Saturday, September 29, 2007

Sunday is the fun day

Well folks:
Let's see. I'm a diehard Yankee fan. I love the undefeated (at least, so far) Dallas Cowboys and as I've said in previous posts. I really get into watching team golf competition and the U.S. men are playing the Internationals in the Presidents Cup.
So what will I be watching on a football Sunday afternoon.
What is he thinking you may be asking.
The Mets tied for first in the NL East, one game remaining in the regular season with a possible one-game "playoff" looming for Monday in Philadelphia. For any baseball fan, it really doesn't get any better than this.
Behind the nearly-perfect pitching of John Maine, the Mets showed the kind of heart and fight that many of you fairweather Mets fans probably thought left them long ago. As a Yankee fan I even enjoyed watching the Mets show some spunk against the Marlins.
Florida is a God-awful team, but all you Mets' fans know it's been those God-awful teams like the Marlins and the Nationals that have given the Amazins fits this past month.
You've got future Hall of Famer Tom Glavine pitching against Florida ace Dontrelle Willis with some bad blood between the two teams following Saturday's game. With the Phillies playing the Nats at the same time, it all makes for some great drama.
With that said, it's prediction time.
Glavine allows two runs over 6 2/3 innings, while the Mets shell an ineffective Willis en route to a 12-4 victory. The Phillies in the meantime, ride two home runs from Ryan Howard for an 8-3 win over Washington, forcing a one-game playoff in a place I like to call my second home -- Philadelphia (my mother's family lives there and I've spent many a summer in the City of Brotherly Love).
But I digress.
On Monday, in an absolute dismantling, the Mets, given a second chance with Saturday's turn of events, score early and often for a 10-1 pasting and a berth in the playoffs, where they will be dismissed by the Chicago Cubs.
Meanwhile, my beloved wild-card winning Yankees, the underdog (that's right the UNDERDOG) in their series against the NL Central champion Indians, takes Cleveland out in four games to ensure Joe Torre will return as manager for another year.
We'll see how my picks pan out, but keep in mind this, I'm ALMOST ALWAYS WRONG! So, for all you Mets' fans, buckle up those seat belts. You're going to be in for one heck of a trip Sunday.
And speaking of trips, I'll be taking a trip away from the Freeman for the next week for a little vacation. I'll talk to you all next week to see just how wrong my picks are.
So, until next time, as always, take care and God bless.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Turning the tables

OK gang:
Who would have thought with three games remaining to the regular season, the Yankees would be resting their regulars as they prepare for next week's playoffs, while the Mets are fighting for their lives just to get a ticket to the dance.
It just goes to show just how long the baseball season is.
It seems like only yesterday when the Mets were sitting pretty in the NL East while the Yankees were supposedly dead and buried in the AL East.
I must admit I have a little smile on my face with this turn of events, but not for the reasons you all might think.
I have a lot of friends who are what I would call 'intelligent' Mets fans -- the ones who can root for their team while allowing you to cheer on your own. I feel for those Mets fans because I still believe the Mets are the best team in the NL, but for some reason(s) have really hit the skids.
And I know how painful it is to see your team self-destruct before your eyes.
There are other 'idiot' Mets' fans I know who were more obsessed with watching the Yankees fail than watching the Mets succeed. I know you can say that about anybody's fans, including the Yankees, but from a pinstriped fan's perspective it is funny seeing 'so-called' fans from other teams know more about the Yankees than their own.
For those of you -- and you know who you are -- I can only chuckle.
Maybe the negative karma you have tried to spew over the season toward the Yankees has come back to bite the Mets' in the butt.
All that said, I sit here about half an hour before the Mets begin their final three games of the regular season against the Florida Marlins, and say the Mets will win the East -- and they won't need a one-game playoff to do it.
But for now, it's time for others to do the sweating.
Until next time, take care and God bless.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Heaven help them

