Last night was the best worst win of the season. Or maybe the worst best win? I’m not sure. The Yankees blew a 4-0 lead, managed to retake the lead, then hung on for dear life in the tenth inning. They beat the Royals by the score of 5-4 on Tuesday. Phew. It was a doozy.
They should have lost. Terrible hitting with runners on base, an incredibly ill-timed rain delay, some less than reliable middle relief (again) -- and one very good, and unfamiliar reason why they did not. That reason was Chasen Shreve. He was summoned to the mound with the bases loaded, one out, the Yankees clinging to a one-run lead in the 10th inning of a game that was already four hours old and one of the most dangerous hitters in the Royals lineup, Kendrys Morales, licking his chops at the prospect of sending the rain-soaked diehards in the stands home happy. Girardi had no choice, there was no one left in his suspect bullpen. Girardi had already been through Adam Warren, Tommy Layne, Tyler Clippard and his actual closer, Dellin Betances, who retired all six batters he faced but still was charged with a blown save due to circumstances beyond his control and too trivial to bother recounting.
So Shreve throws Morales two fastballs and a changeup, and that was one out. Two pitches later, the game was over as Perez tapped another changeup harmlessly into shallow center field, where Ellsbury tucked it away to preserve the win and earn Shreve his first career save. The Yankees moved ahead of the Seattle Mariners and gained a half-game on the Royals in the race for the second AL wild card but remain 3 1/2 games back of a playoff berth.
The point I am making here is that as much as were enjoying the younger Yankee squad chasing an almost impossible task of making the wild card party, the weakened bullpen continues to struggle. Guys like Yates, Lane, Parker, Swazak and Shreve aren’t the answer. It’s probably too late to do anything about it this season, but it’s obvious Brian Chashman has his work cut out for him moving forward.
If you're keeping track at home, this is the fourth year in a row that Tony Romo will miss time with a major injury. And this isn't the first time his back has been a problem for him. He had back surgery in 2013, had two fractured vertebrae in 2014 missed some time last season, and now this, a broken collar bone. Romo's 36 years old. He's been a good quarterback, when he's healthy, which is almost never. Perhaps it’s time to consider retirement Tony. Then Giant fans can worry about Dak Prescott. Dak Who?
There’s a saying that a team is only as strong as its weakest player. I’m not quite sure how accurate that is but there are some instances when the expression holds some water. The Yankees’ bullpen may be one of these cases, at least in some ways. The Yankees dropped their second straight winnable game Monday night, this one 8-5 to the Royals. It’s not good when the last guys on your roster are deciding the most important games of the season. The last guys are of course the middle of the bullpen boys. Blake Parker was the guilty party last night . Parker gave up a three-run home run to Alcides friggin’ Escobar to give Kansas City a 6-1 lead. Three more singles and a walk stretched the Royals’ lead to 8-1. The Yanks did make a comeback but fell short. Hey Joe, did you ever consider bringing in the well rested Tyler Clippard ??!
A popular meme circulating on the Internet Monday compared the careers of Colin Kaepernick with former 49ers running back Glen Coffee. Both men were born in 1987, played for the 49ers and were drafted in the third round. But, unlike Kaepernick, Coffee quickly left football and pursued a life of military service. Coffee gave up millions of dollars to serve his country. Kapernick refused to stand up for the anthem because “the American flag oppresses black people”. Coffee, a African American, is now a paratrooper assigned to Army Ranger School. Which guy will you cheer louder for?
Back in 2012 Colin Kapernick made news when he took the starting QB job in San Francisco from longtime starter Alex Smith. Kaepernick was big, fast, soft-spoken, and he lit up the NFL that season. This past weekend he made news again. During the National anthem he planted himself among the Gatorade buckets, while his teammates stood. Kaepernick didn't strike the kind of dramatic pose made by Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Summer Games in Mexico City, and that was OK. He made his statement loudly and clearly. When asked why he sat alone he commented "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color". What he did was not illegal. The first amendment basically allows us freedom of religion and freedom of expression. He certainly expressed himself.
The back lash was as expected. Twitter blew up and most of the the comments weren’t supportive. Fans burned his number 7 jersey and 49 fans are signing a petition for the football team to fire him. He will be a distraction for new coach Chip Kelly and the niners, even if everyone involved claims it won’t be.
