Monday, December 23, 2019

Sunday, December 08, 2019

N.Y. Knicks: Business as Usual at the World's Most Dysfunctional Arena

From the desk of: DUTCH PANTS CAN'T JUMP

Steve Mills and Scott Perry 
Continue Pushing Knicks Up The Mountain

What's sad for me as someone with a blog, much less being a fan since the mid 1970's, is the standard operating procedure put in place twenty years ago which still remains in effect today, by all indications will continue steering the future course of this organization for an unceremonious third straight decade to come.  I could be wrong with regards to what tomorrow holds, but the narrative emanating out of an unyielding MSG to date remains unchanged.  There was that one fleeting moment when Donnie Walsh expertly restored to the Knicks long needed financial flexibility and roster maneuverability.  That is until James Dolan trampled him (and coach D'Antoni) underfoot like some flaming brown paper bag of dog poop left on his front porch.

David Fizdale is merely MSG's latest victim.  I wish him well.  His departure at the very least reconfirms the ongoing dysfunction afflicting the Knicks.  Fizdale marks the twelfth Knicks head coach of this new millennium, and now Mike Miller steps in as unlucky number 13 in the last 19 years.  Players across the league have taken notice of this organization's behavior, and thus rate them low on the NBA's most favored destinations list.  The most recent off-season speaks for itself.  James Dolan is of course the founder of this calamity we call the Knicks.  In turn Steve Mills is his lead executive.  And until Mills is relieved of his duties I do not foresee any relief from this prolonged state of futility.

Meanwhile Scott Perry to me represents the stack of pages reading: all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy.  Next thing you know it's your face in the old picture hanging behind the ballroom bar. You've always been caretaker of the world's most dysfunctional arena, Sir.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

PIGSKIN 2019: Week Fourteen

Week Fourteen

Week Seven
Week Eight
Week Nine
Week Ten
Week Eleven
Week #12 Off
Thanksgiving Day
Week #13 Off

Overall Record: 70-74
Schmear of the Week: 5-6
Bagels in the Basket: -7

I picked a hell of a time for a break, huh?

Friday Line ~ NYDN

Dolphins +5 1/2 JETS
The Jets have ensured that every NFL team will have won at least one game this season.  How benevolent of them.  In fact the previously 0-7 Sea Mammals are 3-2 since these teams last played.  Don't expect Le'Veon Bell to get many touches.  Coach Gase never wanted him in the first place and the last thirteen weeks bear that out.  The home crowd is gonna be pissed!

Ravens -6 BILLS
This game puts my theory to the test.  I rank center the fifth most important position in football.  The Ravens have scored over 400 points this season.  They averaged 35 ppg through their first eleven games.  Then they ran into the 49ers and were limited to 20 points.  The Niners are very good; not taking anything away from them.  But last week was the first game the Ravens played without starting center Matt Skura (out for the season).  Despite the greatness of Lamar Jackson, losing their center I believe will begin weighing heavily in Baltimore's planning.  Like the Niners, Buffalo features a very good defense.  Can the Bills hold them to 20 points, or will the Ravens revert back to their 35 ppg average?

PACKERS -13 D.C. Snyders
The good times are over.  Washington will not win three in a row ... not against the Packers; not at Green Bay.

TEXANS -9 1/2 Broncos
If the Texans take care of the ball they'll be fine.  Their best bet is keeping their own defense off the field with ball control.  The Broncos are 1-5 on the road.

Niners +2 1/2 SAINTS
Looking for the Niners defense keeping this close.

BROWNS -9 Bengals
Bengals are still in the driver's seat with regard to the #1 pick.  Why blow it ...

Panthers +3 FALCONS
Teams after getting their head coach fired almost always win their next game.

VIKINGS -13 Lions
The last time these teams met the Vikings defeated the Lions 42-30 at Detroit.  The Lions are losers of five in a row.  Minnesota needs to get back on track after losing last week at Seattle.

BUCS -3 Colts
The Colts early on appeared poised for succeed upon the retirement of Andrew Luck.  Lately not so much.  When you only score 12 points and lose to the Sea Mammals you know you're in trouble.  If the Bucs can manage just one or two keys stops on defense they'll emerge easy victors.  Famous last words ...

Chargers -3 JAGUARS
What use is home field is you sport a -72 point differential?  Good weather for Philip Rivers.

PATRIOTS -3 Chiefs
Here we go again!

Steelers -3 CARDINALS
How can you not root for Duck Hodges!?!?  If the Steelers aren't blitzing the crap out of Kyler Murray, they're doing something wrong.

Titans -3 RAIDERS
The Raiders are just spent, tired, road weary from unfriendly schedule which included a trip across the pond.

Seahawks -1 RAMS
No surprises here.  The Seahawks defeated the Rams by one point at Seattle in week five.  Despite a 7-5 record the Rams have been one of the more disappointing teams in the league.

Eli is back.  And yeah, I think the Giants can cover against the wildly erratic Eagles.

Schmear of the Week
Packers -13

Good luck, and have a happy Football Sunday, everyone!

