Game 7 For The Ages, All The Ages

Wednesday night November 2nd 2016 has been set up to be one of the best nights in sports history. GAME SEVEN. Ask any sports fan what those two words mean and they'll tell either tell you how great it is or how devastating it can be. They can tell you stories of triumph or stories of ultimate failure.


I can easily give both without hesitation. Game 7 of the 2003 ALCS against the Boston Red Sox and Aaron Boone sending a knuckleball into the Left Field seats to send the Yankees into the World Series is one of my favorite all-time memories. On the other side, Game 7 of the 2001 World Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks will forever haunt me as a Yankees fan. Up 2-1 in the Bottom of the 9th inning and the greatest closer of all-time on the mound, Mariano Rivera, the Yanks somehow lost 3-2 and lost the World Series. The World Series that saw TWO, not one, but TWO of the most dramatic endings in sports history go in the Yankees favor. Down by 2 runs in the 9th inning and 2 outs in BOTH Games 4 and 5, the Yanks hit Game-tying Home Runs to send the games into extra innings, just so they could win it minutes later. It was just 7 weeks removed from the September 11th attacks. Those games brought the city of New York together. They captivated a nation in suffering. A feel good story at the perfect moment, in the perfect city, with the perfect team. The thing is...nothing in life is perfect and the 2001 World Series HAD to go to the Yankees, but it didn't. The city needed something, anything to cheer for. They did for a couple nights, but ultimately the Yankees lost one of the most heartbreaking games in their history.


This brings me to Wednesday night. The Cleveland Indians and the Chicago Cubs....Game Seven. All eyes in those two cities will be on them. They ALL will be watching Game Seven. Both cities might just shut down. Why? The Indians haven't won a World Series since 1948 and the Cubs haven't won since 1908. 176 years without a championship. We all aim to be the top of our profession, so could you imagine not being Employee of the Month for 68 years, how bout 108 years? Always giving it your all each and every day and never getting recognized for your hard work? We'd go crazy, we'd lose faith in ourselves at some point, we'd question why do we continue if we can't succeed. Well for these two cities, that's the feeling going around. Wednesday night, someone will finally get recognized. Someone will end years of frustration, and someone will hang their heads and go into the winter questioning everything they did for the last 8 and a half months.


Cleveland is the Cinderella team have no business being in Game Seven of th world Series. Yet here they are, in their home ballpark in front of their fans at Progressive Field. Literally steps away from The Quiken Loans Arena, where the Cleveland Cavaliers play. The same Cavaliers team that won an NBA Championship back in June when no one gave them a chance to win against Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors just came off an NBA Championship last year, plus set an NBA record going 73-9 AND were up 3 games to 1. Yet the Cavs fought for respect, fought game by game and won it all. Ironically enough, the Indians found themselves up 3 games to 1 against the team with the best record in MLB but have faltered in their first two attempts to win it all and end their 68 year championship drought.


Chicago is America's feel good story. They are the underdogs. Yet they came in the favorites to win it all back in Feburary. They were the favorites after each passing month in the regular season and each passing round in the Postseason. They have been the lovable losers for well over a century and they are one win away from making history. The city of Chicago will be shut down tomorrow night. Every pair of eyes will be glued on every move these Cubs make. If you've watched them this Postseason they have been nothing short of spectacular. They've come from behind every single time you thought there was no way they could win. Yet they did and they're one win away from one of the greatest sports stories that could ever be told. That's gotta mean something, doesn't it?


As a Yankee fan, I like both teams because they both have two former Yankees on their teams that are playing huge significant roles (Andrew Miller:Indians, Aroldis Chapman:Cubs) So I love that they are performing well when the lights are shining brightest. But I will be rooting for the Cubs in Gmae Seven, like I have all Postseason long. They remind me a lot of the Yankees. And when I say that, I mean the real Yankees, the ones that played in the real Yankee Stadium. The Jeters, the Riveras, the Posadas, the Pettittes, the Williams, the O'Neil's. Those guys were good, they played with heart and they were winners. I see the same in the Cubs. I have seen America's best feel good story unfold for the last 4-5 weeks, I need to see one more good moment. I need to see the underdog win. I need to see David beat Goliath. I want a Cubs World Series win in Game Seven.


