Wednesday, February 29, 2012

N.Y. Mets ~ The Time Bandits

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET








NEW YORK METS:   There's No Need to Fear...!


"They shouldn't be concerned about us owning the franchise because we intend to own the franchise for a very long time. Whether they're happy about that right now or not, I don't know."   - Fred Wilpon.


How do you feel about that Met Fans?   He's always maintained that position before.  So saying it again isn't the issue.  The issue is Fred Wilpon himself and if he has indeed delivered this team to it's ultimate low point?  Or, does that distinction still rest with our former Lady Linda De Roulette who inherited the responsibilities of running the Mets upon her mothers' passing.  She will undeservedly be remembered for asking if the team could just clean off and reuse baseballs, as well as something to the effect of not buying anymore office supplies; much less free agents..


If you experienced both eras like I did, then what say you?  Was the period between 1977-1979 worse than the present era of the Saul B. Katz Dilemma?


I say this era is far worse.  Very simply, the current ownership drove this organization into the ground due in large part to their own mismanagement, no coherent plan, and an overall lack of Baseball acumen.  It took a Commissioner's intervention and imposing an executive in Flushing for the express purpose of saving Baseball's National League Club from themselves.  Another way of saying that is Sandy Alderson was tasked with getting a very dysfunctional house in order.  Where as Linda De Roulette stripped the team down with the full intentions of selling them.  And there's the rub.  Fred Wilpon said emphatically on numerous occasions, he'll never sell if he can help it.


Woe is us.


SNY-TV, PON the Elder, and Son of PON, are among the buyers of multiple Mets' $20 million dollar cupcakes.  And in light of other legitimate risk takers, this just screams SHAM to me.  One might consider what the Wilpons are doing as quite noble.  After all, they are dipping into their own pockets in order to save their franchise.  There's something admirable about that regardless of what we want to see happen.  But as far as the contingent of cupcake buyers, and any REAL capital these shares raise for the team, it's still a case of Fred, Jeff, and SNY robbing Paul to pay Peter.  Had the the prospective parties all been outside of the sphere of organizational influence, I might have more respect for the process today.  But when you get right down to it, an organization in deep financial trouble is partly getting bailed out by two individuals in particular (Fred and Jeff), whom are under intense financial stress.  That does not compute.  Nor does it bode well.  A dollar in the left pocket is just as valuable in the right pocket, and therefore, the Wilpons are still exposed in the wallet.  In my eyes, they've achieved nothing other than getting bill collectors off their backs for exactly one year, and no more.  And it also tells me there was not an overwhelming interest in Fred's cupcakes to begin with.  If these cupcakes were bonds, how do think Standard and Poor's would rate them?  You know the answer.  You know as well as I do, with all joking aside, they'd be rated Junk.  That's Wall Street's term, not mine.


It's a shame these issues overshadow some of the actual sense Fred has spoken in camp thus far.  On the one hand, the Mets took a lawn mower to their pay role.  Yet, the owner is right.  What they hacked away were unproductive players.  Point, Wilpon.  And quite frankly, for reasons I'll address as we go along this Spring, I like the openly non-committal tone he's taken regarding David Wright.  As a matter of fact, the way he's been sauntering around camp so far, he gives off the impression Picard ain't got a damn thing on him.  AND..., I'll be honest with you, in what could be his darkest moment (in court) coming up, he's following his General Manager's cue and popping jokes; as in reaching into his pocket and pulling our a small wad of cash.  As if to say......   You know, the old Brooklyn way.


Damn Fred Wilpon!  Because as much as I (and we) want him to sell the team, I still have a level of compassion for the guy.


BUT...!  The kid is another story.


The Boss's son; Lil Jeffery, the Day Manager of Mets-R-Us.  C'mon!  I couldn't be in more agreement with David Wright over these Underdog t-shirts.  And only the Boss's kid would come up with such a thing.  Why don't you just rename the team The Squirrels?  This is precisely why I treat him as the Boss's kid, and "Mets-R-Us" him to death.  And it's nothing short of a shame too, because truth be told, Jeff has never really said or done anything (outwardly at least) to embarrass himself or the club; if you're being fair that is. 


Instead, he's handled the media at times rather impressively.  Remember that day in Atlanta when he gave the Media the - "I'm not here to fire anybody guys!" routine?  That was a good day for him.  The way he stepped up for Omar Minaya during the Beltran Operation-Gate and the Adam Ruben fiascoes were other exceptional days for him.  But I think the idea of an Underdog t-shirt is a feeble way to find common ground with fans and unify the team.  I think it falls woefully short.  Because if it was meant to give the players a common cause, it's only embellishes collective shame.






Mike.BTB

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

N.Y. Rangers ~ King Henrik Rejects the Devils

From the desk of:   RAISE GRESCH WITH THE GREATS










NEW YORK RANGERS:   Prevent Devils From Being First Team to Defeat Blueshirts Three Times This Season.


Finish February 9-4



Martin Brodeur is the NHL's All-Time Shut-Outs leader.  Give the man his due.  Who remembers February 7th?  That's the night the video heads in Toronto's war room disallowed a potential Artem Anisimov game tying goal in the final seconds while Martin Broduer turned back thirty shots and blanked the Blueshirts 1-0 at the Garden.
 


The Devil's future HOF goalie also happens to be the NHL's All-Time Wins leader as well.  And that's all fine and well.  But in spite of Marty's previous showing against the Rangers, when it comes to the Battle of the Hudson, Henrik still rules.  And he just served every one a timely reminder why.  Off a brilliant late third period save, the Blueshirts' liege recorded his eighth shut-out of the season; the forty-third of his career; and his sixth against New Jersey.  Wins?  Henrik Lundqvist has now entered into a three way tie with Tony Esposito and Ken Dryden as holders of the NHL's record for most 30+ win seasons to start a career by a goalie, with seven.



Monday night, the Rangers got back to doing what they do best; which is being physical, playing defense, and letting Henrik Lundqvist do the rest.  But just as the Rangers were starving for goals on February 7th, they're starving for goals today.  And this is the way it's going to be.  This is Ranger Hockey.  And Monday night, just enough Ranger Hockey happened against the Devils for a win.



Ranger Hockey happened to the Devils along the boards.  Ranger Hockey happened to them in New Jersey's end, and damn-near every where else on the MSG ice.   Hitting, hitting, more hitting, and one of the finest saves you'll ever see happened to the Devils too.



Ranger Hockey happened when Ryan Callahan assisted Carl Hagelin's 11th goal of the season towards the latter part of the first period.  And Ranger Hockey happened again when New Jersey pulled Brodeur for another skater.  Carl Hagelin returned an earlier favor and assisted Ryan Callahan's empty-net goal for the grand finish; the same guys who nailed the over-time winner against Buffalo.



Your final score was, Devils 0; Rangers Style Hockey 2.



By 10:30pm EST, The Blueshirts showed GM Glen Sather and reassured the Garden crowd why they are good to go just as they are.







