Friday, August 31, 2012

Brooklyn Nets: 30 Pictures In 30 Days - Barclays Minus Twenty Nine Days

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

T-Minus Twenty Nine
Thirty Pictures In Thirty Days
MARCH 2011
One year after Groundbreaking Day, construction was concentrated along Altantic Avenue, at the corner of Sixth Avenue.  Already several decks high, massive diagonally positioned steel beams began to reveal the upper seating level.  As part of the eventual roofing structure, the first of two arches was near completion.  Before being hidden behind Barclays' final outer skin, the steel arches lent early character and personality to the construction site.  Pedestrians and motorists driving by alike, were also given an instant indication as to the heights Barclays Center would eventually reach.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Brooklyn Nets: Thirty More Days Till Showtime

From the desk of:   THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

September 28, 2012
Thirty More Days Until Jay-Z Blows The Doors Wide Open.


Vintage Base Ball: Gothams Base Ball Club of New York

Home Field:


Vintage Base Ball: Atlantics Base Ball Club of Brooklyn



Smithtown Historical Society Grounds
239 Middle Country Road;  RT-25
Smithtown, New York


Newark Bears: New Jersey Jackals Suffer Late Game Clawing

From the desk of:   THE BRICK CITY NINE

NEWARK BEARS:  The Final Five Games Are At Hand

The Quebec Capitales have clinched the CanAm League's division title.  The New Jersey Jackals have locked up the second playoff spot.  For the Newark Bears, the final five games of their regular season are at hand.

Wednesday night was an off day for the club.  Tuesday evening, Newark made a very short trip up the road for what is effectively their last road trip of the season against the New Jersey Jackals.  The series resumes Thursday.  After concluding this series Friday evening, the Bears will host the Worcester Tornadoes to finish out the season.

The Bears are currently 33-62, and have opened up a six game lead over Worcester.  Therefore Newark is assured of not finishing in last place.  That distinction will fall on the Tornadoes; as if they didn't have enough troubles already.

Tuesday's game was a great back and forth battle.  Both starting pitchers got bombed.  Newark's Julian Sampson faced off against Jackal's starter, Dustin Birosak.  Sampson only lasted 4.1 innings.  He surrendered nine runs; eight earned; and allowed eleven hits.  He also walked three.  Sampson  managed to strikeout two batters before getting yanked.  Birosak line was equally ugly.  In 5.1 innings, he allowed ten hits, and eight earned runs.  He walked two and struck out five.

New Jersey scored three times in the first, and picked up another run in the second, putting Newark down 4-0 early.  D'Angelo Jimenez' RBI single got Newark on the board in the third.  In the fourth, Juan Martinez crushed his seventh home run of the season to make it a 4-2 game.  New Jersey then lowered the hammer in the fifth inning.  Four hits, two errors, and five runs later, the Jackals held a 9-2 lead.

In their very next at-bat, the Newark Bears clawed back and plated seven runs to achieve a 9-9 tie.  Five Newark hits and an error later, and there was a brand new ball game to play with three more innings to go.  It was the Bears who would pull ahead.  They scored a run in the eighth and another in the ninth to complete an 11-9 win.

Pitching in the seventh and eighth inning, Anthony Pluta gets credit for his fourth relief win this season.  And winding up a rather stellar season, closer Jorge Vasquez notched his twenty-first save of the season.  He has seventy strikeouts in 42.1 innings pitched.

New Jersey Jackals
Yogi Berra Stadium
New Jersey


Brooklyn Cyclones: Overcome Five Errors For Third Straight Win

From the desk of:   THE CONEY ISLAND NINE

Cyclones     7
Renegades  4
Thursday @ Coney Island
So Far The Brooks Are 3-0 During Final Ten Game Stretch.
Flaky Defense Needs To Shape Up, Quick!


Hudson Valley....46-23   *
CYCLONES........42-27   4 games back
Muckdogs........2 games back

Before the Staten Island Yankees provided Coney Island with an assist, Brooklyn's visit to Hudson Valley was shaping up to be an inconsequential trip.  As of Sunday, the Cyclones fell seven games behind the first place Renegades in the McNamara Division race.  Then, the Bombers swept two games from Hudson Valley, and Brooklyn did the same against the Iron Birds.  Suddenly, with eight games remaining and five games to make up, Brooklyn's head to head match up against the Renegades turned out to be exactly what the doctor ordered.

So game on!

