Tuesday, January 22, 2019

LIU/Brooklyn Blackbirds: Terriers Roll to Victory on Ashland Turf

From the desk of:  THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH



DOWNTOWN SHOWDOWN
St. Francis Terriers  79
LIU Blackbirds        70
FINAL

Veni, Vidi, Fuhgeddaboudit; Terriers Plant Flag in Blackbirds School Yard.

Underestimate St. Francis(BK) at your on risk.  Just ask the Blackbirds who on MLK Day became the twelfth opponent this season to learn the hard way.  Up by 19-points at the half, the Remsen Street Terriers fend-off LIU's second half charge for a nine point margin of victory.  In turn, the Blackbirds are denied a third straight victory at the Wellness Center, while St. Francis(BK) rolls to their NEC leading twelfth overall victory of the season.

Despite Raiquan Clarke's game high 29-points and 14 rebounds, the Blackbirds only shoot 21/58 (36.2%) from the floor, and just 3/19 (15.8 %) from three-point range.

Robert Morris remains perched atop the NEC standings with a 5-1 conference record.  Both St. Francis(BK) and Sacred Heart are a game back with 4-2 records, while the LIU Blackbirds are bunched in a three-way tie with a 3-3 conference record, and 9-9 record overall.

The Blackbirds are headed to Maryland where they'll take on Mount St. Mary's on Thursday.


Monday, January 21, 2019

Only Name on My Hall of Fame Ballot: Gil Hodges

From the desks of: 
FINGERPRINTS OF DEM BUMS  and  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET


THE QUIET MAN


According to baseballhall.org, the BBWAA Rules for Election, Article Five reads:

Voting shall be based upon player's record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.

Based on their own criteria, it is unfathomable to me how Gil Hodges is continually denied enshrinement into baseball's Hall of Fame.  The highest percentage of votes he ever received by the BBWAA was 63.4% in 1983, his final year on the writer's ballot.  However, the former Veterans Committee in my opinion was far more negligent in their refusal to pass him through than writers whom perhaps did not cover his playing career (and yes, I'm being kind about it).

My own personal criteria for election into Baseball's Hall of Fame includes being among the dominant players at both their respective position and the game as a whole for at least a ten year portion of a player's career.

By all accounts, Gil Hodges qualifies as a Hall of Famer.  I'm not breaking new ground.  His record reads as such:  Baseball-Reference.com

There are 25 first baseman enshrined at Cooperstown; Hodges ranks 11th among them with 370 home runs.  For twelve seasons spanning 1948-1959, Hodges led all first basemen in home runs, RBI, extra-base hits, and OPS.  For the decade of the 1950s, he ranked second overall in the National League in home runs and RBI.  From 1949 through 1959, Hodges slashed .280/.367/.507, while averaging 30 home runs and 101 RBI per season.  He exceeded 20 home runs in eleven consecutive seasons; hit at least 30 home runs six times, and hit forty or more home runs twice.  He exceeded 100 RBI in seven straight seasons.  Upon his retirement, Gil Hodges ranked 11th on the all-time home run list, and third among right-hand batters.  Moreover, he helped the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers win seven National League pennants, and two World Series championships.  And it was Gil who triumphantly delivered Brooklyn's only two runs in Game Seven of the 1955 World Series against the Yankees.  Starting with 1957, he won baseball's first three newly minted Golden Glove Awards for defensive excellence at first base.

His career with the Dodgers which began in 1943 ended after the 1961 season.  In 1962 Gil returned to the city which still adored him unconditionally.  He played 54 games for the expansion New York Metropolitan baseball club, then retired in 1963 after just 11 games.  Five years later he would become their manager.  In his second season, the New York Mets would become World Series champions.
  • His four year record managing the Mets: 339-309 (.523)


Gil suffered a heart attack shortly before start of the 1972 season, and on April, 2, passed away at 47-years of age.  He rests peacefully at Holy Cross Cemetery in Brooklyn.

The Hall of Fame's Golden Era Committee reconvenes in 2020.  When they do, this epic injustice must finally be corrected.

Hall of Fame, now..!



Sunday, January 20, 2019

Winter League Baseball: All Championship Series Underway


WINTER LEAGUE BEISBOL
2018~2019



MEXICO

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
GAME ONE
YAQUIS de OBRAGON
vs.
CHARROS de JALISCO
MONDAY



PUERTO RICO

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
GAME ONE
CANGREJEROS de SANTURCE
vs.
INDIOS de MAYAGUEZ
TUESDAY



VENEZUELA

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
GAME ONE
LEONES de CARACAS
vs.
CARDENALES de LARA
TUESDAY



DOMINICAN REPUBLIC

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
GAME FOUR
ESTRELLAS de ORIENTALES (2-1)
vs.
TOROS del ESTE (1-2)
MONDAY