Mike.BTB

Monday, February 27, 2012

N.Y. RANGERS ~ Battle of the Hudson IV

From the desk of:   RAISE GRESCH WITH THE GREATS






BATTLE of the HUDSON - IV

I - Dec. 20,  NYR 4 - NJD 1
II - Jan. 3,  NJD 4 - NYR 3; S.O.
III - Feb. 7,  NJD 1 - NYR 0

Devils lead series 2-1 



New Jersey Devils
vs.
NEW YORK RANGERS

From,
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
33rd Street at 7th Avenue
NYC





No team has defeated the Rangers three times this season.  The Devils are shooting to become the first.  In our last two meetings against the Devils, the Blueshirts lost a 4-3 shoot-out, then got stymied by Martin Brodeur 1-0 on February 7th.  If I was worrisome of the Devils before, I find them more so now.  New Jersey made their deadline move.  They targeted Minnesota's defenseman; Marek Zidlicky; and got him.  Did the Devils pay too much for him?   No - Because the Devils have money problems that dwarf the salary cap right now and needed to rid themselves of some bodies to make the trade fit.


The move bolstered and added depth to New Jersey's already well playing young corp of blue liners with a veteran.  Having played for Jacques LeMaire before, he'll be in fine tune with the Devils' ways. And, the 35 year old defenseman can score too.  He has 38 points this season off 14 goals and 24 assists.  And personally, I find this troublesome for the Rangers as I've been saying since returning from the All-Star break -  Here Come the Devils!


Three of the last four Ranger games have gone beyond regulation time.  There were two overtime wins over Columbus and Buffalo, and one shoot-out loss to the Islanders.  And somewhere in between was a shut-out loss against Pittsburgh.  That's just a taste of what's in store for March.  The schedule will be getting tight; real right; as the Rangers will be playing seventeen games in thirty days.


This season is going to come down to stamina and minimizing mistakes; not Rick Nash.  So, with the way New Jersey has handled us lately, I'd like for the Rangers to start getting on with this season again with who they have, and get back to grinding and playing defense.  The trade deadline has come and gone without the Blueshirts making a major move.  So the Rangers are just going to have to bear down and score goals on their own.


This is a statement game.  It's a game for these players.  That's how I see it.






Mike.BTB

Sunday, February 26, 2012

LIU Blackbirds ~ Loss to Monmouth was an Unpolished Finish

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH









LIU-BROOKLYN BLACKBIRDS:  That Was Quite a Lackadaisical Way to End a Second Title Bearing Regular Season Effort.



Regular Season Final Game:
LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds   78
Monmouth Hawks   106



In the end, it's best the defending Northeast Conference champs saved their worst for last.  For had this been one road game earlier, Saturday would have provided the regular season with a far different finish.  Was that the exhale factor LIU just suffered on the heels of winning their second consecutive regular season title?  Because me? -  I wouldn't be happy if I were Coach Ferry; not when Saturday's game versus Monmouth ended up as the worst loss of the season.  Not when the Blackbirds gave up a season high 106 points to the NEC's seventh seeded team.



In light of all the good they've collectively and individually achieved so far together this season, they were all guilty; the starters and bench included; of what I like to call - apathy.  Jamal Olasewere; Julian Boyd; Jason Brickman; C.J. Garner; Michael Culpo; and their three most prominent bench players - Brandon Thompson; Kenny Onyechi; and Arnold Mayorga; all played roles in a rather sloppy and unpolished finish.  With the NEC tournament right around the corner, if I'm thinking like a coach, I'm not liking this one bit.  And I'm sure Coach Ferry didn't as well.  Saturday's effort is not the way I would have appreciated my team closing out such a successful regular season.  I'm thinking Coach Ferry taught them better than that.



Was the game itself inconsequential?  Yes, it was.  LIU clinched the regular season title in their prior game against Fairleigh Dickinson.  And Wagner lost Saturday to Central Connecticut State as well.  I guess they too exhaled, satisfied that their two seed was secure.  But no, as things went, either way the outcome of Saturday's game against Monmouth would have changed nothing.



But in this last game, particularly in the second half,  LIU's indifference was not only glaring, but backed up by the numbers.  Brooklyn had twenty-three turnovers; Monmouth fourteen.  Monmouth scored thirty-three points off turnovers to Brooklyn's thirteen.  Monmouth scored twenty-five fast break points to Brooklyn's six.  Monmouth had forty-six points off the bench.  Brooklyn had twenty three.  In a game they spent most of the time trailing, the Blackbirds were within one point of Monmouth with 17:47 left in the second half.  With 1:37 left in the game, LIU was down by thirty-three points.  So no, when you fight back to overcome a fifteen point first half lead and get it down to six by the half, then close to within one point in the opening minutes of the second half, only to wind up getting blown out, I'm forced to question one night's motivation and potential haste to end the season.



But I won't make more this than it is.  It's one night.  It's just the sour taste that lingers because I believe in strong finishes.  And this game, on the outside looking in, seems like one they let get away.  That's all.  But for the moment, as long as I'm thinking like a coach, this is a great time for a complete  over-reaction, and to give these kids a figurative boot in the posterior while I reprogram their heads for tournament play.  Can I at least get a buffet table please?



LIU-BROOKLYN BLACKBIRDS:  NEC Regular Season Final Record

2nd Consecutive Regular Season Title.

Overall Record:  22-8  (Wagner finished 24-5 overall)
Conference Record:  16-2  1st
Home Record:  12-0  (24-0 last two regular seasons)*
Away Record:  8-8
Neutral Site:  2-0



* CORRECTION - See comment below.



Mike.BTB

BKN Aviators ~ Flatbush in a Dogfight to the Finish

From the desk of:   THE SKATES OF FLATBUSH









BROOKLYN AVIATORS:  Flatbush Sweeps Two From Danville Dashers.  Overtake Akwesasne in the Standings.  A's Back in the First Division With Four to Play.



SATURDAY FINAL:   BACK IN FOURTH PLACE!

Brooklyn   7
Danville     3



Let's understand for a moment Danville only has four wins this season.  So it's not like defeating the Danville Dashers; this season at least; is the stuff legends are made of.  Although the any-given-day rule still applies to all teams.  I am merely going to suggest, with the Aviators needing wins most, Jesse Felten stepped-up to remind his mates how to seize the moment; as several of his current mates were part of Brooklyn's miraculous run towards the playoffs last season.


Thanks in large part to their forward, the Aviators are back, but far from safe, in fourth place after defeating the Dashers 7-3 Saturday in the first of a two game series.  The win finally allowed Brooklyn to punch through the percentage points lead Akwesasne held over Flatbush and puts them back in the first division again with only five games left to play.  The Warriors lost to the New Jersey Outlaws 6-2 Saturday, and will be idle Sunday.  Advantage Brooklyn.


Michael DiLorenzo earned his third win in four starts for Brooklyn by turning back twenty-four of twenty-seven shots on goal by Danville.  The night started with a Kings County sized gasp when Danville scored just 0:39 into the game.  But in what are now must-win-games, the "old" Brooklyn vet, Jesse Felten, stepped in to lead Flatbush, when a leader was needed.