On the hill, Gabriel Ynoa opposed Hudson Valley starter, Taylor Guerrieri.  Both hurlers pitched five complete innings.  However, Gabriel Ynoa exited on the losing side of a 2-1 game.  In his five innings of work, he allowed two runs, but only one earned.  He issued one walk and surrendered four hits, while striking out four batters.  In Taylor Guerrieri's five innings, he allowed one hit, one run, and struck out four.

Hudson Valley wasted no time scoring in the first inning.  Gabriel Ynoa hurt his own cause issuing two walks.  The Renegades took a 1-0 lead on a fielder's choice.  Brooklyn tied the game in their next at-bat.  Alexander Sanchez led off the top of the second with a double.  He too, eventually scored on a fielder's choice.  In the third inning, two Brooklyn errors conspired to give Hudson Valley a 2-1 lead.

The respective bullpens took over and kept things quiet in the sixth.  For Brooklyn, Logan Taylor was called in to pitch, while Hudson Valley handed the ball off to Jordan Harrison.

In the seventh inning Jordan Harrison blinked, and the Cyclones bats struck.  Phillip Evans led off with a single.  Then Alex Sanchez, Jayce Boyd, and Malkis De La Cruz, all doubled to help give the 'Clones a 5-2 lead.  With that, Harrison was off to the showers.  Next in from the Renegades bullpen came Rob Finneran, who closed out the frame preventing further damage.  He wasn't as lucky in the eighth inning though.  Brooklyn had their way with him shortly.  After Finneran hit Gavin Cecchini with a pitch, the next batter, Jayce Boyce, answered back with his fifth home run of the season.

Coach Donnelly sent Logan Taylor out for a third inning of work.  However, the pitcher did not finish.  Two hits and an E-4 by Jeff Reynolds got Taylor bounced from the game.  Beck Wheeler was called in next, and promptly issued an RBI double, making it a 7-4 game.

The Cyclones went down quietly in the top of the ninth.  Coach Donnelly then summoned Tyler Vanderheiden to oppose Hudson Valley's attempts at last licks.  The Cyclones closer performed flawlessly, retiring the Renegades in order.  Tyler earned his eleventh save of the season, and Logan Taylor received credit for his second win in relief.

Hudson Valley's McNamara Division lead over the Cyclones is now down to four games with seven left to play.  There is still hope for a division flag Cyclones fans.  It's a slim chance, but stranger things have happened.

In the other race, unfortunately for Brooklyn the Muckdogs won again!  Batavia is 8-2 in their last ten games and winners of four in a row.  As a result, the Cyclones Wild Card lead over the Muckdogs remains at two games.  However, I'm consumed by a sense of Who is chasing Who?  Down the stretch, the Cyclones are now winners of three in a row, but are only 6-4 in their last ten.

On a side note, if you have a bunch of disposable income laying around, and you can find someone who will give you odds, bet everything that Coach Donnelly will have his team outside early in the morning going through extra fielding drills tomorrow.  Especially at this point of the season, it's better to be proactive, than taking no action at all.  Wednesday night's game must have infuriated the manager.  The Brooks committed five errors in the game.  An error in the eighth inning could have been ruinous.  They have now committed eight errors in the last four games.  And that simply will not do - Not with seven games left in the season, and not with the Muckdogs biting at Brooklyn's heals.

The 2012 Cyclones have been cut out of an old Earl Weaver mold.  Saying they play stationary baseball is an understatement.  They are dead last in the league in stolen bases, and rank second to last in team batting average.  Yet, the Bums lead the New York Penn League in walks, and rank second in home runs.  Completing the Weaver equation, the Cyclones possess the best starting rotation in all the circuit.   So the final seven games of the Wild Card race would be a horrible time for their defense to fail them.  More pressing, their attention to detail must not escape them.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Brooklyn Cyclones: Coney Island Nine Get Help From Staten Island

From the desk of:   THE SURF AVENUE SLUGGERS

McNamara Division Showdown:
Hudson Valley Renegades
Fishkill, N.Y.

Playoff Race Update:  Do not rule out a division flag yet.  The Staten Island Yankees helped their fellow outer Borough brothers by taking on the role of spoiler.  The Richmond County Bombers  defeated Hudson Valley twice in the last two days.  The Cyclones in turn, swept their two game series against Aberdeen.  As a result, Brooklyn gained two games on the division leaders, and now get to play them face to face.  At the start of tonight's two game series against Hudson Valley, the Cyclones are back to being five games out of first with eight games to play, including tonight's game.

