The New York Yankees Eye A Championship

August 10, 2009

Every season the Yankees try to win a championship, but since 2000 have only found themselves buying heartache. Their rosters have been filled with top tier All-Stars Randy Johnson, Kevin Brown, Jason Giambi, Gary Sheffield, Mike Mussina, who were all paid big bucks and produced solid statistics, but were unable to deliver a championship. Then there are the players such as Carl Pavano, Raul Mondesi, Jon Leiber, Jose Contreras and Kei Igawa, who the Yankees willingly forked over a kings ransom in hopes that they would get high return on their investments, but were sorely mistaken. Looking at the Yankees current roster the biggest investments that have not paid championship dividends for the New York Yankees are Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui and of course Alex Rodriguez. With the way the 2009 season is playing out, these three players may just be hoisting the World Series Trophy by October’s end.

The 2009 Yankees Want To Bring Championship #27 To The New Stadium

The 2009 Yankees Want To Bring Championship #27 To The New Stadium

The top tier teams in their large markets may never be able to duplicate the amount of revenue that the Yankees bring to the game on a yearly basis, but with teams like the Dodgers, Mets and Red Sox all trying to spend in the same league as the Yankees these past few years, it allowed the Yankees the right to break the bank this offseason. GM Brian Cashman (potentially the most ironic front office name in sports history) to sign CC Sabathia, Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett to three mega contracts. To the Yankees delight, these three players are making pinstriped patrons proud by playing their best baseball and leading their team to the best record in the majors.

Coming off of a 4 game sweep of their arch-rival Boston Red Sox, all is well in The Bronx. The new Yankee Stadium that was being criticized to no end for the amount of home runs it allows is no longer being condemned because it has been a true homefield advantage for this team, leading them to a MLB best 39-17 record thus far. This record is beacuse this Yankees lineup is formidable. 9 players have 11+ Home Runs, with extreme balance within the 9 (11,12,14,16,16,18,21,21,29 HR’s respectively). That 29 HR’s is from the workman like All-Star First Baseman, 8 Year, $180 Million Dollar Man, Mark Teixeira. His impressive offensive achievements (leading the team in all major offensive categories) have been matched by his gold glove caliber defense to lead the Yankees to the top of the AL East once again. Derek Jeter is enjoying a terrificely productive offensive season, Nick Swisher has been a mashing surprise after being a subtle addition at the start of the year, Johnny Damon loves the new ballpark to the tune of 21 dingers, A-Rod feels happy/excepted by his teammates, with his play reflecting it, Robinson Cano is playing up to his All-Star level, the Cabrera/Gardner platoon injects life into the lineup everyday and Jorge Posada is healthy enough to contribute again. This is an lineup that no pitcher would be excited to face come October.

With a 6.5 game lead and enough firepower on offense to have Yankee fans expecting a playoff birth, the pitching is going to be put under the microscope more then ever before. We all know that CC Sabathia is worth every penny of his massive 7 Year $161 Million Dollar contract. For being a true ace, a true leader, an innings eater, a workhorse and undoubtedly being slated to start Game 1 of any playoff series. After the mammoth at the front end of the rotation, the rotation picture gets less crystal clear but has the ability to be electric. The Yankees were wary about A.J. Burnett’s health before signing him, so they only offered him 5 Years, worth $82.5 Million Dollars, which he happily excepted after terminating his contract early in Toronto to pitch for New York’s AL East contender. A.J. may hold the key to the Yankees post season success since he will be slated to be the Game 2 starter for the Yankees in nearly every scenario. No one is questioning the fireballers ability to dominate a major league lineup, but questions of his durability and focus tend to creep up on Burnett more then other pitchers on the roster. However, it cannot be forgotten that Burnett, along with Josh Beckett, carried the Florida Marlins to the 2003 World Series with their pitching performances, most notably against his current NY Yankee squad. Burnett can be the pitcher that they need him to be come playoff time, but time can only tell which A.J. will show up. Then there was the time tested Andy Pettite, who would be your Game 3 Starter. Pettite is a pitcher with a phenomenal postseason mark, but stumbled last season versus the Cleveland Indians. That will not frighten skipper Joe Girardi from using Pettite in a tight spot. With Pettite he has a starting pitcher with the intelligence, moxie and talent (blessed or illegal) to lead the Yankees to victory.

