Sunday, September 28, 2014

With Four in the Books, the Giants Feel Positive

With a quarter of the season in the books, the New York Giants seem to have finally gotten their act together.   After fans suffered through five weeks on ineptitude through the pre-season and embarrassing play against the Lions and Cardinals to open the season, things are starting to work.

The newly installed offense of coordinator Ben McAdoo, meant to shake up QB Eli Manning from his mid-career doldrums, shook up the fans as nothing worked through training camp and the first five quarters of the season.  Then, in the second quarter against the Cardinals, came the drive that woke up the sleeping Giants. 

Establishing the run with Rashad Jennings, finding WR Victor Cruz (who had been MIA in the first game) and completing a bobbled touchdown pass to WR Rueben Randle ignited the offense.  Despite Cruz’ drops which led to two quick special team blunders and a lost opportunity, Giant fans caught of glimpse of what was to come against the Houston Texans and Washington Redskins.

With Head Coach Tom Coughlin stressing positivity, the Giants built on the good things that worked in the Cardinals game.  A balanced attack, with the much-maligned but suddenly solid offensive line leading the way for 193 and 154 rushing yards, Manning throwing for 234 and 300 on 73% passing efficiency (and the revelation that is TE Larry Donnell), led the way to two blowout wins.  The defense turned into turnover machines, forcing opposing quarterbacks Ryan Fitzpatrick and Kurt Cousins to three and four interceptions respectively. 

Now at 2-2 and peaking, the Giants now step up in class as the Atlanta Falcons come to MetLife before the Giants hit the road against the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys and (after a bye) the Indianapolis Colts.  Another 2-2 record would be acceptable considering the competition, with the most important games coming in Philly and Little D. 

But if the offense keeps clicking, the defense keeps piling up turnovers, and the special teams just play solid, not spectacular, we could be looking at something special.

Post Note:
I appreciate all the positive response to these posts from you readers.  I wanted to let you know that I’ll be writing all my Yankee posts for, a Fansided website associated with  You can catch my first article on there later today (Tanaka Finish Raises Yanks’ Anxiety Level).  You can always follow me on Twitter @allevy18 as the new Yankee articles go up.  I’ll still be tracking the Giants, Rangers and Knick (notice the order) on View form the Upper Deck.  Thanks!

Friday, September 19, 2014

Meditations on a Season Lost

Like an early spring day, the Yankee season provided some light and hope, but not much heat.  From my seat in the stands, I can look back and find some interesting items to make me smile, gasp, and finally breakdown and cry.

The Smiles
Dellin Betances
Forget the Yankee reliever strikeout record.  Forget the 1.34 ERA and .76 WHIP.  Just remember what 1996 was like watching a young Mariano setting up for John Wetteland and remember in a few years that Betances was setting up David Robertson.  I think next year, the roles get reversed.

Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury
Anything from right center to the left field foul line better be hit
on the button (or over the fence) or these two are going to get it.  There have been no communication problems, no ego issues and nothing but love from their pitchers.  Next year, these two could be hitting 1 and 2 in the batting order versus right handed pitching.

Shane Greene and Brandon McCarthy
Greene has been a staff saver going 5-3 with a 3.24 ERA in 75+ innings.  He has a live arm, plus fastball, plus slider and plus age - he's only 25.    McCarthy doesn't have the age benefit, but this mid-year pick up has a 2.54 ERA and seven wins since coming to the Bronx.  These two can be the healthy counter-balance to next year's pitching staff risks of Tanaka, Pineda, Nova, Sabathia and Kuroda. 

The Gasps
Mark Texieria
We have two more seasons of suffering before finally getting out from under this contract.  At $22.5 million per year, no one will pick up even half of this deal for a physical liability who has lost his power and his batting stroke.

Middle Relief
Someone needs to step up between Shawn Kelley, Adam Warren, David Phelps, and David Huff.  Kelley has become a walking definition of throwing in the towel,  Warren and Phelps need to realize this is their role and stop dreaming of being starters, and journeyman Huff has the ability to stake his claim and become the lefty this staff desperately needs.  Otherwise, they'll all be pitching somewhere else next year.

Alex Rodriguez
Remember him?  The Yanks are on the hook for $64 million guaranteed over the next three years and an additional $6 million if he hits six more homers (which should be attainable).  He also gets $6 million if he gets to 715 and 755, but all the drugs in Miami won't get him that far.  If they bring back Chase Headley, Martin Prado and Carlos Beltran (who has one year left on his deal), where does he play?

The Crying
We will say sayonara to Ichiro Suzuki.  Simply one of the greatest hitters ever to play the game.  I'm sure Pete Rose would be in second place if this guy had started in the MLB.  He has been the definition of a professional since joining the team, showing no ego, delivering in tight spots, and playing any outfield position at any time.

He is now the proud owner of kayaks, cupcakes, cufflinks, bases, bats, boots, chairs, and
crabs.  Not to mention the hundreds of thousands of dollars to his foundation.  There will be no captain (in name) and no player in our hearts like him for a while after he leaves. 

One of the nicer things to come out of this year has been the leadership of Joe Girardi.  he's done a great job balancing a team of mega-egos, Jeter's farewell tour, injuries that would drive lesser men to lose their minds and owner/fans expectations to stay competitive.  Sure, he'll sometimes leave you scratching your head at some strategic issue, but I don't think anyone can doubt that that he's the leader for this team, and a convenient tie to the successes of the Torre era.

Now it's time to start a new era.  Let's just hope it's not like Ralph Houk's.

Just Sayin'

Thank you Gatorade and Nike for those great Jeter farewell commercials.  Even though I use neither of your products (I don't like the taste of Gatorade, and Nikes are too narrow for my feet), I sincerely commend your ad staff for knowing how to have one of your main endorsers go out in style.

Monday Night Football in Detroit and you get a choir from Annapolis to sing the National Anthem?  I guess Motown is dead. 

Fantasy Football Note:  Yes, that was me trading for Josh Gordon.  In week 11, my team will be unstoppable.  Of course, I'll be 0-10 . . .