Thursday, June 30, 2011

BKN Cyclones ~ The Surf Ave. Power Co.



From the desk of:  THE SURF AVENUE SLUGGERS





BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  Baby Bums Turn Out The Lights On Hudson Valley.
FINAL:
BROOKLYN    16
Hudson Valley   5


They say competition always benefits the customers.  Now residents of Peekskill, N.Y., have a choice between local power companies.  Either stay with their present provider, or they can subscribe to the Surf Avenue Power Co. to squeeze some more juice out of their buck.

Thursday night up in the land of Renegades, Brooklyn starter; Chris Hilliard; got roughed up in the first innings as the Cyclones fell behind 4-0 right out of the gate.  Then starting in the fourth inning, the Surf Avenue Sluggers turned on the power and charged their way past Hudson Valley with seventeen volts hits.


On the strength of four doubles and a pair of singles, the Cyclones scored five times in the fourth inning to take a one run lead.  Then in the sixth inning, they jolted up the power some more.  Travis Taijeron hit a two run home run.  In the seventh inning, Richard Lucas added another two run home run.  Javier Rodriguez authored the biggest blast; a grand slam in the eighth inning.  And Dylan Brown capped off the power display in the ninth inning with the third two run homer, and fourth home run overall for Brooklyn this game.  Brooklyn was an electrifying 9 for 12 with runners in scoring position.


Chris Hilliard settled down after his first inning short circuit.  Overall, he pitched five innings and gave up four earned runs (two home runs in the first) and seven hits.  He walked two and struck out four in earning his third win (3-0) of the season.  He continues to add to his All-Time Cyclones record for wins by a Brooklyn pitcher.


Coney Freaks of the Night:
Javier Rodriguez ~ 3 for 5; Grand Slam; 6 RBI; 3 runs scored; 2 doubles.
Travis Taijeron ~ 3 for 5; home run; 3 RBI; 3 runs scored; double.
Ismael Tijerina ~ 3 for 5; 3 runs scored; double; lead-off hitter.
Dylan Brown ~ 3 for 5; home run; 2 RBI; 2 runs scored.


The Staten Island Yankees are cruising along in first place sporting an 11-2 record.  The second place Cyclones dropped to 2.5 games behind after Wednesday's loss to Hudson Valley and remained so after tonight's games went final.  The Cyclones have a 9-5 record.





Mike.BTB

Newark Bears ~ GM Mike Torrez Making Changes

From the desk of:  THE BRICK CITY NINE



NEWARK BEARS:  New Names Contribute To Snap 6-Game Losing Streak.

Desperate times call for measures.  Or in the Bears' case, just playing with a sense of desperation will do.  They did that tonight.  But that's not to say Newark hasn't been playing hard.  Under Tim Raines Sr., they have.  But GM Mike Torrez decided this week changes were in order.  He made a flurry of signings while in the midst of a six game losing streak.


The Bears are looking for some stability at catcher.  Billy Alvino was behind the dish the last two games including today.  Recently signed Bobby Dombrowski; was Tuesday night's catcher.  And of course, Eric McGee has caught for the Bears this season.


Thursday, Tim Raines Jr. was moved into the infield again to play second base.   Mike Torrez just signed a 22 year old outfielder named Pat Biserta.  He started in center field in Raines' place.  Two infielders; Ryan Walsh and Brandon Young were also signed by Mike Torrez and have been inserted into the line-up this week at third and shortstop respectively.


With changes to the roster, the Bears' needed a change in fortune next. 


The Bears brushed away a 1-0 Pittsfield lead in the top half of the first inning and scored four times in the bottom half.  Pittsfield starter; Eric Katzman; didn't last very long.  After a lead-off single by Brandon Watson, Eric Katzman walked three of the next four batters to force home a run.  Then newly acquired Pat Biserta cleared the bases with a three run double giving the Bears a 4-1 lead.


Pittsfield scored their second run of the game in the top of the second.  Newark brushed that off also and reciprocated with three more runs in the bottom of the frame.  Another lead-off single by newly signed Ryan Walsh and two more walks by Pittfield's Eric Katzman loaded up the bases with Bears again.  Tim Raines Jr. grounded into a 4-6-3 double play but Ryan Walsh scored on the play.  Daryle Ward then doubled home Brandon Watson.  Danny Santiesteban followed with a single to score Daryle Ward.


In the fifth, Danny Santiesteban doubled and stole third.  He scored the Bears' eighth run on a fielder's choice.


Today's starting pitcher for the Bears; Chris Vasami; whom played for the Bears previously, was also resigned this week and made his first start of the season today against Pittsfield.  Over his first five innings, he gave up eight hits; two earned runs; one walk; and struck out one batter. 


But how would he fare in the sixth inning which has become Newark's starting pitcher kryptonite this season? 


Answer - He gave up a lead-off single and walked the next batter.  He got his first out on a fly to center.  Another single advanced everyone one base, but an error by Tim Raines Jr. at second base allowed the lead runner to score.  And that was the end of Chris Vasami's day.  It was off to the bullpen for Coach Raines again.


Another recent acquisition; Matt Fitton; was summoned by Coach Raines to douse Pittsfield in the sixth.  And he did.  But the seventh was a different story.  Fitton got himself into trouble by loading the bases.  So in came the Bears' third pitcher of the game; Anthony Pluta.  He got the third out of the inning via strikeout to prevent Newark's 9-3 lead from caving in on them.


Mikey Mehlich pitched the ninth inning and wrapped up Newark's first win in their last seven tries.  They finally attained their seventeenth victory of the season versus sixteen losses.  Most importantly, they avoided dropping under the .500 mark.


Gone from Newark's roster are OF-Kyle LaMotta; 3B- Todd Gossage; and OF- Burt Reynolds; all released this week by GM Mike Torrez.


The Bears will try and salvage a split of this four game series against Pittsfield tomorrow; Friday.





Mike.BTB

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

L.I. Ducks ~ Waddling Towards A Playoff Spot

From the desk of:  THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE




LONG ISLAND DUCKS:  Magic Number Down To Five.

Playing their best ball of the season, The York Revolution were the hottest team in the Atlantic League at the time they showed up in Long Island for a three game series.  The Revolution have been giving the Lancaster Barnstormers a run for their money in the Liberty Division.  They were winners of nine out of their last ten games.   But all that changed when they stepped foot in The Pond Tuesday.


As they continue their own romp through the League tonight and winning the first two games of this series, fads like York matter not to the Ducks.  Not when they are now the hottest team in the Atlantic League; not to mention the League's best.  And speaking of the best; Mike Loree tossed another gem, as the Ducks elevated their League best record to 36-18, as they march towards a first half Liberty Division title.


It's OK to start talking Magic Numbers now.  The Ducks hold a five game edge over South Maryland with ten games to go before the first half standings get written in ink. 


And the Magic Number is?  Five.


Ducks' starting pitcher; Mike Loree; improved all his League leading numbers.  He is now 9-1 this season and has won his last seven straight decisions.  In his longest outing of the season, he pitched 8 full innings against York and allowed no runs; only five hits; no walks; and struck out four.  He threw 101 pitches and 69 of them went for strikes.  His 1.73 ERA is magically disappearing before our eyes.


Ehren Wassermann added another fine inning of relief to finish out Mike Loree's night.  He pitched the ninth; gave up a hit and struck out one in a non-save situation.


While Mike Loree was cruising along, the Ducks gave him three runs in the third inning to work with.  Kennard Jones singled to lead off the inning and Javier Colina doubled him over to third.  With Matt Esquivel up, a dropped strike three by the catcher resulted in Kennard scoring and Esquivel reaching first base.  Javier Colina scored when Matt Padgett grounded into a fielder's choice.  J.R. House doubled home Matt Padgett for a 3-0 lead.


In the eighth inning, Kraig Binick drove home Matt Esquivel with an RBI single.  Then Kennard Jones cleared the bases with a three RBI double to left for a 7-0 Long Island lead.



***John Rodriguez missed another game, perhaps due to a lingering thumb issue.






Mike.BTB

Newark Bears ~ Losing Streak Hits Six

From the desk of:  THE BRICK CITY NINE




NEWARK BEARS: With Bear Claws Losing Their Grip, Newark Is Losing Ground.

