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Archive for July, 2013

Philadelphia: Softest City in America. Just Ask the Football Coach!

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I use Palmolive when I do dishes, and then a skin softener before I go to bed. Next question?

New Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly has always been a little unorthodox.  His no-huddle, fast paced offense at the University of Oregon has perplexed college defenses since he became offensive coordinator in 2007 and he continued to give opposing d-coordinators fits when he was the head coach.  His unique style of coaching has been copied in the NFL, as the New England Patriots have adopted a lot of his playbook, which has lead to great success as all football fans know.  However, his latest decision as an NFL coach has me and other football fans scratching our heads, as his theory on training camp intensity goes against virtually everything I believe football is about.

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It’s not called “tackle” because they carry fishing boxes!

NFL fans love football because of the violence.  Sure, we enjoy great passes, athletic catches and a cutback by a running back into the open field.  However, real football fans enjoy the gruesome hits and tackles that we get to watch every Sunday.  Football is a contact sport and the tenacity of the game (plus gambling) is the reason it has become the most popular athletic league in the world.  Chip Kelly doesn’t care about what we want, as his new policy at Eagles training camp is one of no tackling.

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You’ve got to fight for the right to fight for the right.

Kelly feels his players will be better prepared to enter an NFL season by avoiding the physical collisions that often lead to injury.  Some might say that this is a wise decision, especially considering the fact that the Eagles have already lost star WR Jeremy Maclin for the year due to a torn ACL on the first day of training camp.  The people who point to Maclin’s injury are flat out wrong!  Maclin’s injury was unfortunate for the Eagles, but it had nothing to do with tackling, as it was a non-contact injury in which the player blew his knee out by cutting on it the wrong way.  It was unavoidable and had nothing to do with the violence on the practice field.  Kelly’s policy is a panic move and I believe it is really setting up his team for failure.

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Maybe The Philly Cream Cheeses?

There have been many NFL coaches in the past who have lead many NFL training camps, and none have ever implemented this strategy.  Why do you think that it?  Is Chip Kelly smarter than all the NFL coaches prior to him?  Absolutely not!  The Philadelphia Eagles will be a soft football team this year.  They are in a division that includes RG3, Alfred Morris, Victor Cruz, Hakeem Nicks and Dez Bryant.  These are some of the most physical, fast and skilled players in the world.  How in the world does Kelly expect his team to bring these guys down in the open field when his players will have no practice in doing so.

Unknown-1Kelly feels that his players will have enough full-contact practice in the preseason.  I guess nobody told him that the starters barely play preseason football.  Therefore his main players will not be able to really hit anybody until Week 1 when the games actually count.  On top of that, many injuries occur in preseason games as players are often playing for their jobs in these spots and are extra physical.  Kelly is going to to run tissue paper soft practices and then throw his players into full contact competition against players who have been hitting the hell out of each other for weeks?  I might be crazy, but this does not sound like a recipe for keeping your players healthy entering the grueling football season.

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“You don’t hit each other, and you don’t hit this!”

If I was a fan of the Giants, Cowboys or Redskins, I would be licking my chops to play these pansies during the season.  I can’t believe a town like Philadelphia would embrace this culture, as Philly has in the past been a tough-nosed city and usually has sports teams to reflect their tenacity.  When the Eagles hired Kelly, many NFL insiders were excited to see if he could bring his college success into the NFL and were waiting to see what his game plans and coaching decisions would look like.  Little did they know that Kelly’s first move would be to soften his team to the point that local Philadelphia high school teams will participate in more grueling workouts then his Eagles.  Not to worry though Chip, if this NFL thing doesn’t work out I’m sure you could easily get a job coaching a gymnastics or figure skating team, as those appear to be more your speed.  It’s only a matter of time before the Eagles Cheerleaders start talking amongst themselves and asking each other why they need to root for this bunch of women.

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Adrian Peterson: Delusions of Grandeur

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I’m King of the World!
Hey – is that an iceberg?

Growing up, most kids are told to shoot for the stars and that any goal they put their mind too they can accomplish.  But what adults don’t tell you is that there is such a thing as an unrealistic goal.  The best player in the NFL, Adrian Peterson, has just set the most unrealistic goal I have ever heard.  AP is coming off the greatest comeback season in Pro Sports history and he might be letting it get into his head just a little…OK a lot.  Yesterday, Peterson made a statement that has the NFL world buzzing as he proclaimed he will not only break Emmitt Smith’s all-time rushing record, but he set a date for him to do so.  Adrian said that he will break Smith’s record on week 16 of the 2017 season.  Not only is this goal unrealistic, it is absolutely absurd.

