Category Archives: Sports

Send Some Prayers

While you’re celebrating Christmas Eve tonight with family and loved ones, please take time to remember the Stottlemyre family in your prayers. Yankee great Mel Stottlemyre is currently reported to be “fighting for his life” this Christmas Eve, according to his son Todd.

There is never a good time to lose a loved one, but, during the holidays is especially rough. Mel, we love you and you are in our thoughts and definitely in our prayers.


2015 World Series – Game 1 Live Blog

World-Series-primary-590x647

Warning: I will attempt my very first live blog of any sporting event. It’s fitting that I do it with two teams that I’m not a fan of and I don’t cheer for… this will prevent a lot of colorful language from hitting the inter-webs.

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8:30am (The Next Morning): So I’ll admit it, I went to bed after the final posting last night, but, I did turn the TV on to see how this things played out in the 11th inning. I only made it through a few pitches and I was out… luckily I threw the TV on 30-minute sleep mode. The game didn’t play out as I had hoped with the Royals walking off and beating the Mets by a score of 5-4. Even though my team isn’t in the series, I really enjoyed the game and I learned a lot about all the players involved from both teams. Blogging a sporting even is not only taxing but it’s also rewarding. I learned things about players that I normally wouldn’t watch during the regular season and I have a deeper appreciation for both organizations. Mets and Royals fans, you both cheer for teams that you should be proud of! I hope those that followed my blog last night enjoyed my live blogging event… a special “thanks” to all of the full-time bloggers out there for letting a guy like me into your arena for a few hours.

Continue reading


“Hey Mets fans… don’t forget where you’re from.”

Generally I don’t get involved in back and forth banter when it comes to websites like the NY Post and such but it’s World Series time I’m all in.

A few different websites are reporting that Mets fans are not too thrilled with the idea of having Yankees fans rooting for their team during the World Series. Going as far as to say, “We don’t need them bandwagoning our team.” The New York Times went out of their way to interview some drunken Met fan that compared Yankees fans rooting for the Mets to “…post-war Nazi’s wanting to come over for tea 10 years after the war.”

Seriously?

When I was growing up, Willie Randolph was my Yankee hero. I started liking the Mets in junior high school because they had a right-fielder named Darryl Strawberry. He was tall and lanky like me and I discovered my love of playing right-field because of him. I wasn’t quick enough to play the infield like Willie could. So in the 80’s, I loved the Yankees but I also cheered for the Mets. Once their front office decided that Davey Johnson wasn’t of value to them anymore and treated him like he hadn’t brought them their first championship in 17 years, I was done cheering for them.

 

Me and legendary Mets Outfielder Darryl Strawberry

 

Here’s why I still won’t cheer for the Mets, even throughout this World Series; Yankees fans are not Turncoats.

Mets fans… you can keep your team, we have our own. Unlike Mets, Cubs and Red Sox fans… we don’t start flying our team’s colors once the “good” starts happening for them. In the last 3 weeks, I’ve seen more Cubs hats and jerseys than I can ever remember. Mets “fans” are all over the place now too… and to their credit, Red Sox fans are nowhere to be found, as usual. It’s disgusting. I do realize that there are some die-hard and loyal Mets fans out there who feel the same way towards the Yankees and their fans, and that’s fine… I respect that. But, what those fans need to realize is that we aren’t interested in joining your nation or sacrificing our team loyalty to follow another team because of the moment. When any NY team enters a finals series, I’m excited for them… because I’m a New Yorker. If they win, I’m even happier because “When N.Y. does good… New York does good!” If you know what I mean. It’s completely insane to not want a team from your home state to do well when your team is no longer in the fight. But please, don’t think that Yankees fans are over here cheering the Mets along as if they were our team…. flying the colors in good times like their fans do. It’s not the Yankee way. We suffered through the 80’s and early 90’s with horrible teams but we always flew the colors and we welcomed the rest of New York to join us. That’s what winners do, they act like they’ve been there before and they never forget where they’re from.