Then there was the bullpen, potentially the chink in the armor that is the 2009 NY Yankees. Mariano Rivera is still there, in dominating fashion at the end of the game. Rivera has been given more help in the bullpen then in the last few seasons from Alredo Aceves, Phil Coke and the versatile 23 year old Philip Hughes, which makes Yankee fans breathe easier and makes them happy towards the end of the game. Happiness may be even more apparent when the teams X-Factor Joba Chamberlain, happily shifts back to his role in the bullpen during the post-season to do whatever it takes for the team to win. Jubilation is resounding from the house that George built (Steinbrenner not George Herman Ruth) these days and with the Summer winding closer to September, then October baseball. the New York Yankees look prime and ready with a mix of talent both new and pinstripe veteran, to go head on with the best that Major League Baseball has to offer.

Best to you and yours from your blogging buddy,

Jordan


Tiger Takes Momentum Into Another Major

August 10, 2009

Tiger won his 2nd straight tournament yesterday at Firestone, his 7th victory in 10 tries at the tournament, and will again be an overwhelming favorite at the years final major next week. Tiger threw up a 30 on the front nine yesterday to seize the lead from Padraig around the turn. It looked like we were headed for an exciting battle down the stretch between the two when Tiger stumbled with 2 straight bogeys early in the back nine. Harrington drained a 15 foot par save on 13 to regain a 1 shot lead. But Tiger pulled it together in vintage Tiger fashion, stuck an 8 iron to within tap in distance from 180 yards on the par 5 16th. Both he and Harrington hit errant drives, but after that Paddy did nothing right. Following a failed layup attempt, Harrington air mailed the green in to a brutal position, facing a slick down hill chip with the water sitting perilously close behind. His wedge bounced off the grass and he skulled into the water, on his way to a triple bogey 8 that handed Tiger the tournament.

Tiger Outmusles The Competition, Snatching Another Title On Sunday, In Preperation For The PGA Championship

Tiger Outmusles The Competition, Snatching Another Title On Sunday, In Preperation For The PGA Championship

After missing the cut a few weeks ago at the British, Tiger has claimed 2 straight victories, and has “reasserted” his dominance (as if he had to) to all those who were sent into a panic by his performance at Turnberry. Fact is, Tiger is the one guy that you simply cannot overreact to anything he does either way. He is the best there is and everyone comes to expect him to win every week. But it’s golf, and sometimes the shots just aren’t there. Off 2 straight victories, all those who panicked two weeks ago will be back on the bandwagon, expecting Tiger to roll his way to another major.

But this is a major. These weeks are different. If Tiger brings his A game he will win the tournament, but there are too many variables when it comes to playing on courses of this difficulty. Tiger has now won his last tournament before each major this season, and all things point to it being his week. But we’ve heard that plenty of times before. Pretty much every major actually. And the major champions this year are as follows: Angel Cabrera, Lucas Glover, and Stewart Cink. So let’s reserve are judgment here, at least for now.

I’ll dive into the PGA Championship at Hazeltine, more on Wednesday, when the worlds best will tee off for glory’s last shot in 2009.

Be well,

Bdon


Crabtree Wants The Money

August 6, 2009

It was reported today that All-America Wide Reciever Michael Crabtree, who was the 10th overall pick in the 2009 NFL draft by the San Fransisco 49ers is willing to sit out the ENTIRE season and re-enter his name into the 2010 draft pool if his contract demands are not met. His adviser/cousin claims that he is just looking for fair market value and that he was offered less then the $37 Million that 7th overall pick Derrius Heyward-Bey signed for. Any conventional football fan would know that Crabtree is better than Heyward-Bey but the draft board does not lie. Crabtree was a lock to go as a Top 5 pick in the draft, had he not suffered a stress fracture in his left foot in a game while playing for Texas Tech. But he did suffer a stress fracture and he slipped in the draft because of it.

