Category Archives: Yankees

Losses Ranked

After last night I tried to come up with the worst losses I have suffered as a sports fan. This is called catharsis.

1- Game 5 1995 ALDS- So many things make this the worst starting with the fact that the Yankees had the series in hand the day before when they jumped out to a 5-0 lead in Game 4. They blew that and then came into the 11th inning of this game with a one-run lead. Three batters later the game and the series were over.

2- 2002 NFL Playoffs- Start with the fact that the Giants led 38-14 with less than five minutes to go in the third quarter, but then consider this. The 49ers rally and cut the lead to 38-30 with two TD’s and two 2-point conversions. They then kick a field goal to make it 38-33, but the Giants drive deep into SF territory only to miss a field goal on a bad snap.

Then things really got nutty. The 49ers drive down and score a TD, but the 2-point conversion fails. The Giants have a minute left and get into position for a 42-yard field goal to win the game. Bad snap #2 ensues and the Giants have the heave the ball downfield in desperation. Everyone in the world sees the Giants’ receiver get tackled before the ball arrives and the flag on the play. But, the call is ineligible man down field and the game is over. The following day the NFL apologized to the Giants because the player flagged as ineligible had in fact checked in and was eligible and for missing the obvious pass interference call. <sigh>

3- Game 3 1980 ALCS- George Brett off of Goose Gossage, tears flowed.

4- Game 5 2004 ALCS- What people forget about this game, which went 14 innings, is how many times the Yankees bent, but didn’t break as the extra innings progressed. Made it that more painful when things finally ended.

5- Villanova 77 UNC 74. The cruel part of this game was the fact that it was “over” with a few minutes left. UNC trailed by 10 and had no shot. But Marcus Paige refused to accept that and hit one of the craziest three-pointers you will ever see with 4.7 seconds left. But then….

6 and 7- Games 1+2 2014 Stanley Cup- Both games see the Rangers up 2-0 early. Both games see LA storm back. Both games go to extra time. Both games end with LA winning.

8- Game 5 2011 ALDS- I saw this one in person and I will never forget the quiet after the game ended.

9- 1989 NFL Playoffs- Rams come behind in the 4th quarter to tie the game and then win the coin toss in OT. Flipper Anderson catches a pass, gets to the end zone, runs down the tunnel, and disappears.

10- Games 1 and 7 1995 NBA Semifinals- Pick your poison. Game 1 is Reggie Miller’s “8 points in 9 seconds” where the Knicks blow a 6-point lead over the final 18. Game 7 is Patrick Ewing missing a layup at the buzzer and the Knicks losing their first ever Game 7 at home.

Honorable Mention- 2002 Olympic Hockey Finals- The 1980 Men’s Team lights the torch and you can feel the gold medal finally coming back to U.S. soil. The 2002 team beats the Russians in the semis, just like 1980, and then gets bombed by Canada on home ice to lose the gold medal.

 

Here’s To 2016!

2015 was a bummer for too many reasons to mention, so I am glad to turn the page to 2016. Being an optimist by nature, I predict a much better year. I am also going to make some sports predictions- some serious, some less so.

Tonight (Close enough to 2016 for me)

Alabama and Oklahoma advance to the title game. So-so TV ratings and the fact that the MSU-Alabama game ends after the ball drops, lead to college football changing the date of the semifinals to New Year’s Day permanently.

January

I’ll take Oklahoma to win it all. That’s right, the team that lost to Texas wins the National Championship.

The Colts don’t make the playoffs, the Jets do, and we have a Super Bowl of Arizona and New England.

Yankees sign Justin Upton and trade Brett Gardner.

February

Arizona wins the Super Bowl because Bill Belichick elects to kick every time he touches the ball. When questioned after the game, Bill tells the press they don’t understand defense

March

There are a few upsets in the NCAA Tournament.

April

North Carolina cuts down the nets and wins its 7th NCAA Championship. Kennedy Meeks dominates throughout the Final Four.

