New York Yankees Flashback: The Hall of February 2 Fame

New York Yankees, Mariano Rivera

In light of New York Yankees legend Mariano Rivera‘s ascension into the Hall of Fame via unanimous vote, February 2 is a great day for Hall fans, and by logical extension for Yankee fans. To start with, Babe Ruth was inducted into the very first class this day in 1936. He was joined in this by Ty Cobb, Honus Wagner, Christy Matthewson, and Walter Johnson.

Yankee Pitching:

Yankee pitching greats from both sides of the plate were voted into the Hall on February 2 also, with righty Waite Hoyt (in 1969) and Lefty Gomez (in 1972). Hoyt went 157-98 with 28 saves for the Bombers; Gomez 189-101.

Yankee Managing:

Also, the Yankee skipper under whom the World Championship magic began received the honor on February 2 when Miller Huggins (12 seasons, six pennants, three titles) was tabbed posthumously in 1964. And rounding out the Yankee perspective, two Hall of Fame hurlers with other clubs who finished their careers in the Bronx were also voted in on February 2. Stan Coveleski (215-142, mostly with Cleveland) was voted in with Hoyt in 1969. And Burleigh Grimes (270-212, much of it with the Brooklyn Dodgers) accompanied Huggins in ’64.

What’s My Line?

TV Game Show What’s My Line? premiered on February 2, 1950, with the Scooter, Phil Rizzuto, as the first mystery guest.

Comings and Goings

Six-time All-Star and longtime Yankee broadcaster Bill White were named National League President on February 2, 1989. And on February 2, 1998, Yankee GM Bob Watson announced his resignation. Bob had replaced Stick Michael in November 1995, and would be replaced with current GM Brian Cashman.

Earth Rotations Around the Sun

Although he has paltry baseball credentials, George Halas (1895) is certainly the most famous of seven Yankee players born on February 2. The legendary football coach and owner played his only major league baseball season with the Yankees in 1919, patrolling the outfield. He had two hits in 22 at-bats during 12 games, with no homers or rbi’s. He is joined by Pat Clements (1962); Dale Murray (1950); Wes Ferrell (1908), who posted a 193-128 record in the bigs, but only 2-2 with the Bombers in 1938 and 1939; Ray Demmitt (1884); Jack Reed (1933); and Scott Erickson (1968).

 

The New York Knicks Could Take Several Different Paths This Offseason

new york knicks, kristaps porzingis

After the flabbergasting events that occurred on Thursday, where the Unicorn became and ex-Knick, some New York Knicks fans applauded the move, some did not agree with the deal, and everyone had unanswered questions about the trade.

An unexpected trade:

Now, the 7’3’’ Latvian Freak is a Maverick and the Knicks are in prime position for two max contract free agents come July 1st. Before then, I wouldn’t count the Knicks out of the Anthony Davis situation. New York could offer there current first-round pick, Enes Kanter, Emmanuel Mudiay, and a future first and second round pick and that offer would look a lot better than the Lakers’ underwhelming offer that was reported Friday.

With Anthony Davis in the fold, the Knicks would still have about 50 million left for free agency. Given GM Scott Perry still wants to sign two free agents, say Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, they could trade Frank Ntilikina, Kevin Knox, and Dennis Smith Jr. and have enough money for both.

Or the Knicks can hold off on a trade with the Pelicans and sign two NBA Superstars to go along with their young nucleus.

How I view the future of the Knicks:

For now it remains to be seen how much longer Wesley Mathews and Deandre Jordan are part of the Knicks organization, but Fizdale said they would like to keep both. I could see Mathews being flipped before the deadline, but I see it as likely that Jordan will continue to wear orange and blue. He is a good mentor to Mitch Robinson, and they have similar skill sets and styles. Jordan is also a good friend of Kevin Durant.

It seems that it would also be wise of the organization to try and trade Emmanuel Mudiay and Noah Vonleh for something, anything. I know Vonleh has played well this season, but this Knicks could still lose him for nothing, and they would still have the same chances at signing him in free agency if he was a Knick or on a different team last. It also would make sense to see if anybody would take Mario Hezonja in exchange for a future second-round pick, or if any team wanted a solid veteran presence in their locker room they could have Lance Thomas.

What happens from now until February 7th is important. What happens from February 7th to the end of the season is important. What happens from the end of the season to July 1st is important. Sensing a theme? From now until August is a very critical venture for the Knicks. It could set them up for the next few seasons or set them back ten years. The next six months could and probably will change the outcome of the future for the franchise, based on upcoming trades and free agent signings. Nobody knows what will happen in this time period, even Scott Perry and Steve Mills, but everybody know this is a critical time period for the New York Knickerbockers.