Hi gang:
After taking the weekend off to celebrate the Jewish holiday, I noticed the area's minor league football team -- the Hudson Valley Saints -- was eliminated from playoff contention in the North American Football League.
On many levels I felt sorry for the team, because the face of the organization since the inception of the latest reincarnation for summer football three years ago -- head coach Jeff DeLisio -- is one of my personal favorite coaches to deal with.
Jeff's a likable fellow who, WIN OR LOSE, is easily accessible to the media -- a trait MANY area coaches don't display.
After two successful seasons on the field that resulted in playoff berths and national rankings, the Saints fell on hard times, struggling to finish with a .500 record. There were injuries, no-shows and a late ownership change.
Off the field, the Saints have struggled to find an audience, with home attendance at Dietz Stadium barely reaching triple digits at best.
In my dealings with the various summer football teams that have appeared and disappeared in the area -- from the Hudson Valley Vikings to the Kingston Panthers to the Hudson Valley Giants and now the Hudson Valley Saints, maintaining a fan base has seemingly always been a problem.
I've always contended football in the summer does not work around here because there are too many other things to do on a hot night than sit and watch a fall-time-of-the-year game. It has nothing to do with the caliber of play, which has been pretty good for the most part over the years. I just don't think sitting in Dietz watching football in August is something you circle on your calendar.
The new owner, Drew Murphy of Colonial Motorcars, is undoubtedly a savvy businessman. For their sake, I'm sure the Saints hope that savvy translates into increased attendance or it might not be too far down the road when there will be yet another void in minor league football in the area.
Until next time, take care and God bless.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Shifting with the wind

OK folks:
Here's a quick thought on the Yankees and their quest to win the AL East.
I remember back in May, when the deficit was 14 1/2 games, the so-called experts that I have written about so many times were ready to throw dirt on the Yankees and declared them dead as far as making the playoff let alone win the East.
Now that the once insurmountable deficit is just 1 1/2 games, those same experts are now pointing to the Yankee payroll and how this is where everybody expected to them be.
I even heard one guy say the Red Sox are kind of hoping the Yankees will win the division, so that all the pressure to win will be on the Yankees as East champs instead of Boston.
Now, listen, even with all the momentum the Bombers have right now, I'm not ready to give them the division. We all know how the Blue Jays, Devil Rays and Orioles play the Yanks for the most part.
But isn't funny how all the so-called experts who left the Yankees for dead a few months ago, now have them ticketed to win the World Series?
It's nice to be able to change with the wind, isn't it?
Until next time, take care and -- especially to all my Jewish brethren as we head toward our high holy day of Yom Kippur -- God bless.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Weekend (and early week) ramblings

Hey gang:
Sorry I didn't get the chance to blog yesterday, so here are some random thoughts from the weekend -- and early week -- in sports.
-- Once again, I was absolutely glued to the TV watching Tiger Woods yet again dominate a golf tournament. Whether you like him or hate him -- and I fall into that first category -- to see a player dominate his sport like Tiger has, you just have to tip your cap to him.
-- Congratulations to the U.S. for winning the Solheim Cup. I know women's golf is not the most popular sport in the world to watch, but as I've said in previous posts, there's something about the whole U.S. vs. Europe thing that I really get into. I'm sure it'll be the same when the men compete in the Presidents Cup at the end of the month.
-- Speaking of the Solheim Cup, if you all didn't follow there was a bit of controversy when TV announcer Dottie Pepper -- a stalwart on previous U.S. Solheim Cup teams -- referred to the Americans as 'Chokin' freakin' dogs' when the U.S. was struggling in the early stages of the event.
The comment was not supposed to be public because the announcers had thought they were in commercial. But I give her credit, as the controversy grew, she stood up to the comments and did not back off of them. By the way, Dottie, when I was watching, I too thought the U.S. team was choking.
-- I would think by now all of you Giants and Jets fans have to be about as frustrated as you can be. The Giants look awful, with all the stupid penalties, dropped passes and pitiful defense displayed against the Packers. With Tom Coughlin in charge, I don't think any of Big Blue's players care that they're going to cost the coach his job.
I think the harder schedule and the no-longer-going-to-be-taken-for-granted attitude teams have when they play Gang Green has kind of shown that maybe the Jets played a little over their heads last year. I like Eric Mangini and the Jets are headed in the right direction. It just looks like they might have to take a step back this year before leaping forward in the future.
-- Speaking of frustrated, that's how Mets fans must be feeling these days. 10 errors in two games, are you kidding me? I stand by previous comments that the Mets will win the division because in the end, the Phillies will hand it to them. But can any of you Mets' fans honestly say you're confident in your team reaching it's ultimate goal of a World Series championship?
I didn't think so.
-- Which brings me, finally, to my Yankees. We all know their situation heading into tonight's game against Baltimore -- 3 1/2 behind Boston (3 in the loss column) in the East and 3 1/2 ahead of Detroit (4 in the loss column) in the wild-card standings. But I have a question to the ESPN experts: How is it the Yankees have no shot at catching Boston in the East, but the Tigers have a more than realistic chance of surpassing the Bombers in the wild-card race?
Just curious. Either way, I think all of you Yankee haters will have to wait until the playoffs to see if the Bombers prevail or fail.
Until next time, take care and God bless.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Recognizing greateness

