COULD THEY GO FURTHER?

COULD THEY GO FURTHER?

Justin Ford/Getty
After a special but short-lived playoff run last season, the New York Knicks would be looking to go further with some key acquisitions made in the offseason. The team from Madison Square Garden finished last season with 41 wins, the most over the last five (5) seasons, before losing out to the Atlanta Hawks in the first round of the playoffs. Now with the beginning of the 2021/22 season, the Thibodeau-led Knicks must be looking to go even further.

The Knicks acquired all-star guard Kemba Walker to their young and improving roster in a trade with the Mavericks and the Celtics. Walker, the all-time scoring leader for the Charlotte Hornets joins after an injury-stricken season with the Celtics and is hungry and looking for redemption. Adding his creativity and class to this Knicks roster already with Most Improved Player Julius Randle, star guard Derrick Rose and Taj Gibson, you have a real threat if they are all firing.

Another offseason acquisition that can bolster the team is French star, Evan Fournier. The 29-year-old averaged 19 points and 4 assists, obtaining a 39% rating from 3-point-range. This deadly behind the arc shooting could be critical in a playoff push with the new rules and the style of the NBA, deep shots rule.

Bleacher Report
The returning members of the roster from last season are vastly improving and with a coach as good as Thibodeau, they are a dark horse for the NBA Finals and let me tell you why. With teams such as Brooklyn having issues with Kyrie and playing awful, Boston unable to get into full gear and foolishly trying to replace Walker with Laker reject Dennis Schroder, Milwaukee is the only rampant team and if you can somehow stop the Greek freak, then you have an amazing chance to make the finals. Hell, they may even win the NBA.

The Los Angeles retirement home, I mean Lakers, are dealing with internal issues which could damage their chances, the Clippers who are underwhelming, Dallas who are finding their feet, and the Suns who even though were in the finals last year and looking sharp, could lose their big if they don’t agree on a deal with Deandre Ayton. If the Knocks manage to stay fit with Rose playing like he’s at the Bulls, 2020 Randle, 2019 Kemba, and the other youngsters click, Spike Lee’s ticket may finally be a championship one.

Sabean? SAY YES!

Sabean? SAY YES!

Steve Cohen is a wealthy guy. Crazy wealthy. And yet he’s finding that unless it’s Francisco Lindor, he can’t give his money away.

When Cohen first bought the Mets, he sent out a bat signal for anyone that wanted to be a President of Baseball Operations. He ended up with nobody. Maybe it was his aggressive sounding demand of winning a World Series within 5 years. Whomever was scared away by that probably knows that the extent of the damage done to the franchise by the Wilpons could not be totally painted over in just 60 months.

Fast forward a year. Cohen still has the same wants, but probably has a better idea of how his organization is seen around the league. Having a GM scandal and then a GM scandal probably brought some humility. And while I’m sure that I’m in the minority that firing Jared Porter for something he did while working somewhere else years ago is overreacting and overreaching in a supposedly Christian and forgiving nation, it is what it is.

This offseason, with the same charge as last one, the Mets have so far come up looking foolish. First off, Theo Epstein interviewed for the job, and there was a mutual disinterest. Not that I was there, but I’m sure the conversation was like this:

Epstein: “I expect that if I take this job I’ll be a co-owner.”

Cohen: “You got a $250 million buy in? Because I paid a power of ten more than that for this team.”

Next up was Billy Beane. The former Met player would seem like a wonderful coming home story. Except Beane is a partial owner of the Oakland A’s. Owning a team is basically owning an ever increasing bank account. You can borrow off of it, you never HAVE to sell it, and when you die the value is stepped up so your family pays no taxes on the inherited millions. It’s called “Buy, Borrow, Die.” Look it up if you’re interested in how you get fucked by rich people while blaming poor people for eating government food.

To work for the Mets, Beane would have to sell his A’s ownership. NOT HAPPENING.

The Closest Beane got to winning a World Series

Then there was David Stearns. The New York native Harvard grad and former Mets employee has a same position in Milwaukee, so the move would be lateral, which generally teams are not fond of allowing. Plus he’s also still under contract in Milwaukee, so the Brewers rightfully told the Mets to beat it.

A curious omission on that list….

