Could The MLB Play The 2020 World Series At A Neutral Site?

New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox

With the COVID-19 outbreak, the MLB season is currently postponed until further notice. However, the league still plans to play this season and play as many games as possible. To play the most games possible, what if the league did the World Series at a neutral site?

Does this sound crazy? Absolutely. But if we want to see a schedule with a large number of games, this might have to be an option.

If the regular season finished as late as mid to late October, that would put the division series as ending in early to mid-November. By then, the weather is a conflict for a lot of teams.

To play the World Series neutrally, an indoor stadium or a stadium in a warm climate will be needed. They would also need to go somewhere where there isn’t a huge chance that the team hosting will be in the World Series.

My ideas are Seattle, Miami, Milwaukee, or Arlington. Nothing against Toronto, but I just don’t think that it would work hosting in Canada.

Doing this would end the season in mid to late November.

Obviously, it would be a lot different doing the World Series neutrally. But doing so may allow for the regular season to run longer. Plus, there wouldn’t need to be off-days for travel days like regular playoff series.

Wild-card, division, and championship series would go on as scheduled with teams hosting, and there wouldn’t be any weather issues out of the ordinary.

Again, this is just an idea. Maybe the MLB has considered something like this. Just the only thing is that it requires a lot of planning in a short period of time. They won’t be able to finalize anything until the league sets a start date and reworks the schedule.

 

New York Mets: You won’t guess what Marcus Stroman and Dom Smith are up to

yankees, New York Mets, Marcus Stroman

The New York Mets aren’t playing any baseball games right now. As it turns out, the COVID-19 pushed back the start of the new season and there are other priorities right now. Stopping the quick spread of the virus is one of them, and professional sports are now on hold.

It is presumed that if the season starts this year, it won’t be until June at the earliest, so players have plenty of free time to kill. Some of them are working out to stay in shape, others are spending quiet days with the family. But Mets’ players Marcus Stroman and Dominic Smith have found an entertaining way to pass the time and help society in the process.

According to the New York Post, Stroman signed up for a virtual beer pong tournament and chose outfielder/first baseman Dominic Smith to be his partner. Ah, sports in the time of COVID-19!

The Mets’ stars will respect social distancing

Social distancing is highly recommended as a way to prevent the spread of the virus, but that’s not an issue for the Mets’ players: per the Post, the virtual tournament “should allow for social distancing:” Mike Seander, one of the organizers of the event, said live streams will be merged from the participants’ respective houses, and the money raised will go toward COVID-19 “recovery efforts.”

Seander is the rapper formerly known as Mike Stud. He goes by Mike nowadays. He recently tweeted that he was organizing a tournament that would stream on Instagram Live. Stroman, always competitive and involved, confirmed his participation and is taking his Mets’ teammate with him.

“I’m committed already,” the New York Mets’ third starter tweeted on Saturday. “Just FaceTimed with @justmike. @TheRealSmith2_ is the homie I’ll be playing with. We ready whenever!”

The Mets were in the middle of spring training when MLB decided to cancel the remaining games in Port St. Lucie, where the team has its complex. There is no official timetable for baseball to return, but MLB is holding out hope that the new season can start around the summer.

New York Jets: Several pass rushers the Jets could consider in free agency

New York Jets, Jadeveon Clowney

The amount of defensive talent that the New York Jets have when healthy has the potential to be one of the elite units in the NFL. With young, formidable building blocks in star safety Jamal Adams, proven linebacker C.J. Mosley and the highly touted defensive tackle Quinnen Williams, coordinator Gregg Williams does have some pieces to work with.

With Mosley roaming the middle, Williams in the trenches and Adams to command the secondary, holes in the cornerback and pass rusher position are still critical when creating an efficient defensive unit.

So what’re some realistic moves for pass rushers? Options are still on the table for the Jets. With roughly $25 million in remaining cap, the Jets could still look to make a splash with a pass rusher.

1. Jadeveon Clowney

Clowney is an interesting option for any pass rush needy team. There are a lot of questions surrounding him, but the payoff could be huge. Does he deserve top tier pass rusher money?

Can he be productive as a team’s number one pass rusher? Here are a couple of things to consider: Clowney has never posted a double-digit sack season, (that’s with spending five seasons in Houston with most of the attention of the opposing offensive lineman focused on teammate J.J. Watt). When he finally signed with the Seahawks last year with expectations to be their premier pass rusher, he recorded just three sacks with just seven tackles for loss in 13 games. Clowney is a freak athlete and a physical specimen with the potential to be a top-five pass rusher in football. I would like to see some more consistent production before giving him a big payday.