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Contemplating End of Wilpon Era on Another Metsian Podcast

From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET


with SAM, RICH, and MIKE


100 minutes


On the Potential Sale of the 
New York Mets

  • art by #CYCLE

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

PIGSKIN 2019: Thanksgiving Day

Week Thirteen

Week Seven
Week Eight
Week Nine
Week Ten
Week Eleven
Took #12 Off

Week Eleven Record: 8-4
Overall Record: 68-73
Schear of the Week: 5-6
Bagels in the Basket: -6

Wednesday Line ~ NYP

Bears -3 LIONS
Never bet against the Lions, at home, on Thanksgiving Day ... at least that's what we used to say back in the day.  Thursday, not so much.  Sure Mitch Trubisky makes one wanna throw up, but Detroit is down to their third string quarterback.  Chicago's defense should gobble up Patricia's Kitties with little problem.  I smell pick-six, yum-yum.
WIN; 24-20 Bears

COWBOYS -6 1/2 Bills
What we have here is a battle of NFC soft schedule underachievers versus AFC softer schedule overachievers.  Outside of the Patriots, the Cowboys to date are the most talented team the Bills will have faced.  Only the NFL's latest fix prevented the Cowboys from defeating the Patriots.  After which Jerry Jones all but said his head coach sucks.  Cowboys players are sure to rally around their buddy Jason Garrett (who should have been fired a long long time ago).  Buffalo's defense is the real deal.  But their offense will come up short of covering the spread against elevated competition.
Loss; 26-15 Bills

Saints -7 FALCONS
The Falcons of all teams are responsible for snapping the Saints six game win streak just three short weeks ago; the very same Falcons whom themselves entered that game losers of six in a row.  Atlanta defeated the Saints at the Dome by a 26-9 final.  The Falcons then go on to defeat, and limit the Panthers to just three points at Carolina.  But they follow up last week allowing 35 points and losing to the Bucs, dropping them to 3-8 for the season.  In other words the party is all but over at Atlanta.  Irony and nuance need not apply.  The Saints meanwhile wanna get back up to full throttle.
WIN; 26-18 Saints

I'm very thankful for everyone who visits my Trolley!

Happy Holiday to the Troops 
Presently Deployed in Harm's Way

N.Y. Jets: Gang Green Overwhelms Lethargic Raiders


Week Twelve
Raiders   3
Jets       34

After their Sept. 15 game against Kansas City, the Oakland Riders bid the Black Hole adieu.  They spend the next six weeks on the road including an overseas visit across the Pond, broken up only with a week six bye.  Nearly fifty days later on Nov. 3, they finally return home to play Detroit.  But there's no rest for the weary as the Raiders are obliged to host the Chargers a mere four days later.  That's one of the more punishing schedules I can recall, travel or otherwise.  The Raiders then enter week eleven against the Bengals with an only somewhat surprising 5-4 record.  All appears well; Derek Carr throws for 292 yards and a touchdown; the Raiders rush for 113 yards.  Were it not for two turnovers perhaps Oakland defeats Cincinnati more decisively.  But there's little time for dwelling over such minutia as the Raiders must board yet another cross-country flight to New York City.

Then Sunday happens ...

That schedule at some point was bound to catch up with Oakland, regardless of opponent.  There's something to be said about the negative affects of flying insofar as dehydration, etc.  The old plane routine is certainly an easy way to explain away Oakland's exceedingly poor play.  But let's be honest, they looked lethargic, managing just 208 total yards and only ten first downs.  The Jets meanwhile  nearly double Oakland's offensive output with 401 total yards and 21 first downs en route to 31:30 minutes of possession.  Simply put, I do not believe the Raiders are as bad, nor do I think the Jets are as good as the final score may suggest.

Sam Darnold appears fully recovered from his early season bout with mononucleosis, as he passes for 300+ yards for only the second time this season, and the first time since week two against the Cowboys.  In fact Sam was 20/29 (69%) for 315 yards, with two TD's, no INT's, and a rushing touchdown to boot.  He is sacked just once.  But for everything that went right for the Jets, the running game still lags behind.  Le'Veon Bell gains 49 yards on just 12 carries.  Together with Bilal Powell they rush 17 times for 64 yards.

Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Brooklyn Nets: Jarrett Allen and Spencer Dinwiddie Too Much For Cleveland

From the desk of: THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

Nets          108
Cavaliers  106


After a well deserved and needed rest, Spencer Dinwiddie re-enters the game at 7:48 of the fourth quarter.  Playing in the final minutes of back-to-back games, the Nets appear noticeably tired.  Case in point Dinwiddie down the stretch fails to convert three of four layup attempts and misses a mid-range jumper.  With 21.5 left on the clock Dinwiddie fouls Collin Sexton whom with one of two conversions from the stripe ties the score (at 106-106).  But Brooklyn steps up their defense with a pair of blocked shots by Jarrett Allen and Dinwiddie respectively, thwarting two Cavaliers offensive rebounds, whom then turn over the ball on a shot clock violation.  With 6.2 left in regulation Coach Atkinson calls for time.  With 1.6 second left on the clock, Spencer Dinwiddie nails a mid-range jumper for a 108-106 road victory over Cleveland.

Spencer Dinwiddie, whom earlier in the day was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week, ties for game high with 23 points and leads the floor with nine assists in 33 minutes.  Brooklyn, however, does not maneuver into position for Dinwiddie's game winning shot unless Jarrett Allen places the team's injured and tired on his back and carries them there.  Playing minus his partner in the paint DeAndre Jordan (day-to-day injury), Allen puts forth his fifth double-double in his last seven games.  Easily his best game of the season, Allen ties his season high of 22 points, while securing a season high 21 rebounds, to go along with three steals and two blocks.  He shoots 9/10 from the field and is 4/5 from the line.

Chalk up another solid game for Taurean Prince, who adds 18 points, six rebounds, and four assists, in 33 minutes.  He leads the Nets with a +9 and is 4/6 from beyond the arc.  Joe Harris scores 19 and secures six defensive rebounds.

The Nets are now winners of four in a row, and a game back over par.  With a 9-8 record they continue occupying seventh place in the Eastern Conference standings, 2.5 games ahead of Orlando.  Not too long ago they were allowing opponents upwards of 119 ppg, but have since reduced that by nearly five less points per game.

Last Wednesday, I said ...
You can't a clinch playoff berth in November, but you sure can sabotage your chances.  Thus opportunity is presenting itself.  By defeating the Hornets, Flatbush leapfrogs into seventh place of the conference standings.  It would now behoove them to seize the moment against some lesser competition on their upcoming schedule: Sacramento at home, the Knicks at the Garden, and the Cavs at Cleveland.  Injuries be damned, there's enough available talent to get through these next few games.  Take advantage now before their showdown versus Boston, then come March there will be less ruing games lost in November. 