After these three strikes, the Mets were talking about all sorts of young guys, like assistant GM’s leapfrogging GM roles and assistant president roles to become a team President. That’s a bad idea. Not because people can’t rise to an occasion, but because this is New York. It’s a huge market. It doesn’t need untested guys cutting teeth in major power positions. We saw how that went with Luis Rojas as manager- which was a flop on any winning standard. How any times do you have to watch guys hit into a shift before you say “Ever think of hitting fly balls and line drives instead of, you know, GROUNDING BALLS RIGHT INTO THE SHIFT?”

But suddenly, there came a beacon of hope. The San Francisco Giants former team vice president, Brian Sabean, had been put to pasture by the Giants. When his contract ran out as Executive Vice President, he was retained as a sort of nebulous Senior Advisor and Scout. Not only did Sabean not want this position, he wanted more.

Who is Brian Sabean? He personally scouted and signed Derek Jeter. He also inked Mariano Rivera, Andy Pettite, and Jorge Posada. So yeah, he built the backbone of 4 World Series winners. Then he went to San Francisco, where he won 5 division titles, 4 pennants, 3 World Series, 2 wild cards, a wild card playoff, and had an over .534 record in 18 years as the GM, which is the 10th highest GM winning percentage since the end of World War Two. That’s an amazing feat considering that the Giants had losing seasons in 5 of the 6 years prior to hiring Sabean despite having MVP’s Barry Bonds and Jeff Kent on the team.

He also drafted two time Cy Young award winner Tim Lincecum, former Rookie of the Year and NL MVP Buster Posey, 4 time all-star and 2014 World Series MVP Madison Bumgarner, 3 time all-star and pitcher with a 3-0 record and ZERO ERA in the 2010 World Series winning postseason Matt Cain, and 3 time all-star and 2012 World Series MVP Pablo Sandoval.

And the 2016 Giants ended the last set of playoff hopes for the New York Mets.

Now, Do I want Sabean determining my roster? Probably not. He seems a little quick in trading youth for veterans. Conversely, he also acquires all stars in trades, which is something the Mets last did with…Mike Piazza?

But would I be ok with him hiring a GM? Assistant GM’s? And a manager? Absolutely. In fact, he probably comes with a manager.

Bruce Bochy was Sabean’s guy with the Giants. When the Giants won 3 World Series? It wasn’t with 2 time manager of the year as a Giant Dusty Baker. It was with Bruce Bochy, who was also a strong manager with the San Diego Padres, where he won three division titles, one pennant, and was a manager of the year. Bochy has 2003 career wins as a manger, making him 11th all-time among managers. All of the top 10 winningest managers are in the Baseball Hall of Fame. Expect the same for Bochy.

So are a probable Hall of Fame manager and a potential Hall of Fame GM with n eye for young talent willing to come to New York? Based on recent Mets events, if they do? We’ll find out that Bochy eats puppies for breakfast every day, and that Sabean has a plantation full of slaves in Uruguay.

But what if they come here without baggage? Well, they’re old, people would say. Probably millennials, who think that you shouldn’t criticize anyone. Except old people. You can skewer the fuck out of old people. But is that smart? And are millennials?

Dusty Baker is ancient, and he’s playing for the World Series. Somehow being old isn’t exactly an occupational hazard in baseball. In fact, history see it as a plus. Having seen and reflected on everything? You’re not so likely to make basic mistakes. Like letting your hitters ground into a shift instead of telling them to uppercut a baseball, Kris Bryant style.

Oh, that’s the other thing. Sabean was not afraid to acquire players via trade as a Giants GM. But with the Mets? He has an unlimited checkbook to go free agent shopping. Or to let the GM he hires do such.

So, if that GM was me? Buhbye, Michael Conforto. Welcome, Kris Bryant! Carlos Correa? Welcome to third base. Bret Baty? Get used to left field- that’s your job in 2023. Welcome back, Javier Baez. You can’t give up your top outfield prospect for a few weeks of a guy that hit .300 for you. And you can’t let him go to the Yankees and own the back pages of newspapers for the next 8 years. Plus it’s always good to add World Series winners to your organization.

I’d also ask Minnesota about super oft injured Byron Buxton. He would be an easy trade target, and he would be an absolute upgrade as backup over Kevin Pillar. Also, bringing back Jonathan Villar is a lay up.

