Friday, October 29, 2010

Welcome Sand Man

The New York Mets officially named Sandy Alderson as the organizations 12th General Manager earlier today at Citi Field.

What I need to say is welcome, good, and get it done!  I totally understand that next season will be the beginning of a rebuilding year.  Whether or not Sandy can get rid of Carlos Beltran (is that what we actually want?), Luis Castillo, Oliver Perez and Frankie Rodriguez, he can not be viewed as a miracle worker and someone who will make the Mets a championship contender in 2011.  Instead, we need you Sandy, all Mets fans need you to start molding the team for 2012.  We will not and can not wait longer.  This is New York and we are not very patient, if you haven't heard.

We can give you one year because you showing up at Citi Field today means we are finally done with the Omar Minaya era and that changes are coming.

Make these changes count.  Make the fans believe.  Make the fans hungry.  Make the fans happy.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Friendly Recap

Actual conversation from last night's Nets game:

Nets only down 4 with over two minutes left, Rob, "Can this team actually make me watch them this year?".  My girlfriend's simple reply "No".  Following a Richard Hamilton 3 to push the deficit back to 7, I go "Yeah, you're right".

But then wait a moment, a Jordan Farmer 3... a steal leading to a Devin Harris deuce plus 1... then with Harris falling down, a 3 pointer by Anthony Morrow and the Nets have the lead with under 30 seconds left and they pull off a great Opening Night victory, 101-98.

It was a back and forth affair the entire evening and throughout, I had a chance to come up with some thoughts for each of the players on the New Jersey roster.

Devin Harris - Will be the player that makes this team go. Can be streaky, day and night performances in each half.  When he's hot, he's hot and makes everyone else so much better.

Brook Lopez - The Beast.  So good, so smooth, so strong down low.  Should be a 20 and 10 guy every night.

Anthony Morrow - Role player of sorts for most of the game but a sharp shooter!  Can potentially be one of two players who become a decent threat from the outside.

Travis Outlaw - Lose the haircut first of all.  Stop the fouling.  Do something productive.

Joe Smith - Grandpa, just stop playing please.  You got a starting spot because Avery has respect for you, which is commendable.  But you will not be a factor this season.

Terrence Williams - Damn kid you looked good.  Played all over the court.  You can become a difference maker this season.

Kris Humphries - I don't like you.  I don't see the value.  You are a body to help spare some minutes, so there. Prove me wrong.

Derrick Favors - You are Beast #2.  First NBA game last night and you played great, especially in the first half.  You're young, you'll be limited in your minutes but you will be a key to this team, this year.

Stephen Graham - Who?

Jordan Farmar - Potentially the biggest off-season acquisition.  Comes from a winning pedigree.  Knows how to be clutch down the stretch.  

Johan Petro - Question mark.  Needs to be solid so Brook can get his rest.  If he struggles when he's on the floor, the team will have to go small and that can be an issue.

Damien Jones - See Stephen Graham

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

@ the game...

Really can't believe that I am spending time and money on a Nets basketball game but I figured that it's a new season and it's the first regular season game in a new building for them, so what the heck.  After last season's 12-70 mark, I will be floored if there is any sort of near capacity crowd tonight at The Rock.

I'll cheer on the team, all game long.  See, in the past, I would be able to say that I'd cheer on my team and try to pull them towards victory, but I don't know many players on this year's squad.  Only 4 players remain from the 09-10 team... Brook Lopez, Devin Harris, Terrence Williams and ??  That's right, I don't even know the fourth player.  I do know some of the newbies we got: Derrick Favors, Bo Outlaw, Troy Murphy.

Good thing about starting up a new season after such a disaster is opening up against a team most people think may actually be the worst in the league.  Thank you Detroit Pistons for potentially helping the Nets have a winning mark at some point this season.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Tick tock, tick tock

Such a lull right now in my sports world.  Sure, three of my teams are in season, a fourth opens their season tomorrow and a fifth should be making huge headlines by the end of this week.  But for now, just a lull.

5-1 coming out of your bye, damn our Jets are in a great position.  I initially had tickets, but now don't have, but had a chance to go but in the end will probably not be at the Meadowlands Sunday afternoon when the Jets come back home and take on the potentially dangerous but underachieving Green Bay Packers.  Most likely I'll be in one of three places watching the game: my apartment, my parents house, a bar in town if Ch 5 is still blacked out.  A bit early in the week to put a prediction down on paper, but being a true Jets fan; you know they're going to win.

