Saturday, March 31, 2012
The New York Rangers beat the visiting Canadiens, 4-1 last night. This is the first Ranger team to reach 50 games since the 1994 Stanley Cup team. One can only hope.
And now for the bad news:
Jeremy Lin will be out for at least six weeks with a partial tear of his meniscus to his left knee. He will be out for the remainder of the season and possibly the first round of the play-offs. With Lin out for the remainder of the season, I am not to sure if the Knicks are going to be able to hang on to the eighth spot. Last night against the Hawks, the Knicks had nobody to guard Atlanta's point guard. Baron Davis was not at all effective and the defense looked awful. Sure Anthony scored 36 but the team play is completely gone without Lin running the point and it doesn't help that Stoudemire has the bulging disc issue.
In the injury department, Michael Pineda will start the year on the DL with a sore pitching shoulder. I guess the Yankees now don't have to make a decision on who is in the starting rotation.
In a major upset today in the road to the Kentucky Derby, we have to go look at the Florida Derby where everyone thought Union Rags would win this race outright.
Borel has been aboard three of the last five Kentucky Derby winners. He can possibly go 4 for 6.
Michael Matz, the trainer for Union Rags, feels that if his horse came out of the Florida Derby in good shape, there should be no reason why he could not still do well on May 5.
Monday, March 26, 2012
Yesterday in the Sunday New York Times there was an article about horse racing. This article was not in the sports section but it was the feature article for the Sunday paper. The title of the article was Death and Disarray at America's Racetracks/Mangled Horses, Maimed Jockeys. When I saw the title I knew right from the start that this was not going to be good for the Sport of Kings.
I read the article and I had an opinion that this is one of those articles that will set horse racing back. I decided to listen to some of the morning horse racing shows and see what they think. I listened to Roger Stein and he was very upset about the article. There is a show on after his that covers the Los Angeles horse racing scene and they were livid about the article. Laffit Pincay came on and he gave his opinion on the article. I heard what they were saying about how this article is bad for business and how people who started with nothing have made a good living in this industry. I agree with all of that and as a fan of horse racing I would hate to see it go by the way of the Dodo Bird. Horse racing has to look at itself and fix what is wrong.
First and foremost is that horse racing has to fix the doping problem that runs rampant through US tracks. The article states that during the last three years the rate of horses getting injured was 5.2 per 1,000 starts. In contrast, racing in Canada only had a 1.4 incident rate. If you have ever gone to the track with me and Canadian racing is being televised, I always play the Canadian tracks. My motto has always been, "They aren't as big of cheaters." The Canadians aren't as permissive with the drug use.
The breakdown of horses can come from a variety of things but one of the most common reasons for breakdowns are with drugs. I am not talking about drugs that are therapeutic and used to maintain the health of the horse. I am talking about drugs that mask the pain. This type of drug allows a horse that is injured to actually race.
Just the stats for California from 2009 through 2011 shows that there were 296 drug positives and 635 deaths.
These medications are part of the problem and the second part of the problem is the dope that trainers use to make the horse run faster. These trainers are allowed to do this because the punishment is almost nothing. Go to the California Racing Board website and look at the fines and punishment handed out to the trainers and it is a joke. On January 27, 2012, John Sadler, who started the horse Stoney Fleece, the first place finisher in the fifth race at Hollywood Park on November 27, 2011 was fined $1,000.00 for using an illegal drug on the horse. That is an absolute joke because he still gets to keep his winnings from that race and he can continue to train. A thousand dollars to him is nothing but an inconvenience, it is not a deterrent. Until something severe happens to these cheaters, the sport will always be reading articles like the one from Sunday.
I love horse racing but I know every time I place a bet, the thought goes through my mind on how this race might be fixed.
Friday, March 23, 2012
Joba was used as a starter and failed and he was placed back in the bullpen where he belonged but it might of been too late. The Yankees coddling of this pitcher might have been his demise. Last June he went down with an arm injury that needed Tommy John surgery.
