New York Giants Raise Eyebrows With Odell Beckham Jr. Omission in Tweet

There’s not nearly as many controversies between the New York Giants and former wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. in 2020 as there were last offseason, but sometimes something still comes along and stirs up the pot. In this case, the drama is a more minor one but has gotten attention anyway due to the fact that it’s the offseason and there’s not a ton going on until the NFL Draft comes up later this month.

The source of the drama is Twitter, where the Giants put out a seemingly innocent Tweet. They mentioned a number of Giants players past and present, but there was one omission that raised some eyebrows due to it seeming like an intentional slight.

That’s the omission of Odell Beckham Jr. despite the fact that other receivers that aren’t currently with the team such as Hakeem Nicks and Victor Cruz are mentioned. While Beckham’s career for the Giants wasn’t as notable as the other players listed, some believed it was a slight due to Beckham’s large role in the Giants offense in the more recent years when he was a part of the team.

Of course, for every person who believes that Odell Beckham was slighted by the Tweet, there’s another person that simply doesn’t want to hear any further about the former Giants receiver and the way the team moved on from him.

Others have said that the reason Beckham isn’t represented is simple – he’s an active player on another team, unlike the others on the list. One of the people to point that out is another notable former Giants player, Justin Tuck.

Intentional slight or not, the Giants will likely continue to have Odell Beckham Jr. controversies pop up until the team can truly say they’ve replaced him. Will that be soon? That might depend on just how much other players like Sterling Shepard and Darius Slayton step up.

Under Appreciated New York Mets: Justin Turner

Justin Turner is far more under-appreciated by the New York Mets organization than the fans themselves. He never quite received the playing time needed to blossom into the star he is now, and the Mets could have certainly used him when David Wright’s injuries caught up to him.

Turner came to the Mets as a waiver claim during the 2010 season. After only playing four games with the Mets, he played in 117 games where he hit .260 with four home runs. The power had not developed for him yet, but he was 4-for-10 as a pinch hitter.

Versatile Turner

Turner could play all four infield positions and even saw a little bit of time in left field with the Mets. Over the following two seasons with the Mets, he played in less than 100 games in each season and hit .275 with four homers during that time. Turner did muster 26 doubles during that time.

When the Mets parted ways with Turner by opting to not non-tender him, it came as a surprise. During his last month with the Mets in 2013, he hit .357/.357/.571, and it included the only home runs he hit with the Mets all season. He was beginning to transform into the Justin Turner that became a star with the Dodgers.

He was learning the hitting philosophy that made Marlon Byrd a vital member of the Mets lineup, and he was moved just to open up a roster spot. The idea that Turner had a “lack of effort” was a load of crap from Sandy Alderson. It just did not make sense because the Mets roster was lackluster. It had names like Ike Davis, Eric Young Jr., and Omar Quintanilla as their starters. Safe to say Turner was a better player than all three of them at the end of 2013.

The Mets Trash is Always Another Team’s Treasure

The rest of the story is well known, Turner heads to the Dodgers and excels there. He becomes an All-Star and one of the best clutch/postseason hitters in baseball. Turner tied his career-high mark of 27 home runs in 2019, has six straight seasons of a .490 slugging percentage or better. At age 35, it does not seem like he is slowing down anytime soon.

New York Giants: Is Julian Love A Star In The Making?

New York Giants, Julian Love

The New York Giants are slowly but surely rebuilding their defensive secondary. New York spent three of their draft picks on defensive backs in the 2019 NFL draft (four if counting Sam Beal). One of those rookies was fourth-round steal Julian Love out of Notre Dame.

Love had the opportunity to start five games for the Giants as a rookie after Jabrill Peppers went down with an injury. A cornerback coming out of college, Love was required to learn how to play every position in the secondary when he got to training camp last offseason (according to Julian Love on Fireside Giants). Fortunately, Julian is a quick learner and was able to impress the coaching staff while playing the safety position in practice. This led to him becoming Jabrill Peppers’s replacement for the final five games of the season.

Julian Love’s Impressive Rookie Season

In those five games, Julian Love was impressive. He totaled 35 combined tackles to go along with 5 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble, 3 passes defended, and 1 interception. The rookie played 405 snaps down the stretch and performed well in the run game and in coverage (PFF).