Michael Crabtree May Never Catch A Pass For The 49ers

Michael Crabtree May Never Catch A Pass For The 49ers

No one is doubting Michael Crabtree’s ability. His skills were on full display every Sunday for the high powered Red Raider offense.  What he is trying to pull in The City by the Bay is just downright offensive. Over the past 5 years NFL rookie contracts have risen to an astounding and absurd level for players that have never proven themselves on a single down in the league. It can be argued that these players need to get the money upfront, while they can, before having 16 game schedule take a toll on their bodies, in a league with no guaranteed contracts. No one can fault a player, rookie or veteran, who is looking to get their deserved payday after proving themselves on different levels. On that same token, no player could blame a franchise for being wary about giving up extra millions of dollars to a player that has a red flag raised on their health report.

Michael Crabtree has been given a clean bill of health but was asked not to participate in OTA’s this spring because of his injury. This did not stop Crabtree from being a fixture at the 49ers rehab center this offseason to make sure that he is 100% ready for the season both physically and mentally. Now it seems as though the only thing that may stop Crabtree from getting on the field and potentially from ever donning a 49ers uniform is the money. Whether the threats of the pass catcher to sit out the 2009 campaign come to fruition or not remains to be seen, but what has now been seen is Michael Crabtree in a sour light, like many Wide Receivers before him. The thought of a rookie trying to call the shots and damage the collective karma of the Niners must be especially displeasing to the 49ers no nonsense, defensive minded Head Coach Mike Singletary. Just remember back to last season when Coach Singletary chewed out top 10 draft pick TE Vernon Davis and sent him back to the locker room for lack of hustle. Crabtree cannot be endearing himself to the former NFL ballhawk who used to make a living tabooing receivers like Crabtree for a living. I’m sure that news of his rookie star wanting to choose dollars over football sense makes him want to throw on a helmet and hit the gridiron to teach the NFL novice a thing or two about respecting the game.

The stage was so perfectly set for Michael Crabtree to come in and make an immediate impact on one of the leagues most celebrated franchise. The fans of the 49ers were jumping for joy when he fell to them at #10, evoking memories of Jerry Rice and to a degree, Terrell Owens. This was going to be a special bond right out of the gate, with Crabtree playing with a chip on his shoulder, sticking it to all the teams that passed over picking him. Alas, now his image is forever tarnished before he is even able to catch a pigskin in an NFL game.  For his sake, I hope he doesn’t sit out the entire season and turn an entire city against him. His talent should not be overshadowed by contract disputes, especially before he takes his first snap, but we may be heading towards a disaster by the bay.

Be well my junkie monkeys,

Jordan


Show E the money

August 6, 2009

The Giants signed their franchise Quarterback, Eli Manning to a robust 6 year, $97.5 million contract yesterday, with more than 35 million guaranteed. And the guy deserves every penny. Manning led the Giants to a stunning Super Bowl victory 2 years ago in dramatic fashion over the Patriots, and that alone paid for his contract in full.  He isn’t what you would call an elite QB,  but there are only 2 or 3 of those guys in the league as we speak. However you slice it, Eli must sit near the top of a large group in the next tier of guys, because he owns a ring and a Super Bowl MVP.

Manning's new deal will make him one of the highest payed players in the league

Manning's new deal will make him one of the highest payed players in the league

Eli is not a stat guy, and he never will be. He’s not flashy, and will mix in the occasional ugly throw, but he’s as durable a player at the qb position as there is in league, without a missed start (71 straight) since taking over behind center. The guy plays every week, which is an over looked quality. Even with a Super Bowl under his belt,  Eli still doesn’t get a ton of credit, and may be even somewhat over looked in the upper echelon of QB’s. But he wins games year in and year out, and that’s the point isn’t it?  The younger Manning is a rock at the most important position on the field for the Giants;  he’s as unflappable and even-keeled as they come. This trait is key at the Quarterback position, and his poise in the huddle and the pocket helps every player to remain calm in pressure situations. Eli is more of a care taker than a play maker in the Giants power running offense, but he does exactly what is asked of him, doing a beautiful job of taking care of the ball since their run to the Super Bowl. All Giant fans are aware of Eli’s uncanny knack for stepping up his level when it counts in the 4th quarter, and he always seems to make that big throw in a tight spot when they really need it.  His composure in those situations is why there are few QB’s in the league I’d rather have running the show in crunch time, and is why everyone in that locker room trusts and believes in him.