CUBA

CAMPEONES SERIE NACIONAL/58TH EDITION
LENADORES de LAS TUNAS


PIGSKIN 2018: CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY


PIGSKIN
CHAMPIONSHIP 
SUNDAY

RESULTS
Week Eleven
Thanksgiving Day
Week Twelve
Week Thirteen
Week Fourteen
Week Fifteen
Week Sixteen
Week Seventeen
Wild Card Round
Divisional Round



SCOREBOARD:
Division Round Record:  2-2
Overall Record:  98-126-11
Bagels in the Basket:  -45

  • Going with 20 bagels per game..!
  • Line: Saturday NYP


AMERICAN FOOTBALL CONFERENCE

Patriots +3 (CHIEFS)

Correct me if I'm mistaken, but the Chargers entered last week's game rated among the top defenses in the AFC, no?  As I was saying ... Paper Tiger!  Bill Belichick, Tom Brady, and the New England Patriots completely short circuited the San Diego Los Angeles Bolts by playing fundamentally simple, no-nonsense, unadulterated smash mouth football.  No gimmicks, just in your face pigskin.  They called formations and plays straight out of the 1960s.  The only thing missing were leather helmets.  It was beauty to behold.  That's why I ignore those who scream from the hilltops about how the game has changed.  The Patriots possessed the ball for over 38-freaking minutes!  Change that!  Know why the Pats possessed the ball for so long?  They rushed for 154 yards and four touchdowns, while Julian Edelman/James White accounted for another 248 yards receiving.  In other words the Chargers had no answer; didn't know how to adjust ... that's why.  Along with Brady, the four Minutemen put forth such a dominant effort that (hobbled) Gronk was only asked to make one reception all game.  Otherwise, he was busy creating daylight with great effectiveness for RB Sony Michel.  If the Patriots managed 40-points against the Bolts, what do you suppose can happen against a porous Chiefs defense that allowed 421 regular season points (26.3 points per game)?  I know I said that last week, but I'll also reiterate the Colts looked more ready for the glue factory than for an NFL playoff game.  Furthermore, I maintain the Patriots defense is underrated.  Just ask a disrupted, harassed, and ultimately beaten-down Philip Rivers, who completed a miserable 25 of 51 passes with an INT.  He was sacked twice and roughed-up another seven times.  Playing from behind throughout, the Chargers rushed just nine times all game.  All this being said, there was little or nothing about Kansas City's victory over the Colts that I found the least bit impressive.  I repeat, nothing.  Dare I say the Colts flat out sucked.  Kansas City really had nothing to do with Indy's futility.  The Nags did everything imaginable to kick themselves in their own posterior.  As Charles Barkley would say, "Trrrible."  Then there's Andy Reid.  When it comes to coaching, this really is a battle of the have and have-not.  Reid just can't seem to get over that hump.  Sure Belichick has lost big games before - lots of times.  But he's won a lot of big games as well.  These teams last met in Week Twelve; the Patriots won by three.  Brady put in his typical work, and Sony Michel rushed for over 100 yards.  Pat Mahomes on the other hand threw two picks and Kareem Hunt is no longer on the team.  If bad weather becomes a factor, I like the Patriots even more.
WIN; 37-31 Patriots


NATIONAL FOOTBALL CONFERENCE

SAINTS -3 (Rams)

I was long ago convinced the Saints would wind up in the championship game.  But now what?  What can a bad shoulder do to a quarterback's game, much less his season?  Ask Cam Newton.  He sucked this season and nobody really knew why.  Turns out he played hurt and the Panthers wound up losing seven in a row.  I bring this up, as I was pointed out by the TV pundits how Drew Brees was under-throwing his receivers last week.  And by-golly, they're right!  The question then begs to be asked: is he really hurt?  Consider how the Eagles lost! Saints won.  Just a thought.  Drew Brees was actually 28/38 for 301 yards, two TD's, and one big WTF interception.  The Saints also ran the ball 31 times, and therefore maintained a measure of play calling balance.  The O-line only allowed two sacks, and that's my biggest question concerning the Rams: can they get to Brees?  The Rams finished t-19 in the NFL with 38 sacks, and just one last week against he Cowboys.  The Cowboys managed 22-points against the Rams; the Saints 20-points against the Eagles.  Dallas nor the Chargers get after the QB like Philly or the Saints can.  New Orleans finished the season t-5th with 49 sacks, but none against the Eagles.  The Saints/Rams met midway through the season.  Neither QB was sacked; the Saints got in five QB hits, and the Rams four.  Goff threw three TD's and one pick; Brees threw four TD's and no picks.  Ironically, the Rams were better this season at picking off passes than New New Orleans.  How'd that work out for them?  Both teams feature the so called offensive triumvirate; both teams scored over 500 points this season.  The Saints are 6-2 at home; the Rams 6-2 on the road.  Yeah ... at the end of the day, this boils down to defense.  Time for stupid math tricks.  The Saints allowed 353 regular season points; the Rams 384; for a +31 in favor of New Orleans.  What that means, I'm not sure.  But I do know the Saints defeated the Rams by ten points back in November.  The Saints defense kept Nick Foles and the Eagles scoreless over the final three quarters of last week's game ... barely!  I believe they can beat the Rams by four.
Loss; 26-23 Rams

Saints got screwed ...