New York Giants: Saquon Barkley Wins Offensive Rookie Of The Year

New York Giants, Saquon Barkley

After winning the 2018 Pepsi Rookie of the Year on Thursday, Saquon Barkley was awarded twice more on Saturday. Early Saturday afternoon, it was announced that Barkley won the 2018 FedEx Ground Player of the Year award. Saturday evening, the 2019 NFL Honors took place, and Saquon took home an award there, too.

The AP Offensive Rookie of the Year is Saquon Barkley. It was a battle between the number one and number two overall picks in the 2018 NFL Draft. Saquon beat out Baker Mayfield to take home the prestigious Offensive Rookie of the Year award. To win the FedEx award, Barkley beat out fellow running backs Ezekiel Elliot and Todd Gurley.

Baker Mayfield created good competition in the voting for Barkley. But in the end, Saquon won the voting with 26.5 votes, compared to Baker’s 21.5, and Quenton Nelson‘s 2.

Saquon Barkley’s Statistics

Saquon got it done on the ground this year with 1,307 rushing yards and 11 rushing touchdowns. This included an average of 5.0 yards per carry on 261 rushing attempts.

Not only did Saquon get it done on the ground, but he got it done through the air, too. Barkley totaled 2,028 scrimmage yards. His 91 receptions were a rookie running back record, and they amounted to 721 receiving yards and 4 receiving touchdowns.

A Piece Of New York Giants History

Saquon is the second New York Giant to win this award in the last five years. He is the third Giants player to be awarded with a rookie of the year award. Giants wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. won the award in 2014. Odell and Saquon are the only two players in New York Giants franchise history to win Offensive Rookie of the Year. Lawrence Taylor won defensive rookie of the year for the Giants in 1981.

Highlights From The NFL Honors

The NFL Honors even had Beckham Jr. present Barkley the award (along with the beautiful actress Vanessa Hudgens):

Saquon’s rookie year was full of highlights. To commemorate his historic rookie season, the NFL broke down his top 10 plays of the season:

 

New York Knicks Prepare To Feature New Arrivals In Super Bowl Matinee

The New York Knicks stay hot as the worst team in the NBA, with a league-high 12th straight loss. This latest loss came at the hands of their division rival, the Boston Celtics, at home by a score of 113-99.

This was an interesting game, in an otherwise tough-to-watch 2019 Knicks season, because the Madison Square Garden crowd was chanting for the opposing point guard (Kyrie Irving) in hopes that he chooses the Knicks in 2019 Free Agency. Meanwhile, the Knicks fan base is currently recovering from the surprise trade of their injured unicorn (Kristaps Porzingis), Trey Burke (on an expiring contract), and shedding the contracts of Courtney Lee and Tim Hardaway Jr. for Dennis Smith Jr., 2 future first round picks, and the expiring contracts of veterans, Wes Matthews and DeAndre Jordan.

Rollercoaster 36 Hours:

The Knicks fans have just been put through another whirlwind of emotions, this episode beginning early on Thursday. There you were… going through your daily routine when some rumors begin to hit your phone regarding some meeting where Kristaps Porzingis is frustrated with the Knicks team management and the losing culture.

Your first thought is, “Oh KP! What’s up man? How’s your knee progressing? We really haven’t heard for you in a while. We feel you man, but who isn’t frustrated with the team? No worries, let’s just keep the tank going, keep building, and prepare for next offseason.”

After about five minutes came a report from Adrian Wojnarowski, ESPN NBA reporter in the form of an infamous Twitter Woj Bomb, suggesting KP’s expressed frustrations with the franchise have essentially amounted to a demand for a trade. Just a couple of minutes later… the Knicks are exploring their trade options for KP.

Before you can even catch your breath with Anthony Davis trade scenarios in your head… WOJ BOMB… KP is going to Dallas. Woah. What?! What just happened? How did you go from a meeting to… gone in the snap of Perry and Mill’s finger?! The worst part was the full details of the trade were not confirmed for a couple of hours, probably due to the complications of Dallas’ draft picks, so Knicks nation was in turmoil… to put it lightly. But can you really blame them?