No,  Eli will never be Peyton, but he doesn’t have to be. The Giants are happy with the Manning they have as the face of their franchise.  He’s smart,  has top notch work ethic and is a true professional. It may seem like a ton of money, but for a Super Bowl winning QB, with his intangibles,  it’s about going rate. If Matt Cassel is worth 63 million off 1 season as a starter,  then a 28 year old Manning entering his prime is well worth 97.5.  And I don’t believe we’ve seen the best of Eli,  not by a long shot.

It’s hard to believe he will be entering his 6th year in the league this fall. He is one of the longest tenured players on the Giant, and he’s the teams leader. It hasn’t always been pretty, but I don’t think any Giant fan could have asked for more thus far. You want 300 yard, 3 touchdown games go see his brother. Eli has taken a lot of heat over the years in a town that can be harsh, but he’s brushed if off his shoulder with class, and gone about his business. And all that’s paid off cause he’s  a made man in New York now.

As unsavory as it was, he gets a free pass for last year’s playoff  performance against the Eagles, and this contract will come with the pressure and expectations of another Super Bowl title.  I am looking forward to him continuing to grow as a QB, and Giant fans should have a lot to be excited about over the next few years. New York is as complete a team as there is in the league and will be amongst the favorites to return to the Super Bowl.  But don’t expect that to bother Eli. He’ll be in the film room studying tape.

Just getting started on the NFL here…so far just the local stuff. But in the coming weeks expect more and more about everything NFL as training camp and preseason begin to unfold…

Be well,

Brandon


Wasted Talent

August 5, 2009

Plaxico had it all.

He was a game changer. An outlier with a rare package of size and skill at the wide receiver position.  A type of player you don’t see often, and the type of player offensive minds crave. The ability to throw the ball up in just the general area of a guy and have confidence he can come down with it is hard to find. Plaxico had that talent, and the Super Bowl ring to match it. On the eve of the next season, he was rewarded for his title winning catch with a hefty new contract. The Giants were motoring through a brutal schedule, on their way to home field in the NFC, and a real chance to defend their title. Then Plaxico Burress went out on a Friday night to a club, took a gun with him, and ended his Giants career.

Plaxico wasn’t having a pro bowl year, but his presence on the field was irreplaceable, and his absence derailed the Giants season. A less gifted individual would be cast off without question for such inexcusable acts. But the Giants knew how valuable he was, and wanted to work things out in spite of them. The Giants hierarchy sat down with Burress and merely asked that he understand the implications, and the magnitude of his actions. They asked him to be as remorseful as he should be. And they asked that after he pay for his transgressions, that a new version of Plaxico Burress show up for work every day,  on time, without excuse.  But that wasn’t going to be possible. Burress scoffed at the Giants request to forfeit portions of his bonus they felt he violated. Or at very least return them as a sign of good faith to the team that pays him, and the teammates he let down.  Weeks after the shot heard round the NFL, with a self inflicted bullet wound in his leg,  and embarrassment and criticism piling sky high, still no humbled Plax emerged.

Insted of gearing up for training camp, Plaxico will gear up for trial and eventual jail time

Insted of gearing up for training camp, Plaxico will gear up for trial and eventual jail time

Instead, Burress and his lawyers wasted months trying to figure out a way for him to avoid significant jail time, and their plans backfired. Plaxico must believe he’s above the law. That his stature affords him the right to take an unregistered firearm out into public without consequence. If he didn’t believe it,  Burress wouldn’t have sat in front of grand jury to testify, and do nothing but worsen his already bleak situation. A fews days ago Buress was indicted on two gun charges, and an additional one for reckless endangerment.  I guess the jury saw the same thing as the Giants.

Burress needs to, and will go to prison for what looks like at least a year or two.  Had he accepted that early on, he might be knocking off a large portion of that sentence as we speak. But Burress failed to take the opportunity to mitigate the damages he’s already caused to himself, his family and his reputation.  The Giants were forced to release Burress, because if they didn’t,  they would be going against everything Tom Coughlin has created here  about the concept of team, and how no one individual is above it.

Plaxico appeared close to becoming a player who grasps that concept in their run to the Super Bowl. He played week after week on one ankle, because that’s what the team needed him to do. He turned in a virtuoso performance in the NFC Championship game under rarely seen conditions in Green Bay. And after claiming a Super Bowl ring, the validation of everything he and the Giants worked for, it looked like this could be just the beginning. But when the next season rolled along we found nothing but the same old Plax;  the one that had to be suspended for a game just weeks after receiving an extension.

