As a huge New York Jets, Mets and Knicks fan, Monday was a very trying day for me. Even though everything that could go wrong went wrong , I have taken more of an optimistic view over my three teams. Yesterday, the New York Jets proved the world correct by finally ending what I consider to be the most pathetic and embarrassing season for a franchise that has been a joke for most of its existence. The New York Mets became the first team since 1998 to trade away the past year’s Cy Young Award winner by dealing fan favorite RA Dickey to the Blue Jays (1998-Blue Jays traded Roger Clemens to the Yankees). The New York Knicks had a visit from the most popular player in the league a year ago, Jeremy Lin, and got shellacked by him for the second time this season. If you are a fan of any of these teams, or all three like myself, then Monday looked like and extremely rough day. I am going to explain why I feel there is a silver lining for each of these tumultuous events.
Let’s start with J-E-T-S (Just End The Season); Thank God they did! I have never in my life rooted for one of my teams to lose…except for last night. The Jets have been an absolute CIRCUS since the end of last season. The acquisition of Tim Tebow was a mistake from the get-go and not once did the Jets and their coaching staff try to rectify that situation. The pathetic Offensive Coordinator, Brian Schottenheimer, was fired only to be replaced by an even worse one, Tony Sparano. Mark Sanchez’s ability as a QB receded worse that Lebron James’ hair line. The Jets had arguably the worst receiving core in NFL history and couldn’t develop a running attack against any formidable opponents. So why was I rooting against the Jets yesterday, even with their playoff chances still intact if they had won? Because it would have all been the same shit again next year if the Jets showed even the slightest bit of success. With this mortifying loss on Monday Night Football last night no Jets fans will ever have to watch Mark Sanchez at the QB position ever again! Ii has been announced that Greg McElroy will start Sunday against the Chargers. The Jets GM, Mike Tannenbaum, is either going to be replaced or he is going to be put on such a hot seat that he will have no choice but to fix this never-ending pile of issues. The Jets need to be completely revamped and there is no way that would have happened without them losing last night so there is the silver lining.
My New York Knicks have not given their fans much to complain about this season. They have the best record in the Eastern Conference and have looked like a title contender the whole year. They have really only hit one speed bump this season and their name is the Houston Rockets. The last time the Knicks had to worry about the Rockets was in 1994 when they met in the NBA Finals and went to an exhilarating game 7 which the Knicks inevitably ended up losing. Ever since Jeremy Lin left the Knicks for a more than generous contract with the Rockets, there has been a target on his back. Unfortunately for the Knickerbockers, that target was too small to see because for the second time this season, Jeremy Lin and the Rockets manhandled them. I never had any ill will towards Lin once he left, especially because I knew what the Knicks overall plan was and he just wasn’t the right fit for Woodson’s game plan. So what’s the upside to the Knicks losing twice to a supposedly inferior team? First, the Rockets most likely won’t make the playoffs this year so the Knicks won’t be playing them again until next year. Secondly, there was no way the Knicks were going to go 77-5 so we were bound to lose eventually. Finally, the real silver lining behind this most recent loss at the Garden to the slightly above average Houston Rockets is that we now know exactly what we need Iman Shumpert and Amare Stoudemire for. Shumpert wasn’t really an issue but everyone was questioning where Amare would fit in and the truth of the matter is that STAT is an extremely talented player and in situations where Melo or even Tyson or Kidd or Felton are out with injury, STAT can be a viable option that can help earn that W.