The Giants’ rookie lined up all over the defense. He played in the box, over the slot, and at free safety. Pro Football Focus listed Julian Love as a player who can “provide optimism” for the Giants heading into 2020. Giants fans should agree with that statement. I would go as far as saying that Julian Love is potentially a star in the making.

Barring any unforeseen trades or draft picks, Julian Love will start at safety and play alongside Jabrill Peppers in 2020. Love has the range and speed to cover the deep half as a free safety. He also displayed his strong tackling and comfortability in the box while playing strong safety in 2019. Julian’s impressive tackling is exhibited in the video below:

 

Should the New York Giants bite on Yannick Ngakoue trade possibility?

New York Giants, Yannick Ngakoue

Rumors have linked the New York Giants to Jacksonville’s Yannick Ngaokue. Should they dive into the pool?

The Giants did very little to strengthen their pass rush this offseason, seemingly passing on retaining Markus Golden and allocating cap toward only one free agent pass rusher. Kyler Fackrell, who recorded 10.5 sacks in 2018 while Patrick Graham was his linebackers coach, was the Giants’ player of choice to fill the void. The former Green Bay Packer is on a one-year deal, attempting to prove his worth and lure a more attractive, multi-year contract his way in 2021.

However, signing Fackrell doesn’t solidify the pass rusher unit, which is where the rumors involving Ngakoue have bubbled to the surface. According to Adam Shefter, there have been talks between the Giants and Jaguars, but the only deal that makes any logical sense would be to send the 4th overall pick for Jacksonville’s 9th pick and Yannick.

CHECK OUT OUR INTERVIEW WITH JULIAN LOVE!

This would be a poor usage of cap space and a premature move, considering the Giants are not in a position to give up ample cap during a complete youth rebuild. The upcoming NFL Draft represents a lot more to the rebuild than trading back for a high-priced player who will have minimal impact in the grand scheme.

Unless Big Blue gain more draft capital in a trade-back scenario, they should stay put and select the best player available, given it’s Isaiah Simmons or Chase Young. There’s always a possibility the Giants invest in an offensive tackle to protect Daniel Jones for the foreseeable future.

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Ensuring the team is moving in the right direction should be the priority. With only $17 million in cap space and about $6-7 million allocated to rookies, the Giants would be strapped of cash going into the 2021 season. Now is the time to be frugal and build for the next two years and not make impulsive, high-priced moves.

Also, it’s important to note that the Jags have Yannick on the franchise tag, and they’re asking for a lot in return. Waiting out the duration of 202 and signing him in 2021 to a multi-year deal might be a more calculated risk.

Objectively, Ngakoue offers a massive upgrade at the position and allows the Giants to draft an offensive tackle in the first round or a player like Isaiah Simmons, completely overhauling the defensive unit. Protecting Daniel Jones and opening up more running lanes for Saquon Barkley is equally as important, suggesting that GM Dave Gettleman can kill two birds with one stone in a potential trade with Jacksonville.

XFL suspends operations, lays off employees

Despite initial plans to return for a second season in 2021, the XFL’s second attempt at spring football has suspended operations.

It comes under completely different circumstances, but the second attempt at XFL football appears to be destined for the same fate as the first.

The league has reportedly suspended operations and has laid off almost the entirety of its team and league employees. XFL officials informed employees in a conference call hosted by Chief Operating Officer Jeffrey Pollack.

XFL social media manager Bailey Carlin confirmed the departures in a series of tweets. Under Carlin’s watch, the XFL Twitter account reached nearly 400,000 followers. Carlin kept his good spirits, posting a self-deprecating meme from the television series The Office. 

This crushing blow comes just over a month after the XFL halted regular season games in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. The league canceled the remainder of the season (which had played five of its ten regular season games and was set for a four-team postseason) shortly after but was committed to returning in 2021. Players from the XFL’s eight teams were allowed to sign with NFL and CFL squads shortly after the cancellation.

