by Josh Silverberg | Dec 28, 2020 | General
The Wrestling world got a shock the night after Christmas with the sudden news of Jon Huber (Brodie Lee) passed away at the sudden age of 41. This hurts so much on so many levels. Huber was a star on both WWE as a member of the “Wyatt Family,” as well as the leader of “The Dark Order” in AEW. The amazing thing is everybody from all the major and even minor companies had a beautiful thing to say about Huber.
Most people said how amazing a family man he was and loved them more then anything in the world. Others stated how he helped them along the way. The common factor you read though is how amazing of a person he was.
I remember watching Huber in one of my favorite wrestling groups of all time “The Wyatt Family” and always thinking how underrated this guy is. I mean he was a top 25 singles wrestler according to Pro Wrestling Illustrated” in 2015. He was so entertaining to watch, and I remember when he had his singles run winning the Intercontinental Championship in 2014 and thinking this is a guy who has both the skill and charisma in his character to make it work.
His tag team specialty was a plus. He won the Tag Titles in “WWE” twice. Once with Bray Wyatt/Randy Orton. The other with Erick Rowan as the “Bludgeon Brothers.” in 2018. He also had won the NXT Tag Team Titles once with Rowan as well. He was a Tag Team specialists in NXT, and WWE.
When he got to “All Elite Wrestling. It was a shock to everyone. People heard rumors, but didn’t know if they would be true. He had become “The Exalted One.” He was the new leader of “The Dark Order.” His biggest accomplishment in short time with them was winning the “TNT Championship” on an episode of “Dynamite.” He also had a standout match at “Double Or Nothing” against Jon Moxley for the AEW Heavyweight Championship. He really left his mark in AEW.
It’s such an unfortunate event and just another downer for 2020. Everyone would love to give the thoughts and prayers to the family and friends of Mr. Huber. He was someone who had so much left in this business and to his family as well. He will be forever missed. His family should be very proud of what he was able to accomplish in such a short period of time.
by Alex Slowes | Dec 28, 2020 | General
January 6th The Man Who Lives Forever Damien Priest Will go up Against Karrion Kross. Since Cross Returned from a shoulder injury, he has made it known to the NXT Universe that doomsday is upon us. Karrion Kross is on a quest to regain the title he never lost. The NXT Championship. To climb back up the ladder Karrion Kross will have to go face to face with Damien Priest. A man who held the North American Championship in 2020 and had unforgettable matchups with the likes of Finn Balor and Johnny Gargano. This time Priest Could be in for the fight of his life. Karrion Kross, a man who is 6 ft, 265 pounds is a destructive force in the squared circle, is looking to inflict punishment and leave a path of destruction. Damien Priest is known for his quickness and agility in the ring. Someone like Karrion Kross Will Be hard to outmaneuver and outmatch in strength. This match will not be for the fainthearted and the priest has now become a target. The Sands Of Time are running out for Damien Priest and for many wrestling fans this will be a match to look forward to. Damien Priest will have to be ready for what’s coming and this will be a match that will test both competitors and see who deserves more of a near-future opportunity. New years evil will air at 8/7c on USA Network.
by Alex Slowes | Dec 28, 2020 | General
Every year Thousands of Wrestling fans from Japan and different parts of the world flock to the Tokyo Dome to see their Favorites compete in big high-caliber matches. This year the Card Features The Current IWGP Intercontinental and IWGP Heavyweight Champion Tatsuya Naito, who will be going up against The G1 Climax 29 winner Kota Ibushi. This is a match fans have been waiting for. Tatsuya Naito has held both The IWGP Heavyweight and Intercontinental Championship for 117+ days but will Naito Continue his reign into 2021? Kota Ibushi is coming into Wrestle Kingdom 15 ready for the battle heading his way. Naito has built a huge foundation for himself and has had an unbelievable year in sports entertainment, making the list in the Pro Wrestling insider at number five of the top 500 singles wrestlers in 2020. For Kota Ibushi winning this match means everything and it all will come down to this moment for him in his professional wrestling career. It’s all or nothing and as 2020 comes to close New Japan fans should be ready for this blockbuster main event type match up.
by George Whitbread | Dec 23, 2020 | General
The name Jed Lowrie probably makes most Mets fans grumble and wonder what could have been. Had the veteran infielder not been injured during his two years in the Mets’ organization, the Amazins could have had a solid bat and fielder in their lineup. Of course, none of that happened and Lowrie only had eight plate appearances during his time in Queens. Despite Mets fans’ criticism of Lowrie, I for one will never slander him. Why would I, a diehard Mets fan, never criticize Lowrie? I will always have Lowrie on a golden pedestal because one afternoon at Citi Field, Jed Lowrie hit a foul ball I will never forget.
