Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Brooklyn Cyclones Move Into First Place

From the desk of:   THE SURF AVENUE SLUGGERS

BROOKLYN CYCLONES: Coney Island Takes Over First Place; John Gant Pitches A Gem.

Look who's number one!  Now with seven games left in the 2013 regular season, the Brooklyn Cyclones finally moved ahead of the Aberdeen Iron Birds and into first place of the New York-Penn League's McNamara Division standings.  They began Wednesday evening one-half game behind Aberdeen.  Up in Lowell, Massachusetts, the Spinners defeated the Iron Birds tonight by a 7-3 final score.

At MCU Park off the shores of Coney Island, right-hand pitcher John Gant, 21, drafted by the Mets in the 21st round of the 2011 amateur draft, hurled a complete game, one-hit shutout over the Tri-City Valley Cats.  Gant faced the minimum twenty-seven batters, but surrendered the one hit and walked one, while striking out six.  He improved his record to 6-3, and lowered his ERA to a 2.33 mark.

Shortstop Gavin Cecchini drove in the lone run of the game, but was not credited with an RBI.  The Cyclones won by a 1-0 final, and themselves only mustered four hits.  Tri City committed three errors in the game.

Brooklyn now leads the Aberdeen Iron Birds by one-half game, and the Hudson Valley Renegades by 2.5 games, as the upstate Rascals won their contest against Connecticut in extra innings.

On Thursday, the Cyclones will put their 36-32 record up against the Staten Island Yankees in the first game of a home and home series.


N.Y. Mets: The Clock Is Ticking On Ike Davis

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS: Ike Davis Is Running Out Of Time.  Even A "Better Late Than Never" September Can't Help Him Now.

The Mets can no longer keep flipping a coin with Ike Davis, hoping it comes up heads.  For his part, the beleaguered first baseman is doing nothing in the mean time to help his cause.  And with thirty-one games left in the regular season, there is not much more he can accomplish between now and October that will sway many minds off their current opinions of him.  His continuing struggles this season have simplified the situation if only somewhat.  Because now, you either like Ike, or you don't.

He has received instruction on the major league level, and at the AAA level with Wally Backman and his staff, but to no avail.  At present, all he has going for him is a defective swing, old highlight footage and a prayer.  That's not a good place to be.  For a youngster with his amount of experience, in baseball terms that translates into an off-season non-tender.  This much is sure, no matter what he does between now and the end of the season, he will surely be treated in a cold, hard, business like manner by Team Alderson.  His could be a case management might be more than willing to let an arbiter decide - which would be an arbitration rarity for the Mets.

I like Ike, and I'm not so sure Matt Harvey's impending surgery hasn't bought Davis one more year playing first base in Flushing.  This much is also sure - with every passing at-bat, his price drops a little more.  The Mets have multiple holes to fill, and supposedly will have a few more of Fred Wilpon's discretionary dollars to plug them with.  But with so many needs now, they must surely prioritize.  In fairness to Ike Davis, alternatives such as Josh Satin, Lucas Duda, Eric Campbell or even Wilmer Flores, etc., have done nothing to suggest the first base job is better off in their hands.  Ike is still smooth as silk with a glove, and I like that he is left-handed.  But at the very least, the Mets need him to be a reliable slugger in the middle of the line-up, which he hasn't been.  In fact, he's been far from it.

But because Ike is such a well liked player, his is a disposition perfectly set-up to get horribly wrong.  A decision to keep him, and have him succeed would come off like a stroke of genius; brilliant.  To grant him walking papers, and watch him realize his full potential in another uniform like Jeff Kent and Kevin Mitchell did would set off a different kind of uproar, but none like the decision to keep him and watch him struggle through another full season in Queens.

Ike Davis' situation is way beyond - Better Late Than Never.  What he needs now is friends in high places.


Tuesday, August 27, 2013

N.Y. Mets: A Dark Night In Gotham

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS: This One Hurts A Little More Than Usual.  Time Bandit, Say It Aint So.

Time Bandit, say it aint so.  In a flash, the Dark Knight of Gotham is gone from us.  After thirty-six total starts, Flushing is without their modern day hero.  It wasn't the division's goons or network of chaos - he was defeated by a torn tendon.