After getting rained-out on Monday, the Batavia Muckdogs swept a doubleheader on Tuesday from the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.  The Cyclones still maintain a two game lead in the Wild Card race over the Muckdogs.


Vintage Base Ball: New York Gothams and Brooklyn Atlantics Split Twin Bill

From the deskk of:   BEND IT LIKE CREIGHTON

Vintage Base Ball Association:

After too much time away from the game, I was finally able to catch up with the keepers of our pastime again this last weekend.  On this occasion, I sailed the waters of New York Harbor and arrived on Governors Island to witness a twin bill between the Brooklyn Atlantics and Gothams Base Ball Club of New York.  The Gothams, New York City's only Vintage Base Ball representatives, began calling Governors Island home with the start of the 2012 season.

The last time I observed the Brooklyn Atlantics Base Ball Club in action came when I travelled to Bethpage, Long Island, for the Opening of the 2012 local Vintage Base Ball season.  Since then, they have gone on to do what they do best, win base ball games.  Forty matches into their season, the ABBC sport a 32-8 record.  They sputtered through their first four scheduled matches.  The Boys  from Bethpage then reeled-off sixteen consecutive victories before falling on June 24th to the Providence Grays.  It was only their third loss in twenty-one matches.

However, the Atlantics were not without their problems.  By their standards, they struggled of late.  Since losing to Providence back in June, the ABBC has limped(?) to a 14-5 record.  Injuries started taking their toll.  And for the first time all season, they lost two matches in a row during the Gettysburg Tourney in July.  Third baseman Shakespeare and center fielder Toothpick, have missed substantial time this season.  However, the team will offer no excuses.  Nor should they.  They still field a very formidable squad.


ABBC Scorecard and
"Take Me Out to the Ball" Game Sheet Music

I learned two more things about the Brooklyn Atlantics Base Ball Club this past Saturday.  First, in addition to their superlative defense, they have tremendous depth.  In Shakespeare's absence, I watched Wild Horse make numerous diving plays at third base.  His overall effort was just stellar, not to mention dirty.  And in Toothpick's place, Black Jack patrolled center field like he owned it.


Secondly, you may add crafty to the list of Brooklyn's epithets.  By no stretch are they the base ball diamond version of the Harlem Globetrotters.  Instead, the Atlantics are defiantly savvy at most appropriate times.  In game one, Brooklyn put an end to Gotham when they successfully pulled off the ol' hidden ball trick.  The play secured the final out of a 10-7 victory.  Atlantics pitcher, Hammy, and first baseman Flash, conspired together and flawlessly executed the ancient ritual.  While Hammy stood outside the pitcher's box and tied his shoe, Flash applied a tag upon the runner wandering off first base.

In the late match, ABBC shortstop, Dream Bucket, demonstrated Brooklyn's proficiency in the field and supreme knowledge of 1864 era rules once again.  In the third frame, the Gothams struck three consecutive hits to load the bases.  With no hands down, New York had the middle portion of their order due up against Brooklyn's hurler, Pigtail.  The next Gothams batter hit a can of corn Dream Bucket's way.  The shortstop smartly dropped the ball, recovered, then stepped on second base for out number one; tagged the runner standing at second for out number two; then threw to third base, where Wild Horse caught the lead Gotham runner off the bag, and likewise tagged him for out number three.  A triple play!  As the late great Mel Allen would say, "How about that?!"  On the play, credit Dream Bucket with a put-out and an assist, and a put-out for Wild Horse.  Memo to runners on base: there was no infield fly rule back then.

Overall, I felt Wild Horse, and TC in particular, were two of the more intense ABBC competitors of the day, and perhaps Brooklyn's most vocal too.  At one point, TC could be heard admonishing his mates regarding poor communication with runners on base.  Otherwise, I saw much of the same from this team.  Meaning, I become more impressed with Flash's sure, bare, hands at first base the more I see him play.  And the Dream remains smooth as silk at short.

As the host team proudly showing off their new digs, the New York Gothams will hear none of this Atlantics stuff.  And why should they?  After three matches against the Brooklyn Atlantics this season, the Gothams have won twice.  And the Gothams have injuries too.  Scratch, the former Spanish League professional, was not in action Saturday.  So the Gothams have little empathy for Brooklyn's recent struggles.