Mission accomplished, and a job well done.  They've gotten through the three aforementioned contests minus the services of Kyrie Irving, CarisLeVert, and DeAndre Jordan on Monday.

Wednesday they face the Celtics at Boston.

Let's get it on!


If nothing else, Monday's game should serve as a reminder to Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant insofar as what they thought they were getting themselves into by signing with the Brooklyn Nets.  Still out with a shoulder injury Kyrie Irving last played on Nov. 14 at Denver.  He was averaging 22.9 shots per game through his first eleven games.  With Irving and Caris LeVert (averaging 15.5 shots through nine games) still in the lineup, Spencer Dinwiddie was averaging 13.4 shots a game primarily off the bench.  Jarrett Allen was averaging just 5.7 shots through the team's first eleven games.  Thrust into a starting role Spencer Dinwiddie is presently averaging 17.6 shots over his last six games.  Allen is likewise experiencing more touches, now averaging 9.8 shots over his last six games.  Which is to suggest there exists more shot diversity when Dinwiddie and Allen are sharing the floor, and the ball.  Therefore at issue is a growing number of Kyrie Irving's naysayers warning of the threat he still potentially poses to everything Sean Marks, Kenny Atkinson, and last season's returning Nets players hold dear.  I personally am not buying into the scuttlebutt, but Irving's eventual reintegration into the lineup will indeed become an intriguing development worthy of observation.  In the meantime, Flatbush is 5-1 in their last six games without Irving.

Just saying ...

Monday, November 25, 2019

Brooklyn Nets Pull Old Ball in the Back Routine at Madison Square Garden


Nets lead Knicks; 2-0
BK 113; NY 109
BK 103; NY 101

Nets (8-8)          103
Knicks (4-13)   101

Julius Randle's offensive rebound and two point shot brings the Knicks within two with 0.4 left on the game clock.  After a Nets timeout, Joe Harris exercises a bit of craftiness by in-bounding the ball off the back of an unsuspecting Wayne Ellington whom then takes position as the buzzer sounds.

Game over ...

Still playing minus the services of Caris LeVert and Kyrie Irving, the Nets win their third in a row, defeating the Knicks at Madison Square Garden.  Spencer Dinwiddie continues leading the charge with a game high 30 points, with 13/14 coming from the stripe.  Both Taurean Prince and Jarrett Allen post double-doubles; Prince scores 14 points with 11 rebounds, and Allen adds 18 points with ten rebounds.  DeAndre Jordan's six points and five rebounds in 16 minutes gives the center position 24 points and 15 boards for the night.

Marcus Morris leads the Knicks with 26 points in a team high 33 minutes.  Julius Randle adds 15 points and eight rebounds.  The rest of the bunch muster little else.  The Knicks actually win the battle of the boards by a 43-35 margin, and post a 22-18 advantage in assists.  And with three more possessions shoot 37/80 (46.3%) from the floor and 18/35 (51.4%) from beyond the arc, versus just 31/77 (40.3%) from the floor and 14/38 (36.8%) from three for Brooklyn.  However, the Nets are 27/34 from the line, while the Knicks are just 9/16 (56.3%) ... there's your difference in Sunday's game.

Brooklyn has now defeated the Knicks in each of their first two meetings this season.

The Winds of Change With MMO's Jacob Resnick on Another Metsian Podcast

From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

Minor League Contraction 
Coming to a Town Near You!

with SAM, RICH, and MIKE

115 minutes

Focus on MiLB Contraction
The Bench Coach Files: Jacob Resnick!
Generation Lost: Winning Back Younger Fans
Mets Off-Season Proceeding Slowly Unlike the Braves.
Gary Gentry ~ Nino Espinosa ~ Edwin Diaz ~ Bobby Parnell
Fans Call the Show ~ Kelvin Torve ~ Crickets
and so much more.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Brooklyn Nets: Jarrett Allen Doesn't Let Flatbush Lose Their Composure

From the desk of: THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH

Jarrett Allen's Neighborhood

Hornets   91
Nets       101


Neither team shoots particularly well.  The Nets with 91 possessions are 39% from the floor and 25% (10/39) from beyond the arc.  Charlotte with ten less possessions shoot 37% from the floor.  Brooklyn leads by five at the half, and by nine points through the third.  But the Hornets close to within three until 6:54 of the fourth when Spencer Dinwiddie converts two from the stripe for a five point Nets lead.  

Enter Jarrett Allen who essentially prevents Flatbush from losing their composure.  In just over five minutes down the stretch he secures eight rebounds, including consecutive rebounds on Charlotte's final three attempts of the game.  His offensive rebound and put back at 4:59 gives the Nets a 91-83 lead.  Another offensive board at the 4:21 mark and two conversions from the stripe extend the Nets lead to seven.  Allen leads the floor with 22 points and a game high 17 rebounds in just 28 minutes.  DeAndre Jordan adds a bench leading 14 points and seven more defensive rebounds in 20 minutes.  The duo put up a grand total of 36 points and 24 rebounds, and 8/10 from the line.

Taurean Prince scores 20 points with eight rebounds and four assists, with a +17 in 33 minutes.  Joe Harris scores a quiet eight points.  However, his three-pointer at 1:33 of the fourth proves a major blow to Charlotte's aspirations.

With Caris LeVert and Kyrie Irving out of action, the ball has been in Spencer Dinwiddie's hands.  He scores 20 points with a game high eight assists, but is just 7/18 (38%) from the floor and a mere 2/7 from beyond the arc.  That part I'm cool with.  It's just that he put forth another one of the more erratic fourth quarter performances I can recall.  Both he and to a lesser degree Caris LeVert still lack polish when attacking the rack.  And that's where Kyrie Irving comes in ...

