into the strategy. The OC Sheriffs won the toss and they decided to start on offense.

I looked over at the OC Sheriffs and I counted 27 players on their sideline. Their coaches told us that they didn't have enough for two teams so they said that they would play two games with the same team. Not sure how they didn't have enough for two teams but maybe I was missing something. I personally think that they thought they were going to have a game with Santa Ana and they were going to have a cakewalk with us.

OC Sheriffs did not fair well on their first possession and the Sirens took over. The OC Sheriffs were know going to see what the Sirens are all about. We went with a no huddle that completely shocked them. Amee Pina, our quarterback, was like a surgeon. She was cutting through their defense with crisp passes and never showed any signs of rattling. We were moving the ball with precision and eating up yards. We had a 4th and goal and we ran one of our bread and butter plays. Amee finds Danielle Quinones in the back of the end zone for a touchdown. At least that was what I thought when I saw the referee give the touchdown sign. The problem arose when one of the other refs, who was further away overruled this ref, no touchdown. I see how this day is going to go but that's OK.

OC Sheriffs take over on downs and on their first play from scrimmage, the Sirens defense sacks OC Sheriffs quarterback for a safety. Long Beach 2, OC Sheriffs 0.

The first half was dominated by the Sirens suffocating defense. We would use one of our fastest players, Maria Clay as a defensive end. Her job was to win the race to the quarterback and flush her to our other end who was playing contain. Our defense did a great job at getting the offense the ball back. The offense would hold the ball and eat up the clock but we just couldn't punch it in. We went into the locker room with a 2 - 0 lead.

A side note on the Three Stooges who were refereeing the game. The refs refused to address the fact that the OC Sheriffs would have their shirts over their flags, they refused to address the fact that the OC Sheriffs would place two flags in one spot, leaving them with two flags instead of three. I even saw one OC Sheriff turn her flag belt so that there was no flag in the rear and no flag on the side. I watched the refs allow one of the OC Sheriffs to come in on our quarterback and chuck her after she released the ball. This was going to continue through the second half.

Due to the extreme heat and most of our players going both ways, I needed to pace us. I made some changes to conserve our resources. I moved Ana Gill to quarterback so I could utilize Amee Pina on defense and a slot position. I changed up our offensive packages taking advantage of our superior athletic ability over their size.

We came out and I was happy to know that we were going to have the ball first and we would be throwing away from the sun. OC Sheriffs were going to have to defend with the sun in their eyes. I come out and I am speaking with Moe, Larry and Curley, and they inform me that we were still going in the same direction.  I was told that the other coach has decided they are defending the same side. Are you joking me, the other team's coaches are deciding the rules now. Alrighty then!!!!

On our second possession, we ran the old Chinese fire drill. I had all the FBs run the plays in, setting the pace and the rythmn and not allowing OC Sheriffs to get set. We marched down the field, ate up the clock and used every receiver. Danielle Qinones made a number of catch and runs, Maria Clay came up with a big catch and run and to top the drive off, Chanel Kirk made a nice catch in the end zone for a touchdown. We went for two points and once again Chanel Kirk gobbled up the pass. Long Beach - 10 OC Sheriffs - 0.

We went back and forth a number of times and our defense was superb. Letty Carranza captained that side of the ball flawlessly. She saw the whole field and called a great game from her middle linebacker position. She was the offense's best friend.

Our offense stalled near the end of the second half and we had to punt for the first time all day. We were going to be punting from our 30 yard line. Jackie Parkhill took the punt and booted the ball at least 61 yards. Holy cow that thing took off. While I was watching the ball fly, I muttered to myself, "I hope we didn't out kick the coverage." Since the punt is a freeze play and the team can't run until it is punted, I was hoping that they couldn't get a return. The ball rolled into the end zone and they had the ball on their 20.

The OC Sheriffs ran a few plays and then they tried the old hook and ladder. They fooled no one especially Letty Carranza. She stayed home, reached out and grabbed the flag ending any thought of a big gain. OC Sheriffs hit on a long gain taking them into our end. They hit another pass that allowed the receiver to get to the outside and head for the end zone. Chanel Kirk, with a bad quad and a really bad ankle, chased this receiver down and made a touchdown saving tackle. As she said after the game, "I just saw red and I was not allowing them to score."

