It’s Not Just Fizzdale

It’s Not Just Fizzdale

The Knicks disappointing season has led to the firing of David Fizzdale.  From the start Fizzdale was the wrong hire for the team. He has never proven to be a good coach previously in his career and frankly never belonged coaching anything in a major market. Or a minor market. Or in the NBA. Considering all of the candidates available at the time, his hiring was a head scratcher, but thankfully many of the positive candidates that were looking for jobs when FIzzdale was hired are still available, as Fizzdale was fired so quickly into his awful Knicks areer.

Fizzdale’s firing is not the entirely the fault of David Fizzdale. It’s the fault of the team’s impotent owner, fat fuck James Dolan, and the shitty front offices that he’s assembled that draft poorly and recruit poorly.

Truth be told, I watch an embarrassingly large number of basketball games. I have watched the sport from the 1970’s through today. I have seen many changes in the game over time. Some for the better, most for the worst, as the league has turned itself from a sport and team game into globetrotter rosters and promotable movie stars. And that’s the type of coach the Knicks need: one that can turn the team into the Globetrotters offense. So let’s look at what’s out there in management and what could help this moribund organization out of its perpetual suckdom.

David Blatt- already hired as a front office guy. Blatt has multiple sclerosis, so he probably wants to be in a less physical role. A great basketball mind, and maybe a replacement for Steve Mills? GM Scott Perry? Both?

Mark Jackson – one of the most prolific point guards in Knick history, would be a local boy comes home story. Not sure if it would be a local boy does good story, however. Smart player, would teach floor spacing and passing, which the Knicks need. But can he teach them his shimmy?

Becky Hammon- No, because she’s a woman. But that’s not sexism, that’s advice. The NBA took forever just to use female officials, who are equally as bad as the male ones. But a female head coach in a situation that’s bound to fail? That will lead to 20 years of women not being considered for head coaching jobs. I am not saying Hammon is underqualified to coach. If she has Coach Pop’s endorsement, that’s good enough for me. But she is overqualified to coach a transient roster with a thus far not exactly franchise rookie in RJ Barrett as a centerpiece. Wait for the right opportunity, Becky. Right now? This isn’t it.

Mike Miller- You see this shit he’s running? No. Absolutely not.  

Mark Few- A college coach? Yup. Few has performed miracles at Gonzaga. He has also worked with NBA players at international tournaments, so he has connections to some of the better players in the league. And as a college coach, he is familiar with recruiting so he knows how to talk with players. A knock against him is that he’s never won a championship, but neither have the Knicks in a few generations, so maybe baby steps is best? And at age 57, this may be his cash cow and only shot at the pros.

Patrick Ewing- this was suggested by Knicks superfan AMR, who feels that Ewing’s connection to the team would be a shot in the arm to a franchise that could maybe use a Hall of Famers touch. Ewing presently is head coach at his alma mater Georgetown, but has been an NBA assistant so he would know the grind. Also, Ewing was an outside shooting center long before outside shooting centers were a thing in the NBA, so he could help mold the young forwards and Mitchel Robinson into a multi-dimensional offensive player.

Steve Kerr- Already said no once, but with Golden State’s run over and the ability to poach Draymond Green to jumpstart a presently invisible defense plus salary cap flexibility and ANOTHER high draft pick? Plus the salary demands of 4 consecutive finals with 4 wins minus the LeBron rules? That may be something the Knicks should open checkbooks for.

We are not going to suggest who the Knicks should hire. No matter what advice we offer here, rest assured one thing- the Knicks will fuck things up. Because they always do. Fizzdale’s firing was partly his fault, but it’s not just Jizzdale. It’s the organization. Until they run themselves with a winning expectation and demand accountability from their players and staff, you’re going to have a lot of players developing like Kevin Knox and Frank Ntilikinia- underwhelming and failing to live up to expectations. And the top 5 pick this year will be more of the same.

Follow @JoshBarely on Twitter

Josh Bailey is Freaking Useless

Josh Bailey is Freaking Useless

By Dan Radzicki

The New York Islanders have been a pleasant surprise for the second season in a row, which is a delight to Islander fans who are used to horrible surprises in back to back seasons, like naming your backup goalie your new GM just in time to hand over a 15 year contract, and the shit shows that followed.

But there is a refrain that started last season and has kept rolling, which is that the Islanders do not have enough offense. This narrative has not changed thanks to the free agent departure of some Toronto cuckold, the free agent rejection of a Russian who has won less than Ilya Kovalchuk in his career, the alleged rejection of an offer sheet for an opinionated kid out of Toronto that loves Matt Martin, and the failed trade for a Stone rolling out of Ottawa.

So when you read this thesis, you’re going to say that it’s stupid. On some level I will agree with you, but for reasons that you won’t understand. You’ll even say “How does that solve a problem?” And I’ll tell you how.

Here’s the thesis: Josh Bailey is Fucking Useless.

You might think you know how I got here, but trust me, you have no idea.

At this point you’re having one of three reactions:

  1. How dare I suggest that Mr. Islander Josh Bailey is Useless?!?
  2. Who is Josh Baily?
  3. No shit!

Let’s give each reaction their due.

First off, Islanders Kool Aid loves Bailey. Who are Islanders Kool Aid. Here’s the litmus test. Just ask the following questions:

  • Did Charles Wang save the team?
  • Was Mike Milbury a shittier GM than Garth Snow?

If the answers are “Yes” and “Yes?” You got yourself some Kool Aid. So what IS Islanders Kool Aid? They’re the fans that celebrate a close loss. That think every prospect will exceed the production of Bryan Trottier and Mike Bossy- especially Josh Ho-Sang. That the Islanders “won the draft.”

They’re a fan base that is wholly ready to fly a “We Tried” banner next to the legends of the organization, and would retire the number of a guy whose only organization leading stat is “Showed up to the arena.”