Kaepernick has every right to feel like he does even if I don’t agree with the way he did it. Does our country oppress black people and people of color? We could certainly debate that. What he did was, in my opinion wrong. Perhaps he forgot, the same people who were upset by his actions are the same people who pay his almost 16 million dollar salary. They are the same people who in the past cheered him. They have a right to now be upset with him, just like he has a right to express his opinion. But the way he chose to express himself comes off as self absorbed. A different forum would have been better. He leads a life of privilege, use that advantage to do something. How about going into the inner cities and challenging men of color to grow up and become men. Hold them accountable to do better within their own families and communities. Now that would show real courage. If he wants to continue to sit on the bench, go right ahead. If last year is any indication, he'll be sitting during the games, too.
It’s that favorite time of the year for football fans. It’s Fantasy Football Draft week!! As the NFL season approaches, roughly a quarter of the US population, including millions of women, are getting ready to play fantasy football. Some history...
Modern fantasy football can be traced back to as early as 1962. An Oakland area businessman and a limited partner in the Oakland Raiders, Wilfred "Bill the Gill" Winkenbach along with two others sat in a New York hotel room and put together rules which would eventually be the basis of modern fantasy football. The inaugural league was called the GOPPPL (Greater Oakland Professional Pigskin Prognosticators League), and the first draft took place in the rumpus room of Winkenbach's home in Oakland, California in August 1963. The league consisted of 8 members, made up of administrative affiliates of the AFL, pro football journalists, or someone who had purchased or sold 10 season tickets for the Raiders’ 1963 season. Each roster consisted of the following : two quarterbacks, four halfbacks, two fullbacks, four offensive ends, two kick/punt returners, two field goal kickers, two defensive backs/linebackers and two defensive linemen. This year the GOPPPL celebrates its 54th season. In 1997, CBS launched the beta version of the first publicly available free fantasy football website. Others followed. The game immediately became widely popular. Within three years, all major sports media websites launched competing fantasy football hosting websites. Today, it is estimated over 19 million people compete in public and private leagues online nationally
So last night I participated in my first draft after being away from Fantasy for a few years. It was the first time I picked a squad digitally. (yes, we did it manually and in person in the old days). Earlier in the day I prepared my potential picks. I was armed and ready. I know all the top flight guys, but there are so many I don’t. As soon as I saw the list of names available, I realized how little I actually knew about the roughly 1,700 players who will make opening weekend NFL rosters this season. Round after round most of “my guys” were plucked away. Eventually I picked a competitive team.
Starting on September 8, I will have to have my General Mangers cap on. Setting lineups, making trades, watching my team numbers. And I will watch my Giants every week. Instead of just shouting, in my case, the old “Go! Go! Big Blue cheer, a more accurate way to capture how I feel about my team’s season opener would go like this: “Go Giants! Beat the Cowboys! Just so long as Odell Beckham doesn’t outperform Jets wideout Brandon Marshall!”
Last night, sizzling hot rookie Gary Sanchez homered in the first inning to give Masahiro Tanaka a quick lead, then helped guide the ace to seven scoreless innings, leading the Yankees to a 5-0 victory over the Mariners and another series win.
Talk about “Locked In” this guy is about as hot as anyone and making history. He finished the road trip 10-for-22 (.454) with four home runs, three doubles and five RBI in six games. Sanchez’s home run was his ninth of the year — he now has as many homers in his first 72 at-bats as Alex Rodriguez had in 225 at-bats this year – and his eighth in the past 10 games.
With his first-inning blast, Sanchez became the fifth player in MLB history — since 1913 — to hit nine home runs in the first 21 games of his career.
Going forward, Sanchez will not maintain his pace of homering every 8.1 at-bats. Still, his power is impressive. In fact his entire game is impressive. It wasn’t long ago when concerns about his defensive prowess, combined with attitude issues, had some labeling Sanchez the next Jesus Montero. Montero was a much-hyped prospect who has been unable to stick in a big-league lineup. Sanchez is conjuring up memories of former Yankees rookie phenoms Kevin Maas and Shane Spencer. When young players come on the scene, major league teams find cracks in their game and make adjustments. Maas and Spencer couldn’t counter with their own adjustments and went on to have short lived careers. Derek Jeter did and had a great career, and maybe I’m just hoping, but I believe Gary Sanchez will. And if that happens, he just might be making history.
