Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Randomness While Thinking of New Ways for the Mets to Lose

It's really becoming Groundhog Day for this franchise. This time, it was Eric Bruntlett pulling off the first game-winning unassisted triple play since Johnny Neun did it on May 31, 1927. Following that loss, and yesterday's as well, it appears that Johan Santana is the latest Met to get hurt and need surgery in the offseason. Santana now joins Carlos Beltran, Carlos Delgado, Jose Reyes, David Wright and John Maine as the key players who have been hurt for most of this season. It seems like anytime the Mets have had a particularly painful loss, it gets followed by the loss of a key player. Bruntlett's triple play joins Sean Green's walking in the winning run in Philly on May 2, the loss to the Dodgers where the Mets made baserunning mistakes, dropped flyballs and a game-losing throwing error, the Luis Castillo drop against the Yankees and the Cardinal game where Green hit the winning run, followed by Albert Pujols with a mammoth grand slam.

Let's also discuss the Billy Wagner trade to the Red Sox. First off, great job Mets for giving away two high draft picks to restore your farm system and only get two PTBN. Now, Bill Madden on Daily News Live set the scene for Boston; Jonathan Papelbon doesn't want to close, he doesn't want to stay in Boston and he hasn't pitched well from the closer spot (Fang's Bites routinely tweets about him as heart attack Papelbon). Wagner gives the Red Sox a chance to bridge the gap before Daniel Bard becomes the closer and if Bard's ready in 2010 or Wagner pitches horrible, definitely possible, Wagner will net them the two draft picks if they offer arbitration.

Now that we're coming up on the end of the baseball season, the awards races are starting to heat up. The only award the seems to be his to lose is Pujols as NL MVP. Maybe Ryan Howard, Hanley Ramirez and Troy Tulowitzki could be considered, but Pujols is still the best player in the league and since the Cards will make the playoffs, he's a shoo-in. AL MVP is tougher because Mark Teixeira and Derek Jeter will split votes from one another and I believe that if the Twins stay in the AL Central race into the last two weeks of the season, Joe Mauer will win the award. His hitting this year at catcher is to great to ignore for a contending player. Keep an eye for Miguel Cabrera and Michael Young, however, since they are having terrific years for competitive clubs. The NL Cy Young looks like it will be between Tim Lincecum and Chris Carpenter, while the AL Cy Young is completely wide open between the likes of Zack Greinke, CC Sabathia, Justin Verlander, Roy Halladay, Josh Beckett and Mariano Rivera.

Looks like the Mark Sanchez bandwagon took a hit after yesterday's game against the Ravens. How do I know? Because my father is the bandwagon; anytime he changes his mind on anything, it must be how bandwagon fans operate. I, on the other hand, never make too much of preseason. The thing everyone should remember is that Matt Ryan and Joe Flacco is the exception of how rookie QB play, not the norm. Peyton Manning struggled through his first season, so did Troy Aikman, Terry Bradshaw and Steve Young. So Jets fans (and I'm not one of them), keep your expectations low and you'll be satisfied regardless what he does.

The good people at Sorts of Sports have started to rank their top fantasy players with the QB's and will continue to do so for this week and next. I will not and suggest you read them, but I do have a few players that you should look to for fantasy. The two players I'm very big on this year are Matt Forte and Steve Slaton, Donald Brown is my sleeper runner, Aaron Rodgers is someone you should look at if you lose out on Drew Brees and Tom Brady. I think Michael Turner should be avoided if possible, and any QB after the Peyton, Rodgers, Warner group is really the same. I'm sure you noticed I haven't touched on WR's. My feeling is look for any teams number 1's. Vincent Jackson should do well because he's Phil Rivers top guy, same for Santonio Holmes, Jerricho Cotchery and whomever wins the battle of the Giants top receiver. And I agree with Matthew Berry, defense/special teams are as interchangeable as kickers, you pick up the one who don't allow that much points and the rest comes together.

Great Twitter post by the legendary Bill Simmons about ironic Sports Illustrated covers from the steroid era. Couple of comments; it's a shame (unless proven to be a PED user) that Griffey is associated with Sosa and McGwire and the 1998 Sportsmen of the Year cover is the greatest in terms of comedy's sake.

Good job by Entourage to realize that their show hasn't been good this year and decided to bring in Bob Saget uncensored. Here's the video of it. And if you only think of Saget as Danny Tanner on Full House, think the opposite for his standup act.

DirecTV and Versus have to get a deal done so us hockey fans who have DirecTV aren't shut out of the playoffs. We can survive the regular season without Versus, but the playoffs, including two Stanley Cup Final games need to be on. Not to mention that they have a college football schedule that includes teams like Texas, USC and Florida St.

On the plus side of sports on TV, great job by ESPN for showing the English Premier League on Saturday mornings. I've never had a channel that showed the matches live and it was easy for me to ignore it, but now I'm going to try to be as into the EPL as I ever was. I'm very surprised by the slow start by Liverpool and maybe now that Bill Simmons has officially joined the Tottenham Hotspur bandwagon can they succeed in the league.

Finally, let's talk about the Knicks. Now, the stated goal when Donnie Walsh and Mike D'Antoni came in was to be ready for the 2010 free agency. That's been the impetus to every move since they came in last year. They succeed in getting rid of Jamal Crawford's and Zach Randolph's contracts and haven't signed anyone past 2010 since then. However, with the shrinking salary cap next season, no first round pick and the inability to move Eddy Curry and Jared Jefferies (which was Walsh's biggest mistake since he could have traded him and Nate Robinson for Kenny Thomas' expiring contract) will keep this team no closer to contend this season. The target is LeBron James and if LeBron only cares about non-basketball reasons for his next contract, the Knicks would fit. If he makes a basketball decision, he should stay in Cleveland or even head to the Clippers if he thinks of both on- and off-the-court reasons.

Thus, I believe the Knicks should shoot to compete by 2011. The fact is, the Knicks don't have the team that will be enticing to a franchise player, which they need if they want to win. Which is why they should hold off their plans for another year of adding talent to surround a star. The economy could be in better shape after another year and with Curry and Jefferies contracts off the books, they will have more cap room. They also could use their advantage in money to trade for a franchise guy from a team that needs money, like Chris Paul. Besides, when the NBA has a lockout in a couple years, they're going to need a New York team to do well to recreate buzz after the players return.

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