Thus likely ends the era of the rebooted XFL, nearly two decades after another league under the same moniker lasted a single (full) season in 2001. This new XFL was similar in name only, eschewing the campy kayfabe techniques inspired by its World Wrestling Federation (now World Wrestling Entertainment) overseers. The new league nonetheless introduced several in-game innovations focused on pace of play and a sense of fun. For example, a tiered point-after-touchdown system allowed teams to score as many as nine points on offensive possessions. The league also showcased a shootout-style overtime system that never came to fruition (all games ended in regulation).

Oliver Luck served as the commissioner of the new XFL, whose resurrection was overseen by Vince McMahon. This marks the second year in a row that a spring football league has met an early demise, though the XFL was hardly at fault. The Alliance of American Football shutdown in April 2019 and later filed for bankruptcy.

On a local level, the New York Guardians likely end their brief history with a 3-2 record, good for a three-way tie for first in the XFL’s East division. The team played their home games at MetLife Stadium. New York won each of their two games in East Rutherford, the latter being a 17-14 triumph over the Los Angeles Wildcats on February 29. Los Angeles and New York were the only were two markets retained from the XFL’s original version. Back then, the New York/New Jersey Hitmen went 4-6 and played their home games at Giants Stadium.

Several Guardians have already found new homes in the NFL. Cornerback Dravon Askew-Henry was added by the Guardians’ MetLife Stadium co-tenants (the New York Giants), while offensive lineman Jarron Jones and defensive lineman Cavon Walker were each signed by the Pittsburgh Steelers. Walker led the XFL in sacks with 4.5.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags 

 

Rumors: MLB considering league realignment for 2020 season

Bob Nightengale of USA Today reported that the MLB is considering a major realignment for the 2020 season. The following information is from him and Tony La Russa, Angels senior advisor of baseball operations.

The realignment plan would include teams playing all of their games in either Florida or Arizona, dependent on where clubs have their spring facility. Games will be played at the spring facilities, with Tropicana Field and Marlins Park available in Florida and Chase Field available in Arizona.

The divisions would go as followed:

Grapefruit League

North (Tampa area)- Yankees, Phillies, Blue Jays, Tigers, Pirates

South (Fort Myers/ Port Charlotte area)- Red Sox, Twins, Braves, Rays, Orioles

East (West Palm/ Port St. Lucie area)- Nationals, Astros, Mets, Cardinals, Marlins

Cactus League

Northeast (Scottsdale area)- Cubs, Giants, Diamondbacks, Rockies, Athletics

West (Glendale/ Western Phoenix area)- Dodgers, Angels, White Sox, Reds, Indians

Northwest (Glendale/Peoria area)- Brewers, Padres, Mariners, Rangers, Royals

Teams would play a 108 game season. They would play 12 games against each divisional opponent and six against non-divisional in-state opponents. Teams would not play a team in the other league until the World Series.

The DH will likely be adapted universally, and there will also have to be one doubleheader per night in each state when all teams are playing. That’s because of the odd number of teams in each state.

The postseason could either be similar to previous years, or completely different. The league has toyed with the idea of all teams advancing to the postseason this year only. Regardless, the World Series would be played in the domed stadiums in late-November.

Again, this is not official. The league is still in constant contact with health officials and hoping that teams can return to major league cities at some point this year. The entire COVID-19 situation is still fluid and changing daily. Once more info about the pandemic and the length of it, the league can come closer to making a set decision.

 

Can the New York Knicks rely on Elfrid Payton as their starting point guard next season?

New York Knicks, Elfrid Payton

Should the New York Knicks put all their chips in on Elfrid Payton as their starting point guard?


When the Knicks initially signed Elfrid Payton to a two-year, $16 million contract, the reaction was lukewarm.

After posting solid numbers two seasons ago with the New Orleans Pelicans, the Knicks took a chance on the 25-year-old point guard. He played 45 games this year, starting in 36, averaging 27.7 minutes per game with a .439 field-goal percentage. However, there were some areas where he struggled, specifically from three-point land, earning a .203 hit rate from beyond the arc.

Also, his free-throw percentage was the worst it has been in over 4 years, finishing at .570%. One area that he did improve is in turnovers, earning a career-low with 2.1 per game. He also logged 1.6 steals per content, the second-highest in his career.