As mentioned in the previous post, the New York Red Bulls are the #1 seed in Eastern Conference and we recently just found out that we'll be going to San Jose to face the Earthquakes at 10 PM on Saturday evening before returning home to Red Bull Arena on November 4th for the second leg.  10 PM start on Saturday night, hmm?  A trip to Nevada Smiths might be in the works.

Then there are the f&cking New Jersey Devils.  This team is seriously starting to piss me off and worry the sh*t out of me at the same time.  I knew coming into the season there were going to be some bumps because of a new coach, a new $100 million man, few new defensemen, etc.  But not this.  2-6-1, worst win percentage in the league.  Averaging about 1.6 goals a game?!?!?!  Disgraceful.  And I think that's what's annoying me the most.  I can understand if we're giving up a lot of goals and playing about .500 for the season.  At least for the first part of the year, I can get that.  But just not scoring at all, that sucks and is bewildering.  I don't need to get into the amount of firepower we have, it's known.  Just get it done before this season is over and I'm left pissed off until next Labor Day.

Well then, lets hope for some sort positive vibe come from the Prudential Center in the next couple of days thanks to the New Jersey Nets!  Yup, that's right.  The Nets are opening up their season tomorrow night against the Detroit Pistons (I'll be there) and they can only go up from last season, right?  After winning only 12 games last year, I am being demanding and yelling for at least a 100% improvement.  That's right, I'll be satisfied with 24 wins.  Ain't that a hoot?

Last week was a three way great week for me with baseball.  1) The Mets didn't lose.  2) The Yankees are out.  3) The Phillies are out.  So from now until Spring Training, I don't care about any of the games that will take place.  I do care however about the GM the Mets may be announcing this week as well as the rest of the off-season and how this gentleman can turn the roster/organization back to a winning mold.  Time will tell, questions will be raised, frustration will probably grow a bit more.  But hey, they didn't lose last week.

Devils and Nets are in action tomorrow, Red Bulls on Saturday, Jets on Sunday and somewhere in the middle, the Mets will talk.  Let it happen soon.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Eastern Conference Champions

Last night the New York Red Bulls defeated the New England Revolution 2-0 to clinch the regular season Eastern Conference Championship and home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  Dane Richards (17th minute) and Joel Lindpere (90+) provided the offense for New York while Bouna Coundul recorded his 11th shut out of the season.

New York will find out this weekend who their first leg opponent will be in this year's playoff.  The team will be on the road for the first leg and return to Red Bull Arena on November 4th for the second leg.

Tickets are on-sale at

Monday, October 18, 2010

Weekend Recap

What a potentially devestating weekend I almost had on my hands.  In this case it wasn't the third time's the charm but rather the third day's the charm.

As posted below, Friday night i ended up at The Rock for the Devils vs Avalanche game and predicted a 4-2 outcome.  I was close, the final ended up being 3-2, however the Devils were on the wrong side (again) of the score.  For a team to have outshot thier oppostion 41-22 and only manage 2 goals is pathetic.  With so much offensive power on the bench, this is a team that should regularly be putting at least three in the back of the net each time out.  But okay, I get it, they're in an early season swoon.  Great thing about sports is the ability to play the next day and atone for your previous loss.  Or not...

Saturday the Devils hosted the Boston Bruins and nicely lost (again) by a score of 4-1.  What the f&ck is going on with this team?!?!  I know there are some rookies on defense and a newbie here or there on the offensive front but come on now, this is almost pathetic.  At least the team has the next few days off which will maybe refresh them, let them forget the first six games of the season and start fresh.  I would write some more about this game but I wasn't around to watch it as I was...

Down in Philadelphia for the New York Red Bulls' first trip to PPL Park to take on the Philadelphia Union.  The Red Bulls lost the match 2-1 but remain in first place in the Eastern Conference.  The Red Bulls close out their regular season this Thursday vs New England Revolution and all they need to do is win to clinch their second ever Eastern Conference Championship (first was back in 2000).

So entering Sunday I was a solid 0-3 through the weekend and I can say that I wasn't feeling the most confident with the Jets game, away in Denver.  Something in my gut told me this team would lay down, fall flat against a team it is clearly better than and walk into their Bye Week at 4-2 and right in the think of things in the AFC East.  And for the most of the game, I was correct.  Sanchez decided that it was the right time to throw some interceptions, the offensive line didn't want to block for LT or Shonn Greene.  The defense dared the Broncos to try and run on them and that's exactly what happened.  Denver ran for over 100 yards in a game for the first time all season.  Oh, and yes, how can I forget the horrible officiating that took place in the game?  Two OFFENSIVE Pass Interferences called one drive, a phantom Cromartie Pass Interference call, a 15 yarder on Jim Leonard for a helmet to helmet hit. Please.  But then... wait a minute... it's not over, it's not over baby.  Sanchez to Edwards, the Holmes, then Tomlinson.  Soon it all comes down to one play, 4th and 6; Sanchez looks right, looks left, scrambles, and some more before launching it downfield towards Holmes.  As the ball hits the green grass, Jets Nation is finally happy to see the yellow flag on the field!  Defensive Pass Interference!  Jets get the ball on the 2, LT punches in his second score of the day and the Jets move to 5-1, clear control of their division as they walk into their bye.

