Daily Briefing: July 9, 2011

– Yao Ming has retired from the NBA.  He made the All-Star Game in all of the eight seasons he played, but his career was filled with injuries.  It’s a shame Yao could never stay healthy, but that’s sports.

– The Mets won their first of three games with San Francisco last night, but they are still 6.5 games back in the wildcard chase.  At this point, I still believe you have to explore moving Francisco Rodriguez and/or Carlos Beltran.  Jose Reyes should untouchable no matter what happens over the next couple of weeks.

– The Yankees and Rays were rained out last night, leaving Derek Jeter stuck at 2998 hits.  He has two more games at home to get to 3000.

– After an MRI, it has been determined that A-Rod may need surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.  The recovery time would be 4-6 weeks.

– The Orioles and Red Sox got into a brawl last night, with Kevin Gregg and David Ortiz going at it.  It all started when Ortiz swung at a 3-0 pitch late in the game while up by seven runs.  Many think it was a classless move, but this isn’t little league.  Seven runs is nothing in today’s game and especially at Fenway Park.  Therefore, I’m actually on Ortiz’s side here.  We can debate whether or not charging the mound was the right thing to do, but I have no problem with Ortiz’s aggressiveness at the plate.

– Andre Ethier may be thinking about a move to Boston or New York, says Sports Illustrated’s Jon Heyman.

– There have been conflicting reports about the NFL lockout.  Some analysts still say a deal is imminent, while others say a deal is far from being agreed to.  It’s hard what to believe at this point, but expect the worst.  I can’t see a deal being agreed to anytime within the next week or so.

– Yesterday’s biggest story involved Jets third round pick Kenrick Ellis.  His pending court case was moved to late November.  However, some members of the media have used this news as an opportunity to somehow once again attack the Jets.

– Let me first say that the Jets did their homework involving this case.  There’s no way Ellis gets 20 years in prison (or deported) for punching a guy who tried to attack him with a baseball bat.  The Jets wouldn’t have drafted him if they thought he would get anything more than a fine.  If you actually examine the charges, you’ll realize there’s no chance Ellis spends any time incarcerated.  This is just another case of the anti-Jets media looking for any opportunity to bring down the team.

– Even if Kenrick was convicted and spent a month or two in jail during the season, it still would have been a risk worth taking for the Jets.  Gang Green only got him in the third round because of his pending court case.  He was easily a late-first/early-second round talent in this year’s draft.  Once this nonsense gets worked out, Ellis could be the ideal nose tackle in Rex Ryan’s 3-4 system.  Instead of talking about his past transgressions, perhaps we should spend more time talking about this young man’s upside as a football player.

For more on Kenrick Ellis, the NFL lockout, and more breaking news, feel free to follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

The sports media has reached a new low by spinning the Kenrick Ellis story out of control.


Daily Briefing: July 4, 2011

– First off, I’d like to wish a happy Fourth of July to everyone.  I truly believe this is the greatest country the face of the Earth has seen and ever will see.  America was created as a great experiment of Democracy.  235 years later, that experiment has continued to thrive and branch out all across the world.  We continue to be a force for global good and an advocator for peace.  For that reason, we all should be proud of our great nation.

– This weekend’s Subway Series was decent in my opinion.  It’s not as thrilling as it once was, but the games continue to be entertaining.  The Yankees won the series two games to one, but the biggest news was Jose Reyes’ hamstring injury.

– Speaking of New York shortstops, Derek Jeter will re-join the Yankees Monday.

– For the most part, the reaction to the Brad Richards signing has been positive.  There are a lot of reasons to like this deal for the Rangers, and only a handful of reasons to be worried about the deal.  With the last three years of the deal being worth $1 million each, the Rangers could simply buy him out after six years if they are unhappy with him.  Or if Brad has had enough with hockey, he could retire late into the contract while still earning virtually all of his money.  With a $6.67 cap hit, this deal is a huge win for the Rangers.  They even got him to take a substantial pay cut to come here.

– Of course, some uninformed analysts such as Chris Carlin think the move was a mistake.  I have a feeling that if Richards signed with another team, Carlin would have still criticized Sather.  He has been anti-Rangers for as long as I remember, even saying two years ago that they should be embarrassed that the Devils were better than them.  So he doesn’t want big signings, but according to those statements, he’s against a rebuilding mode.  You can’t have it both ways.  This is why people who don’t know anything about hockey should stop pretending that they’re experts on it.  This is also why people from New Jersey shouldn’t be asked their opinion on the Rangers.