Having struggled to reach his potential as a former top 10 pick in the NBA draft, Payton showed serviceability with the Knicks, proving that he can handle a starting workload and operate at a high-level. The only issue is consistency, as he couldn’t manage to string together weeks of positive play. Injuries also tainted his performance in 2019, but the Knicks have a big decision to make.

Do they stick with Elfrid Payton and allocate a suspected top pick in the NBA draft of 2020 toward a different position, or do they upgrade the point guard position and utilize Payton as a reserve option?

Personally, I believe that the Knicks should find a true point guard who is consistently active on offense. Payton is a skilled passer and defender, but his 10 points per game limited NY’s offensive production. There are options in the draft and in free agency that should be considered, but if they believe Payton can be there starting point guard moving forward, he does have the ability to rise to the occasion.

 

New York Yankees: Aaron Judge receives glowing compliment by NBA Star Damien Lillard

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

New York Yankees‘ slugger Aaron Judge receives an excellent compliment from NBA Star Damien Lillard.

When one of the best players in any given sports compliments you, it’s probably best to listen and take it seriously. Yankees’ Aaron Judge was called “the next Derek Jeter,” by Lillard on “The Huddle,” an Adidas live chat on Instagram.

“He paved the way for sure,” Judge said. “That’s the thing that I’ve been fortunate to be with the Yankees, the legends we have coming in and out of the building during spring training, during the season, just checking in. The Jeters, the Mariano Riveras, Andy Pettitte, Ron Guidry, all those guys. Reggie Jackson. It’s no joke, man. You feel that presence.

Being a Yankee is special for many reasons, but being connected to past greats is undoubtedly one of them. Judge has the opportunity to develop into a player that future Bombers endear and rave about.

“As a player I want to be that same presence. I want to set that path for the guys coming up behind me that are in rookie ball, that are in low-A. ‘Hey, this is how we do things here. If you want to win, you want to be champions, you have to put the team first, you play hard every day and you do it for the team.’”

Injuries have played a significant part in Judge’s short career so far, as 2017 was his only predominantly healthy campaign. He suffered a stress fractured on a rib last Septmeber attempting a diving catch, which also resulted in a collapsed lung, which was only diagnosed a few weeks ago. Luckily, he seems to be progressing nicely through his recovery process, which is a great sign for the Bombers, who desperately need a healthy season out of arguably their best player.

Leading his team to a World Series would undoubtedly land him closer to “legend” status, but he has a long way to go before he can be considered in the same category as Jeter.

New York Yankees: A history of outstanding 2nd baseman, find out the top ten

In the New York Yankees rich history of great players, are names like Babe Ruth, Micky Mantle, Whitey Ford, Joe DiMaggio, Derek Jeter, and dozens more.  Over the years, there have been standouts at every position.  2nd base is the one position that deciding the best ever, is the most difficult, because any one of the top four, you could call as number one for varying reasons.  For instance, Tony Lazzeri had the most hits and RBIs.  Robinson Cano had the most power.  Willie Randolph had the most plate appearances and the best WAR.  You get the idea each had something about them that could be called the best.

The following is this humble writer’s picks for the top ten New York Yankees 2nd baseman:

1. Tony Lazzeri:

Tony Lazzeri is the second longest-tenured  Yankee 2nd baseman.  Tony played 12 years for the Yankees from 1926 to 1937.  Tony’s defense at 2nd was stellar.  He had more hits than Willie Randolph and had the second-most home runs behind Robinson Cano.  Because he played so long ago, most Yankees fans never saw play.  He had 100 or more RBIs across seven years.  He scored 100 or more runs twice, and he had a batting average over .300 in five of his years.  He is my pick for number one.  It should be noted that All-Star games did not start until 1933, Lazzeri was an All-Star in the first-ever All-Star game.

2. Willie Randolph

Willie Randolph played 13 years at second base for the New York Yankees and had the most runs scored and the second-most most hits of 2nd baseman.  During his years he almost doubled the number of drawn bases on balls of other Yankees.  He drew 119 walks in 1980. Willie manned second base from 1975 to 1988. The only hole in his record that kept me from placing him first, is his low home run count.  Randolph was a six-time All-Star for the Yankees.