Bailey has been an Islander his entire career, since he was passed on in his draft 8 times and was shockingly available every time the Islanders traded down in that draft to acquire picks that they did absolutely nothing to help the team with. How do I know? Where’s the Snake? And who also caused the Islanders to trade a 5th overall pick years later to get a guy taken a few picks after Bailey in Jordan Eberle. More on Eberle later.  

Bailey’s career has been defined by 8 years of shitty hockey, putting up around 30 points in each lackluster campaign in which the only impact he made on the team was a negative one. Terrible goals totals for a top 6 forward, peaking at 16 goals as a sophomore. A plus minus like a coal mine in West Virginia.

There was not a lot to root for there, if you look at statistics.

Also, in Baileys first 8 years, he had burned through 3 Islander contracts. His entry level and RFA deals saw Bailey post 58 goals over those five years- an average of 12 goals a season.

This was time for him to cash in. And it was the birth of the Bailey paradox.

The Bailey paradox is the idea that because he’s our guy on our team and he sucks? We have to like him. And the more he sucks? Like when he takes no shots for 3 or 4, or5 games in a row? The more you love him. Also, he has had spans where he has gone 3 or 4 or 5 games in a row without a shot.

Fun fact- Bailey had more games with zero shots on goal in 2018-2019 than Alexander Ovechkin has had in his entire career. But why would I compare Bailey to Ovechkin? I didn’t. Kool Aid did.

Bailey’s mythology only grew when he took a “team friendly” UFA contract in the summer of 2013. Kool Aid started to call him elite, citing that he produced somewhere around four tenths of a point a game. Heady numbers. To reward the organizations faith in his nearly $17 million contract coming off of the first $5 million he made as an Islander? Bailey scored 8 goals over the entire next season. Just like elite Ovechkin would, right?

In fact, every time Bailey signs a new contract? His numbers regress the very next season. Shocker!

I’
I’d hang myself first

This is when we get to reaction number two about Josh Bailey- who is he?

Opposing teams fans will largely have no idea who he is. For two reasons. One, they’ve watched their home teams play the Islanders and never noticed him. Which explains the nickname “Invisibailey.” Ever see him take a game off? Where he didn’t appear in a scoresheet save for attendance? Sure you have. Other fans notice, too. They’re almost stunned when he does something, because if you play the Islanders twice a year, he is very likely to do nothing in either game. Maybe he gets a goal but probably not. Maybe a hit, but probably not.

Golden.

Josh Bailey has as many career hat tricks as MICK VUKOTA. Mick just became a top 6 forward! Speaking of…

A top six forward shouldn’t average 108 shots a year. That’s not even near two a game. And a game where he puts up 5 shots- there are a couple in his career- that’s 2 games off in return.

Also, Josh Bailey has never tested the free agent market. Bailey signed an entry level deal, a restricted free agent deal, a “team friendly” deal that tripled his salary, and another team friendly deal that almost doubled it. Bailey is making a team friendly 6.25% of the entire salary cap (it was a higher percentage when he signed the deal) to…avoid free agency.

When a player like John Tavares leaves the only team he ever knew, it’s rare. He’s been super well compensated, treated like a king, and usually has a team around him built to win. Usually. Garth Snow tried to build a team around Tavares centered on Josh Bailey and Andrew Ladd. And we all saw the results. Oh, how do I figure?

“Don’t touch me!”

Ladd was the most significant Islanders free agent signing in the last 5 years, and the entire Garth Snow era. And Bailey was the guy Snow had to extend in season to show a commitment to winning to JT.

No wonder he ran home to Toronto to take the strap on.

But that’s Tavares. Bailey is on no comparable level to Tavares.

Most unimportant players use free agency to shop their low to average stats to hop from a team that may not be successful (Garth Snow era?) to a team that feels it needs to make incremental improvements and can use some “veteran leadership” and “experience” and “Hockey IQ” to cash in on a raise that wasn’t available to the team that already saw what they had. But that’s a competitive market.

It could backfire- see Vanek, Thomas. Boy, I’m sure he’s pissed that he said no to 7 years and $49 million from Garth Snow…a contract that the Islanders would still be paying out to him had he signed it. It only cost Vanek about $22 million that I bet he could use. Bet.

See what I did there?

And in a competitive field? We already saw how Bailey competes. He becomes Failey. Even if he left the Islanders for a contract better than $30 million- which no one was offering- it would be on less years. And the deal after that? Khunackhll money. Stupid fucking name.

Also, how do I know no one was offering? Garth Snow offered Bailey at the 2015 draft straight up for a 1st round pick. Team friendly deal? 29 rejections.

That’s why Bailey never bothered hitting the market. There wasn’t one. He was a DeSoto in a Tesla world.

So when other fans say “Josh Bailey? Didn’t he score against us when Jeremy Roenick was still on the team? Why do they sing songs about him?”

Embarrassing on so many levels.

Because he is a Kool Aid legend. Like Charles Wang and Garth Snow. And the word legend? It means shit you tell stories about that never really happened.

Lastly, there is the kryptonite to Islanders Kool Aid. They are referred to as Islanders Realists. Generally, they are curmudgeons. But they’re terribly correct with their expectations. Maybe not as much in the Trotz Era, but about 99% right before that.

Realists have the “No shit” reaction to my Josh Bailey is useless premise. Because, Josh Bailey is useless.

Lets look at the Golden Age of Bailey. It’s like looking at a game of Three Card Monty.

The Golden Age of Josh Bailey started when he was placed as a first line forward with John Tavares, and ended the next season when he was a first line forward with John Tavares and Anders Lee.

Why is it a Golden Age? Because in the 2016-2017 season Josh Bailey did something he never did before. He led the league in a statistic. Sure, it was arriving at the arena, which he tied with many other players. And only scored one more goal than his career average despite never missing a game and playing top 3 minutes. But first is first! And in fairness, he had a then career high with 13 fucking goals added to a coattails 43 assists. But the best was yet to come.

