The Yankees are at a crossroads

29 Jul
Are the Yankees on the downswing?

While some may still consider the New York Yankees playoff contenders at (54-51), they seem to be stuck in a peculiar position.  As the roster for the yankees is getting older, the farm system is not getting any better.  Even though GM Brian Cashman is making moves to try to keep the team afloat, they are not long term transactions.  As the last link of the core 4 is retiring at the end of the season; Derek Jeter's retiring will mark the end of an era for the Yankees.  The question then becomes, who is next in the minors?  The alarming answer right now is nobody.  The Yankees have a scarcity of minor league prospects which is a not a good sign.

The one thing about the Yankees is that they will be in the A.L. wild card race until the last week of the season, solely because they go for the playoffs every year and won't give up on the season.  However, similar to last season, they just don't have the horses to make that deep playoff run that they used to year in and year out.  It is almost shocking to fathom the fact that the Yankees could miss out on the playoffs for a second year in a row.  That has not happened since before 1996 which seems like a lifetime ago.

The 1990's Yankee dynasty was predominantly homegrown, but this current Yankee team is almost all  filled with players who have been bought from other teams.  Lost in Derek Jeter's farewell tour is the fact that the Yankees have very few players coming up through the pipeline.  If I were the Yankees, I would trade a guy like Carlos Beltran or Brett Gardner to a contending team for a boatload of prospects.  The Yankees face a similar problem to the Philadelphia Phillies.  That problem is that if they don't get younger, they will fall into an abyss of mediocrity.  

The Yankees have a tremendous winning pedigree and should turn out to be just fine.  However, Yankee fans should start to be a little concerned about the lack of long term solutions the Yankees possess in the farm system.  The lack of prospects does not mean they are going to stink.  It just means that they are going to have to break the bank for free agents to continue to compete for the playoffs in the American League.

Can Odell Beckham Jr. be just what the doctor ordered for Eli and the Giants?

28 Jul
Does Odell Beckham Jr. have what it takes?

Assuming that recent Giants draft Pick Odell Beckham Jr. will be able to stay healthy and be on the field, can he really be as explosive as people think he will be?  The jury is still out on that question.  However, until the Giants offensive line can protect Eli, does it matter if Beckham can be true to form?  Yes, Victor Cruz cannot do it alone on the field anymore, and he needs help.  But if Eli doesn't have time to release the ball, what difference does it make?

The Giants revamped their offensive line this offseason with some draft picks, but none of those picks are guarantees to be successes.  Personally, I think Odell Beckham will be perfect for Eli and company.  If any of the Giants offensive lineman can mature and protect Eli, Beckham could be the next breakout star in the NFL.  Beckham's great mix of speed and strength is going to create matchup nightmares for defensive coordinators around the league, thus taking some of the heat off of Victor Cruz as well.  

Odell Beckham Jr. averaged 19.0 yards per reception last year at LSU and caught for over 1,000 yards.  Any production close to this from Beckham will spell great things for the Giants moving forward, especially with the new offensive system they are putting in place.  

Beckham also brings another dimension with his game.  He is a very skilled punt and kick returner which could bode well for the Giants just in case offseason signing Trindon Holliday doesn't pan out at kick returner.  All in all, Odell Beckham should going to take the league by storm.  The only thing holding him back will be any injuries that he sustains and the offensive line's play.  He has sure hands and will not be intimidated by any opposing defenses.  The sooner Beckham can get on the field at training camp, the better off he will be in the Giants new offense.

Things are looking up for the Knicks

27 Jul
The Knicks will make the playoffs this year

With some recent moves by the Knicks brain trust led by Phil Jackson, the New York Knicks have put themselves back in the playoff conversation.  It is clear that since Phil has come to New York he is not going to put up with any nonsense.  He immediately traded away Raymond Felton and Tyson Chandler following the season allowing for the Knicks to acquire an upgrade at point guard in Jose Calderon. 

Another thing to note is that the Knicks usually have had poor coaching staffs and losing attitudes in the past.  Because of this, Jackson was able to hire Derek Fisher, an NBA champion, as the head coach.  Also, another NBA champion in Kurt Rambis was hired to be an assistant to Fisher.  It is clear that Phil is trying to create a winning circle in the coaching staff and establishing the mentality that losing and poor behavior will not be tolerated.

This kind of management is a breath of fresh air for the Knicks; considering that owner James Dolan is always finding a way to embarrass the team.  Recent draft pick Cleanthony Early seemed to be the steal of the NBA draft.  With the recent addition of Early and the development of Tim Hardaway Jr. and Iman Shumpert; it would appear that the Knicks are building a nice nucleus of players.  Carmelo Anthony can rest easy knowing that he has an 11-time champion now manning the ship.  And that champion is Phil Jackson.

With the Eastern Conference being weak and void of several good teams, the Knicks seem to be right in the playoff mix.  Phil has a few things left he must do before the season starts.  First, Jackson needs to find a solid big man down low that can anchor the Knicks front court.  Also, Jackson must cut J.R. Smith to get rid of his attitude and negative affect on the team.  If Phil can get these two things done before opening day, the Knicks will be in great shape.  