Do yourself a favor, watch Game Seven. Watch it for the reasons we love sports for. Watch the passion, watch the intensity, watch the nerves, watch the tension. Have a rooting interest. Go for the city of Cleveland who never won ANYTHING before June, now they can claim their 2nd major sports championship within a 4 month span. Go for the city of Chicago and their fans who have NEVER experienced a high in their life like the one they're on now. Watch as a Yankee fan who sees two of their best pitchers going head to head to win a World Championship. Watch because either way, one city will be so overwhelmed with joy, it'll make you wish it was you and your team winning it all for the first time or watch to see a city go in complete silence and/or destroy itself in the face of defeat. The drama is all there, it's laid out there for your viewing pleasure. We've all watched debates that will doom us all in some way or another, so why not watch a tale of two lovable losing cities and it's franchises fight over being the very best in their profession? This IS better than any debate, any reality show and any soap opera. They even have A-Rod there to cover all those genres for you. Game Seven will be a classic, it will be history....will you be apart of it?










Read more »
These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
Reactions: 
Links to this post

Yanks 2016 Fate Is Up In The Air Along With Expectations

One of the best times of the year is upon us, Opening Day! It's been a long and relatively quiet winter for the New York Yankees. That can be seen as a blessing or a curse depending on who you ask. No major free agent additions as we've seen in years past but some notable trades made the team stronger. Again, depending on who you ask, the additions of Starlin Castro from the Cubs and Aroldis Chapman from the Reds can be seen as a negative.
I expect the same sort of reaction when trying to predict what the Yankees will give us in 2016. They can be really really good or really really bad. Personally, I don't know what to expect. I can see it be as good as the first four months of the 2015 season where they were cruising to an 7 game lead on the July 31 trade deadline or I can see the lifeless group that gave up the last two months. Many analysts and experts are saying much of the same.


The Good:


Everyone plays to the back of their baseball cards. Jacoby Ellsbury and Brett Gardner get on base, steal the next and score a batter or two later. Mark Teixeira continues from where he left off in midst of a MVP caliber season. Alex Rodriguez proves that last season was no fluke and he can hit another 30 Home Runs and drive in 90-100 RBIs. Carlos Beltran provides the clutch hitting and productivity he was carrying the Yankees with in August and September. Brian McCann continues to be one of the best hitting catchers in the game. After a shaky first season in pinstripes, he rebounded well for '15 and was consistent threat in the middle of the lineup. Something that will be asked of him once again in '16. Chase Headley figures out what went wrong last year and does the exact opposite. His defense was the real eye opener last season, by far the worst of his career. Better defense should be on the menu, with that better approaches to the plate in the batters box and better results. Starlin Castro is the stud the Yankees think he is and adds stability to a second base position that has been struggling since Robinson Cano left for Seattle. Didi Gregorius showed he was a force at the bottom of the lineup and at shortstop once he made some adjustments to his game during the year. Him and Starlin provide a new youthful dynamic double play combo that should excite Yankee fans everywhere.

The rotation of Masahiro Tanaka , Luis Severino, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi , and CC Sabathia can be the absolute best in baseball. Yes, in baseball! Tanaka goes out and pitches like the ace he was in the first season he was here before he injured his elbow, not many people are going to touch his stuff. Sevy has the ability to be just as electric, if not more. At 21, he seems ready to be a power arm reliable of handling the ball in big situations. Big Mike much like Sevy has electric stuff. Mothers Day last year he struck out 16 and for a period of time he was untouchable and was the ace of the staff. With not of the "ace" burden on his shoulders he can go out and just pitch. When he does, oh boy it's a site to see. Nasty Nate dazzled in first year in the Bronx winning 14 games before his injury. His stuff is filthy and is the hardest thrower in the rotation. If he can bring that same poise he had last season into 2016, expect a big year.  Sabathia is the 5th starter and just needs to be a reliable get me to the 6th inning kind of pitcher. His best days are behind him but he can contribute and he had a solid September after getting a knee brace to help him stabilize his delivery.