An early 1-0 Bears' lead turned into a four run deficit in the fifth inning.  Newark's starting pitcher; Casey Gaynor made his second start of the season and kept Pittsfield honest over his first four innings pitched.  But in the fifth, the Colonials hit him hard and often; capping off a big inning with the long ball.


Coach Raines stuck it out with Gaynor throughout the fifth inning though.  He's trying to squeeze at least that much out of his starting rotation.  He hasn't had a choice but to let a starter go too long on occasion.  Coach is having to utilize his bullpen for three and four innings per game because his starting pitching can't give him length.  As a staff, they are running into Brick walls entering the fifth innings of games.


But the bullpen has held up under the necessary work load.  They've done a great job keeping Newark in just about every game they've played.  And three innings into their nightly routine, it seemed like all systems were a go again.  But Wednesday's ninth inning is probably one they'd want to forget.  It's just a game you can't lay blame with the bullpen for blowing.  Their heavy usage almost warranted it.


The Bears clawed back with two runs in the bottom of the fifth and another pair in the sixth to tie the game at five.  Leading the offense, the bottom of the line-up came through with three RBI tonight.


Then, the Bears went into the top of the ninth inning and crumbled like a house of cards.  Chris Rollins and Mike Pontius combined to yield four runs to the Pittsfield Colonials.  And in failing to score any runs in the bottom of the inning, the Bears lost their sixth game in a row.


At 16-16, they have fallen down to the .500 level.  After tasting second place when they were still cruising with a 16-10 record, they found themselves precariously in fifth place even before Wednesday's game started.  The Bears are now looking up at Quebec; New Jersey; Pittsfield; and Brockton in that order.


There's two games left in this series.




Mike.BTB

BKN Cyclones ~ Bullpen Is An Early Season Force

From the desk of:  THE CONEY ISLAND NINE


BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  Young Bums Making Sweet Music.


This is Class-A Short Season, so let's give today's pitching some perspective.  If Tuesday's starting pitcher had pitched all nine innings, his line would look like this:


9 ~ innings; complete game.
5 ~ hits.
0 ~ runs; shut out.
1 ~ walk.
6 ~ strikeouts.


That's the kind of night Cyclone pitchers had against the Aberdeen Iron Birds in the rubber game of a three game trip to Maryland.  Brooklyn won the series two games to one.  They improved their record to 8-4 and remain in second place behind Staten Island by 1.5 games.


Carlos Vasquez pitched the first five innings against Aberdeen.  He allowed them only two hits and struck out two.  It was his first victory of the season.


The Brooklyn bullpen has established itself as an early season force.  Coach Frankie-V has em all making sweet music together. 


Tuesday they took care of the remaining four innings after Vasquez left the game.  Orlando Tovar pitched the sixth inning with one hit against him and two strikeouts.  Then, Hunter Carnevale was summoned to play Fireman in the old sense of the word.  He protected the Cyclones' 1-0 lead in the seventh; eighth; and for two outs into the ninth.  He was stellar allowing only a hit; one walk; and striking out one.  T.J. Chism chose the bumpy road but got the last out and his 3rd save of the season.


Brooklyn's lone run of the game came in the second inning off a pair of doubles by Richard Lucas and Charles Thurber. The Cyclones were 1 for 7 with runners in scoring position but Thurber delivered the all-important two out hit/RBI.   Brandon Brown and Brian Harrison managed the only other two hits for the Cyclones.


The Kids will be in Coney Island tomorrow for the start of a home-and-home series with Hudson Valley.



Mike.BTB

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Newark Bears ~ A Very Quiet Night In The Den

From the desk of:  GROWLINGS FROM BROOKLYN



NEWARK BEARS:  Lose Fourth in A Row; Losing Fans At The Gate. 


Theoretically speaking, there shouldn't be anything terribly pressing about the thirty-first game of the season.  That's unless you're the Newark Bears and the CanAm League's first half leaders are roughly two weeks away from being decided; and you're just coming off getting swept by the League's top team.  Well then, in that case, this game against Pittsfield was crucial.  And if you factor in the diminishing fan presence at the park, this came was critical.


The Bears and Pittsfield Colonials started a three game series Tuesday, and entered tonight's action tied for third place with identical 16-14 records.  With the conclusion of tonight's game, the Bears now find themselves in fourth place; a full game behind Pittsfield; and eight games behind Quebec as of this posting; with less and less people showing up to the park.


Tuesday's 5-3 final was Newark's fourth loss in a row.  Newark led 2-0 after the first inning with help from two Pittsfield errors, and led 3-0 after the third inning.  But that's all they'd get for the rest of the night.  Pittsfield game back with 2 runs each in the fifth and sixth innings.  The Colonials added an insurance run in the top of the ninth for good measure.


Pittsfield's bullpen closed the lights out on Riverfront Stadium this evening.  Colonials' starter; Chad Paronto; struck out stuck out seven Bears in six innings.  The bullpen matched him.  Three different relievers combined to pitch an inning each and strike out another seven Bears.  Starter Chad Paronto gave up six hits and 2 earned runs (three total).  The bullpen allowed only one hit.


Newark starter; Jesse Estrada; pitched six pedestrian innings.  Five hits; four walks; and four strikeouts would have been OK until the Bears allowed two unearned runs to score in the fifth inning.    His records drops to 1-4.  This was his third straight defeat.  His last win came on June 6th against the New York Federals.


The only Newark Bear with any sharpened claws tonight was Tim Raines Jr.; 2 for 5; run scored.  Danny Santiesteban and Billy Alvino had an RBI apiece.


Otherwise, it was a very quiet night in The Den....; quite literally.  There were only 208 fans in attendance tonight.




Mike.BTB

N.Y. METS ~ Charge!!

From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET


NEW YORK METS:  C'Mon Boys!  Take That Hill!


Getting back to .500 was more like climbing a mountain.  But there's no time to enjoy the view.  And good teams never do.  So, if Terry's Kids intend on being contenders instead of pretenders, well then, they need to start winning little two and three game packages and putting some separation between them and that symbolic line of demarcation.  If they fail to ignite any momentum in the very near future, they will surely fall back to the base of their mountain.


They have to start in Detroit.  Everything starts somewhere.  Many wonderful things were made in Detroit.  Tonight, the Mets need to make sure they start building on something before it gets too late.


R.A. Dickey will try and get us going.  He follows two wins by Niese and Gee.  Dickey has been consistent; consistently snake bitten that is.  I do think he will allow the Mets to hang around tonight against the Tigers.  But as been our problem; especially when Dickey pitches; will we score even just a few runs, to amply support his effort....for a change?


Detroit's Rick Porcello has been getting shelled lately.  So maybe the Mets can add a little more to his recent woes.  If they don't, it will be a game closer to, woe is us.



LET'S GO METS!!


TONIGHT

Game One

NEW YORK METS
vs.
Detroit Tigers

From the Motor City



POST-GAME:  10:09pm ~ Mets Final:
NEW YORK METS - 14
Detroit Tigers - 3


N.Y. METS ~ Planting A Flag In Third Place!


The mountain top is no longer out of reach.  Take a look around; yell for joy; plant a flag in the ground; and let it be known; TERRY'S KIDS WERE HERE!


The rock they've been pushing up Mt. Competitiveness didn't come rolling back at them this time.  They put their heads down; pushed; stopped; let go; and fourteen runs later; the rock stood in place.  Hah!  They didn't trip; stumble; fall; and have that rock run them over again like so many time before. 


Instead, the Mets tore up Tiger Stadium like rock stars in their own version of Detroit Rock City.


There was a game earlier this season when R.A. Dickey held the opposition to one run over eight innings and the Mets' offense came up short.  Another time, two runs after eight innings weren't good enough for him to get a win.  This time, an R.A. Dickey margin call (another good start) came knocking and the offense paid up big time with fourteen runs worth.  Jason Bay; Carlos Beltran; Josh Thole; and all Mets contributed handsomely to the pool and sent a resounding message across the bow of the National League; ~ Paid In Full.