Joba was recovering and was planning to make a go at it this season until the latest Joba mishap. He sustained an open dislocation of his ankle playing with his son. He hurt his ankle so bad that and there was a major amount of blood lost that there was an initial concern for his life.
Joba had surgery on the ankle last night and as of right now, no one knows if he will be able to pitch again. Only time will tell but the Yankees are without Joba for this season.
Reports have said that Joba was on a trampoline at his son's kindergarten when he hurt his ankle. Is there not a clause in his contract that he is not able to do activities that might get him injured. Remember Mike Mussina had a clause put into his contract about no basketball. I think that it is irresponsible for an athlete to get involved in something that might injure him and cause the team a loss of his services. What is even worse is the fact this happened in the middle of spring training and while he is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.
Good thing for the Yankees is that Dave Robertson is on the mend and will be back in no time.
Thursday, March 22, 2012
Against the Sixers, the Knicks played defense and did not allow the Sixers to score for nearly six minutes. The Knicks only scored 19 points in the first quarter but they only allowed 11. On a night that Lin went 4 for 17, the Knicks still pulled out a win because of defense.
The Knicks defeated the Sixers last night but they are still 1 game ahead of the ninth place Bucks. The Knicks need to set their sights on the Sixers in the Atlantic because the winner of the division will avoid playing Miami or Chicago in the opening round of the play-offs. The Knicks are just three games behind the Sixers. The road to the top of the Atlantic is through defense and if the Knicks play defense their offense will be there.
Wednesday, March 21, 2012
Here we go again, the Jets are making headlines. This time they are making headlines for the acquisition of Tim Tebow. They can't just stop at that. About an hour after the trade there is a setback. It became, we have him, we don't have him to finally, we have him. It's the Jets, do you think that they weren't going to dominate the headlines all day with this.
If the Jets don't have a controversy, they will make a controversy. I am still very unsure why they traded for Tebow after they signed Sanchez to a contract extension. I am not sure why the Broncos would mortgage their future for a 36 year old quarterback that might not be the quarterback of old and I am not sure how the Broncos gave up a quarterback with Tebow's skills for two draft picks.
I don't know any of those answers but I have a few theories.
First I really do believe that John Elway had a hidden agenda with this. Elway did not want Tebow starting last year. After the whole Tebow Time took America by storm, Elway was afraid that Tebow would supplant him as THE Broncos quarterback and he did not want that. He doesn't have a problem with Manning because he has made his carer in Indianapolis.
Now onto the big question, why would the Jets trade for Tebow after they have given Sanchez a contract extension? I have a one word answer, Sporano. He probably spoke to Rex Ryan and the powers to be and said that he could make the best wildcat team with the addition of Tebow. I bet he has thought it out, he can put Tebow under center and have Sanchez as a wideout or he can put Sanchez under center and Tebow in the backfield and run the option, he can run the wishbone with Sanchez under center and Tebow in any of the back positions. Sporano probably said, with the offensive line that we have, Tebow would be a perfect fit. Sporano also might use Sanchez for the first three quarters and then bring Tebow in for the fourth quarter where Tebow excels. The Jets can have a starting pitcher and a closer.
They talk about Tebow bringing harmony to the Jets locker room but the controversy had already started before he was even a Jet. Cromartie let everyone know he did not want Tebow on the Jets. How is that for starting off on the right foot. If you want to talk about a controversy, how about the quarterback controversy that the Jets have brought on themselves. Do you think that they are bringing Tebow in to be a backup? I don't think so. They will battle for the number one spot at quarterback but then again with Sporano, there might not be a number 1 quarterback. Sanchez and Tebow might be on the field at the same time.
Let it be known that I am not a big Tebow fan but I am interested in seeing how this plays out. Never a dull moment with the Jets.
Monday, March 19, 2012
Like the old joke goes, I went to the fights and a hockey game broke out. That is exactly what happened at the Garden. Within three seconds of the puck being dropped for the beginning of the game, three fights simultaneously broke out. There is some bad blood between these two teams and some of it was spilled on the Garden ice during these three fights. The Garden crew had to scrape the ice to get the blood off of it before they could resume the game.