That watermark was the 2017-2018 season. Bailey had his only career All Star appearance. Just as many invites as enforcer John Scott and Buffalo Sabre Zemgus Girgensons, and just as deserving. But here’s the interesting thing. Bailey made the 2018 All Star game- the ending of the Tavares Islanders era game. But the unrestricted free agents Garth Snow let walk away in Frans Neilsen and Kyle Okposo? They both made the 2017 All Star Game without riding the coattails of John Tavares a year sooner.

Andres Ladd has yet to make an All Star game as an Islander. But I’m pretty sure he mouthfucked a carp.

Bailey’s stats ramped up in 2018-2019 to a very respectable 71 points which is how he earned that All Star cap tip. But the thing I always found interesting- on New Years Day 2019, Bailey had 50 points. He ended the season with 71.

Bailey also did his best Mike Bossy impression, scoring 18 goals in 82 games. Sure, 50 in 50 sounds sexier, but did Bossy ever play in 82 games? Nope. Not once. Inconsistent. Not like Bailey.

Took Bailey 4 years to get what Bossy did in 50 games.

It’s not that every single winger that played a full time season with John Tavares scored at least 20 goals. It just happened for Matt Moulson, PA Parenteau, Brad Boyes, Kyle Okposo, Thomas Vanek, Anders Lee, Mitch Marner, Zach Hyman, Andrew Ladd, and Sparky.

I’m sure it wasn’t that Tavares took the last few days off in that season to preserve himself for Toronto’s bidding so Bailey had no coattails to ride. The only other options is, Bailey only had one guy to tap in rebounds with, and Lee was prodigious in the last two weeks of the season or else Bailey does 10 points between January and April.

Oh, Bailey signed that contract extension also, so why try?

None of Baileys 71 point masterstroke mattered, as the Islanders missed the playoffs. Basically, his stats were the equivalent of jerking off into a plant, Harvey Weinstein style.

And when Tavares left Bailey? Tavares had his best season ever. SNAKE GOT RID OF BAILEY AND HAD HIS BEST SEASON EVER. There goes that horseshit playmaker hockey IQ myth.

So even at Bailey’s absolute best, just two years ago when he put up 71 points making $3.3 million a year, he was untradeable. That’s a fucking problem. Because every team in the NHL saw his best effort, and it landed the Islanders in the lottery.

You think Bailey would motivate a bad team to make a move to ensure their reaching the salary cap floor while guaranteeing a lottery draft pick- you know, just how Charles Wang saved the team. Yet no bad team wanted Bailey.

And that’d because at any dollar amount, be it $825,000 or $3,000,000 or $5,000,000, Josh Bailey is fucking useless.

Why is he useless? Because after his hallmark 18 goal season, a funny thing happened. Bailey had his first real coach.

Islanders Kool Aid has always attributed Bailey’s lack of utility as a function of his being “rushed” to the NHL. Sure, Bailey was rushed onto a bad team, but no more rushed to a bad team than players like Jack Eichel, Nathan MacKinnion, Connor McDavid, Jeff Skinner, Noah Hanifin, and Anthony Beauvilier. Rushed just as young into the league as Taylor Hall. Which I’ll mention shortly.

Kool Aid will say that you can’t harangue a man for his history. People learn and change. Bailey has spent 12 years in the NHL. Surely after the first 8 he got the hang of it! Because a 27 year old man was rushed…so he can’t possibly overcome the current level of 18 year olds outperforming him! Somehow, they weren’t rushed.

A Marquee rookie can’t be rushed!

Or…maybe rush has to do with talent and ability?

Understand when we talk Bailey’s ability and hockey IQ, Rob Schremp outperformed him in his time as an Islander.

So after this golden age- a decade into his career, a time when he had seemingly ‘figured it out’- he had a 20% decline in his production. And is on pace this year for another decline. And despite being coached by Hall of Fame head coach Barry Trotz, on both November 7 2018 and November 7 2019, Bailey was on a 31 goal pace for his season. Last year he ended with 16. This season? I’ll take all the $20 bets that come in that Bailey ends the season with less than 20 goals.

“BUT BAILEY SCORED AN OT WINNER AGAINST PITTSBURGH!” Yes, he did. After Mathew Barzal deeked the entire state of Pennsylvania out of the rink. I’m shocked Bailey didn’t miss that open net, quite frankly. Fucking Shane Prince scored two goals in a playoff game once. Let’s give him a handy!

So to summarize my thesis. Josh Bailey is fucking useless. I mentioned three players that we shall compare Bailey with. Two of these three were not my creation but that of Islanders Kool Aid. But there is one entirely is in my head.

Alexaner Ovechkin is the greatest goal scorer I have seen since Jaromir Jagr and Mike Bossy. It’s what he does. He is an elite, Hall of Fame player. He is a champion.

And if I were Ovechkin and were being compared to Josh Bailey? I’d shit in every moron’s mouth that said so. Shit right into their brainless empty head. It wouldn’t matter, because they already have shit for brains. #ToiletSkulls

Elite.

Ovechkin makes just about less than double Josh Bailey. His statistics are just about less than double Josh Bailey over the last 4 years. So point for point, they make pretty much even money.

Except in that time period, Ovechkin won a Stanley Cup. And took a team friendly deal to improve the squad. With the same head coach as Bailey. And has a fucking Hall of Fame career. And Ovechkin’s goals scored numbers over the last 4 years match just about the entire 12 year career of Josh Bailey. 300% more goals scored in that same 4 year span. Ovechkin has almost TWIC as many power play goals than Bailey has CAREER GOALS. Astronomical.

If Bailey is elite, Ovechkin is just about Bossy.