Am I getting carried away with myself after just one game that got us over .500 for the first time since early April?  Me?  Mister Stick With the Plan?  Carried away with myself....? - No; I'm having fun being a Met Fan like you.  The Plan?  I still believe in it.  I'm a pragmatist.  Compartmentalization; remember?  So..., shall we?


This is after all June 28th; meaning the season is almost three months old; or just about half-way through.  Tonight's win lifted the Mets record to 40-39 after seventy-nine games played; three short of halftime. 


There is something to be said for playing at mid-season form.  And maybe; just maybe; these guys are coming into their own as presently constituted.  Think of the line-up as a living system and think - the shock to the system suffered when David Wright and Ike Davis has now worn off.  The body is adjusted and adapting.  As a result, the Mets are operating as a fully functioning system more so now that at any other point this season.  The hope this is the beginning of the Mets heating up as we truly begin the summer.


A game above .500 is like operating in the black, but only if you keep seizing the moment.  The Mets need games; and wins; and they started things out on the right foot when they have so little margin for error.  The Mets' starting rotation was operating on deficit pitching at times.  But Tuesday night, the bats settled all debts.  They hit two grand slams Tuesday when they hadn't hit any for years.  Jason Bay connected first, and Carlos Beltran slammed a second grand slam for the Flushing Fighters.  Josh Thole accounted for a third Met home run in the game.


So, how does third place sound to you right about now?  It's legit.  The pitching has been there all season.  And now that the bats have been together on a consistent basis, they're yielding results.  On a night when R.A. Dickey needed four runs for a win, the offense gave him fourteen.  That's bad math; but good baseball.  And bad math or not, the team with supposedly more problems than a math book is coming on strong.



Mike.BTB

Monday, June 27, 2011

Mets Get A Whole Day To Bask In .500 Sun

Welcome to the ...Mets are off today; I have softball after work; Lunch Time Droid version of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET.

So the trip to the Ballpark Next to Six Flags Over Texas turned out to be a lot of fun after all. But the Texas heat must have gotten to the Mets' heads. For a weekend, they forgot they were offensively challenged. Home runs were still scarce but singles abounded. That just made for more running; more sweat; and for Met Fans, more fun.

Jose Reyes seemed to enjoy the heat and spent the weekend burning up the base paths; whether be it with triples or stolen bases. Carlos Beltran should have 50 RBI before June is over. And Justin Turner continues to be the unknown Gift to Met-Kind.

But let's size up this game with whom it belongs; Dillon Gee. He pitched 6 innings and gave up 8 hits, while allowing 3 earned runs and a home run to Michael Young. But Dillon Gee won Sunday afternoon because he only walked two batters over 102 pitches thrown. That's why he won, Francisco Rodriguez withstanding.

Dillon Gee and Jon Niese (on Saturday) accomplished again what this team desperately needs; back-to-back wins from the starting pitching.

The fact that if the Mets' offense has a decent day, this starting staff can string together some wins. R.A. Dickey is next on the hill and he seems to be the most hard-luck hurler on the staff. He's pitched quite well and has gone deep into games that the offense still kept him on the shy side of winning. These injuries are hell to over come.

So, being back at .500 feels good, and we get a whole 24 more hours to enjoy it. Then, we'll see. Will we hold on to .500 this time and surge forward? Or will we take a few steps backwards again?

I'll get into that and more when I get home tonight from softball.

Tonight the Ball Busters take on the Blues (I think) at 86th Street and 14th Avenue. See you there!






Mike.BTB

L.I. DUCKS ~ Closer To A First Half Divison Clincher

From the desk of:  WADDLING THROUGH BROOKLYN




LONG ISLAND DUCKS:
Off Day; State of the Pond Address.





The Ducks Are Well On Their Way To Wiping Away The Memory Of Missing The Playoffs in 2010.   With Less Than Two Weeks To Go, The Webbed Crusaders Are Zeroing In On a First Half Clinch.


The South Maryland Blue Crabs salvaged the last game of their series against the Long Island Ducks Sunday afternoon to avoid dropping behind Long Island by six games.  For the Ducks, the first half standings are twelve games away from being written in stone.  They lead the Liberty Division by a healthy five games over South Maryland.  Somewhere around July 9, 2011, the Atlantic League's First Half division winners will be decided as the first half comes to an end and the standings get frozen in time.


Winning the division obviously has it's advantages once the playoffs start.  But the Long Island Ducks also sport the League's best record.  And there are playoff advantages to that too.  The Ducks' record of  33-17 is tops so far.  Behind them is the Freedom Division leader; Lancaster Barnstormers; with a
30-19 record.  As division leaders, they are the only two clubs with thirty or more wins.


The Long Island Ducks disappointingly missed the playoffs last season.  This year, they have played with a near-complete balance to their game and are perhaps the most well rounded team in the League today.


Batting for average; timely hitting; and power compliment strong starting pitching, while backed up by shut-down bullpen work.  All have equalled first place and current King of the Hill status for the Webbed Spikes Nine.


Mike Loree; the League's top hurler in nearly all major categories; and his mound-partner; Mike Parisi; a League co-leader in strikeouts, have emerged as the Atlantic League's most lethal starting pitching combination this season.  While there were reasonable expectations for Mike Parisi heading into the season, Mike Loree seized the most of a second opportunity to pitch in the starting rotation. He's anchoring the staff after not earning a spot heading into opening day.  But the departure of Lenny DiNardo presented Loree with another opportunity and he nailed it.  Loree and Parisi; the Mike and Mike Show; are a combined 13-3 this season.  After Loree and Parisi, the Ducks might be considered a little thin in the rotation.  More about that towards the end of this post.


Stocked with firemen like Ehren Wassermann; Jeremy Hill; emerging Bob Zimmermann; and of course, the Bethpage Thrilla' Bubbie Buzachero; the Ducks' bullpen is well armed for long relief if necessary.  Of particular note, the work Eren Wassermann has put in so far should not go under spoken.  He and Buzachero have a combined 14 saves.  There were hopes former Met; Duaner Sanchez could be a big contributor this season.  But in only nine appearances he was largely ineffective and is presently inactive.  However, Shane Youman has come on lately, and in five appearances is yet to allow a run.


On the offensive side of things, the Ducks lead the Atlantic League in runs (308) scored.  Kraig Binick batted over .400 for a substantial time before missing a week with facial fractures.  His .352 batting average is still second overall in the League.  Javier Colina is batting .303; Matt Esquivel is at .321; and John Rodriguez is working on a .298 average.


Javier Colina is second in the League in home runs (10) and sixth in RBI.  John Rodriguez, despite missing five games recently due to a sore thumb, is still tied for the League lead with 42 RBI.  After Colina's ten home runs, there are no shortages for power in the Ducks line-up.  Ray Navarrete and J.R. House are second on the team with eight apiece.  John Rodriguez comes in next with seven.  And Matt Esquivel and Lew Ford have six each. 


John Rodriguez leads all Atlantic Leaguers in RBI, but quite a few Ducks are driving in runs also.  Javier Colina with thirty-six and J.R House with thirty-four, round out the team's top three.


Defensively, I'd only offer maybe Ray Navarrete and Javier Colina need to tighten things up a bit up the middle.  Matt Esquivel has had his moments in right field, but is doing a respectable job.  Otherwise, the Ducks are a fundamentally sound bunch.


The Lancaster Barnstormers are only 5-5 in their last ten games.  Last year's champion; the York Revolution are hot on their trail.  Winners of nine out of their last ten, they are only one game behind first place Lancaster in the Freedom Division.  As a matter of fact, York IS the hottest team in the League right now. 


Then enter the Ducks who are winners of seven out of their last ten games.  Many thought, after losing their top two sluggers, who's contracts were purchased by the Mexican League, the Blue Crabs would fade away in the Liberty Division standings..  But they stuck around and took turns occupying first place with the Ducks before Long Island finally took a firm grip on the division.  Bridgeport started to surge and I thought they'd over-take South Maryland at some point.  But they are mired at .500 and can't seem to stop running in place.  Last place Camden recently visited Long Island and gave them all they could handle with a four game series split.