Saturday, January 19, 2019

N.Y. Islanders: Thomas Greiss Leads Washington Filibuster

From the desk of:  NO SLEEP TILL BELMONT


First Place - Metropolitan Division
Tied Second - Eastern Conference

FRIDAY
Islanders   2
Capitals     0
FINAL

New York Islanders: Look Who's Number One..!

A January Metropolitan Division battle for first place, Barry Trotz leads his new team on the road against his old team, and sees the Islanders through to a 2-0 whitewashing of the Capitals.  The victory gives them a point more than both the reigning champions and Columbus Blue Jackets, along with sole possession of first place.  With a 26-15-4 record, they now have 60-points to be exact, tied for second most in the conference with the Toronto Maple Leafs, no less.

Are the Maple Leafs better with John Tavares, or are the Islanders better without him?  On this day, the Isles have it.

Considering their defensive and net minding struggles over the last few years, the Islanders this season have allowed the fewest goals in the NHL.  Barry Trotz has a lot to do with that, but so does the goalie tandem of Robin Lehner and Thomas Greiss.  Lehner, the 28-year old former Senator/Saber is so far having a career season with the Isles.  After 25 appearances, he is 14-7-3, with an NHL best 2.11 GAA.  His .928 save percentage ranks second in the league.  Meanwhile, Thomas Greiss is 14-8-1 after 26 appearances, with a 2.50 GAA.  His .920 save percentage ranks top ten.  He faced just 19 shots during Friday's 2-0 shutout of the Capitals
  • Combined Stats:  28-15-4 record; .924 save percentage; 2.30 GAA; 4 shutouts.

The Islanders are now winners of four in a row, and 12-2-0 over their last 14 games, which includes last Sunday's 5-1 drubbing of the Eastern Conference leading Tampa Bay Lighting.

*

The Washington Capitals honored Barry Trotz with a touching video tribute, the crowd likewise showered him with applause, respect, and appreciation for the coach whom just one short season ago guided Washington to their one and only Stanley Cup victory.



Winter League Baseball: Semi Finals Near Complete; Puerto Rico; Mexico; Venezuela


Winter League Beisbol
2018~2019


PUERTO RICO
Founded 1938
80th Anniversary Season

ROUND ROBIN STANDINGS
  1. Indios de Mayaguez          8-3*
  2. Cangrejeros de Santurce  5-5
  3. Gigantes de Carolina        3-8
1/18 - Mayaguez 8; Carolina 3.  Mets catcher Tomas Nido went 2 for 3, with a double, run scored, and a pair of RBI, in los Indios victory over Carolina on Friday.

REMAINING SCHEDULE
  • 1/19 - Santurce @ Mayaguez
  • 1/21 - Carolina @ Santurce

There's been no let up in los Indios de Mayaguez, LBPRC leaders throughout this abbreviated season, and round robin play.  With Friday's victory over Carolina, not only have los Gigantes exhausted their championship round possibilities, but los Indios de Mayaguez clinch top seed in the upcoming LBPRC championship series.  Santurce has two games yet to play, but not enough to overtake Mayaguez.  Otherwise, a championship series showdown between Mayaguez versus Santurce is all but set.


MEXICO
Founded 1945

SEMIFINALS
Charros de Jalisco defeat Venados de Mazatlan; 4-1
I - JAL 3; MAZ 0
II - JAL 2; MAZ 0
III - MAZ 7; JAL 3
IV - JAL 6; MAZ 3
V - JAL 10; MAZ 6

Yaquis de Obregon vs. Caneros de Los Mochis; 3-3

Game Seven
Yaquis @ Caneros
Saturday

LMP 
CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES 
Jan. 21~29


VENEZUELA
Founded 1945

Leones de Caracas defeat Caribes de Anzoategui; 4-1
I - Leones 6; Caribes 4
II - Caribes 9; Leones 8
III - Leones 6; Caribes 5
IV - Leones 4; Caribes 2
V - Leones 4; Caribes 1

Cardenales de Lara Lead Navegantes de Magallanes; 3-2
I - MAG 4; LAR 1
II - LAR 2; MAG 1
III - LAR 6; MAG 2
IV - LAR 3; MAG 0
V - MAG 3; LAR 0

GAME SIX
Navegantes Cardenales
Saturday

LVBP 
CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Jan. 22~30


ICYMI:


Winter League Baseball: Cuba Crowns New Champion; Dominican League Finals Underway


WINTER LEAGUE BEISBOL
2018~2019


CUBA
FOUNDED 1961

CAMPEONES SERIE NACIONAL/58th EDITION
Lenadores de Las Tunas

Las Tunas defeat Leopardos de Villa Clara; 4-1
I - LTU 13; VCL 6
II - LTU 8; VCL 4
III - VCL 9; LTU 4
IV - LTU 7; VCL 5
V - LTU 8; VCL 4
  • Club Founded 1977
  • Translation: Los Lenadores = the Lumberjacks/Woodcutters.
  • Las Tunas play in Group C of the circuit's Eastern League.
  • This is the club's first ever Serie Nacional championship.
  • Las Tunas now enlist traditional reinforcements from within the league en route to this year's 2019 Caribbean Serie being hosted by Venezuela.



DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Founded 1951

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
TOROS del ESTE
 vs. 
ESTRELLAS de ORIENTALES

Estrellas lead series 2-0
I - Estrellas 13; Toros 1
II - Estrellas 6; Toros 1
Game Three - 1/19
Game Four - 1/21
Game Five - 1/22
Game Six - 1/23*
Game Seven - 1/25*
Game Eight - 1/26*
Game Nine - 1/27*

1/18 - Game Two:  Before exiting on the winning side of a 4-1 game, Orientales starter Nestor Cortes pitches six scoreless innings of three-hit ball, with two walks and three strikeouts.  Five relievers join to pitch the final three frames, surrendering one earned run on three hits and a walk, with four strikeouts.  Roman Mendez struck out the side to close out the ninth.  Paolo Espino took the loss for los Toros, having allowed four earned runs on four hits and two walks through five innings, despite striking out nine.  Touted shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. was 1 for 2, with an RBI and two runs scores for los Estrellas.  Former Mets and los Toros designated hitter Jordany Valdespin went 0 for 4 with three strikeouts.

Both teams are in search of their third ever LIDOM championship.
  • Los Toros: 1994-1995; 2010-1011
  • Estrellas: 1953-1954; 1967-1968 (won championship in 1936, prior to LIDOM)
  • info/Wiki


Friday, January 18, 2019

Brooklyn Nets Creating a Winning Culture and Identity, As Promised

From the desk of:  THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH


23-23 (.500)
Sixth Place Eastern Conference

New arena, new uniforms, new crowd, in a new town - a new owner knew the Nets couldn't just quietly tip-toe into Brooklyn.  At least that's the way incoming tycoon Mikhail Prokhorov viewed things.  Lest we forget his stated goal of winning a championship within five years.  We're now seven years away from Prokhorov's rather bold mandate which former general manager Billy King failed to satisfy.

Insofar as delivering a title: there's really no one person to blame for the way those initial years played out.  They made an organizational decision meant to ignite a new Nets economy in Brooklyn.  That's just the nature of doing business when one capitalist invades the territory of another.

It can be argued both teams during that time operated and transacted rather erratically.  However, none more crippling than the exorbitant price in draft picks Billy King paid to acquire Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce from Boston.  Blame as I may, the owner signed off on it.

And while the trade got Brooklyn this far ...


... by 2015-2016 the win-now plan had proven itself overwhelmingly futile.  On the heels of another January loss at Detroit which saw the Nets record fall to 10-24, Billy King's tenure as general manager ends.

On Sunday, January 10, 2016, Mikhail Prokhorov orders a rebuild:
"By making this decision now it enables our organization to use the rest of the season to diligently evaluate candidates with proven track records.  It's clear from our current state of affairs that we need new leadership.  With the right basketball management and coach in place we are going to create a winning culture and identity and give Brooklyn a team that it can be proud of and enjoy watching." Ryan Bort, Newsday

The Nets hire Sean Marks on Feb. 18, 2016, as new general manager.  In April, the team ends the regular season with a 21-61 record.  Before the month is through, Sean Marks offers Kenny Atkinson his first head coaching position.

  • Season One (2016-2017): Oct. 28, 2016, the Nets boast a 1-1 record; it marks their lone moment playing at or above the .500 mark.  On April 8, 2017 they win their 20th game of the season; a 107-106 victory over the Bulls at Barclays Center.  They finish the season with a 20-62 record.
  • Season Two (2017-2018): Oct. 27, 2017, the Nets are 3-3, but never again reach .500 for the rest of the season.  This time, however, they win their 20th game of the season by Feb. 26, 2018; coincidentally, another 104-87 victory over the Chicago Bulls at Barclays Center.  The Nets would finish the season with a slightly improved 28-54 record.

This is Kenny Atkinson's third season.  After 210 games, he owns an 71-139 (.338) overall record as Nets coach.  As recently as a month ago - with the Nets in the midst of an eight game losing streak - fans and faux experts across social media were calling for Atkinson's termination.

What say you?

Me?

That was a kneejerk and not very well thought out reaction.  Truth be told, one-third of all Kenny Atkinson's victories as Nets coach have come in the first three months of this season alone.