As a matter of fact, this isn't even the same team that defeated Brooklyn back in April.  Scratch aside, this group is an upgrade.  Quite literally, the Gothams have added Lightning to their team.  Offsetting Brooklyn's Dream BucketLightning played an equally smooth shortstop Saturday.  The Gothams new lead-off striker also opened the day's second match with a triple.  His team rode the early  momentum to a big first inning, and eventually closed out a late afternoon victory by an 8-5 final score.  Bugs was tasked with pitching detail.  He admitted early on, he had trouble finding the plate.  Before long however, he was in a grove, and pitched the Gothams to a late day victory.

Closing Ceremonies


Pigtail of the Atlantics and Wickets of the Gothams


Monday, August 27, 2012

Brooklyn Cyclones: Begin Final Playoff Push With Win In Aberdeen

From the desk of:   THE CONEY ISLAND NINE

Tyler Vanderheiden Gives Mates a Ninth Inning Scare.
Brooks Hold On For Win In Series Opener Versus Aberdeen.
Nine Games Left In Regular Season; Lead Wild Card By 2.5 Games

The countdown has begun.  Heading into Monday, ten games remained in the regular season.  And due to inconsistent play of late, Brooklyn's hold on the Wild Card has been slipping.  The Cyclones once led the Wild Card by as many as seven games.  Entering Monday's action, their lead had  dwindled down to two.

This week's schedule called for a road trip to Maryland.  And so, the Surf Avenue Sluggers were in Aberdeen tonight.  To open the series, Brooklyn's ace, Rainy Lara, was opposed by Iron Bird's starter, Lex Rutledge.

Through the first two innings, all remained quiet.  Then in the third, Brooklyn struck for the game's first run against Rutledge.  Cyclones second baseman, Richie Rodriguez, led off the inning with a single, then came around and scored when Dimas Ponce grounded into a fielder's choice.  Pitcher Lex Rutledge was removed after just three innings however.  Aside from the one run allowed, Aberdeen's starter only walked one batter and struck out four.

In the sixth inning, Brooklyn scored again, this time off Jamie Esquivel, who pitched four innings in relief of Lex Rutledge.  Jayce Boyd connected on his third home run of the season to give the Cyclones a 2-0 lead.

Rainy Lara completed six full innings of shutout ball and left on the winning side.  He allowed three scattered hits, walked one, and struck out four batters.  Matthew Koch was first out of the bullpen, and pitched himself into some trouble over 1.2 innings.  After surrendering a double in the eighth, Coach Donnelly turned to David Wynn, who finished out the frame, and kept the game scoreless.

Then, into the ninth inning they went.  In the top half, Brooklyn failed to secure an insurance run against Aberdeen's third pitcher of the evening, Jose Nivar.  For the bottom of the ninth, Coach Donnelly put the ball in Tyler Vanderheiden's hand.  After retiring the first two batters he faced, it looked like a good move too.  Then Coach Donnelly's closer suffered an acute bout of the yips.  With two outs mind you..., a double, a hit by pitch, a single, and an E-7 later, the Iron Birds were halfway to achieving a tie with that runner on third.  But Tyler Vanderheiden regrouped, and struck out Aberdeen's Chase Weems swinging for out number three.

Tyler Vanderheiden was credited with his tenth save of the season.  But Monday night's true king of the hill was Brooklyn's starting pitcher.  Rainy Lara earned his eighth win of the season, which ties him for the New York Penn League lead.  His 0.97 WHiP ranks seventh in the circuit.  In sixty-one innings pitched this season, he has limited batters to forty-nine hits, while issuing a mere ten walks.  His sixty-nine strikeouts rank second in the League behind his teammate Luis Mateo.

The Cyclones were actually limited to four hits.  Equally lacking, Brooklyn batted one for six with runners in scoring position.  Aberdeen doubled Brooklyn's output with eight hits.  But Brooklyn's strength; their pitching; have often made two runs stand up before.  And moving forward, they will most likely need to continue that trend.

The Cyclones have also received little in the way of out of town help over the last ten games or so.  Finally, Mother Nature found favor with the Baby Bums Monday night, and Brooklyn's neighbor and rival, the Staten Island Yankees, even provided their fellow New Yorker with an assist as well.

In the Ball Park at St. George, the Bombers hosted, then tossed the Hudson Valley Renegades into the drink.  The Yankees 8-2 win over the Renegades allowed Brooklyn to gain one game on the McNamara Division leaders.  But with nine games now left in the season, the Brooks are still six games back of first.  Stranger things have happened though.  No?

