What a week it was for the New York City sports scene. Both football teams in rivalry games, the top baseball team in New York re-signs its icon, the second baseball team retains the status quo, the basketball team shows life and the Hockey team…well, I don’t follow hockey so, I don’t know what is going on in that Puckverse of the NHL.
A Grand Intro…..Drumroll Please!
I guess introductions are in order. My name is Gabe Hidalgo, and my job on the blog will be to navigate the New York City sports scene without being too biased towards my favorite teams. Growing up in the borough of Queens (for those of you who are not from NYC let’s try a simple analogy: A borough is to a county as New York City is to New York State!…who said you can’t learn some new things through reading the Sports section?) I lived about 5 train stops away from Shea Stadium(now Citifield). My parents, who emigrated from South America in the late 1960′s (Man, did those hippies making whoopee in Central Park really spook them! Perhaps I will tell that funny story on a slow sports blog day..), would take me and my younger brother to see the NY Metropolitans and we would gather all the giveaways…Bats during Bat Day, Helmets during Helmet Day, School Bags during Bag Day even Team Calendars during calendar day. In football, I became a huge Jets fan (when i say huge, i mean I was the fat kid who loved the Jets…just kidding, well, no I was the Husky kid you always saw trying to close those Wrangler jeans…), the Jets during the 80′s were semi- successful but their history, during my lifetime, was littered with big disappointments….the Mud Bowl, double overtime playoff loss because Mark Gastineau had to dance and bad drafts. However, the one shining moment in my sports life came in 1986, all those years of being dogged because I was a Mets fan finally paid off. Mookie Wilson hits a dribbler down the first base line, Bill Buckner ambles over to try and record the last out in Game Six of the World Series….but a funny thing happened, he completely missed the ball. Mookie makes it to first and Knight scores the winning run…the Mets survive and win the World Series in the next game. The euphoria, the passion, the excitement, an underdog team, the NY Mets won the World Series. I have not had a moment like that since 1986. That is a long time, although not as long as the Cubs….that is just a damn shame.
Now that I have put my sports soul out there for all to see, I think we can now get started on a review of the past sports week in New York City…
The Yankees and Jeter kiss and make up!
Ok, I think the whole word knew that eventually Derek Jeter and the Yanks would come to an agreement that will probably ensure that he retires as a Yank. Let’s face it, regardless of whether you are a Yank fan or not, Jeter embodies what the face of a franchise should be. Jeter has never been embroiled in a scandal (unless you believe Mariah Carey and her tales of woe…), Jeter has never been found to be using steroids or any other type of performance enhancer (unlike his purple lipped buddy, you know I am looking at you A-Rod…), Jeter never once threw a teammate under the bus, Jeter never had a bad word to say about the Boss (may he rest in peace..), Jeter has always been clutch (in the 2000 world series he broke my heart…damn him) and Jeter always sought to project a good all american image. The Yankees have prospered during the Jeter era and they have profitted mightily from his game saving plays (remember that play against the A’s in the playoffs where he threw Jason Giambi’s brother out at home by cutting off the throw and throwing a perfect strike to Posada…clutch!). Now they are both happy…Jeter has a contract that will basically take him in to retirement and the Yanks can savor Jeter’s 3000th hit and his good bye years. Overall, I think its a win win!
Sandy says “We ain’t got no money…so we are going for value”
Yes, the Mets have a $140 million dollar payroll. They have some really bad contracts that will end soon like Oliver perez (this guy is the luckiest SOB in the world, he makes all that money for nothing), Luis Castillo (Why didn’t Omar sign Hudson instead?) and Jason Bay (I know its only been one year but the guy has no emotion, he is as exciting as watching paint dry). However, you have to give Fred (Freddie Coupons) Wilpon and his son Jeff (“I am the OPRAH of Baseball”) Wilpon credit for hiring Sandy Alderson and his A-Team of baseball acolytes. Sandy will get the Mets house in order and he won’t throw money begging for players to play for the Mets. Omar Minaya was flashy, it worked for one season then it all collapsed. The Mets were underachievers and they blew their chances at playoff redemption for several seasons before bottoming out in 2009 and 2010. Now, Sandy knows what he has to do and he wont add to the Mets deficit. Here is Sandy’s to do list:
- Stock up the Minor league teams with Talent – The Mets are threadbare at the AAA level of the minors and they have some prospects at the lower levels but these prospects do not compare to the Phillies, Braves and Marlins prospects. Sandy is committed to drafting well, picking up quality minor league free agents and allowing the prospects to mature in due time. This will become critical to ensuring longterm success.
- Do not overpay for Free Agents – During the Minaya administration, Omar often threw money at players in an effort to get them to play for the NYM. However, the team is now paying the price for those bloated contracts. As an adherent to the Money-ball principles, Sandy will look to do a cost benefit analysis on every possible acquisition and see whether it pays to pick up the player or to shop in the bargain bin for a player who will fit the mold of a team that is patient and a team that will manufacture runs.
- Recruit Stadium appropriate players – Anyone who has been to Citifield knows that it is not a home run park. Sandy will choose players that will put the ball into play and drive the ball to the big gaps in the outfield. Additionally, Sandy will look for flyball pitchers who will keep the ball within the confines of Citifield. Knowing his approach, we can start to see that he has a vision. The fans must be patient as it may take 2-3 years to be vying for a spot in the playoffs.
- Sandy will not make panic moves – Sandy has not been successful because he acquiesces to the short term desires of a city’s fan base, he is a builder. He will build a team that will be competitive and win. As a fan, that is what you want. Make those games in September mean something again.
