Archive for November 10th, 2009

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Mets looking to trade 2B Castillo

November 10, 2009

I’m sure my excitement is premature, but this news is something I thought I would never hear.  Don’t get me wrong, it’s pretty obvious that Omar and company would love to get rid of this bum. But, who the hell would want a player who 90 percent of the time can’t get the ball out of the infield and drops potential game-winning pop ups against a hated rival? Well, according to Joel Sherman of the New York Post, the Mets have approached the D’Backs about swapping Castillo for catcher Chris Snyder. Snyder, who hit 16 HR in 2008 but missed 100 games due to back surgery in 2009, will earn at least $11.5 million over the next two seasons, after which he can become a free agent.

Last night, Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com said the Cubs spoke with the Mets about swapping Castillo with OF Milton Bradley.  He also said the Mets approached the Blue Jays about sending Lyle Overbay to Citi Field, with Castillo going to the Cubs, and Bradley going to Toronto, but the deal was dismissed by multiple sources today.

I know it’s going to be a difficult trick to get rid of Luis, but it’s the right time to make the move. Castillo actually turned in a decent season last year and was one of the Mets most productive players. If the Mets can even get a single A reliever for him, then PLEASE do it immediately!!!  Then go out and trade for Roy Halladay….and take on Vernon Wells if that gets the trade done. 

In other news, Omar Minaya is set to meet with Scott Boras to discuss the initial price range for free agent outfielder Matt Holliday. I’ve seen some reports that the Mets are not willing to give Matt an eight-year deal and that they may take a serious look at Jermaine Dye. We’ll see what happens in the following weeks.

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NBA Great Kareem Abdul Jabbar diagnosed with Leukemia

November 10, 2009
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If he can fight Bruce he can fight Cancer

Kareem Abdul Jabbar, who grew up in the Inwood section of Manhattan, was recently diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer called chronic myeloid leukemia. Abdul Jabbar spent 20 illustrious years with both the Bucks and Lakers and is one of the NBA’s 50 all time greatest players.

“I’ve never been a person to share my private life,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “But I can help save lives. It’s incumbent on someone like me to talk about this.”

CML — which is what the disease is most commonly called — is a rare form of Leukemia that is diagnosed in 4,570 patients annually, compared to the 240,510 patients diagnosed with breast cancer last year. CML is caused by a genetic mutation known as the Philadelphia chromosome. There is a five-year survival rate in cases treated early with a drug called imatinib, which is produced by pharmaceutical giant Novartis.

Let’s all keep the big guy in our prayers and hope that he sky hooks CML out of his system.

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Toney Douglas impresses but the Knicks lose to Jazz

November 10, 2009
Jazz Knicks Basketball

Toney Douglas drops a Career High 21 Points on Monday

The Knicks five-game home winning streak against the Jazz ended last night as Deron Williams led the Utah Jazz with 16 assists to their first win at MSG in more than five years. Carlos Boozer and Andre Kirilenko both poured in 23 points and Mehmet Okur delivered a go-ahead basket with 1:16 left in the game to end the hopes for a Knick comeback. He finished the game with 18 points and 12 rebounds.

Read the rest of this entry ?

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In the words of Marv Albert: “Yesssss!!!!”

November 10, 2009
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An Edumacation anyone would enjoy

Joe Budden really knows how to pick em’

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So… I bumped into a Knick today

November 10, 2009

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As I made my way to the D train through Herald Square after just running into Russell Simmons at a previous appointment, low and behold, who do I bump into?

That’s right peeps, our New York Knicks rookie player Marcus Landry. After a quick pound and me ranting that Toney Douglas needs to start, Marcus and I went our seperate ways. Being that we just started this blog and that were sorta rookies too I thought it would be interesting to talk about Mr. Landry’s not so normal journey to the NBA.

At the start of a season already filled with tough losses, the Marcus Landry story is a feel good tale fit for a movie theater. Marcus did not have a contract with the Knicks at the start of training camp or any other team and  went undrafted out of Wisconsin in this past July’s draft. Landry, who stands at 6″7′,  has the ability to play both forward positions. He attended the University of Wisconsin and averaged 9.2 ppg and 4.2 rpg over the course of four seasons. A native of Wisconsin, he averaged 12.7 ppg his senior year and led the Badgers to a 2nd round NCAA tournament appearance. He is also the younger brother of Carl Landry of the Houston Rockets.

