Posted on: April 28, 2010 4:51 pm

Break up the Mets!

What a difference a week makes?  After the first two weeks of the season, the Mets were 4-8 and everyone had a "Jerry watch" going for when the Mets would fire Jerry Manuel.  Now, after a magnificent home stand, where the Mets played solid, fundamental baseball in going 9-1, the Mets are on top of the NL East and possibly on top of the NY Baseball world again.  It's really been an amazing week and a half. 

Mike Jacobs goes down and the Mets are forced to call up Ike Davis, who arguably should have been on the Opening Day roster and in the lineup based on a solid spring training and the fact that Daniel Murphy wasn't going to be able to play for a while.  Then, the much-maligned Manuel decides to bat Reyes 3rd.  After making an announcement about it, the local media debated the potential move for a few days and finally over the weekend, Reyes is in the 3 hole, causing havoc for the Braves and Dodgers in the process.  Bay is now seeing better pitches and hitting as well as he has since coming to NY.  David Wright is starting to heat up and Ike Davis continues to be a great addition to the lineup.  Once Carlos Beltran returns in mid-season, the Mets will hit a another level of play.  Until then, pitchers Johann Santana and Mike Pelfrey will lead the way, Jonathan Niese will be solid as the number 5 starter and if we can get decent outings like today from John Maine, we're going to be fine.  The bullpen has been solid thus far as well, making up for shaky outings by Ollie Perez and the aforementioned Maine.

Enjoy the ride Mets fans!
Posted on: March 11, 2010 8:55 am

UCONN Women - Where's the love?

Everyone wants to analyze if the UCONN women's win streak is good or bad for women's college basketball?  Whether you think the streak is good or bad, I'm wondering, Where is the love for a team and a program that has soared to unprecedented heights under Coach Geno Auriemma?  Back when Geno came to UCONN in 1985, as a student on game days, you could walk thru the dusty old Field House and stand right behind the team bench and shake hands with the coach.  That's how intimate things were back then and, if you consider where the program and the game is today, some 25 years later, it's really amazing to see how far UCONN women's basketball has come.  They are the pre-eminent program arguably in all of college sports.  Since 1992-93 season when they went 18-11, UCONN women's basketball has only lost 44 games.  17 seasons and only 44 losses. Through the current Big East tournament, the record is 567-44, a .927 winning percentage.  An average of less than 3 losses per season.  An average seasonal record of 34-3.  Extended excellence?  You bet.  In this time, UCONN has racked up 6 National Championships (soon to be 7) and 16 Big East titles.  They have 3 perfect seasons, soon to be 4. 

People say, what about the competition?  Geno consistently plays top 10 teams during the regular season.  For many years, UCONN played Tennessee until Pat Summit decided to back out of the annual game.  The Big East has numerous teams in the top 25 polls every year.  It's not that the rest of the country is weak/bad, its that Geno and the Huskies demand excellence, night in and night out.  Unless UCONN becomes an independent and plays the top teams in each conference every game, they will continue to dominate.  Not because of talent/skill, but because of hard work and dedication.  Granted this team has talent/skills (Maya Moore is the reigning National Player of the Year and Tina Charles could be this year's POY) , but watching their games, the difference maker is Geno and the preparation and hard work that the women have in practice and in the off-season.  Tina Charles started out as a good post player, but has become a dominant post player due to work ethic and Geno's motivational skills.  Maya Moore continues to raise her game to new levels and there is no reason to think that they can't go undefeated again because of this dominant player and the supporting cast that continues to improve night in and night out.

