New York Giants: Joe Judge Praises Rookies After Minicamp

New York Giants, Joe Judge

The New York Giants know which young players they’re going to work with this season, but the process is a bit different this year due to the current pandemic. The Giants were limited in the contact they could have with prospects before the draft because of this, and a number of visits that would have been held face to face were instead held digitally.

Additionally, their offseason activities have been thrown off from the regular schedule even with the draft being concluded, as restrictions haven’t yet been lifted. The future of this season’s training camp and certain other steps in the offseason still hang in the balance, but one thing that avoided getting cancelled is rookie minicamp.

According to head coach Joe Judge, who spoke on MSG 150 at Home, that minicamp went well.

“We had our rookie minicamp last week, which was really our first exposure as an entire organization to them and them to us in terms of laying out our expectations and what we’re going to demand from them. The biggest thing with these rookies is that it’s far from just the X’s and O’s that are important,” Judge said.

“With these rookies, it’s so much about just teaching them about the league. Teaching what it takes to be a professional, how important their bodies really are to them and how accountable they are to really maintain the shape they are in to compete,” the Giants head coach continued.

Minicamp is perhaps more important this year than it was last year, because while the Giants don’t have a new quarterback, they have multiple players who are expected to step in as immediate starters. Andrew Thomas was drafted under that assumption, thanks to the failure of Nate Solder’s run at left tackle, while Xavier McKinney looks like the likely starter at safety next to Jabrill Peppers in addition to being competition for Jordan Love, last season’s breakout player in the secondary.

It remains to be seen how training camp will be conducted given the current situation, but at least the Giants can say that there haven’t been any problems so far with the rookie class due to the limited contact the staff has been able to have so far.

What Giants’ Joe Judge was looking for in his free agent signing and draft picks

New York Giants, Joe Judge

When the New York Giants hired head coach Joe Judge, they didn’t anticipate a global pandemic would shut down all of sports and limit his exposure to the team. A few weeks after the 2020 NFL draft, Judge is finally interacting with rookies and connecting them with the rest of the roster. Judge appeared on “MSG 150 at home” on Monday evening, talking about the free agency and draft process and how the schedule release played into his plans.

“I am very pleased with how they have been working,” Judge said on the show. “We had our rookie minicamp last week, which was really our first exposure as an entire organization to them and them to us in terms of laying out our expectations and what we’re going to demand from them. The biggest thing with these rookies is that it’s far from just the X’s and O’s that are important. With these rookies, it’s so much about just teaching them about the league. Teaching what it takes to be a professional, how important their bodies really are to them and how accountable they are to really maintain the shape they are in to compete.”

The Giants were busy this off-season, signing multiple free agents to solidify their defense and drafting accordingly to boost their offensive line.

With rookies scheduled to miss minicamp and in-house activities suspended, for the time being, players will be virtually managed and expected to follow a specific set of rules and guidelines to ensure they are in full form come the pre-season.

“We were looking to add just smart and tough football players. And we believe all the guys we added to the team fit that criteria right now. I think we definitely got smarter. And that’s what we were looking to identify. We didn’t try to answer any one question in free agency or say we’re going to address this side of the ball now, and then in the draft later,” said Judge. “We were really looking at what fits us as a whole team. And what players we can add – in the way we want to be identified as a team. And I think the guys we added really do that. They have good experience in the league.

The Giants made it a priority to allocated resources toward leaders and great locker-room guys. A major aspect of success is culture, and the Giants have struggled in that department significantly in recent years. Hopefully, their new leader in Judge can resurrect the respect the Giants have gained over the years.

As for the schedule release, excitement and energy accompanied Judge’s emotions.

“It’s one of those things – you know it’s coming out, but you don’t really realize until it comes out how excited you really are. It’s something more in front of you, now you’re looking at who you’re playing and in what sequence,” said Judge. “But you’re really starting to change the mentality of how you’re thinking, in terms of mapping out the season. You’re thinking about your travel schedules, how you can map out practices. You look at long weeks, short weeks, trips across country. You start to do a lot in terms of organizing everything that goes around it.”

The release of the schedule connects the offseason to the beginning of physical work, and Judge is ready to take on the challenge of reviving this team. With plenty of talent to work with, eliminating the in-game issues, Pat Shurmur struggled with the past two years will be a necessity for Judge in his first year as head coach.