I’d be looking to trade some players. Dominic Smith is one of them. Robinson Cano is another. And Jeff McNeil or J.D. Davis rounds that out, despite both of them being “super subs.” One super sub can work. Cano probably needs to be traded with salary retention. No biggie. But a super sub and Smith should get you assets. Maybe prospects are needed? Or pitching?

Then go out and get the most dangerous hitter you can for the upcoming DH position. I’d recommend a guy that hit 300, while also showing 30 home runs. Nick Castellanos comes to mind.

I can get into pitching here as well, like the obvious bring back Marcus Stroman and Aaron Loup, and trade Carlos Carasco back to the American League. I haven’t sent in my resume for GM yet, and don’t want scrubs stealing my roster moves, but philosophically, I want as many guys throwing 100 miles per hour as possible, like the 2015 Mets.

Steve Cohen may have been handed a golden opportunity to save face and hire a battery that has a winning pedigree, while still being able to add youth to the organization in the assistant GM and GM positions. There is a chance for culture change to come to the Mets. That would be winning, if you’re a Mets fan and unfamiliar with the concept. So my question for everyone is, how will the Mets pull a Mets and screw this up?

This is all about money. You’re looking at a free agent Hall of Fame executive that you won’t need to give a piece of the team to. You’re looking at a Hall of Fame manager that wants to work with his buddy. You’re looking at spending money on a free agent market without damaging your present prospect system. You’re looking at making up for a wholly failed 2021 draft with a guy that has skill at identifying prospects and has worked with frankly a better set of scouts in two different, more successful organizations. All you need to do as owner is shut the fuck up and write checks.  And there comes the guarantee. If you fail to do all of this? The 2022 New York Mets will be more of the same.

Dodgers, Red Sox Facing Elimination in LCS

Dodgers, Red Sox Facing Elimination in LCS

Will Atlanta and Houston enact sweet postseason revenge and meet in the World Series?

As the calendar turns toward winter, the remaining days of autumn are highlighted by the culmination of the MLB postseason.

In the National League Championship Series, the Dodgers spirited Game 3 comeback victory is the only thing saving their season. Heading into Game 5 at Dodger Stadium tonight, Dave Roberts’ depleted bullpen needs a heroic performance from midseason acquisition Max Scherzer.

The 3-time Cy Young Award winner’s impact on the Dodgers season is undeniable. The 36-year old currently in his 14th MLB season went undefeated (7-0) in his 11 starts with the defending champs, posting a career-best 0.86 WHIP and 2.46 ERA (0.82/1.98 with LAD). Scherzer provided relief for the Dodgers in Game 5 of the NLDS, recording his first postseason save two days after suffering a hard-luck 1-0 loss in Game 3 (7 IP, 1 ER, 3 H, 10 K).

Max Scherzer closing Game 5 of the NLDS just two days after throwing 110 pitches in Game 3.

In the American League, the Red Sox power seems to have dissipated. In losing Games 4 and 5, the Sox offense has hit a wall after connecting for 18 HR, hitting .338, and averaging just under nine runs PG in their previous six games. The vaunted Red Sox offense combined for three runs while hitting .157 overall and going 0-13 with RISP.

Meanwhile, Dusty Baker’s unit finds themselves one win away from reaching the World Series for the third time in five seasons. If his team eliminates Boston, Baker receives another chance to win his first championship as a manager (currently owns the record for most games managed without winning a World Series).

Finally, in recognition of Max Scherzer’s start tonight, here are a few examples of pitchers providing super-human efforts facing elimination along with salvaging their team’s bullpen.

Josh Becket (Marlins) – Game 5, 2003 NLCS

Facing elimination, Beckett threw a 2-hit shutout, striking out 11 Cubs while inspiring Florida to rally and win the series.

Curt Schilling (Phillies) – Game 5, 1993 World Series

Without the former ESPN announcer efforts, one of the most memorable postseason moments in MLB would cease to exist.

Schilling’s 147-pitch, five-hit shutout came after Philadelphia used six pitchers, unable to hold a 14-9 lead in Game 4. Joe Carter would be just another Joe without Schilling’s spectacular performance.

Without multiple inspirational performances by Danny Jackson, the Royals would not have won their World Title in 1985.

Danny Jackson (Royals) – Game 5, 1985 ALCS; Game 5, 1985 World Series.