The New York Mets are very good at being very bad. Outside of a handful of years that Mike Piazza was destroying anything in his way, the Mets have been completely irrelevant for nearly a quarter century. Last year the Mets let one of their franchise’s greatest players ever, Jose Reyes, leave to their divisional foe, the Miami Marlins, due to their money issues. Worst part about that was that Reyes was coming off of his best ever year and the National League Batting Title. Yesterday, the Mets completed a trade with the Toronto Blue Jays which ended with the reigning CY Young Winner and Mets fan favorite RA Dickey leaving after one of the greatest pitching seasons in NY Mets history. So how can losing your best pitcher and biggest ticket attraction have any positives behind it? Well, I’ll start by saying that with or without Dickey, the Mets were not going anywhere any time soon. Having said that, the Mets have no money and they need to figure out new ways to rebuild a franchise that does not have much going for it right now. I feel that they did the right thing by signing David Wright for pretty much the rest of his career. Now they have to figure out who will hit around him and what direction they want their franchise to go. Between Wheeler and Harvey the Mets have some talented pitching coming up soon. In the trade for Dickey, the Mets acquired arguably one of the best young talents in the Minors, catcher Travis d’Arnaud. On top of that they saved a butt load of money and have positioned themselves to be a formidable opponent within a few years. I see some bright things in the Mets future and I think it starts with Travis d’Arnaud.
So even if you are still having a hard time recovering from yesterday’s exhausting and trying events, just know that each of them have a silver lining and everything should be okay soon enough.
The Mets epic 2nd half struggles can only be described one way and that’s by quoting the famous Dennis Green tirade, “They are who we thought they were.” After a ridiculously surprising 46-40 record entering the All-Star break, the Mets surpassed everyone’s expectations. With their 1-11 record since the break entering last night’s contest in Arizona, including being swept by division rivals Atlanta and Washington, the Mets have proven all the critics correct…their first half was clearly a fluke.
With decades of continuous failures and disappointments, Mets fans have learned to hold onto hope with our strong and encouraging motto, “Ya Gotta Believe!” So season after season us Mets fans keep faith and look for miracles to save us from our routine collapsing and utter embarrassment. With the recent season ending injury to Dillon Gee and the newly DL ridden Johan Santana, the Mets needed to find said miracle before all of their first half successes went for naught as they slowly dropped out of the playoff race. For months, fans have been pleading for the organization to bring up either one of the young stud minor league sensations, Matt Harvey or Zach Wheeler.
Ask and you shall receive. With the demotion of failed veteran, Miguel Batista, the Amazin’s had a starting slot open in their rotation. Enter Harvey! Every Mets fan in the world has pretty much written the current season off with how bad they have looked recently. The little bit of hope that any fan might of still have was all placed on the shoulders of the 23-year-old rookie making his major league debut last night in Arizona. Well Mets fans, I know it’s been a grueling couple of weeks since the all-star game but I think it’s time to turn those frowns upside down…for the time being.
Matt Harvey came out and preformed better than any rookie making their Major League debut in Mets history. The #7 overall pick of the 2010 draft showed exactly why he is considered one of the best prospects in the nation. Not only was it a historic start for the Mets history books, but Harvey also made his mark in baseball’s record books by becoming the first pitcher since 1900 to strike out 10 or more batters while also getting at least 2 hits of their own in their debut. Matt Harvey, whose first name is amazing by the way, looked as if he had been pitching in the majors for years. His complete stat line was 5.1 innings with 11 K’s, 3 BB and 3 hits while allowing 0 runs. With 4 different pitches working perfectly all game, including a consistent 97-98 MPH fastball that he so smoothly painted on the corner’s of home plate, Harvey lead the Mets to a 3-1 victory over Arizona.
After Harvey started the game out by fanning the D-Backs lead off hitter Gerardo Parra, you could just tell that Harvey was where he belonged. It didn’t take Harvey that long to realize it though, he knew it from the warm ups. “When I was warming up I looked around and kind of took everything in,” Harvey said. “At that moment I really did believe that I was meant to pitch in the big leagues. It was everything I could have imagined. I just wanted to do everything I could to keep the team in a winning distance.”
Only one Diamondback player was able to reach third base while Harvey manned the mound and that was only because of a wild pitch, which I thought could have gone as passed ball. Harvey not only impressed the fans and his teammates but he really made an impression on their manager.
“He lived up to exactly what everybody has talked about him,” said Mets manager Terry Collins. “Now I want him to go out the next time and be a little more comfortable yet pitch as effectively as he did today. He is a different cat.”