Every Knicks fan was preparing for Super Bowl Sunday just like everyone else and looking forward to the “Big Game” that stops the United States in its tracks for that one sacred Sunday night every February. This also means that the NBA All-Star game, festivities, [which now features a New York Knick… more on that later] and the trade deadline right around the corner. (The new NBA rules have made the trade deadline before the NBA All-Star game recently, probably due to concerns stemming from Boogie Cousins being traded to the Pelicans and told during an interview while in New Orleans for the All-Star game).

Nevertheless, Knicks nation was entertaining Anthony Davis rumors here and Lonzo Ball rumors there, in the ESPN Trade Machine just like everyone else… when BOOM! The best talent to put on a Knicks jersey in a couple of decades is gone for a Steve Francis type-player we skipped in the NBA Draft two years ago, some cap space, and two first-round draft picks that could vest in six years.

All this for a very familiar New York Knicks pipe dream at their shot at two maximum salaried free agents in the 2019 offseason that include Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Kawhi Leonard, Klay Thompson, Demarcus Cousins, and Kemba Walker.

So… now what?

Once the emotion has been removed from the situation and it has been established that the Knicks have moved onto the 2019 offseason by dumping contracts and accumulating draft picks, you realize that the tank is still on and oh yea… New York has a game Friday night… the Boston Celtics are coming to town.

Unfortunately, Dennis Smith Jr. was not active for this game and veterans Wes Matthews and Deandre Jordan also sat out. Taking a look at the game-to-game stat sheet you realize that New York not only dumped salary but have also trimmed the extremely inefficient Tim Hardaway Jr. and opened up Courtney Lee’s pedestrian minutes. This is good news for rebuilding.

The Actual Basketball Game:

This was an unusual game for the rival Boston Celtics coming into Madison Square Garden to face the New York Knicks on a freezing Friday night. The MSG crowd was feeling vulnerable and there was a media circus around New York because of trading Porzingis and the Boston Celtics because of the new flames on the Kyrie-to-NY rumors.

The game went into halftime with Boston up by nine points and the Knicks seemingly more concerned about Kyrie’s every move than the actual result of the game. This is for good reason because the prize of the 2019 season is Zion Williamson and his constant highlight reel game doesn’t allow the fanbase to forget.

Through all the ruckus, the most important aspect of this Knicks team should be growing your young players. Kevin Knox and Damyean Dotson had similar nights on the stat sheet with 21 points and 5 rebounds for Knox & 22 points and 6 rebounds for Dotson. There is optimism for growth in efficiency and defense with these players and the future is bright because these minutes against superstars in the NBA, are priceless.

Recent call up to the Knicks roster, Kadeem Allen, the 53rd pick by the Boston Celtics in 2017, was waived and picked up this season by the New York and Westchester Knicks in a two-way contract. Allen averaged 18 minutes for the Knicks in the past two games but against his former team, Allen received the start, posted 35 minutes and had 9 points, 5 assists, and 4 rebounds.

His former coach, Brad Stevens, had some guy encouraging words regarding the young guard stating that he believes Allen can impact the game with his ball-handling ability, his decision-making, and his elite defense. Unfortunately for Allen, with ball dominant Dennis Smith Jr. coming into the point guard mix, Allen’s role will be diminished.

Luke Kornet, Mitchell Robinson, and Noah Vonleh continued to show promise for the Knicks and DeAndre Jordan will bring some stability to this unit. Vonleh had 11 rebounds and Robinson had 8. Those numbers will surely change when DeAndre Jordan is starting at center, but Mitchell is excited about this pairing because Robinson has a similar build and mimics a young Jordan with his amateur pick-n’-roll and defensive prowess. Robinson will gain priceless knowledge from Jordan in the practice facility as well as on the court… that is… if Robinson makes it past the trade deadline.

Last, but not least, Lance Thomas and youngster Isiah Hicks recorded ‘DNP’s-Coach’s Decision’. Keep in mind that Lance Thomas is one of KD’s favorite players in the NBA, according to KD himself. They played together in OKC along with beloved OKC assistant coach Royal Ivey, who is currently an assistant coach with the New York Knicks.

The Future of the Knicks:

In my opinion, the New York Knicks are not finished dealing before the NBA trade deadline, in four days. The worst team in the league does not need players on expiring contracts like Enes Kanter who has put himself at the center of distraction by complaining about his minutes, kissing the Knicks logo upon entry into the game, joining fan chants during the games such as ‘We Want Kanter’, and negatively commenting on the recent acquisition of DeAndre Jordan because Jordan is 4 years older than him and Coach Fizdale has commented that he wants to get DJ into the rotation. Simply put, the Knicks don’t have time for this nonsense from a player who was -12 in 13 minutes against the Celtics, compared to Kornet -3 in 16 minutes and Robinson’s +1 in 18 minutes.