New York Giants: Why Oshane Ximines Will Take A Leap In 2020

New York Giants, Oshane Ximines

The New York Giants are looking to improve their record in 2020. After a disappointing 4-12 2019 season, the Giants upgraded their roster’s talent significantly. New York made a few key acquisitions on the defense in free agency. They then bolstered up the offensive line and secondary in the 2020 NFL Draft.

Despite improving nearly every positional group on the roster, there is one group that went mostly untouched. This position was one of the roster’s significant weaknesses, too. The Giants did not do much to upgrade their pass-rush, signing only one edge rusher in free agency and drafting not one player at that position.

Many fans have complained about the lack of assets invested in the edge position. There is a large portion of the fan base that wanted to see the team make a run at Jadeveon Clowney in free agency. Instead, New York signed Kyler Fackrell, an underrated addition that could help improve the pass-rush tenfold. But there is a player on the roster who could take a leap in 2020 and become the team’s primary pass-rusher: Oshane Ximines.

Underrated 2019 Performance

Oshane Ximines does not get enough credit for his performance in 2019. As a rookie out of Old Dominion, Ximines stepped in and made an impact instantly. In limited playing time, the rookie totaled 4.5 sacks. He also recorded 25 combined tackles and 12 pressures.

Ximines was used as a rotational pass rusher in 2019. Being from a small school like Old Dominion, the Giants wanted to ease him into the NFL. But now, with a year under his belt, Oshane is ready to expand his role in 2020.

An Increased Role In 2020

Oshane Ximines played only 45% of the Giants’ defensive snaps in 2019. Tallying 4.5 sacks and 12 pressures in 503 snaps is an impressive feat. Oshane should see his snap total increase in 2020 and, thus, his statistics will improve, too.

Teammate Lorenzo Carter is a comparable player for Ximines. Carter played 40% of snaps as a rookie in 2018. In 2019, he saw his snap percentage increase to 65%. Carter did not exactly improve his performance in the more expansive role, though. His sack total went from 4 to 4.5. This lack of improvement made Carter one of the more disappointing players in 2019.

But Ximines seems ready for an expanded role in 2020. And luckily for Oshane, the Giants’ new defensive coordinator, Patrick Graham, knows how to scheme up some pressures.

New York Rangers G Henrik Lundqvist back on the ice

New York Rangers, Henrik Lundqvist

New York Rangers‘ face of the franchise Henrik Lundqvist gave fans a welcomed sight practicing with his old squad, the Frolunda Indians.

The Frolunda Indians’ official account posted pictures of the King practicing on the ice with his old team.  The tweet translated in the post read “Guest Games by @HLundqvist30 on today’s ice training! Always just as nice.

Hank was dressed in his familiar Rangers gear, wearing his New York logo Winter Classic jersey with his lady Liberty glove, blocker, and pads. The four pictures showed Lundqvist taking breakaway shots, talking with a coach, and a classic pose from behind while he was taking a break from the action.

The 15- year veteran played with Frolunda before he was drafted by the Blueshirts in the 2000 NHL Draft (205th overall). During his time in Sweden, he won the Honken Trophy, awarded to the Swedish goalie of the year, in three consecutive seasons (2003, 2004, 2005). In 2005 he also won two of the most prestigious awards in Swedish ice hockey, the Golden Puck and the Golden Helmet.

Henrik has had a difficult season this year as his playing time decreased significantly with the emergence of rookie goaltender Igor Shesterkin. Along with goalie Alexandar Georgiev, the team found themselves in a three goalie rotation that saw Henrik only start in seven games since the beginning of January.

For the season Henrik has compiled a record of 10-12-3 in his 26 starts.

With a start to the NHL still in question, it was a welcomed opportunity to see one of the all-time great Rangers and future Hall of Famer once again playing hockey.

 

MLB exec details what the league would do if a player tests positive for COVID-19

New York Yankees

On Monday, MLB owners approved a proposal for baseball to return next month – with a potential start of the season around July 1 – and agreed to pass it to the players’ union for them to review it. That means that, while nothing is set in stone yet, a gigantic step forward was taken today, and we might actually get to see the New York Yankees play this year.

MLB decided to halt the start of the season and all operations in mid-March after concerns related to the coronavirus pandemic that is still ongoing. However, there seems to be light at the end of the tunnel.

One of the most concerning things about a possible return to play would be what to do if a player tests positive for the coronavirus. That would mean that the rest of the team roster and even member of the other team, not to mention staffers and workers, would be at risk.

SNY reported on Monday that an MLB executive detailed what they would do if a player tests positive for the coronavirus.

