Archive for May 2008

Saturday, May 31st, 2008

Not Much Adu about Offense

Do you remember how you felt the first time you saw Apollo Creed step into the ring with Drago in Rocky IV? Fire works! Liv-in’ in America! Our African American Uncle Sam dancing around like a rock star. Apollo kept punching Drago but it didn’t even faze the giant Russian. You knew something bad was going to happen to Apollo. WHAM! WHAM! WHAM!…death…

This is how it felt watching the US Soccer Team play a friendly against England at Wembley stadium Wednesday. It’s not the first time I’ve felt this way watching the Red White and Blue play other national teams. Remember the Czech Republic in the last World Cup (I still don’t know how that ball didn’t put a hole in our net)? We’re supposed to be a world class team. We’ve got players who start in the Premier League, we beat Mexico for the Gold Cup (we’ve beaten them the last ten times we played them on US …

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Delgado Will Face Lefty Kershaw

Mets Rumors & News

Despite the fact that as I type this Mike and the Mad Dog are speculating about whether or not Willie Randolph will have Carlos Delgado in the lineup tonight against Dodgers’ southpaw Clayton Kershaw, the Mets manager in fact revealed his hand last night when he announced that Delgado would be right back out there following a 2-for-4 performance last night that included a base hit off a lefty reliever and a diving grab in the field. Clearly the larger than life WFAN personalities don’t watch the SNY postgame.

In any event, I fully support this decision. As I wrote yesterday, you’d prefer that the Dodgers had their righty pitchers stacked a bit better so you could get Delgado in there for two or three games before sitting him again against the lefty. Instead the Mets find themselves facing three lefty starters in four days, making the decision to sit Delgado tonight a tough one, especially given the way he seemingly responded …

Thursday, May 29th, 2008

To Platoon Or Not To Platoon, That’s the Question

Mets Rumors & News

Back-to-Back nights on the pine for Carlos Delgado, back-to-back victories for the Mets. Coincidence? I think not.

Not because Damion Easley’s bat in the lineup and glove at first transforms the Amazin’s into a roaring juggernaut, but rather because manager Willie Randolph has sent a loud message to his clubhouse that losing won’t be tolerated, players are expected to perform, and the lineup card will be dictated by who gives the team the best chance to win, not by salary figures and name recognition.

Delgado was not even allowed to run for himself after drawing a pinch-hit walk in the ninth inning last night as John Maine instead entered the game as a pinch-runner. Embarrassing? For sure. Does anyone care? Not in the least. If there are any hard feelings, you’ll find little sympathy around these parts for the .215 hitter.

Incidentally, the Daily News’ Adam Rubin points out today that Delgado ranks 20th in average and dead …

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008
Yankees Rumors & News

I understand Joba Chamberlain is now going to start, and that that ship has sailed, so let’s look at the situation as it presents itself today. The Yanks have now lost two games when, had Joba been available in the pen, he would have made an appearance.

Last night Joba certainly would have been in the game, however because the game was lost in extra innings, it is hard to predict if he would have been used in the 7th and 8th or 11th and 12th, and whether or not the outcome would have been any different had he pitched. Monday’s loss, however, can almost directly be attributed to Joba’s unavailability as the Baltimore Orioles blitzkrieged the Yankee bullpen for five runs in the seventh inning.

LaTroy Hawkins and Kyle Farnsworth are proving that given the responsibility, they are not going to cut it – an eventuality that most observers predicted all along. I suspect that Ian Kennedy might get dumped …

Miserable Mets Bungle Church’s Injury

Mets Rumors & News

I’m not a doctor. I’m not even a science major. But I’m a sports fan, and a hockey fan, and over the years I’ve picked up a nugget or two concerning head injuries and the impact of post-concussion syndrome.

The NHL as a league took a long, hard look at head injuries in their sport right around the time that superstar Eric Lindros was clearly losing his battle with the recurring condition – a condition that had already forced his younger brother out of hockey. It’s no coincidence that the league stood up and took notice when Lindros’ career seemed in jeopardy. After all, the NHL had billed Lindros as the next to grasp the baton handed from Gordie Howe to Wayne Gretzky and later Mario Lemieux, much in the same way that the league is currently marketing Sidney Crosby. Nobody cared that Brett Lindros would never play again, but once Eric was felled it was time to take a look at …

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Fear and Loathing @ Shea

Mets Rumors & News

You can almost see the high-water mark for the New Mets – that place where the wave finally broke and rolled back. It was a highlight reel catch from Endy Chavez in Game 7 of the the 2006 NLCS, and the orange and blue have receded ever since.

Whether or not you believe this team has been dragged down by the bad karma of 2007, let’s agree that this team stinks.

The lowlight for me? Hearing the loudmouths in the dwindling Shea crowd chant “Fire Willie” during the game’s final innings.

So Knicks fans have abandoned the hardwood and shown up en masse at the ballpark? Is that what we’ve sunk to in Flushing? Is it idiocy, ignorance? It smells a little bit.

And speaking of smells, how has Omar come out smelling like a rose through all of this? His parachuting act into Colorado was clearly brilliantly deployed; and thank goodness for an injury to Marlon Anderson or we might still be …

Saturday, May 24th, 2008

Yanks Win Third Straight

Yankees Rumors & News

The Yankees are showing life. Last night’s 13-2 win was their third straight. Another step in the right direction.

