Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Here i go again

Although I just celebrated my 39th birthday, the adage of another year older, another year wiser does not seem to count when we're talking about me.

I mean how else would you explain this, considering I'm about to give you all some predictions and you know how GREAT (insert sarcasm here) I am when it comes to giving predictions.

That said, here are some things you can all expect (yeah, right!) will take place before I return from my extended vacation in a couple of weeks.

1) The Yankees will lose out on the CC Sabathia sweepstakes. From everything that has been reported, it sounds like CC wants to play out West and the Angels just might be the team that is willing to give him Yankee-type money.

2) With the biggest free agent pitcher off the board, the Yankees will overpay (dearly) to sign A.J. Burnett. The oft-injured pitcher (can anybody say Carl Pavano) will get the 5-year deal he's been demanding.

3) Expect either Mark Teixeira or ... wait for it ... Manny Ramirez to be closing in on a deal to come to the Bronx. Do you really think the Steinbrenner boys will sit on the sidelines and watch others, i.e. the Red Sox, get better without making a splash of their own.

4) Francisco Rodriguez will price himself out of the Mets' plans, making a Brian Fuentes signing a reality. I think that would be a good move because Fuentes would surely come at a better price, and I know K-Rod set the single-season saves mark, but I can think of several relievers off the top of my head -- Mariano Rivera, Jonathan Papelbon, Joe Nathan, Brad Lidge to name a few -- that I'd rather see in the ninth inning.

5) The groundwork will be laid for the Mets to unload Luis Castillo, with the Amazins closing in on a deal for Orlando Hudson. Mets' GM Omar Minaya has done a pretty good job building a solid team, but one of his worst moves was giving a long-term deal to Castillo, who is way past his prime. I'm sure to unload him, the Mets will have to eat much of his contract, but that's a price they will be willing to pay.

6) The Jets will struggle, but defeat the Broncos. Coming off Gang Green's huge win in Tennessee and Denver's embarrassing loss against the Raiders, this has all the makings of a trap game. But New York, in the end, will be good enough to survive, say 27-21.

7) The Giants will continue to steamroll toward a second straight Super Bowl championship with an easy win in Washington. New York is by far the most complete team in football and the Redskins will prove to be no match. Let's put the score as something like Big Blue 42-14.

8) Finally, Stephon Marbury will no longer be a Knick. This one's a real no-brainer given the history between Starbury and New York. It will be interesting to see where he lands and if he'll ever regain his All-Star form or even come close. My guess is no.

So there you have it, eight predictions, and if I get two of them right, that'll be a good thing for me.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Told you so

So, Jets fans, you see how wrong I normally am when it comes to making predictions.

Not only did the Jets' not underachieve against the now once-beaten Titans, Gang Green exceeded probably everybody's expectations. Brett Favre abd Kris Jenkins have really changed the culture around this team, and they WILL be a force come playoff time.

I know, not another prediction.

Couple the Jets' big win with another impressive performance by the Giants, and I have one question?

So what is the equivalent of a Subway Series in football?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Reality check

Remember a week ago when I said I had a good feeling the Jets would play a great game against the Patriots? I said I didn't think they would necessarily win the game, but I thought it would be close.

Not only was it close, but the Jets did indeed win.

Now Gang Green faces the unbeaten Titans, and I just have the feeling the Jets are in for a stinker. They've been basking in that Pats' win for more than a week, and the Titans will no doubt be hungry to keep that perfect record intact.

I hope I'm wrong because it's been fun watching the Jets with Brett Favre this season, but I can see a rather sizeable win for Tennessee.

For all you Jets fans out there, let's hope I'm as wrong as I usually am when it comes to making predictions.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Fans should know their role

As I have said in previous posts, given the demands of being sports editor for a small-town newspaper, I relish the opportunities to get out and cover local sports. I only wish time afforded me more chances to do so.

But I did get a chance over the weekend, when myself and reporter Mike Stribl covered Kingston, Rondout Valley and Pine Plains competing in the state field hockey semifinals at Chittenango High School, which is about 20 miles south of Syracuse.

First of all, let me give my congratulations to all three schools for getting to the final four and particularly Rondout, which reached the state title game.

Now, for an observation. Let me preface this by saying I am not a parent, so you can take what I am about to say with a grain of salt.

I have three nephews who all played sports at various levels, so I am no stranger to rooting for "my boys" -- as I sometimes call them -- to succeed. But I do have a problem with parents, or other family member living vicariously through their children.

I just think it sends the wrong message.

Now I bring this up, not to criticize those who were there cheering on our local teams because you all were not the problem. The Kingston and Rondout fans were fabulously not over the top and I got a huge kick out of the Pine Plains' fans with their coach Dick Meilinger head on sticks.

That's all good fun.

Some of the other teams' fans I saw up at states were way over the top. I'm not saying they were rude or obnoxious because I really didn't think they were. But you would have thought it was those fans playing the game and not the players themselves.

Like I said I'm all for rooting, but I think it sends a troublesome message when fans give off the vibe that their whole being depends on the outcome of these games played by high schoolers.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Foxborough showdown

So, the Jets have a big game against the Patriots in just a few hours and I have the funny feeling they'll do fine tonight.

I'm not saying they're going to win, but in watching the majority of their games this year, this seems to be a different Jets' team with Brett Favre at quarterback. They seem to be walking around with an air of confidence they were seemingly lacking last.

If nothing else, it should be a great game.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Championship dreams

It must be fun for a handful of area teams these days.

We have Kingston, Rondout and Pine Plains all playing in the state field hockey semifinals this weekend, while Ellenville and Highland are playing in football regional games as well. Add to that SUNY New Paltz volleyball playing in the NCAA Tournament and you have a pretty busy few days ahead.

It's always cool around here to see area teams thrive in the postseason. When it comes to high school, I think Section 9 in general -- and Ulster County and Northern Dutchess County teams in particular -- get a bad reputation when it comes to just how good our players are around here.

It's nice when these players and teams get a chance to shine on the state stage.

Good luck

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Sports vs. politics

Following the presidential campaign and last night's election made me think how much easier is it to get a winner in professional sports.

In sports such as baseball and football, the higher score wins, in others like running or swimming, it's the fastest time.

It would be interesting if there was some electoral college, where your favorite baseball team scored more runs, but if their opponents scored runs in more important innings, they would count for more.

Or, say you're running the 100-meter dash and you finish with the fastest time, but one of your opponents ran a faster first 25 meters ant that counts for more, so you find yourself in second.

I know there are a few sports -- gymnastics and diving come to my head -- where there is judging and some subjectivity, but those sports are few and far between.

I'm not saying we need to find our next president this way, but wouldn't it had been funny to see President-elect Obama and Senator McCain lining up against each other in football pads?

Just a post-election thought.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Super Bowl bound

So, Giants fans, are you ready for another Super Bowl title?

At the midway part of the season, the Giants and undefeated Tennessee Titans are clearly the two best teams in football.

In dominating the once thought-to-be Super Bowl contending Dallas Cowboys, the Giants showed they have no weakness. They are by far the most complete team in the NFL. In Tennessee's win over the Packers, the Titans proved they can do what it takes to win. They don't have the flash the Giants do, but they're undefeated for a reason.

It should make for a good Super Bowl, don't you think?