New York Yankees Flashback: Catfish, Again

New York Yankees, Masahiro Tanaka

When Catfish Hunter beat the Oakland A’s, 6-2, on August 27, 1978, he completed a six-win/no-loss August that helped propel the Yankees on their way in their momentous climb from 14 games back of the Red Sox.

Double/single, then a walk and back-to-back errors, then double/single again gave the Bombers a 6-1 first-inning lead over the Mariners in Yankee Stadium on August 27, 2017, in an eventual 10-1 win. A brilliant Masahiro Tanaka struck out 10 over seven, and the surprising big hit on back-to-back days was delivered by Jacoby Ellsbury.

The Yankees had a doubly fine day on August 27, 1938, both in that they swept a pair from the Indians, and because they had both their offense and pitching to thank. Joe DiMaggio led the way by stroking three triples in the 8-7 win in the first game, and Monte Pearson won his 10th straight game and fashioned a no-hitter to boot in the 13-0 Yankee victory in Game Two.

The fact that it was only their second loss in 14 games made it a bit easier to swallow the Yanks’ 8-2 defeat to Texas on August 27, 1977, but the manner of their undoing was bizarre. Toby Harrah and Bump Wills belted inside-the-park home runs on consecutive pitches from Yankee righty Ken Clay.

Outfielder and pitcher Johnny Lindell (1985) is the most noteworthy Yankee player to have died on August 27. Lindell cleared 63 fences good for 369 runs batted in for the Yanks in his 1941-1950 debut, and he won two games, lost one, and saved one in 23 appearances on the mound (two starts).

The hitting stats grew to 72 and 404 after a year with the Cardinals, one with the Pirates, and two with the Phillies. And in 55 overall pitching appearances (28 starts), he posted an 8-18-1 record.

Big Ten: Purdue vs Northwestern Preview & Prediction

Before conference play begins for some of the bigger names in the Big Ten, Northwestern and Purdue will kick things off with an 8:00 PM night game that should be an interesting matchup. These schools are only divided by roughly two and a half hours, and their game on August 30th will take place long before any of the scheduled conference games this year.

Who has the edge in this battle of neighbors?

It’s somewhat hard to judge Northwestern without knowing who will start at quarterback. Clayton Thorson overperformed last year and threw for 2,844 yards, as well as 15 touchdowns, but was injured just as the season was coming to a close. As such, he’s not the guaranteed started on day one despite being the most talented quarterback on the roster.

Either Thorson or T.J. Green will be the starter, but unless Green has made big improvements during this offseason, Thorson is the better player by a decent margin. Green doesn’t have as much experience entering the season, and he hasn’t even received playing time as a backup. Last season, he only played in one game and had five passing yards total.

The two could end up evenly matched at the QB position regardless of who wins the Northwestern job. Purdue has their own quarterback battle, between redshirt senior David Blough and redshirt junior Elijah Sindelar. Both have had their moments, and both received enough time in the spotlight last year to throw for more than 1,000 yards. Sindelar, though, just about doubled Blough’s production.

Purdue could even use each quarterback in different situations. “We know what coach Brohm is thinking, the plays he wants to call and how he wants it to be different if I’m in, if Elijah’s in,” Blough said recently, praising head coach Jeff Brohm’s communication skills.

Brohm hasn’t just gotten the most out of the quarterbacks that he inherited upon joining Purdue. His tenure has also improved the defense, which became one of the top 25 scoring defenses in the country last year after previously ranking closer to the bottom in defensive scoring.

Junior linebacker Markus Bailey returns after some big performances last year, to man them middle of the linebacker group. They also have a clear-cut leader in their secondary, redshirt senior safety Jacob Thieneman. Just like the rest of the Purdue defense, Thieneman had a big improvement last year and finished with 73 tackles compared to 14 from 2016, in addition to two interceptions.

Northwestern’s defense, on the other hand, will have more of an advantage in the trenches and will look for sacks. They bring back reliable pass rushers Joe Gaziano and Samdup Miller, which should give them an advantage over Purdue in the pass rushing department.

Going back to the battle in the trenches, though, you have to consider that Purdue has more running back depth than a Northwestern team that lost top rusher Justin Jackson and may not have a replacement that’s as good. So who pulls out the win in the end? Both teams are around the same level, but it looks like Purdue could win the coaching battle and they also have less uncertainty about their quarterback situation.

They also play at home. It won’t be an easy game by any means, but their home crowd should give them enough energy to boost them to the victory.

Prediction: Purdue defeats Northwestern 31-24

Remembering the Best One-Two Punch in Knicks History

It was a simple basketball game on April 2, 2000 with the New York Knicks and the Los Angeles Lakers. This was the time when the Knicks had a dynamite team consisting of Patrick Ewing, Marcus Camby, Latrell Sprewell, Larry Johnson, Allan Houston, Charlie Ward and the man of the hour, Chris Childs. On this date, Chris Childs instantly became a Knicks legend.