In twenty-six starts this season, Matt Harvey posted a 9-5 record, but suffered twelve no decisions.  He had a 2.27 ERA in 178.1 innings, and still leads the league with 191 strikeouts.  His WHiP was below one, he allowed the fewest home runs in the circuit, and started the 2013 All-Star Game at Citi Field.  On every fifth day Matt Harvey became event baseball.  A scepter with a knife now awaits him, as there is every possibility we'll be forced to forget about him until the 2015 season.

As a Mets fan, what can I say?  Are we snake bit?  Cursed?  Unlucky?  Or something other?  There are still a few teams worse off than us.  What I do know, is that there was a new kind adversity delivered to Citi Field's door step yesterday - their franchise player is down.

Obviously, a torn tendon was not part of the plan.  We're trying to assemble talent, not continue watching them fall by the wayside.  But this one hurts just a little more than usual.  Harvey had become so much in so little time - hence, The Time Bandit.

The Mets have a veritable stable of starting pitchers not at their disposal.  A potential five-man rotation featuring Johan Santana, Matt Harvey, Jenrry Mejia, Jeurys Familia and Jeremy Hefner should make any manager giddy - a manager of a rehabilitation center that is.  And lest we forget Dillon Gee is an experienced surgery patient, and Jonothan Niese is still fresh off his issues.  It seems as if no one is safe.


Saturday, August 24, 2013

MTV's Video Music Awards Come To Flatbush

Let me just tell it the way it is.  This is big.  Brooklyn is hosting the VMA's this year for the first time ever.  I'd say it's been a good first year for the Barclays Center.  And perhaps, the VMA's is still only scratching the surface.  I'm still a staunch supporter of the arena, and what it represents for the future of Brooklyn.

But I'm not going to ignore those who still couldn't be more opposed to Barclays Center, or apparently, how they operate, and for good reason.  The rat positioned at the corner of Pacific Street and Flatbush (pictured above) is a clear and continuing indication Labor is displeased with the greater arena's ongoing construction practices.  And I'll be honest with you - if I saw this sign (pictured on Pacific Street) telling me I couldn't park my car on my own block, where I live, this Sunday, I'd be pissed too!  There are obvious issues impacting the immediate neighborhoods.  The VMA's are all nice and well, but events of this magnitude need better planning as it relates to the front of someone's house.

Barclays Center; Urban Art @ Sackett Street


Wednesday, August 21, 2013

PIFSTARS At Fulton Mall

The Trolley ran into these two gentlemen Monday afternoon at Fulton Mall in downtown Brooklyn.  They were hitting the pavement engaged in some good ol' fashioned, earnest promotion.  I have respect for that, so I'm happy to help them spread their word.  Tell 'em the Trolley sent ya.

"I Go So Hard"

Monday, August 12, 2013

L.I. Ducks: Sugar Land Skeeters Keep On Winning; Lead Series 3-0

From the desk of:   THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

LONG ISLAND DUCKS: Bullpen Blows Game...Twice.

Look what the Skeeters did to the Ducks...again.  Unfortunately, Long Island lost a heartbreaker last night in Game Three, this time by a 6-5 final in eleven innings.

Starting pitcher Matt Way did well.  He tossed six innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits, walked one and struck out four before departing the game on the winning side of a 4-2 game.

Third baseman Bryant Nelson drove in the Ducks' run in the opening frame.  In the fourth inning, Ralph Henriquez drove in Long Island's second run.  Sugar Land came back to tie the score at two in the bottom of the fourth off Way.  However, the Ducks answered right back in the top of the sixth with another pair of runs on RBI's by Adam Bailey, and Ralph Henriquez' second of the game.

The Ducks took their 4-2 lead into the ninth inning and entrusted reliever Jared Lansford to hold, and save it.  But he could not.  After retiring the lead-off batter, Sugar Land stroked three consecutive hits and scored twice to tie the game again at four.

After a scoreless tenth inning, the Ducks seemingly caught a big break in the top of the eleventh.  Two lead-off hits and two errors by Sugar Land allowed first baseman Ryan Strieby to score the go-ahead run.  Long Island reliever Daniel Harrera was then given the ball in the bottom of the frame.  But once again, the bullpen failed.  Three consecutive hits to start the inning, and a fourth hit spelled the end of Long Island's night.  Two runs crossed the plate as the Sugar Land Skeeters completed their third straight victory over the Ducks.

There are still three more games to play.  In Game Four tonight, Bill Murphy will climb the hill for Long Island, opposed by Sugar Land's Clint Everts.