You heard the story…Former Met and Yankee pitcher Doc Gooden failed to appear last week with Daryl Strawberry at a WFAN event. So Strawberry in an interview on the FAN was questioned why Gooden wasn’t in attendance. He remarked that “he feared for Gooden’s life”. Claiming that Gooden is “a complete junkie-addict" who was in "horrible" condition. The four-time All-Star pitcher is firing back high and hard. Gooden, who said he missed Thursday's radio appearance with Strawberry due to a minor health issue, also criticized Strawberry on The Joe Piscopo Show on WNYM. Strawberry himself is a former addict.
Strawberry had a similar career path to Gooden. He won the Rookie of the Year award a year before Gooden, and he, too, battled substance abuse problems during his playing career. As a result, the two former Mets phenoms have forever been linked, with many assuming they were best friends. That wasn’t exactly the case, though. Gooden was actually closer with Keith Hernandez, Gary Carter, and Mookie Wilson.
So now there is a war of words between the two. Gooden has rebuked Strawberry on several occasions since Daryl’s comments, saying he's "fine," and said earlier on Monday that he and Strawberry's friendship is over for him going public with his comments. Gooden blamed photos of himself looking frail on recent surgeries and a foot infection.
This is one story you would like to just end quietly, after so much drama. Thirty-plus years after they took Flushing by storm, more than 15 years since both retired, Doc and Darryl still can grab our attention. Both enjoyed stardom, both battled extensively with alcohol and drugs and wound up serving time in Florida prisons. Both traveling the same road and now trying to move in different directions. It’s a sad statement on how easily celebrity and fame can corrupt young sports superstars. Here we are so many years later watching a sad drama still grabbing our attention.
The Yankees came into last night’s game four games back of the second wildcard spot with five teams ahead of them. Starting last night, they’ll play their next 12 games against three of those five teams: Mariners, Orioles, Royals, and Orioles again. If you actually believe their still in it, then last night’s loss was another hard blow to their chances. Gary Sanchez is the only reason to have any hope. Anthony Swarzak is not.
For the second time in his young MLB career, Sanchez had a two-home run game. The Yankees have lost both of those games. Anthony Swarzak played a large role in both losses. Monday’s final score was 7-5 Mariners. Pretty brutal loss for a team that’s supposedly in the hunt for a wild card spot. Joe Giardi gets some blame here too.
It is completely indefensible that Anthony Swarzak continues to pitch in high-leverage situations. The Yankees were up 5-3 in the sixth, but the Mariners had two men on base, and sure enough Swarzak served up a three-run home run to Mike Zunino. He’s now allowed ten homers in 28.1 innings. Girardi’s been doing this for weeks now, using Swarzak in big spots, and he keeps getting burned. (he also used Kirby Yates again and got burned again) This is inexcusable. It really is. The front office has to get Swarzak (and for that matter Yates) off the roster because it’s obvious Girardi’s not going to stop using them in close games. He seems oblivious to their awfulness. Once again Joe over managed.
A notorious over-manager, Joe often gets himself wedged in between the game and his matchup book. Sometimes Joe, you just gotta let them play. In Girardi's case and even managing in general, sometimes less is more.
Im not normally a watcher of pre-season football. But this past weekend I watched about 10 minutes of the Jet game and almost all of the first half of the Giants game. The Jets Geno Smith, looked like the old Smith. His game highlight was when he was picked off by Redskins safety Will Blackmon with 2:26 remaining in the first half. Same ole Geno. As for the Giants, with the exception of one 22 yard connection between Eli and Beckham, their offense looked awful, especially the offensive line. TE Larry Donnell couldn’t block a Pop Warner defensive end! Next Saturday night should be interesting.
On Friday, Usain Bolt anchored Jamaica’s winning 4×100-meter team. At the end, Bolt completely ignored his three teammates to launch another of his how-great-I-art routines. They get ESPN in Jamaica. Naturally, NBC rewarded Bolt with slow-motion replays of his self-smitten routines — perhaps as part of its Olympic Ideal, NBC made sure to emphasize the immodest acts of many Olympians — yet not a peep about disallowing his teammates the opportunity to share center-stage, gold-medal glory. Or weren’t we supposed to notice?
Speedo dropped its sponsorship of Olympic embarrassment Ryan Lochte, donating a $50,000 portion of Lochte’s fee to children in Brazil. Lochte, in an interview said he was taking “full responsibility” for his actions in fabricating the story of an armed robbery in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, during the Olympics last week, but the 32-year-old swimming star’s remorse remained somewhat half-baked. It’s the first substantial hit to Lochte’s wallet after he was discredited over the past week. It shouldn’t be the last.