First off, the Knicks had those, now, fire road uniforms with the dark blue and the black siding on both the jersey and the shorts. Back then, they were not well received, but now, they’re hot. Besides their fire uniforms, that team was also fire, tough and edgy. They were not afraid to push their own weight around, still having that grit from the Pat Riley era.

Now, the Knicks were down pretty much all game. The Lakers were just a better team. Kobe was in his fourth season and still had something to prove. Kobe was young and from rewatching the game, had dirty antics. But, then again, what basketball player doesn’t at some point in their career. However, this was not the day to test those antics on Chris Childs.

In numerous articles from the New York Post, Daily News, Complex Magazine and podcasts, most recently, Childs recalls Kobe being “dirty” basically the entire game leading up to the old one-two! Child also recalls telling Kobe to quit the shenanigans or he, Chris, was going “to take off on you. I’m going to take off on you.” Childs pointed out the antics to the refs and remembers them shrugging their shoulders and not doing anything about it. Kobe then chirped back at Childs saying, according to Childs, “You ain’t gone do anything.” Wrong words buddy.

Side note, Chris Childs came off the bench and hit some timely buckets for the Knicks and his stroke was looking strong, so he was feeling good. Allan Houston missed a jumper and Kobe got the rebound and started down the court. Kobe dumps the ball into the low-post for Shaq, guarded by Ewing and Kobe runs down along the baseline, curling up into the paint. Knicks are forced to switch. Childs switches to Kobe…

Kobe runs under Ewing, Childs follows and they get jammed up. They begin to get in each other’s face, jawing at one another. Words were definitely exchanged and Childs appeared to give Kobe a little shove, harmless. They continue to chirp at each other, now they’re forehead-to-forehead. Childs shoves his head into Kobe, backing him up. Kobe then tries to take a swing at Childs with his elbow, WITH HIS ELBOW, and backs up. Wild move, first off, and then to not even put your hands up or not know that retaliation is coming next? Come on man.

Childs looked stunned with the elbow swing. With Kobe backing up and not clearly defending himself, Childs said enough was enough. He warned Kobe. Childs was not going to let this young buck show him up, even if he did go on to become one of the greatest ballers ever. Childs quickly, QUICKLY, saw that the Black Mamba was defenseless and hit him with a quick, POP, POP, one-two baby. Kobe the tries to get a punch in before the teams get involved and break it up, but not before Chris Childs had his own Mamba Mentality and hit Kobe with the old one-two.

Looking back, those Knicks game and 1990’s/2000’s NBA basketball games were awesome. All toughness and grit. Fights galore. Ah, the good ole days. Sometime there needs to be a little rough-tough games, keep players on their toes. Childs and Kobe’s fight was not the best fight ever, but at the time, it was like wow. Especially in this situation, where we can clearly see the punches from Childs being thrown. Chris Childs hitting Kobe was his most signature moment as a Knick, probably his entire career. However, he was a solid player, but Knicks fans will remember him for those quick hands.

New York Giants: Previewing The Final Preseason Opponent

New York Giants fans are no stranger to the last opponent of the preseason. The team faces the Patriots once again, to wrap up the preseason and officially send us to the part of the schedule that counts. Both teams enter the game 2-1, but the Patriots are coming off of a loss and the Giants enter with back to back wins.

What Patriots storylines will affect the game?

New England might be a dynasty that’s entering the season following a Super Bowl appearance, but that doesn’t mean everything is going great for them. That’s something that even quarterback Tom Brady recently admitted to WEEI Boston.

“And from the start of camp, the depth, and certain things haven’t worked out the way we would have hoped and certain players would have hoped, but that’s football. I’ve been around long enough to see that every year is different and you don’t know how things are going to work out,” Brady said, before mentioning that most wouldn’t feel sorry for the Patriots at this time.

After cutting three receivers that on paper should have made the first team, trading Brandin Cooks doesn’t look like a great move anymore for the Patriots. That showed in their low point total in the 14-25 loss to Carolina, their only touchdown coming from a Mike Gillislee run.

It’s a good matchup for a Giants secondary that’s still finding itself. After all, some of the players that should see a lot of the playing time at the wide receiver position are Chris Hogan, Philip Dorsett, and Cordarrelle Patterson. While these players are serviceable, the Patriots don’t have deep quality behind Julian Edelman.

Their defense did a decent enough job against the run, holding explosive back Christian McCaffrey to 48 yards on 12 carries and Cameron Artis-Payne to 15 yards on 6 rushes. For the latter player, that comes to an average of 2.5 yards per carry. But the Patriots haven’t gotten great production out of their own running game.

New England’s top running back, Mike Gillislee, had 10 carries but a 3.5 yards per carry average. Jeremy Hill had the second most rushes, with nine, but only managed an average of 2.8. To his credit, though, Gillislee had the only touchdown of the game for New England.

Overall, the Patriots aren’t a team that should be underestimated. They’ve been counted out a lot during the Belichick era, but they usually find ways to overcome their problems. Still, the lack of receiver depth can’t be ignored, and that’s an area where the Giants should have an advantage going into tomorrow’s game.

