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Tyson Chandler’s championship ring inspires Knicks

March 25th, 2012 · No Comments · Uncategorized

When Tyson Chandler signed with the Knicks in the offseason, I was pumped up to say the least.  The Knicks had been lacking a dominant center in their starting lineup since, I don’t know, Patrick Ewing?  And that was way too long ago.

He came to the Knicks because he believed they had a great roster, and enough to bring home a championship to New York City for the first time since 1973.  The Knicks have been a dominant team for most of their franchise history, not counting the atrocious Isiah Thomas years.

The Knicks struggled a lot during the season, including an 8-15 start followed by a 6-game losing streak once “Linsanity” was over with.  That left them at 18-24, but Chandler still thought this team had what it takes to win a ring.

At the time, Chandler said, “In all honestly, I still feel like this is a team that can win a championship. I feel like we definitely have the pieces. I feel like we haven’t come together yet. It’s a process.”

Everything is now coming together.  Since Mike D’antoni got fired and Mike Woodson took over, the Knicks have won 6 of 7 games, and are now 24-25 after last night’s 101-79 win over the Pistons.  This currently leaves them in the 8th seed in the Eastern Conference, the final playoff spot.

Their only loss during this stretch came against the struggling Toronto Raptors, where Chandler claims came on a night where they didn’t come out with enough energy.  So on the flight back from Toronto, the Knicks’ manager of player security, who the players call “Big Max,” had the idea that Chandler should bring his championship ring to the game Saturday night against the Pistons for extra motivation.

Chandler’s energy in his pregame speech carried over on the court as his 15 points and a season-high 17 rebounds helped New York maintain its 1½ game lead over the Bucks for the final playoff spot in the East.

Here is some of the players with their reaction:

Jeremy Lin: “Definitely something that we want to start thinking about and building towards.”

Carmelo Anthony: “They’re inspiring. They’re motivating just to see that. It gives us something to look up at, to look forward to. It lets us know where we want to be at and how much work it’s going to take for us to get there.”

Amare Stoudemire: “I’m a visual guy, so I love to see it. So whenever you’ve got those types of trophy posters over your locker, it gives you that visual that you can achieve that goal. It’s great to see.”

Iman Shumpert: “If you can’t get motivated by that, I feel sorry for you.”

This is the type of energy and response a fan wants to see from the Knicks.  They are back on track, but know they are still fighting to keep that spot in the playoffs or even move up, which is what I would like to see.

On Monday night against Milwaukee, the Knicks know they have a tough stretch coming up.  The Bucks sit 1.5 games behind the Knicks for the final playoff spot, so this is a must win game.

“We are fighting for that eighth spot,” Anthony said. “We need that game. We are going to do everything in our power to get that game.

Stoudemire agreed completely with his star sidekick.

“It’s very important for us,” he said. “We are trying to make a run and do something special.”

Let’s make it happen, Knicks.  I’ve been waiting too long for something spectacular to happen with this team and organization, so it’s time to do some damage and win big games.


Tebow will help, not hurt the New York Jets

March 25th, 2012 · 4 Comments · Uncategorized

As a lifelong Jets fan, I had mixed feelings when Tim Tebow was traded to the Jets.  I was surprised, confused, intrigued, and ultimately unprepared for the trade.  After thinking it over, this trade was a bargain.

The Jets traded this year’s 4th round and 6th round draft picks to the Denver Broncos for Tebow and a 7th round pick.  I mean come on, you can’t get a better deal than that for a guy who singlehandedly won a bunch of games last year for the Broncos on their way to the playoffs and a win over the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round.

Tim Tebow is a national celebrity, and now he takes his winning ways to New York City, and I think that the Jets could use a player like Tebow.  He is a proven leader, and has proven to win games in crunch time.  He also can bring a lot of chemistry and positive karma to a Jets locker room that can sure use it.


But most of all, he is a good overall football player who can do a lot of things on the field, something the Jets lack for the most part.

Since Mark Sanchez is still the clear-cut starting quarterback, Tebow will be a solid backup that can light some fire under Sanchez.  With back-to-back AFC Championship appearances in his first two seasons, Sanchez and the Jets took a big step back this year with an 8-8 record and out of the postseason for the first time under the Rex Ryan era.

Sanchez struggled, the offensive line gave him no protection, the defense wasn’t as good, and need I say anymore?  It was a tough season to watch as a die-hard Jets fan, especially with all of the success they had the previous few years.

Sanchez deserves to remain the undisputed starter, whether or not you believe his contract extension was necessary. But for the Jets to advance beyond the two AFC Championship Games Sanchez has already delivered, they need better skill position players around him, and behind him.