Midway through the first period, Felton tied the game with his twenty-fourth goal of the season.  And before the period's end, Jason Dolgy scored at 17:53 on the power play after Danville's Ryan Stern got whistled for cross-checking.  From then on, attitudes and comportment deteriorated.  But the game pressed on without too much chicanery.


Danville got off to another quick start to open the second period.  Four minutes in, this game was tied at two apiece.  But a few minutes later, Matt Atsoff put his Brooklyn mates up by one again.  Then midway through the period, Jesse Felten scored his twenty-fifth goal of the season on a power play to make it a 4-2 game.  Danville answered yet again with a goal at the 11:55 mark.  But it would be their last of the night.  Before the second period expired, Steve Koich gave the A's a 5-3 lead with his sixth goal of the season.


The third period was all Brooklyn.  Just over a minute in, Steve Owsiak scored his seventeenth goal of the season.  Then Jesse Felten and Jason Dolgy finished this game off the same way they started it.  Jesse Felten scored goal number twenty-six of the season at the 2:09 mark on a power play to complete his hat trick.  Jason Dolgy netted his second goal of the game and Brooklyn's final of the  evening for an 8-3 Flatbush win and their sixty-seventh point of the season; four better than the Warriors.





SUNDAY FINAL:  GAIN THREE MORE POINTS OVER AKWESASNE WARRIORS!

Brooklyn   4
Danville    2



Fourth place was now a matter of which team had more points again and no longer based on win percentages.  With the Warriors not playing, Sunday represented a huge opportunity to put some more distance between Flatbush and Akwesasne before both teams take the ice again Wednesday night.


With a day game after a night game, Coach Miller gave John Dorman his first Aviator start between the pipes Sunday after starting Michael DiLorenzo Saturday.  Regular goalie Josselin St. Pierre was not penciled into either game.  Regardless, in his first game in net since November 2011, John Dorman stopped fourteen of sixteen shots Brooklyn's defense allowed Danville.  At the other end, Flatbush peppered Danville's goalie; Nick Wydock; with twenty-one shots in the first period alone.


Sunday's overall shots on goal total was Brooklyn forty; Danville sixteen.  The final score was Brooklyn four; Danville two.  Who accrued more penalty minutes can be figured out if you try.  But ascertaining the number of punches thrown this afternoon is useless.  Saturday's simmering hostilities and lingering feuds boiled over throughout the first and third periods of Sunday afternoon's raucous affair.


When they weren't littering the ice with sticks and gloves, Brooklyn was doing just enough to win their third straight game, and more importantly gaining three more points in the standings over the idle Akwesasne Warriors.


There was no hat trick from Jesse Felten Sunday.  He played facilitator this time, instead assisting on three Brooklyn goals.  Five minutes in, he assisted on Henry Coxe's opening goal of the game.  A little over two minutes later, Jesse Felten again had the primary assist on Andrew Scampoli's power play goal.  With three and a half minutes left in the first period, Danville scored on a power play to end the period 2-1 Brooklyn.


Michael Thompson scored the only goal of the second just 1:31 into the period.  Then in the third period, Jesse Felten recorded his third assist of the game on Andrew Owsiak's goal at the 6:21 mark.  Danville scored a late short-handed goal to make the score a respectable 4-2 final.


That's seventy points and a job well done.  Now, Flatbush has four games left in the regular season.  The Aviators have a seven point lead over the Akwesasne Warriors and for the moment, own the final playoff spot.  Brooklyn now has a daunting task before them.  They will close out the regular season with a home-and-home against the third place Danbury Whalers, then a home-and-home against the first place New Jersey Outlaws.  The defending FHL Champions; Akwesasne Warriors; only have three games remaining.  One game remains against Danville this Wednesday.  They will then finish with a home-and-home against the second place 1000 Islands Privateers.


Should the playoff's fourth seed remain undetermined by March 3rd, Brooklyn's scheduled Sunday, March 4th game against New Jersey can quite literally turn out to be their "ACE" in the hole as Akwesasne will have concluded their season on Saturday.



Let's Go A's!





Mike.BTB

WTC - February 26, 1993; Always Remember...






World Trade Center

..And Never Forget




Mural ~ Smith Street (between Hamilton Ave. and West 9th Street)






Mural ~ Sheepshead Bay





Mike.BTB

Canadian~American League Baseball 2012






A Look Ahead into the 2012 CanAm Baseball Season:

League information gathered primarily from CanAm Website

 

There are some very interesting changes coming to the CanAm League this season.  On the one hand, change does not speak too well regarding the overall wellness and stability of the League.  On the brighter side, as a Baseball fan, I eagerly anticipate some of the changes we'll see this season on the field.



The CanAm League will operate with five teams this season.  The returning champions, Quebec Capitales, will be back to defend their fourth league title.  I'm glad to see the Newark Bears will be returning for their second season in the circuit.  Mainstays of the league, the New Jersey Jackals and the Worcester Tornadoes, and last year's new comers, the Rockland Boulders, will round out this season's participants.



The Pittsfield Colonials if you remember ceased operations last season.  The New York Federals were a filler team comprised of players from the New York State League and formed to maintain the schedule integrity of an eight team league.  The unfortunate news of this upcoming season is the Broxton Rocks will not participate in this year's schedule.  They have not folded and remain members of the League, and plan on rejoining play in 2013.



The CanAm League entered into an inter-league agreement with the midwest American Association that necessitated a timely decision and an odd number of confirmed member teams from the CanAm League.  The Brockton Rox could not straighten out an ownership situation in time to commit.  And so Brockton, and the Canadian/American League's plans to add another team in Canada will be revisited in the 2013 season.



As part of the new inter-league schedule, each CanAm team will play twenty games against American Association teams; ten at home and ten on the road.  All five CanAm teams will travel to the Midwest and play ten games against AA teams.  In turn, five American Association teams will each make ten game road trips to all five CanAm towns, for a total of 100 inter-league games.



The Canadian/American League will also adopt the American Association's length of schedule and play a 100 game season which is slightly up from the number of games CanAm teams traditionally play.  The season begins earlier than the traditional CanAm's Memorial Day start also.  Their season now starts on May 17th and runs through September 3rd.  There also will be no CanAm type split-season format.  They will play a regular division schedule and at the end of the season, the top two teams will play for the CanAm Championship.



At the club level, the accountants over in Ramapo N.Y. are leaving no Boulder unturned.  According to this story at BallparkDigest.com, the Rockland Boulders did not meet their expected 2011 revenue figures; falling short somewhere in the neighborhood of $300,000.  This is just my opinion here, but perhaps if finishing touches and construction hadn't over lapped the beginning of the season, things might have been different to start.  The figure doesn't seem like much, but it's not my dime now is it?  I'm sure a strong showing of support this season will help make the accountants happy.  The Boulders ranked second in League in attendance last season behind the Canadian Quebec Capitales team.  Stateside however, they were number one.



But what of the Newark Bears?  As a quick reminder, they opted to switch to the CanAm League due in large part to money woes.  The cost of operating in the  Atlantic League escaped them.   The move into the CanAm League afforded them a smaller roster, substantially less travel, and a shorter schedule; all designed to save on operating costs as the team itself has been in dire financial straights.  On the one hand, perhaps the lure of seeing new teams from the American Association is enough to stimulate a spike at the gate.  I know I will definitely attend a few more games than usual this season.  But it seems this inter-league agreement will now drive up Newark's operating costs considerably again.  No?