You know what Terry, I want the same thing. I know it’s only one win, but maybe this could be the start of something special. Who knows, maybe when Wheeler is called up he can outperform Harvey and the Mets can have that formidable 1-2 punch that they started the season with before Santana got hurt and Dickey came back to reality. Regardless of how this season turns out, it’s nice to have a smile on my face while talking about the Mets again. LET’S GO METS!!!
A few days ago, I wrote about how much I enjoyed the Major League Baseball All-Star game. Seeing the greatest ball players in the world battle it out first in the Home Run Derby, and then the game itself has always been something I’ve found special. Players who don’t often play each other compete while other players who are used to competing with each other team up for one night. In the American League dugout you’ll find rivals like Derek Jeter and David Ortiz playing and cheering on their team for the same purpose. It has always been a lot of fun to watch for me, an avid baseball fan. However, this All-Star game did not live up to my expectations what so ever. In fact, I’ll go even further to say that it absolutely sucked and I had a hard time sitting through and watching the action (even though I saw damn near every pitch).
First of all, the All-Star game itself was boring as hell. Justin Verlander came in and gave up five damn runs in the first inning and the game was pretty much over. All the life was taken out of the game at that point. As a Yankee fan, the fact that my team may finish with the best record in baseball but not get home field in the World Series thanks to Mr. Verlander is a fucking joke. Bud Selig really shit the bed when he made that rule up a few years ago following the infamous tie in 2002. At least if the Tigers make the World Series and don’t get home field, they can look at their own player as a main reason why. However, if any other team like the Yanks, Angels or Rangers make it through to the Fall Classic, how does it make any sense that they won’t get to host the deciding Game 7 in their building. Just look at last year as an example, as the Texas Rangers had to play Game 7 at St. Louis in the World Series and lost to the Cardinals on the road as a result of an exhibition game result. The fact that it was a blow out, and a first inning blow out makes the result even harder to swallow. Major League Baseball, you better check into this and fix it.
Also, why the hell is Tony La Russa managing the NL team? First of all, he is a miserable looking man, with a face that not even his own mother could really love. I understand his team won the World Series last year and that the World Series managers get the privilege the following year, but he retired! Why should he be allowed to call the shots when he doesn’t really have a dog in the fight? Now I know that he won the game but imagine he had to make a decision at the end of the game that would cost a rival of his the ability to play Game 7 at home? What if La Russa had an opportunity to screw over the Brewers or Cubs? Since he has nothing to really gain from any managing decision, there is no reason he should be pressing the buttons in this game. If MLB is going to make the game actually mean something, then they need to be consistent and treat it like it does. La Russa retired from baseball and should have watched the game on his couch like all the other ex managers did.
One of La Russa’s decisions that pissed me off, though ultimately didn’t effect the game too much was not starting R.A. Dickey. Now I am not a Mets fan, but as a fan of baseball, how could anyone not enjoy the year and story that Dickey has put together? Even if La Russa thinks that starter Matt Cain is a better pitcher, he has to understand that everyone wanted to see Dickey come in and throw his knuckleball out of the gate. R.A. got into the game in the middle innings, but by then it was already decided and the anticipation and excitement wasn’t there. Dickey’s numbers dictate that he should have 100% been the starter, as his ERA, WHIP, wins, K’s per 9 innings and hits per 9 innings are all superior to Matt Cain. Awful job by La Russa to not only disallow the best and most deserving pitcher an All-Star start, but by ruining the greatest story in baseball to come around in a long time.