The Nets win the battle of the boards by a 53-41 margin, and hold their opponent under 100 points for the first time all season - a job well done.  You can't a clinch playoff berth in November but you sure can sabotage your chances.  Thus opportunity is presenting itself.  By defeating the Hornets, Flatbush leapfrogs into seventh place of the conference standings.  It would now behoove them to seize the moment against some lesser competition on their upcoming schedule: Sacramento at home, the Knicks at the Garden, and the Cavs at Cleveland.  Injuries be damned, there's enough available talent to get through these next few games.  Take advantage now before their showdown versus Boston, then come March there will be less ruing games lost in November.  

Monday, November 18, 2019

N.Y. Jets: Adam Gase Adds Balance to the Force



N.Y. Jets     34
D.C. Hogs  17

Don't look now, but the Jets are winners of two in a row.

However before you go pitching a tent along the canyon of heroes, let's first give this game some context.  The Jets defeated Washington.  As badly as both teams have played this season, this particular victory was expected from the Jets.  Then again, the same was expected against the Dolphins as well.

That being said Sam Darnold needed to get some naysayers off his back, and did just that with his finest performance of the season.  Sam I am was 19/30 (63%) for 293 yards with four TD's and one INT.  He connected with his tight end Ryan Griffin five times for 109 yards and a touchdown.

The much beleaguered offensive line only yielded two sacks and finally created appreciable daylight.  As such the backfield rushed for upwards of 100 yards for the first time this season.  Le'Veon Bell gained 59 yards on 18 rushes, and Bilal Powell rushed seven times for 42 yards.  The two joined forces for 101 yards on 25 rushes.  The Jets are still nowhere near maximizing Le'Veon Bell's abilities (kind of feel sorry for the guy).  Powell has now rushed 20 times for 84 yards over the last four games.  In fact, Adam Gase called for 33 rushes and 30 pass attempts.  Finally ... a local head coach whom exhibited some balance!

Leonard Williams who?  The defense sacked Dwayne Haskins six times and hit him another ten times.  Angry Jamal Adams accounted for three sacks and four other QB hits.  Meanwhile the Jets front limited Adrian Peterson to just 25 yards on nine rushes.

All that being said outside of yet another kicking snafu, the Jets played an effective well rounded

Throwing Kerosene on the Hot Stove with Another Metsian Podcast

From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET

Four angry Mets fans walk into a bar ...

with SAM, RICH, and MIKE

With Guest

100 minutes

Carlos Beltran ~ Houston Investigation ~ Rob Manfred
The Award Winners ~ The Off-Season ~ The Truth
Pessimism vs. Positivism
Brodie Van Wagenen ~ Jeff and Fred Wilpon
and so much more.

Sunday, November 17, 2019

Brooklyn Nets Close Out Trip With Victory at Chicago

From the desk of: THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH


Nets   117
Bulls  111

No Caris LeVert; no Kyrie Irving; no problem.

Spencer Dinwiddie and Joe Harris step up for the save.  Dinwiddie leads the Nets with 24 points on just 5/11 from the floor, but his energy draws whistles resulting in 14/15 from the line.  Joe Harris is Mr. Distribution with a game high eight assists, and a complimentary 22 points while clocking a team high 35 minutes.  Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan join forces on 18 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists.  And newest Net Iman Shumpert scores five points and secures three rebounds in twelve minutes.

The Nets get out-rebounded by a 56-40 margin, but indeed do a better job of distribution with 30 assists versus just 15 for Chicago.  They also close out strong for a change.  Trailing by four after three quarters, Spencer Dinwiddie leads the way with 20 points down the stretch as Brooklyn outscores the Bulls 43-33 in the fourth quarter en route to a six point margin of victory.

Brooklyn concludes their road trip having sandwiched three losses against the Suns, Jazz, and Nuggets, between victories against the Trail Blazers and Bulls.

Kyrie Irving sat out Saturday's game due to an ongoing shoulder ailment.  As we know Caris LeVert will miss considerable time after undergoing surgery to repair damaged ligaments in his right thumb.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

PIGSKIN 2019: Week Eleven

Week Eleven

Week Seven
Week Eight
Week Nine
Week Ten

Week Ten Record: 3-8
Overall Record: 60-70
Schmear of the Week: 5-5
Bagels in the Basket: -7

1st and Ten
  • Message to Mason Rudolph: rookie QBs shouldn't pick fights with defensive ends; the life you save may be you're own.
  • That said, Maurkice Pouncey is welcome to play for my team any day.
  • The last undefeated team falls.
  • Bengals gain firm grip on #1 draft pick.
2nd and Long
  • Unsafe in Second Place AFC: Bills; Steelers; Colts; Raiders.
  • Unsafe in Second Place NFC: Eagles; Vikings; Panthers; Seahawks.
  • Are two wins really better than none  >  Jets; Dolphins; Giants; Falcons.
  • The second coming of John Gruden continues.  Just give him time.
  • RETWEET: Jets did right fining Quincy Enunwa.
No Gain
  • This whole Colin Kaepernick workout thing initially struck me as nothing more than a PR ploy.  Then he goes ahead and switches workout locations at the last minute behind the NFL's back.  What a charade.  Now what?
  • Generally speaking, the Cleveland Browns seem to have a discipline problem.  My fifth grade teacher said I had one too.
  • Look at the Chargers business decisions, (and Philip Rivers career), and know why Archie Manning didn't want his son playing for them.
  • If we've learned anything this season it's that the Rams do not respond from adversity well, still bumbling and stumbling with Super Bowl hangover.
  • Myles Garrett ... dude ... what were you thinking?  At least he was contrite after the fact.  But during the game, not so much.
  • Replay; refs; rules.
  • D.C. Snyders.