2. Everson Griffen

After announcing on his social media that he will be leaving the Vikings, Griffen is another intriguing option. He is a slightly safer option than Clowney. While he is five years older than Clowney at 32, he has a much more impressive resume.

Spending the last nine seasons with the Vikings, Griffen has posted 74.5 career sacks and 86 tackles for loss. After filling the big shoes of legendary defensive end Jared Allen, Griffen has been one of the premier pass rushers in the NFL. Could be brought in on a short term deal given his age and be an immediate impact player.

3. Ziggy Ansah

Ansah would be a low-risk signing. Nagging injuries have slowed his progress recently and posted only 2.5 sacks in the last 11 games with the Seahawks. Despite his lack of production in recent years, Ansah still draws attention from opposing offensive lineman because of his massive 6-5, 275-pound frame.

With a few impressive years with the Lions, including multiple double-digit sack seasons under his belt, Ansah could be brought in for cheap on a one-year prove-it deal. If he can stay healthy, the payoff for the Jets could be beneficial.

XFL Guardians: Some Improvements to make for next year

New York Guardians

The New York Guardians were something to watch during the new XFL’s first season. Unfortunately, the season was cut short due to the coronavirus outbreak in the United States. Their final record was 3-2. In conclusion, there are some things the Guardians need to improve on going into 2021:

Stopping the Run

One of the many weaknesses on the Guardians’ defense was stopping the run.  At the end of the season, the Guardians ironically graded out as the 2nd best run defense in the XFL. The run-stopping was not consistent. In Weeks 1-3, the Guardians gave up an average of 138 rushing yards per game. That was last in the XFL. However, during the stretch of Weeks 4-5, their defense allowed 48 rushing yards per game, which were 1st in the XFL. That is one less game, but there is definite improvement during that stretch. The stats below will show.

Rushing Yards Allowed (Weeks 1-5)

Week 1  vs. Vipers: 150

Week 2 vs. Defenders: 108

Week 3 vs. Battlehawks: 156

Week 4 vs. Wildcats: 40

Week 5 vs. Renegades: 56

This is one of the areas the Guardians will need to improve on next year consistently. Though, the last two weeks are a positive note to take into 2021.

More Passing Yards

The passing game was another thing that was a weakness in the beginning. Like stopping the run, the passing game was inconsistent. Here are the passing yards from each week this season for the Guardians:

Rushing Yards (Weeks 1-5)

Week 1 vs. Vipers: 182

Week 2 vs. Defenders: 66

Week 3 vs. Battlehawks: 195

Week 4 vs. Wildcats: 128

Week 5 vs. Renegades: 229

A lot of fans believe this was mostly due to Matt McGloin being the starter. In the first two weeks, there was a raw feeling to the offense. That would be considering Matt McGloin only had one touchdown and completed 52% of his passes.  Week 2’s blowout made it worse when McGloin threw two interceptions and completed under 50% of his passes. Mind you, this is not the NFL, but a 44% completion is not good at all. He got hurt the next week.

The offense saw a boost when Luis Perez replaced him vs. the Wildcats in Week 4. The passing yards may have decreased, but the Guardians blew fewer opportunities. Against the Renegades, the Guardians passed for a season-high 229 yards.

Luis Perez is clearly the answer at quarterback for the future of the Guardians’ offense. The improvement later in the year shows promise for 2021.

Allow less total yards

Allowing total yards was a problem on the defense in 2020. The defense ranked 6th in the league in yards allowed per game with 329.2. But whether it was the opposing running game or passing offense that gave them trouble, the total yards were above 300, three of the five weeks. Here is the number of total yards allowed each week:

Total Yards Allowed (Weeks 1-5):

Week 1 vs. Vipers: 394

Week 2 vs. Defenders: 372

Week 3 vs. Battlehawks: 273

Week 4 vs. Wildcats: 345

Week 5 vs. Renegades: 260

The Guardians were one of the better playmakers in 2020. That means tackles at the line, interceptions, fumble recoveries and sacks. Unfortunately, that never made much of an impact on how many total yards they allowed. That gives a feeling to the opponent that even if the defense makes a play, they can still rebound from it.

