Sunday, August 28, 2016

Beisbol de Puerto Rico Part Five: Hiram Bithorn Stadium, San Juan

Estadios de Beisbol de Puerto Rico

Hogar de los
Cangrejeros de Santurce
Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente

Constructed: 1962
Capacity: 18,260

Hiram Bithorn
The first native Puerto Rican to play 
Major League Baseball

Reigning Back-to-Back LBPRC Champions
2014-15   2015-16
1950-51   1952-53   1954-55
1958-59   1961-62   1964-65
1966-67   1970-71   1972-73
1990-91   1992-93   1999-00

Serie del Caribe
1950-51  1952-53  
1954-55  1992-93   

San Juan, Puerto Rico

Baseball Parks of Puerto Rico

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Giants vs. Jets: Snoopy Bowl VII

From the desks of:



Jets lead the all-time pre-season series 25-21-1 over the Giants

I -  NYG 31; NYJ 16       II - NYJ 17; NYG 3
III - NYG 26; NYJ 3        IV - NYJ 24; NYG 21
V - NYG 35; NYJ 24       VI - NYJ 28; NYG 18

New York Giants
New York Jets
MetLife Stadium

If you derive satisfaction from gaining local bragging rights through this game, by all means have your fun.  I do not begrudge anyone for that.

I, however, view Saturday's game as nothing more than a scrimmage.  But if there ever was a meaningful pre-season game with actual implications, this would indeed be the one.  That said, my anticipation is sufficiently high.  For sake of team spirit then, lets go Giants!

Scrimmage Three is fairly straight forward - nothing fancy, just beat the man in front of you.  That makes this game a convenient way of gauging speed, instincts, and physicality, minus all the in-season brain work.  Therefore I'm not necessarily interested in winning Snoopy Bowl VII, but I will be keeping a very watchful and critical eye on certain aspects of Big Blue's game.

NEW YORK FOOTBALL GIANTS: Lack of Offensive Balance Plagued the 2015 Giants.

The Giants last year demonstrated they can score points.  

This year should be no different, or will it?   

In 2015, their 420 total points ranked sixth in the NFL, for an average of 26.4 points per game.  In fact, Eli Manning and his receiving corp tied Tom Brady and his minions for the league's most touchdown receptions.

Rushing the ball, however, was a completely different matter.  The Giants rushed for a mere five touchdowns last season - easily last among the NFL's top ten scoring teams.  League wide, only San Diego rushed for less.  

That's called a one dimensional offense, and it needs to be corrected.

The offensive line's failure to create sufficient daylight certainly played a part in last year's overall rushing futility.  They're improving and slowly creating stability, but still have a ways to go, especially on the right side.  So I'll be paying particular attention to them come Saturday evening.

The running game's true phantom menace, however, were the coaches themselves, who ponderously employed a three, and sometimes four man backfield rotation.  Limiting their touches, hindering their ability to establish rhythm, and leaving them completely out of sync is not something they should repeat.

The Giants suffered lack of ball possession, plain and simple.  Sure the Giants can score, but they can not manage the game clock, much less dominate it, without an effective running game.  Last year was a perfect example.  The Giants failed to hold numerous 4th quarter leads because their lack of rushing prevented them from possessing the ball and killing the clock.

Dollar and a Prayer: Will Money Save Jerry Reese's Job?

Defensively speaking, Coach Spagnuolo and the players under him will ultimately determine whether Jerry Reese will still be serving in his present capacity this time next year.  The grace period earned for his part in securing the organization more Lombardy trophies is essentially over.  

Reese spent quite a Big Blue fortune this off-season revamping a woeful defense, and if this last ditch effort fails, I expect him to be relieved of his duties.

Here's what I'd like to know...

In each of the Giants four Super Bowl victories, they featured powerful running games.  Joe Morris, Otis Anderson, Brandon Jacobs and Ahmad Bradshaw all rushed behind superior offensive linemen.

Be it the old Washington Redskins or Denver Broncos, numerous clashes against the San Francisco 49ers, the Buffalo Bills, Green Bay Packers or New England Patriots, et al, the Giants wore their various opponents down to their preferred speed, managed the clock with defense and the running game, and generally put a stop to high powered spread formations, and west coast style offenses.
So ... if smash mouth football has been proven to work in any era, why then are the New York Football Giants so intent on becoming a west coast style offense - the very kind we used to defeat?

Just saying....

What tight end?

NEW YORK JETS: All Eyes On Ryan Fitzpatrick

Now that Ryan Fitzpatrick is back in the fold, the big question is can he duplicate last season's performance, in which he threw for career highs with 3,905 passing yards and 35 touchdowns.  