In the dugout, the Newark Bears will have a new field manager.  Tim Raines is out, and Ken Oberkfell is in.  He previously worked for the Mets since 2008 as manager of their Buffalo-AAA affiliate, and served a stint coaching on the big club as well.



LINKS:

CanadianAmericanLeague.com
AmericanAssociationBasbeall.com






Mike.BTB

Saturday, February 25, 2012

N.Y. Rangers ~ Patience Versus Panic

From the desk of:   RAISE GRESCH WITH THE GREATS




NEW YORK RANGERS:   If You Don't Have a Stomach for This, Beat it.



OK Rangers fans, with Winter's adversity blowing through our doors for really the first time all season, what are we going to do now?  Freak?



This is not a calamitous downturn in our season.  At least I don't think it is.  Going 0-2-1-1 in our last four games is less a matter of what's been transpiring on the ice than it is a test of our resolve moving forward.  This situation begs for composure and calm.  You didn't think the season would go that easily, did you?  There will be more losses along the way.  Some losses will be of the embarrassing variety; some more closely contested; and some where we'll feel like we got rooked.  But rest assured, they will come, and they will make us question this team again.  If you don't understand that, you don't know hockey.  And if you can't deal with that, then you are not a Rangers fan.



This is precisely what building leads are all about; to give a team room for mistakes during the ebbs and flows of a season and for easing differing levels of fan discomfort.  But much closer to the Rangers' situation, these are necessary steps of any youth-building plan.  Learning how to lose and keeping one's composure are just as important to success as accumulating points in the standings.  As a fan, you want to know if your team will fight on or fold.  Points are of no use unless you learn how to lose.  And through that, comes the art of winning.



This recent slide comes at a great time  -  right before the trade deadline.  We are now forced to look within ourselves and decide whether we have faith and confidence in what we're doing, or will we succumb to fears, and nervous impulse, and decide to do imprudent things.  There is no better time to resolve these inner conflicts than when things are going badly.  No one's intangibles are being tested when you're winning.  But if you insist on a quick bright side pick me up, both Boston, and the Devils lost Friday night as well.  So for a night, we kind of get a wash Ranger fans.



Do we need a glimmering star coming in here to do big things?  Or, do we merely need willing and able players to do small things correctly.  On that note, early on against the Blackhawks, and again last night versus the Islanders, the Rangers made Marty Biron look suspect between the pipes.  Repeated breakdowns resulted in goals-by-the-bunches at the other end.  That makes mounting comebacks tough.



But getting shut-out by the Sidney Crosby-less Pittsburgh Penguins doesn't sit well.  I think we are all in agreement on that.  Still, most of our problems lie with the power play, and not necessarily lacking a player with power, or, fire-power if you will.  Just ask the Penguins or even the Detroit Red Wings.  Even after all their record breaking streak of consecutive wins at home, Detroit is still a point behind Vancouver in the Western Conference standings.  So at the end of the day, all that really matters is how you go out and play the next game.



Next up for the Rangers will be the Buffalo Sabres tonight at Madison Square Garden.  Expect another tight, low scoring game.  Only a fool would look at the twenty-one point disparity between the teams and deem the Rangers a favorite to win.  Once again, such person does not know the Buffalo Sabres, and clearly does not know hockey.



Then, to usher in the trade deadline, the Rangers will face the New Jersey Devils on Monday again.  In our last two meetings against the Devils, the Blueshirts lost a 4-3 shoot-out, then got stymied by Martin Brodeur 1-0 on February 7th.  And if I was worrisome of the Devils before, I find them more so now.  New Jersey made their deadline move.  They targeted Minnesota's defenseman; Marek Zidlicky; and got him.  And personally, I find that troublesome for the Rangers.  The move bolsters and adds depth to New Jersey's already well playing young corp of blue liners with a veteran.  Having played for Jacques LaMaire before, he'll be in fine tune with the Devils' ways.  And, the 35 year old defenseman can score too.  He has 38 points this season off 14 goals and 24 assists.



If there's anyone who thinks there will be anything easy about the remaining twenty-three games of the regular season, they do not know the first thing about hockey.  Things only get tougher from here and one man does not solve things in this game; save a hot goalie.  Hockey is about resolve and intestinal fortitude and team.  If you don't have the stomach for it, beat it.



The season is now a battle of Patience versus Panic.  I'm not predicting this; I'm merely suggesting this - A decision to keep this team in tact and untouched beyond the deadline, could possibly turn into a defining moment inside the locker room.  Organizational trust can go a long way towards reforging the bonds that tie this Band of Blueshirts together.  I want to stay the course.  I believe in team, and chemistry, and Family.  I believe in this Coach's vision.  I believe in maintaining flexibility under the salary cap.  And sometimes, in the right situations, I believe Championships can be won on the backs of hard working role players.



For now, I'm just like Coach.  I like these guys and this plan, and short-term, I just want to get by the Sabres and the Devils.



Let's Go Rangers!




SATURDAY NIGHT PUCKS

"Battle for the Empire State"

Buffalo Sabres
vs.
NEW YORK RANGERS

From,
33rd Street at 7th Avenue
NYC







Mike.BTB

BKN Aviators ~ Flatbush Strikes Back!

From the desk of:   THE SKATES OF FLATBUSH








BROOKLYN AVIATORS:   Math Proving to be a Tougher Foe to Combat than the Akwesasne Warriors.



Flatbush is clearly against the ropes.  Thursday evening, they landed a tremendous counter-punch against the team they needed to defeat most, in order to give themselves a chance to not just survive these last few games, but win them, and gain that elusive last playoff spot.  There are now six games left in the season in which to get that done.



There's a problem however.  An unequal number of games played this season among Brooklyn and Akwesasne is giving the A's a problem punching through into fourth place.  The A's have played forty-four games this season, while the Warriors have only played forty-one.  Flatbush has sixty-seven points heading into Saturday's action.  The Warriors are four behind Flatbush with sixty-three points.  Yet, due to less games played, the Akwesasne Warriors sit in fourth place with a .512 win percentage, versus Brooklyn's .508 mark.



So with a little voodoo math working against them, Flatbush finds themselves on the outside looking in.  And the A's have no doubt been reeling lately.  Even before dropping two straight to the Warriors, Brooklyn had already played, and let Danbury slip past them in the standings the weekend prior.  The Whalers now have a firm grip on third place.  Then.., came Akwesasne and Brooklyn's exit from the first division; with a loss against New Jersey to boot.



Alas, this past Thursday, Flatbush struck back with a retaliatory blow against the defending FHL Champs, defeating the Akwesasne Warriors 7-1 inside Hangar Five.  After a couple of recent rough starts, Coach Miller turned back to Michael DiLorenzo to man the pipes again.  The Brooklyn back-up to goalie Josselin St. Pierre responded to his Coach's wishes by stopping thirty-three of thirty-four shots on goal.