As for the Home Run derby, how the hell can Kansas City Royal fans boo Robinson Cano during the entire competition? Actually, allow me to correct myself. They cheered when he made outs. Robinson, as the AL Derby captain didn’t pick Kansas City Royal Billy Butler to participate in the competition. I understand that fans can be disappointed, but to show the lack of class they did during the Derby is a travesty. Robinson Cano has never said or done anything offensive to anyone. He is a fun loving player who happens to be one of the top 5 in the world. For the Royal fans to boo him to the extent they did during an All-Star game competition which is supposed to be fun is bull shit. Cano tried to play it off like it didn’t bother him, but how could it not? Yesterday at the actual game, Royal fans continued to heckle Cano, even messing with his family in the stands. Now I know that the Royals won’t make the World Series (probably ever in my lifetime), but shouldn’t they be rooting for the American League? Also, it is never acceptable to go after a player’s family for any reason. If the reason is over Billy Butler however, it makes the Royal fans the biggest bunch of morons I have ever witnessed. Billy fucking Butler! Butler’s career high in HR’s is 21! Also, Cano’s American League picks ended up winning the competition so it looks like Robinson made some good decisions. Kansas City Royal fans showed they are the type of fans who breed losing baseball. Is there any wonder that as soon as any Royal player gets good and enters their contract year, they run the hell out of there as fast as possible. If George Brett was a Yankee he wouldn’t even be in their all time top 10. Your team is a joke and so are you.
With that all said, I’m ready for the second half of baseball to kick off. I hope Robinson Cano gets fueled by the haters and explodes in the next few weeks, which I totally expect. I hope the American League World Series representative destroys whoever comes out of the weak National League. I hope R.A. Dickey continues to pitch better than Matt Cain. I hope Tony La Russa finds something else to do with his spare time. I hope Bud Selig grows a brain. But mostly, I hope that Billy Butler and the Kansas City Royals don’t win another game for the rest of their year. Their fans 100% deserve it!
Where did this freak of nature come from? If you were to try to tell me that nearly at the midpoint of the baseball season the best pitcher in the game would be a 37-year-old knuckleballer on the New York Mets, I would have to ask what you were smoking. Amazingly, R.A. Dickey is just that and over the last three months he has taken the baseball world by storm.
Dickey was drafted out of the University of Tennessee as the 18th overall pick by the Texas Rangers. After being drafted by the Rangers, Dickey was initially offered a signing bonus of $810,000, before a Rangers team physician saw Dickey’s throwing arm hanging oddly in a picture. The Rangers did further evaluation of Dickey, leading to the discovery of a missing ulnar collateral ligament of his elbow joint and reduced their offer to $75,000. Usually when an athletes career starts like that, they don’t turn it around 16 years later.
Tonight, Dickey proved once again that he is without question the most unusual and mesmerizing pitcher in the game. Just 5 days removed from his masterful and controversial 1-hitter against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, where he set a career high with 12 strikeouts, R.A. took the mound against a hot Baltimore Orioles team. And wouldn’t you know it, he did it again. Another 1-hit treasure from Dickey and this time he did it with 13 strikeouts. Jokingly after the game, Mets manager Terry Collins said to the media (referring to his appeal for last weeks 1-hitter to be turned into a no-hitter), “Do I have a chance to appeal that base hit? Anyone dive for that ball…I didn’t see? I had a bad view.” In this game, the Orioles definitely had a line drive hit off of Wilson Betemit’s bat in the 5th. To make matters even better for the Mets, Dickey matched his opponents hit total with a line drive of his own that he eventually came around to score on. This is the first time that anyone has had back-to-back 1-hitters since Dave Stieb for Toronto in September 1988.
It’s not just the last two games that has separated Dickey from the rest of the NL Cy Young contenders for the time being, he has been doing this all year. Robert Allen Dickey is now the first pitcher in baseball with 11 wins this season and is a staggering 11-1 on the year with a minuscule 2.00 ERA. The most incredible part of all this hoopla is that Dickey performs these magical stats with only 1 pitch…the Knuckleball. For decades, hitters have been baffled by the flat and erratic knuckleball, but never has there been a dominance over it like Dickey’s. The knuckleball is supposed to be hard to control for even the best users of it, but Dickey has seemed to figure out a trick that no one else can.
8 days after releasing his autobiography Wherever I Wind Up: My Quest for Truth, Authenticity and the Perfect Knuckleball, where he discussed suffering sexual abuse as a child and his struggles with suicidal thoughts as an adult, Dickey took the mound against the Mets division rivals, the Atlanta Braves on April 7th. He came out of the game with a solid victory that would soon become a trend for the Mets. The Mets are 12-2 when Dickey takes the mound and it only seems as if Dickey is getting better every game. I have personally never witnessed such a dominant stretch as Dickey has put on over his last 6 starts where he has gone 6-0 while pitching 48 and 2/3 innings out of a possible 54 and accumulating a ridiculous 63 strikeouts and only 5 walks.