Jackson sent the ALCS back to Toronto with a brilliant, 8-hit shutout of the Blue Jays. Jackson’s performance came at the perfect moment, provided how poorly the Royals bullpen performed in Games 1-4. The left-hander delivered a repeat of his ALCS performance in Game 5 of the World Series. Jackson’s complete Game, five-hitter at St. Louis, sent the series back to Kansas City, where the Royals completed another series comeback.

Mickey Lolich (Tigers) – Game 5, 1968 World Series

The Tigers watched 30-game winner Denny McClain, and five relievers allowed ten runs on 13 hits in the Cardinals 10-1 win in Game 4.

Needing to save an extended bullpen, Lolich allowed nine hits and three runs but went the distance in the Tigers 5-3 victory.

Deathwish Confirmed

Deathwish Confirmed

Getty Images
WHAT A FIGHT! To be completely honest though, did anyone see this outcome any different? Because I need to know what you’re smoking if you did. Tyson Fury completely embarrassed Deontay Wilder on Saturday night. Wilder was left bloody, disoriented, and had a broken eye socket the last time he went up against the Gypsy King and for some reason scheduled a trilogy fight to just compound what we already know; Fury is far superior. The fight was electric with both fighters trading punches, Wilder actually looked like he was up for the fight. At one point Fury even went down, but that was not for long. The Englishman picked himself up, dusted himself off, and took the game back to the American landing 150 punches to Wilder’s 72. Fury went down twice in the fourth round and it seemed as if the Bronze Bomber would have his way on the night, with most of the English fans, and from other nations worried that we may have been too relaxed. Then again, the sport proved to be a marathon and not a sprint, and Wilder was flat-lined in the 11th round to once again lose the WBC title. Honestly, we all know why the 35-year-old Wilder lost and it’s purely because he cannot box as good as he thinks.
Getty Images
The American throws his punches so rapidly, wasting energy and not even doing it with direction. This disadvantages him as he loses stamina very quickly and weakens him for the latter rounds, as we saw on Saturday. His style of “fast and furious” does not work in the sport he plays. I would rather see Money Mayweather in the ring with Fury because that would’ve been a much better tactical fight. His accuracy is just atrocious; all-around inaccurate. The fight was intense from the off and never lost that intensity throughout the 11 rounds it lasted. I’m not going to claim to be a boxing aficionado, but if the divisions were based on technique and style, Wilder should not be a Heavy-weight boxer. Fury goes 31-0 in his career and looks unbeatable, but is he? There is one person who he must fight to eclipse that title: Anthony Joshua.
Record Breaker?

Record Breaker?

Dallas Cowboys Corner-back Trevon Diggs (Roger Steinman)
With the NFL Season approaching the midpoint of the season, we usually begin looking at awards such as MVP, Most Improved, and what we’re talking about, DPOY. I believe that if the season was to be halted today that Trevon Diggs would undoubtedly become Defensive Player of the Year. The former 2nd round draft pick in 2019, has been putting up numbers that have led many to believe he is the best Corner in the league right now.

Diggs has begun the season on fire as he has a league-leading five(5) interceptions in the opening four games of the season. Only Devin McCourty (2019), has done the same over the last 15 seasons. Only one team has more than Diggs and that is the New Orleans Saints (6). The 24-year-old is making waves on the more than impressive Dallas defense that is much improved than it was 12 months ago. The stats and all are good, but why is Trevon Diggs DPOY? Simply because the numbers he puts up, and the performances he puts in so far have been utterly ridiculous.

Getty Images
To win this award as a CB then picks, forced fumbles, blitz’s, and air-tight coverage are what would guarantee that award to not go to a lineman, and right now Diggs has it all. The NFL Record for interceptions is 14 set in 1952 by Los Angeles Rams player Dick Lane. Trevon, currently with five, is on course to make record TWENTY-ONE interceptions. If that were to happen, or anything close to that, the historical impact of the second-year player would be tremendous for his career.

Gonna be watching that NFC East clash keenly to see the #7 against the Giants, and the upcoming fixtures (Patriots 10/17, and Vikings 10/31) to see if this is a fluke, or if he means business. Another intriguing thing this weekend is the Fury vs. Wilder Trilogy fight so look out for that article from me as well.