Tuesday, July 31, 2012

BKN Cyclones ~ Thank You Ohio...No Sleep Till Brooklyn

From the desk of:   THE CONEY ISLAND NINE

BROOKLYN CYCLONES: Brandon Nimmo Starting to Find His Grove at Plate as a Lead-Off Hitter.

Brooks Take Second Straight.  Win Series 2-1 Over Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
Finish Road Trip 4-2.  Remain Two Games Out of First Place.

Having completed a 4-2 road trip, the Boardwalk Bums packed up the team bus last night, and started the long but happy drive from Ohio, back to Coney Island, where they will enjoy a well deserved day off today; Tuesday.

In Monday's action, Brandon Nimmo hit the cowhide off the baseball for the second consecutive game.  And after dropping game one of this now concluded series, the Cyclones came storming back with two resounding victories over the Mahoning Valley Scrappers in game two and three.

Batting lead-off for the sixth consecutive game, Brandon Nimmo went 3 for 5 in Monday night's game, with two doubles, one RBI, and two runs scored.  Over the first four games of the trip, he was just three of seventeen at the plate.  In his last two games however, he has seven hits in his last eleven at-bats.  Since being moved into the lead-off slot for game one of the prior series against Batavia, he is batting .357, based on ten hits in twenty-eight at-bats.

On Monday, starting pitcher Rainy Lara tossed a phenomenal game for Brooklyn.  It didn't start that way though.  He allowed a single, and a run producing double in the first inning, but then proceeded to keep the Scrappers quiet over his next six innings pitched.  In all, Rainy pitched seven full innings, allowing just a run on three hits.  He issued no walks, and struck out a season high ten batters.  With this effort, he lowered his season ERA to a 2.72 mark, and earned his fifth win of the season against just one loss.

Jayce Boyd hit a two RBI single in the third inning to put Brooklyn ahead.  With the bases loaded in the fifth, an RBI single by Stefan Sabol plated two more runs for Brooklyn, to make it a 4-1 game.  Then in the sixth inning, the Cyclones picked up their fifth and final run when Brandon Nimmo doubled home Eudy Pina.

The Cyclones' bullpen took care of the rest.  David Wynn struck out two batters working the eighth inning.  And Paul Sewald closed out Brooklyn's 5-1 victory allowing a hit, and striking out one batter in the ninth.

The Cyclones are now 25-17, and remain two games behind the first place Hudson Valley Renegades.  After today's off day, the Cyclones will host three games against the Connecticut Tigers on the old lots of Steeplechase.


Monday, July 30, 2012

N.Y. Giants ~ ACL Fails Terrell Thomas a Third Time

From the desk of:   DO IT FOR THE DUKE

NEW YORK GIANTS FOOTBALL:  Down Goes Terrell Thomas..., Again!  Same ACL an Issue for 3rd Time in Career.

Right on cue, here's the drama Jerry Reese was looking for out of Giants Camp, for injury has reared its ugly head again in the most familiar of places; Terrell Thomas' lower extremity.  Please say it isn't so!

Terrell Thomas hurt his ACL once again.  What a Big Blue blow to the Secondary, and to Thomas' career.  After missing all of last season, there wasn't a Giants fan alive who wasn't excited to see him back on the practice field this summer.  Now, for the second pre-season in a row, everyone in attendance watched him walk off it.  For the second consecutive time, he will not be available for Opening Day.

Surgery may, or may not be required.  That is still yet to be determined.  But he will not be playing; or at a minimum playing effectively for the Giants defense; any time soon.  This now makes three times he injured the same ACL.  And depending on the still unknown extent and severity of the injury, he may not come back from this one.  The odds are not in his favor considering his history of recurrences.

This also really throws a monkey wrench into the whole Aaron Ross to Jacksonville thing.  Prince Amukamara must now put his own injury history behind him, and step-up big time for the Giants this season.

....And Camp has only just begun.


BKN Cyclones ~ Brandon Nimmo Helps Knot Series Against Scrappers; Rubber Game Tonight

From the desk of:   THE CONEY ISLAND NINE

BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  The Surf Avenue Sluggers Are Back!  Three Home Runs Power Brooks Past Mahoning Valley.

Series Tied 1-1
I - M.V. 3; BKN 2
II - BKN 10; M.V. 5

Ask and ye shall receive.  A day after pointing out some of the Cyclones offensive woes, the Surf Avenue Sluggers struck back with a "Take That!" response for me, your author.  Late Sunday afternoon, the Brooks smashed out sixteen hits, and scored ten runs in game two of their series against the Mahoning Valley Scrappers of Ohio.

Brooklyn took a 3-0 lead right away.  Brandon Nimmo led off the game with a single.  Batter number two; Jeff Reynolds; drew a base on balls.  Then Phillip Evans stepped in against Mahoning's starting pitcher; Ryan Merritt; and crushed his fourth home run of the season.  Two batters later, as quickly as Ryan Merritt's day started, was as quickly as it ended.  Before he could finish out the first inning, Merritt was lifted for Mahoning Valley's first relief pitcher of the game; Josh Martin.

In the second, Julio Concepcion and Brandon Nimmo hit a pair of two-out, back-to-back home runs, giving the Cyclones a 5-0 lead.  The Scrappers got a run back in the bottom of the second, and scored a second run in the third inning.

Brooklyn's starting pitcher; Julian Hilario; only pitched three full innings.  He allowed five hits and two earned runs.  He issued one walk and struck out four before leaving the game.  Beck Wheeler took over pitching duties for Brooklyn in the fourth, and pitched very well over three scoreless innings.  He walked two, and struck out six batters.

After loading the bases full of Cyclones in the fifth, an RBI sac-fly by Jayce Boyd ended Josh Martin's night.  In to pitch came Scrapper reliever number two; James Stokes.  Alexander Sanchez said hello to him with an RBI single to drive home Phillip Evans with Brooklyn's seventh run of the game.  In the sixth inning, the Cyclones pounded out another four consecutive hits, and scored two more runs off Stokes for a 9-2 lead.  They would scored one last run in the eighth inning on an RBI single by Jayce Boyd to make it a 10-2 game.

Out of the bullpen, Brooklyn's Timothy Peterson got roughed up for three runs in the home eighth.  Otherwise, Logan Taylor closed out the ninth inning for the Cyclones, securing a 10-5 win.  Julian Hilario was credited with a no-decision.  Beck Wheeler got the win for his three scoreless innings of work.

Coach Donnelly has been batting Brandon Nimmo in the lead-off spot during this current road trip through Batavia and Mahoning Valley.  While his .240 batting average this season indicates a struggle, his .368 OBP is something Coach Donnelly was looking to exploit at the top of the order.  But over the first four games of this trip, the results weren't so good.  He batted 3 for 17, with one double, and drew only one base on balls.  He then had a monster game on Sunday.  Against Mahoning Valley, Brandon Nimmo went 4 for 6, with a home run and a double.  That was Brandon Nimmo's third home run and eleventh double in 150 at-bats this season.