The clock was running down and the OC Sheriffs were desperate to punch the ball in. Whatever play that was called, had their quarterback rolling out to the right and throwing across her body. Our defense was getting a good push and when she released the ball, Letty Carranza stepped in front of the ball and picked it on the goal line. She charged to her left and up the sidelines. Around the thirty she turned right and at approximately the fifty she tried to avoid a flag being taken from her. OC Sheriffs missed and she ran the rest of the way uncontested, except for the yellow flag in the middle of the field. The refs called Letty for spinning. Needless to say, I had to say something. The ref was reminded of all of his non calls against the Sheriffs, all of his ignoring their flag shenanigans but most of all, I told the ref to let her have her moment. It was a great pick and a great run and the Sheriffs gave up. I reminded him that there were 4 seconds left in the game and the Sheriffs were either going to lose 10 - 0 or 16 -0. It didn't matter, they were going to lose. I also had to remind him that the paying customers came to see the girls not him.

We got the ball on the fifty, Ana took a knee and the game was over.

As we all shook hands, the OC Sheriffs Head Coach stopped and said to me, "You know it's real hard to play two football games in this heat." You just didn't say that to me. You, the coach with 27 players just didn't say that with me. You, the coach, who was making wholesale changes, just didn't say that to me. You, the coach, who could've rested half your team for the second game just didn't say that to me. You, the coach, who walked on the field and into your teams huddle on every play, just didn't say that to me. I didn't respond and I walked back to our well deserved winning team.

To the Sirens:

I salute each and every one of you for leaving everything on that field. You worked hard in practice and you out worked your opposition. Be proud of yourselves for a job well done. It was an honor to help you along on this journey and it is an honor to call each and every one of you my friend and co-worker!!!!!!










Tuesday, September 25, 2012

LB SIRENS CHARITY FOOTBALL GAME



On Saturday, September 29, 2012, the Long Beach Sirens will be taking on the Orange County Sheriffs in a charity football game. This will be the second game of a football doubleheader. The first game is between the Santa Ana Police Department and the Orange County Sheriffs. The first game's kick-off is at noon and the second game will start at approximately 1:30. These two games will be played at Eddie West Field in Santa Ana.

If you came out last year, you were treated to an entertaining and exciting football game. This year you will get twice the entertainment. The entertainment and excitement is great but these gals are taking the field for a cause. We all have to remember that this is for a charity. Come out and support your team but most importantly the money that is raised through tickets and food will go to a worthy cause.
















Friday, September 7, 2012

WILSON HIGH SCHOOL AT TUSTIN HIGH SCHOOL


Last night Wilson High School traveled to Tustin to take on the Tustin Tillers. The Tillers are the defending CIF Champs and ranked #1 in the CIF Southwestern Division. Tustin is a big, strong team that can come at you with speed and power. They are such a big team that their kicker is close to three hundred pounds.

Even though I am an alumni for Lincoln High School, Brooklyn (PSAL Football Champs 2011), I have come to support Wilson High School Football for one reason. My nephew is a junior on the Wilson High School Football team (see number 65 above).

When I arrive at Tustin High, I look up and down the sidelines for number 77, that is my nephew's number, and I can't find him. I then notice that he is wearing number 65. After the game I ask him why he is wearing 65 and he said that the school did not have a white 77 jersey, so he had to be 65. OK, so I now have to adjust to find 65 instead of 77.

This game was so one-sided, they eventually went to a running clock in the fourth quarter. The first half saw the Tillers gain 200 yards on the ground to Wilson's 60. The Tustin offense runs their version of the wing-T. They run it to perfection. They have so many options to choose from. You have Devontae Young and Terence Martinez to choose from and if Quentin Roberson, the QB wants to keep it, he has phenomenal speed and a real good ball carrier. This is all being run behind a very talented and large offensive line. Tustin's David Maka, 6'5" 330,who has an offer from UCLA, is the cornerstone of that O-Line. Below is my nephew going up against Maka in the fourth quarter.




Watch the below highlight reel....






The Wilson Football team has a lot of outstanding athletes and they definitely can be competitive. The offense is using their version of the Oregon spread with a no-huddle. This definitely needs to be fine tuned because it appears that it takes way too long for the plays to be called in. Against a big team like Tustin you want them on their heels and you want to keep them sucking wind. By taking too much time in getting the plays called, Wilson was allowing Tustin to get set and prepare. Not sure what was done during practice but this past week should of been preparing a no-huddle offense that mimicked a track meet with very little time between snaps.