It is hard for Knicks fans to be optimistic coming off of last season's train wreck, but things are definitely looking up for Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks.     

Between the Jets and the Giants, who will bounce back?

24 Jul
Do the Jets or the Giants have the ability to bounce back?

The Jets and Giants both struggled last season.  Which team will bounce back this year and get back to winning ways.  Weigh in with your thoughts.

Sandy Alderson has the skills to be a lawyer, not a general manager

23 Jul
Sandy Alderson has dropped the ball yet again

While some may say that the Mets are developing a young nucleus of talent in the minor leagues, it has taken an inordinate amount of time.  When Sandy Alderson took the job as general manager for the New York Mets in 2009, he stated that he had a five year plan to bring a winner back to New York.  Well, it has come to that fifth year, and the Mets are looking at their fifth consecutive losing season.

The New York spotlight demands winning, and when winning is not achieved, those who are responsible are usually held accountable.  For some reason, Sandy Alderson barely takes any slack from the media or the fans.  Time after time he is seen smooth talking his way out of questions to reporters spewing the same old company line, but at the end of the day, he needs to produce a winner.  All we heard from the Mets the past few years was that 2014 would be the year the Mets would compete for the playoffs.  Now all of a sudden, they are talking about 2015 and how the future is very bright as if people are supposed to forget about what they previously stated.  

I am puzzled as to why this has been able to fly in New York.  Yes, things need time to fix, but at a certain point people must show up and produce.  It is apparent that the Mets are more concerned with stadium promotions and their pockets than the team actually winning meaningful games.  When you hear Alderson talk, if you didn't know any better, you would think that the Mets are 20 games over .500.  He praises players that are terrible and says that they are doing good things.  One must beg the question, what team is he watching?  His attitude and the Mets performance is beyond response at this point.

Alderson's lack of touch with the fans and his ignorance on many issues had led to another poor season to date for the Mets.  He may be building a nucleus in the minors, but I highly doubt that people want to wait another five years for what could be a serviceable team at best.  Thanks for nothing Sandy.  Former G.M. for the Mets, Omar Minaya, wasn't as bad as people may have thought.  At least the guy made transactions once in a blue moon.    

Why the Buffalo Bills may be the best New York football team this season

22 Jul
Watch out for Sammy Watkins and the Buffalo Bills

While everyone is talking about the Jets and the Giants and the bravado that comes along with them; people seem to be forgetting about that team up in Orchard Park, NY.  While the Buffalo Bills are coming off a losing season, don't let that fool you.

Although the Bills learned of a devastating blow recently when Kiko Alonso, their star on defense went down, the Bills still have a stout front seven on defense.  This stout front seven is led by Marcel Dareus at defensive end who is a force at the line of scrimmage.  The secondary is led by veteran safety Jim Leonard who brings stability to the back end of the defense.  On offense, the explosive capability is off the charts.  C.J. Spiller and Sammy Watkins are both home run hitting weapons alongside Robert Woods who is a budding slot receiver in the league.  Although E.J. Manuel is feeling the pressure to live up to the hype, he seems to be un-phased by the challenge that he faces.

This Buffalo Bills team is young, explosive, and extremely dangerous.  Teams who are looking past them on the schedule may want to think twice before prematurely penciling in a victory against this young Bills team.

While the Bills have a possible problem at quarterback, the Jets and the Giants have multiple problems.  The Giants do not know what they are going to get from recently acquired Rashad Jennings at running back and are not sure on what their offensive line will be like this year.  As for the Jets, like always, they have a quarterback controversy.  This time the controversy is between recent draft pick Geno Smith and veteran quarterback Michael Vick.  The Jets also have the potential to have one of the worst secondaries in the league if they don't get their act together. 

Rex Ryan doesn't want to worry about the Patriots, but he may need to pay a little attention to what is going on in Buffalo.  And oh yeah, he may want to pay attention to the Patriots as well being that they have won 11 of the last 13 AFC East titles to be had.  New York, don't sleep on the Buffalo Bills.

Do you miss that electric atmosphere at the games? It left with the old stadiums

16 Jul
There is nothing like the old stadiums

Lets face it; while New York sporting events still have some sizzle, a lot of that sizzle left once the new  stadiums were erected.  A combination of raised ticket prices and the preferential treatment of the corporate community has made games at Citi Field, Yankee Stadium, and Met life Stadium more business like than anything else.  

When there is a game with flair, it is a sad reminder that things aren't how they used to be.  There was something to be said for going to old Shea, the place that the Mets called home.  Even though Citi Field is cleaner and obviously nicer, it does not have that true identity that the fans are searching for.  The same thing goes for the new Yankee Stadium and the new Meadowlands.  While they are nice in size and condition, they lack that special identity that used to be present in the old stadiums.  This is mostly because of the people who go to the games nowadays.  Ticket prices are through the roof, thus increasing the corporate population in the stands.  Not that there is anything wrong with the corporate world, but their interests often supersede the game.  This is a prime reason as to why some people don't even go for the game anymore, instead, they go because they have to go for their business or for the special clubs that they have access to.  