Sunday, July 29, 2012

BKN Cyclones ~ The Travelling Brooks Drop Game One in Ohio

From the desk of:   THE CONEY ISLAND NINE

Mahoning Valley Scraps Together a Win in Game One.


By nature, the New York Penn League is a pitcher's league.  No one knows this better than the Cyclones.  Their hurlers are dong a fine job carrying the club this season.  And historically, they always have.  But there is no hiding the fact the Cyclones' offense is not as potent as say, past year's versions; ...not nearly.  Saturday's line-up was for intent and purpose, their regular starting line-up.  Among them, Alexander Sanchez tops the list with a .273 batting average.  At the opposite end, Juan Carlos Gamboa is sporting a .202 average.  The collective starting line-up so far is batting .237 this season.  And now they've slipped two games behind in the McNamara Division to the first place Hudson Valley Renegades.

After taking two of three in Batavia, the Cyclones arrived in Ohio Saturday to play the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.  Hansel Robles was Brooklyn's starting pitcher.  Luis DeJesus started for the Scrappers.

After five innings of work, Robles left on the winning side of a 2-1 game.  He surrendered five hits, among them a home run to Mahoning's Joe Sever, but not much else.  Hansel struck out seven and did not walk a batter.  In six innings pitched, Luis DeJesus left with his team trailing by one.  He allowed five hits and walked none, while striking out two.  Brooklyn scored in the first and third inning off him.  After Brandon Nimmo led-off the game with a single, Kevin Plawecki drove him home with a two out double.  In the third, Eudy Pina scored on an RBI single by Jayce Boyd.

John Mincone came in to relieve Hansel Robles for the sixth, and pitched two scoreless innings, allowing two hits, and striking out one.  For the Scrappers, Scott Peoples came out of their bullpen to take over for DeJesus.  He kept the visitors scoreless in the seventh, and eighth innings, issuing one walk, striking out two, with no hits against.

David Wynn took over pitching duties for Brooklyn in the eighth.  And once he walked the lead-off batter, traditional thinking says trouble promptly follows.  But the Cyclones quickly erased Wynn's base on balls by turning over a 5-4-3 double play.  No matter though, trouble found its' way through to the Cyclones anyway.  The very next batter reached first base safely on an E-3 by Jayce Boyd.  Mahoning Valley's Joe Sever (remember him?) then stepped up again, and launched a two run home run; his second of the game; to give the Scrappers a 3-2 lead.

In the top of the ninth inning, Jayce Boyd and Kevin Plawecki both looked at strike three.  Stefan Sabol at least offered and struck out swinging against Mahoning's Cody Penny, who closed out his second save of the season.  Scott Peoples earned the win in relief.  Brooklyn's David Wynn suffered his first blown save and loss, pitching for the Cyclones.

Rain delayed the game for a little over an hour.  The Cyclones record now stands at 23-17, and as losers of six of their last ten, have now even slipped behind the State College Spikes by percentage points for the Wild Card.  Game Two of their series in Ohio is scheduled for late Sunday afternoon.


N.Y. Mets ~ Ike Davis' Bat is Antibiotic for Desert Fever

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS:  Ike Davis Breaks Out in a Different Kind of Fever in the Arizona Desert.

Return to Sender; Ailment Unknown....  If that sounds like it could have once been a collaboration between Elvis Presley and the Mets' medical staff, then the joke is on us.  With the team doctors' recent history of either indecision, or just plain getting things horribly wrong, then diagnosing something no one ever heard of before, then hoping for the best, seems like a new tactic in practice to me.  I'm sorry.  Was that unfair, or worse, inaccurate?  Then let's say that was just a little shot across the bow to remind the powers that be, I haven't forgotten about the guys with the stethoscopes.  I do not want to speak for the fans.

But Ike Davis' batting average still leaves fans pondering whether he is over the effects of that desert fever contracted earlier this year.  Me?  I want to convince myself his current .218 batting average is an ugly number more representative of the Mets' overall problems, and not necessarily Ike Davis' own struggles negotiating the Mendoza Line, much less an alien cache of symptoms.  He's got those long arms he must unfold before generating his swing.  So if his timing is not (even-)more in tune than the next guy's, Ike will suffer greatly.  Or did we forget his prolonged absence from the game due to that freak "pedal" injury?  If he has taught us anything now, it is when Ike has his timing down, gets extension and connects - Look Out!

Since June, he's been inching away from the infamous Mendoza Line of demarcation which separates the bad hitters from even worse hitters.  It's been a slow process for Ike.  But his power stroke is without a doubt, in full effect again.  And that makes fans forget a lot.  But if timing is everything for him at the plate, then it is Ike and the Mets who now find themselves out of sync.  The team played well in the first half largely minus any production from Ike Davis.  Now that the first baseman is cranking up his game, it is the Mets who are floundering.  Just how much a resurgent Ike Davis can compensate for the present lack of pitching which carried the Mets in the first half, desperately remains to be seen.  If Jason Bay can only, and I do mean only, put forth a representative effort, and Lucas Duda can return and contribute,  then I'd say...maybe, just maybe, outscoring teams could be one way to get Wild.  But at this point, why bother digressing into that?

Saturday night, Ike's bat scoffed over any perceived effects from an ailment that bares the Arizona desert's name.  But even before last night's personal fireworks show among the cacti, Ike Davis' season was already shaping up.  He spent all of April, May, and twenty-eight days in June batting below the .200 mark.  On June 27th, he finally broke through the Mendoza Line, and went home sporting a .201 batting average.  He dipped again.  Then on the last day of June, he went 2 for 4 to end the month with a .203 mark.  Also on that June 30th game against the Dodgers, he hit his eleventh home run of the season.  For the month of June, he batted .264, hit six home runs, and totalled a significant twenty-four RBI.

July comes to a close this Tuesday.  In this month, he is batting at a .256 clip.  His RBI are down from June.  He has fifteen so far.  But his home runs are up.  Ike has nine in July, with three monsters coming last night.  Of his twenty-one hits, twelve have been for extra-bases.  For the season, Ike now has twenty home runs, and sixty RBI, with sixty-one games left to play.  If you dabbled in the "What Ifs" in life, his numbers would astound.  And to think, the Mets (or was it the fans; or was it the Media?) thought Ike should perhaps be sent to Buffalo for a refresher course.  Again, I digress.

As the Mets are currently on the road, somewhere off in a quiet room among the empty hallways of Citi Field's offices, a doctor may lurk wiping his brow in relief for averting something his textbooks never taught him about.  Good thing for us, Ike Davis is a self-healer.  One thousand two hundred and seventy-four feet of self-administered home runs worked like a charm.  The antibiotic turned out to be Arizona itself.  Go figure.

Ike Davis became the ninth Met in history to hit three home runs in one game.  In my experience, I think only Dave Kingman (1976) can rival the cumulative distances each baseball travelled.  Although, Darryl Strawberry (1985) might have something to say about that.