Brooklyn posted five unanswered goals over the first two periods before the Warriors managed to break the shut-out a little over thirteen minutes into the second period.  Then Brooklyn eliminated any notion of a Warriors' comeback by netting two more goals for good measure.



Seven minutes into the first period, Brooklyn assumed control of this game and never looked back.  Jason Dolgy got the A's started with the first of his two goals of the evening.  Michael Thompson then followed with what would also by his first of two goals of the evening.  Matt Atsoff capped off the first period scoring with his 17th goal of the season.



The Aviators added two more goals before the Warriors answered back with their first.  Joe Dabkowski scored in the first 0:33 seconds of the second period for a 4-0 Brooklyn lead.  Then Michael Thompson made it 5-0 with his second goal of the game.



The third period was all Flatbush again.  Nick Petriello picked up a goal inside the seventh minute.  Then Jason Dolgy finished off the Warriors with his second of the game, to make this a 7-1 final.



Just maybe, the schedule makers may have found favor with the A's this weekend.  While the A's spent Friday travelling to Illinois, the Warriors dropped a 7-3 affair to the third place Danbury Whalers which is good news for Aviator fans.  Brooklyn is off to Danville where the Dashers will host the A's for a pair.  Danville has struggled mightily this season, winning just four games all season.  If the A's are to make a move on fourth place, I'd say this is the weekend to do it.  Akwesasne will have their hands full playing against the run away first place New Jersey Outlaws Saturday and will be idle Sunday.  If the A's can take two in Danville Saturday and Sunday, they'll have a tremendous opportunity to upend the Warriors in the standings.  Both Akwesasne and Brooklyn will be in action again Wednesday, with Brooklyn playing in Danbury, and the Warriors hosting the Dashers.  By the time next Wednesday night is through, there will be three games remaining in the season.



Where will the Brooklyn Aviators be then?  We'll see.  Gotta drop the pucks first.






SATURDAY NIGHT PUCKS

Game One of Two

BROOKLYN AVIATORS
vs.
Danville Dashers

From,
Some ice rink in far-off Illinois







Mike.BTB

Friday, February 24, 2012

LIU Blackbirds ~ Win Regular Season Title; Number One Seed

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH








2011-2012

LIU-BROOKLYN BLACKBIRDS

Back-To-Back
Northeast Conference Regular Season Champs





To Coach Jim Ferry, congratulations.  Make that back-to-back regular season NEC titles.  In defeating Fairleigh Dickinson Thursday evening, the Blackbirds clinched first place and the number one seed heading into the Northeast Conference Tournament where they will officially begin defending their NEC championship of a season ago.  They will meet eighth-seed Sacred Heart in the first round.



I had my reservations about LIU having to finish the regular season on the road.  Unlike the success they've enjoyed inside the Wellness Center this season, on the road the Blackbirds were only a 7-7 team.  The second place Wagner Seahawks stayed on the Blackbirds' tails all season like a bag of salt.  A mere game behind in the standings, Wagner was also scheduled to finish their regular season with two games on the road.  But unlike LIU, the Seahawks flourished as a visiting team, amassing a 11-2 record before Thursday night's action.



Wagner won Thursday's game against Bryant to improve their NEC record to 15-2, and upped their overall mark to 24-4 under Coach Hurley for what will end up being the best overall record in the Conference.  Their win over Bryant also bumped their road record up to 12-2 as well as the game being their ninth win in a row. 



But the team that handed Wagner two of it's four losses this season, also won Thursday evening  making all this academic.  The race for the Conference's number one seed is won.  LIU-Brooklyn retains it's NEC regular season title.  Similar to Wagner's streak, the Blackbirds' 91-80 defeat of Fairleigh Dickinson was LIU's eighth win in a row.  Both teams have one more game to play.  LIU (16-1) will finish against Monmouth, while Wagner will end their regular season against Central Connecticut State.  At this point, the best Wagner can do is tie LIU for the best Conference record.  But LIU owns the tie-breakers.



Technically one of the highest scoring teams in the country, the LIU-Brooklyn Blackbirds were led by their two Junior forwards; Jamal Olasewere, and Julian Boyd; whom both celebrated scoring the 1,000th points of their respective collegiate careers this season.  And in his first full season as a starter, guard Jason Brickman has earned the accolades of his team mates and Coach, in addition to gaining national attention with his 7.2 assists per game average.



Thursday against Fairleigh Dickinson, Julian Boyd established a new career high with twenty rebounds, with eighteen coming on the defensive glass.  He also contributed twenty-one points as part of a dominating effort in the Blackbirds' clincher.  LIU out rebounded FDU 47-35 for the game.  Jamal Olaswerer pulled down eight of those boards, and dropped a game high twenty-four points on FDU.  He scored eighteen of his points in the second half.  And in a team high thirty-five minutes played, Jason Brickman distributed thirteen assists against just two turnovers.



FDU shot only slightly better than LIU from the field.  In return, LIU shot slightly better than FDU from beyond the arch.  But as has been the case over many games and Blackbird victories this season,  the Hoops of Flatbush made their opponents pay for their mistakes at the line.  They won Thursday's exchange of free-throws by a game tilting 25-6 margin.



LIU's final game of the regular season will be tomorrow, Saturday, February 25th, in New Jersey where the Blackbirds will take on (9-8) Monmouth, who tentatively can end up anywhere from the fifth to seventh seed in the coming Conference tournament.




THE FOLLOWING 8 TEAMS QUALIFIED for the 2011-2012 NORTHEAST CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT:

* Seeds are tentative Prior to Saturday's Games.

1) - LIU-BROOKLYN BLACKBIRDS
2) - Wagner Seahawks
3) - Robert Morris Colonials
4) - St. Francis (Brooklyn) Terriers
5) - Quinnipiac Bobcats
6) - Central Connecticut State Blue Devils
7) - Monmouth Hawks
8) - Sacred Heart Pioneers






Mike.BTB

Thursday, February 23, 2012

BKN Aviators ~ Huge Game Looms vs. Akwesasne

From the desk of:   THE SKATES OF FLATBUSH









BROOKLYN AVIATORS:   Losing Altitude!



A season after soaring through a miraculous, end of season winning streak to qualify for the playoffs and ultimately make it to the Finals, the Aviators find themselves caught in a tailspin which threatens their chances of a playoff spot this season.


They are running out of time and short on fuel.  Flying is such an unnatural thing anyway.  But right now, with seven games left, the A's are flying on fumes.  Very simply, they are having trouble scoring goals and can't get any lift.  Their fourth loss in a row; this time against the first place New Jersey Outlaws, in which they could only manage one third-period goal scored by Michael Thompson, and were 0 for 7 on the power play; now puts Brooklyn squarely into a must situation Thursday against the Akwesasne Warriors in their last head-to-head match up of the season.  The Warriors just swept a two game series from Brooklyn last weekend to leap-frog them in the standings and into fourth place.


While Brooklyn still has sixty-four points, Akwesasne has only sixty-three.  But the advantage they hold over Brooklyn is in percentage points.  the Warriors sit at .538, while Brooklyn lags behind with a .496 winning percentage.  For Flatbush, seven games remain in the season.  And Thursday, they get the Warriors one last time.