Jets +1 1/2 D.C. SNYDERS
Christopher Johnson very recently issued his strongest endorsement of head coach Adam Gase to date.  Some, not all, players echoed their support (certainly not Quincy Enunwa). Jets fans on the other hand couldn't be more dismayed with the team's present state of affairs.  Perhaps a second straight win against the dregs of the NFL may help ease tensions.  After defeating the Giants in last week's MetLife Toilet Bowl, the Jets travel to the nation's capital where they'll oppose the moribund Snyders featuring novice quarterback Dwayne Haskins.  You would think defensive coordinator Gregg Williams has this one covered like a blanket, right?  A strong performance by Sam Darnold is also needed to help silence the growing background noise regarding his perceived regression at quarterback.  Before heading there I would first point directly at a woefully performing offensive line which not only puts Sam Darnold in harms way on a weekly basis, but is also largely responsible for Le'Veon Bell's least productive season of his stellar career.  
WIN; 34-17 Jets

Friday Line ~ NYDN

Cowboys -3 1/2 LIONS
Whether Matt Stafford plays matters little to me.  The Lions have lost five of their last six games.  Meanwhile the Cowboys are the biggest scam going.  Their record is completely fluffed up by two wins against the Giants and one each against Washington and Miami.  And then there's that embarrassing loss against the Jets.  Outside of their victory over the Eagles, Dallas wilts in the presence of a good team.  The Lions are not a good team.
WIN; 35-27 Cowboys

Saints -5 1/2 BUCS
Last week's Tampa victory over the Cardinals snapped a four game skid, and was the Bucs first win at home.  The Saints defeated the Bucs 31-24 at the Dome in week five.  They should be really really pissed off after last week's terrible trap game loss against the Falcons.
WIN; 34-17 Saints

PANTHERS -5 1/2 Falcons
Speaking of which ... it's time the Atlanta Falcons go back to being this season's pumpkin.  The next pulse reading on the Jekyll and Hyde Panthers electrocardiogram should be an uptick.  They came >>> this <<< close to covering against the Packers last week in chilly Green Bay.
Loss; 29-3 Falcons

COLTS -3 Jaguars
Nick Foles is back in the saddle, but I don't care.  Still believe too strongly in the Colts.  Rather see the legend Gardner freakin Minshew out there.
WIN; 33-13 Colts

VIKINGS -10 1/2 Broncos
Vikings are a very enigmatic 7-3 team.  The Broncos could use Colin Kaepernick ...?
Loss; 27-23 Vikings

Bills -5 1/2 DOLPHINS
See Cowboys: talk about fluff!  The Bills six victories have come against the Jets; Giants; Bengals; Titans; Dolphins; and D.C. Snyders; whom together own a combined 12-44 record.  They averaged just 13 points in three losses against the Patriots; Eagles; and Browns.  Meanwhile Ryan FitzMagic is doing his thing again, and the Sea Mammals are suddenly winners of two in a row.  So, let's see.  Let's just see how good this Bills defense really is.  They've yielded the second least points to date.
WIN; 37-20 Bills

RAVENS -4 Texans
Great match-up.  I'll take the team on a five game winning streak over the team coming off a bye week any time.  Not having J.J. Watt on the field makes Lamar Jackson's job immeasurably easier.
WIN; 41-7 Ravens

Cardinals +11 1/2 49ERS
The Cardinals have lost three games by 17 points or more.  Their game against the Niners two weeks ago at Arizona was not one of them.  I don't care how pissed off the Niners may be after losing to Seattle.  The Cardinals are flat out pain in the posteriors.  They'll score against a good Niners defense just enough to cover.
WIN; 36-26 Niners

Patriots -3 1/2 EAGLES
More Fluff!  Jeez, this league sucks!  I'll take eleven pillow fighters coached by Bill Belichick any day.  If the Bears have a viable quarterback they defeat the Eagles last week.  But, no ...
WIN; 17-10 Patriots

RAIDERS -10 Bengals
This is John Gruden's big chance to completely photo bomb the entire AFC playoff picture.  There's no way the Bengals would do something stupid now, like, win a game.  Cincinnati's league leading -122 point differential pretty much sums up their game plan entering Sunday's contest.
Loss; 17-10 Raiders

Bears +6 1/2 RAMS
This strikes me as a perfect storm where a disgruntled and angry Chicago defense goes up against a frustrated and befuddled Rams offense.  You know, the kind where turnovers translate into points, and the more the Rams press, the more they screw it up.  That kind of day ... for as long s Mitch Trubisky doesn't screw it up.  Colin Kaepernick is potentially only a phone call away.
Loss; 17-7 Rams

Schmear of the Week
Raiders -10

Good luck, and have a Happy Football Sunday, everyone!

Week Eleven Record: 8-4
Overall Record: 68-73
Schear of the Week: 5-6
Bagels in the Basket: -6

Puerto Rico Winter Beisbol: LBPRC Opening Day

est. 1938


Indios de Mayguez
Cangrejeros de Santurce

Mayaguez opens the scoring in the third when first baseman Kennys Vargas (MIN) doubles home Michael Gettys (S.D.).  However the defending LBPRC champions rally for three runs in the fourth on a lead-off home run from left fielder Daz Cameron (DET), and runs batted in from shortstop Ivan DeJesus Jr. (MIN), and third baseman Jantzen Witte (BOS) en route to a 3-1 victory.  Santurce starter Ryan O'Rourke (NYM) yields the Indians lone run on three hits and two walks with four strikeouts in three innings pitched but does not factor in the decision.  Bryan Escanio (N/A) follows with three scoreless innings of no-hit ball with one walk and two strikeouts for the victory in relief.  Fernando Cruz (N/A) pitches the ninth for his first save.  Indians reliever Nelvin Fuentes (N/A) gets tagged with the loss.