Then there’s Jordan Eberle. Drafted after Bailey, so clearly fat fuck GM Garth Snowcone could have traded back a few more times and gotten a player who almost always scored at least 20 goals, and has occasionally scored 30 goals. Two things Bailey has NEVER DONE. And get this- Eberle took a PAY CUT to stay with the Islanders. A team friendly deal!

But…Bailey got one!

Waittttt….Bailey took a 180% pay raise to stay with the team. Eberle took a 10% pay cut to stay with the team. Someone is a hero. I give a fuck who. And if you compare dollars per goal, Eberle is the bargain.

But the last one I want to compare to is the best one. Taylor Hall. Makes very similar money to Bailey despite winning a league MVP. Hall generally scored 20-30 goals annually.

Hall is like a leveled up Bailey. Put up on average about 30% more points than Bailey does. In their best year put up about 30% more points than Bailey does. Won an MVP. Took a moribund franchise back to the playoffs.

And his ass got traded! But for what?

And here is why we see that Bailey is absolutely fucking useless.

NHL MVP Taylor Hall and half of his salary and a prospect were traded for a first round draft pick, a conditional draft pick, a defensive prospect, and two prospects that are so obscure that Hockeydb.com had no idea who they were. Neither did hockeyreference.com and capfriendly.com. If a prospect shits in the woods and no one smells it, is it a prospect?

Did I mention that the Devils allegedly paid half of Hall’s deal?

So in case you missed it, a former league MVP was traded for a prospect, two very low prospects, a 1st round draft pick, and a floating pick. That’s a fucking awful haul for an MVP and an annual 20 and occasional 30 goal scorer.

So, if that’s the haul?  How do you trade a useless player? What are you going to get?

Traded twice within his conference.

That’s not the best question. The best question is what do you give to get rid of an albatross that never lead a team to an important win?

That’s where Isles Kool Aid and Isles Realists differ. Isles Kool Aid thinks every prospect is a superstar. They’re not. Almost none will even register. 3 years ago those fuckups though Keifer Bellows was Patrick Kane. Now? Kane wouldn’t even bother to rape him. Either Kane.

But say Bellows was a good prospect- which he’s not. We don’t trade him because? Because a win now team cannot trade unproven prospects for the help that can put them over the top today? Yeah nah. Many teams trade prospects that are ok for better players. Look at how the Boston Bruins moved Tyler Seguin and Dougie Hamilton to keep a competitive team. But we need to hang on to fucking Michael Dal Colle?

I like Michael Dal Colle as a human being. Great back story. Can relate. But what the fuck is he doing in skates? Dude should work at Cock Fil A. Moving slowly.

If all a former MVP gets is a scant prospect, 2 long shot prospects, a 1st, and something else but only if you pay for him, let me ask you this:

What does Josh Bailey draw from another team?

Based on Hall? At best, a 3rd and a conditional 3nd. And here’s $2.5 million back on this mess. Which still fucks our cap, and gives us nothing to help a win now roster. Because even in losing Bailey, Bailey fucks us just like he has done since he’s been here. Bailey never wins, and currently we have so little coattails now for anyone to notice him.

Pretty much, all of Bailey’s value lies in unloading his cap hit. And based on Halls’ deal, the Islanders can’t even do that for a declining coattail riding piece of shit player.

Bailey eats cap space without improving the team. Bailey is untradeable because what the fuck does he do outside of being a negative and never propelling his team to a win? No one has ever traded for Bailey except Garth Snow who is a massive fuck up. No team ever leaked a Bailey rumor, except maybe about his sexuality? That team? The Islanders.

Pride.

Josh Bailey is untradeable. He is overpaid. All he does it hurt.

As I have empirically proven, Josh Bailey is NOWHERE near elite. He’s not above average unless you cherry pick weirdly useless advanced stats. However, he IS completely fucking useless. He can’t be traded for any value. Nor does he create value for this team. All he has shown in his career is an ability to fail, which is more of the same.

And that’s the problem. Baileys utter lack of utility makes him untradeable. We’re stuck with him. As I predicted 2 years ago, he will end his Islander career with more games played than any Islander ever. And that is an indictment on how large a failure this organization has been. A team spending 92% of the cap ceiling with fucking Leo Komorov and Josh Bailey as catalysts to show for it. Stanley Cup? Meet Dixie Cup.

Josh Bailey is fucking useless.

You can respond in the comments or @JoshBarely on Twitter. It won’t make Bailey suck less.

Blue and Orange is the New Eh?

Blue and Orange is the New Eh?

By Dan Radzicki

If you are a Mets fan, you got an early Christmas present this week. As I wrote merely a week ago:

“The Mets presently have enough parts to just need a few more pieces to be short term solid. What pieces? A competent front office, an experienced manager, experienced coaches with winning records, a few key free agents, a few solid drafts, and an owner willing to spend.”

The most important part of my prediction as to how to reinvigorate this team became a treat for New York Mets fans. This week the Mets made an agreement to be purchased by local resident, Mets fan and current Mets part owner Andrew Cohen. Cohen is a filthy rich multibillionaire. Rumor is, he is willing to spend.

The announcement caused dizziness to Mets fans. Visions of free agents danced in their heads. Experienced managers and general managers suddenly seemed possible, instead of having a rookie GM and two rookie managers hired at the lowest total cost within the last 24 months.

To me, it seemed all too recently familiar. In the last 20 years, one New York team that wears orange and blue were sold two times to billionaires, and once in agreement to maybe the next John Spano, and saw changes immediately in each purchase.

No, I’m not talking about the Knicks who have sucked for 20 years and just fired an NBA coach with a 20% winning percentage. I’m talking about Long Island’s only team, the New York Islanders.

The Islanders ownership changes came in three waves. Charles Wang, Andrew Barroway, and the team of Scott Malkin and Jon Ledecky.