Not a pretty weekend at all, tough to watch.  But those last few minutes were beautiful.

Friday, October 15, 2010

@ the game...

Game 1

Tonight will mark my first Devils game of the 2010-2011 season.  Gotta love having friends who work in the The Rock being able to hook you up with tickets.  Best part is this is like Ticket Roulette... I won't know where I'm sitting until I get there.  Yes!

I'm going to mark it down as a 4-2 Devils victory.  The team got off the snid with a solid shutout Wednesday night and that, as well as a full roster, should be enough to get the team rolling in the right direction.  Ilya Kovalchuk will net his second of the year, as will Patrik Elias.  Look for Zach Parise to notch his first tally of the season and one of the defensemen will round out the scoring.  Let's go with Andy Greene on the powerplay.  Bold predictions yes, but that's why we write.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Starting to Get Our Money's Worth

Thank you, thank you, thank Ilya Kovalchuk.  You started the first ten minutes or so of your 2010-2011 season off beautifully; primary assists on the first two goals and helping the Devils stake out a 2-0 lead.  And then you disappeared for the rest of that game as well as the following two as the team got off to a poor, under-performing 0-2-1 start.  But thank you, thank you, thank you... Scoring your first goal of the season tonight was a beauty!  Excellent one timer from inside the right circle to help take the burden off your team, your rookie head coach, and most importantly, you!

We all know that you are great player Ilya, but because of your $100 million contract and the $3 million fine, and the two draft picks you have cost the Devils, as fans, we have the right to be impatient and want immediate results.  One goal in four games is not good enough.  So let's up that ratio, huh? How about one in every other game?  I think that's a fair wish.

Also, thank you, thank you, thank you to Mr. Martin Brodeur.  I don't want to say that I was ready to throw you under the bus and heavily start to think about our goaltending options for next season, but let's be real here, the season hasn't started off that great for you.  Hopefully tonight's shut out (career number 111, btw) is just the jump start you needed and now can be the defensive rock the team needs since it seems as if we will be playing a bit more offensive.

A bitter-sweet note from today, all with Brian Rolston leaving the active roster for the next four to six weeks due to hernia surgery.  But that's a good thing.  The salary cap now gets a $5 million lift and will allow Lou to bring up some young talent from Albany to fill out the roster so we can play some full strength games this season.

In the end, it all comes back to Mr. Kovalchuk and his wonder blast.  Thank you.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Return

Tonight's Jets game will be the first game with all possible players playing in the game (sorry Big Man Kris Jenkins, but it's not possible for you).  Santonio Holmes is back from suspension, Darelle Revis is back from his bum hammy, and Calvin Pace is back from his broken foot.  Damn is feels good to see #10, #24, and #97 back on the field tonight.

But, as we all know, the collective unit must perform on the field and not on paper.  Heading into this game, the boys are riding high, coming off of three straight (huge!) division wins and ready to show the nation that this team is for real.  What we all saw on Monday Night to open the season vs Baltimore was just a fluke and some nerves.  They will come out flying tonight and hitting everything in purple, hard.

The Jets should, and will, have enough tonight to extend their record to 4-1.  Sanchise has a new weapon to go to as well steady Dustin Keller and an improved Braylon Edwards.  Lets not forget about Mr. Revived, LT and his young, spry legs.

Sorry Brett, I'm not getting caught up in your return to the Meadowlands.  I'm actually thankful that you sucked at the end of the 2008 season, caused Man-penguin to lose his job and open the door for Rex Ryan.  You will have a chance tonight to maybe hit a home run or two, maybe.  But you're going to get banged up and bruised all over.  All-Day AP will run freely at times, he's too good to completely shut down but that's all Minnesota will have.

In the end, Jets 27, Vikings 13.

By the way... Another reason you know the Jets will win tonight... It's the 10 year anniversary of the Monday Night Miracle

Saturday, October 9, 2010


Are you serious?  Really??  What should have been an absolule thrilling victory to open their 2010-11 season instead turned into a pathetic, 1 point, Opening Night performance by the New Jersey Devils.