 

Go Yanks!

 


The No Hitter

I’ve been a baseball fan for most of my 44 years and I just listened to my very first no-hitter game on the radio.

The irony of it is that Cole Hamels may very well be traded before the July 31st deadline and may have pitched his last game for the Philadelphia Phillies.

Congrats Cole!


New York State of Mind

swag·ger noun

  1. a very confident and typically arrogant or aggressive gait or manner.
    “The New York Yankees have attained 27 World Championships with an exaggerated swagger”

    gomez_mcccan

I only started really paying attention Brian McCann following his dust up with the Carlos Gomez. I watched him play on TV when I was visiting my sister-in-law in Atlanta and I heard the analyst say those magical words… “He’s going to be a free agent this fall.” Music to any Yankee fan’s ears. With what the Yankees put behind the plate last year, McCann would surely be in Brian Cashman’s cross-hairs. The Yankees have a history of putting leaders behind the plate and I saw nothing last year that resembled anything close to leadership. Two of the greatest leaders that I’ve ever seen in my short life happen to be the two-man team of General Colin Powell and the late General Norman Schwarzkopf. Together, these two men led US forces during the first Gulf War (Operation Desert Storm) and pulled off one of the greatest military upsets in US military history. What they accomplished as a team not only benefited the citizens of Kuwait but it also put the rest of the world on notice… “We have arrived and we aren’t going anywhere.” Leaving politics out of it, because I love politicians as much as I love migraine headaches, both men showed how far you can go through teamwork and great leadership. My father was a Marine and he used to always say to me, “Just because a person can lead, doesn’t mean that they should!” The world is filled with self-promoted leaders, people who have laid out their padded career stats on resumes and who appear to be battle-tested. However, when you see them in action, they resemble nothing close to the person laid out on paper. There are many athletes who show a lot of bravado on the field or on the court and when you take a deeper look at them, you have a sense that most of it is an act or just flat out fake. While I like Kevin Garnett, I’m not completely convinced that he’s the psychopath that he portrays himself to be during his pre-game rituals. Tyler Hansbrough, James Harrison, Warren Sapp, Brian Wilson… Carlos Gomez, just to name a few. I’m not convinced that if I’m in a foxhole and needed one person next to me they’d be the one to deliver. Then you have those who leave little doubt… Steve Smith, CC Sabathia, Ray Lewis, Josh Beckett (yeah, the former Red Sox pitcher), Marshawn Lynch & Brian McCann.

Swagger.

New York is a special place and not many people understand New Yorkers and what makes us who we are. We’re probably the most over-analyzed, stereotyped and copy-catted residents of the United States. The funniest part about being from New York is that everybody assumes that you’re from the city when you say, “I’m from New York.” If you look at a map, the island of Manhattan is that little sliver of land directly northwest of the rest of the entire state of New York! (Just had to get that out.) No, all New Yorker’s are not from New York City, but, we all seem to have that ‘thing’ about us that most of the city residents have. The spirit, the drive and the attitude that we won’t let anyone tread on us or our opinions on any topic being discussed. What does this have to do with Brian McCann?

Everything.

Brian McCann is about to become my favorite transplant New Yorker. He brings an apparent  love for the game and a respect for how its played with him to the Bronx. I could hear it in his voice and see it in his face during his introductory press conference, when he spoke about how he loves going to the yard and just being able to play ball… doing his job that he loves. How since he was a young kid, he loved the game and always wanted to be as good at it as his brother was at it. I grew up loving the game of baseball more than any other sport and when you say this to a room of reporters, you know it’s a fact.

Carlos Gomez is a young player who appears to believe that baseball needs him and that his accomplishments are bigger than the game. I can only assume that he loves the game just as much as McCann, but, all he’s shown me as a fan so far is an example of how much more he loves himself. To his credit, he did use Twitter to apologize for his actions and for putting his own feelings before his team’s. He still has a lot to learn and a long path to that wisdom. The fact that he took took the time to actually apologize shows growth, even if embarrassment was the vehicle. We’re not perfect, we all make mistakes and I wish Carlos nothing but success. The more he grows as a man and a player, the more the game of baseball will use him to show up and coming players what’s most important.