- Sandy will make sure to have an accession plan in place – The reason that Sandy hired the A-Team is because he knows that he has a short time before he will give the controls to someone else, by hiring this group of acolytes, he can study them and make sure that when he does depart, his chosen one will have a keen understanding of how to continue the success.
Here’s hoping that Sandy will WRIGHT (I know, bad pun) the ship…
Big Blue puts on a show
Man, let me tell you something. That was some display the Giants put on Sunday. The Redskins got royally WHOOPED. The Giants looked like they wanted revenge because they came out and they took the Redskins behind the shed. McNabb looked lost, the Redskin defense looked lost and Haynesworth was literally lost. Hopefully, this game means that the Giants are back on the playoff track….I’d like to continue seeing that beast of an RB keep trucking safeties on his way to the end zone. I don’t know what I can say that would be a positive for the Redskins…hmm, they aren’t the Bengals?!!? (Did you guys see that horrible loss the Bengals suffered? Your Reply should be “which one?”).
Sometimes Silence is Golden
Oh Rexy, what can I say about that 45-3 debacle. The Jets looked like they were a Division III team facing a pissed off Division I powerhouse team. How bad was it???
- The punter shanked TWO punts which resulted in touchdowns for the Patriots.
- Rex challenged the spot of the football on a 3rd down and went for it anyway after he lost the challenge…IN THE FIRST 5 MINUTES OF THE GAME! and to make matters worse he tells the kicker, who has been having problems the last few games, to go kick a 53 yarder! What the FUNK?
- Sanchez throws three interceptions which brings his career totals at New England to 7 interceptions…in two games! Ok so he reduced his interception totals at New England by one this year…
- If your name was not Revis, you did not earn that game check on defense. A supposed top defense was exposed. The safeties and reserve DBs were horrible. 45 points is a number you would expect of the Cardinals defense, the Bills defense, not the Jets Defense.
- Danny Woodhead is now a national hero. He is the RUDY of the NFL and the sad part was that the Jets never realized his potential until he played for the enemy. Yet, Joe McKnight hasn’t done JACK SQUAT!
- Tom “Rogaine Rocks!” Brady showed the Jets what a franchise quarterback looks like, every pass was thrown with authority and every score was punctuated with a primal scream. It was the worst case scenario come to life.
If Rex Ryan wants to prove that his team is resilient then he better get them ready for the Dolphins who come to New Meadowlands with nothing to lose. The Fins are looking to spoil anyone’s season that they can…and you know they absolutely would love to stomp on the now vulnerable Jets. rex has to find a way to steer the Jets ship back on course as they face the Fins, Bears, Steelers and Bills to end the year. A misstep could lead them down the road to 1986…yes, I said it…1986…The Jets started 1986 as a 10-1 team, they had visions of the Super Bowl dancing in their heads, Ken O’Brien was looking like the golden boy QB, Freeman McNeil was looking awesome, then they played the dolphins…and lost…here it comes, 45-3. That led them to lose the final games to end 10-6 and squeak by into the playoffs. Rex, please do not allow this Pats bashing to linger. As much as you buried that game ball from the game today in some pit near the practice field, you must instill the team with a sense of urgency. If the team comes out flat against the Dolphins, it could be a long month of praying that other teams’ outcomes are favorable to you…let’s avoid that this year.
The Other Sports
Hmm, The knicks are on a roll. Now if Dolan would only sell the team, I might watch a game or two. Until then, its a cable BLACKOUT.
St. John’s looks much better under Coach Lavin, can he bring back the Carnessca luster on this team? I hope that at some point St. John’s wises up and builds that team a better facility to play in because that gym is tiny for a Big East team.
The Rangers sound like they are doing better, at least as far as I can tell from Boomer Esiason’s rants in the morning on the radio. I have to hand it to Boomer, the guy left NY to pursue his QB dreams but he always kept his teams in his heart.
Biggest Jag-off of the Week
Albert Haynesworth – Washington Redskins – This guy is whining because the team plays a 3-4 base defense and he feels he is better suited in a 4-3 base. Stop whining and man up, you are making a boatload of money and you play for a franchise that actually has a good history/Fanbase. The Redskins did the right thing to suspend him. Heck, even Albert’s old agent called him a dummy.
Did you ever notice…
Did you ever notice that lame guy driving a (insert obnoxiously large SUV name here) who decides that the rules of the road don’t apply to him? So Mr. Gas Guzzler decides to drive on the shoulder to blow past the rest of us who follow the law? Well, something great happened today. There I was, me in my car moving 5 mph when all of a sudden this black HUGE suburban comes racing down the shoulder….but guess what…A plain clothes cop in an unmarked car pulls him over. Mr. Gas Guzzler steps out of the vehicle prematurely and the cop tells him to back the FUNK up and not make any movements. Suddenly, Mr. Gas Guzzler is starting to shake, is there something in that car? Did he leave his doobie in the ashtray? Don’t know, the light turned green before I could find out. It was just Karmic to see Mr. Gas Guzzler get his comeuppance.
If you have a job that pays well, give thanks to your parents, family and friends who have been there. Give them a call to say thanks. If you are currently unemployed, don’t give up, your opportunity is coming! If you are just lazy and refuse to work, well don’t forget to lower the toilet seat, don’t drink out of the milk carton and tell your parents that you appreciate the fact that they let you stay with them in their basement or as you call it “The Love Dungeon” (yeah, gals are just lining up outside your basement abode waiting for an opportunity to shack up with a guy who shares his living quarters with the boiler and a washer/dryer). On that note…everyone have a great week.
About the Author
Written by Gabe Hidalgo
I am a HUGE Jets/Mets fan.Blogging about NYC sports and life is fun for me, so join me for the ride...