In the more pressing Wild Card race, Monday night's game in Ohio between the Batavia Muckdogs versus the Mahoning Vally Scrappers was rained-out.  So for now, Brooklyn's win allowed them to creep away from Batavia by a half game, at least for a night.  Coney Island's lead over the Muckdogs is now 2.5 games.  A double header most likely awaits the Muckdogs and Scrappers on Tuesday.


Sunday, August 26, 2012

VBBA: Vintage Base Ball On Historic Governors Island

Dedicated to the glory that is the game of Baseball and the fine men who preserve and masterfully recreate its history.  This also goes out to New York City, the American way of life, and to our men and women still in harms way defending it.

HOME of the



The modern day vessel ferrying passengers from Brooklyn to Governors Island is more like a time machine.  The wait while everyone boards seems longer than the mini voyage through New York Harbor itself.  But once ferried to your destination, stepping foot on Governors Island is akin to walking into 19th Century America.  Back then, this country was still a young burgeoning but troubled Nation, delving in and out of war.

A century earlier, General George Washington traversed these very waters, successfully ferrying his entire army out of Brooklyn in full retreat of British troops.  Today, Governors Island is a National Monument standing as a quiet, and relatively unexplored testament to America's earliest military endeavours towards achieving and securing independence.  Governors Island continued serving when called upon to help reaffirm the Nation's principles during a time when brother took arms against brother, and beyond.

A turbulent nineteenth century America leading up to, and through the Civil War served as a backdrop while the pastoral and more importantly, amateur, games of Rounders, Old Cat, Goal Ball, the New England Game, the New York Game, and other variations of Base evolved.  The final offshoots were  then codified into the game of Base Ball.  That in turn, laid the foundation for the game of Baseball we know today.  Comparatively speaking, the way the game is played has changed little in over 160 years.  Although, everything surrounding the game has.

The story of the New York Knickerbockers credited with being the first official social organization of amateur base ball players formed in the 1840's is well known by now.  One-hundred and sixty-five years ago, this gentleman's social club from Manhattan also ferried across these very waters to play their famous first match in Base Ball history on the Elysian Fields in Hoboken, New Jersey.  Then over the next twenty years, Brooklyn effectively became the center of the Baseball universe.  It was in the Borough of Kings where Base Ball became great, and where the art and practice of documenting and preserving Base Ball history was born.  Only then did Base Ball spread throughout the land, and go on to become the National Pastime.  But some of the earliest road trips in Base Ball were not road trips at all.  Prior to the game's westward march into a Nation, metropolitan area teams from Brooklyn, Manhattan, and New Jersey, ferried across the waters of New York Harbor.


Today, Governors Island serves as a floating monument to New York City, and Gotham's role in all of this.  Retired from military service long ago, the island is being transformed into a destination for civilians, and more suited for the recreational interests of the people.  There is an old saying in the Army: Blood makes the grass grow.  Ponder that for a second.  Our country fought for its right to be free and exist as an independent Nation.  Appropriately, it was originally in the spirit of a Nation's newly found freedom and resulting recreational time that the genesis of Base Ball was inspired.

Even though Governors Island floats center mass between the Statue of Liberty, the lower tip of Manhattan Island, and Brooklyn's remaining shipping and container industry, for too long, the island has gone ignored and unspoken, until recently.  New York City purchased the island from the government some years ago and eventually welcomed the public to venture in.  And Brooklyn's redeveloping East River waterfront is now taking them there.  After laying in ruins for so long, the pier where the time machine picks up and discharges passengers exists because of a major effort to rescue, and revive the downtown shoreline.  Brooklyn's waterfront reached its zenith as a glorious shipping and industrial power well over a half century ago.  Today, as part of the greater Brooklyn Bridge Park project, Brooklyn's old dilapidated waterfront, like Governors Island, is being recovered in the name of recreational spaces.

If you're like most native New Yorkers, you've never been to the Statue of Liberty, much less Governors Island.  Many Noo Yawkuz even claim to have never visited the Empire State Building.  The thinking is it's there and we can go any time.  To most, Governors Island is that curious little inconsequential plot of land they see when crossing either the Brooklyn or Manhattan Bridges on their way to and from work.  Or it might be that place commuters glance over while driving in traffic on the BQE.  Others just look at it curiously while strolling along the Promenade above the expressway.