On Sunday, the Devils Head Coach, Peter DeBoer, told reporters that he thinks, "there is a genuine dislike" between the Rangers and the Devils. On Monday night, DeBoer started his goon line for the opening face-off. Tortorella started to scream at DeBoer about this move. Tortorella decided that instead of screaming he would goon it up too. He moved a defenseman, Stu Bickel to take the face-off and his wingers were Prust and Rupp. The puck was dropped and then the gloves. The Rangers got the better of that battle and set the tone for the rest of the game.
The Rangers won the game securing a play-off berth and put two more points between them and the Penguins for the top spot in the Eastern Conference with 10 games left. The Rangers also snapped a two game losing streak.
Right now the line of Callahan, Dubinsky and Stepan have been playing really well for the Rangers. Dubinsky opened the game with goal and Stepan closed out the game with a goal. Another player that is having a great stretch run is Carl Hagelin. Last night his speed and tenacious play was giving the Devils fits.
The Rangers and the Devils always play these nail biters. The Rangers go up 3-1 but the Devils score two goals in the second period to make the game close. The Devils second goal was soft short side goal that was uncharacteristic of Lundquist. With the score 3-2 in the third period, Stepan redirected a Callahan shot into the net to make it 4-2, and that is how it stood.
The Rangers need to get hot right about now. They have 10 games until the play-offs and this is a great way to start.
Friday, March 16, 2012
After throwing a few rounds of batting practice, Andy Petitte has decided to un-retire. Petitte signed a minor league contract and is filled with incentives.
Petitte is 39 years old and he will be vying for a spot in the Yankees rotation. The Yankees have a glut of starting pitching but after CC and Nova, are any of them any good. Only time will tell.
But, welcome back Andy, Derek and Mo missed you.
Sports Illustrated has a way of putting the mush on things. They featured Jeremy Lin not once but in two consecutive issues and now with a new director on Broadway, the Lin-Sanity show might go on a hiatus. While I was watching my alma mater, Long Beach State, play in the tournament, my weekly Sports Illustrated arrived in the mail. I quickly ripped through the magazine and there on page 50 was a huge picture of Caspar Ware and an article attached that was called, "Beware The Sleeper." I looked up from this article and the score was 20-20 in the first half of the Long Beach State-New Mexico game. Two things ran through my head, the first one was, I have never seen a feature article in Sports Illustrated on Long Beach State athletics, ever, and the second thought was, great, the 49ers have now been mushed. And they were.
New Mexico went on to beat the 49ers 75-68 and advance to the next round of the tournament. The 49ers played a solid game but I knew this was going to be difficult without a healthy Larry Anderson. He tweaked his knee a few weeks ago and when he came on the court he was obviously hobbling. He is the Scottie Pippen on this 49ers team. You needed him to win. Caspar Ware went 5 of 19 from the floor and he was unable to take a breather in the second half. It definitely showed late in the second half with New Mexico up 62-61 and Ware missed the front end of a one-and-one. This is when the floor tilted towards New Mexico.
Not to say that they didn't give it a valiant effort. Long Beach had a two point lead late in the second half but the Lobos went on an 11-5 run that put them up 70-66 with a 1:52 left. There was nothing left for the 49ers to do.
Caspar Ware, Larry Anderson and T.J. Robinson was Dan Monson's first recruiting class when he took over the program in 2007. With all three of these players seniors, I would like to wish them good luck and thank you for bringing a competitive brand of basketball to the Pyramid over the past four years.
Tuesday, March 13, 2012
I would like to offer my services to you and your team. I would like to offer my services, for free, until the trade deadline. You guys take a vacation, turn your cell phones off and just relax. I will take all the calls and make the day to day decisions, I'll even do a few things that when you return you will be pleasantly surprised.
I can start right now but I need to ask you a favor first, can you leave me Rich DeVos' phone number? You might want to know why and I really shouldn't tell you but I need to talk to him about that Dwight Howard guy. I know, I know we can't afford him but have I got a deal for you. Hear me out Mr. Dolan.