Jordan Spieth wins the Masters.

The Knicks are the 8th seed in the NBA Playoffs and actually win a game in Round 1 before bowing out.

May

Rangers go down in flames to Washington in the second round of the NHL Playoffs and the rebuild begins.

June

A horse wins the triple crown for the 2nd-straight year.

Jordan Spieth wins the U.S. Open.

The Capitals win the Stanley Cup.

Golden State goes back-to-back.

July

MLB holds an All-Star Game and nobody seems to notice.

Jordan Spieth wins the British Open.

August

Tiger Woods wins the PGA Championship for his 15th, and last, major.

Mark Teixeira is ruled out for the rest of the year.

September

The NFL season starts with massive rule changes to prevent head injuries. Among them, no more extra points as touchdowns are automatically seven points unless a team goes for two.

The U.S. wins the Ryder Cup.

Serena wins the US Open and retires on the court.

October

The Cubs win the World Series. The World ends.

November (If there is a November)

 

Jerry Jones fires himself as GM after the Cowboys stumble to a 2-8 start.

The Giants, under new coach Jon Gruden, end November with a winning record for the first time in years.

December

The Jets wrap up the top seed in the AFC. The Giants are winners of the NFC East.

A blogger looks back at his failed predictions for 2016 and vows to do better in 2017.

 

Happy New Year to all!

 

 

 

I Love A Parade!

Very glad to see NYC throw a parade for our Womens’ World Cup champs. It’s been way too long since the city threw a parade for a non-local sports team. In fact, the last parade for someone other than the Yankees or Giants was in 1998 when John Glenn and the Space Shuttle astronauts were honored.

We used to have a lot of parades in this city. The first parade up the Canyon of Heroes was in 1886 to honor the Statue of Liberty. Today’s parade was the 205th. But since the 1960’s, the parades have dwindled.

Here are a few pieces of parade trivia I enjoyed:

First sports parade in NYC? The 1924 US Olympic team.

The Yankees have had 9 parades, but the first wasn’t until April of 1961- (honoring the 1960 AL pennant team of all things)  The New York Baseball Giants had a parade in 1954 honoring their NL pennant BEFORE the start of the World Series. (And no parade for the World Series)

Sammy Sosa had a parade in 1998 for his home runs and relief efforts in the Dominican Republic.

The New York Football Giants didn’t get a parade until 2008.

The Knicks have never gotten one. (I wouldn’t bet against that streak ending anytime soon!)

Anyway, I hope we have more sports parades and non-sports parades in the very near future.

What’s Your Favorite Sports Day?

Some of my favorite sports days of the year have happened in the past few months. The opening day of March Madness with 16 games is a personal favorite. Opening Day of the baseball season, especially when it is combined with the end of March Madness like this year, is another. It got me thinking, what other days merit inclusion on this list?

For my list, I am including two rules. First, the day has to be a day. You can’t say the first week of the NFL season for example, or the World Series. Second, it has to be a national event. Patriots’ Day in Boston is cool, but it isn’t really known outside of Boston. Here are a few of my favorites.

Fathers’ Day- You get the final round of the U.S. Open and plenty of baseball.

The NFL conference championships- I prefer these games to the Super Bowl because there are two of them and they are usually better.

Belmont Stakes Day- Often you get a triple crown bid, but even without it you also have a NBA final or NHL final game to watch as well, plus plenty of baseball.

Thanksgiving- Turkey and plenty of football.

New Year’s Day 2015- This was awesome with the college football semis, but the powers that be won’t let us enjoy it again until 2018 because they are dumb.

How about you?

 

No Buzz For Baseball?