There is now Base Ball being played on Governors Island.  No, not Baseball, I meant Base Ball.  In time for the 2012 regular season, and exactly one hundred sixty years after their forefathers took to playing on a base ball field, the modern day Gothams Base Ball Club of New York began calling Governors Island home. They are New York City's only vintage base ball team, and represent the New York Gothams Club established circa 1852, in Manhattan.  And when the home team is scheduled to play, you can visit the island via the free ferry service, and take in a match played between skilled competitors who adhere to authentic 1864 era rules.  The member teams wear authentic style uniforms, use era style bats and balls.  And in their most realistic representation, they do not use gloves.  These gentlemen play Base Ball quite literally the way it was originally designed.  I speak about all the playing members of the Vintage Base Ball Association.

As was the case in the 19th Century, their modern rivals are the Brooklyn Atlantics Base Ball Club who represent an organization established circa 1855, in the Bedford-Stuyvesant/Williamsburg sections of Brooklyn.  However, today's Atlantic club plays their home games in Bethpage, Long Island.  This past Saturday, the Gothams hosted a pair of matches against the Atlantics.  I, along with the Brooklyn Atlantics, were making our first ever visit to the island.  By day's end, both teams had the satisfaction of at least winning a game each.  And I had the benefit of going back in time.
Find out how the games went in my next post.

Brooklyn Cyclones: Saturday Night Winner

From the desk of:   THE SURF AVENUE SLUGGERS

I - S.I. 5; BK 1
II - BK 11; S.I. 0
III - Sunday

BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  Bums Gain Split on Home Turf.

The Yankees and Cyclones shifted to Coney Island for Game Two of the Battle of the Boroughs.  After dropping a tough game in Staten Island to the Bombers Friday night, the Cyclones jumped out to a first inning 1-0 lead on Saturday.  With one out, Dimas Ponce and Phillip Evans hit consecutive singles.  After Eudy Pina reached safely on an E-6 to load the bases, Kevin Plawecki's sac fly scored Ponce from third.

In the fifth inning, Brandon Nimmo's RBI double and Phillip Evans' RBI single gave Brooklyn a 3-0 lead.

The Cyclones finally knocked Staten Island starter Gabriel Encinas out of the box after 6.1 innings pitched.  But what Brooklyn started against Encinas, Staten Island reliever, Zach Woods, had an even tougher time finishing.  Brooklyn lowered the hammer on the Bombers with eight runs in the seventh inning, similar to the way Staten Island pulled away from Brooklyn late in Friday's game.  In all, Encinas was charged with six runs; five earned; before being removed.  Zach Woods surrendered another five runs, but none earned, even though Brooklyn's Jeff Reynolds tagged Woods for his second home run of the season.

Brooklyn starting pitcher, Hansel Robles, pitched seven full innings, and improved his record to a 5-1 mark.  He only allowed three hits and no runs.  He walked one batter, and struck out eight before giving way to Logan Taylor, who pitched a scoreless eighth inning.  Tyler Vanderheiden pitched the ninth inning, and closed out the Cyclones 11-0 combined three-hit, shutout victory.

You might want to put the celebration on hold however.  Brooklyn received no help.  In Batavia, the visiting Williamsport Crosscutters made their game close with a three run rally in the eighth inning.  But the Crosscutters never managed to push a tying run across the plate. The Muckdogs held on to post a 6-5 final.  Batavia remains three games behind the Cyclones in the Wild Card standings.

In Hudson Valley, the Renegades pulled out a 7-6 win.  They needed eleven innings to do it.  Their victory keeps them six games ahead of the second place Cyclones in the McNamara Division race.

Eleven games remain in the regular season.


Saturday, August 25, 2012

VBBA: Vintage Baseball Today - Gothams Vs. Atlantics


Base Ball Club
Base Ball Club
New York Harbor
The New York Gothams Base Ball Club; New York City's Vintage Base Ball representatives; will be home this afternoon hosting the membership of the visiting Brooklyn Atlantics Club.  The Gothams play their home games on historic and scenic Governors Island; smack in the middle of New York Harbor.  I'll be jumping on the ferry shortly, to take in the day's matches.


Brooklyn Cyclones: Yankees Drop Late Hammer on 'Clones

From the desk of:   THE CONEY ISLAND NINE


Drop Heart Breaker to the Richmond County Bombers.   Division Flag Is All But Out of Reach Now.