The game.


It’s time to turn the page…

Note: This post was originally written  for a special “Pinch Hit” series for the website The Greedy Pinstripes. It was originally posted on Wednesday, December 11, 2013


Cano_1

No One Man is Above The Team” – Coach James DeBell Sr.
(A frequent quote by my high school baseball coach)

I knew it was coming eventually. Not the move to another team, not the way that it was done, not the money involved, not the turning his back on the city of New York and the Yankee fans and not the leaving behind a chance to be immortal in the garden that is Monument Park. It was that one question from my wife that I really needed days, not hours, to ponder… “How do you feel about Cano leaving the Yankees?” A question that was so raw and one that I never thought in a million years that I’d have to answer.

I met my wife Liz 3 years ago and though I’ve been a life-long fan of the Yankees, I’d never been to Yankee Stadium before. She’s not a fan of sports at all, but, my very first visit to the stadium was in the form of tickets for my birthday, thanks to her. We played the Blue Jays during Labor Day Weekend… Jeter had the day off due to a late night extra-inning game the night before, Bartolo Colon pitched good enough to keep us in it and Cano, true to form, had the biggest hit of the game… a two-run double to give us the lead and eventually the win. It was a great day and now my wife is as much a Yankee fan as I am, CC Sabathia is her favorite… and she named our puppy after my favorite player. The Yankees are a part of our everyday lives in some way, shape or form. You will always see the logo or some reminder of the team somewhere in our home. Baseball has and always will be a part of my life. I’ve played the game since I was able to hold a bat and swing it, it’s important to me and I love the “game”. Fans of other sports find us crazy because we sit and watch what they consider to be a “boring” sport, yet they have no idea just how smart you have to be to either play or understand this game that we love.

I don’t know how I feel about it babe, I mean… I’ll miss him but we have to think about the team as a whole, we can’t afford bad deals anymore.

I know that this really gets over-used but sports folks say it all the time, “There is no ‘I’ in team.” However, there is definitely an M & E in “Team” and that’s exactly what Robinson Cano was thinking with his demands for a record breaking contract. And to be frank, I personally couldn’t care less that he’s walking away from the Yankees and possible immortality when I really think about it. Robinson Cano is one of the most talented baseball players I’ve ever had a chance to watch grow into a major league player. The only flaw that I’ve ever seen is his game is him not feeling the need to hustle out some at-bats here and there but I personally think there’s a deeper reason behind it. I think the game is boring to him and he no longer finds any challenge in it, at least in New York with the Yankees. I saw it this season in his at-bats, in his fielding when flipping the ball to first after having to barely move to get it. Cano is so good at what he does that to the casual eye, he’s truly amazing (which he is) and what he’s doing is effortless, but, to the trained eye he’s just going through the motions and bored with being in that moment. Over the weekend it was mentioned that Cano wanted out of New York because he didn’t like playing for Joe Girardi and while I have no idea how much of that is true or not, nothing screams “selfish” like complaining about where your manager puts you in the line-up, especially publicly.  Managers are paid to manage and players are paid to play and the saddest part about this, if it’s true, is that Joe bleeds Yankee blue and was tossed from 5 games this past season, mostly for defending his players. But, he’s a horrible guy to play for because he just can’t seem to put Cano right where he wants to be in the lineup… I get it. Whatever. I personally don’t think Cano is the “star” that he thinks he is or that his representation has convinced him that he is. While he was healthy for most of the season and other’s like Jeter, Texeira and Granderson were hurt, the Yankees reportedly lost $58 million in ticket sales. If Cano had $240 million star power, I personally think those figures would have been more ‘green’, seeing as how he spent most of his time on the field this past season.