Winning isn’t the most important thing in the preseason, but it’s also never a bad thing when a New York team pulls out a win over a Boston team. And with the Patriots not heading into the regular season with as much confidence behind them as there’s been in most recent years, the Giants might have a good chance at doing just that.

What Do $95 Million Stats Look Like For Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr.?

Being that the New York Giants signed Odell Beckham Jr. to a massive five-year, $95 million contract, it’s only fair that we set forth the expectations for the seasons ahead.

The type of return the Giants should expect to see from Beckham trumps any stats that receivers have earned in the past few years. The closest we can get in terms of overall production can be derived from Antonio Brown’s numbers. Brown signed a four-year, $68 million contract which allocates $17 million per-season to the receiver. Beckham will earn $19 million per year.

What type of return have the Steelers seen from Antonio Brown?

This example uses Brown’s stats and contract as a foundation for Beckham’s expectations

After Brown signed his contract, he managed 101 receptions, 1,533 yards, and nine touchdowns. His TD totals were the lowest since 2013. Of course, maintaining the immense success he’s consistently enjoyed over the course of his career is nearly impossible, and there’s no doubt his efficiency didn’t waiver after signing a massive deal.

Let’s do the math – If you divide his numbers by 17 (17 million dollars) you get: 5.95 receptions, 90.17 yards, and 0.52 touchdowns per game.

If you add these numbers to include Beckham Jr’s. additional $2 million per-year, his numbers amass to: 113 receptions, 1,713 yards, and 10 touchdowns. These numbers would make him the best receiver in the league by a long shot.

What did Odell Beckham Jr’s. stats look like in his best season?

Beckham enjoyed his best year in 2015, recording 96 receptions, 1,450 yards, and 13 touchdowns. According to the numbers stated before, his touchdown totals surpasses the expectations but his receptions and yardage falls short.

How has Beckham looked this offseason for the Giants?

Giants co-owner John Mara was asked recently what persuaded him to get the deal done as soon as possible. His answer was clear and concise. According to Mara, after watching Beckham annihilate Darius Slay in joint practices with the Detroit Lions, his decision to move forward with the deal was final.

Some players have stated that they think Beckham has looked even better since returning from a broken ankle. While that’s very optimistic, his normal walking-highlight self has been on full display during practice. We can expect to see him reach expectations in 2018.


Giants’ Odell Beckham Jr. Has a Special Relationship With Pat Shurmur

New York Giants Odell Beckham Jr.

When New York Giants‘ Odell Beckham Jr. smashed his face against a kicking net just two years ago, everyone wondered how a head coach could let a player’s emotions become such an influence on the game. Ben McAdoo was the type of ‘leader’ to sit back and watch things unfold in the hopes that wrongs would magically become rights.

He was the epitome of “hands off” coaching, and it ultimately resulted in his firing. The Giants decided to go in a different direction with the new regime – Dave Gettleman is a stern manager that expects only the best from his players and has often been criticized for asking too much, while Shurmur is a man of few words, but when he speaks, they have value.

Beckham’s journey to the bank has been a bumpy one, and despite emotional breakouts and physical injuries, his talents have never wavered. His emotion is fueled by passion and desire, but harnessing it has become his true mission, and a talent that was thought to be un-coachable.

This offseason, the Giant’s star receiver has displayed class and perfect etiquette on and off the field. In other words, he earned his payday. But don’t think for a second that he just magically returned a changed man. He sought counselling from his new head coach, and Beckham went as far as to say Shurmur has been a true mentor to him, and reminds him of the influential coach he had in high school.

The script has changed, and for the better.

Since Shurmur become the head coach for the Giants, Beckham’s media driven life has changed for the better. He’s started youth camps, further upholding the image of the Giants brand and stature. After years of mismanagement from the Giants’ front-office, the Josh Brown debacle, the peeing celebration, the demise of the locker room…the organization seems to be on a path towards success.

A word from Odell Beckham Jr. on New York Giants head coach, Pat Shurmur:

“Since the day we were in LA and we met up early in the morning — I drove out there to see him — and just from the minute we sat down and talked even knowing when we hired him,” Beckham stated in regard to the leadership and serenity Shurmur has brought to his life.

“I had asked (Vikings receiver Stefon Diggs) and those other guys about him and just the relationship we’ve been able to build has been really amazing for me.”

“It kind of reminds me of the relationship I had with my high school coach, who is somebody I still talk to this day, a guy who taught me to be a man and do these things,” Beckham said.

There’s no doubt Beckham has learned from his mistakes and the negative attention that seems to come with it. Ever since “the catch,” the receiver’s life has been turned upside down, thrusting him into a world of fame and fortune, a place that’s often too overwhelming for the normal human.

The maturity he’s displayed thus far has been very encouraging, and if he can become a mentor for the young players on the team and lead by example, there’s no reason the Giants can’t have one of the most dynamic and exciting offenses in the NFL.