Sunday, August 11, 2013

L.I. Ducks: Trip Into Sugar Land Not So Sweet

From the desk of:   THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

LONG ISLAND DUCKS: After Suffering Two Routs In Sugar Land, Still Plenty Of Time To Make This A Series.

President/GM Michael Pfaff Has His Work Cut Out For Him.

After a pair of games between the Atlantic League's two division leaders, the series between visiting Long Island and the Sugar Land Skeeters has been a one sided affair.  They like things big in Texas, and so the Skeeters have thus far been putting up big numbers against Ducks pitching.

In Friday night's series opener, well over 5,500 fans watched Sugar Land jump all over Long Island starter Nick DeBarr, pouncing on him for ten runs, nine earned, in just 2.1 innings pitched.  He surrendered ten hits and walked four. The Skeeters scored four runs in the first, three in the second, and three more in the third.  Long Island's bullpen then limited Sugar Land to just one more run over the next six innings, en route to an 11-3 loss.

In Game Two on Saturday, the Ducks gave their starting pitcher John Brownell a three run lead to work with, but they received an awful lot of help to do so.  In the top of the second, Sugar Land starting pitcher David Pauley walked the first three batters he faced.  Dan Lyons singled to drive in a run.  But then Long Island picked up two more on ground ball outs.  Who can argue with scoring three runs, but David Pauley conceivably could have been knocked out of the box with one or two big hits.  Instead, he induced outs, and avoided an even bigger mess.  That became a mute point however. Sugar Land picked up two runs in the bottom of the frame, and proceeded to rout the Ducks from there.  Four more runs in the fourth and three in the eighth spelled a 9-3 victory for the Skeeters.

In two games played, Sugar Land has abused Long Island pitching for twenty total hits and twenty runs.  While Long Island posted identical three run, seven hit games.  Tonight they'll play Game Three of six.  Long Island's Matt Way will climb the hill, opposed by Sugar Land's Cesar Carillo.  There is still plenty of time for Long Island to turn this into a series instead of a rout.  But Michael Pfaff clearly has a problem on his hands.  Without Dontrelle Willis, and the previous departure of others, his depleted starting pitching is a glaring weakness, and unlike last season or the year before, I'm afraid the Ducks aren't as potent offensively either.  His Ducks certainly have their work cut out for them.

Play ball.


Thursday, August 08, 2013

L.I. Ducks: Off To Sugar Land For A Showdown With Skeeters

From the desk of:   THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

LONG ISLAND DUCKS:  Pitcher James Houser And Bullpen Out-Duel Barnstormers In Rubber Game.

It's Off To Texas For A Major Showdown Between
The Atlantic League's Two Division Leaders.

Pressed into starting duties back in early June, James Houser was large and in charge Thursday night in Lancaster, as the Long Island Ducks took the rubber game over the Barnstormers by a 3-1 final score.  Making his eleventh start and his twenty-seventh appearance, Houser tossed six innings, allowed one unearned run in the fourth inning, walked no batters and struck out eight before departing a 1-1 deadlock.  He now has seventy-seven strikeouts in 72.1 innings pitched this season, but in taking a no-decision, his record remains 7-1 with a lowered 2.36 ERA.

Lancaster took the initial lead, but the Ducks came right back to tie in the top of the fifth when catcher Ramon Castro led off with his seventh home run of the season off Barnstormers starting pitcher Derrick Loop, who incidentally didn't do too badly for himself.  Loop pitched seven full, allowed Castro's solo home run, and five hits in all.  He walked one batter and likewise struck out eight.

Long Island broke the tie in the top of the eighth with an RBI from second baseman Bill Hall and Ramon Castro's second RBI of the game.  That put reliever Ian Snell on the winning side.  Snell  entered the game with two outs in the seventh and tossed a scoreless eighth inning, striking out two.  Josh Lansford was then summoned to pitch the ninth, and earned his ninth save of the season.  Ian Snell evened his record at 2-2 with the victory. 

That was the Ducks twentieth win of the second half, and fiftieth of the season.  With a 20-13 record, they own a six game lead in the Liberty Division over second place Bridgeport.  They are still only 50-53 for the season, three games below the .500 mark.  In fact, no team in the Liberty Division is playing above .500 for the season.