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You heard me. Come down here and we’ll just see who’s God.

Let’s start with his opening statements; Adrian finished just 9 rushing yards shy of breaking Eric Dickerson’s single-season record mark of 2,106.  Peterson first went on to say that he will not only break that mark this year but he will finish with 2,500 yards.  Are you f-en kidding me?  For all of you non-math whizzes out there, that means Adrian would not only have to play in all 16 games in this upcoming season but he would have to average 156.25 yards a game.  To put that in perspective for all of you, AP led the NFL in yards/per game last season with 131.1.  The next closest RB to him on that list was my boy Alfred Morris who only averaged 100.8/per game.  I can guarantee to everyone out there that AP has absolutely NO CHANCE of hitting the 2,500 mark in one season.  It would be nice, but it’s not going to happen.

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Pushin’s the only way to do it. Now pull me the f^#%$ out of here!

We shouldn’t forget that Peterson had just come back from a torn ACL and MCL before last season and what he accomplished after that was nothing short of a miracle.  I am a huge fan of watching AP play and I will definitely love to see him hit these marks he has set but there is no shot in hell of that happening.  For Adrian to break Emmitt’s record by the 16th week of the 2017 season he will have to average an unobtainable 121 yards/per game for 79 straight games.  After making this ludicrous proclamation, Peterson went on to tell the Star-Tribune:

“Whoo. That’s pushing it, huh? But hey, pushing it is the only way to do it. You know it,”

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Screw Emmitt. I’ll dance a Tango in my bare feet with a linebacker on my shoulders.

It sounds like he is motivated and pumped to get to this mark, but I see it more as Peterson having major delusions of grandeur.  There is no question that he is the best Running Back the game has to offer and there isn’t even a close second, but for him to think he can actually accomplish the goals he has set forth is nothing short of crazy stupidity.  AP is 28 years old and has already gone through a surgery that most people wouldn’t even be able to recover from.    AP has played 6 full seasons and he isn’t even halfway to the Dancing with the Star’s season 3 Champions mark.  (Yeah that’s right, Emmitt Smith won season 3 of Dancing with the Stars)  Adrian Peterson must be out of his damn mind if he actually believes what he said to be true.

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Number one? Sheeeet. I’m better than that! I’m number ZERO!!

Dear Adrian Peterson,

While I would love for all of your statements to come true, I now fear for your health because you just put a giant target on your back for every defensive player in the NFL to aim for.  I understand that you have the second worst QB in the NFL, behind Mark Suckchez of course, and you will probably be getting the most carries in the NFL this year, but that only means that these gigantic defensive players are going to have more opportunities to make you eat your words.  I wish you luck, but I think you might have just stalled what could have been one of the best Running Back careers ever.

Yours Truly,

Sports Debaters


David Cone Drops an F Bomb on a Sunday!

 

Incase you missed the biggest hit from the weekend in Major League Baseball, it came from the bat of “Big Papi” David Ortiz in Baltimore on Saturday.  However, his bat never came close to touching the actual baseball.  After calling timeout and stepping away from the plate, the pitcher threw a high pitch as Papi was out of the box and the umpire called it a strike.  In fairness to Ortiz, the ball was at eye level and should have never been called strike  one, but the umpire felt like Ortiz was showing him up by stepping out and punished him with a bad call.  Two pitches later, Ortiz struck out, used what I’d imagine was profane language, got ejected and threw a temper tantrum.  The worse of his actions was when he took his bat and beat the hell out of the dugout phone, sending it into pieces all over the dugout.

On yesterday’s Yankee broadcast, announcers Michael Kay and David Cone showed the highlights of Ortiz’s antics.  Kay described it using his normal play-by-play style, and then David Cone provided the color analysis.  Now as a big David Cone fan over the year, he usually seemed to carry himself with a calm demeanor.  He definitely has a lot of personality, hence he has a pretty good gig on the YES network, though his true colors came out yesterday upon his analysis of Ortiz beating the phone.  Because David Cone said he had no problem with Ortiz’s reaction, I’m assuming he really just loves phone!