The Knicks in need of a scrappy hard working player invited Marcus to try out  this past off season after seeing him perform during the Las Vegas Summer League with the Sacramento Kings. He paid his own plane fare to New York alongside his $80 a night hotel stay. Needless to say, he was a longshot to make the team. Undeterred, Marcus set a goal to make the Knick roster and reached that goal by impressing the  coaching staff with persistency and a mental toughness that the team lacks. Knicks president of basketball operations announced on September 25 that Marcus would be signed to fill the last roster spot on the team. Mr. Walsh also went as far to say that Marcus is the kind of player the Knicks need.

OK, maybe not fit for a movie screen but interesting no? Anyway, let’s all welcome Marcus to New York and if you bump into him in the street, make sure to tell him that Toney Douglas needs to start. No animals or NBA players were injured while writing this post.

Peace

– Jedi

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Reenergizing the Garden

November 10, 2009

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These are not your typical Rangers of years past.   Besides their recent success over the last few seasons, the Rangers are changing their demeanor as a hockey club.

Coach John Tortorella is a fiery coach; the complete antithesis of former Ranger coach Tom Renney.  We all remember during the Washington series Tortorella attempting to hop over into the stands with a stick in his hand going after an obnoxious fan.  Yes, this may have been too much, and he was reprimanded for his actions;  however, this is exactly the kind of intensity that his players need to bring to the ice every night.

The Rangers over these first 18 games are mean, physical, and constantly pushing the action in turn creating turnovers and scoring opportunities. Dictate the tempo!  By doing this, the opposing team will play on their toes and this is exactly what creates opportunities.

Fans don’t get excited for ‘reaction’.  Good teams act, and force the opposition to react.  As fundamental as it sounds, it is a trait that is overlooked and why teams such as the Red Wings are in the playoff picture year after year.  When you play in Detroit, the fans are amped for hockey because they know their team is going to come out and perform, and perform well.  You can’t say the same for the Rangers in the place once referred to as ‘Mecca’.

What happened to when opposing teams feared coming into the Garden when players like Anthony Mason for the most part ran sh*t?

One factor  that is extremely neglected in many arguments pertaining to why our New York Teams that call Madison Square Garden home are a constant disappointment year in and year out is the fact the Garden is not an intimidating place to play; but rather a place for teams to come and embarrass our beloved teams and showcase themselves on the world’s biggest sporting stage (cough, Lebron, cough) .  Why can’t GM’s realize that this is New York, and regardless of what Mayor Giuliani did to clean up the streets of New York, we need to bring back the ‘nasty’ that those competitive teams had that drove fear into their opponents every time they dared to step foot into the garden.  Truthfully, I think New York has lost it’s ‘gangsterness’ if you will.  The hardest state in the US should have the badest nastiest dudes playing for us.  Like Bart Scott, Antonio Pierce and David Lee.  Wait, David Lee is the toughest dude on the Knicks. 

Thats a problem.

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A recent list came out talking about the most hated people in pro sports.  Sean Avery was at the top of the list.  Granted the list was alphabetical, but it is fair to say that if it wasn’t that he would be in the top 10.  Sean Avery is the kind of guy that can even annoy his own teammates (a reason why after his “sloppy seconds” comment got him shipped out of Dallas before he returned from his suspension).  But having Avery on the ice represents something.  It tells the opposing team that you will be in for night of hard-hitting, taunting, and aggravation whenever he is on the ice.  This psychological factor will some nights simply force teams to not play their style of play and stray from whatever their game plan was on that particular night.

So if the Rangers come out and play hard everynight and show heart, the crowd will respond and the Garden can become a factor again. With the additions of Avery and Donald Brashear, there will be a ton of physicality. Brashear guarantees one punch to be thrown during the night and Avery increases those odds even more giving the fans something they can go apeshit over.

In more Rangers team news,  x-rays came back positive for RW Brandon Dubinsky indicating that he in fact had suffered a broken hand that will sideline him for 4 to 6 weeks.   This is disappointing after a lengthy offseason back and forth with Rangers management about contract negotiations.  After a promising start, Dubinsky  will not be able to show he is worth the money he demanded.