The three headed monster at the end of the bullpen with Chapman, Andrew Miller and Dellin Betances will leave everyone in awe in what they're witnessing. 100 strikeouts by each, dominance across the board and they will lead the Yanks into the postseason with a great chance of winning.


The Bad:

You saw what happened in August and September last year. That could very well end up being the 2016 Yankees. Injuries and old age finally catch up and it'll be a long season in the Bronx. Every night was so frustrating to watch those final two months. The Yankees are putting a lot of stock into a lot of question marks, we can only hope that this isn't the case.


Final Prediction:

92-70 1st place in the American League East and a trip to the ALCS.

OR

83-79 3rd place in the American League East.

My gut leans to the latter.





Read more »
These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
Reactions: 
Links to this post

What Does A-Rod Bring To The Yanks In 2016?

As we head into the last week of Feburary we're met with the arrivals of position players at Spring Training. Yesterday a notable arrival came without the usual pop and circumstance that has been accustomed in the past. Alex Rodriguez arrived to camp fresh off a successful comeback season.


In 2015 Alex played a pivotal part of the Yankees success. he also played into their late season downfall. At 40 years old, A-Rod showed signs of a man who sat out an entire season due to suspension and someone who had two surgically repaired hips. Nonetheless Alex delivered a solid season and put 33 home runs while being the offensive force in the middle of the lineup we had been accustomed to since his arrival to the Bronx in 2004. Alex turns 41 in July, has two years remaining on his legendary contract and is 27 homers shy of tying Babe Ruth on the All-Time HR list. When asked about reflecting on 2015 Alex said:


“I kind of went back and studied the season a little bit, and one of the things (was) I started my (training) process November, December, January. Really (significant) workloads for me, kind of prepping for spring training. I ran out of gas in August. My energy kind of picked up again in September, I just stunk. August, I was fatigued a little bit. September, I felt great and played poorly. So one of the things I’ve adjusted going into 2016 is to kind of pace myself a little bit more and use spring training as a ramping instead of coming here ready to go Day 1, which I did last year.”


I think if we get anything near the performance we did last year, we'd all be happy and take it. Assuming Alex and his fellow teammate Mark Teixeira  stay healthy, it'll provide the Yanks with the same 3-4 punch that provided an 8 game lead as late as July 31st.

Alex will once again serve as the teams DH. Manager Joe Girardi reiterated he has no plans to use Alex in the field. After two hip surgeries, why take the chance. The Yankees have made moves to add infield depth. They are talking about getting their Second Basemen Starlin Castro and Rob Refsynder some reps at Third Base. Castro could also serve as the back up Shortstop. Starting Third Baseman Chase Headley is the backup First Baseman should Teixeira need some time off or goes down with an injury. This should provide for some very interesting lineups this season.

As for Alex, I expect a similar if not slightly less productive season to the one we saw in 2015. I will go with a .265 AVG 27 HR 73 RBI. Nothing spectatcular but productive for someone finishing the season at 41 years of age. The drama appears to be a thing of the past for Alex so I expect the focus to be there but ultimately, he is past his prime, he's closer to 50 than 30 and he didn't have last season off. Let's hope for the best for A-Rod. At least for the remaining 2 years and 60-70 million left on his deal.
 

Read more »
These icons link to social bookmarking sites where readers can share and discover new web pages.
  • Digg
  • Sphinn
  • del.icio.us
  • Facebook
  • Mixx
  • Google
  • Furl
  • Reddit
  • Spurl
  • StumbleUpon
  • Technorati
Reactions: 
Links to this post