There is also another factor to consider. As it currently stands, the Knicks roster next year consists of:

PG: Dennis Smith Jr./Frank Ntilikina

SG: Damyean Dotson/Allonzo Trier

SF: Kevin Knox

PF: Lance Thomas

C: Mitchell Robinson

If the dream is to give the two max deals and ultimately eat up your salary cap with Kyrie and KD, the Knicks will still have to fill out the remainder of the roster to remain competitive. It will be a tough sell with only the opportunity to offer a 4$ Million exception and veteran minimums for a chance to play with Kyrie, KD, and the Knicks 1st round pick.

This opens the door for the Knicks to acquire players that might fit into their future and have a cap friendly deal. New York has to be considering the idea of two potential superstars taking a minor pay cut to fill out the roster, similar to the Lebron-Wade-Bosh Miami Heat. Players that fit this bill for me are Thon Maker and Jabari Parker.

I also look for the Knicks to put their future first round picks on the table to inquire about superstar Anthony Davis, after it is has been reported that the New Orleans are searching for at least two first-round draft picks for The Brow. But again, that is the home-run.

When talking about reality, I expect the Knicks to at least trade Enes Kanter. Emmanuel Mudiay and Noah Vonleh both have expiring contracts and could be interesting trade pieces, depending on if the Knicks are planning on re-signing them next season in Free Agency.

The Debut:

Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, and Wes Matthews will make their Knicks and Madison Square Garden debut today in a SuperBowl matinee. Coach Fizdale’s former team comes to town for a 1:00pm tip-off with quite a bit of uncertainty regarding their franchise and the future of their cornerstones, Mike Conley and Marc Gasol.

This is game I believe this Knicks will win due to the energy of the MSG crowd and their newly acquired players (look for DSJ to light up MSG in his home debut), the energy of the Knicks players due to this game being for Coach Fiz, the historical wackiness of Super Bowl Sunday NBA matinee games, and a desperate Knicks team burdening 12 straight losses.

My advice: Put away your Tank-for-Zion caps for one day and enjoy what could be low-key the best piece of this trade, a young explosive guard from NC State named Dennis Smith Jr. who some argue should’ve been a Knick from day 1 in the NBA. DSJ will also be the only Knicks representative in the All-Star Game festivities, this time in the Slam Dunk contest. The last Knick to be in the Slam Dunk contest was James White in 2012-13 season and the last NBA Slam Dunk Champion to be represented by the New York Knicks was back-back from 2008-09 & 2009-10, Nate Robinson.

The New York Knicks ‘Need’ Zion Williamson At All Costs – The Franchise Is At Stake

The New York Knicks are very open about drafting Duke superstar, Zion Williamson.

Zion Williamson, the 285-pound, 6-foot-7 forward would be a dream come true for New York Knicks fans. His ability to create excitement with his twirling dunks and defensive prowess is something the Big Apple hasn’t experienced in quite some time.

At any moment the Duke star can change the course of a game. On Saturday afternoon against the St. John’s Red Storm, Williamson hadn’t scored a point in the first few minutes, even heading to the bench for a short spell. He re-entered the game to easily put up 10 points in a row and finish the half with 19 overall.

A player bigger than Rob Gronkowski on the basketball court, stealing balls and lighting up the Mecca of Basketball – Madison Square Garden, would be a blessing. Zion could be the player to change the narrative of Knicks basketball, a team that has gone decades without a true chance at a championship ring.

Averaging 22 points-per-game over 20 contests for Duke, Williamson could call it quits now and be the first-overall pick in the draft, but no, he loves the game so much, he can’t quite on his team. He’s propelled a talented Duke team to the No.2 spot in college ball, likely going into March Madness as a favorite to win the tournament.

The Knicks are the worst team in the NBA:

With the recent trade sending Kristaps Porzingis on his merry way, two max contracts are now available for the Knicks to use. Bringing in big-name players will be tough, given the fact that the team is young and not readily competing for a playoff berth.

But, acquiring a player like Kevin Durant and having Williamson would provide such an upgrade that the Knicks would be a legitimate contender.

Zion’s most enticing characteristic:

The No.1 ranked player in the country has something a lot of players don’t have…coachability. He can take direction and listen to instruction. Many top players are overconfident and believe they know what’s right for the team,  but Zion is aware that his team will perform better if he follows the rules.