After an off day Monday, The Ducks play host to the white hot York Revolution for three games.  That should be a very interesting series for the Ducks.  Joselo Diaz, who's struggled this season, and Ruddy Lugo are my guess to start two games during the series.  A third starter is harder to find.  Perhaps Shane Youman gets called to man the hill for a game.  York will escape without having to face Loree and Parisi after they pitched against South Maryland over the weekend.


ATLANTIC LEAGUE NEWS:
During the bottom of the fourth inning in a game between the Lancaster Barnstormers and the Somerset Patriots, Lancaster manager; Butch Hobson; argued over a play at first base with first base umpire; Chris Rick.


A heated Butch Hobson then gestured as if to throw the Umpire out of the game. Well, that bought Hobson an ejection. Coach Hobson then repeated the gesture throwing the Umpire out of the game again. He then removed the first base bag out of the ground and took it with him to the dugout, where he retrieved a Sharpie; signed the bag; and gave it to a young fan in the first row. The home crowd went wild as the game continued without a first base bag.




Mike.BTB

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Newark Bears ~ Whoa Canada

From the desk of:  THE BRICK CITY NINE



NEWARK BEARS:  CanAm League's Top Team Sweeps the Brick City Nine in Forgettable First Trip to Canada.


Last week's CanAm LHP of the Week; Alex Smith of the Bears; couldn't corral the Capitales earlier this afternoon in Quebec.  As a result, Newark lost to the Capitales completing a three game sweep on their Northern road. 


Hoping to go into Canada and close the gap between them and the CanAm League's top club, the Bears wound up losing three more games in the standings and today remain tied for third place with the Pittsfield Colonials.  Both teams have identical 16-14 records; 7.5 games out of first.  New Jersey is solidly in second place.


Poor defense in the first inning dropped the Bears and Alex Smith into an early hole.  Two unearned runs were part of a 3-0 start for Quebec.  On the other side, one of Quebec's many quality starters; Matthew Rusch; took his turn on the mound and started out well before Newark caught up to him also.  And after six innings, both teams were tied at five apiece.

With the game turned over to the bullpens, Newark's T.J. Hose was charged with pitching the eighth inning.  Two singles and a double later, the Bears were trailing by a run again.


T.J. Stanton pitched the ninth inning for Quebec and retired the Bears in order to gain the Save.  Dexter Bobo pitched the eighth inning for the Capitales and was the game's winning pitcher.



BEAR CLAWS:
Daryle Ward ~ 1 for 4; Home Run; 2 RBI.
Danny Santiesteban ~ 2 for 4; Home Run; 2 RBI.



The Bears get a day off Monday to travel back home to The Den where they'll host the Pittsfield Colonials for a four game series starting Tuesday.




Independent League NEWS:

ATLANTIC LEAGUE ~ During the bottom of the fourth inning in a game between the Lancaster Barnstormers and the Somerset Patriots, Lancaster manager; Butch Hobson; argued over a play at first base with the first base umpire .

A heated Butch Hobson then gestured as if to throw the Umpire out of the game.  Well, that bought Hobson an ejection.  Coach Hobson then repeated the gesture throwing the Umpire out of the game again.  He then removed the first base bag out of the ground and took it with him to the dugout, where he retrieved a Sharpie; signed the bag; and gave it to a young fan in the first row.  The home crowd went wild as the game continued without a first base bag.



Mike.BTB

N.Y. METS ~ Amazins Mess With Texas

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET



NEW YORK METS:  Offense Breaks Out Big Time In Big Texas.  Tie Series At One Game Apiece.  Rubber Game Sunday.

After the game, Jon Niese said of his speedy heart, "..it's nothing."  Apparently he's used to this.  Who knew?


Well, his racing heart gave manager Terry Collins and Mets fans quite a scare.  The more worrisome aspect if this latest physiological yellow flag is that the Mets' doctors will still want to see him back in New York.


Uh oh.  He may wind up in a foot boot too.


As far as the fourteen runs the Mets scored Saturday; let's face it, Alexi Ogando, or any other Texas pitcher didn't have it today.  You and I could have grabbed a bat and gone 2 for 3, with a double and a run scored.  You know how that goes; when you're bad, you're going to be awful.


Jon Niese is the real story though.  Up until the moment Niese's body told him to stop pitching for the day, he had pitched 5.2 innings of six hit ball.  He allowed Texas two earned runs; walked two and struck out seven.  He surrendered two solo home runs in the fourth inning.  But solo homers I can deal with.  He rebounded to pitch a strong fifth inning and finally left the game in the sixth for said medical concerns.


The successes of the Mets have already been proven to hinge on the effectiveness of Jon Niese and Dillon Gee pitching together as a consistent one-two punch.  They started June like wild fire and burned up the competition together.  The Mets need them to get reignited post-haste, after having a few less effective starts towards the end of this month.  Gee and Jon Niese need to start doubling up on wins again pronto.


Dillon Gee's string of consecutive victories was snapped his last time out to the mound.  Coach Collins had an interesting take on Gee's performance.  Coach thought he needed to rely on his secondary pitch more, due to his ineffective fastball.  Coach accused him flatly of not making the adjustment.  And listening to Coach's reasoning, I see his logic and actually buy Terry's criticism.  Tom Seaver always said the mark of a good pitcher is being able to win when you don't have your best stuff.  There's a lesson to be learned there.


By Dillon Gee's standards, he's victimized himself with high walk totals.  And when you're struggling to find the strike zone, pitches tend to be more hittable; or not at all resulting in base on balls.  So, his last time out, he got smacked up.  Hey....it happens.


But tomorrow we need Dillon Gee to regain form and finally get this team back to .500 again.  Time is of the essence and the Mets can't afford to spend weeks at a time tripping over themselves trying to reach the .500 level.  It's been deja-vu after deja-vu; again; and gain; and again.  Finally something needs to give.  And the hope is Dillon Gee can supply it; whatever IT is.  The way things work is, it takes getting to .500 before we can take a Wild Card seriously.


Gee was thwarted by rain and didn't get a decision the last time the Mets tasted .500 against Pittsburgh.  The rain also stopped him short of qualifying for a win.  But tomorrow he'll take his 7-1 record and try to improve it, and the Mets positioning in the standings.


Lastly, if you keep up with me, I told you about a fascinating little coincidence whenever Josh Thole catches Dillon Gee.  Josh Thole miraculously turns into Johnny Bench whenever he catches Dillon and wins games for him with his bat.  In Dillon Gee's last start, Coach Terry separated the duo in favor of starting Ronnie Paulino.  I hope he doesn't make that mistake again.  I beg the Coach, - please leave Josh Thole and Dillon Gee together.


As a matter of fact, I'd ask that he just leave Josh Thole alone and let him play.

SUNDAY

NEW YORK METS
vs.
Texas Rangers

From:
The Ballpark Next To Six Flags Over Texas



Mike.BTB

L.I. DUCKS ~ Burrying Blue Crabs In The Sand

From the desk of:  THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE



Long Island Ducks:  Sink South Maryland Blue Crabs Deeper Into The Standings.


Another game, another winning ninth inning nail biter.  Meh..., it's all becoming rather routine for the Ducks these days.  Especially when you're the ones doing the late inning winning.


After a tremendously well pitched 1-1 duel, the ninth inning would decide everything.  Two runs for the Ducks in the top of the inning and only one run for the Blue Crabs in the bottom of the home ninth, means the Long Islanders are now firmly atop the Liberty Division after sinking South Maryland to six full games behind first.


Mike Parisi continued his co-starring role as part of the Mike and Mike (Loree) Show.  An error by third baseman Matt Padgett resulted in an unearned run in what was the only mar on Parisi's stellar line.  He pitched six full innings; allowing six hits; no walks; while striking out eight Crabs.  He got a no-decision but his five wins still makes him sixth best in the League.  Mike Loree is number one with eight.  Mike Parisi lowered his season ERA to 3.11 which is fourth best in the League.  And with eight more strikeouts Saturday night, Mike Parisi tied his team-mate Mike Loree for the League lead with sixty-four apiece.


The bullpen was up to the task again.  Jeremy Hill took care of the seventh and eighth innings.  He allowed two hits and struck out three to keep the Ducks in this contest until they managed to score in the ninth.