Ok folks:
Time to acknowledge greatness.
I once again had the pleasure to watch Tiger Woods dominate a course and a tournament and being a longtime Jack Nicklaus fan I couldn't help but to stand up and applaud.
What this guy is doing for the game of golf could be said for what Michael Jordan did for basketball or Babe Ruth did for baseball.
This guy is absolutely on another planet. He knows it and so does his competition. Everyone in the PGA Tour is compared to Tiger -- whether it's Phil Mickelson, Vijay Singh, Ernie Els -- or any other golfer on the Tour.
But what I think I like the best about him is he seemingly doesn't care if he's liked. All he wants to do is win and pleasing people is seemingly not that high on his list. If you watch him struggling, he shows it -- whether it's from a facial reaction, a slamming of the club or the occasional four-letter word you can hear on TV.
I've spoken before about my feelings toward Phil Mickelson, who seemingly attempts to force a smile when everything else is going wrong on his round.
That's just not tight Tiger.
Which is probably the reason he will someday own all of golf's treasured records.
In many ways, he reminds me of Nicklaus, although I'm not old enough to have seen Jack play in his heyday.
But from what I've seen, while others of his era were worried as much about their image as their play, Nicklaus worried about winning tournaments.
Sounds a lot like Tiger and the current PGA Tour.
Oh, and by the way, as an update from my last post, we're only several hours from another 2 a.m. viewing of the Solheim Cup. Thankfully I'm off tomorrow and can get some sleep!
Like I said before, I think I need help.
Until next time, take care and God bless.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Time to get some help?

Ok folks:
I think I'm in need of an intervention.
As a sports editor, I feel I have to be connected to sports -- both locally and nationally.
Now you all know I'm a big baseball guy. I could sit and watch endless hours of baseball any day. The same for football -- and to a lesser extent -- basketball and hockey.
But I spent 11 hours today -- that's right from 2 a.m. until 1 p.m. -- watching coverage of the Solheim Cup, getting virtually no sleep. For those of you not as (sports) nutty as I am, the Solheim Cup is a professional women's golf event in which the best players from the United States take on the top pros from Europe in a three-day team competition.
The men have two versions of this -- the most famous is the Ryder Cup and the other is the Presidents Cup.
For some strange reason, I really get into this. I'm sure part of watching the Solheim Cup is watching Natalie Gulbis play for reasons I think any guy who has ever seen Gulbis would know and agree. But also, I really like the whole U.S. vs. "the world" concept.
I know in the end, whether it's the men or women playing, it's a bunch of rich golfers from here playing another bunch of wealthy golfers from there, but yet, there I sat starting 2 a.m. today riveted by this competition.
By the way, the Solheim Cup continues Saturday morning at 2 a.m.
Guess where I'll be?
Somebody help me.
Until next time, take care and God bless.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