Criollos de Caguas
Gigantes de Carolina

Five Carolina pitchers join in whitewashing the Criollos, limiting Caguas to just a pair of hits and no walks, while striking out 16 batters.  Starter Hector Santiago (CHW) tosses five scoreless innings of no-hit baseball with nine strikeouts.  Four Gigantes relievers take care of the rest yielding just two hits, no walks, and fanning seven.  Santiago earns the victory, and Layne Henderson (HOU) earns his first save.  Gigantes shortstop Ozzie Martinez' (N/A) first home run of the winter, and catcher Brian Navarreto's (NYY) run batted in makes all the difference.  Criollos starter Ivan Maldonado (N/A) takes the loss upon yielding two runs on five hits and no walks through four innings.  The Criollos bullpen keeps the game within reach with five scoreless innings to no avail.

*(N/A) non affiliated/independent/winter.

Criollos de Caguas: est. 1938 - 18 LBPRC Championships; five Serie Caribe championships (back-to-back 2017-2018). 
Indios de Mayaguez: est. 1938 - 18 LBPRC championships; two Serie Caribe championships. 
Cangrejeros de Santurce: est. 1939 - 15 LBPRC championships; defending champions; five Serie Caribe championships. 
Gigantes de Carolina est. 2000 - Two LBPRC championships. 
Atenienses de Manati est. 2019 - The Athenians were first formed in 2004, but only lasted three seasons.  Due in part to a reorganization of the Santurce Crabbers the Atheniens reemerged for the 2012-2013 season.  The new Atheniens are an expansion team.  The team name is Manati's traditional local sports identity.

San Juan's Hiram Bithorn Stadium will host the 2019-2020 Serie Caribe.  Hiram Bithorn is major league baseball's first Puerto Rican born player.  He pitched for the Chicago Cubs during the 1942-1943 seasons before serving two years in the United States Navy.  He pitched one more season for the Cubs in 1946, then made a very brief appearance in 1947 with the crosstown White Sox.  Hiram was 34-32 with a 3.16 ERA in 105 major league games and 509.2 innings pitched.

Friday, November 15, 2019

N.Y. Knicks: Fans Make the Unicorn Feel Unwelcome in Garden Return

From the desk of: DUTCH PANTS CAN'T JUMP

Mavericks   103
Knicks         106

Too bad David Fizdale can't play the Mavericks every night.  What an exciting season that would be, as two of the Knicks three victories have come against Dallas, and just happen to be the two most entertaining games of their season to date.

The groundwork for Thursday night's thriller was laid last Friday at Dallas where the Knicks defeat Kristaps Porzingis and the Mavs in a 106-102 final.  Despite 28 points from Kristaps, the Mavericks were outdone by 29 points and nine rebounds from Marcus Morris; 21 points and eight rebounds from Julius Randle; and Bobby Portis' double-double off the bench with 14 points and a dozen boards.

In his first game back at Madison Square Garden since essentially instigating his own trade out out town, Porzingis is 7/17 from the floor and just 1/5 from beyond the arc.  He scores 20 points and secures 11 rebounds for the cosmetic double-double.

A raucous Garden crowd begins serenading Kristaps late in the third quarter with hymns of A$$H@L#...!  Later in the final minute of the quarter with the Knicks down by two Porzingis secures a rebound off a Luka Doncic miss, and emphatically dunks it tying the game at 87-87 with the clock showing 0:04 left in the third.  Kristaps then pauses and glances around as if to say who's the a$$h@l# now.

The Knicks dominate the boards by a 53-44 margin.  Marcus Morris again leads the Knicks with 20 points.  Julius Randle adds 17 points and ten rebounds.  Mitchell Robinson scores 16 points with eight rebounds in 22 minutes off the bench before fouling out.  Dennis Smith Jr. leads the Knicks with eight assists with 13 points also off the bench.

N.Y. Islanders: John Tavares Receives Long Island Jeers in Return to Uniondale

From the desk of: NO SLEEP TILL BELMONT

"We Don't Need You!"

Maple Leafs   4
Islanders        5

Throughout summer I thought it somewhat ponderous the Islanders remained staunchly inactive insofar as making noteworthy upgrades, or said another way spending some cash.  On the other hand, there's the methodical nature of Lou Lamoriello to consider.  But still ... quiet is as quiet does.  Rather the Isles part ways with last season's starting goalie (Robin Lehner whom posts a career best 25 wins and 2.13 GAA) and import veteran Semyon Varlamov to share time with mainstay Thomas Greiss.  Both have each made nine starts.  Varlamov to date is 6-2-1 with a .917 SV% and a 2.56 GAA.  Meanwhile Greiss is doing outstanding, going 7-1-0 with a .942 SV% and 1.88 GAA.  But that speaks only to the pucks that actually get through.  On Wednesday the Islanders blocked 22 shots versus just eight by Toronto.  And thus you have the reasons why the Islanders have yielded the NHL's least number of goals.

Offensively they're middle of the pack with 54 goals but are nevertheless third in point differential (+15).  On Wednesday however they break out for three even strength goals, and two on the power play against a teetering Toronto club.

John Tavares makes his much anticipated return on Long Island as a member of the Maple Leafs.  Fans greet him with chants of "We Don't Need You!"  Then the Islanders go about proving it.  At 14:23 of the first period Mathew Barzal opens the scoring with his eighth goal of the season.  Anthony Beauvillier's power play goal in the final minute of the period gives the Isles a 2-0 lead.  Toronto ties the game at two midway through the second period.  But the Islanders regain the lead on Beauvillier's second goal at the 16:43 mark.  Casey Cizikas' late third period goal effectively puts the game out of reach.  Other than assisting on Kasperi Kapanen's second period goal, John Tavares proves a non factor.  That is until he scores a inconsequential goal with just 0:38 seconds left in the game.

  • #2 - N.Y. Islanders    13-3-1 (27 points)
  • #12 - N.Y. Rangers     8-7-2 (18 points)
  • #16 - N.J. Devils        5-8-4 (14 points)

After losing three of their first four games to begin the season, the Islanders have since gone 12-0-1 to claim second place in the Eastern Conference standings.