Last night the New York Rangers came back from a 3-1 deficit to win a great hockey game 4-3 and move into first place. The New Jersey Devils traded future Hall of Famer Jaromir Jagr to Florida. The Battle of Brooklyn went to overtime and St Francis, one of only five original NCAA teams to never make the tournament, took another step towards ending that streak. Any of these stories could have led the local sports reports on TV last night, but two of them weren’t even mentioned on the channels I watched. Instead, we got detailed reports from Tampa and Port St. Lucie on the state of the Yankees and Mets, including a home run total for A-Rod’s batting practice session.

Yet the print media has decided that their is no buzz around the Yankees. They are writing columns about how people don’t seem to care about baseball in New York. Maybe they will be ultimately proven right. If we hit July and the Yankees and Mets are out of the race and under .500, baseball may become an afterthought. But for now, it certainly isn’t and pretending it is five weeks before opening day is just silly.

Random Thoughts

A busy winter has kept me away from here, my apologies. I will try and do better, but here are some collected thoughts I have had over the past few weeks.

I don’t know what Peyton Manning’s legacy will be, but it took a big hit in that Super Bowl. And, there is simply no excuse for that first snap. How does that happen?

How much longer will the IOC and FIFA reward countries with horrible human rights records and other abuses with events that are supposed to bring the world together? How ironic it was to watch Russia hold the Olympics while next door the Ukraine burned. We have the World Cup going to Russia in 2018 and then Qatar, when does this stop?

I have never been a Derek Jeter guy, but the hatred towards him is silly. Yes, he wasn’t the greatest player ever, but he has been a pretty great one. Why isn’t that something to celebrate?

I understand why the Rangers would try and trade Ryan Callahan and Dan Girardi, but they have to keep one of them. If it were me, I would bet on Girardi and trade Callahan even though it will make my heart hurt. Anyone who watched Team USA in the Olympics will understand why.

I think the Knicks should have traded Carmelo before the deadline. They may sneak into the playoffs, but so what? They aren’t getting out of the first round. I suspect the reason they didn’t is because they already traded their 2014 draft pick to Denver and they are desperate to not see that become a high lottery pick.

The problem with this thinking is that it ignores the fact that the pick is a sunk cost. They aren’t getting it back and they shouldn’t worry about it. The best they can do is improve the team going forward and trading Carmelo would have done that. Now the Knicks have to worry about the chance that Anthony decides to take his talents elsewhere. It would be hard to criticize him if he did. What future do the Knicks have? Some promise to rebuild after 2015 when Amar’e and Chandler come off the books, but is that enough to make anyone believe in them?

Where Does The Axe Fall?

Expectations are a funny thing. The Yankees are widely derided for being failures after winning “only” 85 games, but chances are they will be the most successful local franchise in New York when the 2013-14 seasons conclude.

Think about it. The Giants have to win out to finish .500, so they won’t do better.

The Jets are 6-7, so they could win out and finish with a higher winning percentage, but is that likely?

Look at hockey. The Rangers and Devils are close to a playoff spot, but both are under .500. The Islanders are one of the worst teams in the league.

And then there is basketball where the Nets and Knicks are a combined 12-29.

So things aren’t very good in NYC sports. But my question is, where does the axe fall when it falls?

Rex Ryan was already almost fired last season, so he is too easy. Jason Kidd is a good choice. The Nets are clearly trying to win now and Kidd just fired Lawrence Frank- the guy he absolutely had to have on the bench with him. (And the guy who got a six-year/$1-million deal to sit on that bench).

But I think the best guess is Mike Woodson. As bad as the other teams are, and they are pretty bad, the Knicks are taking it to a different level. Sunday they were humiliated by the Celtics at the Garden. Last night they responded by not competing in Cleveland. Tonight they take the floor at MSG against the Bulls on National TV. If they mail it in again, I think Woodson gets fired.

That’s a shame because this isn’t his fault. This is Jim Dolan’s fault for chasing off Donnie Walsh and giving up the farm for Carmelo Anthony. So when the coach changes, don’t expect anything else to change. That’s the way things work these days at MSG.

 

Woof!