This whole Jeremy Lin/Carmelo Anthony thing just isn't working. As a matter of fact, it is so disturbing to watch the team run in mud. Carmelo Anthony will never be able to adapt to Lin's style of play and right now Lin had the team winning, Lin had the team playing as a team and Lin was putting tushes in the seat. I know, I know, I like Melo too but we need to think of everyone. Don't worry, this is what I will tell Rich DeVos.
Rich what's up? Hey before you say no, listen to my offer. I will trade you Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler for Dwight Howard and Hedu Turkelu. Rich? Rich, did I lose you? OK, good, now hear me out. I know that you just don't want to trade Howard for nothing and no team wants to give you a marquee player to fill your arena. You also don't want Howard just walking away from Orlando like that other guy that walked, Shaq. You see how that played out for you. I am offering you not one but two marquee players that can still take you to the playoffs and fill arenas. Melo has two years left on his contract and Chandler has three. It's a no brainer. What was that? Why am I being so generous? Have you seen how my team plays together? Melo is great but not great with us. He looks completely lost out there. And Chandler is a monster but I can't use two centers. Plus, if you think that the Nets are going to scoop up Howard and move him to Brooklyn, you're nuts. So, what do you say, deal?
I also have one more idea Mr. Dolan. While you are enjoying yourself, I will take the liberty of getting rid of D'Antoni. I will fly out and talk to Phil Jackson and I will show him how his leadership will work here in New York. He is the Zen Master and who better to be Zen-like than your starting point guard, Jeremy Lin. I will tell Phil this, "I know your offensive system can be quite complicated but your point guard is a Harvard graduate!! That kid knows complicated." Phil Jackson couldn't refuse.
Mr. Dolan, I am only trying to help. There is no downside to this. We pretty much are a circus and whatever moves I make can't make matters worse.
Thank you for listening and hopefully I can start tomorrow.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
When March rolls around you can always count on the month coming in like a lion and leaving like a lamb. You can be sure that we will set our clocks forward and you can count on Spring arriving. You can count on Spring Training starting and you can count on, without fail, the Knicks and the Rangers starting to become the opening act for Ringling Brothers.
The Rangers are coming off a three game losing streak and a few of those games they gave up a 2 goal lead. They have looked tired and they have made some silly errors. No doubt they are making the play-offs but they need to to start getting their ship sailing in the right direction. If they finish the season with the division's best record they will have to play a bottom seeded team that they seem to always lose to. If they are in disarray, as they are right now, they will exit the play-offs immediately.
The Knicks are just killing me. I am sitting and listening to the game right now and it is so frustrating. The 76ers come into the Garden and they treat the Knicks like the schleps that they have become. This is the fifth game in the row that the Knicks have lost. In my Brooklyn schoolyard we had a word for a basketball player that just shoots the ball from anywhere and that word is a chucker. The Knicks have a team of chuckers on the court right now. The New York Chuckers basically are Carmelo Anthony, JR Smith and Baron Davis. I have never seen a group of players that have joined a team that was on a role and have turned them into a team of losing saps. These three chuckers are shooting the ball from lobby and not even coming close to making a basket. Jeremy Lin is great when he is attacking the basket but when he is on the court with two of the Chuckers, the team becomes Ringling Brothers. When Lin is on the court with an up tempo team (see the month of February) they thrive. That guy standing on the sideline with the top hat, better known as D'Antoni, must go. He has again turned this team into a three ring circus. I do not like the starting rotation of Lin, Anthony, Fields, Stoudemire and Chandler. Give me the Lin-Sanity line-up. Lin, Chandler, Stoudemire, Fields and Shumpert. They can run, fill the lanes and when they have to go into a set offense, Chandler and Stoudemire run the pick and roll with Lin perfectly.
A positive note comes from the little league Blue Jays. They beat the Angels 11-10 in the last inning with some aggressive base running and timely hitting.
