Saturday, May 12, 2012

Some Things Never Change: Mets go 8,000

By Chris Cappella

The New York Mets have played 8,000—yes 8,000 games after Friday’s 6-5 loss in Miami and all 8,000 have had one thing in common: The New York Mets have never thrown a no-hitter. New York is one of two teams in Major League history to have not thrown a no-no, the other being San Diego.

San Diego is one thing, but New York has had some unbelievable pitchers come through their franchise. Take a look at some of these pitchers who never threw a no-hitter with the Mets…
Nolan Ryan: Ryan is one of the greatest pitchers to ever live and threw seven, yes SEVEN no-hitters in his career (An MLB record). Yet through all of that, he never threw a no-hitter in five years with the Mets.

Tom Seaver, the greatest Pitcher in Mets history, pitched for 20 seasons (10 with the Mets) and compiled 300 wins. Seaver threw five different one-hitters with the Mets and is considered by many as the greatest pitcher of all-time.

Dwight "Doc" Gooden is the youngest pitcher to ever win a Cy Young at 20 years of age. He dominated the 1986 season with a sub-2.00 ERA and to make matters worse, Gooden did throw a no-hitter with cross-town rivals New York Yankees

David Cone is not considered an all-time great, but did win a few world series, won 194 career games, and pitched the 16th Perfect Game in MLB history. Just another missed oppourtunity.

Johan Santana will not be a hall-of-famer when it is all said and done, but Santana is still one of the best pitchers of our generations and has come close on numerous occsions.

There are plenty of other pitchers that could go on this list but I'm trying only to take up so much space. Seven pitchers have thrown no-hitters after leaving the Mets and another 10 came to Mets with no-hitters under their belts. All in all, there have been 35 one hitters in New York history (including one two years ago where R.A Dickey gave up the only hit to.... Cole Hamels).

It's bad enough that the Mets are broke and share a city with the most successful franchise in maybe any sport, but now this? I don't think it will ever end.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

ICYMI: This was NOT a Good Week in Sports

This was not a good week in sports.

Not only did my Mets get swept by the pathetic Houston Astros and the Knicks season will likely be over Wednesday (although it was great to see them win one), but we saw the passing of a great linebacker and man, what may be the end of an all-time great closer, and a Saints season that gets dimmer and dimmer.

Suspended Sain Jonathan Vilma and defensive coordinator Gregg Williams
I’ll start with the Saints. On Wednesday, Commissioner Roger Goodell suspended star linebacker Jonathan Vilma the entire 2012-2013 season without pay. Vilma is the anchor and leader of a so-so Saints defense and his presence will definitely be missed. Vilma has played in New Orleans for four seasons now and in the three seasons where he played 16 games (he only played in 11 games last year) has had no less than 100 tackles, one sack, and one interception.

Goodell also suspended former Saint and current Green Bay Packer defensive lineman Anthony Hargrove eight games, defensive end Will Smith four games, and current Cleveland Brown linebacker Scott Fujita three games.

It’s hard to have really strong reactions to something like this because we’ve never seen anything like the bounty situation before.  I don’t mind that Goodell has given himself the role of disciplinarian. He is doing what he feels he has to do and if that means ruining the Saints, a franchise he has supported through all their tough years, than that’s what he has to do.

The biggest problem with handing out such stiff penalties is the evidence. The league said its investigation showed "a significant number of players participated" in the bounties – by ponying up cash or collecting it – but noted that "the players disciplined participated at a different and more significant level." In a game as violent as football, it would seem that identifying a single player or players playing to injure would be nearly impossible. A lot of people would point to this video of Kurt Warner gettingthe tar knocked out of him by Bobby McCray as evidence of the bounty program, but how is that much different than Sean Taylor destroying a punter in a pro bowl game?

The players plan on appealing the suspension, but won’t win considering they appeal is heard by Goodell, the same man who handed out the punishment. It just seems confusing that the league can identify four specific players who participated in the bounty program more aggressively than others.

There was more sad news that came out of the NFL when the death of Junior Seau was announced. Seau, the fifth overall pick in the 1990 draft, never disappointed on the field. Known for his incredible passion and friendly personality, Seau played 13 seasons for the Chargers, three for the Miami Dolphins, and four for the New England Patriots before finally retiring in 2010. He was a 10-time all pro, 12-time pro bowler, and was named to the 1990 all-decade team.
Junior Seau was always known for his intense energy an enthusiasm

Seau’s death was ruled a suicide and it could be interesting to see what role, if any, football had. As its been noted, Seau is divorced and hasn’t had the most successful career off the football field with some failed businesses. There is nothing more that can be said other than the world lost a great football player and a better, more enthusiastic ma. Rest in peace Junior Seau, father of three, dead at the young age of 43.