Watch the video below and let me know what you think:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PR1NKdbgP5Q


The American League East See-Saw

al eastDo you remember back during Spring Training in March when everyone was thinking that the AL East was wide open for anyone to grab?  Well it turns out not much has changed in the last 5 months.  Not only is the AL East the only division with 4 teams above a .500 winning percentage, but the 5th team that is under .500 is arguably one of the most dangerous offenses in the game.  As a Mets fan, I am nearing the point in my baseball season where I can stop caring about the Mets demise and I can start paying attention to the contenders whom I’ll be watching come September and October.  There is no doubt that the AL East is the most exciting division in baseball and I am going to break down how I feel the final 60 games will unfold and who will reign supreme in the East.

1st Place – Baltimore Orioles

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Got to love those ORIOles, especially with their creamy center!

Right now, Baltimore is 3.5 games out of first place trailing both Tampa and Boston.  The reason I predict they will finish in first is because they are just too damn powerful in every position to not.  I’ve had the pleasure of watching a lot of Orioles games this year because of my addiction to watching Chris Davis At-Bats.  (Side note:  I haven’t enjoyed watching two powerhouses like Davis and Cabrera go back and forth with bombs so much since the glorious 98′ season with Sosa and McGuire.)  The Orioles rank first in baseball in Slugging Percentage, 3rd in Runs and 4th in Batting Average.  Rarely do you see so much power mixed with batting average for a whole team.  Buck Showalter has the luxury of changing his lineup on a nightly basis based on pitching matchups without ever sacrificing power or average.  The one weakness that the Orioles have faced all year long is their uneven pitching rotation.  While there have been some glimpses of success, for the most part the Baltimore rotation has sucked.  So while I believe that the O’s will power through with their offense for the rest of the regular season, I also think that their dismal pitching will lead to their playoff demise.

2nd Place – Tamp Bay Devil Rays

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The Devil maybe do it.

If you jump back exactly two months from today you would have seen the Devil Rays sitting in 4th place in the AL East.  If you look at the standings today, you will find Tampa in sole possession of first place by a half game over the Red Sox.  Tampa has been lights out since May 27th by posting a 35-17 record since then.  They have had all of their success with a steady balance of offense, pitching and defense.  Between Evan Longoria doing what Evan Longoria does and Matt Moore proving in his second season that he is a legitimate Ace in this league, the Devil Rays are set for many more seasons to come.  They have also found a nice diamond in the rough who actually used to hover around the Mendoza line while with the Dodgers; James Loney is hitting a remarkable .317 with 10 HR’s and 50 RBI’s after only hitting .249, 6 and 41 all last year between LA and Boston.  It also helps that he has stayed healthy all year and has played in 101 of Tampa’s 103 games thus far.  (Side note:  The Devil Rays just lit up CC Sabathia, who I think is a top 5 pitcher in the AL, for 7 runs making it the third time they scored at least 5 on him this season.)  The reason that I feel the Devil Rays will finish as one of the AL’s two Wild Card teams and not with the pennant is because while they are good in a lot of categories they aren’t the best in any of them and to win a division you need the best.

3rd Place – Boston Red Sox

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Where there’s a will, there’s a Fenway.

If you tried to tell me before this season started that you believed the Red Sox would be leading the Majors in Runs and On-Base Percentage I would have laughed in your face.  Well surprise surprise, that is exactly where they rank with just two months left in the season.  Big Papi David Ortiz is having a career year when most people thought he should have been washed up at this point.  It should only be a few months before we find out it is all from PED use, but let’s enjoy it while we can.  In his 16th season, the ageless wonder has a ridiculous stat line that would easily be up for MVP talks if it weren’t for the seasons that Davis and Cabrera are having.  The career .287 hitter is batting .323 with 19 HR’s and 65 RBI’s.  With Ortiz proving age doesn’t matter, the emergence of Jose Iglesias and Dustin Pedroia putting up consistently great numbers, the Red Sox offense has been great all year.  Their pitching, however, has the same issues that Baltimore’s does.  Lester, Lackey and Buchholz have all had streaks this year of great successes but for the most part, their inconsistencies are the exact reason they will lose to the Devil Rays in the one-game Wild Card playoffs.  Yeah, that’s right, I think both Wild Card teams this year are coming out of this beast of a division.