For the Jets sake, Fitz better ... because the situation surrounding Geno Smith is now bordering comical.  

Up front, the Jets offensive line will be as good as their center.  That's Nick Mangold's spot.  Nuf ced. With the expectation they'll will keep Ryan upright, Fitzpatrick will have plenty of weapons at his disposal.  Brandon Marshall, Eric Decker, Matt Forte, Bilal Powell, Kellen Davis, all should provide for a balanced attack.

Tourism Up on Revis Island

On the other side of the ball, Gang Green is still in search of a legitimate pass rush.  It's a situation that's hurt them before, and is bound to haunt them again.  And of course, Derrelle Revis still has as much to do with the Jets pass rush as anybody.  Their scheme will still be contingent on deception, and coverage.  Revis Island, however, is not the isolated paradise it once was.

Friday, August 26, 2016

Beisbol de Puerto Rico Part Four: Roberto Clemente Stadium, Carolina

Estadios de Beisbol de Puerto Rico

Hogar de los
Gigantes de Carolina
Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente

2005-06   2006-07

Carolina, Puerto Rico
"Land of Giants"
Home of 
Roberto Clemente Walker

Aug. 18, 1934 - Dec. 31, 1972
Pittsburgh Pirates

Boleteria ~ Ticket Office

Constructed: 2000
Capacity: 12,500

"I want to be remembered as a baseball player 
who gave all he had to give." RC


Thursday, August 25, 2016

L.I. Ducks: The Untimely Struggles of John Brownell

From the desk of:  THE WEBBED SPIKES NINE

Long Island Ducks: Dog days of Summer taking huge bite out of staff ace John Brownell.

We have a pennant race.  Let the pigeons loose...!

Having already clinched a first-half pennant, the Flock seek a season sweep of this year's Liberty Division standings.  However key loses to their starting rotation (purchased by affiliated baseball) and injuries have conspired to make that an increasingly difficult goal to achieve.

It certainly didn't help that Long Island lost 10 of their previous 12 games prior to playing Southern Maryland, during which they endured a seven game losing streak and getting swept by New Britain.

Wednesday's Action:
  • The Ducks split a pair of abbreviated games against the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs.  They took the conclusion of Tuesday's (postponed) game by a 9-3 margin, then fell 6-4 in game two.
  • The Bluefish and Bees went into extra innings, with Bridgeport prevailing in the 11th inning.
  • The Patriots bowed to the sub-par Lancaster Barnstormers.
Thursday Standings
Bridgeport     24-21     *
Somerset      24-22    .5
Long Island   21-23  2.5

The Ducks have seven scheduled series left in their season.  And of their final 26 games, all but four will come against Freedom Division foes.  Ferry Cup rival Bridgeport is the lone exception.  Long Island will host the Fish Sept. 5th through the 8th at Bethpage Ballpark, in what could amount to a second half, Liberty Division defining four game series.

But, make no mistake.  The Somerset Patriots will have something to say.  Be sure.  Only problem is the Flock and Patriots have no remaining games left against one another.  If that sounds familiar, there's a good reason.  Long Island did not face the Somerset Patriots over the first-half's final 46 games either.

Talk about your traditional non-confrontational pennant race...

Southern Maryland Blue Crabs
Long Island Ducks
Bethpage Ballpark

While Mark Minicozzi, DJ, Mitchell, and Dan Lyons remain out, Lew Ford made his return to the Flock from a hamstring injury on Wednesday.  Playing in his first game since June 29, Ford went 2 for 3 with a double in his first at-bat in game two against the Blue Crabs.

What Happened to John Brownell?

Once is an event, twice is a coincidence, and three times is a trend...

John Brownell will now have gone a month without a win.  His last victory came on July 27 against New Britain.  Since then, he's gone 0-3 with two no-decisions over his last five starts, surrendering 18 earned runs for a 4.61 ERA, and a whopping 48 hits through 35.1 innings pitched.  He has now allowed double digit hits in each of his last three starts.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Beisbol de Puerto Rico Part Three: Caguas

Estadios de Beisbol de Puerto Rico

Hogar de los
miembro del equipo

1940-41   1947-48   1949-50
1953-54   1955-56   1957-58
1959-60   1967-68   1973-74
1976-77   1978-79   1980-81
1986-87   2000-01   2010-11

1953-54   1973-74   1986-87 

Caguas, Puerto Rico
"Creole City"

Construccion 1947
Renovado: 1977-78 and 1994-95
Capacidad: 10,000

Founder of Little League in Caguas