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Jacob deGrom and Pete Alonso Add to Mets Trophy Case

From the desk of: HEAD-BUTTING MR. MET


National League Cy Young Award
  • 1969: Tom Seaver
  • 1973: Tom Seaver
  • 1975: Tom Seaver
  • 1985: Dwight Gooden
  • 2012: R.A. Dickey
  • 2018: JACOB deGROM
  • 2019: JACOB deGROM

PITCHERS TO WIN CONSECUTIVE CY YOUNG AWARDS: Sandy Koufax; Denny McLain; Jim Palmer; Greg Maddux; Roger Clemens; Pedro Martinez; Randy Johnson; Tim Lincecum; Clayton Kershaw; Max Scherzer. 
In only his sixth season in the major leagues Jacob deGrom adds his name to the list becoming just the eleventh pitcher in major league history to win back-to-back Cy Young awards.

Jacob joins Tom Seaver as the only Mets pitchers to win multiple awards.  He was also named 2014 ROY, and is a three time all-star.  Last season he won his first ERA title, and this season was baseball's strikeout king.  He has now exceeded 200 strikeouts four times in his career, and has 524 in the last two seasons alone.  He owns a career 2.62 ERA and 1.053 WHiP with 1,255 strikeouts through 1,101 innings pitched, and set a major league record with 30 consecutive starts allowing three runs or less.  Although win/loss records mean less in the today's age of analytics, one can't help but feel badly for deGrom.  A full third (32.7%) of his 171 career starts have ended in a no-decision.  Otherwise deGrom owns a 66-49 (.574) career record while a member of the New York Mets.

Over his last two Cy Young campaigns he has limited the opposition to just two runs or less in 51 of 64 starts.  Nine times last season he struck out double-digit batters, with a season high 14 coming in just his second start at Miami.  In five July starts he fanned double-digits three times, and on Aug. 23 struck out 13 Atlanta Braves at Citi Field.  Jacob pitched at least seven innings in 19 of his 32 starts.

At 31-years of age, deGrom is cementing himself as the organization's second greatest ever pitcher behind only Hall of Fame inductee, the Franchise, Tom Seaver.  He has given us every reason to believe there is still yet more greatness to come.  While Jerry Koosman is a hero to me, and he and Dwight Gooden have rings, it is Jacob deGrom's craftsmanship which presently most rivals that of Tom Terrific's.

National League Rookie of the Year
  • 1967: Tom Seaver
  • 1972: Jon Matlack
  • 1983: Darryl Strawberry
  • 1984: Dwight Gooden
  • 2014: Jacob deGrom
  • 2019: Pete Alonso

Exactly 100 years after Babe Ruth first opened the doors to the 50 Home Run club, Pete Alonso becomes the 30th ever player to join its ranks.  The Flushing Polar Bear also becomes only the Mets second position player to ever win Rookie of the Year.  And what a year it was, leading all of baseball with an all-time MLB record 53 home runs by a rookie.

Once upon a time Dave Kingman was my all-time measure of Mets dingers.  They called him Sky King.  No one else ever measured up until a young right fielder named Darryl Strawberry received his call up to the Mets early in the 1983 season.  He went on to hit 26 home runs and win Rookie of the Year honors.  In 1987-88 he posted back-to-back seasons of 39 home runs.  But no Met had ever hit 40 home runs in one season until crowd favorite Todd Hundley set the Mets all-time mark in 1996 with 41 home runs.  In 2006 Carlos Beltran tied the Mets home run record.  This past season Pete Alonso demolished it, becoming the first Mets player ever to achieve 50 home runs in a single season.

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Brooklyn Nets Fail to Jazz Up Early Season Highlight Reel

From the desk of: THE HOOPS OF FLATBUSH


Nets   114
Jazz   119

Playing minus the services of Caris LeVert, the Nets take a 68-53 lead into halftime.  Up against the NBA's stingiest defense, Brooklyn is on pace to score upwards of 130-points.  Defensively, they're keeping Utah under their customary yield. 

Brooklyn still leads by eight after three quarters.  By all indications everything is going swimmingly.

But at 9:48 of the fourth quarter the Jazz make the last remnants of Brooklyn's 15-point halftime lead disappear.  Now down by three, Jarrett Allen fouls out with near six minutes left in the game.  Joe Harris hits a three tying the score at 107-107 with 5:28 left.  After four lead changes, DeAndre Jordan cleans up Kyrie Irvin's failed layup, tying the score again at 114-114 with 1:15 left to play.  Rudy Gobert's offensive rebound and dunk then put the Jazz up by one.  Kyrie misses two attempts from the field.  Utah closes out with 3/4 from the line en route to a five point margin of victory.

Brooklyn gets outscored by 20-points in the second half.  That's a 35-point swing.  Not for lack of rebounding, as the Jazz out-board the Nets by only three.  Not for lack of ball distribution, as the Nets edge the Jazz with three more assists.  Sixteen turnovers certainly didn't help, five more than the Jazz.  Rather, the defensive effort just fell apart like wet toilet paper, again.

The only thing more unsightly than Joe Harris' 4/10 from the floor and 1/2 from the line was his -22 and five personal fouls in 36 minutes.  Speaking of which, Jarrett Allen has been in foul trouble for eight straight quarters now.  With Allen limited to just 18 minutes, DeAndre Jordan stepped up with a double-double, scoring 15 points and securing a game high 17 rebounds in 30 minutes.

The Nets put up 90 shots against the Jazz; Kyrie Irving accounted for exactly one-third.  He led the Nets with 27 points and a team high 38 minutes, but was only 10/30 from the field, and just 1/2 from beyond the arc.  In the fourth quarter he missed on his last seven shot attempts.

On to Denver ...