4th Place – New York Yankees

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Damned Yankees.

While it pains me to say this, the Yankees are the most impressive team, (based on what they have), in this division.  Plagued with more injuries than I have ever seen a team suffer through, the Yankees have had to put laughable lineups on the field on almost a daily basis.  No Jeter, A-Rod, Teixeira, and Granderson has led to lineups filled with the Overbay’s and Hafner’s of the world that would barely make it in the minors.  Even with all of this adversity, the Yankees, whom I hate very much, have played way above average ball.  In fact, they have been in playoff contention since day one of the season until recently.  Even Yankees fans can admit that they did not expect to be above .500 at this point in the season but their roster and skill set are coming back to reality as they are now 7 games out of first.  CC has been struggling worse than he ever has in his career and outside of Cano, there is not one bright spot on the entire roster.  Thank God for Mariano Rivera who is absolutely killing it in his final year.  If there was ever going to be a season where the Mets were going to out play the Yankees it was this one and yet it still didn’t happen.  The Yankees have a lot of rebuilding to do over the next few years but they should not put their heads down because this season was way more of a success then it should have been.

5th Place – Toronto Blue Jays

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Toronto feeling kind of Blue.

Before this season started I was talking about how the Blue Jays had a great chance to take this division with the offseason moves they made.  Turns out I was terribly wrong.  My boy, RA Dickey, is proving that there is a huge difference between pitching in the AL East and the NL East.  Last years NL Cy Young winner is getting lit up this year with a nearly 5 ERA and a pitiful 8-11 record.  It doesn’t help that he pitches in the best hitting division in baseball and in a stadium that seems to give up 10 Home Runs every game played there.  The Blue Jays struggles can not all be blamed on Dickey because their entire pitching staff BLOWS!  In fact, the best ERA on their starting rotation comes from Mark Buehrle and his awful 4.50 mark.  Pathetic!  It was a very tough start to the season for Toronto with Jose Reyes being injured and not one person on their team hitting above .300.  With the Blue Jays it has been Home Run or Strikeout all season long and it has led them to a pretty disappointing season.  The brightest spot on their team this year has been the power surge that Edwin Encarnacion has been on.  While his batting average is below .270 he has hit 28 Home Runs already and knocked in 80 RBI’s before August.  Unfortunately for Toronto, there is not much to cheer about this year and with the amount of money they spent in the offseason you can expect to see this team dismantled during the Winter.

You might disagree with my predictions for how this season will unfold but there is no denying that the American League East is the premier division in all of Baseball.


World’s Most Famous Arena…For Only Ten More Years!

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Could this be the Garden's future?

Could this be the Garden’s future?

A vote took place in New York City a day ago in regards to Madison Square Garden’s permit in New York City.  The New York City Council voted to extend the Garden’s permit to operate above Penn Station for ten more years, not the perpetuity vote the Garden was hoping for.  The vote was nearly unanimous, as the Council voted 47-1 to limit the permit.  What does this mean for New York City and MSG’s sports teams?  There is a very real chance that New Yorkers will have to find a new venue to root on the Knicks, Rangers and attend many of the sporting events, concerts, shows and other events that they have been going to the Garden since 1968 to see.

ImageAs a New York sports fan, there is really no place like Madison Square Garden to watch a sporting event.  I loved the old Yankee Stadium but when the Knicks and Rangers are in the playoffs, you can feel the electricity in the building.  The memories I have from the 1994 season, when both the Knicks and Rangers made their respective finals are right up with my favorite sports moments of my life as an intense fan.  If New York City loses Madison Square Garden, it will lose a big chunk of its identity.

ImageAsk any opposing player in the NBA or NHL which arena they love playing in the most and the answer will be Madison Square Garden 99% of the time.  Over the years, our team’s have been negatively affected by their oppositions motivation by playing on the biggest stage in sports, but it had led to great performances for New York fans to witness.  From Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Wayne Gretzky, Martin Brodeur and many others, New York City sports fans have been able to witness the all-time greats travel to New York City and give their best performance because they knew we were the best fan base to impress.