That's when Bubbie Buzachero came in.  And he made things interesting.  Blue Crabs' lead-off batter Yunesky Sanchez greeted Buzachero with a triple.  Buzachero struck out the next batter.  Then Sanchez would score on a sac-fly to center field.  Bubbie took care of the last batter on three pitches for the Ducks win and Bubbie's eleventh Save of the season.


In the third inning, Ray Navarrete (single) scored from third on Matt Esquivel's single.  And after Maryland tied the game with a run in the fifth inning, they traded donuts till the ninth.


J.R. House and Freddie Thon led off the top of the ninth with back-to-back singles.  They both advanced on Kraig Binick's put out.  Kinnard Jones was intentionally walked to load the bases for Ray Navarrete who was hit by a pitch to move everyone up one base and the Ducks second run of the game, home.  With the bases still loaded, Freddie Thon scored when Javier Colina hit a sac-fly to center.


The Blue Crabs came up a run short during last-licks.  Final score; DUCKS 3;  BLUE CRABS 2.


The series finale is Sunday.



Mike.BTB

BKN Cyclones ~ Use Long Ball To Avoid Sweep

From the desk of:  BASEBALL BY THE BOARDWALK


BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  Surf Avenue Sluggers Use The Long Ball Against Hudson Valley Renegades.

Chris Hilliard added to his All-Time Cyclones' record by winning his twelfth game as a Brooklyn hurler.  Saturday's victory makes him 2-0 this the season.  He gave up seven hits, but only one run in 5.1 innings of work.  No walks and one strikeout were good enough to help the Cyclones avoid a sweep by the Hudson Valley Renegades.  The Cyclones staked Hilliard to a first inning 3-0 lead, which in the end, wound up being exactly how many they'd need to win.  Ismael Tijerina lead-off the game with a single.  Brandon Brown reached on an error.  The Javier Rodriguez doubled; driving in Tijerina.  Brian Harrison followed with a single to knock in both runners for a 3-0 lead.


In the home third, Brandon Brown doubled and advanced to third on a wild pitch.  Richard Lucas then drove him home with a single.  Brandon Brown also hit a solo home run in the fifth.  In the sixth, the Cyclones hit their second home run in two innings when Juan Torres yanked one to left.  The last Brooklyn tally came in the seventh inning when Brandon Brown bopped his second home run of the night, and the Cyclones' third in three innings, over the left field wall making the game 7-1 in Brooklyn's favor.


The final score was Brooklyn 7;  Hudson Valley 2.


The Staten Island Yankees won their game over the Aberdeen Iron Birds Saturday night and remain one half game ahead of the Brooklyn Cyclones in the McNamara Division standings.


The Cyclones are headed on the road to Aberdeen next.






Mike.BTB

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Newark Bears ~ Quebec Shows Who's Boss In CanAm

From the desk of:  GROWLING IN BROOKLYN




NEWARK BEARS: Capitales Flex Their CanAm Might.  Brick City Bows In Opening Game of Series to First Place Club.


Quebec's starter; John Mariotti; was generous when he allowed the Bears two runs over six innings.  However, the Quebec bullpen wasn't as benevolent.  Over three innings they allowed one hit while striking out three.


In my LAST POST,  I said the Bears' starting pitching needed to start supplying the team with some length; that the bullpen was getting overly taxed.  So, Victor Gonzalez took the mound for Newark and lasted exactly 1.2 innings in Friday night's start.  The bullpen was tasked to cover the remaining 6.1 innings.  Kyle Morrison was made to pitch three innings and wound up giving up three runs.


It was a quiet night for the Bears' bats.  They totalled only five hits all game in losing 7-2.


Alex Smith will pitch for Newark Saturday night.  He has to go deep into tonight's game; I'm talking six innings deep with the possibility he can start the seventh.  He is 3-1 this season and hopefully he'll be able to keep his walks allowed to a minimum.  He's pitched as long as seven innings twice before and six innings once in five starts this season.  The Bears very desperately need one of those lengthy starts tonight. 


The Bears are catching a break in a sense as they face Quebec's Karl Gelinas tonight.  He's given up 32 hits in 31 innings pitched and his ERA is a lofty 5.23 in five appearances this season.  So, perhaps he represents the best chances for the Bears to tie this series and force a rubber game tomorrow. 


The Bears have managed to miss Quebec's two top pitching studs; Bryan Rembisz and Matthew Rusch.  But if John Marriotti was any indication of what they can do, then yes indeed, the Bears hit Quebec with the Capitales starting rotation timed just right to optimize their chances against them.


Newark's record dropped to 16-12 but they stayed in third place.  New Jersey remains in second place.  Both teams remain behind the Quebec Capitales who now sport a 21-6 record for the season.



TONIGHT

GAME TWO


 
NEWARK BEARS
vs.
Quebec Capitales

 

 
(Quebec leads series 1-0)
FROM CANADA


CORRECTION:  Tonight's probable starter; Alex Smith; did not start for Newark.  Aaron Kalb was the starting pitcher instead.



Mike.BTB

BKN CYCLONES ~ Returning From a Bad Trip to Peekskill

From the desk of:  THE CONEY ISLAND NINE





BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  The Boardwalk Bums Return to the Beach Today Hoping to Avoid a Sweep Against the Hudson Valley Renegades.





Chris Hilliard, pictured above,
became the Brooklyn Cyclones All-Time Leader in Wins by a Pitcher.





Chris Hilliad on the mound during his record setting win versus the Aberdeen Iron Birds.
6/20/2011


This season he earned his eleventh vicory in a Brooklyn uniform.  A year ago, he won nine games for the Cyclones.  He achieved his record on June 20th versus the Aberdeen Iron Birds. 

He will start today's series finale against the Hudson Valley Renegades who have won the first two games of this series up in Peekskill, N.Y.  Both teams returned to Coney Island today for the last game. 

These last two losses dropped the Cyclones out of first place for the moment.  The Staten Island Yankees moved into first place with a 5-2 record.  The Cyclones have a 5-3 record and sit one half game out of first entering tonight.

The Yankees will be playing in Aberdeen tonight.



TODAY

Hudson Valley Renegades
vs.
BROOKLN CYCLONES

From:
The Ball Yard At Steeplechase Park
CONEY ISLAND, BROOKLYN






Mike.BTB



L.I. DUCKS ~ Reaffirming First Place

From the desk of:  WEBBED SPIKES



LONG ISLAND DUCKS:  Veni; Vidi ; Quack!

Long Island Takes First Game In Series Between Liberty Division's Top Two Teams.


They came; The saw; And they Quacked Mightily.  Game one between the first place Ducks and second place Blue Crabs goes to the team invading South Maryland from Long Island.


The Ducks used the long ball; Mike Loree; and a strong effort by the bullpen to trap them some Maryland Blue Crabs Friday evening.  But they needed a mid-game comeback to do it. 


The Ducks and Mike Loree were trailing 2-0 after three innings.  Then in the fourth inning, Matt Esquivel doubled with one out.  Matt Padgett singled advancing Esquivel to third.  J.R. House grounded into a double play but Esquivel scored on the play.


The Ducks blew the game open in the fifth inning.  Javier Colina hit a two run home run scoring himself and Ray Navarrete who doubled.  John Rodriguez singled and scored on Long Island's second home run of the inning when Matt Esquivel pounded a Brian Slocum pitch over the wall for a 5-2 Ducks' lead.


South Maryland came back with a run in the bottom of the fifth, but the Ducks took it back in the sixth.  Leading off, J.R. House greeted new Blue Crabs pitcher; Jason Waddell; by crunching his 3-1 pitch for a solo home run and a 6-3 lead.


Another tack-on run in the ninth and South Maryland was officially 5 games back of Long Island in the first half standings.


The bullpen was dynamite in relief of Mike Loree.  Bob Zimmermann was first out of the pen and pitched two innings of no-hit ball and struck out two.  Ehren Wasserman closed out the game for the Ducks with two innings of one-hit ball.  He struck out one and earned his third save this season.


Ehren Wassermann continues to pitch with authority out of the bullpen.  In 30 innings pitched all in relief this season, he has 31 strikeouts while allowing just 24 hits and only two walks!  He's 3-0 with a 1.50 ERA.