According to Andy Martino, who covers the Yankees and Mets, such a scenario wouldn’t necessarily mean that the season would need to be halted again.

Here is MLB’s plan, per SNY

“The player who tests positive would be isolated, with the entire team all receiving immediate coronavirus tests. At that point, any players found to have the virus would also be isolated and replaced by a member of the team’s large taxi squad (which could consist of roughly 20 players). Players who do not test positive would continue to play.”
If the players’ union agrees with the conditions, the Yankees might be able to make a run for a title that hasn’t been possible since 2009.

The plan outlined by the MLB and approved by owners would have a second “spring” training beginning around June 10, with opening day expected around the start of July.

Comedian takes New York Mets’ slugger Pete Alonso through highlights of his rookie season

The New York Mets did it: they managed to develop one of the most feared home run hitters in the major leagues in Pete Alonso, a 25-year-old masher that will likely terrorize National League pitchers for years to come.

His rookie season was filled with highlights, even though the ultimate goal, which was to advance to the postseason, wasn’t met. Sometimes, it is difficult to explain these moments and the emotions they create. Alonso himself said at different points last season that he didn’t know how to explain them. After all, he made his big league debut, he broke the Mets’ franchise record for round-trippers, and he became the rookie with the most home runs in a single season with 53.

However, and thankfully, other people knew how to explain these iconic moments and put words on them. According to MLB.com, earlier this year, the Mets’ young slugger went for a car ride with comedian Jim Breuer, who played a series of radio highlights from Alonso’s rookie season for a video segment that launched on YouTube over the weekend.

The Mets enjoyed a successful debut season from their star first baseman

Alonso could listen to the radio calls of his first career home run, the one that broke the New York Mets’ franchise record (his 42nd) and his 53rd and final home run of the season, to overcome Aaron Judge’s 52 taters from the 2017 season.

“Last year was one of the greatest in history for baseball, for yourself, for the Mets, for just fans in general,” Breuer said. “You know what you did. But some of the excitement that you may not know about is a lot on the radio, Mets radio. To me, they’re some of the best broadcasters in the world.”

Alonso smiled as he heared the calls from WCBS 880 broadcasters Howie Rose and Wayne Randazzo.

“The whole season, you looked like you were in the greatest theme park in history, and you just couldn’t believe you had tickets to be there,” Breuer said. “You enjoy moments.”

“He was very down to earth, very grounded,” Breuer said. “I could not believe how humble, and the honest, good-spirited kid he is. He loves the game.”

Alonso confessed a few weeks ago that he often looks at highlights of the 2019 season with joy.
The ride with Breuer gave the young New York Mets’ star another chance to enjoy and savour those moments.

“To have that record, it’s crazy,” Alonso said. “But to be honest with you, I hope someone breaks it, because for me, I want someone to experience that.”

New York Yankees’ legend Derek Jeter surprises NYC doctor with Mother’s Day video call

New York Yankees, Yankees, Derek Jeter

Several actors are doing their best to battle coronavirus and minimize the damage of the problematic virus. However, some of the most underrated actions have been taken by first responders, doctors, nurses, and other healthcare professionals that often risk their own wellbeing to protect the society. Those are the real lifesavers. And New York Yankees legend and current Miami Marlins CEO Derek Jeter had a surprise for Dr. Melissa Leber, one of the heroes we are talking about.

Dr. Leber is on the front lines in New York City’s Mount Sinai Hospital’s emergency department, helping one of the cities with the highest infection rates in America. And she happens to be a fan of the former Yankees’ captain.

Jeter called her on Sunday, on Mother’s Day, in what was a very surprising moment for her. He has two small children, and a ESPN reporter was doing a story about her for widely known news show SportsCenter.

The former Yankees’ star thanked Dr. Leber for her courageous work

The video call, as it turns out, had one special guest that popped up on Leber’s screen: Derek Jeter, Yankees’ postseason legend and the owner of five World Series rings, thanked her for her contributions in the battle against COVID-19.

“I want to be one of the first to reach out and say, ‘Happy Mother’s Day,'” Yankees legend and newly elected Hall of Famer Derek Jeter said. “As an athlete, the word ‘hero’ is thrown around quite a bit, but true heroes are people like you on the front lines, and what you do every day, risking your personal health and the health of those you love the most for the good of others, is something that is pretty remarkable.”

Leber cheered Jeter for his whole career and wanted to eventually meet him in person one day. She even shed a few tears of emotion, meeting her favorite player, and thanked the Yankees legend for being an inspiration for generations.