Tebow will prove to be a dynamic asset for a predictable offense, and make them, well, unpredictable.  The Wildcat will be incorporated a lot with Tebow in the offense, and he will be sure to help the Jets score touchdowns.  That is the bottom line.

There will be competition between Tebow and Sanchez, as competition brings out the best in winners.  Sanchez is a winning quarterback who could use a small dose of Tebow-Mania to reach what ballplayers are forever calling the next level.

Tebow can make those around him much better, and that is what matters the most.



Andy Pettitte is back as a Yankee

March 19th, 2012 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Once Pettitte retired two years ago, I always had a feeling he’d be back.  Like so many athletes, like so many Yankees, he couldn’t quit the game cold turkey.

And so here he is, #46 Andy Pettite, one of my favorite players growing up, coming back as a Yankee after signing a minor-league deal a few days ago.

Pettitte is definitely rusty and not going to be ready for the start of the season, so the question that remains is where he is going to fit in during the season.  The Yankees already have a pitching staff that includes their #1 ace CC Sabathia, newly acquired pitchers Hiroki Kuroda and Michael Pineda, Ivan Nova, and Freddy Garcia.

So where is there room for Pettitte?

After all of the offseason acquisitions, the Yankees are still clearly concerned about their pitching staff.

By signing Pettitte, the Yankees not only are saying they plan on handing him a rotation spot eventually, they’re saying they plan on taking one away from the current candidates due to their rotation depth.  Everyone knows that CC Sabathia and Hiroki Kuroda have guaranteed spots.  Most people would think Pineda and Nova have spots but due to their young age, they may not.

All of their young starters, including Pineda, Nova, and let’s not forget, Phil Hughes, could get sent to the minor leagues.  But most likely, the rotation throughout the season will be Sabathia, Kuroda, Nova, Pineda, and Garcia/Hughes.  With Pettitte in the mix, manager Joe Girardi has a lot of decisions to make with a flexible rotation this season.

This is by far the best rotation (on paper) the Yankees have had in years.  For a team that’s known for its offense, they should have among the best rotations in baseball.  Let’s go Yankees!





Knicks coach Mike D’antoni “resigns”…..Good

March 18th, 2012 · No Comments · Uncategorized

Last Wednesday, Knicks head coach Mike D’antoni “resigned,” really meaning he was forced out of New York.  All I have to say is FINALLY.  Honestly, I never wanted this guy to be coaching the Knicks in the first place.

Back after the nauseating and depressing Isiah Thomas-era, the Knicks hired D’antoni to turn around the Knicks and bring his winning ways from Phoenix over to New York.

Except that never really happened.

In his first two seasons with the Knicks, he finished with a combined record of 63-103.  He got a free pass for those seasons, because the Knicks were rebuilding and building up cap space to sign Lebron James, which never happened.  Instead we signed Amare Stoudemire, which turned out to be a good move.

By mid-season, Carmelo Anthony was on the roster and the Knicks were looking good heading into the playoffs.  And then they were swept by the Celtics and looked pretty awful.

Once this season started, there were high expectations by the fans, including me, as the Knicks were supposed to be a dominant team in the Eastern Conference.  That didn’t happen, even as Linsanity came and went, and were 18-24 once D’antoni was gone.

The thing with D’antoni was that he never focused on defense, and his team suffered.  The same thing happened with his dominant teams in Phoenix, but could never get to a championship because they didn’t play defense.

Carmelo couldn’t stand him and neither could Amare.  The whole team was unraveling fast, so something had to be done.

And look at the Knicks now.  Ever since D’antoni was let go, the Knicks are 3-0 under Mike Woodson, who Stoudemire calls “a true players coach,” a quality D’antoni did not have.

The Knicks are back in the playoff race and have beaten quality opponents the last few games.  Let’s hope they continue this success, because each game is crucial.




Micky Ward vs Arturo Gatti: Revisited

March 6th, 2012 · No Comments · Uncategorized

No one had a “thunderous” right hook quite like “Irish” Micky Ward.  Every fight he was in proved to be a battle, which made him a true warrior in the ring.  A few of the fights resulted in some of the most brutal, and classic fights of all time.

Micky Ward (right) with the "thunderous" right hook on Arturo Gatti

The currently retired junior welterweight professional boxer from Lowell, Massachusetts is widely known as the protagonist in the 2010 feature film based on his career titled The Fighter, in which he is portrayed by Mark Wahlberg.

It’s great that his story of a tough life and difficult road to the top was made into a film that won a few Oscar awards, but sad that not many people knew his story, or let alone, knew who he was at all.