Mariano Rivera has redefined the word “ageless”. Year after year, Rivera dominates professional baseball players with one pitch, his cutter. In 18 years (all with the Yankees) Rivera has a career ERA of 2.21 and has 608 saves, more than any other closer in MLB history.

Rivera’s career is now in jeopardy after tearing his right ACL shagging fly balls during batting practice. It would really be a shame if Rivera ended a brilliant career because he was playing Torii Hunter during BP. Rivera says he plans on coming back, and I hope he does, but at 43 off an ACL injury I do wonder how effective he might be. He is a guy that even if you don’t like the Yankees or don’t like him, you respect everything he’s done. It’s not fair to criticize Rivera for the injury itself however. The Baseball Tonight  crew, many of whom were former major leaguers, said that there are some pitchers who play 3rd base during batting practice to keep themselves sharp. Rivera was likely doing something that is common between pitchers.

This week we lost an all-time great in Junior Seau, a huge blow to the Saints season, and maybe the end of a first-ballot hall of fame career. While there certainly was some good (I think?), it’s hard to think of at the moment.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Basketball in Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Nets New Logo.

The NBA has a new marquee market in which it will look to tap into. While New York City already has one team, the Knicks; it will now get the chance to latch on to another squad, the Brooklyn Nets. The team from across the River has had more success than the Knicks the past 15 years, and already has strong ties to the city through partial owner and rap icon Jay-Z. For years Brooklyn has been one of the best basketball hot-spots, and has always had a strong connection to the game of basketball. Nets CEO Brett Yormark said in an interview with ESPN that the franchise wants to win over Brooklyn and everything past that is gravy. The Nets will certainly be a popular team next fall when they move into the Barclays Center but to sustain long term success and take full advantage of these new exciting times, the Nets need to be competitive right from the start. The team has a new Image, new logo, New Jersey’s, new color scheme, new feel, and they hope to have a new energy about them that will attract fans. The Nets have already launched their new site along with new gear available to the public. While all these factors are important, the biggest contributor to long term success will be the on court product. 

Brooklyn Nets GM Billy King has his hands full, and will have to do a good job this off-season. The team traded their first round pick (Top 3 protected) for Gerald Wallace who is expected to opt out of his deal with one year left. King hopes to resign him, "It doesn't mean Gerald's saying he's leaving. It's just that it's the way the CBA works and how you get your deals [in the NBA]," King Said. Wallace won’t be the only player potentially exiting before the team even opens up office in Brooklyn, as the Nets only have four players with guaranteed contracts: MarShon Brooks, Johan Petro, Jordan Williams and Anthony Morrow. Not exactly a playoff contending roster. The good news from all this is King has a ton of cap space to play with, and without having to worry about a high draft pick filling any of that up (unless top 3) he can focus on bringing back some of the stars and going and getting those players help. 

Brook Lopez is a restricted Free Agent, and no team should be able to out bid the Nets for the Young centers services. Lopez was banged up this year but still has the potential to be a top 5 NBA center next season. Kris Humphries and high flyer Gerald Green are unrestricted and one of them may be out the door. I expect the Nets to try and keep Humphries because he had a great year, and really started to realize some of his potential.  With all this being said, one man will decide the fate of the Brooklyn Nets. Deron Williams. 

Williams has already been used by the NETS in a
dvertising plans as the team moves to Brooklyn.
D-Will will be the best free agent on the market assuming he opts out of his deal (there is little hope he will pick up his player option) and many teams are lining up for his services. The Nets knew this day would come and cannot miss out n letting him go. Unlike the Cavs with Lebron, Brooklyn gave up a ton just to get Williams for a year and a half. Teams like Dallas can’t wait to have an opportunity to add the star PG, who will have a very busy summer with all this free agent madness along with Olympic basketball. The Nets best bet is to go out and surround D-Will with talent, because all other methods have already been put in place and the Illinois grad still wants to test free agency. While the Nets have lots of enticing features one thing they don't have, and haven't had for years is a competitive team. The Nets must quickly resign Wallace, Humphries, and Lopez along with grabbing a key free agent or trading Lopez for a guy like Dwight Howard. Howard is plan A, but that will be tough to do with Howard opting in already, and the Magic's will to try and get him to stay long term. Another option is OJ Mayo or Eric Gordon, but both are restricted so their current teams can match those offers. Certainly the Nets have a lot of work to do so the team is ready to compete in Brooklyn. It is vital that they put a contender on the court right away, because the people of Brooklyn deserve a winner. The Nets knew years ago that this move was going to happen. I'm not saying they need to be NBA Finals contenders, but a playoff berth would be nice. Teams have handled moves in many different ways. Some have thrived (OKC) and some have not (New Orleans). The Nets will benefit from the market they play in, but even that wont hide a dysfunctional organization. This summer will determine whether basketball will start with a bang in Brooklyn, or continue to spiral downward much like it did in the Garden State.