Each time the Islanders announced a new owner, the roster made significant short term improvements. For instance, the Charles Wang era brought in Roman Hamirlik, Alexi Yashin, Adrian Aucoin, and Michael Peca.

The Andrew Barroway era got the Islanders Jaroslav Halak, Mikhail Grabovski, and Nikolai Kulemin. And as an aside, it looks like the Barroway era would have ended with the Islanders similarly to the John Spano era like it is in Arizona. The Maldecky team got Nick Leddy with his alleged huge penis that he doesn’t know how to use as per Beth Brock and Johnny Boychuk.

He looks stressed. Wonder why?

But most importantly, the Maldecky era had the new owners replacing a pile of shit.

Maldecky saw how Wang ran the team and realized just as Wang did upon their taking over the team that the only way to make money with a small market team was with an arena tied to mass transit and with multiple entertainment options and lodging. Oh, and spend money and win. Wang missed that part. And so in trying to get an arena built- and seeing how the last owner screwed up in trying to get an arena built- they brought in hall of fame GM that’s past his prime but still knows how to build an org chart, and cozied up to politicians instead of taking their ball and going home. To Brooklyn.

Like Garth, another Wang fuck up

All of the Islanders prospective owners made immediate impacts to the roster when they acquired the team. All stars were added. Depth players were added. Stanley Cup Champions were added. For each new Islanders owner there was significant roster movement.

The most significant move of any of those acquisitions? Hiring Barry Trotz. Which came from hiring a Hall of Fame and old ass GM, Lou Lamoreillo. Not to be mistaken with GM Garth Snow, where GM stands for grotesque manatee.

Why bring that up? Because now we get to the Mets.

The Wilpon Mets announced this week that they have a deal done in premise with minority owner Andrew Cohen to sell his majority ownership of the team. Combined with what Cohen already owns, he stands to own 80% of the organization.

With a net value of $13 billion, Cohen would by far be the wealthiest owner in baseball.

And there are similarities between the last few sets of owners of the Islanders with Mr. Cohen.

To start with, Charles Wang was a billionaire that was also an alleged felon that avoided prosecution. Mr. Cohen is a billionaire that was an alleged felon that avoided prosecution.

Felons of a feather flock together…

The current Islander owners took over an 80% stake in the team. Mr. Cohen will ultimately have an 80% stake in the team.

But then there are differences.

In the dawn of the Cohen era? As the Braves acquired star pitching, the Phillies picked the Mets pocket, and the World Series champs prepare an offer for their star pitcher that anyone can exceed. And the Mets traded assets for a guy that hits .233 and is a bench player. Because you can’t sign those for just cash.

Oh, and the management? A rookie manager and a second year GM. In an offseason where there were two World Series Managers available as free agents, and at least 30 assistant GM’s were looking for a promotion.

If you’re buying a team? Here’s an idea- make a splash.

Look at Steve Balmer when he bought the shitty Los Angeles Clippers after a golddigger mistress claimed that the guy she milked for tons of money was racist. They now have Paul George and NBA finals MVP Kawai Leonard on the team. Thomas Dundon made the Carolina Hurricanes acquire Dougie Hamilton and swat away an offer sheet for Sebastian Aho- the good Aho. Terry Pegula in Buffalo overpaid for Kyle Okposo, but also acquired Ryan O’Reilly and Jeff Skinner and tried multiple AFC finalist coach Rex Ryan for the Bills. Mark Cuban turned a second rate NBA team into champions in Dallas. Blackhawks owner Rocky Wirtz looked at the way his dad ran a team, realized how bad an idea it was, and promptly replaced the GM and head coach and won 3 championships. Hal Steinbrenner won a championship in his second year of team ownership.

Three Cups in six years. One less than the Rangers have in their existence.

Immediate splashes. And the Mets? Christmas shopping at WalMart. Picking up players who are still being paid by their last team, and given options to not pay them. Trading prospects for .200 hitters. Mets gotta Met.

Here’s what Cohen doesn’t have to worry about- a new arena. Citi Field is beautiful. And is subsidized by taxpayers, so he won’t have to pay for it. And that lacking sports network channel, SNY? Since the Islanders and Mets have ties, maybe the Islanders becomes their winter tenants like the Yankees have with the Nets? Who have become a ratings draw for a moribund winter network? And make even more money for Cohen, as they would be the only winners on the network?

Looks like Pac Man ate its death

Cohen allegedly paid the Wilpons $2.6 billion for their stake in the Mets. That is a sweet payout for a team that hasn’t won a title since 1986. But the bigger question is this – Did the Belmont deal provide enough cash flow for the Wilpons that they were willing to take a buyout on the Mets to pursue their own interests? If so, every Mets fans should thank Islander fans for getting Maldecky to remove the shitbag owners that were willing and allegedly successful participants of a Ponzi scheme at the cost of a decade of austerity at the expense of the fans.

It’s time for the Mets to amp up the payroll by $60 million dollars. Amp up the front office. Prepare to get rid of a GM that has tried to acquire the worst of his prior clients. Add 400 scouts. If that doesn’t happen over 14 months, get ready for the next shit show.

Things will not change overnight for the Mets. But to win some public opinion, they do need to make some significant moves this present winter. As in today. Two all stars would suffice as an introduction. They added a manager that looking back may have been a premature move if the team was in discussion to be sold. But there is time to fix everything. Money lets you do that. So spend the fucking money, or else Mets fans can piss away 2020 as more of the same.   

The author is a motherfucker. Follow him a@JoshBailey on Twitter

Knicks Gotta Knick

Knicks Gotta Knick

New York Sports have an unnatural relationship with reality.

Think of it as a super hot female model. Not the cute girls at the bar and local flyer bikini models that made up the last shitty Sports Illustrated calendar. Like a real smokeshow. She walks around and people just do shit for her. Buy her stuff. Act extra nice. And It happens so often that she starts to take it for granted. She expects it. She becomes self-absorbed.  