New York’s team in 2008 with Burress was the league’s best.  I’m not saying that because I am a Giant fan,  I’m saying it because I believe it to be true. The Giants beat the last four teams standing in 2008. They went on the road and beat the Steelers, and the Cardinals, who they played minus Burress and Jacobs. They beat up a rugged Ravens team, that made a spirited run to the AFC title game. They were a complete team, that knew how to play together, with discipline and toughness. They ran the ball down your throat, and it didn’t matter that you knew it was coming.

Many Giant fans were naive for these reasons, believing that they could survive without Burress because of their strength as a unit. I was one of them. But Burress’ absence squeezed the Giants running lanes, which were gaping for 3 quarters of a year as the Giants rolled to 11-1. His replacements came up small, and the defense grew too weary to carry them. They held on to home field advantage, just barely, edging out Carolina in come back fashion in an OT thriller. That would be their only win in their last 5 contents, and the Eagles rolled in the Meadowlands a better and more confident team then the Gmen. They played each other twice a year. Too much familiarity to be fearful. Wrong team, wrong time.  Without their all world giraffe to snatch pigskins out of the air, the Giants kicked field goal after field goal, becoming mediocre offensively in their final games before elimination.

It’s a shame that Burress was not on the field. These types of accidents just shouldn’t happen. Especially not to an adult who has immense responsibilities as a professional and a public figure. But we know now that Burress has never really become an adult. Never been mature enough to see the big picture, and atleast pretend to go through the motions and conduct himself the way a man making millions of dollars needs to.

This isn’t about how much of an idiot he is for shooting himself. That’s a given.

A Bronx Tale told us that one of the saddest things in life is wasted talent

A Bronx Tale told us that one of the saddest things in life is wasted talent

It’s about the opportunities he’s cost himself and by extension many others. The moments that could have been had he displayed a little self restraint.  I could have used any number of words there. Because I honestly don’t know what he was thinking when he took that gun with him. So I can’t say for sure what would have stopped him.

If you felt so strongly you needed a gun to go to a club, why would one go at all?  I guess that’s a question only a rational person can answer.  He had a football game on Sunday, and it wouldn’t have killed  him to lay low. It would have saved him a lot of pain and embarrassment actually.  Instead, Plaxico’s career potentially may never resume, and I,  like many Giant fans,  are left in bewilderment of a man who may have won us a Super Bowl, and cost us one as well.

He and Eli Manning were well on their way to becoming the most prestigious QB-WR combo in team history. And I firmly believe that this team had the makings of a dynasty, capable of winning 3 or 4 titles in a six or seven year span.

But things have changed now. That saddest part however, isn’t that Plaxico will never play for the Giants again, it’s that he may never get it. The light may never go on.

Too much wasted talent.

And the Giants won’t be the same without him.


Can The Jets Defense Jet Them To The Top?

August 4, 2009

Lets do this,

It’s getting closer and closer my friends. The NFL is around the corner. The New York Jets have a great number of flaws that more than likely will not be addressed before the season begins. But I can not help myself from getting pumped up. I mean it has to be some type of sickness that Jet and Met fans have because the teams continue to break our hearts. Despite this, we still have the same intensity going into the next season.

The Jets last year were 8-3 going into week 13. They had beat the undefeated Tennessee Titans and the Patriots both on the road and things were looking up. I tasted the playoffs. Then they decide to implode and go 1-5 in the last 6 weeks and fuck everything up. Between Favre’s maniac interceptions in the red zone and having players talking smack about one another, the team was in shambles.

There is a laundry list of other reasons this teams failed in the last 6 weeks but we are past that now. Coles and Favre have left the team and I say good riddance. Favre mistake prone ways made him a huge liability and as for Coles; I don’t need anyone on my team complaining about getting the ball thrown to them. I mean saying something to one another in the locker room is one thing, but saying it to the media is just a bitch move. Now that Favre is gone, Thomas Jones won’t have to go on the hip hop radio station hot 97 and talk about how Favre was losing games for them. None of this would have been an issue if we had had a head coach with any type of nutsack, and that’s why Rex Ryan is in and Mangini was given the boot.