Who would have thought on August 19th that the Yankees are the best baseball team in New York record wise? Yes the Bronx Bombers are 2 games over .500 while the Amazins are a game under. All you need to look at is their record for the second half: 13-20. The Yankees are in the process of a youth movement. The Mets, well, they’re just not moving while they chase a wild card spot. A pursuit that may end soon if they continue their current trend. They have allowed 38 runs through four games of a three-city trip that could bury them if they don’t wake up soon.
A lot has gone wrong for the Mets, including devastating injuries and an underperforming lineup that can’t buy a hit with runners in scoring position. Just when you think things can’t get worse, comes news of Steven Matz’s scratch from tonight’s game. Matz, 25, has pitched to a 9-8 record so far this season in 22 games started, and holds a 3.40 ERA. So much for the best pitching staff in baseball.
Interestingly enough, Thursday's starting lineup had only one opening day starting position player in it, let alone only two players who were even on the opening day roster. When you have guys like Ruggiano and Kelly supplying your offense, you're in a heap of trouble. Meanwhile, overrated (1-5 last night) specialists Bruce and Reyes continue to contribute little. The team has now lost seven of their last 10 games and dropped below .500 for the second time in the last week. With last night’s 10-7 loss, the Mets fall 4.5 games back (five in the loss column) in the race for the second National League Wild Card spot.
Injuries have killed them but the team is also fundamentally flawed. Too much reliance on the home run, zero team speed, inability to string hits together were problems that surfaced in spring training and continue to this day. A total franchise breakdown from management on down.
Anybody who took last year for granted and just assumed it was the start of a "window of contention" learned nothing from 2006. There are never any guarantees in sports and building your franchise around starting pitchers in an era when pitchers get hurt constantly is very much a risk. Last year, a good, not great team found lightning in a bottle. The fact is, like the Yankees, this team is not good enough to make the post season. The difference is the Yankees made moves toward the future; the Mets are still living in the past without the lightning.
You can’t make this stuff up. I'm starting with the penis story.
Never before has a member of the male species wished for a smaller manhood. Japanese pole vaulter Hiroki Ogita was attempting to clear a height of 17.3 feet in the first round of the pole vault, when his leg came in contact with the bar. I guess he got excited. As he began to drop back down toward the ground, his shin grazed the bar, causing it to wobble. Already unsteady, the bar was dislodged from its holdings when Ogita’s pecker, um, penis decided to make an appearance and slap the metal. The vaulter’s arm then collected the bar as it began to fall. The foul effectively cost Ogita a place in the final. Video footage shows I’m not making this up. The little pole knocked the big pole down.
By now you’ve heard the crazy story of swimmer Ryan Lochte and his alleged false account of a robbery and the authorities who began conjecturing over what might have really happened in Rio. The swimmer and his buddies had been at a birthday celebration and dance party at Club France, an Olympic hospitality venue. When he claims, they caught a taxi and then got pulled over, were approached by several men who claimed to be police officers who flashed badges, no lights, no nothing, just badges. They told the swimmers to get out and down on the ground. They got down on the ground, but he refused. At that point, he claims, they put a gun to his head, took his wallet and left. Lochte said he felt the taxi driver was in on it.
Rio police have found little evidence to support Lochte’s robbery claim. Apparently they cannot find the taxi driver or any witnesses, and moved to seize the passport of Lochte in Rio on Wednesday, but he was already back in the good ol’ US of A, strolling through a Charlotte, N.C., airport with his Playboy Playmate girlfriend, while his teammates were pulled off planes yesterday trying to return home. They were once again questioned about the incident, .an allegation that pits the reputation of Brazil, which has been scrutinized for its Olympic preparations, against the reputations of Lochte and his teammates. No one was charged with a crime. One has to wonder what the real story was. The story that might cover up the fact that they were drunk at 4am and behaving in an unolympic way.
And then there’s the story of the two German distance runners who happen to be twins. Anna and Lisa Hahner are being criticized by officials from their home country after they crossed the finish line at the end of their marathon race on Sunday while holding hands.
Anna and Lisa, finished 81st and 82nd in the women's marathon. Anna was credited with a time of 2:45:32 and Lisa a second slower. Photos of their hand-holding finish went viral. They had no chance of winning yet, they are criticized. Sometimes people get so caught up in competitions they forget to have fun. Isn’t sports meant to be fun?
WHAT IS THIS?
It's a somewhat tongue in cheek OPINIONATED sports blog that promises to cover baseball, football, hockey, basketball, and any other INTERESTING, stupid, and absurd STORY related to sports.