To make a long story short, he grew up in a tough, poverty-stricken neighborhood surrounded by drug addicts (including his half brother/personal trainer Dicky Eklund, a heavily addicted crack addict), prostitution, and you name it.

But one of the best parts about this story is that he brought all of his hardships into the ring, which resulted in Ring Magazine fights of the year in 2001, 2002, 2003.  Two of those three fights were against Arturo Gatti, who won world championships designated by two different boxing boards in two different weight classes.

Ward and Gatti faced each other three times, which became known as the Ward-Gatti Trilogy.  In each fight, especially the first, Gatti was the clear favorite, which Ward won.  Gatti would go on to win the next two, but each went down to the wire.

Round 9 in Ward-Gatti part I is known as one of the greatest rounds in boxing history.  So how could I not show it?

Just keep in mind that after each of the three fights, both fighters had to go to a trauma center to get medical attention.  That is how intense and epic those fights were.



Saints deserve harsh penalties for bounty program

March 4th, 2012 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

The news of the New Orleans Saints “bounty” program is pretty sickening, especially after they have been called out on it before.

The NFL investigated them once a couple of years ago, after owner Tom Benson told general manager Mickey Loomis to have it stopped, and worst of all, long after it had stopped working.

After this series of events, the NFL plans to keep looking at plays from recent seasons after a league investigation found the New Orleans Saints paid bounties to players for knocking opponents out of games.

Many of these plays are quite obvious, especially “cheap shots” during the Saints Super Bowl run in 2009 on quarterbacks Kurt Warner and Brett Favre.

See for yourself:

That is most definitely a cheap shot, which virtually ended Warner’s career.  After the playoffs, Saints defensive end Bobby McCray was fined $20,000 for hits on both Warner and Brett Favre, deservedly so.

Everyone knows that there are going to be some HUGE fines levied on the Saints, arguably the biggest fines in NFL history.  This is a lot worse than the 2007 Spygate scandal and the New England Patriots.

But the bottom line is, they’re both terrible.

Based on how stupid the Saints organization is, they deserve to lose their first-round draft pick this year – except that they’ve already traded it to the New England Patriots.  But I don’t think that shouldn’t stop commissioner Roger Goodell from taking a couple of picks this year or taking the 2013 first-rounder as the starting point for punishment.

And that’s only the start of it.  The Saints deserve a hefty fine as a team, head coach Sean Payton deserves another one, defensive coordinator Gregg Williams (the orchestrator of the “bounty” program) now with the St. Louis Rams, deserves a big fine and each of the assistant coaches who participated deserve to at least be docked money as well. On top of that, Loomis deserves to be fined and/or fired since he disobeyed an order from the owner.

Based on how brutal the game of football already is, who in their right mind thought a bounty program would be beneficial.  What if someone had a career-ending injury?  What if someone ended up paralyzed?  This is something the league will definitely review when handing out the fines.

Everyone who was involved in this deserves to pay for their stupidity, and other organizations should take note.



Replacement in slam dunk competition takes home trophy

February 26th, 2012 · 2 Comments · Uncategorized

Little-known Utah Jazz forward Jeremy Evans was by far the underdog going into Saturday night’s Slam Dunk Competition.  That was until he ended up winning it.

Evans, who replaced the injured Knicks guard Iman Shumpert (who, as a Knicks fan, wanted to see compete), didn’t start off so well.  He began by softly reversing an off-the-bounce self-alley-oop with a camera on his head.

It was an interesting idea, but it didn’t come off nearly as well as he’d hoped because the pass carried him too close to the rim to throw down with any tenacity.  It also didn’t help having the weight of a camera on his head either.

The next round got a lot better for Evans, who got a little help from Jazz teammate Gordon Hayward.  Check this out:


As you can hear, Shaquille O’Neal was pumped up about this dunk, calling it “one of the top 10 dunks” in NBA Slam Dunk Competition history.

This dunk proved to be the dunk of the night, which propelled him to victory over opponents Paul George of the Indiana Pacers, Derrick Williams of the Minnesota Timberwolves and Chase Budinger of the Houston Rockets.

Every year, the Slam Dunk Competition continues to have its surprises and crazy dunks.


Valentine bans beer in Red Sox clubhouse

February 26th, 2012 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

No, it’s not normal for me to be talking about the team I hate the most, the Boston Red Sox.  However, at the same time, I always pay attention to what they are doing because they have a lot, if not everything, to do with the Yankees.

This season, there will be no drinking in the Red Sox clubhouse.  On Saturday, new and former Mets manager Bobby Valentine announced the team will ban alcohol in the clubhouse and on the last plane flight of road trips.