Tis the season of giving, so what better time to tell the tale of Jed Lowrie giving me and another Mets fan a memory of a lifetime. For those who do not know me, I am a tour guide at Citi Field. Back in the summer of 2019, I was giving a tour on game day. One of the people on my tour was a lifelong Mets fan who was making his annual Citi Field visit from Scotland. First off, shoutout to him for wearing a Mets black jersey. Second, the minute I started talking to this fan, I could tell he loved his team. He knew every player and all the Mets’ history. Before we started the tour, he came up to me asking for a favor.
“Hey George, is there any way I can get a ball?” he asked. I told him it was possible, but not definite. We started the tour at the bullpen first where unfortunately no pitchers were having a bullpen session. After the bullpen was out of the question for a ball, batting practice was his best shot.
As we got up to the suite level, we stepped out into the stands where we could watch batting practice from outside. After about five minutes, it was time to continue with the tour. “George, can we stay for one more minute?” asked the fan from Scotland.
As someone who had traveled across the Atlantic Ocean to see his beloved Mets, he was certainly entitled to one more minute. An extra minute that ended up making his day and possibly his year.
Photo Credit: newsday.com
Jed Lowrie was in the batting cage as a left-handed hitter. As we were about to leave the suite level, Lowrie popped a foul ball in our direction on the third base side. I could not believe I was watching that ball fly right towards us. The Mets fan from Scotland was going to get a ball after all, or so we thought.
As the ball came our way, it hit a protective glass window and bounced down to the section below us. We were hit with the tease of all teases. How could we possibly get that ball?
Remember, it was roughly 4:15 so no fans had come into the ballpark yet. As we stared at the ball sitting in the empty section, we spotted a cleaning staff member wiping down the seats a section over. Everyone on the tour started calling him in an effort to get his attention. We kept calling but got no response as we saw he was not looking in our direction. Still, why couldn’t he hear us?
Someone on the tour pointed out that the cleaning staff member was wearing AirPods, so everyone instinctively just started calling him louder. Finally, he heard us and asked what was going on. All of us began motioning towards the ball in the section next to him. Quick to realize what we wanted, the cleaning staffer kindly stopped what he was doing and tossed the ball up to us in the suite level.
The diehard Mets fan who had come all the way from Scotland got the baseball he coveted, thanks to Jed Lowrie and a kind Citi Field cleaning staff member.
Moments like these are what makes a trip to the ballpark so special. You never know what is going to happen when you walk through the gates to a baseball stadium. As for Jed Lowrie, he may have spent most of his time with the Mets on the injured list, but that one foul ball he hit in batting practice created a lifetime memory for a fan. And it doesn’t get any better than that.
by Andres Rivas | Dec 22, 2020 | General
What is soon to be considered the shortest off-season in the four major sports in the US is soon to be upon us. 74 days after the conclusion of the 2019-20 we will have the Tip-Off of the 2020-21 season with Warriors-Nets and Clippers-Lakers among us. Here’s who I believe will lead the headlines as far as awards go.
MVP: Damian Lillard
The Portland Trail Blazers had a shaky season. Prior to the bubble, the Blazers were 29-37 and sat 3.5 GB the 8th spot who was led by the Memphis Grizzlies at 32-33. To get into the Playoffs, they had to sit at least one GB the 8th seed in order to get a play in game. They finished as the 8th seed with a 35-39 record. In these 8 games, the Blazers went 6-2 led by Damian Lillard’s 37.6 PPG-4.3 REB-9.7 AST on 50/44/89 splits (68% TS%, 62% eFG%). Lillard finished the season averaging a career high in PPG (30.0), AST (8.0), FG% (46%), 3P% (40%), and eFG% (56%) as well as PER (26.9), TS% (63%) and lead the league in Offensive Win-Shares (10.9). Lillard also ranked 3rd in the NBA in PPP in ISO situation (1.07).
In 2020, the Trail Blazers suffered an injury plague. 14 different players missed a total of 260 games, only Golden State had more with 264 games missed. They have added defensive anchors Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr as well as Harry Giles and Enes Kanter. Rodney Hood who missed 45 games due to a torn left tendon, will also be back. If the Blazers manage to stay healthy, watch out for Lillard and company.