To be good, you need to have skill/talent, and there are a lot of women's college basketball teams that are good/very good across the country.  To be great, you need to have a work ethic and a desire to be great.  The track record for Geno and the women of Storrs is truly remarkable when you consider how things started in 1985 and where they are today; arguably the greatest program and coach in the history of college sports.
Posted on: February 19, 2010 12:50 pm

Tiger - Classic 12-step program responses

Everyone is talking about Tiger's statement this morning broadcast nearly everywhere all over the world.  What we saw was the classic 12-step program response to an addiction.  Tiger is on step 8 and 9 and he alluded to the previous 7 steps in his recovery from the accident and his extra-marital affairs back on Thanksgiving Day and early December.  He apologized to his wife and children, his mother and extended family, his friends, etc.  He spoke of his newly recharged religious convictions in Buddism, which he was taught at an early age.  What seems rehearsed and contrived is merely the next step in his healing process.  Personally, I hope he gets better and gets back to playing golf, which is all most of us should care about.  The rest of this is a media circus.  Tiger's personal issues and personal life should be his own.  If everyone just watched sports for what they are, entertainment and skill on display, no one would give a damn about these guys personal lives.

I blogged about Tiger and professional athletes back in mid-December.  Link to blog entry
I said it then and I'll say it again... We need to stop putting athletes on an iconic pedestal.

Professional athletes are not heroes.  We can respect their athletic skill, but unless we know the athlete personally, we shouldn't view them as a role model for how we conduct our lives.
Posted on: January 21, 2010 8:30 pm

The irony of Colts vs Jets

The NFL playoffs have pretty much gone according to hoyle, except for the Jets.  How ironic would it be if the Jets take out the Colts on Sunday?  The Colts, who should be going for history this season with an undefeated season, decided to pack it in in week #16 and "rest" their guys for the 2nd half of the game vs the Jets.  The Jets came back and beat the Colts, taking away their undefeated season AND giving themselves control of their own destiny.  After beating a listless, uninterested Bengals team in week #17, the Jets have used the "Us against the World" mentality to beat the Bengals again (not a surprise) and the Chargers (yes, a surprise even though Norv Turner is one of the all-time worst playoff coaches and Philip Rivers can't win in the post-season either) to advance to the Championship game against the Colts.  I wonder what Bill Polian and the rest of the Colts "braintrust" will say after the Jets beat them on Sunday?  Will week #16 matter then?  Will going for an undefeated season matter then?  As a player and competitor, I can guarantee you that every Colt would have wanted to keep playing for history.  Especially if the Jets take them out this weekend.  A Jets team that wouldn't be where it is today had it not been for the decision back in week #16 to not go for the undefeated season.  Ironic? Yes.  And if it happens, I guarantee you that no team will ever decide to rest players late in the season again.  Roger Goodell won't have to legislate anything.  This one victory will speak volumes for any team looking to protect/rest players for the playoffs.  Unless the Colts win the Super Bowl, their decision to not go for the undefeated season will not rest easy with Colt fans across the country.
Posted on: January 20, 2010 5:41 pm
Edited on: January 21, 2010 8:32 pm

Jim Calhoun

Coach Calhoun is someone who doesn't quit.  He's one of the toughest men around, so if he has to take a leave of absence, its for a good reason.  I noticed a couple of weeks ago, when UCONN lost to Georgetown that coach wasn't himself.  He didn't have that same fire that he had before when his team would lose a big lead at the half.  He didn't react the same way that I've seen him react before.  You know, call time out, stomp on the court, grab a kid by the shirt and yell obsceneties at him.  On top of that, the next two games were games that UCONN typically finds a way to win and again, no fire or brimstone from the coach.  I was supposed to go to the practice on Monday, but it was decided after the tough loss to Michigan, that practice was going to be closed to the public.  Initially, my thoughts were that Coach Calhoun was going to rip into the kids, so much so, that he didn't want just anyone around.  Now, we find out that he is taking leave.  So, clearly, he isn't himself and he's not well.  Hopefully, he will return soon and get back to doing what he does best; coaching our beloved Huskies to victory.
Category: NCAAB
Tags: Jim Calhoun
Posted on: January 5, 2010 10:28 pm