The A's and Outlaws played a President's Day game at The Hangar with Brooklyn hoping to gain some ground on the idle Warriors.  It wasn't to be though.  But Flatbush goalie, Josselin St. Pierre, made sure the A's wouldn't go down without a fight.  And that's just what he did when both goalies left the crease and had at each other.  Yes, Josselin St. Pierre fought with New Jersey's goalie Dan McWinney towards the end of the game.  The only ones missing at that point were the Hanson Brothers.


For his part, Dan McWinney stopped thirty-five of thirty-six Brooklyn shots on goal.  Josselin St. Pierre faced thirty-three shots and stopped thirty in taking another loss.




THURSDAY

Akwesasne Warriors
vs.
BROOKLYN AVIATORS

From,
Hangar Five, Flatbush Avenue
BROOKLYN







Mike.BTB

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

N.Y. Rangers ~ New Mission; Quiet the Assembling Naysayers

From the desk of:   RAISE GRESCH WITH THE GREATS





THE RIVALRY - GAME V

GAME ONE;   NYI 4 - NYR 2
GAME TWO;  NYR 4 - NYI 2
GAME THREE;  NYR 4 - NYI 2
GAME FOUR;  NYR 3 - NYI 0

Rangers Lead Series 3-1



FRIDAY NIGHT PUCKS

New York Islanders
vs.
NEW YORK RANGERS

From,
33rd Street at 7th Avenue
NYC






With ten more wins, the Isles can equal a number (35) they haven't achieved since the 2007-2008 season.  And being as the Isles are coming into the Big Apple for Friday's game, see how you like these apples Ranger Fans:

*Marian Gaborik is the Rangers' leader in points with fifty.  John Tavares has fifty-eight.
*Marian Gaborik is the Rangers' leader in goals with twenty-seven.  Matt Moulson comes in at twenty-five.
*Derek Stepan is the Rangers' leader in assists with twenty-six.  P.A. Parenteau obliterates him with forty-two.


That kind of stuff makes you want to pull off the Nash trade doesn't it?  It speaks to me too.  Be disciplined!






NEW YORK RANGERS:   Part of Building for the Future is Avoiding the Quick Fix.  And What the Blueshirts are Building Towards, Can Not Be Completed on February 28th.   If Another Year to Groom a Few More Suitable Players is Needed, So Be It.


And If You Haven't Noticed ~ HERE COME THE DEVILS!



With the trade deadline six days away, the Rangers no doubt have issues that need to be addressed.  Along with that, decisions will have to be made.  To trade, or not to trade?  That is the question.  And recently getting shut out by the Penguins only makes this an even more perplexing proposition to ponder.



At present, we are in first place of the Eastern Conference with a nine point lead over the Boston Bruins.  The Blueshirts' strengths lie in their overall defense; a strong penalty kill; goal tending; playing effectively within their zone; a strong fore-check; and tremendous overall work ethic; and Coaching.  On the weak side, the Rangers lack another potent scorer; could use some more size; suffer from an impotent power play; and they leave themselves little margin for error.  And they seem to be areas that can be addressed by acquiring one person; Rick Nash.  We know.  But there will be a steep price to pay.


That said, the following are matters which concern me most as the season winds down between now and April.  First and foremost, what did I tell you?  Don't look now, but here come the New Jersey Devils.  Someone opened the doors and all hell is breaking loose.  They now have 74 points, and have made their way into second place of the Atlantic Division.  And why not?  Like the Rangers, they've pounded the Flyers this season.



The Devils played a back-and-fourth January, only managing a 6-6 record.  In February they heated up.  They are 8-2 so far this month.  And they did it against a few teams like Philly; Pittsburgh; Toronto; Montreal 2x; and the New York Rangers.



What's wrong with that picture?  The Devils beat the Blueshirts the last two times they've played.  And the Devils, while not offensively overwhelming at the time, twice stopped the Rangers' momentum cold, led by the resurgent Martin Brodeur.



What's more is the Devils have played Toronto, Montreal, Ottawa, and Pittsburgh, with a little more success than the Rangers have this season.  And now, the Devils are only seven points behind the Rangers in the Atlantic Division.  Yes, that's even better than Boston if not for the Bruins being a division leader.  Oh, and Zach Parise, Ilya Kovalchuk, and Patrick Elias, all have scored over 50 points this season.  Put those things together, and I say there is a storm brewing over the horizon.



The Rangers themselves, need to play better against the entire Northeast Division.  Aside from Buffalo and Boston, the Rangers have not done well against Montreal, who truly pounded them earlier this season.  They dropped their first two games against Toronto before gaining a measure of revenge and beating them in the third encounter.  But with speed and physicality, Toronto really gives the Rangers problems.  But not as many problems as Ottawa has posed this season.  I don't have an answer for that one.  So against those three teams, things must change for the Rangers.  Because they can't go through another swing through that division like they did last, and, have trouble with the Devils as well, and not have the Rangers' position in the standings adversely compromised.



Next Monday

Battle of the Hudson - IV

New Jersey Devils
vs.
NEW YORK RANGERS

MSG, NYC


I'm sure you've started to hear "them" - like I have.  The naysayers are starting to speak with doubting tongues.  If the Rangers have a short term mission, by taking care of matters on the ice, they should do themselves a favor and mute those naysayers.  There is a growing chorus trying to diminish what the Rangers have accomplished so far.  They point to the Pittsburgh Penguins playing without Sidney Crosby most of the season; the Washington Capitals underachieving yet again; and at the fading Philadelphia Flyers; as possible explanations why the Rangers are enjoying the success in the standings they are.  My opinion on that line of thought strikes me as being quite amateurish on their part.  If they haven't been watching every game, and watching consistently over the last three seasons, then what they say, sounds unlearned.; at least to me.



Having said all that, I still am on record saying I do not want to make a team altering trade.  I stick by that.  And even if rebuilding the Rangers bleeds into next season, so be it.  I believe in this plan.  But that doesn't mean I am not without my concerns.






Mike.BTB

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

NJ/BKN Nets ~ The Night D-Will Lit Up the Garden

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH









NJ/BROOKLYN NETS:   In the Midst of LINsanity, the Knicks' Crowd Was Frantic at the Garden Last Night.  Deron Williams Silenced Them All.



Beating the Knicks last night was probably the most fun I watched Deron Williams have since becoming a Net.  The assumed to be despondent point guard wasn't exactly Michael Jordan dropping fifty.  But it was still one of those singularly special games; like Reggie Miller had a few times; that every once in a while gets applauded in the Garden or at least admired with great respect.  Deron Williams had one of those games last night and in the process left the Knicks, and especially the Garden crowd, humbled.  Thirty eight points isn't the stuff of legends.  But burying eight three-pointers is the stuff home town headlines are made of.



The Nets haven't moved yet.  So the fact the Knicks' angle of last night's loss to New Jersey dominated the tabloids today is wholly expected.  But I ask you, once the move to Brooklyn is made and the Nets become a member of NYC's home teams, what kind of treatment will the papers give the newer kid on the block?