Friday, July 27, 2012

BKN Cyclones ~ Heading To Ohio One Game Out of First Place

From the desk of:   THE CONEY ISLAND NINE

N.Y. Daily News - Brooklyn Cyclones Hand Out ~ 2001 Inaugural Season

Brooklyn Wins Series 2-1
I - BKN 3; BAT 1
II - BKN 7; BAT 1
III - BAT 2; BKN 0

Batavia Muckdogs Bite Back In Series Finale.
Ohio, Here We Come!

Plus ~ McNamara Division Friday Evening Wrap-Up

Brooklyn caught an early afternoon break.  The Tri Citi Valley Cats took the first game of a double-header against Hudson Valley, allowing the Cyclones to gain a half-game on the first place Renegades before ever stepping on the field.  And so the Brooks entered Friday night's game against Batavia one game behind the Renegades for the McNamara Division lead.  Hudson Valley still had an evening game to play however.

That said, make that three consecutive games this series in which the Batavia Muckdogs jumped out to a 1-0 first inning lead over the Cyclones.  They scored off Brooklyn starter, Luis Cessa, with a lead-off single by Alex Mejia, and a one out RBI double by Garret Wittels.  On the mound starting for Batavia was Joe Cuda.  Over the first four innings, he retired the Cyclones in order.  After the first inning, Luis Cessa matched zeroes with him.

Brooklyn was still looking for their first hit as the teams entered the fifth inning.  Finally, they got it.  A lead-off double by Alexander Sanchez broke the seal.  Or, so it seemed.  Joe Cuba struck out the next three batters to turn back Brooklyn, and raised his total to seven strikeouts for the game.  Luis Cessa then pitched a scoreless bottom half of the fifth to keep the game a 1-0 affair.

In the sixth inning, Batavia made a pitching change and summoned Corey Baker to relieve Joe Cuda. Dimas Ponce then led off with a single.  But Corey Baker retired the next three Brooklyn batters.  Luis Cessa's night was also finished after five innings although he left on the losing side.  Coach Donnelly called on Matthew Bowman to pitch the sixth.  After a lead-off single and a stolen base by Patrick Wisdom, Bowman retired the next three Muckdogs.  Both relievers went on to pitch a scoreless seventh inning as well.  Three strikeout by Corey Baker brought Batavia's total to ten for the game.  And to this point, Brooklyn's Luis Cessa had issued the only walk of the game.

With eight hits in the game, the Batavia Muckdogs were coming up short with runners on base.  Through the first seven frames, they were 1 for 11 with runners in scoring position.  While Brooklyn, still behind by a run, was being limited to just two hits.  The game pressed on and into the eighth inning they went.

After Corey Baker secured the first out in Brooklyn's half of the eighth, Batavia brought Ryan Copeland into the game.  The Cyclones had a runner on second with one out after Juan Carlos Gamboa singled, and moved to second on a wild pitch.  Then with runners on first and second with two outs, up came Brandon Nimmo, who struck out swinging, and was thrown out at first base (K, 2-3) to complete the play.  Gamboa's hit was only Brooklyn's third of the game.

Tyler Vanderheiden took over pitching duties from Matthew Bowman in the home half of the eighth.  With one out, Patrick Wisdom singled.  A batter later, David Washington drove Wisdom home with a clutch, two out double, to give Batavia a 2-0 lead.

To close out the game for Batavia, the Muckdogs called upon Yunier Castillo to pitch the ninth inning.  After issuing a lead-off walk to Phillip Evans, Castillo set down the next three Cyclones in order, striking out Stefan Sabol swinging to end the game.

Although he pitched well, Luis Cessa was tabbed with the loss.  He now has a 2-2 record this season, but lowered his ERA to a 2.78 mark.  Batavia's Joe Cuda, who struck out seven while issuing no walks, gets credit for his fourth win of the season without a loss.  Yunier Castillo notched save number five.

Opportunity Lost:  With tonight's loss, the Cyclones gave back the half-game Hudson Valley afforded them earlier in the day.  That put Brooklyn 1.5 games behind the Renegades again even before Hudson Valley's second game went final.  But as luck would have it, the Tri Citi Valley Cats shut out the Renegades 7-0, to sweep their double-header.  Worth noting about the second game, Tri Citi's starting pitcher, Brian Holmes, took a no-hitter into the ninth inning before Hudson Valley's center fielder, Joey Rickard, broke it up with a clean lead-off single to right field.  Brian Holmes, like Batavia's starting pitcher, Joey Cuda, won his fourth game of the season, against one loss.  He finished out the game pitching a one-hit, complete game shutout.  And with Hudson Valley's game two loss, and suffering a sweep at the hands of the Valley Cats, Brooklyn ends the night only one game behind the Renegades who lead the McNamara Division.

What you should know about New York Penn League rules however, is that each game of a double-header will be seven innings in length, not nine.  That's A-ball folks.

The Cyclones will now continue along with their great western road trip.  Get ready Ohio!  Here comes Brooklyn.  The Seaside Sluggers will play the Mahoning Valley Scrappers over the weekend before returning back home to Coney Island.  The Staten Island Yankees concluded a series against the Scrappers tonight.  They dropped the first game of a double-header 5-3, but had game two cancelled due to weather.  Let's hope the skies clear up in time for Brooklyn's arrival.

Let's Go Cyclones!


N.Y. Yankees ~ Ichiro; The Wizard Comes Home

From the desk of:   BLAME CARLOS MAY

New York YANKEES:  Ichiro Suzuki Finally Debuts in The Bronx.

The first thing that comes to mind is, can the Yankees retain Ichiro long enough, and can he play well enough for a few more years, in order for him to get his 3.000th major league hit in a Yankees uniform?  He is 464 away and seems a cinch to achieve the feat.  The only real question is where will he do it?

For now, he gets to partake in Yankees~Red Sox.  I'm sure once tonight's game is through, Ichiro will be describing the differences between this game, and most other games he's played in.  Too bad he's getting short changed though.  For the moment, the Rivalry isn't what it could be.  The Red Sox haven't exactly played up to snuff this season.  As far as the A.L. East is concerned, Boston is a last place club.  Not good by any stretch, they are just a game under the .500 mark.  That's something that probably no one saw coming.  But once Bobby-V donned his Sox for the first time in Spring, even Sweet Caroline was copping an attitude.  Then incredulously; at least to me; Boston traded Kevin Youkilis away to Kenny Williams and the ChiSox.  That was all Bobby Valentine folks.  Trust me on that one.  Take it from a Mets fan.

Change is upon the Red Sox.  And in most cases, popular players do not exit the Sawx on the greatest terms.  The Lansdowne Street Pilgrims maintain a system of casting players out of the colony when you're on the verge on no longer serving the greater good.  Nomar Garciapara, Pedro Martinez, Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, Jonathan Papelbon, Derek Lowe, (etc.) and Kevin Youkilis were all effectively, and unceremoniously, given their walking papers in one form or another.  Big Papi is next.  Everyone knows it.  And earlier in the season, he didn't exactly have good things to say over their treatment of him.  To be quite honest, I'm actually surprised he is still on the team; albeit on a one year deal.  If you're a big fan of his, take a good look this weekend, because after this season, David Ortiz be gone too.  But hopefully not before the notorious Yankees' killer unleashes some destruction against Bombers' pitching this weekend.