Over the next few days, it is imperative that the Rangers take advantage of the elongated time off between games because in the following week, the Rangers starting Saturday play five games in seven nights. Albeit these games are against mediocre teams, playing that amount of hockey in a short period of time can cause trouble.

The Rangers next game is Thursday at the Garden versus the Atlanta Thrashers.  After a disappointing 3-1 loss to Calgary, the Rangers need to turn it around. The Rangers will be able to do this with aggressive play and with the help of the Ranger faithful.

Free Pick: Under 5 1/2 Flames/Canadians

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Can the Yankees repeat in 2010?

November 10, 2009

Here are both sides of the argument:

Reasons why the Yankees won’t repeat in 2010:

1) The core four — Rivera, Pettitte, Posada and Jeter — will all be one year older. Rivera is 40, Jeter will be 36, Posada and Pettitte both 38. You can’t expect the same kind of production from aging veterans, year in, year out. It’s not impossible, just unlikely.

2) The Red Sox and Rays will both improve and compete for the division.

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Red Sox GM Theo Epstein looks to reload his team for 2010.

Red Sox GM Theo Epstein already declined the team’s option on catcher Jason Varitek, and re-structured pitcher Tim Wakefield’s contract through 2011. The Red Sox are prime to make a big splash this offseason, with talks of trading for Padres slugger Adrian Gonzalez or Mariners ace Felix Hernandez. Also in the mix is Blue Jays free agent short stop Marco Scutaro, who the Sox are eyeing to fill their vacancy at short stop. The Sox will probably also re-sign Jason Bay. They still have Dustin Pedroia and Kevin Youkilis.

The Rays have a young gunner in David Price and I expect him to excel next season. Guys like Matt Garza and James Shields, both of whom had sub-par years, are due for a rebound season. BJ Upton was horrific this year, but he did come off shoulder surgery early in 2009 and never regained his 2008 form. When Upton gets everything back in order, he is a top-tier offensive threat.

3) Injuries. AJ Burnett threw nearly 220 innings this season, and this year was the first time he didn’t take any trips to the disabled list in a non-contract year. With older guys like Posada and Pettitte, injuries are inevitable.

4) Starting Rotation. Will Joba Chamberlain or Phil Hughes be a reliable starter in 2010?  Besides CC and AJ, the other two signed starters are unproven.

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Will Matsui be back next year?

5) Free agents. Three World Series heroes — Damon, Matsui and Pettitte — are free agents and nobody is sure who’s coming back. My hunch is that Damon and Pettitte come back on one-year deals, and the Yankees waive goodbye to the 2009 WS MVP. But what if they don’t sign Damon, or he takes a lucrative multi-year contract somewhere else? Between Matsui and Damon this year, they combined for 50 HRs and 170 RBIs. That’s a lot of production to replace.

Reasons why the Yankees will repeat in 2010:

1) The additions of Mark Teixeira, CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Nick Swisher have solidified a new core to this Yankees team. They are all relatively young (under 32) and brought a new life and identity, along with some fun to the normally robotic and professional Yankees clubhouse. The taste of a championship only makes them yearn for another.

2) The new stadium is built for left-handed power bats, and if you haven’t noticed, the Yanks have a lot of left-handed power. More homeruns equals more wins. Plain and simple.

3) A new identity. This Yankee team has forged its own identity this year, rather than trying to replicate the identity of Torre’s championship teams. This new identity is one of never backing down or giving up, and believing in your teammate. That is how the old Yankees teams won, and seems to be how this team wins. Play hard for all 27 outs.

4) Alex Rodriguez. I know, I know. He’s been on the team for five years and the Yankees won a total of zero rings, before this year, during his tenure. I just believe that once a player shakes off the criticism of not winning the big game or not performing in clutch situations, the pressure is off, and that player is free to play the game with no strings attached. It happened with Peyton Manning, and I only see Alex being that much better in 2010. He probably wins the MVP in 2010.

5) Steinbrenner’s money. If they do lose Matsui and or Damon, don’t you think Cashman will open up the checkbook to fill that void? I’m thinking Chone Figgins. The Yankees have the resources to take losses and fill them with minimal effort. Question is, will that affect this Yankee team’s chemistry?