ImageThe New York City Council feels that it is more important to extend Penn Station above ground.  I don’t understand why this is necessary.  I’ve been using Penn Station to travel on New Jersey Transit and the Long Island Railroad all of my adult life.  Although I can agree that a renovation for Penn Station might be a little overdue, I don’t see why it’s necessary to remove an arena that has given New York City and the midtown area of Manhattan so much life.  How many bars, restaurants and other businesses thrive from Ranger and Knick game nights?  Also, the New York City Subway system and other major train depots have been more than functional underground.  Does the New York City Council really feel moving our sports home is necessary so people traveling have better phone service as they wait to board their trains?

ImageAs a New York City employee, I pay a lot of taxes.  Madison Square Garden just put nearly a billion dollars into renovating the Garden and the project will finally be complete this fall.  Now, this Council is telling New Yorkers that not only will the city need to build a new arena and renovate Penn Station, but also it is likely that Cable Vision and Knick and Ranger owner James Dolan will want to be reimbursed the money he spent on the latest renovations.  Where do we think this money might be coming from, if not New Yorkers paychecks?

ImageLastly, New York City fans are well aware of what happens when our teams homes are relocated.  As I said earlier, the old Yankee Stadium was about as electric as MSG.  The new Yankee Stadium is more like a mall then a baseball stadium.  An individual can have a full night out at the new Yankee Stadium without seeing one pitch.  Metlife Stadium might be bigger and cleaner than the old Giants Stadium, but it’s certainly not as loud and does not nearly carry the same home field advantage.  Look at the Giants recent playoff success and you might notice that all of their big victories over the years have been on the road.  MSG is the last sporting gem that we have in our area and now the clock for its relocation is ticking.


Liars, Tigers and Braun…Oh My!

ImageNever in my life did I feel like the Aaron Hernandez fiasco would be overshadowed this soon after its occurrence, but the stupidity of Ryan Braun has done just that.  As one of my fellow Tribesmen, I would have loved to look past Braun’s lies and deception, but I just can’t. Ryan Braun did not only lie about his PED use, (who in Baseball hasn’t), but he insulted the intelligence of Major League Baseball and all of the baseball fans in the world.

Yesterday, Braun admitted to his use of PEDs after MLB’s Biogenesis Documents proved he was guilty, and here is what he had to say:

Image“As I have acknowledged in the past, I am not perfect. I realize now that I have made some mistakes. I am willing to accept the consequences of those actions. This situation has taken a toll on me and my entire family, and it has been a distraction to my teammates and the Brewers organization.  I am very grateful for the support I have received from players, ownership and the fans in Milwaukee and around the country. Finally, I wish to apologize to anyone I may have disappointed — all of the baseball fans especially those in Milwaukee, the great Brewers organization, and my teammates. I am glad to have this matter behind me once and for all, and I cannot wait to get back to the game I love.”Image

Now, this seems like a pretty sincere apology and I would probably take him seriously if he hadn’t already proven that he is the most untrustworthy asshole in Baseball.  Sure, we have had other moronic liars when it comes to PED use like Mark McGuire, Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and most of all Roger Clemens, but the bar was just raised by the 2011 NL MVP*. (Yea that’s right, I am giving it an asterisks now)

ImageIf you don’t know where my anger towards Braun is coming from then you probably don’t remember the investigations that have happened over the past couple of years.  Braun tested positive for elevated levels of testosterone during his MVP season in 2011. He avoided suspension for his positive results because of “an error in the collection process” of his urine sample.  Sounds like someone had a good lawyer (enter Jewish joke here).  Instead of just taking the win of his appeal gracefully, Braun decided to further stick his own foot in his mouth.  He verbally attacked the testing process, labeled himself a victim, and proclaimed his innocence.  Here is a list of his lies he told in his February 24th, 2012 news conference:

“I tried to handle the whole situation with honor, with integrity, with class, with dignity and with professionalism because that’s who I am and how I lived my life.

“I would bet my life that this substance never entered my body at any point.

“I have always stood up for what is right. Today is about everybody who has ever been wrongly accused and everybody who has ever had to stand up for what is actually right.

“I will continue to take the high road because that’s who I am and that’s the way that I’ve lived my life. We won because the truth was on my side. The truth is always relevant and, at the end of the day, the truth prevailed.

“I am a victim of a process that completely broke down and failed in a way that it applied to me in this case.