The 2012 defending champs are now headed for Texas, where a big six game series versus the Sugar Land Skeeters awaits.  Sugar Land is leading the Freedom Division with a 23-10 record, three games in front of Lancaster.  They also own the Atlantic League's top overall mark with a 70-33 record.  At this juncture of the season, this will be a timely and mighty challenge to see how the Ducks measure up.


Jackie Robinson and Pee Wee Reese Statue In Coney Island Vandalized

That's right..., to the person or persons, responsible for this very misguided act of stupidity, I call you gutless, for idiot would be too kind.  You are most likely young, dumb, and suffer from a great many self-incurred mental deficiencies.  Fool!
The Jackie Robinson - Pee Wee Reese statue in front of MCU Park in Coney Island, home of the Brooklyn Cyclones Baseball Club, was defaced with racial slurs aimed against Jewish and African Americans.
It was my good fortune and pleasure to have met Mrs. Rachel Robinson some years ago right here at MCU Park.  Then earlier this year at the Ebbets Field flag pole dedication at Barclays Center, it was again my great fortune to have met Sharon, the daughter of Jackie and Rachel.  In both instances, I was rendered speechless - awed to be in their presence.  I barley managed a proper greeting, much less expressed how humbled I was to have met them.
For someone to so easily come along and scribble crap like this, they must aspire to become a social disease.  Good luck with that.  In the mean time, I hope the cops hunt you down with bloodhounds, if only to scare the shit out of you, and tell your mommy what you did.  Won't she be proud?  Or better yet, be a real honest to goodness racists, and do something like that in the day time with people around, and see how many letters you get through before someone.................!

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

N.Y. Mets: Matt Harvey's Thirty-Three Starts Equal A Season

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS: Every Fifth Day, The Matt Signal Illuminates Over Flushing Bay, And The Fans Come Flocking To See Their New Hero In Action.

Number thirty-three, the Dark Knight of Gotham; Real Deal; or as I like to call him, the Time Bandit - Matt Harvey, not so coincidentally made the thirty-third start of his major league career this evening against the Colorado Rockies, and dominated them.

With two outs in the ninth inning and on his 100th pitch of the night, he took a comebacker off his right knee - a direct hit in which the ball caromed into right field for a single.  A momentary silence arrested Citi Field, followed by a collective exhale of relief.  Harvey brushed that aside and finished off Colorado with haste.

After getting somewhat roughed up in his last start during one of his shorter appearances of the season, Matt Harvey bounced back to pitch his first ever complete game, and (four hit) shutout.  He walked no batters and struck out six.  Matt threw an efficient 106 pitches on the night, seventy-eight for strikes, for an effective rate of seventy-four percent, and averaged just eleven pitches per innings.  He lowered his ERA to 2.09, which is second only to L.A.'s Clayton Kershaw for the best ERA in all of baseball.  In twenty-three starts, Harvey is now 9-3 this season, with eleven no-decisions.

For entertainment purposes of course, Matt Harvey now has enough work under his belt to constitute one full major league season.  As noted, he has thirty-three starts to his credit.  In 219 total innings pitched, Matt has surrendered just 108 hits and only walked fifty-five to give him an impressive 0.744 WHiP.  He has only surrendered fifty-five earned runs, and just twelve home runs, for a 2.26 ERA.  Most impressive are his wide repertoire and command of pitches, featuring a high-90's fastball and nasty off-speed stuff which helped him amass 248 strikeouts, good for a 10.2 K/9 average.  His overall record is 12-8, with and absurd thirteen no-decisions.  Thank poor run support for that only blemish in an otherwise impeccable beginning to a career.

More than just stats, Matt Harvey has become an event at Citi Field.  Every fifth day, the Matt Signal illuminates over Flushing Bay, and the fans come to see their new hero in action.  Wednesday night in the Citi, a little over 27,000 fans supplied the electricity and buzz as best they could.  Matt Harvey took care of the rest.  He, and a handful of other young stewards are making it okay to come out of the house again.


L.I. Ducks: Forty Games And Counting

From the desk of:  THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

Long Island Ducks: The D-Train Has Left The Station. 

As you may have noticed, 2013 has been a tough year for The Trolley.  But that doesn't mean I haven't been paying attention to Long Island baseball.  Apparently, the first half of the season did not go so well for either one of us.  For me, post-Hurricane Sandy recovery still dictates my work schedule, and for the Ducks, it was a rough way to begin defense of the Atlantic League title.