The Mets, Yankees, Giants, and Jets don't have such issues.  But the Rangers do.  The storied New York Rangers Hockey Club, who are in first place of the Eastern Conference and who share the same arena as the Knicks, can't get a back page, ever.  So, last night's game just got me to thinking -should Deron Williams have that kind of night as a Brooklyn Net.., A) - Would Deron get splatted all over the back page like a hero?  Or, B) - Will the spin be centered around the elder city team falling to it's younger Johnny-come-lately?



Just saying.



And what of being seemingly despondent over his situation with the Nets?  Well, the key word is, seemingly.  No one knows what he really feels.  That's why assumptions about his eventual departure from the team are easy to make.  Me?  Outwardly, he's saying the right things and leaving the door open like a good responsible person would.  Upon leaving Utah, he came to the Nets with some nagging rumors concerning his attitude and some nonsense about getting a coach fired.  If there was ever a situation begging for Deron Williams to act-out, wouldn't it be this one?  Call me an optimist, or a fool.  But he's been a stellar player and team mate, playing in a not so stellar situation.  I'll still take my chances and hope for the best, meaning he stays.  And in beating the Knicks last night, the Nets now have ten wins; only five less than the Celtics who currently own the eighth spot in the Eastern standings.



All it takes is for the "secret agreement" to come to fruition, and Dwight Howard signs with the Nets in the off-season.  Or, with Brook Lopez back on the court, perhaps a trade with the Magic can be revisited.  The secret agreement has nothing to do with the Hotel/Motel/Holiday Inn summit Howard and Mikhail Prokhorov held prior to the season's start.  I merely speak to the rumor Deron Williams and Dwight Howard want to play together in Brooklyn.



Dwight Howard hasn't felt what Deron Williams felt last night.  After a game like Thursday's, it's probably safe to say Deron has now gotten a really good taste of the kind of electricity this town can generate.  He seemed to relish in the moment.  And I think he liked it...ALOT.  I think he liked beating the other team in the area.  For the moment, this still is, what it's been - a NJ/NY rivalry.  But being able to do that to the Knicks wearing a Brooklyn jersey I believe speaks very loudly in the skull of Deron Williams.



Players say all they care about is being in a position to win.  I'm going to tell you something, outside of getting drafted by their team, deciding what kind of fans they want to play half their games in front of, and where they'd like to live, play into their decisions as well.



The Nets play the Orlando Magic Wednesday night.  In a perfect world and over a good steak dinner, maybe all it takes is for Deron Williams to start telling Dwight Howard about the great night he had lighting up the Knicks in the Garden and how the place was frantic and silenced at the same time.  Then all it takes is for them to start looking up at the sky, satisfied with a good meal, and wondering what the two of them can achieve together in Brooklyn.



The NBA is like that.  References on demand.





Mike.BTB

Monday, February 20, 2012

Nets vs. Knicks ~ The Night LINsanity Took Over the City

From the desks of:   THE HOOPS OFF FLATBUSH  and  DUTCH PANTS CAN'T JUMP











TONIGHT

NJ/BROOKLYN NETS
vs.
NEW YORK KNICKS

From,
The Arena at 33rd Street and 7th Avenue
that Jimmy Dolan is furiously trying to renovate ever since
the Nets started building Barclays Center in Brooklyn.








This whole LINsanity thing started when the Knicks and the Nets last met at the Garden on February Fourth.  I guess Happy Anniversary is in order.  Aside from the Knicks winning that game, that's the night Coach D'Antoni sent Jeremy Lin on the floor in a last ditch attempt to create something; anything.  The Knicks, and Coach D'Antoni, were desperate.  Jeremy Lin then proceeded to completely break down Deron Williams and damn-near broke his ankles.  And for tonight at least, it makes for a good revenge factor if you're the Nets, and perhaps we get a fun President's Day game as a result.


But since that night, Jeremy and the Knicks have been on a tear. And not just against the NBA's middle of the road teams like the Jazz; T-Wolves; Kings; and Raptors. They've beaten some of the League's elite. Add Dirk Nowitzki and the defending champions Dallas Mavericks to a list that includes Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers.


The Knicks' February fortunes came on the heels of two games to open the month, where they played Chicago and Boston down to the final buzzer, but lost.  They'd rebound the following night against New Jersey.  Only now (what's a great story without revisionist history?) that last game in MSG against the Nets gets marked as the night when the Knicks mercilessly unleashed LINsanity upon the League.


Hey man, don't get me wrong.  No one around here believes in things like pot luck.  This is a show me town.  That's why incredibly, there isn't a fan in the house who'd get caught looking this gift horse in the mouth.  Everybody seems All In with Jeremy Lin.  And why not?  Jeremy Lin is making believers of almost everybody ever since he busted up D-Will's ankles two weeks ago.  The Knicks are 7-1 since that night and the city has been LINsane ever since.  Even more remarkably, they've done this without Melo.  While Carmelo is another story, it's freakin' true.  All hail Jeremy!  And I'm the eternal pragmatist..., remember?


You watch him and think, why can't everyone do this?  He plays like coaches teach.  What he's doing is so fundamentally sound it screams Notice Me!  And now that he's got every one's attention, he's still going out there and performing with damn-near textbook execution.  Does he get that from attending Harvard?  Because he's also proving himself to be incredibly smart on the floor.


Smart and capable are only the beginning.  Now he's showing us he's going to be tough too.  What I've seen over the last four games were the opposition's first two adjustments designed specifically for Jeremy Lin.  And I've watched them both fail.  Teams tried forcing Lin to his left.  When he outplayed that plan, I then noticed teams trying make him pay the price for entering the paint.  Strike two.  He outplayed that plan also.  He just maintains his dribble and distributes well with a good awareness of where the other four bodies on the floor are.  That's not to be confused with passing well, which he does.  And this has all been possible because he's popping from the outside.  In nine short games, he's commanded his own respect because of his ability to penetrate the lane and either dish or finish, as well as take any open shot they dare him to take, and bury them in key moments.


It is what it is.  So, I don't just see a player riding a hot streak, or a wave.  Jeremy Lin is actually paving his own way through the opposition like a capable point guard can.  Even with all his turnovers, and missed shots, he's outplayed his mistakes so far, and has been nothing but money in the fourth quarter.


What now?  Just continue playing the game.






Mike.BTB

N.Y. Mets ~ MET YEAR NINE A.D. (After Doubleday)

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET





WELCOME TO

MET YEAR NINE A.D.
(After Doubleday)
in the
Age of WILPONianism




The State of METropolis:

2012

"In the Absence of a Declaration of Rights for The Fans"



Welcome to the 50th Anniversary Season of the New York Metropolitan Baseball Club.  Unfortunately, that's the best you're going to get from me today.  First, you must know I do not relish in mocking my beloved ball club.  I just believe in accountability from ownership.  And well..., in the absence there of, this is warranted.  Time and again, against the fan's better sense, this organization has repeatedly lied about it's status and health.  So in the spirit of Spring Training, today will be more of a stretch and light exercise in passive aggression than anything.  Now that you've been warned, welcome back to the New York Mets portion of my blog; HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET.  And it's nice to be back butting heads by the way.