2019-2020 Winter League Beisbol Season In Full Swing

2019 ~ 2020

LIDOM - Liga de Beisbol Profesional Republica Dominicana (est. 1938)
The Dominican Republic is roughly 25 games into their season.  To the surprise of no one Los Leones de Escogido presently lead the six team circuit with a 16-8 record.  Established in 1921 they rank third in the league with 17 Dominican League championships.  They hold a three game lead over both Los Tigres del Licey and Toros del Este.  Los Estrellas Orientles are defending champions.  The regular season ends 12/17.
  • Mets: Starter Harol Gonzalez (2019: Binghamton; Syracuse).
  • Mets: Reliever Carlos Hernandez (2019: PSL Mets).
  • Mets: Reliever Adonis Uceta (2019: Binghamton; Syracuse).

LMP - Liga Mexicana del Pacifico (est. 1945)
Two of my favorite LMP teams just happen to be tied for first place.  Los Naranjeros de Hermosillo (14-8) are mere percentage points ahead of Los Tomateros de Culiacan (15-8).  Los Yaquis de Obregon round out the top three of Mexico's ten team circuit.  Los Charros de Jalisco are the defending champions.  The regular season ends 12/30.
  • Mets: Catcher Juan Uriarte (2019: GCL Mets; Columbia).

LVBP - Liga Venezolana de Beisbol Profesional (est. 1945)
Despite lingering national and sometimes disruptive unrest, Venezuelan baseball plays on.  Less than ten games into their season Los Aguilas de Zulia and Los Cardenales de Lara are presently tied for first place with 5-2 records respectively.  Los Cardenales are also defending champions.  Los Tigres de Aragua round out the top three of Venezuela's eight team league.  The regular season ends 12/29.

LBPRC - Liga de Beisbol Profesional Roberto Clemente (est. 1938)
This upcoming Friday marks Puerto Rico's opening day.  Yo soy fanatico de Los Criollos de Caguas.  Hurricane Maria caused extensive damage to their home park Yldefonso Sola Morales Stadium.  It is due to reopen next season.  In the meantime Los Criollos will continue playing their home games at Hiram Bithorn Stadium, also known as Capital Stadium, at San Juan.  The island's capital will also host this season's Serie Caribe in February.  LBPRC welcomes back an old member Los Atenienses de Manati.  Los Cangrejeros de Santurce are defending champions.  The regular season ends 12/30.

home of the
Gigantes de Carolina
Puerto Rico

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

N.Y. Jets: Gang Gase Makes Good Against Giants


That's One Small Step for Adam Gase;
One Huge Leap at the Giants Expense for Jetskind

With the Giants missing three starting offensive linemen, the Jets dialed up six sacks and another ten QB hits.  They also completely bottled up the Giants running game, limiting Saquon Barkley and Wayne Gallman to a mere three yards on 14 carries.  Meanwhile angry Jamal Adams was a one man gauntlet of green.  He had two sacks, two other QB hits, a team high nine tackles, and quite literally stripped potential victory out from the hands of Daniel Jones and the Giants with a forced fumble recovery and a touchdown.  Daniel Jones did however carve up the Jets secondary with a pair of touchdown passes each to Darius Slayton and Golden Tate.

For the beleaguered Adam Gase, Sunday's victory is a measure of redemption and at the very least a chance to exhale.  Sunday's victory also gives the Jets a break insofar as getting the local media spotlight placed back on the Giants.  After all, Gase did a better job coaching his team than Pat Shurmur did his.

Gase increased Bilal Powell's touches to seven.  Added to Le'Veon Bell's 18 rushes, that equals 25 rushing attempts.  Their 49 yards gained is a secondary issue.  It's the balance running the ball poses which will further help advance Sam Darnold's development.  Sam the Sophomore was 19/30 (63%) for 230-yards, with one touchdown via the air to Jamison Crowder, and one rushing, and no INT's.

The Giants managed just two sacks, none of which were recorded by former Jet Leonard Williams, although the new Giants defensive lineman was credited with four QB touches.

N.Y. Knicks: Sunday Night's Main Event Featuring David Fizdale Versus Front Office

From the desk of: DUTCH PANTS CAN'T JUMP

19 WINS in 92 GAMES (.206)

In the corner to your left, James Dolan and his henchmen Steve Mills and Scott Perry.  In the corner to your right, head coach David Fizdale and the players provided to him.  In Sunday night's main event at the Garden, upper management lands an opening hay-maker and down goes Fizdale!  Down goes Fizdale!  Under the bus goes Fizdale!

We can safely surmise at this juncture Mills and Perry under orders from Dolan spent the second half of Sunday's 21-point loss against the Cavs hastily arranging their preemptive post game press conference like only Madison Square Garden can.  Standing side by side, Steve Mills and Scott Perry make known to an assembled media their displeasure with the team's state of affairs.  Only the executive duo does not claim responsibility.  Ironic is their failure to lure top tier free agents this past off-season, which is now manifesting itself on the floor.  The delusional duo instead express (paraphrasing) great dismay with the present situation, claiming this collection of talent should be performing better, and are not where the front office expected them to be.  They repeatedly pinpoint the team's lack of consistency in its collective effort.  Just don't misinterpret them, for they also said they're not focused on the team's record.

Speaking of which the Knicks have now played 92 regular season games under David Fizdale but are yet to win twenty games.  The Knicks finished 17-65 last season, and are off to a 2-8 start this season.  Despite the utterly laughable reactive posturing by Perry and Mills, the process of scapegoating David Fizdale is nevertheless underway.

Before drawing to a close the beleaguered coach counters with perhaps the best upper cut and straight right combo of the night.  Newsday scribe Steve Popper quotes Fizdale saying, "I don't need anyone to speak to me to give me a sense of urgency."  And when asked about his job security, quotes Fizdle saying, "I got a two-and-a-half year contract.  That's my assurance."

The sweet science is back at the Garden.