Overall, the Ducks are still below .500 with a 49-52 record.  They finished the first half disappointingly, but managed, and I do mean managed to recoup a 30-40 record, good for second place, 7.5 games behind the South Maryland Blue Crabs.  I guess that recap was more for my benefit than yours.  But I see the second half has brought better times to the Pond.  Tuesday evening marked forty games left in the regular season.  So this is where I'll try and begin reconnecting with the team and Ducks fans.

The Ducks began a nine game road trip, beginning with Tuesday night's opening game (of three) against the Lancaster Barnstormers.  The Barnstormers scored four runs in the eighth inning, but the Ducks otherwise coasted to an easy 11-5 victory.  The rest of the season should go so smoothly.  They improved their second half record to 19-12, and own a 5.5 game lead over the second place Bridgeport Bluefish.  They now have thirty-nine games left to protect that lead and qualify for the playoffs.

With a middle of the pack offense, and without Dontrelle Willis, that will be no easy task.  The D-Train has left the station and is headed for Anaheim, acquired by the MLB Angles.  He was the undisputed anchor of Long Island's staff this season, and led the Atlantic League with a 2.57 earned run average before his contract was purchased on August 4th.


Tuesday, August 06, 2013

N.Y. Mets: Let Youth Be Served

From the desk of:   HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

NEW YORK METS: All This Digging Is Starting To Pay Off...  So, Just Shut Up And Keep Digging.

Rebuilding - it takes time, but it's finally being done right.  Although I would have liked if the GM made a deal of relative impact at this year's deadline, the market spoke volumes.  Outside of the trade between Boston and Detroit, there apparently were no deals to be made throughout baseball.

Many of Sandy Alderson's major league signings and trades, in large part have been derivatives of Mr. Wilpon's situation.  I wholly get that.  At this point, we all do.  That is why, questionable as many have been, I generally give Alderson a pass.  Plus, with a second wild card at stake, .500 teams seem more willing to hold on to their players.  Therefore, it behooves any organization, to reinvest and double efforts into their minor league operations if they seek to achieve any kind of sustained competitiveness.

Vestiges of the Minaya Administration, and minor league endeavors undertaken by the new  Triumvirate of Flushing has quietly established winning baseball throughout the Mets minor league landscape.  From Savannah to Las Vegas, the farm is producing at levels not seen since the early 2000's when Jose Reyes, Scott Kazmir and David Wright rose through the system.

It was only last season the Mets fielded their first all home-grown team since the 1971 season.  That's astonishing, but doesn't exactly speak to my point does it?  The point is, since the first new wave of newbies featuring the likes of Jon Niese, (Mike Pelfrey), Bobby Parnell and Daniel Murphy arrived on Flushing shores, the next wave of Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Ruben Tejada, Dillon Gee, etc., have already given way to a burgeoning, more promising and skilled bunch.

Wilmer Flores made his major league debut today.  The fans have been clamoring for his promotion for some time now.  Jenrry Mejia also pitched today.  Zack Wheeler and Matt Harvey are together now.  Juan Lagares gets better with each passing game.  Travis d'Arnaud is on the way.  And perhaps, there is more pitching within the system on the way as well.  The talent is no longer trickling.  I believe we now established a flow.  It is still early in the process, in so far as being major league ready, but the pool is nevertheless widening and deepening.  In two years time, it might even be overflowing.  Perchance to dream...

We are still dealing in fuzzy math with regards to Mr. Wilpon's situation.  But when stripping down an organization and building it back up again, none of that should have mattered.  It was never time to spend.  Money was an irrelevant factor in the Mets real plight.  What was and remains important, is that down below, Sandy Alderson and his lieutenants are doing what needs to be done.


N.Y. Cosmos - Welcome Back To Cosmos Country

...But Cosmos Country Looks Very Differently From When They Ruled Last.

Now that the New York Cosmos have joined the reformed North American Soccer League and played an official game in the local area (Hofsta) again, I can believe it.  I can now say with certainty, the Cosmos are (actually) back.

I care.  I do.  I was a tremendous fan of the original team, attending many games between 1977 and 1980.  Pele of course got all the headlines, but I was a Giorgio Chinaglia supporter.  The rift between the two soccer legends was no great secret, and fans were almost made to chose sides.  Rest his soul - as he is not here to witness the return of the team he helped make history with.  But it's good to see some of the old faces resurface to re-launch the Cosmos.