“I’m hoping to meet you in person at some point,” Jeter said. “We can have some time, maybe you can bring the kids down to Miami or we’ll come up to New York.”

“I’ll come anywhere,” Leber said.

BREAKING NEWS: MLB Is Ready To Present Plan to Player’s Union For the 2020 Season

There’s a lot of speculation about start dates, cancellation rumors, and everything in between. The MLB might actually be gaining traction in their plans to have a 2020 season. The rumors of a plan being released this week were just that, rumors, and no one was truly sure. This all changed today as Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic just tweeted that the MLB has a plan they are ready to present to the Player’s Union, which could be huge for not just the MLB but for all of American sports.

According to the tweet by Ken Rosenthal, there is a meeting expected for tomorrow. The actual details aren’t public as of yet, however. The details of the meeting should be released this week but for now, all we can do is speculate about the plan. This is big for sports like the NBA and NHL who are trying to finish their seasons. If the curve begins to flatten and the MLB starts when they plan to (which reports say would be June for Spring Training and July 1st for the regular season), then we can see the NBA and NHL start back up or begin to draft plans or ideas.

It’s rumored that division realignments, the universal DH, and games in certain states are part of the plan. These changes are to adjust to the current crisis and data about the curve. This effect could propel the sports world back into action as the MLB might spearhead the return of sports. This news should not just excite baseball fans but fans of all American sports as these plans could be what brings back the sports we’ve missed so much these last few months. As new reports come out we will continue to update and inform our readers on the situation. What we can take from this is that things are looking up. The sports world could see things get better fast, but let’s stay patient.

MLB: Owners approve 2020 season proposal, now up to players association

Ken Rosenthal and other sources have reported that the MLB owners have approved a proposal for the 2020 season. Now, the proposal will move to the players association on Tuesday for voting and final negotiating.

Included in the plan will be around 82-regular season games with an expanded postseason and a universal DH. All parties will be taking pay-cuts, from players to executives to even umpires. Teams will likely be playing in 10-team divisions, and only play division rivals during the regular season. All games would be played in home stadiums, if safe to do so.

With an 82 game season, that still lines the postseason up for October. The plan for right now would be to play those games at home stadiums, but weather and the second wave of coronavirus could change that. Some people are worried that the postseason could be postponed from a second wave. Joel Sherman said that there are possible concerns about TV ratings with other sports returning.

The big day

Tuesday seems to be the big day. The day that we have been waiting for months. The plan will be moving into the players association for voting, and if players vote yes, then the season will be on. But right now, we have no idea how players will react.

From what it sounds like, players will be able to live at home and see their families, so that’s a good thing. That was one of the concerns from early on. If anything, players may have more time to see family with less extensive travel. But right now, the concern seems to be whether everyone will follow social distancing guidelines. That could concern some players, and they could also be nervous about possibly infecting coaches and support staff that are a part of the vulnerable population.

Also, players may have issues with how they are getting paid. That seems to be negotiable on Tuesday, but as of right now, players could see as much as a 50% pay-cut.

In my personal opinion, I think most players will approve the plan. I think some will be unhappy with parts of it, but the majority of players will vote yes on the plan. Again, just my opinion.

We’ll see what happens, but let’s hope and pray they vote yes.

 

 

Reports: 2021 WBC to be cancelled

Multiple sources have reported that the 2021 WBC (World Baseball Classic) has been canceled. The event will be played next in either 2023 or 2025.

“The tournament was cancelled. It is not the priority right now,” said a source to Enrique Rojas of ESPN.

This comes in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Teams would have likely not had the proper time to prepare, and next offseason will probably be shortened due to the 2020 MLB season being postponed. If the 2020 season runs later, that could significantly cut down offseason time and make the event hard to take place.

Also, Taiwan and Japan were expected to host games, and it likely would not have been safe enough to travel out of the country. It also would increase the risk of coronavirus being brought into America even more from other countries, especially if there isn’t a vaccine by next March. Phoenix and Miami also were expected to host games, with the finals taking place at Marlins Park.

It’s certainly disappointing, but by no means unexpected. They are doing what’s best for the players and the country, and international travel may likely still be unsafe come March. The WBC is a great event, and hopefully, it will indeed be played in 2023 and 2025. It’s fun to be able to see players join forces with other stars, representing their home countries, and just having fun. It’s an excellent way for players to get prepared for the season and see some players that we haven’t seen before making a name for themselves.

But luckily, the MLB will be back soon.