While a playoff game at any of these stadiums would bring tremendous energy and hype today, the regular season does not anymore, although there are a few exceptions.  While these wealthy individuals who are running the stadiums may be accommodating their inner circle of business associates, they are driving away the common fan, and the common fan is what supports these teams. 

There used to be years where the Mets sucked but people would say,"lets go to Shea for a game!"  I don't think the same can be said for Citi Field.  The old Yankee Stadium was a sports icon, but the new one is not the same.  I think a decrease in the vip clubs at the stadiums would bring the games back into focus and bring back the true fans who cares about their respective teams.  These new stadiums are nice, but not the same.  

Derek Jeter starting at shortstop for the american league shows everything that is wrong with the MLB all-star game

15 Jul
Numbers dont lie, and the numbers say that Derek Jeter is not an All-Star

With all due respect to Derek Jeter and his illustrious career, he does not deserve to be the starting American League shortstop in this year's MLB All-Star Game.  For a game that determines home-field advantage in the World Series, there is quite more focus on what fan favorites play in the game rather than who deserves to play.  Derek Jeter has 2 home runs and 25 RBI's with a .272 batting average for this season to date.  Since when are those All-Star numbers?

 I understand that it is his last go around and that he is being honored, but his numbers are not even close to being worthy to the honor that is being bestowed upon him.  Shortstops such as Eric Aybar and Alexei Ramirez are both having much better years than Jeter, however, they are only reserves while Derek is getting the starting nod.  Baseball is supposed to be a team sport and not about one guy. But in this case, it seems that Derek Jeter is being viewed as more important than the game.  

Derek Jeter as the starting shortstop this year begs the question, is being named to the All-Star Game an honor or something that is overrated?  Obviously, there are players that deserve the honor but there are others that get named to the mid-summer classic just because of their name.  Yes, everyone wants to see Jeter, but what good does that do for the actual play on the field?

The game wouldn't lack any luster without Jeter, as there would still be star-studded lineups on both teams.  Miguel Cabrera and Mike Trout on the AL along with Yasiel Puig and Andrew McCutchen on the NL is nothing to sneeze at.  The beginning of the game is going to be overshadowed by Derek's last hurrah.  While he has provided a lot for the game, he isn't going to be the only one out there.  Derek is the past now, and while he should be honored, he should not be the focus.  

Its about time Chris Young gets the boot

23 Jun
Chris Young may be out of Queens in less than a week

Chris Young, one of the outfielders for the New York Mets, was one of the worst signings in Mets history.  By Thursday, he may finally be gone.  Theres just one small problem.  The Mets decided to pay him an obscene amount of money for one season!  The Mets made the same mistake with Jason Bay and they paid the price because they held onto him way to long.  However, the Mets kept Bay because of the amount of money they were paying him, but now all of the sudden they are willing to change their policy?  I am all for getting rid of Chris Young, but this stuff should have been done years ago!  Chris Young is getting paid around $7.25 million to hit .201 this season.  That is what is boils down to, and that just doesn't cut it.  I am impressed that Sandy Alderson has come to his senses this early, but it is almost too good to be true.  

While the Mets are pondering whether to get rid of their underperforming offseason addition or not, the Orioles' Nelson Cruz who many thought the Mets would go after in the offseason has 23 home runs to date.  So in other words, Sandy Alderson has dropped the ball yet again.  It would be one thing if Young was just struggling at the plate, but his troubles extend into the field!  There have been multiple instances where he has misplayed routine fly balls and costed the Mets ballgames.  

In a nutshell, it will be interesting to see what the Mets do come thursday, however, we have seen this movie before and sometimes the Mets show that they care more about friendships than winning games.  Therefore, I wouldn't consider Chris Young getting cut a done deal just yet...    

The Mets Debacle

08 Jun
Travis dArnaud being shocked about his demotion speaks volumes to what message is permeating through the Mets organization

It has become evident that the Mets have went from the lovable losers to just losers. For the fifth year in a row, Sandy Alderson has dropped the ball with the bullpen and it is unacceptable. The bullpen has blown the most games in the major leagues this year, creating an impossible situation for the team. Even when the Mets scratch out some much needed runs, the lead is never safe. This team is on the cusp of fading into oblivion and change needs to occur now. Nobody wants to admit it but a trade involving David Wright for two young bats may in fact be the way to go. Wright has given the team a lot the past few years, but this is not basketball, and one player cannot carry a team to the playoffs. In terms of the bullpen, I would throw all of the young arms in their and get rid of guys like Carlos Torres and Josh Edgin. 

The St. Louis Cardinals a lot of the time send their young arms to the bullpen so they can contribute right away without hurting the team. It also enables them to perform in pressure situations. As for the manager, it is time to go. I have never seen a manager get rewarded with a contract extension after four straight losing seasons. It is an absolute joke. 2014 was the year and now that we are finally at this point, it is all of the sudden all about 2015. 

This team has become accepting of losing and doesn't mind failure. If ex-met Wally Backman was brought up to be the coach, he wouldn't take any guff and we all would finally see who really wants to play here. Change better come, and fast.