Alex is on Twitter @AlexProtich and Instagram @alexgajovich

The New York Rangers Signed Two NCAA Prospects

New York Rangers

The New York Rangers have stayed active during the recent pause in the NHL season by signing two NCAA players. The Rangers recently announced that the team has agreed to terms with free-agent forward Austin Rueschhoff on an entry-level contract. His contract begins at the start of the 2020-21 season. Earlier in the week, the Rangers revealed that they agreed to terms with defenseman K’Andre Miller on an entry-level contract. Miller was the Ranger’s first-round pick in the 2018 draft.

Rueschoff brings some size to the New York Rangers

The forward stands at 6-7 and 230 pounds. Imagine some scrums in front of the net with such NHL stalwarts as the Boston Bruin’s Zdeno Charo. But Rueschoff is not just a big body.

Over the three seasons he played at Western Michigan, Rueschhoff was one of 10 collegiate players who registered at least 35 goals, 35 assists, and 100 penalty minutes. He established collegiate career-highs in plus/minus rating and shots on goal, and he tied collegiate career-highs in games played and assists in 2019-20.

His Western Michigan coach had a great deal of praise for the 22-year-old. “Austin’s improvement here at Western Michigan was impressive,” said WMU head coach Andy Murray. “A quality young man, his compete level got higher each year and an increased focus on the details have led him to this NHL opportunity with the Rangers. We are excited for him and know he has a huge upside.

Miller leaves Wisconsin to join the New York Rangers

The 20-year-old defenseman scored 40 points in 62 NCAA appearances, including 18 points in 36 games this season for the Wisconsin Badgers. Internationally, Miller has represented the United States in several tournaments.

Miller played in the IIHF World Junior Championship in each of the last two years, helping the United States earn a silver medal in the tournament in 2019 and served as one of the team’s alternate captains in 2020. He also helped the United States earn a silver medal at the 2018 IIHF U18 World Championship. The Rangers are very high on the left-handed defenseman’s potential, which was one of the reasons they were comfortable dealing Brady Skjei to Carolina at last month’s trade deadline.

New York Mets’ spring training standouts: Brandon Nimmo

While it is true that Brandon Nimmo got a heart-related scare when the New York Mets‘ medical staff prompted management to pull him from a spring training game’s lineup to undergo screening and related tests, it turns out that he only has a “bigger heart” than the average player, figuratively speaking.

Scare aside, the abbreviated spring training – because of concerns about the coronavirus, or COVID-19 – was a very successful one for Nimmo, who happens to have some competition now that the Mets decided to bring stellar defensive center fielder Jake Marisnick into the fold.

Marisnick, however, doesn’t figure to play every day. His glove is fantastic but his offense is best served against lefties, while Nimmo will play at least semi-regular at-bats from the go. In fact, Nimmo is the best candidate to occupy the leadoff spot for the New York Mets.

A fantastic spring for the Mets’ on-base machine

In the shortened spring training, Nimmo went 11-for-29, with four runs, three doubles, one triple, one RBI, two walks and four strikeouts. His triple-slash line was a shiny .379/.455/.552, with a 1.006 OPS that was among the best in the team.

In all fairness, Brandon Nimmo is actually one of the most important New York Mets in the roster. He is adequate defensively in center field and excels in the corners, but his best asset is his keen eye at the plate. Last season, he was second in BB% with 18.1, behind the one and only Mike Trout.

Nimmo is the spark that starts the Mets’ offense. He has the rare ability to play center field, get on base at a nearly .400 OBP clip, hit 15-20 home runs and steal around 10 bases. He is, indeed, a rare breed.

The Mets are lucky to have him start the offense. With him on-base, plenty of run-scoring opportunities are in the horizon because he would be batting in front of Jeff McNeil, Pete Alonso, J.D. Davis, Michael Conforto, Robinson Cano and company.

If healthy and with full at-bats, Nimmo could league the National League in walks. He has that kind of potential.

New York Yankees: A-Rod giving baseball classes for teens on Instagram, watch!

New York Yankees, Alex Rodriguez

Yankee great A-Rod adds to online learning today at 5 pm

The New York Yankees want to do their part regarding the coronavirus.  They are taking steps to keep players safe and have let players go wherever they feel the safest. As children around the country start taking their classes online as schools are closing everywhere due to the coronavirus, Alex Rodriguez is teaching baseball on Instagram.  You can tune in today at 5 pm to watch the broadcast that is directed at teens but will be interesting for all fans of baseball.

https://twitter.com/i/status/1241570522543972352

Rodriguez, the former shortstop and 3rd baseman for the Yankees, is one of the best baseball players of the past two decades, and now he is sharing some of his knowledge with teens and others in a video broadcast on Instagram.  Rodriguez, in his career the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers, and the New York Yankees amassed over 3,100 hits, 696 home runs while maintaining a .295 batting average and driving in almost 2,100 runs in his incredible 22-year career.