They won their 20th game of the season on Jan. 5, 2019, against none other than the Bulls; another 117-100 victory at Chicago, no less.  They're now 15-5 (.750) over their last 20 games, and are within five victories of surpassing last year's entire win total.  And with a 23-23 record, they presently occupy sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Despite this relative success, injuries to key players (Caris Levert; Allen Crabbe; Jared Dudley) should not go under spoken.  Yet, adversity seems to have revealed within these Nets an endearing Brooklyn-like resiliency.

Is reaching .500 in January important?

Alas, consecutive benchmark victories against Boston and Houston transpired without Kyrie Irving on the floor, and James Harden essentially playing by himself.  However, where it concerns the Nets I would argue the answer is indubitably, yes.  Sean Marks and Kenny Atkinson somehow adapted and overcame the great mistake left behind by Billy King.  Over the last 2 1/2 years, they've methodically engineered steady improvement to the point where the Nets are now experiencing upwards climb.  The added ability to effectively impact the team through the draft is also back in their control, not to mention their substantial salary cap reserves at the ready. former cap reserves ...

Cycle back to the 2016 mission statement ...

At this point, I believe it safe to say a new basketball culture is indeed growing in Brooklyn; an earnest grassroots effort to build an NBA contender, involving many wonderful and individual player stories, to be sure.  The plan put in place back in 2016 is working.  This year's play bears that out.  As a result, the Nets are becoming increasingly more enjoyable to watch, as promised by Mikhail Prokhorov, and reaffirmed by incoming partner, Joseph Tsai.

Just don't wait for an apathetic local media to start shaking their pom-poms.

Go Brooklyn!


Thursday, January 17, 2019

N.Y. Jets Refocusing Their Eyes on the Prize

From the desk of:  WALT MICHAELS REVENGE


Gang Green Meets BountyGate;
Hello, Gregg Williams.

New York Jets: Despite Flawed Front Office, Hiring Adam Gase and Gregg Williams May Prove Savvy.

It dawned on me this is the first ever official hire by either Mike Maccagnan and/or Christopher Johnson - neither of whom did I ever feel were sufficiently experienced (much less qualified) to serve in their respective capacities.  And despite what may prove to be very savvy changes to the coaching staff, my opinion about the front office remains unchanged.

In the same manner I believe John Idzik undermined Rex Ryan, I view Maccagnan acting as the foil against former coach Todd Bowles.  In matters of personnel and free agent expenditure, both Idzik and Maccagnan demonstrated an ulterior underhandedness by forcing their head coaches into making due with increasingly less.  Why?  Perhaps because neither general manager played a role in hiring said head coach.  While an effective working relationship between new head coach Adam Gase and Maccagnan remains to be seen, Maccagnan's ability to smartly invest the team's $100 million salary cap reserves also remains to be seen.  If we're being truthful, his team building efforts over the last four years, outside of selecting Sam Darnold in last year's draft, have left much to be desired.  Yet, he stays.

Enter Christopher Johnson, who on Monday proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that he knows the game and business of football exponentially less than his brother.  Being heir to a corporate empire is one thing, but operating an NFL club is entirely another.  I do feel owners often times inject too many corporate sensibilities which at times are in direct conflict with the business dynamics of football.

I have no particular opinion regarding the hiring itself of head coach Adam Gase - and that's a good thing.  He is certainly someone who seems to have his eyes on the prize!  I couldn't resist ...

All kidding aside, I think many agree this hire is a fine step forward toward the development of quarterback Sam Darnold.  In that regard, the Jets are justified for moving on from Bowles and Jeremy Bates.

On the other side of the ball, the Jets execute another eye grabbing headline with the hiring of Gregg Williams as their next defensive coordinator.  Yes, the same former New Orleans Saints defensive coordinator who earned a one-year suspension after taped-recordings surfaced in which he is heard instigating his players into committing unsportsmanlike violence upon the opposition; an episode infamously known today as Bountygate.  That aside, he is no doubt an aggressive thinker, and should serve the Jets very well, provided Mike Maccagnan furnishes him with talent.  With some play makers, a new Jets identity may very well start on this side of the ball.

Despite my previous support for Todd Bowles, and my vote of no-confidence for Maccagnan, the Jets  are nevertheless in the midst of a very promising transition.



Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Winter League Baseball: Playoff Updates Through 1/15/2019


WINTER LEAGUE BEISBOL
2018~ 2019






CUBA
Serie National Beisbol de Cuba

SERIE FINAL
  • Lenadores de Las Tunas lead series against Leopardos de Villa Clara; 2-1
  1. Lenadores de Las Tunas 13; Leopardos de Villa Clara 6
  2. Lenadores de Las Tunas 8; Leopardos de Villa Clara 4
  3. Leopardos de Villa Clara 9; Lenadores de Las Tunas 4
  4. 1/16  Las Tunas @ Villa Clara
  5. 1/17  Las Tunas @ Villa Clara
  6.   if necessary*
  7.   if necessary*





DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Liga de Beisbol Profesional Republica Dominicana