Make no mistake though, there's been a new sheriff in Boston for almost four full months now.  Changes to the Beer and Chicken Gang, and for the last playing member of The Idiots have only just begun.

The Yankees are tied with the Washington Nationals for the best record in Baseball.  Otherwise, I could could care less about what they are doing right now.  Maybe during this series, I'll actually deal with the Yankees in a fair manner.  No promises though.



161st Street and River Avenue
Bronx, New York City


Thursday, July 26, 2012

BKN Cyclones ~ Taking A Bite Out of Batavia Muckdogs

From the desk of:   THE CONEY ISLAND NINE

BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  The Coney Island Nine have taken the first two games of their great western road trip so far, with a pair of wins against the Batavia Muckdogs.

On Wednesday night, the Muckdogs scored once in the first and again in the fifth, while Batavia's starter, Ben Freeman, cruised through his first five frames.  Staked to a two run lead, he allowed Brooklyn three scattered hits and no runs.

Gabriel Ynoa started for the Brooks.  He allowed both Batavia's runs.  Overall he pitched six full innings, surrendering eight hits, striking out five, while walking none.  He left on the winning side of this game however, because the Cyclones rallied for three runs in the top of the sixth.

Ben Freeman's outing fell apart rather quickly.  He allowed a lead-off single to Jayce Boyd.  Kevin Plawecki lined out hard to right for out one.  After a Ben Freeman wild pitch put Boyd on second, Alexander Sanchez tied the game with his first home run of the season.  Stefan Sabol then followed with a second consecutive home run; his second; to knock Freeman out of the box on the losing side.

That was the extent of the game's scoring.  After Gabriel Ynoa put Batavia down with a pair of strikeouts in the home sixth inning, he took to the showers as reliever Paul Sewald took over on the mound.  Sewald pitched the final three innings against the Muckdogs.  In picking up his second save of the season, he turned in a stellar performance, allowing but one hit and striking out two.  Starter Gabriel Ynoa improved his record to 2-1 on the season.

Coach Donnelly juggled the line-up and gave Brandon Nimmo a shot at the lead-off spot.  Although he is currently only hitting .228 this season, the center fielder's .369 OBP warranted a try.  He went 1 for 4 in the game, with a double, and a walk.  Stefan Sabol was 2 for 3 in the game with a home run and a double.


On Thursday and for the second consecutive game, Batavia jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead in the first inning.  And the score stayed that way through the first seven innings of the game.  Batavia's Tyler Melling pitched the first four innings against Brooklyn.  Then Lee Stoppelman made an early appearance out of the bullpen, and kept the Cyclones in check for another two innings.

Luis Mateo started the game for Brooklyn, and put forth a very good effort, but was ultimately credited with a no-decision.  In 6.2 innings of work, he allowed the Muckdogs six hits, and limited them to the one run Batavia scored in the first.  Otherwise, he walked no batters and struck out seven before handing the game over to the bullpen.

Batavia's one run lead turned into a four run deficit in the top of the eighth inning.  Brooklyn broke out for five runs against the Muckdogs' third and fourth pitchers of the night; Brandon Creath and Joseph Scanio.  Three consecutive singles by Phillips Evans, Jayce Boyd, and Kevin Plawecki set up a bases loaded/no outs situation for Alexander Sanchez, who lofted a sac-fly to right, delivering Evans from third with the tying run.  Stefan Sabol then followed with his twelfth double of the season which scored Boyd to make it a 2-1 game.  That's when Batavia summoned Scanio to replace Creath on the mound.  No matter though.  Brooklyn's Jeff Reynolds introduced himself with a RBI single, and Eudy Pina's sac-fly scoring Sabol made the score 4-1 Cyclones.  Brandon Nimmo's RBI single then gave Brooklyn their fifth run of the inning.

Brooklyn reliever Logan Taylor was the beneficiary of those runs.  He previously closed out the seventh with one/third inning of work in relief of Luis Mateo.  He allowed one hit.  The bottom of the eighth was Matthew Koch's job though.  In fact, he pitched the ninth inning as well.  Overall, he allowed one hit and struck out one batter.  Logan Taylor was credited with the win however.

The Cyclones picked up two more insurance runs in the ninth.  A throwing error by pitcher Joseph Scanio allowed Jayce Boyd and Kevin Plawecki to score making it a 7-1 game, and eventual final.

Brandon Nimmo batted lead-off for the second consecutive game.  He was 1 for 5 with an RBI.  That makes him 2 for 9 batting from the top slot this series.  Stefan Sabol continued his hot hitting by going 2 for 5 in the game with two doubles and an RBI.  Jayce Boyd was 3 for 5, with two runs scored.

Prior to heading into Western New York, the Cyclones dropped a pair of games to the Aberdeen Iron Bird.  That allowed the Hudson Valley Renegades to take over the McNamara Division lead.  These last two Cyclones' wins have helped Brooklyn stay with 1 1/2 games of the Renegades.  Hudson Valley is in the middle of a seven game winning streak.  The Cyclones are now 23-15 on the season.  The Hudson Valley Renegades sport a slightly better 24-13 record.

Brooklyn will wrap up this series with the Batavia Muckdogs on Friday before continuing their westward journey towards Ohio, where they will take on the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.  Hudson Valley will be playing a double header versus the Tri Citi Valley Cats.  Another win against the Muckdogs will be key for the second place Cyclones in order to keep pace.


N.Y. Mets ~ No Malcontents Allowed

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS:  You Haven't Earned The Right To Glare At Anybody!

Hey!  Just shut up and pitch!  That goes for Pedro Beato, and now more vehemently, for Tim Byrdak.

The Mets can't have two pitchers now pointing fingers at Josh Thole.  How about having command of your pitches first.  I know Coach Terry took care of this in a stern way after Wednesday afternoon's game.  But had I been catching and Tim Byrdak stared me down like that, he would have suddenly become unavailable for the next day.

When you've done something credible as a relief pitcher, then you might have a leg to stand on and then maybe you can stare in at the Mets' catcher.  But as a team mate, that crap doesn't fly; not on a team I was in charge of.  WHO ARE YOU?  And what have you done?  A washed up pitcher who never had an ERA below 3.00 and who never could average less than four walks per nine innings is going to glare at Josh Thole?  No!  If I was running things, he'd have been cut right there because we're losing with him, so we can lose without him as far as I'm concerned.

No malcontents allowed!


BKN Nets ~ Rivalry Versus Knicks Finally Has a Home in Brooklyn

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

BROOKLYN NETS:  New York Knicks Scheduled to Cross the River and Help Inaugurate Nets Basketball Inside Barclays Center.

It's on!  Reports have it the first clash of the city's cagers will take place on November 1st inside the Barclays Center.  The Manhattan Knickerbockers will cross over the bridge and visit Brooklyn to open up the 2012-2013 regular season in the borough's brand spanking new arena.