How apropos is it that The SAUL B. KATZ DILEMMA finally gets it's day before the Senate during the Ides of March.  Wilpon the Elder, Wilpon the Younger, and Saul the Passive, can either once and for all lay this latest danger to The Dilemma to rest, or suffer an ignoble baseball death after having been bled of hundreds of millions of dollars from the Empire's coffers.  Irving Picard and his small army of para-legals are at the gates boys.  A gold piece is perhaps in order for any jury member who doesn't harbor contempt against rich people ripping off rich people.  Good luck with that.



Sadly, as the Mets open up camp in Florida, The Saul B. Katz Dilemma continues to head straight into the sun.  Or if you'd like - the S.S. Wilpon continues to head straight for the iceberg.  Whichever.  It's your team too.  If you don't know by now, the overall term given to any and all folly relating to Met ownership under King PON and Son of PON's reign is, and has been dubbed by me, The Saul B. Katz Dilemma.  The Mets are Saul's dilemma because he's just a stooge in the Age of  Fred's WILPONianism.  We are now entering Year Nine of the post Nelson Doubleday era.  Consider yourself updated.



Pitchers and Catchers!  It's time for Day Manager Lil' Jeffrey to roll up the gates on the 50th Anniversary at the old man's Roosevelt Avenue Mets-R-Us.  And for all you kids, Sandy Alderson will be on hand to give out balloons, candy, and Funny Tweets.  Don't miss out!



Even if I was joking, I can't help but think somewhere, peacefully, lies an old New York Giants' season ticket holder who had enough gumption to stand up to not only stiff, grumpy, old, 18th century born men, but to the Baseball establishment itself.  She was part of a group that put Major League Baseball under threat of direct competition via forming a new league.  Mrs. Joan Payson invested into and born unto this city the New York Metropolitans; Mets for short.



Loosely translated, our Mets were born of rebels wanting to return National League Baseball back to New York City.  And once upon a time, the name REBELS was given serious consideration as the team's nickname.  But today, the spirit of those Rebels; the Sky Liners; are no more.  The honorable Mrs. Joan Payson must be rolling over in her grave incensed over the collapse a certain Brooklyn Dodger fan from Lafayette High School hath wrought upon her once lovable team.  For in the hands of their present owner, the viability of National League Baseball has arrived at another dangerous crucible in it's existence; one that now has literally brought fifty years of baseball in Flushing by the Bay to it's knees.  And somewhere else, alive and well, Nelson Doubleday probably sits thinking - I told you this would happen.



Oh, what in the name of William Shea hath the Wilpons done to our beloved Mets?



But if you know me or read this blog, you know I'm far more forgiving that this.  Any Met baseball is good Met baseball.  Right?  It's just that I refuse to dump on mediocre players, nor take pride in predicting another losing season if the House itself is not in Order.  And there's the rub.  The Wilpons have long swung the Gates of CITI wide open allowing Chaos and Ruin entrance into our not-so-humble new home.  Like everything Orange and Blue, "meaningful games in September" start at the top.  And there-in lies our problem.  The House is falling.



I ask you Met fans, how do you like Colorado; Seattle; Milwaukee; Texas; Atlanta; or even Baltimore?  Been to any of those places lately?  There's no need to travel anymore because in terms of being dollar foolish and penny wise, We are now like Them.  They are Us.  Welcome to America and most places that are not inclined to throw New York City teams a pity party.  Go forth young Met Fan.  Just don't let the look of bewilderment be too obvious in the face once you leave the city limits and you'll be fine.



Money Ball is upon us and that means one thing - Baseball on the Cheap.  And by the end of 2012, it could very well get worse.  It's unfortunate, and not to mention unfair, that the Mets' players are tasked with having to save an organization rather than just winning games; especially when the club couldn't afford to keep their best one from leaving.  Just keep in mind, an asset is still an asset.  And the decision not to trade Reyes last season was just a poorly disguised in-season ploy to keep the gate up.  We knowingly got duped.  It happens.



All I can say is this - The true powers that will ultimately decide the fate of the Wilpons rest not with Irving Picard or the Justice System.  They lie in the confidence of the Fan who will either chose to prop up and fund the Wilpons by reaching into their pockets for Mets Baseball, or by deciding not to, oppose them.



Power to the People.  The Future is ours.  We are the Empire State.



Let's Go Mets!






Mike.BTB

Sunday, February 19, 2012

N.Y. Rangers ~ Don't Smash The Cap With Nash

From the desk of:   RAISE GRESCH WITH THE GREATS








NEW YORK RANGERS:  Save Our Cash.  Pass On Nash.



Fellow Ranger Fans - Do we really want Rick Nash?  Be careful what you ask for because you just might get it.  Me?  I'd rather have Vinny Prospal back.  But then again, as the deadline nears, I am even less interested in making a major deal than I was a week ago.  Tonight, let Rick Nash come and go from your view without nary a thought.  He could help us this season.  I grant the trade supporters that.  But he'd be disastrous to our future.  And I believe this Rangers team is closer to being complete, than it is in need of making such an alteration.  The off-season strikes me as a far better time for us to make such a fix.


In addition to the instant burst of offense many believe he'd supply, I know the other argument as a long-time Ranger Fan myself.  The Rangers have an opportunity to get a player we've always longed to have; a really tough guy on the ice who can score goals.  We've long wanted the perfect hybrid player mix of Nick Fotiu and Mike Gartner.  And this is as big a chance we've had as any.  Am I wrong?  If you're really interested in going there, bring back Sean Avery.  Sean Avery is still one of the most gifted wingers to ever work behind the goal.  I always thought Avery was as good as Wayne Gretzky when passing from behind the net.   But this is not a plea to bring Sean Avery back.  Avery no longer fits, and neither does Rick Nash.


My fellow Ranger Fans, instead I say to you,  -  This is our moment of truth.  Are we to make a full break from past practices and continue building this team according to a cohesive plan and sound philosophy?  Or, will our impulses get the better of us yet again, and steer us towards the big splash.  When faced with adversity, to do the impulsive thing; to make the rash decision; and undermining your principles; are the easy things to do.  To stick with the plan put in place; to practice patience; to stay committed to an organizational philosophy; to have self-discipline; are all hard.  To go back to our old ways of Just Spending the Money, is easy.  To stay committed to Coach Torts' vision of and for this team, and staying on the path he's blazed for us, is hard.


I remember what "1940" used to sound like.  And not before too long, "1994" won't be far behind.  I actually know why we do Potvin Sucks.  I watched Nicky Fotiu play!  So I'm right there with you.  But we do not need to make a deal for Rick Nash.  Which ever way you size him up, the up-front cost, and the long term ramifications are too much and too prohibitive, as tempting as he may be.


To not believe in what we're doing is easy.  To believe is hard.


Lets Go Rangers!



TONIGHT

Columbus Blue Jackets
vs.
NEW YORK SOFTIES

From,
MADISON SQUARE GARDEN
33rd Street at 7th Avenue
NYC





Mike.BTB