Mets finally make a big move

The Mets formally announced the Jason Bay signing today.  As I watched and listened to two separate Omar Minaya interviews, one on SNY and the other on WFAN, I couldn't help but think this guy is delusional.  He is still in denial about the Mets pitching staff. He still believes that 2009 was an aberration in terms of the performance of Pelfrey, Maine and Perez.  Now, even the most optimistic Mets fan would believe that at least two of these three guys will not bounce back, so where are we going to get the innings from in 2010?  Jonathan Niese? Johann Santana can only pitch every 5th day, unless Jerry Manuel wants to go with a 1960's-style 4 man rotation.  We definitely need another arm or two starting the season AND we'll need to pray that all of our offensive stars come back healthy and productive AND that I (and the rest of the Mets faithful) are wrong about the "little 3" behind Santana going into spring training.  Hopefully, we bring Benji Molina in to solidify the lineup and Carlos Delgado proves he's healthy in Puerto Rico, where is currently rehabbing his injury.  The lineup could be pretty formidible, but unlike 2009, I hope Omar has a plan in 2010 for when some of the front line guys go down.  We really need EVERYTHING to fall into place for the Mets to contend in 2010.  After the last 3 seasons, I don't know how Omar can just sit back and expect everything to come together so cleanly in 2010, especially after what happened this past season from an injury/lack of depth perspective.  I look forward (hopefully) to a few more moves before we start spring training.
Posted on: December 27, 2009 5:29 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2009 6:13 pm

Giants were atrocious today

The Giants were atrocious today.  How they could play so well one week (vs Washington last Monday night) and then come back 6 days later and play such a stinker of a game, is well, embarassing and shocking at the same time.  To do it on the final game in Giants Stadium just adds insult to injury.

Today, at the stadium, in appreciation of the loyalty of the fans, the Giants rolled back the price of the game program to a $1, which was the price of the program back in 1976 when the stadium opened.  Did they have to roll back their performance to 1976 as well?  Actually, today's team probably wouldn't have beaten the '76 team either.  To think that a holding penalty on an apparent TD in the first 7 1/2 minutes of the game was the turning point?

Everyone, coaches and players, needs to look in the mirror tonight and tomorrow and see if that is how they want to be remembered.  The result on the field will never be forgotten by those of us who had to sit through this debacle.  This is the first time in all of the years I have attended games (and I've gone to games since Yankee Stadium days) that I left after the 3rd quarter.  That's how bad this was.

Hopefully, the Giants show up next week, because they certainly didn't show up today.

Category: NFL
Posted on: December 14, 2009 12:18 pm

What's wrong with the Giants D?

It never fails me when either at the stadium watching a Giants game or reading fellow Giants fans rants/raves on various websites, how much people miss the boat.  Bottom line, your never as good as when you win (like last week vs Dallas) and never as bad a loss (like last night vs Philly).  This is a .500 team, with talent to be a .625 (10-6) or even a 12-4 (.750) team if things break right.

Last night, Eli was solid.  His throws were accurate, but people will remember the fumble (which shouldn't have been).  The defense stopped the run (for the most part) except for the critical 4th quarter drive that put the Eagles back up by 14 for the 3rd time in the game, 45-31.

But, with all of that, the boards and the pundits, want to pin this game on the defensive coordinator.  Albeit, at a certain point, the coordinator needs to make the right calls, but folks, the coordinator doesn't tackle and the coordinator doesn't rush the QB.  Our secondary is weak because the d-line can't rush the QB.  When we blitz, the guys can't get to the QB, so that leaves huge swaths of field and time enough to write a book for a veteran QB, like McNabb, to pick it apart.  Where was Justin Tuck and Osi Umenyiora last night?  Where has Canty been?  Robbins (other than his blocked EP)?  IMO, the reason for the defensive issues this year has been our d-line.  We came into this season thinking that the d-line was the best in football.  We added depth and we had a solid rotation of guys.  That group, more than any other on our roster, has failed us.  And its failed us not just rushing the passer, but exposing our weak secondary and sub-par linebackers.

This defensive scheme is predicated on how the guys up front make everyone better (or worse).  After you look at it in this fashion, you will see that all of this poor performance is not on the coordinator, although if we don't make the playoffs, he will be the scapegoat, along with the injury to Kenny Phillips.

The way that this team has performed defensively this year, Spags couldn't have saved these guys.

Category: NFL
Tags: Defense, Giants, Osi, Tuck
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or