When Cano first signed with Jay Z’s Roc Nation, I thought it was as bad a move for Jay Z as it was for him. Jay is the self-proclaimed “King of New York ” and could possibly be labeled as the single person who priced one of our most talented assets right out of the Bronx. He’s boasted on songs that he’s made the “Yankee hat more famous than a Yankees can”… too much bravado about an organization that he clearly knows little about. The Yankees were winning championships before the Great Depression and while I love Jay and some of his music, this isn’t the music business. Legends are made in this game called baseball… through hard work, dedication, patience and hustle. And while most can live with the lack of hustle from Cano, I can’t. Mainly because he wants to be paid like a super-star team leader, but, doesn’t want to act like one on the field during the final year of his current contract.  I was taught from day one when learning the game of baseball that no matter what, you ran to first like you were ultimately going to be safe, you respected the game and the people that played it before you and you respected your coaches and the umpires even if you didn’t understand their decisions. The game of baseball is not easy to play, though the legends in the making who are playing in the majors today make it seem that way. Ted Williams once said something to the effect of players who fail 7 out of 10 times at the plate will end up being some of the greatest to ever play the game.

There is no organization on this planet like the New York Yankees. When you see the logo, you know who it is, if you see a picture of The Frieze, you know where it is and when you see the pinstripes, you know what they’re about. Winning. Pride. Loyalty. I’ve turned the page on my loyalty to Robinson Cano and as being one of his fans. When I look at the men who have played in Pinstripes before him and how most have humbled themselves for the betterment of the team, I’m grateful that Monument Park isn’t a part of his vision for his own career. I can’t cheer on someone who is okay with coming to the yard every day and making it about themselves instead of the team. I’ve heard free agent after free agent come to the podium over the years and say, “Being a Yankee has always been a life-long dream of mine, so this is one of the greatest days of my life!” They’ve come from every organization, even the Red Sox. So while I wish Robinson the best, I really won’t miss him or the fact that Jay Z thinks that he would have been the man to help “sell the Yankee brand”. The Yankees don’t need any player to sell what they have to offer. The proof lies in those free agents coming to the podium… this stuff that the Yankees have sells itself.

Loyalty


Welcome, FOX Sports 1

Please Destroy ESPN!
I
 know hate is a strong word… but I really hate “monopolies”. The big machines that role over the little man simply because “they can”… because there’s nothing to stop them. It’s happened in every sport (mostly on the major league levels), in the video gaming industry with exclusive licensing, the music industry, you name it. There are many that will say that my beloved Yankees is among those businesses that can be considered a monopoly but even as they are proving this year, sometimes monopolies can fall victim to themselves.

For a long time, sports fans have had only one option for a network dedicated to 24/7 sport and it is in the form of the self proclaimed “worldwide leader in sports”. I don’t want to mention their name because this is less about them and more about the network that’s building up to challenge what Dan Patrick refers to as “The Mothership”. FOX Sports 1 is launching tomorrow, August 17th and I’m pretty excited about it. I know there have been other networks that have tried this and haven’t put a dent in The Mothership’s ratings. But in my opinion, the launch of FOX Sports 1 isn’t really about taking down The Mothership… it’s more about having another quality option as a sports fan. The keyword is quality and the winner in this situation is definitely sports fans.

Take nothing from The Mothership, it is a dynasty that has to be recognized. But, I personally feel that for the last 2-3 years, the network has served the equivalent of tap water to viewers when it had the ability to serve spring water, at the same cost. Why are they doing this? Because they can… because the fans are thirsty and they’ll drink whatever is presented to them, especially when it’s the only option. Every promo that I’ve seen for Fox Sports 1 has boasted futuristic sets, host that appear to be having “fun” at doing their jobs and an array of talented hosts ranging from retired athlete to former morning show hosts.

I personally feel that if FS1 simply acknowledges The Mothership with a tip of the hat as it walks through the door, there will nothing else for them to worry about. If they can concentrate on coexisting and not conquering, they can be nothing except succeed. I wish everyone involved with the launch of FOX Sports 1 the best of success.


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