Can they regain their former mega-status and glory?  Doubtful.  The NASL is not even a top tier league anymore.  The Red Bulls and the MLS now dominate the soccer landscape, but I say that in the loosest of terms.  Plus, there is additionally a New York City team joining the circuit shortly - New York City FC.  So what's a soccer fan to do, or the Cosmos for the matter?

The Cosmos joining the MLS would have been nice - a nice fit that is.  That possibility seems remote now.  Regardless, the club and the MLS have different ideas.  MLS runs a "socialist" omni-brand system, and the Cosmos, then as now, chose to operate as raging capitalists.  Yeah, just like the good ol' days.  I can't say I'm an avid follower of MLS soccer.  Honestly, I maintain only mild interest in the Red Bulls.  I am in no way captivated by today's circuit like I was as a ten, eleven, twelve, and even thirteen year old boy consumed with the NASL.  Back then, Cosmos versus the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers really meant something.  Today?  I'm going to have to find a way to reinvest myself in their product and play.  That means the Cosmos will need to be wildly creative and....good.

I don't know what happens from here.  But I'm glad they're back


Saturday, August 03, 2013

Coach Bill Parcells Takes His Rightful Place In the Pro Football Hall Of Fame

From the desk of:   DO IT FOR THE DUKE

New York Football Giants: The Author Of Smash Mouth.

Where's Peter King!?  I'm proud of my guys, okay? - Bill Parcells, 1986

Coming out of the 70's and entering the 1980's, the Giants were still somewhat of a mess, as GM George Young's affects still hadn't really taken hold yet.  Meanwhile in Flushing, Queens, the Jets, Joe Klecko and the New York Sack Exchange were enjoying a considerable measure of success under head coach Walt Michaels.  Georg Young first had to negotiate a truce between the Mara Brothers in order to get the club functioning properly again.  Wellington's twenty-five year plan was taking its toll on everyone, while the memory of Joe Pisarcik and "The Fumble" still weighed heavily on the minds of many Giants fans.

I was already a die-hard Giants fan during the Ray Perkins era.  It was under Ray Perkins that Bill Parcells was first hired as the Defensive Coordinator.  I liked Bill right away because he coached a solid unit.  Back then, the defense was the one really bright spot of the team outside of punter Dave Jennings.

It was no great secret that Ray Perkins wanted to leave for Alabama, but the sudden coaching upheaval still took many aback.  It's just that under Perkins, the Giants finally tasted their first morsel of success after a considerable time.  Sure we made the playoffs under Coach Perkins, but we weren't exactly threatening anybody for league supremacy - not yet.  Although they looked outside the organization, the Giants were still staunch in-house people.  So hard-ass George Young, replaced disciplinarian Ray Perkins, with a double-barreled hard-ass disciplinarian, Bill Parcells.

I do not think Giants fans anticipated the 1983 season going so badly, but we knew what Parcells was up against.  Injuries decimated the team, and there still wasn't enough talent on the offensive side of the ball.  There was a multi-headed monster at quarterback throwing passes to Earnest Gray and other non-descript receivers, with two heads belonging to Scott Brunner, and the often injured blond-haired laughing stock out of Morehead State, Phil Simms.  Good or bad however, the 1983 season gave every indication the team was heading in a new direction.  But like Bill himself, I also remember pondering whether he would indeed return after his first season.

These were the days before free agency, when teams could stockpile depth.  And boy were the Giants deep.  They built-up towards Super Bowl XXI, which makes that one very sweet for me, as it was the first championship I enjoyed as a Mets/Rangers/Knicks/Giants fan.  After suffering crushing defeats in previous years to the San Francisco 49ers and Chicago Bears, Big Blue dominated the NFL in that 1986 season and for the next five years continued playing Smash Mouth football.  At their very best, I rate the all the battles against Joe Montana, Ronnie Lott and the Niners as the ultimate pinnacle of Giants success.  Big Blue stood as Giants among the NFL elite.  By far the most crushing defeat was they way a dominant season ended in overtime against Flipper Anderson and the Rams.  But Super Bowl XXV was a most gratifying punctuation mark on the era.

For the New York Giants and their fans, Bill Parcells ended a thirty year wait with two Super Bowl championships in five years.  For his eight year tenure with Big Blue and all my time as a Giants fan, his brand of Smash Mouth Football was my most satisfying period as a New York sports fan.