The schedule makers must have found favor with the occasion of Brooklyn's first game and just might feel a lot like many fans in Kings County; excited and filled with anticipation.  I know the denizens of Brooklyn feel that way because I travel the borough extensively on a daily basis and talk to as many folks as I can on the subject of Nets/Knicks.  And so far I'm finding a preponderance of Brooklynites pledging their support for the Nets.  I wholly expect games at Barclays not to get over run by Knicks fans.  What happened in New Jersey over the years will not happen here.  I am overwhelmingly positive the Brooklyn Nets will enjoy a very distinct home-court advantage.  And they won't have to wait much longer.  Once the season is set to start, the rivalry will kick off right away.

The Hello Brooklyn campaign has made it to Broadway in a sense.  Joe Johnson looms large in the above billboard affixed to the M and J train Broadway El overlooking eastbound traffic on the  Brooklyn-Queen Expressway.  And in the pictures below, construction continues on Barclays Center which will stage as part of it's grand opening, a series of concerts held by the team's minority share owner; Jay-Z.

With Dwight Howard long out of the picture till at least January, Brook Lopez and Kris Humphfries are officially re-signed.  And I think the Nets will be bettor off for it.  In some applied news, the D-train subway stop formerly known as Atlantic Avenue/Pacific Street, will now be known simply as Barclays Center.  And another report says the Nets are actually trying to trademark the term - "Brooklyn's Backcourt"- which speaks of the tandem of Deron Williams and Joe Johnson.

Barclays Center ~ July 2012


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Urban Art ~ More from HEF; Williamsburg

Wythe Avenue
North 12th Street and North 13th Street
Northside, Brooklyn

Art by Hef and his Associates


The Verrazano Bridge Leaper

There he is.  Form your own opinion.

Picture provided by my friend Harry at


Tuesday, July 24, 2012

N.Y. Mets ~ Seven Days Left to Assess 2012 Options

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS:  If These Players Do Not Get Something Done, It Won't Get Done.  The GM Is More Concerned With Next Year.

Finishing with an 82-79 record, the 1973 Mets clawed and fought their way back into contention to eventually win the N.L. Eastern Division title by a mere 1.5 game margin over the St. Louis Cardinals.  That team also went on to dismantle the Big Red Machine in the National League Championship Series, but fell one game short in the World Series against the dynastic Swingin' A's.  Aside from Game Seven in Oakland, we're talking about great memories right?  Those were good times if you were around back then.  No?  I mean, what's not to appreciate about a National League champion?

But readers, I tell you now, I do not aspire to be the 1973 Mets.  Don't get me wrong, winning pennants, or at a minimum being part of the post-season is why they play the game, and why we root for them.  But for these Mets, I aspire for them to be something far greater than just an eighty-two win team.  Be generous with wins if you like.  For the moment however, there is much to address to even get back to that level after falling below .500 for the first time this season.

The Mets' problems have become far too numerous for Sandy Alderson to address them all at the trade deadline.  The Mets now need one, and perhaps two starting pitchers.  Their need for a right-handed slugger to balance out their lefty-heavy line-up, also still continues to have a direct effect on Lucas Duda's production because he has no protection behind him.  And, his struggles may even cost Duda a trip to Buffalo to make room for Matt Harvey.  Then of course, the bullpen needs a near-complete renovation again.  Like clock-work, they imploded Monday night in a confounding extra-inning loss.  So that's too many areas needing attention with too few chips the organization is willing to part with in order to get anything of significance done.

If there is something more dramatic on the horizon involving Lucas Duda, Nieuwenhuis, or other current household names, I'd be astonished.  If the Mets traded off a couple of useful players, like Scott Hairston, for something slightly more than a fair return, I'd be pleased.  And if the Mets sit tight at the deadline, I wouldn't be the least bit surprised.  But there's a large portion of Mets fans who aren't interested in that kind of talk.  They want their General Manager to make a concerted effort towards gaining one of two Wild Cards right now.

Like a General Manager, let us take stock of the situation.  The Phillies and Marlins have woefully underachieved this season, while the Braves and Nationals are pulling away.  So where does that leave the Mets?  The answer is two games under .500 after losing to the Nationals Monday night.  They now trail the Nats by 9.5 games in the standings, and are five games out of a Wild Card spot.  Less than seventy games remain in the regular season.

The Mets have now lost all but one game since returning from the break.  More precisely, they started July with a 3-4 mark before the break, and have a 1-9 record since regular season games resumed.  That adds up to a 4-13 record in July.  Their good start to the season back in April, is now officially spent.

If these Mets do not get something done, it won't get done.  As I stated in a previous post, the Mets need for bullpen help in 2012, is the same need they will have in the 2013 season.  The bullpen will be addressed regardless of the Mets standing this year.  So I expect Sandy Alderson to be busy in that respect.  But I do not see him doing much else.

This year's edition of Mets were meant to sink or swim.  The 2012 season was meant to assess and judge.  The keepers were to distinguish themselves from the potential trade chips.  A core was supposed to start gravitating together, while the club's future rotation was in training down below.  The General Manager no doubt started this season with questions.  And by season's end, he will no doubt have some answers.  Sandy Alderson's mission is, and always was, to get this team contending starting in the 2013 season.  The only stick thrown into the spokes to this point, was the Mets played quite well in the first half, and altered many fan's expectations, and had others willing to go off course in pursuit of something we may no longer have any business chasing.  Sandy Alderson certainly wasn't going to stop the Mets from contending in 2012, but I do not think he ever had a genuine plan to help them along in the way of acquisitions either.  And truth be told, I'm on his side.

The General Manager will most likely use every last available minute over the next seven days to decide on....anything.


Monday, July 23, 2012

N.Y. Rangers ~ Blueshirts Land Rick Nash


Brandon Dubinsky ~ New York Rangers
2006/2007 - 2011/2012

NEW YORK RANGERS:  After Decades of Searching, the Blueshirts Finally Captured the Elusive Anti-Smurf.

The Rangers have their man.  He cost them a very popular player in Brandon Dubinsky, another gamely young center in Artem Anisimov, defensive prospect Tim Erixon, and a 2013 first round draft pick.  In exchange, Rick Nash will now don a Blueshirt.

Many feel he is the missing piece that will get the Rangers over the top.  But more significant are the pieces the Rangers did not send packing for Columbus in order to complete the deal.  Derek Stepan, Ryan McDonagh, and Chris Kreider are all still Rangers.  Had the Rangers pulled the trigger on this deal at last season's trade deadline, the trade would have cost the Rangers substantially more.  Instead, they now have their cake, and can eat it too.

This is the second time Glen Sather recently showed excellent patience and didn't act in haste to reel in an impact player.  He landed free agent Brad Richards with patience, and has now acquired Rick Nash, albeit in a trade, through patience as well.  The Rangers are now well stocked with all the pieces they need to surround these two centers.