Get back at it tonight boys.  And get 2 points!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

It's been a long summer

So it finally seems as if the longest, most in depth summer in Devils history is about to come to a close.  They open up their season tomorrow night against the Dallas Stars at the Prudential Center.

Once again the playoffs were an utter failure.  Second season in a row that they could not win a series and had to watch the final couple of rounds from home, or the golf course.  But then July 1st rolled around and anyone who follows the NHL knows that the Ilya Kovalchuk saga gripped the sport with an iron fist and only now may be letting go.  In the end, the Devils end up with arguably their greatest offensive weapon in franchise history, and that's all that matters.

Having a top line of Parise, Zajac and Kovalchuk can reek havoc on opposing defenses and goalies for the season.  But we all have to question how the third and fourth line, as well as the last defensive pairing, will shape up since Sweet Lou put the team in such a tight financial situation.

They'll be alright.  I'm confident of that.  Maybe a bit of a slow start to the season; rookie coach and all.  But when push comes to shove, just remember, who the goalie.  That's right, Mr. Martin Brodeur.  He's only missed the playoffs once since 1994.  That's a lot of success.  They'll be in the playoffs.  They'll be fighting for Lord Stanley's Cup.  But how deep will they go in that fight?  We'll find out come spring.

My guess?  Eastern Conference Finals.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Upcoming Glory? Can Only Hope

So the last of my local teams that have mold and turned me into the sports fan that I am today is most likely the team that will give me an ulcer before I die.  Don't ask me why exactly but it seems as if I have the most emotional connection with the New York Jets.  Since the mid-90s, the time I can recall most of the individual seasons, I can remember only two seasons ending positively.  But since no Super Bowl was won, I guess not too positive.  But all of those other seasons; bad, worse and worst.

3 and 13.  1 and 15.  Leon's toss.  Vinny's Achilles.  Chad's shoulder, three of them.  Doug O'Brien missed kicks.  Mangenious.   And none of those include the miserable nightmares that I couldn't witness myself, such as the Mud Bowl and the Fake Spike.  We were the laughing stock of the NFL.  The team that just could not get 'it' and made its fans suffer the consequences.  And that's right, I said we.  The fans are a part of this team as much as any set of fans in the country.  We're out there every home Sunday, screaming at the J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS as best as we can, but we always seem to end in heart break.

But times are a changing it seems.  Rex Ryan and his loud, loud mouth enter the franchise.  They move ahead and draft the Sanchise, Mark Sanchez.  The defense becomes dominant, one of the best in the NFL.  A breath of a fresh air has blown through the New Jets Stadium and the fans believe.  This season has a been a great one so far... so far.  There's still a long way to go.  A long way to go to the Super Bowl.  To extinguishing all of those past memories.  But it does seem as if the 'Same ole Jets' are dead and gone.  So that is a step in the right direction.

I've seen a championship... Actually, 3 of them

Finally a team that has given me many more good moments than sour ones.  The New Jersey Devils franchise has been one of class, consistency, grace, and wins.  Early on in their existence there were more than a few people who though the team was nothing more than a joke; a rag doll for their neighbors on the other side of the Hudson.  But from 1994 until the present, no no.  That's just not the case.  Three Stanley Cups (1995, 2000, 2003) will quickly change a person's perception. 

My first memories of the Devils were the end of the season and the playoff in 1994.  That year ended in defeat for the Devils, losing in Game 7, at Madison Square Garden, to the Rangers, in OT.  But, that's okay, it happens.  You see, that year marked the rookie season for Martin Brodeur.  The rest is history to be honest.  But something happened the following season.  The Devils became a dominant road team in the playoffs and became the first and only team to win the Stanley Cup by not having home ice advantage in the playoffs; capping off their first Stanley Cup with a four game sweep of the Red Wings.  Two other Stanley Cups followed within the next eight years.

This organization has always been a rock for me when it comes to sports.  I understand that they will not with the Cup every season, I'm not stupid, I know it can't be every year (even though it better happen again soon, I'm getting ansy).  Yet I know that every season they will be competitive, they will play hard, they will make the playoffs, they be exciting, they may dominate, they will play the greatest ever who also happens to be my favorite athlete of all time.  It's a comfort to know all of that.  To have a sense of pride that when you tell someone who your favorite team is, you know in your heart that there is no chance any person can knock them.  The Nets?  Too easy.  The Red Bulls?  Just think of their existence.  Mets?  Haha, oh man.  But not the Devils.  There's nothing there to knock, nothing to step on.