3. Robinson Cano

Robinson Cano could have been number one on this list if he had remained with the Yankees a few more years.  Although he wasn’t the best defender of all time, his power was greater than any other New York Yankee second baseman.  Over his nine years with the Yankees, he had 204 home runs. He also had the highest OPS of Yankee second baseman at .860.  He was a doubles hitting machine with 375 in his nine years between 2005-2013.  He was a five-time All-Star and received five Silver Slugger awards.

4. Joe Gordon

Joe Gordon is a bit controversial as he only played for the Yankees for seven years between 1938 and 1946, less two years while in the military.  The only reason that Gordon scores so highly on this list is his superlative play at 2nd and his home run power.  He managed 153, which is the highest per year of any other Yankee first baseman.

5. Bobby Richardson

Richardson was probably the second most popular Yankee second baseman behind Willie Randolph.  Bobby was an eight-time All-Star during his entire career played with the Yankees from 1955-1966.  He was also a Gold Glover five times proving his excellent defense of second base. During 1962 he had 209 hits which is amazing.  The hole in his career that puts him behind Joe Gordon is his inability to hit home runs, only 34 in twelve years.

6. Gil McDougald

McDougald would be higher on this list, but he shared duty at shortstop and at 3rd base.  He did spend a considerable amount of time at second and was a good defender.  McDougald spent all ten years of his career with the Yankees being an All-Star five of those years. Gil was Rookie of the Year in 1951.

7. Snuffy Stirnweiss

Stirnweiss was a Yankee second baseman from 1943-1949.  Stirnweiss like McDougald shared his stellar defense with short and 3rd base.  He was on three World Series-winning teams and won the batting title in 1945 with 197 hits.

8. Mark Koenig

Mark Koenig is another New York Yankee that played more than one position, he played both second and third base.  He played for the Yankees for six years from 1925.  He had a .285 batting average during those years.  Although he played for twelve years his best were with the Yankees.

9. Alfonso Soriano

Soriano had two stints with the Yankees, five years from 1999 to 2003, and from 2013 and 2014 when he retired as a Yankee.  Like so many Yankees, he was not an exclusive second baseman he spent time in the left field. While with the Yankees he batted .276 with 121 home runs

10. Billy Martin

Martin played six years at second base for the Yankees while hitting .262 with only 30 home runs.  Martin was known more for his managerial career than his playing days.

Honorable mentions

Scott Brosius (1998-2001) Brosius just missed the list due to his short playing time with the New York Yankees, Mike Pagliarulo, a good defender but had a poor batting average, he did hit 60 home runs between 1986-7.  Joe Pepitone shared his play between second and first base. He was a top first baseman. DJ LeMahieu is a one year veteran with the Yankees, but if his play continues as his 2019 Silver Slugger campaign, he will surely find himself on this list in the years to come.

 

Survey shows that fans are unlikely to attend events until COVID-19 vaccine

Recently, Seton Hall University conducted a poll about how fans felt about attending sporting events after the COVID-19 outbreak.

The survey showed that 72% of fans would not attend games until after a vaccine is developed for coronavirus. 12% of those surveyed said that they would feel safe attending events with proper social distancing, and 13% said that they would feel just as safe as before the outbreak.

76% of fans surveyed said that they would watch games on television with no fans in the stands, and would still be interested. Unfortunately for NFL fans, 70% of those surveyed believe that the season should not start as planned.

76% of fans also think that leagues shut down at the right time, and 84% thought that the IOC made the right decision about this year’s Olympics in Japan.

This survey was completed by 762 Americans and has a margin of error of +/-3.6 percent.

While a lot of results are disappointing, they aren’t unexpected. With a disease so contagious, it’s hard to see how stadiums and arenas could be packed with thousands of fans, shoulder-to-shoulder. I believe that once coronavirus peaks, we can start to consider leagues restarting again but with restrictions. If it’s safe enough, I think that you could end up seeing a limited attendance. If it’s not quite as safe as we hope, we likely see no attendance.

But, I do think it will eventually be safe enough to play games again this year. Vaccines and therapy methods are being worked on, and people are continuing to social distance. It’s just a matter of whether we can attend or not.