Mike Loree won his League leading eighth game versus just one loss.  But he wasn't as sharp as he's been and got smacked around somewhat.  He surrendered eleven hits to the Blue Crabs and allowed them to get out to a 2-0 early lead.  He lasted only five innings Friday evening.  South Maryland scored three times against him but only two runs were earned.  While he was more hittable in this start, Mike Loree was still just as dominant all the same.  He limited himself to one walk allowed and struck out seven Blue Crabs.  His League leading ERA now stands at 1.99 and his League leading strikeout total now stands at sixty-four.



EXTRA INNING:
Kennard Jones went 0 for 5 which just might precipitate a switching of Kraig Binick from the nine-spot in the line-up, back to the lead-off spot; which is where he batted before suffering a facial injury.



LIBERTY DIVISION STANDINGS:
1st - Long Island Ducks................32-17    .653
2nd - S. Maryland Blue Crabs.....27-22    .551    5 Games Back




TODAY

GAME TWO

LONG ISLAND DUCKS
vs.
South Maryland Blue Crabs

From parts south of New York







Mike.BTB

N.Y.METS ~ A Lone Star Dud

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET




NEW YORK METS:  Avoiding .500 Like The Plague.

Mike Pelfrey Continues To Beffudle The Club and Fans With Another Below Average Start.


The elusive .500 thresh-hold; their portal to competitiveness and player retention; remains lurking in the shadows just beyond the sight and reach of the New York Mets.  Grainy images of Big Foot are clearer than the Mets' focus on a balanced record is right now.  They just can't seem to be able to capture the mythical level of mediocrity.


Mike Pelfrey didn't help.  The enigmatic hand-licker went pffft! again yesterday against the Texas Rangers.  He stuck out like a Lone Star Dud over his six innings of work.  Eight hits; four earned runs; two walks and three strikeouts were enough to drop his record to 4-6 this season. 


Manny Acosta's relief work was horrendous but the damage had already been done.  The Mets only mustered one run on eight hits against Texas in losing 8-1 to last year's American League Champs.


I said this just before yesterday' game and Mike Pelfrey's start:
Part of the problem I have with him is his former pitching coach; Rick "Simon Bar Sinister" Peterson, and a philosophy of throwing everything off the fastball action. Fastballs; sliders; and sinkers all look the same with regard to arm action. The problem is it's too easy for batters to guess right; and for batter to guess wrong, and still get it right. If Mike Pelfrey's sinker isn't pounding downward in the strike zone, batters foul off pitches at will against Pelfrey and sit on a juicy pitch over the plate.
There is no true deception in this style repertoire. It's more of a guessing game. But like I said, it's easier to guess right, and one can even be effective when guessing wrong because the speed of the pitch is relatively the same.
The package-o-fastballs; sliders; and sinkers are designed to swing and miss; hence, the swingable strike. I believe it to be a flawed philosophy. I am a big proponent of the curveball. Fastball; change-up; curveball; and location; that's me. Sliders are great but only when they slide and they work off the fastball. And there in lies one of Pelfrey's biggest problems; he isn't over-powering anyone with his fastball.
I hope I'm reading this all wrong and Big Pelf shuts-out the Texas Rangers; and shuts me, up.
 
 
 
Well, a day later,  you can be the judge.  I think I said enough on the subject.
 
 
 
 
 
Mike.BTB

Knicks and Nets ~ The Battle For The Boroughs


 From the desk of:  THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH ~ NETS
....and the desk of:  DUTCH PANTS CAN'T JUMP ~ KNICKS



The Knicks Are A Two-Star Solo System Surrounded By A Lot of Dark Matter Hiding The Chaos Within; While The Nets Are Building a Franchise The Old Fashioned Way, Quite Literally From The Ground Up.


One team executive is making his mark on a franchise by putting his fingerprints all over an organization in a short period of time while working for a relatively hands-off owner.  Another team executive, who started out similarly and with success, except for the part about a hands-off owner, is making his exit having performed one last act of mercy for an organization and an insufferable and adversarial owner.


Since Billy King jumped in the pool as Nets' new GM, he's been splashing water at the Knicks.  Sure the Knicks landed Melo, considering Carmelo Anthony was actually close to signing with the Nets assuming a lock-out.  But very shortly after that deal went down, Billy King stole a lot of the Knicks' thunder by landing Deron Williams from Utah in a move that stunned most across the League.


Earlier this week, Coach Avery Johnson threw out the ceremonial first pitch before a Brooklyn Cyclones' game.  It was there on the field during an interview Coach characterized his owner as a passionate man who's fairly hands-off. - "But he'll supply you with all the resources to succeed."


So, with the conclusion of the 2011 NBA draft, Billy King proved once again he doesn't need a micro-manager obsessing over his moves or raking over his decisions.  And behind the glitz of the Deron Williams trade, the Nets are quietly but very effectively engaged in team building. 


The Nets originally owned the 27th pick of the first round.  They traded that pick to Boston along with a future pick, for G-Marshon Brooks; selected by the Celtics with the 25th pick.  He stayed in college for four years and guys like that usually come into the League much more polished and ready for the NBA. 


A second deal by Billy King landed F/G-Bojan Bogdanovic; selected #31 by the Timberwolves.  Billy King sent them a 2013 pick and cash in exchange for the former EuroLeaguer.  And with the 36th pick, Billy King selected F-Jordan Williams.


In all, the Nets are resoundingly said to have had a very solid Draft Day.  The hopes now are in signing Chris Humphries to a deal.  If they can manage that, then the Nets off-season will have been considered a  huge success (in the absence of an extension for D-Will).


And what of Donnie Walsh; Jim Dolan; and the Knicks?  Madison Square Garden might be undergoing renovations this summer, but Dysfunction will always have a home on 33rd Street and 7th Avenue for as long as Jim Dolan keeps Zeke, his phantom teddy bear, behind the curtain. But that's another story.

With the 17th pick in the first round, the Knicks selected IMAN SHUMPERT.  At first I hated the selection.  I'm still waiting for a big body to clog the middle and get some rebounds for this glass challenged bunch.  But after digesting the selection for a day, it grew on me.  At any moment, Chauncey Billups (whom I didn't want retained) is a tube of Ben Gay away from getting hurt again.  Landry Fields disappeared after the Knicks made the Melo trade, as they switched and adopted the Star System; foregoing the Team Concept.  With Team Ball out the door, Landry's game went MIA. 


So, Shumpert will be called upon for much needed back up duty.  His defensive prowess will be negated if the other four Knicks on the floor with him don't buy in also, because they sure as hell aren't going to get the defensive impetus from Coach D'Antoni.  Tony Douglas perhaps can join forces with him in the back-court and form an effective defensive minded duo.  Where they fit into the 0.7 second shot offense is any-body's guess.

The Knicks also acquired Josh Harrelson from the Hornets for cash.  Out of Kentucky, He's a 6'10" center selected by the Hornets with the 45th pick.  Will he stop the opposition from walking their dog in the paint on their way to an uncontested dunk or lay-up?  Doubt it.


But that was Donnie Walsh's last official act as a team executive.  He is now just a token Team Consultant for cosmetic purposes of course; and for the next fiscal year only.   Jim Dolan pays former employees handsomely for their strict and binding silence once they ultimately sour on the owner like many not named Isiah Thomas.  But even Jim Dolan knew, as he was in the process of pushing Walsh out the door, that Donnie was still the best man to conduct the Draft for him because of the time; effort; and research already logged in.


The exit of Donnie Walsh also means Mike D'Antoni is officially a coach in limbo without the GM who hired him around.  Mike D'Antoni sacrificed his reputation as a winning coach for two seasons at Donnie's behest in order to get the Knicks turned around.  Now the next, unknown GM inherits a roster/coach relationship which raises more questions about the team's direction than it does supplying a clearer picture like before when Donnie was still in charge.  The Knicks are left guided by a coach which One; the fans were never overwhelmingly enamoured with. -  Two; a coach whom most are down on because of his lack of interest in emphasizing defense. - And three; someone who no longer has someone in the Front Office watching his back.