I have no clue how this season will play out.  Signing Ilya Kovalchuk to a long term deal is fantastic because it gives the Devils another legitimate offensive weapon behind Zach Parise.  But will Brodeur lose a step?  Will the roster shrink to much to get under the salary cap?  Will new coach John MacLean be able to win right away?  All of that will be answered shortly... however I have a feeling, I'll be smiling come spring.

My Frustration, My Headache

Ok, so their season just ended yesterday but the pain has essentially lived inside of me since I watched Carlos Beltran stare at Strike Three against the Cardinals in the 2006 NLCS.  Yeah, that's right, the New York Mets.

I've been lucky (?) enough to say that I have the most history with this ball club.  You see my father grew up a Mets fan and instilled the Blue and Orange in my blood.  I can't recall the year but I can remember my first Mets game that I witnessed at the old Shea Stadium.  Mets vs Giants.  Mets win 3-1.  Sid Fernandez was the winning pitcher that night and we sat about 10 rows up along the first base line.  Throughout the years, I've been able to hear numerous stories of Tom Seaver, Ron Darling, Davey Johnson, Jerry Koosman, Rusty Staab, Casey Stengel and more.  So many stories of the '69 and '86 World Series teams; of how close the '73 and '88 and '00 teams were.  So much promise, so much hope, so much despair.

When I can first recall remembering individual seasons, the dreaded Yankees won their first World Series in many a year and it seems as if they've won about another five since.  Oh, wait a minute... All the meanwhile, the Mets have shown and said a lot of potentially powerful things, but in the end, it all fizzled out.  I am extremely grateful that the Mets did have the 2000 season because without that year, I would not know what it would be like to have baseball success in New York.

I still don't totally know what that feeling is like.  Again, the Mets have not won the World Series since 1986. But, I do know the feeling of having the team run by Art Howe, and Oliver Perez has your number three pitcher, and blowing a seven game with only 17 games to go, and blowing a four game lead with seven games to go, and 2009, and now 2010.

But next year is a new year.  Omar Minaya is gone.  Jerry Manuel is gone.  Will some of the franchise players be gone?  Will the salary be evened out a bit?  Who knows.  Let's just be grateful that they can't lose a game until at least late March.

And the Money Maker

This will be a section that I keep nice and simple and short.  Not only are the New York Red Bulls my local soccer team that I follow and support but they are also my employer.  For a matter of respect and company rules, I won't be doing to much talking about the team.  The occasions that I do speak about the club will all be factual information, nothing of my own opinion or speculation.

With that said, I can say that it is absolutely great to watch RBNY play in their brand new home, Red Bull Arena.  After many, and unfortunately unsuccessful, seasons at Giants Stadium, the club moved into RBA this past March and neither the team nor building have disappointed.  The Red Bulls are currently in first place in the Eastern Conference and just clinched their 2010 playoff berth with a victory this past weekend over Kansas City.  In the short few months that Red Bull Arena has been open, some of the largest teams in the world have made their way through these doors.  Santos FC, Juventus, Manchester City, Tottenham, Turkey National Team and Czech Republic National Team... not to mention almost all of the MLS teams as well.

The playoffs are fast approaching and the way things have been playing out over the last few weeks, a trip to the MLS Cup might very well have to come through Red Bull Arena.

Let's start with the 'Ehhhh... Luke, luke warm'

The New Jersey Nets.  I'll start right off the bat by proclaiming I am not the biggest basketball fan on this earth and I'm probably less of a NBA fan.  However, I am a sports fan and with the Nets practically being in my backyard growing up, I figured I might as well cheer for them.

Wasn't able to do much cheering during the 90s with this team.  Then, all of a sudden, the blockbuster of a trade that results in Jason Kidd coming to down changes the entire dynamic of the team and organization.  Holy heck, they start winning!  And in some cases, dominating!  I would call it dominating, since they reached the NBA Finals in back to back seasons... damn you Spurs and Lakers for being better.

But as with most things in life, good things must come to an end.  A jerk of a man, Bruce Ratner, purchased the team, decided that he wanted to relocate the franchise to Brooklyn, forced management to get rid of money (read: Good Players), and the team tanks.  I meant it when I said I was a luke warm fan of this team.  In the 2008-2009 season the Nets were poor and came no where close to making the playoffs so I no real desire to watch them the following season.  It ended up being a great call on my behalf as the Nets went 12-70 last season and I hardly watched.

However, a new season is almost upon us and guess what?  I'll be there, Opening Night, at the Prudential Center (the Nets new, stop-gap home for two seasons before the Brooklyn move) watching this new and young Nets team open their season against the Pistons.  Why?