Rick Nash is exactly the kind of player the Rangers have needed for decades. Think tough, think scorer, and think championship!  That's right, I said it.  He is the anti-Smurf.  He's big, immovable in front of the net, and can put the puck in goal with consistency.  He's not a one dimensional player.  He's a total package play making centerman.  He will also be accountable on defense and play it with tenacity.

I'm very sorry to see Brandon Dubinsky go however.  He was part of the original group Coach Tortorella identified and decided to move forward with.  Dubinsky, Ryan Callahan, Marc Staal, Dan Girardi, and Henrik Lundqvist formed the initial core that has delivered us to this day.  Brandon Dubinsky will go down as one of the most popular Rangers ever.  And I'm sure we will remind him of that the first time he returns to Madison Square Garden next season.

But make no mistake, I am excited to have Rick Nash on board.  He fits in extremely well here.  Rangers fans, we finally have a player like Nick Fotiu again, but one who can score on a regular basis.  The puck on next season can't drop soon enough for me.

Let's Go Rangers!


Urban Art ~ Latest By HEF and His Crew

This is one of the latest wall murals in urban art graffiti from
the crew that brought you Cereal Killers on Wythe Avenue:

Wythe Avenue at North 12th Street
Northside, Williamsburg


Sunday, July 22, 2012

BKN Cyclones ~ Brooks Take Staten Island in Twelve; Keep Hold on First

From the desk of:   THE CONEY ISLAND NINE

Battle of the Boroughs - II

Brooklyn and Staten Island Tie Series 2-2
BK 1; S.I. 0
S.I. 4; BK 2
S.I. 3; BK 1
BK 2; S.I. 1

BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  The Surf Avenue Sluggers Keep a Hold On First Place; Gain Series Split Versus Yankees.

They went into the ninth inning tied at one apiece.  The visiting Staten Island Yankees' starter, Corey Black, tossed six innings, surrendering only a run to Brooklyn on six hits, and only one walk.  He struck out six before giving way to the bullpen.  Then Yankees' Josh Romanski tossed a scoreless seventh inning, and Dietrich Enns pitched the eighth without harm.

For the Cyclones, Hansel Robles was making his sixth start of the season, and looking for his third win.  But after pitching eight superb innings, he left to a no decision.  He allowed Staten Island six hits, one walk, and limited them to one run, while striking out a season high nine batters.

The Surf Avenue Sluggers took a 1-0 lead in the fourth.  After Dimas Ponce led off with a double and was thrown out at third trying to stretch it into a triple, Phillip Evans followed with another double.  Alexander Sanchez then hit the third double of the inning off Corey Black to drive home Evans.  The Bombers finally tied the game in the seventh off Robles.  Jose Rosario doubled home Matt Snyder with the tying run.

John Mincone took over for Hansel Robles and pitched a scoreless ninth inning.  Mariel Checo; Staten Island's fourth pitcher; was called upon to pitch the home ninth against the Brooks.  He kept them scoreless, striking out two, to send the game into extra-innings for the second time this series.

Mincone retired the Yanks in order in the tenth.  But in the bottom half of the inning, Mariel Checo pitched himself into, then out of trouble.  Eudy Pina led off the home tenth with a single.  A sacrifice bunt and an E-3 moved him to third base.  Checo then intentionally walked the bases loaded.  Kevin Plawecki followed with a fly-out to center but with no advancement of the runners.  Alexander Sanchez then ended the threat with a grounder to second.

In his third inning of work, John Mincone faced the minimum in the eleventh.  Charles Basford relieved Mariel Checo for the Bombers, who set the Cyclones down quietly.  Then Brooklyn's Tyler Vanderheiden was brought into the game to pitch the twelfth inning of play.  He escaped a first and third situation with two outs, and struck out Exicardo Cayones swinging to stop the Yanks cold.

In the bottom of the twelfth with Charles Basford pitching, Brooklyn's Dimas Ponce singled with one out.  Kevin Plawecki hit a two out single that moved Ponce to third base.  Then Alexander Sanchez finally drove home the game winning run with an RBI single to center field.

After some superb relief work out of John Mincone, and a stellar eight inning starting performance from Hansel Robles, Tyler Vanderheiden earned his first win in relief this season, off one inning of work and walking two batters.  Hey, it's like that sometimes.  Staten Island's Charles Bradford gets credited with the loss.  Bradford is now 0-2 this season.

The Brooklyn Cyclones earned a split in the second installment of the Battle of the Boroughs.  Games One and Four were both won by the Cyclones in extra innings.  Thursday night's Game One was a fifteen inning affair.  Overall, the Cyclones lead the season series against Staten Island five games to three.

Brooklyn needed this win to keep pace with the Hudson Valley Renegades, who won their game 8-2 over the Aberdeen Iron Birds.  The two teams are now tied for the McNamara Division lead with identical 21-13 records.  Staten Island is next, trailing Brooklyn and Hudson Valley by seven games, and now sport a 14-20 season record.

The Cyclones' win also gets them one game (9-8) over the .500 mark at home.  The Cyclones will host Aberdeen for two games before hitting the road for a pair of series against Batavia and Mahoning Valley.  The Cyclones have played very well on the road and will look to improve their 12-5 mark away from Coney Island.  But first, they'll look to gain some separation from the Renegades by taking on the McNamara Division's last place club in the Iron Birds.


BKN Cyclones ~ Staten Island Quiets Brooklyn; Game Four Today

From the desk of:   THE CONEY ISLAND NINE

Battle of the Boroughs - II
BK 1; S.I. 0
S.I. 4; BK 2
S.I. 3; BK 1

Game Four Today in Coney Island

BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  Brooks Drop Second Straight to the Richmond Count Bombers.

Richmond County packed the house and watched their Baby Bombers take a second straight game from the visiting Cyclones Satrurday night in the Ballpark at St. George, and now lead this installment of the Battle of the Boroughs two games to one.  The Brooks will now look to gain a series split in Game Four on Sunday in Coney Island.

After Bombers' starting pitcher Evan Rutckyj allowed Brooklyn one run in the third, he clamped down on them for the rest of his seven innings pitched.  The Cyclones' lone run came on a home run by DH Jeffery Glenn.  Otherwise, Rutckyj allowed three scattered hits, walked one, and struck out six.  Reliever James Pazos took care of Brooklyn over the last two innings.  He allowed one hit, and struck out one batter for his second save of the season.

Luis Cessa made his sixth start for the Cyclones.  He was just fine through five innings, somewhat matching Staten Island's starter.  Luis surrendered but three hits and one earned run.  He walked walked two and struck out four before giving way to the bullpen in a 1-1 game.  Matthew Bowman was first out of the Brooklyn pen, and got roughed up by the Yanks.  He allowed five hits in two innings pitched.  He surrendered the go-ahead run, an additional insurance run in the sixth, and took the loss.


Saturday, July 21, 2012

NWK Bears ~ Sixty Games Down; Forty To Go

From the desk of:   THE BRICK CITY NINE

NEWARK BEARS:  Brick City's Ace Starter; Mike Ness.