The Nets on the other hand, will continue forward with a General Manager and a Coach working together while building a franchise the old fashioned way; from the ground-up; just like their new arena.  Everything about the Nets organization you used to know has been purged.  There is a new owner; GM; coach; and a young roster completely turned over from the last era.  The Nets' foundation is strong; very strong;....like steel and concrete rising above Flatbush Avenue at Atlantic Avenue strong.


The Knicks?  Faced with real direct competition for the first time EVER, the Knicks franchise is scrambling to renovate their own arena and sticking season ticket holders with the bill.  They are also trying to patchwork a roster together without the services of a GM as of this day going forward.  And yes, the roster is an inharmonious patchwork. 


I still believe Melo and Amare are incompatible players.  But the Knicks (err...Dolan) sold out to the Star System over the Team Concept.  Donnie Walsh would have negotiated a better price for Melo and not have left the roster so vastly incomplete.  But the owner played Capitalist Media Mogul and made sure to acquire drawing attractions for his Entertainment Empire. 

It never was about Basketball with him.  Look no further than his opposition to the West Side Stadium.  In all the years Isiah Thomas ran the Knicks, Jim Dolan never said "Boo."  The owner however, has done everything to step all over Donnie Walsh's toes; whom was basically forced on the Knicks by David Stern; because of the direct threat posed by Prokhorov's Nets.  Basketball decisions are not order of the day on 7th Avenue.  Business preservation is and in my opinion, will turn out all wrong.


It seems as if the closer the Nets get to Brooklyn, the more erratic and anxiety riddled James Dolan becomes.  Behind the Knicks Two Star solo-system is a lot of dark matter hiding the chaos within.


The Nets?  There is a lot of scaffolding obscuring the old fashioned creation of an organization from the ground up.  And like their new arena under construction, when all the work is considered complete and ready for the Brooklyn Opener, we'll see just how strong the team's foundation really is.  But I think they're taking sure steps and getting it right.


I truly believe, because of the tactics employed by both teams in their escalating Battle of the Boroughs, the Nets are on more solid footing than the Knicks are.  It may not seem that way to the naked eye.  But if you expose a lens long enough on both team's path's towards the New York City showdown, you'll see what I'm talking about.



BARCLAYS CENTER
UPDATES ON CONSTRUCTION:
Photos as/of June 23, 2011




 

 





 







Mike.BTB

Friday, June 24, 2011

BKN CYCLONES ~ No Hits; No Wins; No Dice In Hudson Valley

From the desk of:  THE CONE ISLAND NINE


BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  The Baby Bums Get No-Hit; Kinda. 

Hudson Valley pitcher allows no hits before yielding to bullpen in seventh inning.

The bus trip outside the city limits has been a harrowing one for the Coney Island Nine.  Thursday night up in Peekskill, N.Y., The Hudson Valley Renegades took the first game of the series
4-1 over the Brooklyn Cyclones.


Friday night presented a different kind of dilemma for the Cyclones.  The Hudson Valley Renegades' starting pitcher; Jason McEachern; faced one batter over the minimum during the first six innings he pitched with no hits allowed.  All he gave the Cyclones was a walk in the second inning as he put the Surf Avenue Sluggers to slumber.


Once the seventh inning started, it then became nineteen batters making out minus a hit.  Brandon Brown led off and flied out to left.  Javier Rodriguez was the next victim.  He was struck out by McEachern for his sixth K of the night.  But that would be the last of the twenty-one batters he would face.  This is after all, A-Level ball with strict pitch limits.  But what McEachern accomplished, relative to this level, was no less remarkable.  Jason left the game after recording two outs in the seventh inning and on the positive side of a 2-0 Renegades' lead.


Dave Laufer entered the game for Hudson Valley in relief of McEachern with a no-hitter still on the line.  The first batter he faced was Richard Lucas.  Laufer got Lucas to strike out swinging...but it came on a wild pitch!  Richard Lucas reached first base safely as a result.  That brought up Brooklyn's Luke Stewart with two outs and a runner on first base.  And he delivered a triple to center field to drive in Lucas for the Cyclones' first run; ruining the shut-out and more importantly, the no-hitter.


That made it a 2-1 game in favor of Hudson Valley.  But the Cyclones had broken the seal.  Or so they thought.  The Renegades came back with three more runs in the eighth inning to put this game out of Brooklyn's reach.  Richard Lucas did manage the Cyclone's second base hit in the ninth with two outs, but this game ended an out later with a 5-1 final score.


Jeffery Walters absorbed the loss tonight for Brooklyn.  He pitched five innings and allowed both of Hudson Valleys' early runs.  His five innings resulted in a very average three hits and three walks allowed with three strikeouts.


After losing the first two games of this series now, both teams come back to Coney Island for the third and final game of the series.  Brooklyn will then try and avoid a sweep.


You'll find me at the game.



Mike.BTB

N.Y. METS ~ Not Now KRod! Not Now.

From the desk of:  HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET



NEW YORK METS:  The Truth Shall Set ME Free.


HEY!

Just shut up and pitch!   ...Like you've been doing very well for us this year.  This team and the fans have too much going on right now to have to deal with the trivial.


I personally don't need anyone currently wearing a Met uniform speculating about playing for the Yankees; trade deadline or no deadline!  You say stuff like - I don't know what the future holds - Today I am a Met and I'll pitch for them whenever they call on me to do so - I'm only interested in helping this team win......


Say stuff like that! - Like Jose Reyes is.  You don't have to be Shakespeare with the English language.  Just avoid the topic and take the high road.  Don't be goaded by the Media into lighting your own funeral pyre.



Will The Mets Finally Find .500 Again In Texas?

Only MIKE PELFREY can answer that tonight.  Texas can flat out hit.  So, being as K-Rod got me all worked up, let me tell you what I really feel about Mike Pelfrey.


Part of  the problem I have with him is his former pitching coach; Rick "Simon Bar Sinister" Peterson, and a philosophy of throwing everything off the fastball action.  Fastballs; sliders; and sinkers all look the same with regard to arm action.  The problem is it's too easy for batters to guess right; and for batter to guess wrong, and still get it right.  If Mike Pelfrey's sinker isn't pounding downward in the strike zone, batters foul off pitches at will against Pelfrey and sit on a juicy pitch over the plate.


There is no true deception in this style repertoire.  It's more of a guessing game.  But like I said, it's easier to guess right, and one can even be effective when guessing wrong because the speed of the pitch is relatively the same. 


The package-o-fastballs; sliders; sinkers are designed to swing and miss; hence, the swingable strike.  I believe it to be a flawed philosophy.  I am a big proponent of the curveball.  Fastball; change-up; curveball; and location; that's me.  Sliders are great but only when they slide and they work off the fastball.  And there in lies one of Pelfrey's biggest problems; he isn't over-powering anyone with his fastball.


I hope I'm reading this all wrong and Big Pelf shuts-out the Texas Rangers; and shuts me, up.


We'll know after the game.


Let's Go Mets......everybody!





Mike.BTB

Newark Bears ~ Brick City Gets Some Northern Exposure

From the desk of:  GROWLINGS FROM BROOKLYN




NEWARK BEARS:  The Brick City Nine Take First Ever Trip North Of The Border To Take On CanAm League's Top Team; Quebec Capitales.




INTERNATIONAL SHOWDOWN

Third Place meets First Place





GAME ONE

NEWARK BEARS
16-11 - 4.5 GB
(SP - Victor Gonzalez)
vs.
Quebec Capitales
20-6 - First Place
(SP - John Mariotti)

From - Land of the Great White North
QUEBEC, CANADA


The road trip of all CanAm League road trips; a visit to the home of our neighbors to the North; the Newark Bears play in Canada for the first time to take on the first place Quebec Capitales.  The New Jersey Jackals suddenly squeezed their way into the race, otherwise, this would have been a true battle between the League's top two teams.


Quebec is the only team left who's loss column is still represented by a single digit.  They are winners of eight out of their last ten games.  The Bears just split a four game series with Worcester and are 5-5 in their last ten.