So what is the reasoning behind this?

The new rules come after a tumultuous 2011 season that ended in collapse on the field and embarrassment for pitchers Josh Beckett, Jon Lester and John Lackey for drinking beer in the clubhouse during games in which they weren’t playing.

With former manager Tony Francona gone, there’s a new sheriff in town:

“It’s just what I’ve always done, except for when I was in Texas, I guess,” Valentine said when asked why he banned booze. “I’m comfortable with it that way.”

These days, many workplaces include opportunities to drink on the job site — some even during the workday, but certainly afterward. For the most part, the outspoken manager’s new rules was supportive. David Ortiz, for example:

“We’re not here to drink. We’re here to play baseball,” the slugger said. “This ain’t no bar. If you want to drink, drink at home.”

It definitely makes sense for the Red Sox to quit their lazy ways in the clubhouse.  But if you ask me, drink away Red Sox.  As a Yankee fan, I always get a kick out of the Red Sox choking and collapsing as they did last season.  Because no matter what, the Yankees will always be superior to the Red Sox.

This isn’t to say they scare me when both teams are in the postseason either.  When they face each other in the postseason, it’s always an epic series.

Because they haven’t faced each other in the playoffs in a few years, the rivalry has tailored off a bit.  Hopefully new outspoken manager Bobby Valentine will help bring the best rivalry in sports back to the field.

Hopefully the Yankees will still be on top as usual.


Knicks defeat Mavericks in Garden matinee

February 20th, 2012 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

Jeremy Lin and the Knicks is all what people talk about (including myself), but as a Knicks fan, we should be talking about them right now.

On Sunday afternoon, Lin and the Knicks took down the reigning NBA champion Dallas Mavericks in an exciting, action-packed game that went back and forth in the second half.

Coming off the first loss of the Jeremy Lin-era against the Hornets on Friday, Lin knew this game would be the toughest challenge he would face as the starting point guard for the Knicks, and responded with another dominant performance.

Jeremy Lin had 28 points and a career-high 14 assists, Steve Novak made four 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and the New York Knicks ended the Dallas Mavericks’ six-game winning streak with a 104-97 victory.

In this game of wild momentum swings, the Knicks reeled off 17 straight points in the first quarter, fell behind by 12 in the third, then pulled it out to beat the Mavericks for only the third time in the last 20 meetings.

Midway through the fourth quarter, the Madison Square Garden crowd erupted after three straight three-pointers by Steve Novak, and huge buckets by former Denver Nuggets forward and newly signed J.R. Smith, who became a free agent last week after getting out of his basketball contract in China.

For us Knicks fans, this was a huge asset to an already star-studded team.  The Knicks have won eight of their past nine games without their best player, Carmelo Anthony, who comes back Monday night against the Nets.

So picture this: The starting lineup on Monday will be Carmelo Anthony, Amare Stoudemire, Jeremy Lin, Tyson Chandler, and Landry Fields.  Coming off the bench are playmakers J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Bill Walker, Steve Novak, and Jared Jeffries.

The question come Monday will be if Carmelo Anthony can adjust to Jeremy Lin, which he’s said he will be able to.  If the two can co-exist, the Knicks will be even more dangerous than they are now.




So Long, A.J.

February 19th, 2012 · 1 Comment · Uncategorized

For New York Yankee fans, it’s about time.  The team agreed Friday to trade much-maligned pitcher A.J. Burnett to the Pittsburgh Pirates for two minor leaguers, a deal that ends a very up-and-down tenure for Burnett with the Yankees.

I hope that a smaller market, National League team will help turn his career around.

It wasn’t all bad, however.  If it weren’t for him, there may not have been a World Series ring for the 2009 New York Yankees.

On October 29, 2009, the Yankees needed a win in game 2 of the World Series.  After being manhandled by Cliff Lee and the Phillies in game 1, the Yankees could not afford to go down 2-0 in the series.  Burnett had the game of his career, throwing seven innings of four-hit, one-run, nine-strikeout ball that night, as the Yankees won 3-1.

Burnett’s victory in game 2 helped propel the Yankees for the rest of the series.  From then on, the rest is history, as the Yankees won the series 4-2, and won their 27th World Series title.

The rest of his Yankees tenure went downhill from there, being notoriously inconsistent and wild while having multiple blowups and implosions.

When watching Yankee games the past few years with friends, family, and other, Burnett was always tough and extremely frustrating to watch.  The wild pitches, the walks, the meltdowns–just terrible.

But if that giant contract helped win the Yankees a World Series title, it may have been a bargain.

So was that 5-year, $82.5 million worth every penny?  On that night in October, it definitely was.