– Tom Brady was voted the #1 NFL player of 2011 by the players.  I disagree, but it really has nothing to do with me being a Jets fan.  I believe he has had a much better supporting cast and head coach than Peyton Manning has had.  If you look at how Matt Cassell performed in 2008 with the same weapons Brady had in 2007, you’ll see what I mean.  Cassell, an average quarterback, managed to win 11 games that season.  Peyton Manning never has a receiver as good as good as Randy Moss, and he hasn’t had a player with the skill set of someone like Wes Welker.  In addition, Brady has played under a Hall of Fame head coach, and has had a stellar defense almost every year he’s been in the league.  I think Peyton Manning would have been the right choice.

– I personally don’t care because I believe the list was complete garbage to begin with.  I don’t get why people took the list so seriously to begin with.  It’s impossible to compare multiple positions to each other.  The list also varies depending on how much you value certain traits in a player.  What’s more valuable, Devin Hester’s return game or Nnamdi Asomugha’s cover skills?  Asomugha’s set of skills is the obvious choice to many, but Hester is the best returner in the history of the league.  Are we ranking players in terms of skills or their value to a team?

As always, feel free to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest breaking news on all things New York sports.

Since Tom Brady's last playoff win, the Jets have had four.

Daily Briefing: June 29, 2011

– We are now two days away from the start of NHL free agency and unfortunately the NBA lockout.  I think the best thing  for sports fans to do is just ignore basketball for a few months and focus on hockey.  If you think you hate the NHL, try to get into it.  You may just find out that it isn’t so bad after all.

– Not to beat a dead horse, but Brad Richards is still virtually a lock to be a Ranger come Friday.  There are critics of the move however.  The Score summed up Glen Sather’s tenure with the Rangers pretty well with this hilarious video.

– Jussi Jokinen and Simon Gagne are two other options for the Blueshirts, but Glen Sather seems to have his heart set on Richards.  That’s fine, as long as Sather doesn’t overpay for him.  Nothing more than 6 years, and nothing more than $6.5-7 million per year.  Anything more, I will not be happy with the signing.  I believe the signing could make the Rangers serious contenders, but at the same time it could be a major setback if the deal is crippling to the team’s cap flexibility.  I say go for the signing, but nothing ridiculous.  7 or 8 year deals should be off the negotiating table.  Let someone else make that mistake.

– The Islanders acquired the rights to Christian Ehrhoff for a 4th round pick.

– Terrell Owens says he won’t retire, but I still think he will have serious trouble finding a job.  He won’t be a Jet, that’s for sure.

– According to the Daily News, the Mets could make a run at Prince Fielder.  While this would be an unbelievable step in the right direction for the franchise, it won’t happen because of the team’s financial problems.  And don’t think for a second you’re going to re-sign Reyes and sign Fielder.  You’ll be extremely lucky if you just get Reyes back.

As always, feel free to follow us on Twitter and Facebook for the latest breaking news on all things New York sports.

Two days until Brad Richards is a Ranger. Let's just hope he comes at the right price.

Subway Series Showdown

It is time to kick off interleague play in Major League Baseball, and what better way to start it off than with round one of the annual Subway Series?  The Mets (21-22) and the Yankees (23-19) will play round one will take place in the Bronx. Here are the probable pitching matchups:

Games 1- Friday 7:05 PM-Dickey (1-5, 5.08 ERA) vs. Garcia (2-3, 3 .22)

Game 2- Saturday 7:10 PM- Capuano (3-4 4.78) vs. Burnett (4-3, 3.99)

Game 3- Sunday 1:05 PM- Pelfrey (3-3, 5.11) vs. Nova (4-3, 4.33)

It looks as though the pitching matchups favor the Yankees this time around.

The Figures:

Derek Jeter is a career .380 hitter agaisnt the Mets. Talk about a Mets killer…

The Yankees are 45-33 agaisnt the Mets since interleague play began in 1997.

In 2010, the Mets and Yankees tied, with each winning 3 of the 6 games.

San Fran Can

The Mets and Giants played a nail biter that eventually went into extra innings last night. The Met bullpen did not hold up in extras as Taylor Bucholz allowed the game winning home run in the 10th inning. Jose Reyes reached base six times and the time could not be more fitting to speculate about Reyes to San Francisco. I personally think this is a perfect fit for Reyes and the Mets. The Giants are in dire need of instant offense and a shortstop and who better to fill that need than Jose Reyes.