Andy Pettitte picked up the win, after going over a month without one. He got support from an offense that is starting to wake up. The Yanks sent 13 men to the plate in the bottom of the 5th inning scoring 8 times.

“This game may have been a turning point,” Hideki Matsui said last night after the Yankees beat the Seattle Mariners 13-2 before a crowd of 52,005 at the Stadium. “We are starting to play well.”

This win marks the fourth time the Yanks have beat up on the Mariners this season, all this month and all at Yankee Stadium.

I am liking what I see from the Bombers as of late. Since the debacle on Tuesday night against the Orioles, the Yanks have answered back and answered in a big way. It’s no coincidence that since A-Rod’s return the Yankees are 3-1. He was deeply missed in the …

Friday, May 23rd, 2008

Mets Lack Lumber

Mets Rumors & News

Willie Randolph may no longer be managing the Mets by this time next month, but a change in the manager’s office won’t change the fact that the Mets are a day late and a big bat short.

In 2006, by far the team’s most productive season during Willie’s tenure, Paul Lo Duca hit second for most of the season and led the team with a .318 average. He and Jose Reyes produced 332 runs that season en route to the NL East division title. To be honest, when I looked at the numbers I was surprised to find that despite the high batting average, Lo Duca produced just 129 runs (80 runs scored, 49 RBI) in ’06. Reyes largely carried the top of the order that season, putting up borderline MVP numbers, hitting .300 with 122 runs and 81 RBI. So considering that fact, is Reyes’ decline the sole culprit for the Mets’ struggles since June ’07? Well, not exactly.

Looking around the majors …

Yankees Rumors & News

Joe Girardi got his money’s worth last night in the bottom of the 9th inning and minutes later the Yankees pulled out a 2-1 win.

Jason Giambi was called out on a pitch by home plate umpire Chris Guccione on a “foul tip.” A couple problems with that. The ball didn’t appear to hit Giambi’s bat and Guccione didn’t make the call until Orioles catcher Ramon Hernandez pointed it out. That brought Girardi out of the dugout and in the face of the home plate ump. He was then ejected.

“I didn’t think it touched him,” Girardi said. “Hence I was a little upset….. I wanted to kick something, and I figured that was the best thing. Walls don’t work too well. … I wasn’t happy with the explanation.”

Before he hit the showers he put on his best Lou Pinella impression by slamming his hat to the ground on two occasions and kicked it for good measures.

“I enjoyed it,” Derek Jeter said. “I was hoping he would …

Thursday, May 22nd, 2008

“The Process Has Started” – Joba The Starter

Yankees Rumors & News

Last night Joe Girardi announced to the world that the “process has started” with Joba Chamberlain. To many fans and many critics it was an announcement that has been long overdue. To some, it’s a decision in question.

To any Yankee fan, you know whether Joba pitches from the bullpen or in the starting rotation he’s an important piece to the team now and in the future. There’s no debate that he will be a starter next season, a season where the Yankees will need valuable arms in the rotation. Mike Mussina and Andy Pettitte could be on their last legs in pinstripes this season so the move to the rotation for Joba is logical. The question is whether the Yanks can win with Joba making this transition in the middle of the season.

Personally, I love Joba in the 8th inning. He comes in and blows away hitters, he ignites the crowd and brings an abundance of energy with him to the mound. He’s the perfect set-up guy …

Italian Prospect Could Fit D’Antoni, Knicks

Knicks Rumors & News

Minutes following Tuesday’s NBA Draft Lottery, posted a mock draft from Chad Ford, projecting that the Knicks would select 6’10” Italian point-forward Danilo Gallinari with the 6th overall selection. A day later, and Inside Hoops had followed suit, and how can you blame them? Wrote Ford:

[Derrick] Rose was the Knicks’ primary target, but with Gallinari, new head coach Mike D’Antoni lands the perfect weapon for his new team: a 6-10 point forward who knows how to think the game. D’Antoni played with Gallinari’s father in the Italian League for eight years and knows how good the versatile Italian forward really is.

The ESPN Insider scouting report on the forward reads as follows:

Positives: All-around skills. Point-forward mentality. Beautiful passer. Excellent basketball IQ. Smooth. Excellent slasher to the basket. Good athlete, though not an exceptional one. Good shooter, especially from midrange.

Negatives: He lacks explosiveness. Although he’s not slow footed, he’s not exactly quick either. May be a little too …

What do the numbers really say about Jeremy Shockey?

Giants Rumors & News

Jeremy Shockey’s chief complaint with the New York Giants for the past couple of seasons is that the ball just doesn’t come his way often enough. Let’s look at the hard numbers and see just how valid his complaint is.

In Shockey’s rookie season, 2002, he led all tight ends with 74 catches. In 2006, the last full season he played, he caught 66 passes, a good number that placed him 5th among all tight ends. Last season he had 57 catches in 14 games — a number that means he would have roughly equaled 2006 if he had played all 16 games.

So, Shockey hardly has a beef if his contention is that the Giants ignore him on offense.

Let’s look deeper than just the number of catches to see how effective Shockey has been.

Football Outsiders uses a couple of statistics One, called “Defense-adjusted Points Above Replacement” or DPAR to rank players at each position. Another, “Defense-adjusted Value Over Average” or DVOA, represent value per play.

When looking at tight ends, …

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