ROUND ROBIN
  • TIE-BREAKER FINAL: TOROS 4; LEONES 3
  • Los Toros starter Raul Valdez pitches an eight inning gem, exiting on the winning side of a 4-1 game after limiting Los Leones de Escogito to a lone earned run on five hits and a walk, with one strikeout.  Reliever Fernando Abad is summoned to pitch the bottom of the ninth.  But after retiring his first batter faced, Abad promptly surrenders two earned runs on three hits and a walk.  Enter reliever Michael Dimock, who retires Leones pinch-hitter Luis Valenzuela on a fly to right fielder Hunter Pence, but walks second baseman Ryan Court to load the bases.  Dimock then induces a harmless fly to center by Escogito center fielder Ryan Roberson to finally close out Los Toros tie-breaking victory over Los Leones.  Los Toros del Este advance to the LIDOM championship series where they'll face awaiting top seed Estrellas del Orientales.
DOMINICAN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
GAME ONE
Los Toros del Este (36-33)
vs.
Estrellas del Orientales (40-28)
Friday, Jan. 18, 2019






PUERTO RICO
Liga Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente

ROUND ROBIN STANDINGS
  1. Indios de Mayaguez           7-2 (3 games left)
  2. Cangrejeros de Santurce   4-5 (3 games left)
  3. Gigantes de Carolina         2-6 (4 games left)
  • 1/15 - Mayaguez 4; Santurce 1 (11-innings)
  • 1/16 - Mayaguez @ Carolina
Six games against each opponent; tourney concludes Jan. 21; top two clubs advance to LBPRC championship series.






MEXICO
Liga Mexicana del Pacifico

SEMI FINALS
  • Caneros de Los Mochis vs. Yaquis de Obregon series tied; 2-2
  • Charros de Jalisco lead series over Venados de Mazatlan; 2-1
  • 1/16 - Game Four (Jalisco vs. Mazatlan); Game Five (Los Mochis vs. Obregon)
  • 1/17 - Game Five (Jalisco vs. Mazatlan)
  • 1/18 - Game Six
  • 1/19 - Game Seven





VENEZUELA
Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Profesional

SEMI FINALS
  • Cardenales de Lara lead series against Navegantes de Magallanes; 2-1
  • Leones de Caracas lead series against Caribes de Anzoategui; 2-1
  • 1/16 - GAME FOUR
  • 1/17 - GAME FIVE
  • 1/19 - GAME SIX
  • 1/20 - GAME SEVEN


Tuesday, January 15, 2019

LIU Blackbirds: Flatbush is Par for the Court

From the desk of:  THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH


FOUR GAME HOME STAND
I - SFU 74; LIU 67
II - LIU 80; RMU 73
III - Fairleigh Dickinson
IV - St. Francis College(BK) 

LIU/Brooklyn Blackbirds Hand Robert Morris Colonials First In-Conference Defeat.

Shout out to St. Francis of Brooklyn whose ten overall victories at the moment are most in the NEC.  With eight victories, the LIU Blackbirds are tied for second most overall alongside Wagner, Robert Morris, and Central Connecticut.

Four games into Northeastern Conference play Wagner, Robert Morris, and Sacred Heart, lead the pack with respective 3-1 records.  Next in (and tied with St. Francis/BK, Bryant, Central Connecticut, and St. Francis/PA) are the Blackbirds with a 2-2 mark.  Fairleigh Dickinson is 1-3, while Mt. Saint Mary's has yet to win in conference.

The kids of Flatbush are alright ... par is not a bad place to be.  The Blackbirds are 8-8 overall, with a 3-3 record at home, and 4-4 mark on the road.  Presently in the midst of a four game home stand, LIU lost in their return to the Wellness Center against St. Francis University, but more recently turned away Robert Morris this past Saturday.  Raiquan Clark led all scorers with 24-points, Jashaun Agosto added 21-points with a game-high nine assists, and Ty Flowers scored 16-points with a game-high eight rebounds, en route to Brooklyn's 80-73 victory over the Colonials.

Next up is Fairleigh Dickinson this coming Saturday.  The Blackbirds then close out this home stand next Monday against next door neighbor St. Francis/BK.



Brooklyn Nets: Celts Get Boot In This Episode of Home Improvement

From the desk of:  THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH


TAKING BETTER CARE OF HOME COURT

Season series tied 1-1
I - BOS 116; BKN 95
II - BKN 109; BOS 102
III - January 28 @ BOS
IV - March 30 @ BKN

FINAL
Celtics   102
NETS    109

Brooklyn Nets: After 0-10 Stretch Versus Celtics, Brooks Finally Get Damn Leprechaun Off Their Backs.

After suffering a 21-point defeat just over a week ago at Boston, Flatbush gains a measure of payback with a 109-102 victory over the visiting Celts Monday night at Barclays Center.