Yeah? Nah.

And we all know what happens when that girl loses her looks, or the next super model takes her place and they fall into obscurity. It’s not a pretty picture.

The analogy here is that because something is attractive, it often doesn’t feel that is has to work hard. Let me present a specific case of not working hard as you become less attractive: the New York Knicks.

The Knicks haven’t been relevant in 20 years. That wasn’t always true. Between 1993 and 2003, the Knicks appeared in the NBA finals twice, with two different head coaches and two very different teams, philosophically. That actually is a credit to management. Generally a team has a small window with a great lineup. See Golden State… or every team Lebron jumps tat to get all stars to carry his ass.

That the Knicks lost one final (maybe Pat Reilly should have subbed in Hubert Davis? Its why you lost, bro) and a few years later were back in the finals to lose with a completely different team – showing that Patrick Ewing missing lay ups and dunks doesn’t actually matter to a loser franchise- as long as you reallocate resources.

Guy had a J

But between 2001 and today? The most exciting Knicks moment was a cast off point Harvard educated guard that electrified a city. For ultimately a go nowhere team.

So we have to look at this body of work- a dead body, really- and we have to ask- why are the Knicks so horrible?

The answer isn’t so complex. I boil it down to headline envy.

The Knicks under owner James Dolan likes headlines. But not the right kind, like winning titles. No, he wants everyone to write about the Knicks, to refer to Madison Square Garden as the Mecca of basketball (wonder how many basketball fans actually know what Mecca is?) and to keep headlines because…have you seen the Forbes valuation of the Knicks lately?

$4 billion dollars. FOUR BILLION DOLLARS. For a team that hasn’t won a title in the lifetimes of most of their fans. The last time the Knicks were champions Gerald Ford was president.

He looks happy.

And how bad are the Knicks? Look at their present crosstown rivals, the Brooklyn Nets.

The Nets have made the NBA finals twice since the Knicks made their last appearance. The Nets aren’t able to keep a home, but they have more success this century than the Knicks have. And since 1974, are 2-2 in league finals compared to the Knicks 0-2, albeit that the two wins were in the ABA. But for NBA standards, since 2000 the Nets have at least won a playoff series- when was the last time the Knicks did that?

The Nets have been vagabonds throughout their existence. Since their NBA arrival in 1976 they’ve called Uniondale NY home, Secaucus NJ home, nearly called Newark NJ home, almost called Westbury NY home, and presently call Brooklyn home. No one wants to keep them! And yet…since 2000, more successful than the Knicks if you look at playoff series wins as a barometer.

This pissees Dolan off. So he wants the backpage of the newspapers by interfering with team management so trade for superstars, or stars, or by leading the league in ejecting alumni, or anything that gets a headline to disrupt his losing. Speaking of losing, how have the Knicks done with coaches?

I’m pretty sure the last good Knicks coach was Jeff Van Gundy. You could argue Larry Brown was a good coach, but certainly not in his Knicks tenure. The Knicks are presently looking at new and exciting head coaches, some with limited experience. And the first experience all of these guys get? Losing. Fizzoutdale sucks.

Same goes for the front office. Phil Jackson was an incredible NBA coach. And was an imbecile as a team President with the Knicks. The sole good draft move Jackson made was Kirstaps Porzingis, who he promptly alienated and ultimately read about demanding a trade. Why read about it? Because his ass was already kicked out the door, having done nothing but lose in his Knicks tenure.

But the management in between? Isiah Thomas did a fantastic job as team President and GM, and even better as head coach. The Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph trades comes to mind, as do all those bad free agent contacts to players like Jerome James and Jarred Jefferies. Then there’s that weird $11.5 million deal he gave to Anucha Brown Sanders. I don’t know what that’s about but it can’t be good.

And amazingly, after the sexual harassment claim from Sanders, Dolan hired Thomas to run the New York women’s basketball team, the Liberty. This is the lack of judgement that makes the Knicks losers. Guess you can’t sexually harass a lesbian? It did get headlines, which is what Dolan wants.

Couldn’t make that shit up.

Every team in sports looks to point to a golden age, but I’m a fan of the “what have you done for me lately” school of thought. And what have the Knicks done lately?

Be bad enough to miss the playoffs, but not bad enough to get a solid lottery pick? And why not? Because unlike say the New York Mess (not a typo) the Knicks will drop money at free agents. Where they do a terrible job with such- hi Joakim Noah! But just enough to make sure they’re picking somewhere after the top ten.

This past Knicks season had some promise because they were absolutely fucking horrible and had so many expiring contracts that they would finally be able to be big game hunters in free agency. And you know what happened? Knicks gotta Knick.

They lost the draft lottery. So as fans suffered all season with that little glimmer of hope for a brighter future, the Knicks couldn’t even lose right. Now I am NOT saying that RJ Barrett is a bust, and in fact he seems to have the trust of the organization as their highest draft pick since Patrick Ewing. But at the same time…he can’t hit free throws? WTF. Every game the Knicks lose by 3 or less will 100% be Barretts fault for sucking at fundamentals. He went to Duke. He should know better.

Luckily for him, the Knicks are usually blown away by much larger margins of failure.

The other part of the Knicks past season that gave them promise was the two 1st round draft picks that the Knicks got from Dallas for Porzingis. But you know what? Luka Doncic will make sure those first rounders are somewhere in the 20’s. The Knicks best hope is to package those two picks and see if they can get to a top ten pick, because a bench isn’t going to help this mess. All they do is draft bench. Mitchell Robinson, Kevin Knox, Frank Tkinilikiniaiah- but not Alonso Trier. No, he was undrated but the Knicks signed him because he was buddies with Kevin Durant. That’s the way to woo a guy.

Because Kevin Durant was leaving Golden State to hang out with an undrafted college kid. An undrafted college kid.