Wednesday, March 7, 2012
The month of February had the Knicks going on a 8-1 run. Linsanity took over the Garden and everything was looking rosy. Carmelo Anthony had missed 7 games and with Lin on the floor and Carmelo Anthony sitting, the Knicks averaged 105 points per 100 possessions. With Anthony back and playing on the court with Lin, the Knicks average is 97.9 points.
In the 8-1 run, the Knicks offense was firing on all cylinders. The offense was being run through Lin and the Knicks were putting up points. It appears that Anthony is not happy with the offense running through Lin. Anthony is not happy having to move without the ball. Anthony is scoring 16.3 points per game since his return. This is below his season average of 21.
Something needs to be done before this season goes from promising to not making the play-offs. If it was up to me, I would have Anthony decide if he wants to fit into this new system that seems to win or if he would care to play someplace else.
I have a feeling Anthony will make the Knicks make the wrong decision and we will all watch the Knicks circle the drain. February's 8-1 record will be nothing but an apparition.
Get rid of Anthony for more player's that fit the system and then get rid of D'Antoni for not having the cajones to tell Anthony that if he didn't like what the team has become in his absence than he is more than welcome to go find another team.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
Very excited that Springsteen is putting out a new album today. I saw him perform two songs from the new album on the Jimmy Fallon Show and I was very impressed. He played Jack of All Trades and Death to My Hometown. He finished off the show with The E Street Shuffle. I don't ever remember seeing him playing this song live, it was great. Take a look at the below video from the Jimmy Fallon Show and for a song that is nearly forty years old, it still rocks and rolls.
If you have not seen Springsteen in concert, do yourself a favor and go. It is an experience. If you want a preview and you have Sirius Radio, turn on the Springsteen Channel and listen to a live broadcast from the Apollo Theater in Harlem, New York on Friday night. Satisfaction is guaranteed
Friday, March 2, 2012
Before we get to some Kentucky Derby updates, I just wanted to update everyone on my handicapping system that I developed and put into play at the Breeder's Cup. The system has been quite profitable since November. I explained the system to a colleague at work and when they used it at Santa Anita last Thursday, the system showed a profit of $600.00 in the four plays for that day.
Now on to the Derby Watch.
Todd Pletcher needs to go back to the drawing board in his decision for the Kentucky Derby. His most promising trained horse, Algorithm, was pulled from last week's Fountain of Youth Stakes at Gulfstream Park due to a leg injury. This injury is going to keep Algorithm out of the Triple Crown races. Pletcher had high hopes for this horse. His last race in the Holy Bull on January 29 showed that he was a potential monster. He beat Mike Maker's, Hansen, by five lengths.
This is the third straight year that Pletcher has run into bad luck with possible Derby contenders. Last year Uncle Mo was sidelined because of a liver disorder and in 2010 Eskendereya was injured in the Wood Memorial and never raced again.
With Algorithm out for the Fountain of Youth Stakes, Union Rags, the Michael Matz trained horse, won the race by four lengths. Union Rags has not run since he finished second to Hansen in last November's Breeder's Cup Juvenile.
Hansen is being entered in Saturday's Gotham at Aqueduct. He is going to try to make up for the disappointing showing in the Holy Bull. In my handicapping superstition, I will not throw Hansen in my mix for the Derby. My superstition is that any horse that has won the Breeder's Cup Juvenile will not win the Derby.
Then you have Bob Baffert, who right now could saddle up a turtle and win a horse race. This guy is just red-hot. Ask anyone who frequents Santa Anita and this guy has made a home in the winner's circle. He has possibly four horses that can make the Derby, Fred Biz, Secret Circle, Castaway and Liaison. And true to form about any Baffert horse is that he has one jockey riding all four, Rafael Bejarano. Gotta keep an eye on these four.
There are a number of prep races to be run before the first weekend in May and there are a number of 3 year olds that might come into their own by that weekend. The discussions that will come up between now and then will be many and my only advice in betting the races is this, "Don't ever take a tip from a guy with holes in his shoes."