With Boston playing minus the services of Kyrie Irving, D'Angelo Russell opens the scoring on Brooklyn's first possession with a three.  By night's end, Russell finishes with a game-high with 34-points during a floor leading 37-minute effort.  Opening the second half staked to a one-point lead, Russell explodes for 18-points in the third quarter.  However, the Nets would allow Boston to close a 24-point deficit at the start of the fourth quarter to within six points with just 31.8 seconds left to play.  But that's as close as the Celts would get, as the Nets learn another lesson in the art of closing out games with a seven point victory over their division rival.

This latest victory gives the Nets a 14-5 (.736) record since snapping a near ruinous eight-game slide.  Despite their season record (22-23) still being one game under par, their mid-season surge has earned them contention within the conference's top eight.  Their season point differential is an improved -0.6 as the Nets have been outscoring opponents (113.4 vs. 111.5 ppg) over this latest stretch to the tune of a +1.9 point differential.

The Nets also own a winning 6-4 record against the division, and a 16-12 record in Eastern Conference play.  More importantly, they finally sport a winning record (12-11) at home.  After starting just 3-10 at Barclays, Kenny's Kids are now 9-1 in their last ten at the Flatbush Avenue gym.

... all despite numerous injuries to the starting lineup.

Lastly, Monday's victory snaps a ten game losing streak against the Boston Celtics.

D'Angelo Russell also leads all players with seven assists.  Jarrett Allan posts a double-double with 19-points and 12-assists.  DeMarre Carroll adds another double-double, with 10-points and a game high 14 boars off the bench.



Monday, January 14, 2019

Winter League Baseball: Dominican League Round Robin Requires Tie-Breaker


WINTER LEAGUE BEISBOL
2018~2019






DOMINICAN REPUBLIC
Liga Beisbol Profesional Dominicana

ROUND ROBIN FINAL STANDINGS:
  • Estrellas de Orientales   11-7 (40-19)
  • Leones de Escogito        10-8 (37-31)
  • Toros del Este                10-8 (35-33)
  • Tigres de Licey              5-13 (32-46)

SUNDAY, 13 JAN 2019
  • After topping the circuit with a 29-12 regular season record, Los Estrellas de Orientales reaffirm their standing with a victory over los Tigres on Sunday, giving them a round robin best eleven victories, and a berth in LIDOM's championship series.
  • Third place Los Toros defeat Escogito forcing a tie for second place.
MONDAY, 14 JAN 2019
  • With both teams scoreboard watching, the battle for second place ensues.  Los Toros hand Orientales their seventh loss of the tourney with a 3-0 whitewashing led by starter Jenrry Mejia.  The former Mets pitcher allows no runs on seven hits through six innings, with just one walk and three strikeouts for the victory.  
  • Escogito likewise roars to 7-0 whitewashing of los Tigres de Licey.  Backed by a 14-hit attack, Leones starter Enny Romero allows a mere two hits and no walks through six scoreless pitched with eight strikeouts for the victory.  
TUESDAY, 15 JAN 2019
  • Los Leones de Escogito will now host Los Toros del Este in a one-game tie-breaker for the right to meet Los Estrellas de Orientales in LIDOM's championship series.

CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES
Liga Beisbol Profesional Dominicana
TBD
vs.
Estrellas de Orientales




Saturday, January 12, 2019

Winter League Baseball: Cuba Grand Final; Mexico and Venezuela Down to Final Four


WINTER LEAGUE BEISBOL
2018 ~ 2019


CUBA

Semi-Finals
(#1) Las Tunas win series over (#4) Ciego de Avila; 4-1
(#2) Villa Clara win series over (#3) Santi Spiritus; 4-1

GRAND FINAL NACIONAL SERIE
GAME ONE
#2 Team Villa Clara (62-48)
vs.
#1 Team Las Tunas (65-45)
*
1/13 - Villa Clara @ Las Tunas
1/15 - Las Tunas @ Villa Clara
1/16 - Las Tunas @ Villa Clara
1/17 - Las Tunas @ Villa Clara


MEXICO

SEMI-FINALS
Best of Seven; Jan. 11-19
Yaquis de Obregon 
vs.  Caneros de Los Mochis
Los Mochis leads series 1-0

Charros de Jalisco  
vs.  Venados de Mazatlan
Mazatlan leads series 1-0


VENEZUELA

ROUND ONE
Caribes de Anzoategui def. Navegantes de Magallanes; 4-3
Cardenales de Lara def. Bravos de Margarita; 4-1
Leones de Caracas def. Tigres de Araguas; 4-2
*Loser's Bracket: Magallanes def. Araguas; 2-0

SEMI-FINALS
Best of Seven; Jan. 12-20
Navegantes de Magallanes  
vs.  Cardenales de Lara

Caribes de Anzoategui  
vs.  Leones de Caracas





PIGSKIN 2018: Divisional Playoffs


PIGSKIN
DIVISIONAL 
PLAYOFFS

RESULTS
Week Eleven
Thanksgiving Day
Week Twelve
Week Thirteen
Week Fourteen
Week Fifteen
Week Sixteen
Week Seventeen
Wild Card Round



SCOREBOARD
Wild Card Weekend Record:  1-2-1
Overall Record:  96-124-11
Bagels in the Basket:  -45
*Playoffs: three bagels per game.