“The system in the way that it was applied to me in this case was fatally flawed.”

armstrongI bet you don’t accept his apology now, do you?  After admitting his wrong doings yesterday, Braun received a season ending suspension for the PED use as well as his lies from the past year.  What type of message is this sending to the younger generations.  This man got caught doing something illegal then got acquitted of said actions because of a loophole in a flawed system and then verbally attacked the system that was in all actuality correct.  Now he only gets suspended for 65 games?  That’s ludicrous.

arod braunI put the lies of Braun right along the same level of those from Lance Armstrong.  At least Lance made millions upon millions for cancer research whist lying and cheating.  What the hell has Braun done?  This act of deceit needs to be handled a lot better and with a much grander penalty.

There is nothing we can do now except sit back and enjoy watching the next 11 people get suspended for their part in the Biogenesis Documents.  Bye, Bye A-Rod!


Another One Bites the Dust

ImageI understand the Yankees are old.  I think all Yankee fans have kind of seen the end of the road for the past few years.  With Mariano Rivera, Derek Jeter and Andy Pettitte all in their late 30’s to early 40’s, we all knew that the time we all enjoyed in the late 90s was ending.  However, nobody could have predicted that the wheels would fall of this rapidly in the form of injuries and reoccurring injuries.

 ImageComing into the season, we knew Jeter and Rodriguez would be starting off the year a little gimpy, although there was hope Jeter would be ready for opening day.  The assumption was a lineup of Cano, Granderson, Teixeira, Ichiro, Youkilis and Gardner would keep the Yankees afloat and provide enough runs to put them in contention.  That hope was short-lived:

ImageTexiera strained his wrist while taking batting practice at the World Baseball Classic.  Came back for less than two weeks and reinjured it, out for the year!  Granderson broke his finger by getting hit by a pitch, finally comes back, and gets hit by another pitch!  Who knows when he’s coming back?  Jeter pushed himself hard to get back, fractured his ankle again, pushed hard again to come back, strained his quad, back to the DL!  Youkilis is signed to hold the fort down until the injured A-Rod comes back and his back goes out on him in April, done for the year and probably his career.  So terrible that all we could do as Yankee fans was laugh it off.

ImageThen the madness that is Alex Rodriguez around started to take over.  There were steroid scandals, disputes with the Yankees front office, rumors of a plea bargain and 150 game suspension, and then when the smoke clears it looks like he might be coming back.  Now I believe most Yankee fans are done with Rodriguez.  He has been a negative influence for the past few years, was benched in the playoffs last season and has overall been more of an embarrassment than an asset since 2009.  However, I truly believe that any Yankee fan who has seen the cast of amateurs the Yankees have thrown out at third base this season would have to change their mind to a degree, and even if they don’t like him, they understand there is a need for him.

He finally announced that he would be coming back Monday and I’m not going to lie, I was excited to see it all go down.  The Yankees are in Texas tomorrow and to watch him come back against his former team would have been fascinating to see.  He would automatically improve the Yankees, even if he were half the player he once was.  The Yankees won against Boston last night and had the chance to take the series tonight, possibly building some momentum.  However, the inevitable had to happen and A-Rod felt tightness in his thigh and will need to receive an MRI to check out the extent of the injury.  The injury occurred on the last day of his rehab stint, one day before he was supposed to rejoin the Yankees. 

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 I’m at the point where I have lost hope on the Yankees getting any of their aging players back.  This is the season that Lyle Overbay, Luis Cruz, Eduardo Nunez and Zoilo Almonte get their Bronx experiences and take the team as far as they could, which is honestly not looking like it will be more than 162 games.  The Yankees are 7 games above .500 which is somewhat miraculous given the roster they’ve been playing with, but they also find themselves in fourth place of possibly the most even division in baseball.  They are 6 games behind the first place Red Sox, but I believe the Orioles and Rays, who are also ahead of the Yankees in the standings are each better than both the Yanks and Sox.  To have had most of my hope on the off chance that A-Rod could come back and contribute was dicey enough, and now his set back confirms that the Yankees have hit the worst streak of bad luck I have ever seen in major league sports.  

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 Because they are the Yankees and the greatest team in the history of professional sports, it will be tough to find anybody who will feel sorry for them outside of the Bronx.  Even so, it doesn’t make the frustration for the pinstripe faithful any easier to deal with.  I am still a die-hard fan and will tune into the games, but I am getting really sick of rooting for Vernon Wells and Travis Hafner.