“[Coach K] told me he’ll use me as an all-around player, like how he used LeBron with Team USA,” Williamson stated, according to SNY.com. “If he needs me to bring it up the court sometimes I will. If he needs me to post up a smaller player, I will. If I need to come off a screen and shoot a couple jumpers, I will, It’s just whatever he needs me to do, I’ll be able to do it.”

With players like RJ Barret and Cam Reddish playing alongside Williamson, it’s fair to say that Duke has a commanding lead on the rest of the country, while they do have two blips on the radar with two losses. Zion is an influential player, and will likely be the face of the team that acquires him in the upcoming NBA draft.

The Knicks don’t just ‘want’ Zion, they simply ‘need’ him. Too many years with bad draft picks have plagued the team and finding a generational talent that can help build the foundation of the organization for years to come is essential at this point in time.

 

 

 

 

New York Yankees Farm Pitcher Climbing The Ranks At Insane Rate

New York Yankees

The New York Yankees relied on several youth products in 2018. Players like Domingo German and Jonathan Loaisiga featured frequently, earning a 5.57 ERA in 21 games and 5.11 ERA in 9 games respectively. The two will likely be used less in 2019, as they undoubtedly forced the Yankees’ hand in at least six losses.

There comes a time that every team has to lean on their youth talent to get them through games, especially down the stretch of the season when injuries begin to pile up.

The Yankees have another youth product emerging:

The year, 23-year-old Michael King showcased his abilities, jumping from Class-A Tampa to Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre. His numbers were impressive, as he finished the season with Scranton – 1.15 ERA in 39 innings (4-0 record). His talents seem to be legit, and he could be called up as soon as this year to feature as a starting option.

King was one of the 21 non-roster invites that the Yankees will be bringing in to spring training. But, the most impressive aspect of King is his ability to improve when challenges are presented.

A lot of players cannot handle the level of competition right away when climbing the farm-system, but King has taken it in stride and performed valiantly without wavering in confidence.

Minor league pitching coordinator Danny Borrell stated, according to the New York Post:

“Every time he moved up, he seemed to get better,” Borrell said in regard to King. “He wasn’t fazed by the better competition and he knows how to pitch.”

The young pitcher will enter spring training with a chip on his shoulder, and he knows that this will be his opportunity to prove his worth.

“It’s definitely in the back of my mind,” King said of potentially be called up to the majors in 2019. “I’m going to go into spring training and try to prove myself. I know the Yankees are probably gonna buy some big-time guy. That’s how they are, no matter what. I don’t care who they have, I’m gonna try to beat them out and prove I deserve a spot here.”

The Best Deal For The New York Yankees This Offseason

The New York Yankees have made several offseason moves to bolster the roster, including infielders Troy Tulowitzki, DJ LeMahieu, and the retention of both J.A. Happ and Zach Britton.

The players kept and acquired will have a significant impact on the success of the team in the year ahead, but arguably the most influential move might prove to be former Mariners ace James Paxton.

Going into his seventh season is the 30-year old. He’s suffered through bouts of injury that have derailed his career at times. In 2018, he made 28 starts and threw 160 innings, proving that he can endure the stress of an entire season. This was likely a big factor for the Yankees in trading for him.

Paxton earned a 3.76 ERA, 1.10 WHIP, 3.02 xFIP and 208 strikeouts last season. He was one of eight pitchers that recorded over a 30% SO rate. His quality will help a solid Yankees starting unit improve. The primary issue is that the Bombers don’t have a true “ace,” unless Luis Severino can embody the first half of 2018 moving forward.

Paxton will likely act as the No.3-4 man in the starting rotation, which only attests to the strength of the unit.

What has James Paxton’s injury looked like?

The former Mariner struggled through back inflammation and a forearm contusion before escaping 2018 with a full bill of health. The 28 starts and 160 innings pitched were career highs for the lefty. He ultimately represents a bigger injury risk than the other options on the roster, but his services will equate to wins, as the Yankees were forced to rely on several younger pitchers last season to pick up the slack.

Was Paxton worth Justus Sheffield?

My biggest concern over this deal with having to trade away Sheffield to acquire Paxton. Sheffield has elite potential but he’s a bit undersized and won’t consistently throw the ball in the 96-99 MPH range. According to MLB.com, Sheffield added a bit of velocity, hovering in the 92-97 MPH range. That’s a pretty wide margin which indicates a weakness. The Yankees are clearly in a “win-now” mode and found it reasonable to offer one of their best prospects for a pitcher that can help them increase the win-column.