Today was a bad sports day. It started really well, with a great ceremony for Mariano Rivera, but it went all downhill from there.

The Giants didn’t show up today. I can’t remember the last time they looked that bad. Worse, I’m not sure how they fix it. They can’t run the ball and now the offensive line can’t protect Eli Manning. It’s their first 0-3 start since 1995.

The Yankees lost a squeaker that effectively ends their playoff hopes. Four games out with six to play is an almost impossible deficit to overcome.

As Bill Murray said in Stripes, “And now depression sets in”.

Enough!

I can’t handle the moralizing I am reading about the Hall of Fame vote. Tom Verducci wrote a column that was titled “The Hall of Fame Remains Clean” after the vote. (Note, you will have to Google his name and that title to find it because the title has been changed.) Goose Gossage is out today saying that he won’t visit Cooperstown again if Clemens or Bonds get elected. These are just two examples of the general sentiment that the baseball writers did something noble when they refused to induct anyone into the Hall of Fame this year.

But look at the truth. Gaylord Perry has admitted to cheating for YEARS and he is in the Hall of Fame. Why doesn’t that bother Goose and how can Verducci make the claim that the hall if “clean”? And personally, I would rather share the Hall with someone who cheated than with Ty Cobb and Cap Anson, two of the biggest bigots ever. Yet, they are in the Hall of Fame because they were amazing baseball players.

I’m not saying that I want to see Clemens or Bonds in the hall, but I have a serious problem with keeping them out. Clemens denied using PED’s and went to court to clear his name and won. How can we then judge him as guilty? Bonds is slightly more cut and dry because he actually admitted to using PED’s, but claimed he did so unknowingly. Last I checked, Craig Biggio was never accused of PED use, but his 3,000 hits and other great numbers didn’t get him into the Hall this year. And Mike Piazza has been the subject of plenty of rumors, but there is zero evidence to date that says he used PED’s.

I view this as retribution from the writers for missing out on the biggest baseball story in decades. They were the ones writing the adulatory pieces in the national press while the steroid era raged on. Now they seem like jealous ex-lovers, determined to hurt the ones who made them look foolish.

I’ve said this before in different forums, but the Hall has a choice. Either they simply vote straight up and down on the accomplishments of the players in the last 25 years or they have to separate them from the rest of the Hall someway. Because here’s the thing we all know, even if we don’t want to admit it- anyone who played baseball in the last 25 years could have been clean or they could have been dirty. We simply don’t know and we never will.

40 Years

It was 40 years ago today that George Steinbrenner bought the Yankees. While it is portrayed that he rescued the team from mediocrity, that isn’t entirely true.  The Yankees of the early 70’s were not a bad club. In fact the 1970 team won 93 games, but finished 15-games behind the 108-win Orioles. They also consistently ranked in the top half of the AL in attendance.

So Steinbrenner didn’t necessarily rescue a failing franchise, but he did completely transform the way it operated. From 1918 to 1972 the Yankees had a total of eight managers.  Under Steinbrenner Billy Martin alone had five-different stints as manager. Steinbrenner spent without constraint and for the first decade of his tenure it worked as the Yankees won five AL East titles, four pennants and two World Series. But, the lack of a farm system came back to hurt the team and by the late 80’s the club had slipped below .500.  In 1990 Steinbrenner was suspended from baseball by the last real Commissioner, Fay Vincent, and the fans at the Stadium cheered upon hearing the announcement.

At that point, Steinbrenner’s Yankees’ legacy was in tatters.  He was universally hated by the fans for his bullying behavior, terrible trades and constant threats to move the team to New Jersey. But a funny thing happened. His suspension let Gene Michael rebuild the farm system and by the time he returned in 1993 the Yankees were on the rise. They launched another dynasty, won five more titles and Steinbrenner’s legacy was completely transformed.

I wonder what would have happened to the Yankees if George hadn’t bought them in 1973? Would they have won the seven titles? I don’t know, but its interesting to think about.