The defensive side was chasing too much. Tustin runs a wing-T and they run it well. You have to throw eight men in the box and you have to be patient. On all of their big yardage plays, you saw the runner cut back to an empty space. Playing against a wing-T is about containing the run and not chasing the runner, especially with the backs that Tustin has. Not sure what was done at practice but you have to hammer the point home, down lineman DO NOT CHASE, STAY AT HOME. You want to instill on the down lineman that their job is to be a sig alert, a traffic jam, anything to stop the cutbacks and empty space.

Wilson lost 42-15 but the players should not hang their heads. This was a very good Tustin team.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

LOOK OUT BELOW


It is now September and the Yankees are tied for 1st place with the Baltimore Orioles. The Rays are only a game and a half behind.

The Yankees have had their share of injuries which I definitely feel is one of the major culprits of this Yankee slide. Their pitching staff has not had the full complement of pitchers for the whole season. It is hard when you have to hope that CC and Kuroda will win every start.

You listen to the sportscasters and they are all saying that the Yankees will be fine. I say that they are not making the play-offs. I am not saying that they are a bad team, I am saying that they have had their share of injuries which has caused this slide. Injuries are part of the game and you just have to deal with it.

Even if Pettite, Tex, Nova and Rodriquez come back, the damage to the team has already been done. Let's look at the facts...

The Yankees are 24-26 since the All-Star break.

Over the last 14 games the Yankees have averaged 3.2 runs a game, a team batting average of .215 and they have only hit 14 home runs. The glaring statistic is that they are batting .198 with runner's in scoring position and their team ERA is 4.57.

This is not the direction you want the team to be going in at the start of September. They needed to be playing better baseball just to stay alive until the rest of the troops come back. They have dug themselves a hole that is going to be a little tough to climb out of.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

IT'S A PENNANT RACE


I can sum up this season like this. The Yankees have enough talent to win it all and they have enough glaring weaknesses to lose in the first round.

With Texeira now out with a calf injury, the Yankees will be fighting to keep first place. The Yankees will now have to move Swisher to first and Andruw Jones is going to have to play full time. The Yankees have so many injuries right now, their ball club looks like a team that is put together for the second game of a doubleheader.

Texeira is now added to the list of Yankee players that are injured. This list includes ARod, Gardner, Pettite, Pineda and Rivera. Last year Jeter had a calf injury and it took him 2 weeks to come back. Texeira might make it back in 2 weeks which will put him right in the middle of the Baltimore series.

The Yankees have Thursday off and then the Orioles come into the Stadium. The Orioles can come away from this series 1/2 game out of first. The Yankees then take off for Tampa Bay, Baltimore and Boston. I personally see the Yankees being out of first by the end of the next road trip. Injuries and inconsistency will do that to a club.

If the Yankees end in the one game wild card game, the Yankees will have a tough road to travel. They will have to use their number 1 in that game, leaving Kuroda and then nobody in the first two games of the play-offs. I like the Yankees chances if they go into a long series than a short one.

Hopefully this is just a bump in the road that will get smoothed out after the wounded come back.


Monday, August 27, 2012

THE OFFENSE THAT IS OFFENSIVE


The Jets offense is just horrible. I know it's the preseason but after three games of no touchdowns, you have to start to wonder what is wrong. A lot of the blame was being placed on the offensive line but I think that piece has been fixed this afternoon.

Wayne Hunter has been traded to the St. Louis Rams for Jason Smith. Over the weekend Austin Howard looked like an upgrade but I guess they think that Jason Smith will fit in. What is funny about this trade is the fact that Jason Smith was the Rams' Wayne Hunter. Whether it is Howard or Smith, it is going to be an improvement over Hunter.

Everyone is saying that the Jets don't have a running game and that Shonn Greene is not the answer. Greene will never be mistaken for Emmett Smith or Walter Payton but if you give this guy a block he will get you some yardage. It goes back to the O-Line.

What I am noticing is the fact that Rex Ryan is really not a head coach but a real good defensive coordinator. The Jets have a good defense but their offense is non-existent. Ryan sits and states that it is early and there is something around the corner. Unless he has some wazoo scheme this offense will be miserable. The last time a team did not score a touchdown in three preseason games was the Atlanta Falcons in 1977.

