Friday, October 28, 2011

Seventh heaven

In case you missed it, and judging by the paltry ratings so far, you have, this World Series has actually been quite entertaining.

After a miraculous, come-from-behind Cardinals' victory over the Rangers Thursday night, a winner-take-all Game 7 looms this evening.

I know we're talking about St. Louis and Texas here. The big teams — we all know who they are — have been on their winter vacations for a while now (which explains in part why reruns of the Big Bang Theory are getting as high a ratings as the World Series), but make no mistake this has been quite the Series thus far.

Mike Napoli and David Freese have been the unexpected heroes (and MVP candidates) for the Rangers and Cardinals, respectively. Albert Pujols had a game for the ages with three home runs in Game 3. There have been as many big hits, botched calls, blown plays and burst bubbles as one could imagine.

I only hope Game 7 can live up to the drama the first 6 games have helped to build.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

What a kick!

Talk about a kick for the ages.

If a high school kicker ever made as big a kick as Kingston's Korey Jubie made, I'd like to know who it is. Jubie kicked what-still-seems-like-an-incredible 49-yard field goal late in the fourth quarter that gave Kingston a 3-0 victory over arch-rival Newburgh.

Kicking a 49-yard field goal is tough enough — even for the pros. To do it in Newburgh is that much more difficult.

Oh, and did I forget that with the victory, Kingston qualified for the Section 9, Class AA playoffs.

There were many heroes for Kingston in the win. You could take the entire Tigers' defense, considering Newburgh seemingly spent most of the game in Kingston territory only to be shut out.

In the end, it was the kicker that made the difference. Jubie's field goal was two yards short of the all-time Section 9 record. I wonder if that 51-yarder had as much riding on it?

Friday, October 21, 2011

Extra meaning for rivalry game

So, it all comes down to this tonight for Kingston High School:

Beat longtime rival Newburgh and qualify for the Section 9, Class AA football semifinals.

Lose and play a meaningless end-of-the season contest next week.

If the Tigers ever needed extra motivation to play the Goldbacks, there it is.

Both teams have a lot of momentum heading into tonight's contest, with Kingston coming off a convincing win over Middletown one week after it nearly upset the then-undefeated-in Section 9 Monroe-Woodbury. Kingston lose 28-27 after scoring the tying touchdown late, only to miss on a gutsy 2-point conversion.

That would have ended the Crusaders' nearly eight-year, 62-game sectional winning streak. Last week, Newburgh ended that 63-game mark with a 7-0 victory. The Goldbacks also qualified for the playoffs with that win.

With Newburgh already in the postseason, Kingston has a lot more on the line than the Goldbacks. Tigers' fans can only hope their team will be use that do-or-die mentality to join in the playoff party.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Lost season

So the NBA has canceled the first two weeks of the season, and by all indications, a lot more games — if not the whole year — will follow.

My reaction when I heard about this was, "Oh, well."

I'll be the first to admit I'm a baseball/football guy. I even like the NHL as much, if not more, than the NBA. But I know a lot of sports fans who probably won't lose a moment's sleep if there's no NBA this season.

The NFL dominates our sports minds from the beginning of September through the end of January. By the time the Super Bowl ends, the college basketball season is heating up and pitchers and catchers are reporting for MLB spring training. Most people probably don't care about the NBA until the playoffs roll around in the spring.

For the NBA's sake, I hope they can work through their differences and salvage part of their season. But come December or January, when a decision on the NBA season would need to be announced, I think most fans will be more interested in whether the Giants or Jets make the playoffs or what free agent moves the Yankees or Mets have made.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Time to second guess

So the worst-case scenario for Yankees happened. The inconsistent — to say it nicely — A.J. Burnett will start tonight with New York's season on the line.

In using CC Sabathia to start last night's 5-4 loss to the Detroit Tigers in Game 3 of the ALDS, Yankee manager Joe Girardi left himself open for criticism, assuming as most Yankee fans are, that Burnett will implode and the Tigers will advance to the ALCS.

As I posted yesterday, it might have been wise for Girardi to hold Sabathia for a day for just this scenario. The toughest thing for fans to swallow about last night's loss is the Yankees actually scored some runs off Tigers' ace Justin Verlander. It turned out to be a win-able game.

Now the Yankee hopes rest on the strong arm and fragile mind of Burnett. There is no denying Burnett has the repertoire of pitches to dominate tonight. But if his past three seasons in pinstripes have shown, he doesn't have the head or heart to make Yankee fans feel this is the start where he FINALLY puts it all together.

Most Yankee fans are probably fearing the worst — that their team's season will end tonight. With Burnett on the mound, that fear is more than reasonable.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Pivotal decision

With a pivotal Game 3 of the American League Division Series between the Yankees and Tigers just hours away, the big question is whether New York manager Joe Girardi should throw ace CC Sabathia against Detroit's Justin Verlander, who is having an MVP-worthy season.

Or should Girardi have held Sabathia to pitch in tomorrow's Game 4.

Girardi chose to throw Sabathia tonight, but is it the right move?

The two contradicting theories of thought here are:

1) Match your ace with their ace. I'm sure Sabathia wants the challenge of pitching against baseball's best pitcher this season. And if the Yankees do win to take a 2-1 series lead by beating Verlander, it would be a pretty good bet the Yanks will take the series.

2) Concede the game to Verlander and throw CC in Game 4. Girardi has to do what's right for the Yankees and in this case it just might be to hold his ace a day. If you subscribe to the notion Verlander will be too tough to beat tonight then why waste what could be a great but just not-great-enough outing from Sabathia. Then the Yankees would also be facing an elimination game with the inconsistent at best A.J. Burnett on the mound on Tuesday.

Give Girardi credit for this — he has the confidence in both Sabathia and Burnett to throw CC tonight against Verlander. If the move backfires, however, Girardi will have a lot of explaining to do.