To open this latest engagement in the Battle of the Boroughs, Cyclones' starter Luis Mateo was given first crack at the Staten Island Yankees.  Brooklyn's starter kept the Bombers scoreless through his first six innings of work.  He allowed a mere four hits, walked one batter, and struck out five.  In the inning prior, his team mates finally staked him to a fifth inning 1-0 lead on consecutive base hits by Eudy Pina and Brandon Nimmo, which set up Kevin Plawecki's two out RBI single.

By the end of the seventh inning, the Cyclones went through two Staten Island pitchers.  Yankees' starter, Tim Flight, was gone after pitching three scoreless innings, in which he struck out five batters and surrendered two hits.  The Cyclones scored their run off Dietrich Enns who pitched four frames.

During Richmond County's bottom half of the seventh, the Yankees managed only their sixth hit off Luis Mateo, but nothing more.  And into the eighth inning they went with James Pazos on the mound for Staten Island.  He issued a lead-off walk to Phillip Evans, but was spared the consequences via a 6-4-3 double play.

Luis Mateo did not take the mound for an eighth inning.  Although Brooklyn fans in attendance wished he had.  Craig Hansen was summoned from the visitor's bullpen to advance the Cyclones' 1-0 lead forward.  Instead, he tossed Brooklyn's lead into New York Harbor.  Issuing a lead-off walk, then hitting the next batter, was a certain foreshadowing of things to come.  Six batters, two more hits, another hit batter, a grand slam home run, and another Cyclones pitcher later, the Yankees were proud owners of a newly minted 5-1 lead entering the ninth inning.

There was no comeback for Brooklyn; not against James Pazos working his second inning of relief.  After serving up a lead-off single to Julio Concepcion, the Cyclones went down on a 1-4-3 double play, followed by an unassisted put-out at first base.

Brooklyn's Craig Hansen suffered the double-whammy with a blown save, and a loss.  The Cyclones were 1 for 8 with runners in scoring position.  They only managed seven scattered hits; all singles.

And well done to Staten Islanders.  Over 5,000 fans attended Richmond County Grounds for Friday night's game.

In western New York State, the Cyclones finally caught a break thanks to a little help from the Williamsport Crosscutters, as they defeated the Muckdogs by a 7-4 score in Batavia.  That means the Cyclones keep their three game lead over the Muckdogs in the race for the Wild Card spot.  Batavia's loss only drops their record to 8-2 over their last ten games.  The Cyclones are 4-6 over that span.

In the McNamara Division race, the Cyclones began the evening five games out of first.  A five run outburst by Aberdeen in the top of the seventh inning, still couldn't help the Iron Birds defeat the Hudson Valley Renegades.  And so, the Cyclones now end their night, six games out of first place.

Twelve games remain in the regular season.


Friday, August 24, 2012

New York Giants: Running Game Taking On New Persona

From the desk of:   DO IT FOR THE DUKE

The Age of Smash Mouth Football

The Big Buddy and Little Buddy Show Had a Great Run.

At this very moment, the Giants' feature back is doing what he normally does at this time of year.  He is healing from injuries and missing practice.  If not his feet or ankles, then you knew something else would afflict Ahmad Bradshaw.  It's always something with him.  Every season we all ask, how many games will Ahmad Bradshaw miss?  For he always misses at least a couple.  This season however, Big Buddy Brandon Jacobs isn't around to pick up Little Buddy's slack.  Brandon Jacobs now has his own knee issues to contend with in San Francisco.

This year's reason why Ahmad Bradshaw's training camp has been compromised?  He is nursing a hand injury suffered early in last week's game against the Jets.  The trauma was downgraded to just a bruise, and reports are Bradshaw is fine.  But Coach Coughlin already hinted he wanted rookie David Wilson, and returning vet, D.J. Ware, to get a lion's share of touches against the Chicago Bears this Friday night anyway.

Heading into the 2012 season, Ahmad Bradshaw, David Wilson, and D.J. Ware, are all tasked with improving upon last year's running game, which ranked dead last in rushing yardage.  An Offensive Line thrust into transition by Jerry Reese was partly to blame.  After Jerry Reese cut Shaun O'Hara, and Rich Seubert last season, injuries and uncertainty dominated the left side.  Additionally, Center David Baas' initial integration into the line didn't go so smoothly either.  It took him all season to get right.  And he also suffered through a neck injury for a few weeks.  Baas played much better in the playoffs.  This season, Jerry Reese continued to flip the O-Line by parting ways with Right Tackle; Kareem McKenzie.