Sixty games are in the books.  Forty remain.  The Bears are currently playing a series against the circuit leading Quebec Capitales, in which they have dropped the first two games so far by a combined 26-8 score.  Two weekend games remain for the Bears to try and gain a split in the series.

The Bears and Worcester Tornadoes have been taking turns holding up the pack, as both have fallen on very rough times this season.  The Bears are currently taking their turn in last place with a 17-43 record.  The former cellar dwelling Worcester club is a fraction better with a 17-42 record.  Both teams are losers of their last eight games, and nine of their last ten.

On a better note, Bears' starter Mike Ness, is coming off being named Pitcher of the Week ending July 15th.  The soon to be twenty-five year old became the second Bears' pitcher to be recognized as such.  Earlier in the season, closer Jorge Vasquez was awarded the distinction.

Mike Ness is indeed enjoying a good campaign.  In twelve starts this season he has logged eighty-two innings, for a 6.2 innings per game average.  He has forty-nine strikeouts, while walking twenty-one.  His 3.73 ERA goes along with a 6-2 record.  His six wins are just three off the league leader pitching for Quebec.  Mike has earned four wins in his last six starts.

But on July 11th in a Wednesday matinee game, he no doubt pitched the game of his career.  In front of a robust home crowd at Bears and Eagles Riverfront Stadium, that exceeded four figure attendance, Mike Ness faced thirty-one Quebec Capitales.  In pitching nine full innings against the first place team from Canada, he allowed no runs, walked one batter, struck out eight, and most significantly,  surrendered no hits; not one.  Mike Ness did indeed pitch a nine inning no-hit victory over Quebec.  While he did allow one walk, six Newark errors in the field would ensure this would not be a perfect game.  He threw 123 pitches; 85 for strikes.  Eric McGee hit his fifth home run of the season to support the effort.

In his next and latest start against Rockland on July 17th, he earned a no-decision after tossing another seven innings of shut-out ball.  In that game, he limited the Boulders to three scattered hits.  So in his last sixteen innings pitched, he has allowed a stingy three hits and no runs.


Friday, July 20, 2012

BKN Cyclones ~ Battle of the Boroughs II; Yanks Take Game Two

From the desk of:   THE SURF AVENUE SLUGGERS


I - Brooklyn Wins Series 3-1
Brooklyn 2; Staten Island 0
Brooklyn 4; Staten Island 1
Brooklyn 7; Staten Island 2
Staten Island 8; Brooklyn 1

II - Series Tied 1-1
Brooklyn 1; Staten Island 0
Staten Island 4; Brooklyn 2
Game Three in St. George
Game Four in Coney Island


BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  Baby Bombers Gain Spilt After Game Two.  Teams Head Back Over Verrazano Bridge For Game Three in Staten Island.  Series Wraps Up in Coney Island on Sunday.

In the opening game of their second series together, the visiting first place Cyclones needed fifteen innings In Staten Island to put away the Yankees.  Starting pitcher, Gabriel Ynoa pitched six shutout innings and give up one lone hit to Staten Island batters.  He walked two and struck out three before exiting a scoreless game.  Staten Island's Andrew Benack last four innings for the Yankees and surrendered four hits and no runs before giving way to the bullpen.

For the game, Staten Island's pitching was getting by, somehow managing Brooklyn for fourteen innings.  The Cyclones wrapped eleven total hits, with four doubles in the game.  But the Seaside Sluggers had troubles pushing runs across the plate as they batted a mere 1 for 14 with runners in scoring position.  The Yankees didn't fare much better batting 0 for 7 with runners in scoring position.  Seven Brooklyn pitchers limited the Yankees to four hits all game.

Late in the night, Dimas Ponce led off the top of the fifteenth inning with a double off the fifth Staten Island pitcher, Alex Smith, who was in his third inning of work.  Dimas moved to third on Jonathan Clark's bunt single.  Richie Rodriguez then lifted a fly to center, on which Dimas Ponce tagged-up from third and scored the games only run.

Out of Brooklyn's bullpen came Tyler Vanderheiden to preserve the lead and end the game.  He made it interesting by walking a batter and hitting another.  But with a strike out, and inducing his last batter into a game ending double play, his sixth save of the season was secured, as was the Brooklyn Cyclones' twentieth win.


The series crossed over the Verrazano and headed back to Coney Island for Friday night's second game of the series.  Under threatening skies and Fall type weather conditions, Staten Island took an early 1-0 lead after two innings, and a 3-0 lead after three against Boardwalk Bum starter, Luis Mateo, who was making his sixth start this season, and in search of his fifth win.  But the Baby Bombers had other ideas.

The Yankees' Gabriel Encinas managed five innings pitched.  He allowed six hits and one earned run.  He struggled a bit walking for, but also recorded four strikeouts.  Evan DeLuca took over for Encinas and pitched the next two innings, and also allowed Brooklyn one run.  But that's all the Surf Avenue Sluggers would get this night.  Stefan Lopez and Taylor Garrison kept the Cyclones subdued over the last two frames to preserve a 4-2 Yankees victory.

Brooklyn scored lone runs in the fifth and sixth innings.  Kevin Plawecki had an RBI single to put the 'Clones on the board.  In the sixth, Jayce Boyd led off with a double.  The next batter, Eudy Pina, also doubled to drive in Boyd for the home team's second and last run of the evening.  In this game, the Cyclones batted 2 for 10 with runners in scoring position.  That makes them three for their last twenty-four times at bat with RiSP.

Starting pitcher Luis Mateo is now 4-2 on the season.  He pitched six full, and allowed six hits, and four earned runs.  He surrendered one home run, walked three and struck out three.  Beck Wheeler and Ernesto Yanez combined on three stellar innings in relief however.  Wheeler struck out four batters in two innings of work.  Neither allowed Staten Island a hit, and issued no walks.

Brooklyn's lead in the McNamara Division is now just one game over the Hudson Valley Renegades, who defeated the Aberdeen Iron Birds by a 3-2 score Friday evening up in Fishkill, N.Y.  Staten Island's third place standing is unchanged.  They now sport a 13-19 record, and are seven games back of the Cyclones.

Friday's loss drops Brooklyn to 8-8 at home.  They have not enjoyed the dominance yet, they are so accustomed toused to in Coney Island.  On the road is where they have played best, to the tune of a 12-4 record.  The hottest team in the League, the Stedler Division leading Tri-Citi Valley Cats are tops in the circuit with twenty-four wins.  The Cyclones are second with twenty.


N.Y. Mets ~ David Wright's Stellar Season Will Cost Mets Plenty

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS:  David Wright Continues to Drive Up His Price.

How much are two more home runs worth?  David Wright hit his thirteenth and fourteenth home runs of the season in Thursday's matinee game against Washington.  For every round tripper David Wright hits without a new contract extension, his price tag continues to go up.  The longer he maintains a lofty batting average, his price goes up.  For every game he continues to be one of the top RBI guys in the National League, his price goes up.  Every day he receives consideration as an MVP candidate, his price skyrockets.  And the longer this keeps up, the more overwhelming support David Wright will have from the fan base, and the more obliged Fred Wilpon will be to meet David's price.  Or something like that.