For Yankee game starved fans, this may be just the thing to help you get through this time of great concern and help you with the second separation from baseball in just six months.  Another outlet to quench your thirst for baseball is the YES Network. The Network announced yesterday that they would be delving into the Yankee Classics archive to produce more Yankee Classics on the network in absence of regular baseball games.  In addition to all the Classics, Yankeeogrpahy, Yankee Magazine, and Homegrown are other interesting broadcasts for Yankee fans.

For those that are interested in the Rodriguez class or have children or friends that may be interested, you can tune in today, Monday, March 23, 2020, to watch the Instagram class at 5 pm.  For those that cannot, it should be available on his Instagram account for rebroadcast.

 

New York Mets’ Jeff McNeil is one of the game’s rising stars, according to MLB

yankees, mets, jeff mcneil

Rising stars are often the reason why new fans get attached to this beautiful game. Yes, we don’t know when baseball games will be played again, as the coronavirus crisis is nearing its peak, at least in the United States, but we do know that, eventually, it will return, and we will get to watch some of MLB’s better performers. The league’s official page listed nine rising stars that should stick around for the next decade or so, in most cases. One current member of the New York Mets made the list, and you are quite familiar with him.

Jeff McNeil is, according to MLB.com, one of the league’s most exciting young players. Yes, he may not have broken in the bigs at 20 or 21, but at 27 years old, he already has 815 plate appearances of elite offensive play.

McNeil was kind of like a defensive nomad in his first two seasons with the New York Mets. However, he will be the third baseman in the 2020 season, whenever it starts.

Here is MLB.com’s writeup on McNeil: “He’s penciled in to be the Mets’ regular third baseman after making 123 starts at five positions in his first full season. He exceeded every expectation with an All-Star season that included 38 doubles, 23 homers and a .916 OPS.”

McNeil’s sweet-swinging ways and aggressiveness at the plate are good for a high average: he has a .321 career mark and competed for the batting title last season. He has said that one of his goals is to be the batting champion, and 2020 may very well be his year.

The Mets’ offensive machine

And, with 23 home runs, 83 RBI and an ISO of .214, he added a power element to his game, as well. He is now a threat to do something exciting every time he steps into the batter’s box. He is one of the Mets’ most complete players.

Despite his negative baserunning (-2.9 base running runs, per Fangraphs) and defensive (-0.8 fielding runs) ratings, he managed to pile up 4.6 fWAR and is considered an adequate defensive player at third base.

With five seasons of team control remaining, the New York Mets will enjoy McNeil’s all-around prowess for at least the next half-decade, barring an unexpected trade.

The other eight players listed by MLB as being the most “exciting young stars” are Oakland A’s infielders Matt Chapman and Marcus Semien, D-Backs’ offensive machine Ketel Marte, Tampa’s reliever Nick Anderson, Dodgers’ slugger Max Muncy, Padres’ hurler Emilio Pagan, Indians’ starter Mike Clevinger and Rockies’ shortstop Trevor Story.

Could the New York Giants draft a left tackle and who’s the best option?

New York Giants, Andrew Thomas, Georgia Bulldogs

Left tackle is a serious concern for the New York Giants, considering Nate Solder had one of the worst performances at the position in 2019. The projected cap-hit for Solder in 2020 is $19.5 million, a massive number for a player who put rookie quarterback Daniel Jones under immense pressure last season.

The question is – can we trust Solder to pick up his play moving forward?

There has been little evidence to suggest the Giants can depend on Solder to lock down the left side of the line and give Jones the time he needs without being concerned about his blindside. Solder will turn 32 in April, and the Giants are still in a rebuilding stage, which complicates their situation as taking on his dead cap hit would be inadvisable. However, the new CBA allows the Giants to spread his dead cap hit over the next few seasons, which could result in them cutting him and drafting a new tackle to plug into the position.

One positive thing about Solder is his health. He hasn’t missed a start for Big Blue in two seasons, but that motivating factor didn’t amount to much as he was hit with allowing 11 sacks, tied for 2nd in the NFL, per PFF.