Runner Up: Luka Doncic
DPOY: Anthony Davis
Anthony Davis certainly made an impact on the Lakers defense from the moment he got traded this past June 16, 2019. The Lakers in the 2018-19 season ranked 12th in Defensive rating (109.5). With the addition of Davis, the Lakers ranked 3rd in the NBA in defensive rating (106.3) this past year. In the playoffs, with Davis on the floor, the Lakers outscored their opponents by 11.7 PPG. When Davis was on the bench, the Lakers got outscored by 5.7 PPG (+17.4 Net Rating). Opponents shot 38.3% when guarded by AD (2nd in the NBA, Min. 45 GP). On Two pointers, opposing players shot 43% when guarded by AD (4th in the NBA, Min. 45 GP). AD ranked 4th in Defensive Rating (101.8) and 3rd in Defensive Box Plus/Minus (+2.6)
Runner Up: Bam Adebayo
Most Improved Player: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander was the centerpiece of a trade that saw Paul George go to the Clippers in a trade that also had Danilo Gallinari and draft picks. Gilgeous-Alexander had the mentorship from one of the greats in Chris Paul, which allowed him to take a step forward, averaging 19 PPG-5 REB-3.3 AST on 47/35/81 splits. Amongst players from the 2018 draft, he ranked 3rd in PPG, 6th in REB, 7th in AST and fifth in steals (1.1 per game). Shai also ranked fifth in oRTG (112.7) and ninth in Net Rating (+3.5). With the departure of Paul to Phoenix, expect Gilgeous-Alexander to take a major step forward.
Runner Up: Andrew Wiggins
Sixth Man of the Year: Dennis Schröder
This fall, the Lakers signed the 2019-20 6MOY Montrezl Harrell and acquired the runner up Dennis Schröder in a trade for Danny Green and the 28th pick (Jaden McDaniels was later selected). Schröder and Harrell ranked one and two in PPG (18.9 and 18.4, respectively). With the loss of Avery Bradley and Danny Green, and the addition of Schröder and Wesley Matthews, Vogel has a variety of guards to choose from including Schröder, Matthews, Kentavious-Caldwell Pope, Alex Caruso, Quinn Cook and Talen Horton-Tucker. Although, this past December 1, Schröder expressed his desire to start “I think I try to move forward, and I think with [Anthony Davis] and LeBron [James], I can be helpful as a starter in the PG position.”
Runner up: Montrezl Harrell
Rookie of the Year: Killian Hayes
When people talk about NBA prospects, 75 percent of the time, they’re looking at high school players or players in the NCAA. While the number one pick Anthony Edwards and the number three pick LaMelo Ball stand out to most writers, I went with a pick under the radar and that’s Killian Hayes. Hayes has been playing professional basketball since he was 16 when he made his debut for Cholet in France. In the Eurocup with ratiopharm Ulm (a team based in Germany) he played 10 games before the season was suspended due to COVID-19. Hayes averaged 13/2/6/2 with 46/39/91 splits. (58% TS%, 54% eFG%), so yes, the safe bet is the name you hear everyday, but don’t be surprised if it’s someone else.
Runner Up: Anthony Edwards
Coach of the Year: Erik Spoelstra
Last season, the Heat acquired Jimmy Butler in a Sign and Trade with the Philadelphia 76ers. This deal, to many, didn’t seem to be an impactful deal given the roster they had around Butler. Against all odds, first time All-Star Bam Adebayo took a significant leap, averaging 15/10/5 on 55% FG% (Only player in NBA history to have these averages in their age 22 season). The Heat finished with the 4th seed and a 44-29 record and made it to the NBA Finals defeating the Indiana Pacers, Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics. They felt short of their fourth NBA title, as the Lakers defeated them 4-2. The Heat let Jae Crowder and Derrick Jones Jr walk and signed Avery Bradley and Moe Harkless. With the 20th pick, the Heat selected Precious Achiuwa, a 6’9 Power Forward from Memphis. They also signed Max Strus as well as Paul Eboua. It seems the Heat have yet to get credit from critics, saying they benefited from the conditions in which the playoffs were being played. Spoelstra and co will prove once again, why they’re one of the better teams in the league.
Runner Up: Terry Stotts
Executive of the Year: Rob Pelinka
Yes, the Executive of the NBA Champions, the Los Angeles Lakers, should win Executive of the Year. You’re probably asking yourself, if they’re the champions, what did they do to get better? The Lakers bench last year ranked 11th in the league in scoring with 39.3 PPG. Pelinka went out and got Dennis Schröder and Montrezl Harrell, who, as previously mentioned, finished first and second in 6MOY. The Lakers also signed veteran Marc Gasol, a champion with playoff experience after letting Dwight Howard walk. Lastly, the Lakers signed Wesley Matthews who shot 36 percent from 3 on 4.4 3PA per game. Javale Mcgee and Danny Green were both traded to the Cavaliers and Oklahoma City Thunder, respectively. Pelinka also re-signed Superstar Anthony Davis to a 5 year $190 million contract.
Runner Up: Daryl Morey