The Mets and Sandy Alderson have made no bones about wanting to move Reyes. I think that trading Reyes to the Giants makes more sense than any other team as San Francisco has a solid minor league system. Ideally as a Mets fan I would like to include Madison Bumgarner in the deal; however I seriously doubt San Francisco would oblige. Realistically I would expect the deal to be centered on former number 6 overall draft pick Zack Wheeler. I would assume that  lesser prospects would be included in the deal, but Wheeler is a very talented starting pitcher and has front end of the rotation stuff. The Giants definitely could use an explosive player like Reyes and the Mets definitely could afford to dump Reyes before his contract runs out after this season. Normally I object to selling, especially if its an effective player like Reyes; however the core of players the Mets have had the last few years has done anything but win. It would be bittersweet to get rid of Jose, but at this point it makes sense and the Giants seem like a more than compatible suitor.

Jose will be laughing all the way to the bank this offseason.

Are the Mets Heading in the Right Direction?

Since the long-awaited departures of Omar Minaya and Jerry Manuel and replacing them with Sandy Alderson and Terry Collins. The Mets have changed the teams image and personnel through free agent , rule 5  signings and promotion from their farm system.  Although the new management gave Perez and Castillo every opportunity to make the club out of spring training. The final decision of releasing both players was well overdue. Although some of Anderson’s decisions has failed (ie: Brad Emaus, Blaine Boyer), I still believe he is the right man for the job. Currently,The Mets are 10-13 and remain in the cellar of the NL east. However; with only 23 games played out of 162, we are a long way from this teams true identity. Last season, the Mets won 79 games and I still believe that despite of their early failures, they can win an additional 5-6 more games than last season. With a current lineup of Reyes/Murphy/Wright/Beltran/Bay/Davis/Thole/Pridie, this team has a well above ML lineup to be productive. Once Pagan returns healthy, they will be even better.

The bullpen has bounced back and is providing that quality pitching in the late innings. The main question mark lies in the SP as Pelfrey/Niese/Dickey/Young/Capuano/and even Gee need to be more consistent as a staff. At this point, Pelfrey holds the key to this rotation if he can be more reliable in his starts. The Mets farm system has better talent than many have suggested. Unfortunately, most of the Mets talent is most likely 2-3 years away with players like (Harvey, Reese, Vaughn, Valdespin, Urbina, Ratiff, Den Dekker, Ceciliani, Martinez, Nieuwenhius, Familia, Duda, Mejia, Flores, Cohoon, Puello, Tejeda) just to name a few. Obviously, the biggest obstacle facing the Mets Organization is the current financial status of the Mets owners; the Wilpons. This is why, in my opinion Sandy Alderson was brought in and is the best man to help turn this franchise around. However; until this matter is settle, either by the Wilpons selling completely or selling at least half of their ownership. The Mets will need to be more focus on strengthen the farm system through the draft and look for mid-level low-cost free agents such as Young and Capuano to improve this team.

Regardless of where the Mets are by the all-star break, some current players on the roster will be traded. Players like Beltran, Reyes, K-Rod, Pelfrey, Young and Capuano have been mentioned as possible trade bait. All in all, I like the direction the Mets are heading, I like the new image Alderson and Collins are projecting, I like the progression of Beltran, Davis, Thole, Murphy. I like the production out of Reyes, Wright, I like the contributions of Young , Capuano and Gee. Is this team heading in the right direction? Opinions may vary, but from where I’m standing; they are.

Are happy days here again for the Mets?

Mets Baseball is Back

The Mets ownership situation has stolen all the headlines this offseason including this story that broke last night.  With all the fuss over the Mets ownership, its easy to forget that there is a baseball season yet to be played. The Mets will play their first Grapefruit League game today against the Atlanta Braves at Digital Domain Park. The game will be available on CW 11.

The Staring Lineup will go as follows:

1. Jose Reyes SS
2. Luis Castillo 2B
3. David Wright 3B
4. Angel Pagan CF
5. Jason Bay LF
6. Ike Davis 1B
7. Josh Thole C
8. Scott Hairston DH
9. Fernando Martinez RF

Jenrry Mejia will start for the Mets and Taylor Buchholz, Manny Acosta, Pedro Beato, John Lujan, and Armando Rodriguez are all expected to pitch.