Oh, that was the other thing. The summer of 2019 free agency splurge! Who were the Knicks getting? Durant? Anthony Davis? Kyrie Irving? A combination? All three?

Howabout this- Knicks gotta Knick. They got fucking nothing. A bunch of castoffs that are serviceable NBA players, but no leadership. And their coach? David Jizzdale? That wasn’t a typo either. Will he lead? Has he ever? Guy is a career loser as a head coach. How he has a job is not only staggering, but also lends to explain why the Knicks are just perennial losers.

Sucks.

But boy did they get headlines. The next one will be for firing the coach.

So that’s a lot of bitching. What about a positive? How do we fix this?

First step- James Dolan needs to sell the team. He has $4 billion reasons to. Take the money and play with your shitty jam band. You’ve done enough. And not in the good way. Shit, the Nets sold their team and shitty arena over a billion, and the Los Angeles Clippers went for $2 billion. Take the money and go ruin something else.

So douchey.

Next step? You have a $4 billion franchise. Invest 1% in a head coach, GM, front office, and scouting staff. Maybe 1.5%. That’d be $40 to $60 million dollars. You know what you’d get? The top head coach and the top GM in the NBA taking a massive salary. You have a salary cap on players, but on coaches? Not so much. Yes, there are some staffing limits that apply to the players cap, but that doesn’t fall on coaches.

Is Blatt answering a call?

Next step? Draft well. That’s why you have scouts. And free agents? Be selective. Have a five year plan. Reevaluate that plan after every game. Do not be afraid to make trades, but always weigh the trade offs and opportunity costs in keeping an asset and moving an asset. Maybe hire a team economist and a team cap expert? Look at the present model that’s working- teams effectively shooting the three- and emulate that, but figure out what the next trend is- maybe defense comes back? Maybe it’s three point plays at a higher percentage shot? Maybe it’s a ten second offense? But for the Knicks, we know what isn’t winning- what they’ve been doing for almost 20 years.

Time for a change, Knick fans, or else it will be more of the same. Or more to the point, Knicks Gotta Knick.

*This article was written while watching two consecutive Thanksgiving time Knicks losses- to be fair, consecutive Knicks losses can happen at any time- but was inspired by Knicks superfan and the creator of the term “Jizzdale,” AMR.

Follow the author on Twitter @JoshBarely

Lets GO, Mets

Lets GO, Mets

By Dan Radzicki

We have a saying in this house- Knicks gonna Knick. It means that the Knicks will always find a way to lose. They’re losing is so powerful that they turned ten time champion Phil Jackson into a pathetic unemployed loser in a matter of weeks.

Good calls.

You can easily make the connection with the New York Mets. It’s totally fair to say that the Mets are gonna Met. Because the Mets find a way to grasp defeat from the jaws of victory.

Look at the last three times the Mets were worth a shit.

In 2000 the Mets were handily defeated by a New York Yankees team full of future Hall of Famers, all stars, and a steroid fueled fuckface. The best player in the game at that time, Alex Rodriguez, expressed his desire to come play for the Mets. That move would have given the Mets two Hall of Fame monster hitters in the heart of their lineup. So what did they do?

Mets gonna Met. They did nothing.

A few years later the Mets retooled under General Manager Omar Minaya and added a distinct Latin flavor to their roster. Carlos Delgado, Carlos Beltran, and Pedro Martinez made Queens a well paid home. They also added 100 year old Orlando Hernandez and 117 year old Julio Franco to the team, along with any player with a Spanish surname (Looking at you, American born Xavier Nady). And that team’s major highlight? A caught looking strike three to end their season.

Must have been a tough play.

And the next season? The epic September collapse where Tom Glavine showed that he was truly an Atlanta Brave with that final start. Also? That game began the era of wasting David Wright’s career.

The Mets languished from that 2007 season all the way to a miracle post season run in 2015 where some rare in season trades bolstered a lineup and a bench. A fine, young pitching staff with tons of promise and some timely hitting from playoff hero Daniel Murphy propelled the Mets to the World Series. Where they promptly lost the series in five games.

In the process they lost Murphy to a division rival and never replaced his bat, then watched as their star pitcher blew his arm out. So there’s that. They did return to the playoffs the next year…for one game.

It’s not like the Mets don’t spend money. They have a TV network and a beautiful stadium that see millions of fans arrive or watch at home annually. And it’s not like the Mets have the lowest payroll in baseball. They don’t. They were 9th in baseball last year, and were almost 10% higher than the next tier of team salaries.

No, it seems where the Mets make bad decisions stems from one place, which affects a few others. Their owners- the Wilpon’s- are fuck ups.

Fuck ups.

Not financially. There, they’ve done great. They avoided being held accountable throughout the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, where they made fantastic returns on their investments as other people went broke in the scam, then allegedly did not suffer any financial losses after. They sold a chunk of team ownership to raise personal capital, and watched the team gain value in the process. They have a TV network that is part of a cable package, so they get monthly revenues from commercials and subscribers, although Frontier Communications did end their broadcast relationship with SNY this fall due to their “excessive carriage rates.” And unlike every other New York area sports channel, they have no other New York based sports tenant to pay to air.

And with those resources? The Wipons make horrible decisions.

Mets fans can list off the failed free agents and veteran trades the team has made like it’s a Dishonor Roll. Some of those were surprises. Who saw Roberto Alomar falling apart so quickly? Who thought Mike Piazza was going to resign with the Mets? But there’s a whole lot of Mo Vaughns, Bobby Bonillas, Jason Bays, Jeremy Burnitzes and Mel Rojases going on. A Mets trade for a major contributor is rare- consider the trade of Cy Young award winner knuchleballer R.A. Dickey for a catching prospect that they expected to be a star- Travis DeArnold. If the Blue Jays didn’t throw in level A ball pitcher Noah Syndergaard, that trade would have been awful as well. 

What a chunk…er, chump.

