Tuesday, October 30, 2012
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
Saturday, October 20, 2012
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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 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
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
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!!!!!!