New Head Coach Rex Ryan Hopes To Bring Big Smiles And Wins To The NY Jets This Season

New Head Coach Rex Ryan Hopes To Bring Big Smiles And Wins To The NY Jets This Season

This Season Rex does have a tall order ahead. He first has to figure out who his QB is going to be. The Jets traded up to the 5th overall pick this year and drafted pretty boy Marc Sanchez out of USC. I understand that he only played 13 games as a starter at USC, but in those games he performed with great poise and exhibited the tools of a champion player who can be a stud in this league. It helps out a bit that Rex Ryan has a great blueprint by which to groom him, being a member of a Baltimore coaching staff last season that did it with rookie QB Joe Flacco. What I think Rex has to steer clear of is any QB controversy once the season gets under way. Kellen Clemens is the other QB in contention for the job, and I just don’t think he’s got the stuff. He had a chance to prove himself last year and he failed. I wouldn’t be able to take the bullshit of having him start the season, them lose 3 games, and have all the talk that the season is lost and its time to put Sanchez in. Unless the team is 0-9 you have to stick to your guns and let things play out. The move is to start Sanchez and keep the fans behind you. Nobody wants to see Kellen Clemens run out opening Sunday as their teams QB…Nobody.

The next issue to be dealt with is this Wide Reciever core which is lacking a ton of experience. After Jericho it’s a laundry list of guys like Chansi Stuckey, Brad Smith, David Clowney, and Wallace Wright who combined for 449 yards receiving last year. Not so hot. But there’s always the option of Leon Washington out of the back field and rising star Dustin Keller at tight end. I think the lack of receiving options will force offensive coordinator Brian Schottenheimer to be much more creative this year, which would be great considering how gutless he was last season.

Things Rex won’t have to worry about as much are his offensive line and his running game. With Mangold and D’Brickshaw going into their 4th seasons and veterans like Damien Woody and the never flagged Alan Faneca, this team is going to do some serious damage running the football and in pass protection. Thomas Jones and Leon Washington will have holes a mack truck could squeeze through. Think like anybody when they are spending one night in Paris Hilton, that type of space.

Jones led the AFC in rushing and could threaten to do so again. And with Washington’s explosiveness as a change of pace back, the two of them could be in for another season of stat stacking. Let’s not forget Veteran Tony Richardson at full back leading the way for this dynamic duo. Now what all Jet Fans should be pumped about is going to be this smash mouth D that Rex Ryan is in the process of grooming. With acquisitions like Bart Scott, Lito Sheppard, and Jim Leonard and returning stars such as Kerry Rhodes, Kris Jenkins, David Harris, Sean Ellis and Darrelle Revis, this team has the potential to be top 3 overall on defense. This has never been the method of operations for the jets at all, but I fuckin lovvveeee ittttt. Not in my lifetime have I seen a defense first, offense second type of team. When do they ever have a big stop on a 3rd and 1 or some huge goal line stand? It just doesn’t happen for this team.

If players can stay healthy (Kris Jenkins) this team is going to be a force like no other with Rex Ryan at the helm. Next post I’m going to talk about some future bets for all you degenerate gamblers out there just like me.

Peace,

BB


Well Dressed Amani To Suit Up For Chiefs

August 4, 2009
Fomer NY Giant Captain Amani Toomer Will Be Missed By Big Blue Fans

Former NY Giant Captain Amani Toomer Will Be Missed By Big Blue Fans

Reports today are that long time Giant Amani Toomer has signed a one year deal to play for the Kansas City Chiefs. As a die hard Giant fan, I am thrilled that he will have a chance to stay in the league for at least one more season, and help out Matt Cassel on a rebuilding Chief team. Amani was a Giant for every year of his NFL career, and for every year of my fanhood. He is a class act, and one of the greatest pass catchers in Giants history. Any fan of the team can tell you how many difficult catches he made in critical moments. How bout that full extension dive down the left sideline in the NFC Championship game at Lambeau? He may never have been elite, but he was a damn good player, who could be relied upon for many years. Hope he does well there,  as a mentor for their young wide outs,  and maybe shows a few people he’s still got something left.

I’ll have something  on another departed Giant Wide Receiver later today…

Be good junkies,