Why are the Mets so bad at assessing talent? Here’s an idea: Look at the amount of scouts the Mets reportedly use (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Major_League_Baseball_scouts_by_team). The Mets have 78 scouts. That’s way more than a lot of teams. Teams like the Colorado Rockies or the Seattle Mariners or the famously cheap Oakland A’s.

Some teams have just about the same amount of scouts- the San Francisco Giants and the Pittsburgh Pirates. The shitty Pirates have a similar org chart. That can’t be good. But the Giants have been successful for decades, so we have to call into account the quality of Mets scouts.

But look at the teams with more scouts than the Mets. The Atlanta Braves. The Philadelphia Phillies. The St. Louis Cardinals. The Boston Red Sox. The Los Angeles Dodgers. The Houston Astros. The Cleveland Indians. The Chicago Cubs. The Chicago White Sox. The Detroit Tigers. The Baltimore Orioles. All of these teams have had greater levels of success than the Mets in the Wilpon Era. They all have had faster rebuilds, have had more sustained successes, and almost all of them have won a World Series since 2000.

You may notice a team that didn’t make the list. The New York Yankees. Why? Because their scouting staff is DOUBLE what their same market peers have. Well, not exactly double. Two scouts short of double. 154 versus 78.  

So we know the Mets are short of amateur and professional scouts as compared to more successful organizations. But surely they hire managers and coaches with winning pedigrees, right?

Wrong. The Mets seem to be a landing pad for reclamation projects and first time managers. They’ve had two decent managers over the last 30 years. Davey Johnson and Bobby Valentine. The Mets have had chances to hire managers with pedigrees, as recently as a few days ago when they’ve watched World Series winning Joe Maddon go to the Angels and World Series winning manager Joe Girardi go to the divisional rivals Phillies.

And the Mets? They replaced first time manager Mickey Calloway with first time manager Carlos Beltran. And who hired him? First time general manager Brodie Van Wagenen.

Which in fairness was a turn around from the prior administration or longtime reclamation project and career loser Terry Collins, with retread GM Sandy Alderson. These two teamed up to luck into a postseason based on young pitchers who never had a lineup to supplement their work, and always, ALWAYS a sketchy bullpen.

But look at that stellar, inspiring list of recent Mets managers. You can marvel at:

Mike Cubbage

Art Howe

Dallas Green

Jeff Torborg

Jerry Manual

And you wonder why they lose?

Wally Backman came through the Mets system as a player, then became a manager in various levels before returning as manager in the Mets system. He had a winning record in A ball, AA, and AAA, even managing to win some championships. He had a winning record! But hey, Terry Collins was running a sub 500 team for years, so why change things up?

Even as recently as 2019, a player developed by the Mets and who starred for the Mets- Edgardo Alfonso-  took the A level Brooklyn Cyclones to a league championship. And was fired for it. You read that right. What the actual fuck is this organization doing? Alfonso was a Met in the last era in which the team was consistently good, and past of what some called the greatest infield ever. Fired for winning. This is the GM Mets fans get.

W
What shit.

And this is the GM Mets fans deserve. Why? Because Mets fans are stupid. They line up each year to put 2,000,000 asses (literally and figuratively) in the seats of an admittedly beautiful ballpark. And then they take off their shirts and have the Mets organization shit on their collective chests like a high octane German shizer film. They pay their monthly cable bills and don’t ask the providers to remove the stain from their drawers. They buy t-shirts and jerseys and pay $40 to park under a train track or on the side of a highway because…they’re fucking stupid. Why? Because they don’t ask for better.

You know thaty the divisional rival Atlanta Braves have already begun signing free agents? They took former Giants closer lefthanded All Star Will Smith off of the market well before the Mets made reservations for the Winter Meetings. Mets fans will say Smith isn’t good. If he was in the Mets bullpen last year? They make the playoffs.

Let me be the first person the make this point and argument. If the Islanders arena progresses at Belmont, the Mets should move there as well. Not the indoor arena. That’d be silly. No, instead of ANOTHER shopping mall, build a baseball stadium. And maybe….shhhh….a small casino in the proposed and yet unbuilt hotel. Imagine a horse track, an indoor sports arena, an outdoor sports arena, a hotel, a casino, and two train stations- one coming from Long Island and one from Queens – all within walking distance of each other? And near their fanbase? That’d sound…smart. So that’s fucked.

Instead the fans have accepted the existence of chop shops and grey mud puddles for generations.

So to Mets fans- stop it. What you’re doing is the equivalent of Magic Johnson buying billboards in support of spreading AIDS. Cancel your TV packages. You don’t need them. Just buy channels you want and stream Mets games. Stop paying for failure.

Business as usual.

Stop with season tickets. Stop with t shirts. Stop paying to watch games. I can tell you what will happen.

The team will lose money. Then they will lose value. Then someone with money will come in recognizing the bargain to own a mass market team at a bargain price and do what new owners always do- use the savings to reinvest in their product. That way if they sell it’s a quick flip. And if they stay it’s a fortune down the road. And will the present owners reinvest in this team to make it a winner?

No. The Mets presently have enough parts to just need a few more pieces to be short term solid. What pieces? A competent front office, an experienced manager, experienced coaches with winning records, a few key free agents, a few solid drafts, and an owner willing to spend. Just look at their take on analytics, which is growing in all sports.

Are you at all shocked?

This plan doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s worked for the Yankees, Dodgers, Cardinals, Cubs, Red Sox, Astros, Marlins, Giants, and Tigers. Clearly it didn’t work for the teams that never invested.

Like the Mets.

So, which side of the fence do you want to be on? Perpetual pissing your own money away to a rich guy with a losing team for more of the same? Or maybe a sense of satisfaction from not the usual “almost successful” season?

Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments. Or smash your head into the wall as you order your Mets Christmas gifts. Unlike what the team owners do at this time of year.