A lot of work left

Well gang:
As I'm sure you all know from my multitude of previous posts -- I am a diehard Yankee fan. I know, I know, what a shock.
I also consider myself a pretty positive Bomber supporter. Once again, what a shock!
But I find it laughable to hear the so-called sports experts talk as if the Yankees have already punched their tickets to the postseason and are breathing down Boston's necks.
As of this writing, the Yankees are 5 up on Detroit in the loss column in the wild card and 4 back of Boston in the East with roughly three weeks left to the season. And, as we all know how streaky the Yankees have been, things could sure change in one week.
Let's start with tonight. Is there anybody out there confident in the least that Mike Mussina is going to throw a good game? So let's chalk that up as a loss, while the Tigers pitch Cy Young candidate Justin Verlander against Texas and the Red Sox have a bye -- I mean they play the Devil Rays (same difference as far as Boston is concerned!) That's one game in the wrong direction for the Yankees both ways right there.
Tomorrow, the Yanks face Toronto's A.J. Burnett and if memory serves me the Yankees have struggled in the past against Burnett. Then the Yankees go to Fenway. How much do you think the Red Sox are looking forward to putting a crimp in the Bombers' postseason hopes.
I'm not saying this to alarm all us Yankee fans out there -- in fact maybe I'm looking for a little reverse psychology here. But the fact remains until the Yanks are officially in the playoffs, let's not -- as the old adage says -- put the cart before the horse.
Until next time, take care and God bless.

Monday, September 10, 2007

What a weekend

Well gang:
What a great sports weekend for me.
First, my alma matter -- Ellenville High School -- wins to give me the early lead in the staff predictions. If I remain in first, I think I'll try to convince my superiors to buy me a new car as a reward for the win. My guess is that 1) I won't win and 2) I won't get a new car if I do. I'll let you all know how that turns out.
Then, the Yankees sweep a three-game series from the Royals to increase their wild-card lead to four games. I was speaking with my cousin, Joe, from Philadelphia yesterday and he said he's sensing this is the year the Yanks go all the way. While I'm not ready to be so bold as to say that, I think they're in pretty good shape to make the playoffs. And as we all know, you don't have a chance to win if you're not there.
Then, I watch Tiger Woods play about the best round of golf I've seen to win the BMW Championship and watch Roger Federer capture another U.S. Open title. I really appreciate watching greatness -- which of course you could also throw A-Rod in that mix as well. If he's not the AL MVP, then somebody will have to explain to me why.
To top it all off, was NFL's opening Sunday and watching my Cowboys roll over the Giants. I know the Cowboys supposedly brought in Wade Phillips to improve the Dallas' defense, but if my Boys are going to score 45 points a game, who cares if the defense allows 35. And for those who thought Tony Romo was a flash in the pan, he looked pretty good to me last night.
By the way, I think the Cowboys just scored again. Now, if they can duplicate their performance against the Eagles and the Redskins, I will be very happy with the Cowboys this season.
Until next time, take care and God bless.

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Giving Lefty his due

Well folks:
As I got disgusted watching my Yankees lose on Monday, I began to watch the final of the weekend's PGA tournament in Massachusetts.
I consider myself an avid golf fan, and the whole Tiger Woods-Phil Mickelson showdown really peaked my interest. Now let me just say I'm a big Tiger Woods' fan. There's something about watching greatness and Tiger is well on his way to being recognized as being the best to ever play the game -- if he's not there already.
And for some reason, I'm not the biggest Mickelson fan. Maybe I think he's a bit of a phony.
That said, I really enjoyed watching Phil actually beat Tiger in the head-to-head showdown because that will only help the future of the PGA.
Week after week those of us who follow golf watch Tiger run away and hide from his competition, especially when they play head-to-head.
Whether it's Vijay Singh or Rory Sabbatini, Tiger -- for lack of a better analogy -- chews up his competition and spits them out. And Mickelson is no exception. I always joke the best way to ensure Lefty won't win a tournament is to put him in the same grouping with Tiger.
Monday's final round of the Deutsche Bank Championship was different. Phil appeared inspired, while Tiger for the first 13 holes seemed flat. Woods made his usual charge over the final five, six holes, but Mickelson had enough to survive and win by two shots.
Like I said previously, I'm a huge Tiger Woods' fan, but even those of us who believe Tiger is the greatest player in the game must acknowledge it when someone is the greatest player that week.
It was Lefty's turn.
Until next time, take care and God bless.