The quarterback situation is lunacy. Still don't understand why Tebow was brought in. This guy went 4 for 14 on Sunday. That is awful. Tebow can not throw. Sanchez has to control this team. There are way too many distractions right now with the whole Tebow/Sanchez thing.

This leads us to the receivers. The Jets need a complement to Santonio Holmes. A big strong body that is not afraid to go over the middle. Right now they don't have that. This will not fair well for this offense. The Jets should just sign T O. You may say I am nuts but here me out. If Dustin Kellar has another good year, this will take the pressure off the outside but in order to take the pressure off the outside you need two complimentary receivers. If you sign T O, you get this. What is the downside if you sign him? Nothing. You have nothing to lose.

The Jets went to the AFC Chmpionship game two out of the last three years. The difference with this football team and those teams is the word TEAM. They really don't look like a team, they really don't look cohesive. If they keep this up, I can see them going 1-4 in their first five games. The Jets are not the second best team in the AFC East, the Bills are. The Jets open against the Bills and I think they are an extremely underrated team. They also have an easy schedule than the Jets.

There are a lot of questions that need to be answered before the opening kickoff. There are some tough questions and some easy answers. The Jets just need to step back and address these things now.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

ANOTHE CHEATER


In one week's time, Major League Baseball has found another cheater. Bartolo Colon has followed Melky Cabrera on the suspended list for the rest of the season. Colon had tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone.

It seems that over the last week the conversation in baseball has not been about pennant races, it hasn't been about the wild card format but it has been about another player getting suspended for 50 games.

Bartolo Colon has used controversial practices to return to the league in the past. Colon sat out the 2010 season with elbow problems and he received stem-cell treatment in the Dominican. He was also working out with Angel Presinal, who was banned from baseball in 2001.

Major League Baseball's program for catching these cheaters is working but this is a double edged sword. Since MLB has caught players using performance enhancing drugs only means that it is still an integral part of the game.

In my opinion cheating is probably a bigger problem than what we know. MLB is a league of riches. Players are paid salaries that are larger than some country's gross national product. If these well paid baseball players want to cheat they can pay a shady chemist to find new drugs that MLB's good chemist can't identify.

This steroid issue is a soap opera. The return of Roger Clemons to the mound with the independent Sugar Land Skeeters definitely has a back story. Clemons is hoping that he gets a look from the awful Houston Astros. If he takes the mound for the Astros, his Hall of Fame clock is reset for five more years. This little move allows him to avoid being on this year's ballot with Bonds, Sosa and Piazza.

Welcome to chapter 2 of the steroid issue.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

TWO ENDS OF THE SPECTRUM


Sparano must be off doing something else in the Jets offices because it sure appears that nothing has changed since last year's offensive outage. In fact it appears to be worse right now. Sparano was supposed to come in here and make some changes and make this exciting.

The offensive line that was once the cornerstone of the Jets offense has turned into a liability. D'Brickashaw Ferguson looks average at left tackle and Wayne Hunter is nothing but a turnstile. The only consistent piece is Mangold. In two preseason games, the Jets offensive line has allowed 12 sacks. How are the Jets going to go with a run first offense if the offensive line can't block.

Unless Sparano has some hidden agenda, the Jets will be in trouble. If there is no hidden agenda, I say you have to start Tebow because Tebow can run. With this offensive line breaking down more than a Jaguar, Tebow is the only answer. He is the only one of the Jets quarterbacks that can run for his life and not get killed. This offensive line will get Sanchez killed.

Since nobody knows where Tebow is going to play, why not teach him to play right guard. He couldn't be any worse than Hunter. Imagine all the tackle eligible plays the Jets could run with Tebow at right tackle.

If this is what is to come for the Jets, I am worried but they can look across the country and a bit north into Canada. The Jets could take a page out of the BC Lions playbook.


The defending Grey Cup Champs are putting points up on the board and their defense is playing lights out. The Lions are the west leading team at 5-2. Travis Lulay has thrown a touchdown in his last 18 games, tying him for the fourth longest streak in the CFL.

The Lions have scored 182 points in 7 games.  That is an average of 26 points a game.

Believe me, it is exciting to watch a team play aggressive, stingy defense and then have the offense take the field and put up points.

Sparano, Ryan and Mike Pettine look to the north and take a page out of their system, it might work.