If the Newark Bears are to gain any ground on the Capitales this series, their starting pitching will have to give them some length.  Newark's bullpen has been the team's back bone so far this season.  They have been carrying a heavy load with Bear starters too often lasting only 4+ innings per start.


Newark's probable starter tonight; Victor Gonzalez is 0-1 in three starts.  He's also made five relief appearances.  He's been hittable and has struggled with control as of late.  In 18.1 innings pitched this season, he's allowed 16 hits, while walking 14 and striking out 14.  He hadn't given up a run in his first four appearances this season.  But he's been touched over his last three appearances.  His ERA ballooned because of six earned runs he allowed New Jersey in two innings the last time they met.


Starting pitching is where the Quebec Capitales have a clear advantage over Newark.  Tonight's probable starter for Quebec; John Mariotti; has the League's fifth best ERA with a 2.57 mark.  Bryan Rembisz is number one in the League with a 1.86 mark.  Second in ERA is Matthew Rusch.  He owns a 1.96 mark.


So, truth be told, as good as they've been, the Bears' hitters will have their hands full against these three.






Mike.BTB

L.I. DUCKS ~ In Search of Blue Crabs

From the desk of:  A BROOKLYN QUACK





Long Island Ducks:  Off To South Maryland For A Liberty Division Showdown With The 2nd Place Blue Crabs.

SPLIT TOUGH FOUR GAME SERIES WITH CAMDEN.

FINISH HOMESTAND 5-2.


The Liberty Division's last place club; the Camden River Sharks; came into Long Island Sound and bit at the Ducks throughout this four game series. 


After a ninth inning bloop, walk-off infield hit by Ray Navarrete won a tight game Tuesday, Wednesday night,  Long Island let a 6-0 lead get away....  Then blew a 7-4 lead in the ninth inning.  Only to lose it all in the fourteenth inning.


In the ninth inning of Wednesday night's game, Bubbie Buzachero sabotaged his own cause when he threw wide of first base with an errant pick-off throw , allowing a runner to score.  He gave up three runs in all, allowing Camden to tie the game in the course of blowing his first game of the season.


The Ducks played great defense in the extra innings to keep them alive until the fourteenth and final inning.  FINAL SCORE;  8-7  Camden over Long Island.


With Camden enjoying a two games to one series lead, the teams headed into Thursday night's game.
Camden's Eddy Camacho and Long Island's Shane Youman went at each other pitch for pitch over the first six innings of the game before Long Island made the game's first move to the bullpen.


In Youman's six innings of work, Shane allowed only three hits; no runs; walked one and struck out two.  In 5 games and 12.1 innings pitched this season, he has yet to yield a run.  Camden's Eddy Camacho kept the Ducks quiet for seven full innings.  Three hits and one walk were all he allowed while striking out three.


The winning pitcher of this game was Jeremy Hill who pitched marvelously over three innings in relief of Youman.  Two hits; two walks; and two strikeouts was his line against Camden.  His three inning shift on the mound was much needed after Wednesday night's 14 inning affair in which the Ducks used five pitchers out of the pen.  Jeremy Hill chipped in with one inning Wednesday also.


The Ducks won their second game in walk-off fashion in their last three played.  First it was Ray Navarrete delivering a game winning RBI Tuesday.  Thursday, JT House took a turn at being 9th inning hero by driving home John Rodriguez from third base with his own game winning RBI single against a five-infielder shift, for a 1-0 final and a series split with the Sharks.


John Rodriguez returned to action after being given a few days off to nurse a sore thumb.  This was his first game back after sitting out the last five games.  The League's still reigning RBI leader scored the Ducks' winning run but was 0 for 4 in the game.


The Ducks finished their home stand with a 5-2 record.  Both losses came against Camden.  They improved to a now League's best 31-17 record.  They maintain a four game lead over the second place South Maryland Blue Crabs.  And it just so happens, that's where the Long Island Ducks are headed; to South Maryland for a three game weekend series against the Blue Crabs.







Mike.BTB

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Newark Bears ~ Bears Take Back Second Place

From the desk of:  GROWLINGS FROM BROOKLYN



NEWAR BEARS:  Split Four Game Series With Worcester.

See Game One and Game Two; HERE


GAME THREE FINAL:  Worcester 4;  Newark 2.
After a rain delay and getting shut-out for eight innings, the Bears finally mustered some offense against Worcester in the ninth inning.  But they fell half-way short of a comeback last night losing 4-2 in game three of the four game series against the Tornadoes.  The loss dipped the Bears percentage points behind Brockton for second place overall in the League.


Newark starter; Jesse Estrada; took another tough loss.  He falls to 1-3 on the season as he lasted 4.2 innings and gave up three of Worcester's runs.  TJ Hose and Kyle Morrison pitched 4.2 innings in relief and allowed one more run to the Tornadoes. 


TJ Hose actually had himself a rather stellar appearance.  He pitched 2.2 innings; gave up no hits and struck out five.


Tim Raines Jr. has seen his batting average rise from .348 to .371 recently.  He went 2 for 3 in this game with a run scored.  Danny Santiesteban carried a big stick with a 3 for 4 night and 2 RBI.



GAME FOUR; SERIES FINAL:  Newark 8;  Worcester 7.
The Bears grabbed the last game of this four game series to earn a split with the Worcester Tornadoes.
Each team took turns pelting each other with four runs in the first inning.  Worcester picked up three more runs in the second inning to make it a 7-4 game.  The Bears clawed their way back with a run in the third and fourth innings.  Then in the fifth, they scored two more to take an 8-7 lead.


That's when Coach Tim Raines Sr.'s bullpen, the backbone of this team, stepped up yet again in support of the starting pitching; which frankly, wasn't very good on either team's part late this afternoon.


Newark's starter; Casey Gaynor; picked up his first win, in his first start, in his first game of 2011 in spite of giving up 8 hits and 7 runs (all earned) over his 5 innings pitched. 


In relief, the bullpen shined again while protecting the Bears' lead.  Matt Fitton was first.  He pitched two innings; allowed one walk; a hit; and struck out one.  Chris Rollins and his season 0.84 ERA were called upon to pitch the eighth inning.  He struck out two batters for his part with no hits or walks allowed.  Mikey Mehlich was then summoned to close out the game for Newark.  After plunking the lead-off batter, Mikey retired the next three in order to earn his 5th Save of the season.  His ERA is a microscopic 0.75 now.


Brandon Watson, now batting .336 this season, had an outstanding day at the plate batting lead-off, -going 5 for 5 with 2 runs scored. 


Daryle Ward; 2 for 3; with two RBI, climbed to a .378 batting average.


Todd Gossage hit a solo home run in the third inning.  Burt Reynolds homered in the fifth inning.


Billy Alvino; Daryle Ward; and Burt Reynolds all had 2 RBI each.



SEASON RECORD/ OVERALL LEAGUE STANDINGS:

Entering Thursday's Games:
1st - 20-6 - Quebec Capitales
2nd - 15-10 - Brockton Rox
3rd - 16-11 - NEWARK BEARS
4th - 16-11 - New Jersey Jackals


After Thursday Finals:
1st - 21-6 - Quebec Capitales
2nd - 17-11- NEWARK BEARS - 4.5 games back
3rd - 17-11 - New Jersey Jackals
4th - 15-11 - Brockton Rox  -  After two and one half hour rain delay, Rox lose 1st game of DH.  2nd game to start by 11pm Thursday.  League Rules prohibit an inning starting past midnight.  Brockton and the Rockland Boulders will have roughly one hour to play game two.

***Game Two; Brockton/Rockland - Cancelled curfew.



Quebec; Newark; and New jersey all won tonight.  And you can see, a little pack has formed for second place overall.  Brockton and Newark have been battling for position all season.  Now New Jersey; winners of their last four in a row; have joined the party after getting off to a slow start this season.



NEWS:  In the Rockland Boulder's home park, Brockton Rox manager; Bill Buckner; and a few Brockton players got into a heated exchange with the game's umpiring crew as they were all leaving the field after the game.  The incident occurred in full view of  a number of remaining fans on Rockland's park concourse (designed to be fan/player interactive).  Cooler heads prevailed and the night ended without further incident, although the League announced they will look into the matter.




Mike.BTB