Didn't Sandy Alderson and David Wright's representation say they were going to start talking about a new deal by now?  Of course I know this is the wrong time to bring up contract matters.  We're making a run for a playoff spot.  I get it.  This is precisely why teams, and/or players, sometimes chose not to deal with such matters in-season.  It's a nuisance.  So that's exactly why I'm bringing it up.  But I'm only going by what the GM summarized and the time table he set just a few short months ago.

Now riddle me this?  As an owner, I would argue Fred Wilpon already knows whether or not he is committing long term to David Wright.  I mean, shouldn't he?  Isn't it reasonable to believe he has already decided David Wright's future with the New York Mets?  If I were owner, I wouldn't be foolish enough to divulge my hand per se, but I would certainly know what the plan for my franchise player was.

Sandy Alderson will, or has already, most likely formulated a revised opinion for Mr. Wilpon regarding David Wright.  The pre-season article in Sports Illustrated, in which Fred Wilpon came down pretty heavily on his third baseman, is probably no longer representative of the owner's view.  Not in light of the season David Wright is having.

Then there is what I am calling the Improbability Factor.  What are the chances we are in the midst of watching the first Mets' player to win the National League MVP?  Think about it.  After a half-century, the Mets had their first N.L. batting champion and the Mets' first ever no-hitter both occur within one calender year of each other.  So, who's to say that in their 50th Anniversary season, David Wright isn't working on becoming the organization's first MVP?

As of right now, there has been little spoken in the way of contract negotiations, if at all.  The trade deadline is right around the corner.  Would Sandy Alderson dare ship out David Wright for a bevy of top prospects, or an MLB ready reliever and just a package of prospects?  Trading David Wright now would no doubt turn into a P.R. nightmare the Wilpons would never risk at this point in their financial, emotional, and organizational, recovery.  So that leaves either a new deal, or David walks when the time comes.

If I didn't know better, Sandy Alderson seems to be engaged in a little game of cat and mouse.


Wednesday, July 18, 2012

N.Y. Mets ~ Squirming Around in a Blue and Orange Petri Dish

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS:  Especially With This Team, Perspective, and Perception, are Everything.

Forty percent of the Mets' starting pitching is on the disabled list.  The bullpen continues to blow games at an alarming rate.  For the first time this season, the Mets have lost five games in a row.  And today they find themselves seven games out of first place, and three and a half games shy of a Wild Card spot.

Having fun yet?  I still am.  But apparently, a Mets fan I know isn't.  And where there is one, there are more.

This afternoon I felt a fellow Met fan friend of mine needed some correction.  When we started discussing Tuesday night's game, he became defiantly rigid in his opinion.  He started right in on Fred Wilpon.  Now there's a name we haven't heard mentioned much, if at all, since March.  And with the unexpected winning the team has achieved this season, Mr. Wilpon has been out of sight and out of mind.  Upon the Mets losing their fifth game in a row, Mr. Wilpon was one of my friend's first targets.  Then to any of my points, he continually countered with one catch-all phrase - "They Suck.  No, they just suck."  This was clearly anger speaking.  Because he's much more intellectual than that.  But we did enjoy a good laugh over me calling him a schmuck though.

That's life in a Mets' petri dish folks.

If the old-guard Mets were two games over .500, I'd be freaking out too.  But with this younger group of players coming together, and starting to form a solid nucleus, I'm actually quite content; five game losing streak, bullpen, and all.

The bullpen is Sandy Alderson's little pet project.  Deal with that separately.  As I keep reminding folks, the Mets are still a rebuilding team.  And aside from the bullpen, the rest of the club has evolved nicely so far.

But if you're hell bent on making the playoffs this season, well then, I guess they do suck right now.  Just don't bug me with that noise.


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

N.Y. Mets ~ Amazins' Need Niese to be a Stopper Tonight

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS:   Jon Niese is on His Own on This One.

After getting swept by the Braves, and in seeming free-fall after four consecutive losses, the Mets could really use a win in Game One against Washington tonight.  More importantly, the Mets need a stopper; someone to break this funk; before they spiral out of control, and fall from contention.

Once again, it is incumbent upon Jon Niese to be that pitcher.  I also believe there is no contention without consistently strong efforts by the lefty down the stretch.  There is no R.A. Dickey and Johan Santana for this series.  So, Jon Niese needs to start rising up on these occasions.  Our pitching prospects for the rest of the series against the Nationals are sketchy, and iffy at best.  That's why he has to give the Mets something to move forward with in tonight's start.

The Mets are 3-7 in their last ten games.  That covers the month of July.  Not only is this by far their worst month of the season, but they just got swept, and they are win-less in the second half.  So it is clear, the Mets need a change of fortune.  They are also trying to fight off the stigma of a recent history of mid-summer tailspins.  The Mets have been this good, this late before, only to stumble miserably for a myriad of reasons down the stretch.  Tonight might be a lot to put on Jon Niese's left arm.  But the good pitchers win these games.

If not, and the team continues to falter, Met fans may not get what they want at the trade deadline.  Then again, they may not get what they want even if Niese does win this game.  Jon Niese and the Mets can only do one thing to affect that, and influence the General Manager - Win.


BKN Nets ~ Team Better Off With Kris Humphries and Brook Lopez

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

Barclays Center ~ July 2011

Barclays Center ~ July 2012

BROOKLYN NETS:  Team Has Dominated NYC Tabloids More in Last Two Weeks, Than in Last Twenty Years.

Dare I say, if the Nets now can just sign Kris Humphries, they are probably better off with him and Brook Lopez, than with Dwight Howard?  Yeah, I said it.  And I think it too.  With Brook Lopez dropping buckets, and Humphries banging the boards, the Nets should be in great shape.  Splitting up scoring and rebounding responsibilities also takes away the risk Dwight Howard can wipe out both facets of the game with one wrong tweak of his back.  In that case, this scenario seems to work greatly in the Nets' favor.  And don't go selling Kris Humphries short either.  This guy is emerging into a fine player.  At some point before the season starts, people are going to have to put Kardashalot behind them, and appreciate this guy.  He will be good.  He is a particularly good fit for this team as presently constituted.

These by the way, are the kind of matters that concern the Nets.  Unlike the shenanigans going on in Dolan's World, basketball matters rule the day in Brooklyn; not DUI or matching IOU's with Houston.  That team across the river is, and has been, in a state of chaos ever since the Nets broke ground on Barclays Center, Jim Dolan imported Carmelo Anthony, and ultimately pushed Donnie Walsh out the door.

But my, how the tide has changed.  This time last season, the Nets future in Brooklyn was a woeful afterthought.  A series of bad breaks, and uncertainty surrounding Deron Williams hovered over the organization like a dark rain cloud.  Billy King has changed that.  Opening night in Brooklyn, and the future of Nets basketball in the Borough of Kings looks very bright and promising now.  The Nets have dominated far more New York tabloid print space in the last two weeks, than they have in the last twenty years.  And it is coming at the Knicks' expense too.