SATURDAY
Friday Line NYDN

Colts +5 1/2 (CHIEFS)
There's the Chiefs who started the season 9-2, and then there's the Chiefs post Kareem Hunt.  Kansas City's offense has not been the same since releasing their miscreant running back.  They finished 3-2 over their final five, twice defeating the moribund Raiders, and barely overcoming the Ravens.  Their two losses came against the Chargers and Seahawks (both playoff contenders).  With one less thing to worry about, how then do the Colts stop Patrick Mahomes?  Answer: their defensive front must be disciplined; the edge rushers must maintain their lane.  They don't have to sack Mahomes, they merely need to contain him; turn him into a pocket passer; make him play by the book; force him to read and react.  Just don't let him create plays on the run.  That's when the best laid plans go awry.  On the other side of the ball, the Chiefs this season have allowed an average of 26.3 points per game.  If Andrew Luck was able to generate 21-points last week against the Texans, how do you suppose he'll do against the worst defense among this weekend's contestants?  The Colts are arguably the hottest team in football.  They enter Saturday's game on a five game win streak, and winners of 10 of their last 11 games.  And unlike the Chiefs (minus Kareem Hunt), Marlon Mack brings balance to the the Colts offense.  Therefore, it is with great confidence I take the points.
Loss; 31-13 Chiefs

RAMS -7 (Cowboys)
On the heels of their victory over Seattle, the past week has been filled with talk of Dallas having finally figured things out; how Jason Garrett is proving Jerry Jones correct insofar as being a good coach; and Dak Prescott evolving into a more effective game leader.  I don't buy it.  My unhealthy bias aside, they are 8-1 over their last nine, which includes two victories over the Eagles, and a classic smash-mouth beat down of the Saints.  The Cowboys were second behind only the Bears in the NFC in fewest points allowed.  Back in Week Fourteen, the Rams were humbled by the Bears, limited to just two field goals in a 15-6 loss.  Jarred Goff threw four INT's that game.  Question is, can the Cowboys defense treat the Rams similarly?  Like I said, they did it to Drew Brees and the Saints - smash mouth all the way.  However, Goff doesn't seem likely to throw four INT's, and Todd Gurley appears ready for full time duty again.  L.A.'s defense is good, not great.  With the addition of Amari Cooper, Dallas could potentially hang with L.A. if this turns into a shootout.  But that's when it gets sketchy.  Who makes the mistakes?  If anyone, I believe Dak Prescott would be the one throwing an untimely pick (eh hem .. Tony Romo).  A seven point spread is the best repellent against even the strongest conviction.  Yet, somehow, someway, I still believe the Rams figure this out.  But, yes, this has upset written all over it.
WIN; 30-22 Rams

SUNDAY
Friday Line NYDN

PATRIOTS -4 (Chargers)
All season long I've been calling the Chargers a paper tiger.  They've been making me eat my words of late, but I'm not about to back down now.  If you wanna be the man, you gotta beat the man.  Philip Rivers, this means you ... Wooo!  Vegas seems to be a little skittish regarding this game, and perhaps for good reason.  These teams appear fairly equal ... on paper.  But until someone finally knocks the Patriots off the mountain top, I'm sticking with Tom Brady at Foxboro.  No team comes off bye weeks better than New England.  This is Bill Belichick's ideal post-season scenario: two weeks of healing and preparation, and home field advantage.  The Chargers are 7-1 on the road this season, but the Patriots are undefeated at Foxboro.  Maybe this is the year a team finally comes into Gillette Stadium and kicks New England's ass up and down the field.  The Chargers appear poised to do just that.  They're a legitimately good team and are well coached.  But the onus remains on them to prove the NFL pundits wrong.  I happen to think the Patriots defense is underrated, and I'm betting Sunday they prove me right.  Four points is a very friendly spread.
WIN; 41-28 Patriots

SAINTS -8 (Eagles)
I have no doubt the Saints win this game.  They're on to something big.  I think they jump out to an early lead, and ultimately outlast the Eagles, just not in the same convincing 48-7 manner as Week Ten.  But like the Rams/Cowboys game, this is another law abiding recreational gambler's nightmare ... if not worse.  The force is strong with Nick Foles.  He somehow compels the Eagles to achieve greatness.  The Saints playing at dome sweet dome is all nice and well, but in all my decades watching this game the darnedest things imaginable to transpire on a football field often involve the Eagles.  This week should be no different.  This is also an interesting clash between head coaches.  They're gonna throw everything in the book at each other.  That Sean Payton is a vicious competitor.  Should be fun ... less so for Eagles fans.  Vegas is begging people to bet on Philly, but I'm not biting.
Loss; 20-14 Saints


Post Game
Division Round Record:  2-2
Overall Record:  98-126-11
Bagels in the Basket:  -45