Another reason the Giants ranked last in the NFL in rushing was Brandon Jacobs was no longer the Brandon Jacobs of old.  While he did have his moments last season, it was pretty evident the Giants would not be bringing him back.  However, he wound up ending his New York Giants career in grand fashion.  After supplanting Tiki Barber as the Giants feature back, the big guy went on to help Big Blue win two Super Bowl Championships.  Along the way, he also became the organization's all-time rushing touchdowns leader.

Despite career long bi-pedal problems, Ahmad Bradshaw is now THE guy in the backfield.  The Big Buddy and Little Buddy's show had a great run.  That is officially the past now.  Rushing forward,  and quite understandably, Ahmad Bradshaw's durability is in question.  But when it comes to heart, there is none larger.  He's a gamer in every sense.  But how long can he stay on his feet this season?  We almost expect Ahmad to miss a few games.  Therefore, David Wilson will no doubt have a large role to play this season.  Whether the rookie fulfills his role adequately remains to be seen.  Friday night he'll get a chance to show what he can do.  Wilson will get an opportunity to run behind the starting O-Line for at least one half of football.  Many interested eyes will be on him, and perhaps none larger, than Tom Coughlin's.   D.J. Ware is already a known commodity.

Apparently, a team can be the worst rushing team in the NFL, and still win a Super Bowl.  Go figure.  But make no mistake, smash mouth football is not dead.  That style of football still owns credibility in today's modern Age of the Quarterbacks.  Somehow, Eli Manning and Kevin Gilbride squeezed just enough out of last season's running game, and made it good enough; good enough for another Lombardi Trophy that is.

In the past, Kevin Gilbride's implementation of the running game often drew my ire.  I'm sure this season will be no different for me.  But the truth is, the Giants' running game will indeed take on a new persona this season, and old-time fans will have to adapt.  In terms of game planning, the Giants did their best rushing behind the right side of the line last season.  But to his credit, Kevin Gilbride maintained a strict balance between running left, middle, and right, regardless of clear statistical trends.  The Giants Offensive Coordinator has now helped orchestrate, not one, but two last minute Super Bowl winning drives.  So where the Giants running game is concerned, only the Offensive Coordinator knows where he's taking it.  I guess we'll just have to wait and see.


Brooklyn Cyclones: Off To Staten Island For Clash With Rival Baby Bombers

From the desk of:   THE SURF AVENUE SLUGGERS

Staten Island Yankees
The Forgotten Borough
BROOKLYN CYCLONES:  Gang From Coney Suffering Late Season Slippage.  And..., Don't Look Now, But There's A Dog Chasing You,  And Gaining Fast.
The Cyclones are fresh off dropping two of three games to the circuit's top team.  Panic?  Stay Cool?  That depends on you.  I'm just the messenger.  But with Thursday night's 4-1 loss to the Tri City Valley Cats; coupled with the Hudson Valley Renegades 1-0, three hitter over the Connecticut Tigers; and compounded by Batavia's 2-1 win over the Mahoning Valley Scrappers; the Brooklyn Cyclones suddenly have a cornucopia of concerns.
After the Brooks enjoyed a brief time leading the standings earlier this season, the Renegades are now pulling away in the McNamara Division.  They have increased their lead over second place Brooklyn to five games.  With only thirteen games remaining in the season, that is clearly a problem for Brooklyn.  Because, the Dogs are after them.  The Batavia Muckdogs are now just three games behind the Surf Avenue Sluggers in the Wild Card race.  And if the gang from Coney lets the Muckdogs catch up and bite them in the ankles, and the Renegades hold on to their lead, it's bye-bye playoffs for Brooklyn.
The Staten Island Yankees?  Well..., their season is in the Richmond County dumps, so to say.  They've already been eliminated from playoff contention.  So yeah, the five time champs are suffering through a rough season.  For as long as attendance remains healthy out there, and there is no threat of them going away, last place couldn't find its way to a better team, as far as I'm concerned.  The Baby Bombers are in last place of the McNamara Division with a 22-40 record.  That's terrible.  Just terrible.  Their best hitter is Who Cares.  And their top hurler is It Doesn't Matter.  They're the Yankees.  From Staten Island, to the Bronx, a Yankee, is a Yankee, is a Yankee.
The Yankees are winners of their last four games in a row.  So Brooklyn had better play this series right.
More Later.