Who should the New York Giants look at in the draft?

The best-left tackle available is none other than Andrew Thomas out of Georgia. Thomas has been a bell-cow for Georgia over the last three years, and he’s been at the front lines for the Joe Moore Award consistently. The offensive lineman has featured at both tackle spots, which gives him the diversity the Giants are looking for.

Listing Thomas’ best traits:

-Recovery is impressive

-Great leg power

-Well-coached

-Fundamentally sound

-High football IQ — identifies stunts and blitzes well

-Strong hands

-True Hog Mollie

-Strong run blocker at first level

-Consistency

-Finds work (always looking to hit somebody and make a difference)

Negatives:

-Can struggle to get to second level

-A little small for tackle position

-Can lean too much in pass pro instead of hunkering down and staying tall

-Can be impatient at times in pass pro (specifically on stunts)

As you can see, the difference in positives to negatives is significant, which attests to how prepared Thomas is for the NFL. The Giants would be gaining a starting tackle on either side for the foreseeable future. They could plug him in on the right side and swap him over to left tackle in 2021 if they elect to keep Solder.

New York Yankee News Recap: Gerrit Cole, Aaron Judge, Stanton, LeMahieu, and more!

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole

Yankee News Recap:  Gerrit Cole and more

New York Yankee‘s newly acquired star pitcher Gerrit Cole is not laying back and resting; he is keeping his pitching form sharp by pitching to his wife, Amy.  Amy posted a video Sunday afternoon on Twitter, showing her style as well.   It’s evident from the video that she’s up to the job as she has quite a rocket of an arm.  It shouldn’t be surprising as she was a softball pitcher at UCLA.  She helped the team win the 2010 College World Series.

Aaron Judge

Yankees star slugger Aaron Judge, for the time being, is remaining at the Yankee training complex at George M. Steinbrenner Field in Tampa, Florida.  He has recently undergone another MRI revealing that his fractured rib continues to heal.  This may mean that possible surgery may not be necessary.  The delay in the start of the baseball season makes it more likely that he will be ready to man right field when the season finally gets started.   In an interview from the parking lot, Judge commented on being happy to have a place to play:

“The great thing is they have this open so we can come here and do some baseball activity and stay ready,’’ Judge said. “You still kind of feel like we are in baseball mode, but it is kind of when you go home. … I have some stuff to do around the house, put some stuff on the wall and cleaning. But I think after I get all the stuff done in my apartment I think I will kind of going crazy.’’

Giancarlo Stanton

When the New York Yankee season gets underway when the CDC guidelines allow it, along with Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton may be in the outfield as well.  During the shortened spring training, he suffered a grade one calf strain.  He has recovered well enough to partake in some baseball activities.  During the 2019 season, Stanton only played in 18 games due to a series of injuries that kept him off the field.  Manager Aaron Boone hopes he will be available at the start of the season.  If he is not, there are several players that can cover his position, including Mike Tauchman, Clint Frazier, and Miguel Andujar, who has played four games during spring training in that outfield position and has handled it well.

DJ LeMahieu

DJ LeMahieu is another New York Yankee major leaguer that has remained at the Tampa complex.  According to Yankee Tyler Wade, LeMahieu has taken the reins and is showing his leadership by setting the tone for the team’s informal workouts as the players make the best of the coronavirus situation.   Other players taking part and staying in shape at the complex are Judge, Stanton, Tyler Wade, Luke Voit, and Gary Sanchez, who is recovering from back soreness.  A full list of the remaining players is not available.  As the state of Florida prepares for the spread of the virus, gyms and sporting complexes may be forced to shut down, driving players to their homes.

According to Bryan Hoch of MLB.com, LeMahieu said being able to work out at Steinbrenner Field is keeping him “sane” amidst the coronavirus shutdown, adding that the gyms are closed in Michigan (where he lives), and the weather is better in Florida.

Mariano Rivera reflects on the coronavirus

Rivera reached out to the Michael Kay show to bring attention to the need for young people to protect themselves and their love ones.  The former great Yankee closer, Mariano Rivera, reflected on his dismay over young people disregarding the seriousness of the coronavirus.

“They have to take this thing serious…because it is serious,” Rivera said. “There’s no time to be playing around. There’s no time to [be] partying, there’s no time to be on the beach. Millennials believe that they’re invincible, you know, and they need to be aware that they can transmit the virus to a lot of their families and friends. People they love.”