The Mets are an above average team right now and with Dickey on the mound they are nearly unstoppable. I would definitely have to put Dickey as the starter for the NL All-star team and right now he is my front-runner for NL Cy Young. Try and debate that!
Late last night, San Francisco Giants Ace, Matt Cain, threw the franchise’s first ever perfect game. 27 up and 27 down, Cain might have pitched the most impressive statistical perfect game ever. With the highest pitch count in a perfect game ever (125), Matt Cain becomes the 22nd pitcher to ever accomplish this epic feat of not allowing a base runner. In fact, Cain matches the most ever strikeouts pitched during a perfect game with 14, and he now finds his name alongside Giants greats Christy Mathewson, Juan Marichal and Gaylord Perry as a member of an exclusive Giants club that have thrown no hitters. In front of his sold out home crowd of over 42,000 screaming Giants fans, Cain threw his arms up as the Astro’s pinch hitter, Jason Castro, grounded out to third for the final out of the game.
“This is incredible right now,” Cain said. “It was unbelievable. The guys did a great job making it, in a way, kind of relaxing, because they were able to get on the board early.”
Cain was absolutely masterful from start to finish but he did have to be bailed out with a couple of great plays behind him. Melky Cabrera and Gregor Blanco both made unbelievable catches in the outfield to ensure that Cain would finish his historic night. And you will find out as you keep reading why a quality defense is essential to a perfect game.
“Those were unbelievable catches,” Cain said. “I mean that right there, that changes the whole thing.”
Usually a perfect game would dominate the headlines as there has only been 22 of them in the history of baseball, but last night the sports Gods provided their fans with nearly two doses of perfection. Across the country from where Matt Cain pitched his perfect gem, the New York Mets RA Dickey tried to make some history of his own. Just a couple of weeks removed from the Mets first ever no-hitter by Johan Santana, Dickey took the mound against the AL East juggernaut, Tampa Bay Devil Rays. Dickey threw a career best 12 strikeouts over 9 masterful innings. After the Rays first two batters of the game went down swinging at RA’s phantom knuckleball, BJ Upton hit a slow grounder to Wright at third that seemed to be playable but David mucked it and the favorable scoring of home field advantage awarded Upton with a hit. As I watched it I thought it should have been an error but since it was the 1st inning I didn’t really care too much. It turns out that was going to be the only “hit” that the NL’s leading Cy Young candidate would give up for the game.
Johan was credited with the Mets first ever no-hitter, but when Carlos Beltran hit a ball that was called foul (clearly it was fair based on the picture above), many fans wanted an asterisk placed on his no-hitter. Funny enough, the Mets are now appealing the hit/error by Upton and they are trying to get Dickey credited with the Mets 2nd ever no-hitter. In fact, Dickey didn’t walk anyone either, and without Gold Glover David Wright’s 2 errors (or 1 error and 1 hit however you look at it), RA might have had the Mets first ever Perfect Game, joining Cain in the Hall of Fame record books. It also shouldn’t be overlooked that while Dickey was pitching this superb game last night, he surpassed Mets great Jerry Koosman’s record for consecutive scoreless innings (31 2/3) by recording his 32 2/3 in the ninth.
Matt Cain’s night was perfect and RA Dickey’s was nearly perfect. Cain’s perfect game marked the 5th no-hitter of the season. This is also only the third year in baseball history that there were two perfect games thrown in the same season. What do all of these perfect games and no hitters mean to baseball? Are we looking at the year of the pitcher or are the hitters just getting worse? Maybe if you read NYBobby’s take on his anti-doping article you can see why hitting numbers are down. As a Mets fan I am thrilled with the lack of hitting against them, but as a sports fan I would love to see some of that flare from the McGwire, Sosa and Bonds eras.