The New York Yankees have a tall Opening day task

Could the New York Yankees pursue Max Scherzer in a trade?

When the New York Yankees take on the Washington Nationals to open the 2020 season on Thursday, they will have quite a tall task ahead of them. They’ll be facing a team fresh off a World Series Championship, facing arguably the best starting pitcher in all of baseball. That would be Max Scherzer, a three-time CY Young award winning pitcher.

Scherzer hasn’t won the award since 2017, but has finished in the top three the past two seasons. In 2019, the now almost 36 year-old was 11-7 with a 2.92 ERA in 172.1 innings. He had a 1.027 WHIP and a career-low 2.45 FIP.

Scherzer mainly throws a four seam fastball that tops off in the mid-90s, and a wipeout slider in the mid-80s. He hasn’t seen much of a speed drop-off, something common with older pitchers.

Although Scherzer is known for his dominating stuff, he didn’t look great last Saturday against the Phillies in a scrimmage. In just two innings, he gave up seven runs. Even though it’s just a scrimmage, it would be a bit concerning to see your ace get shelled just days before Opening Day.

But, hopefully for the Yankees, their lineup will overpower the dominating starter. With the likes of Aaron Judge, Giancarlo Stanton, Gleyber Torres, and others; the Yankees have arguably the best offense in baseball.

The Nationals have a great offense too, led by Juan Soto and Trea Turner. However, the team lost Anthony Rendon to the Angels over the offseason, so it’ll be interesting to see how they fill the void at third. Will the Nationals offense be too much for Gerrit Cole in his first Yankee start?

Thursday’s Opening Day matchup between the Yankees and Nationals is set to be a blockbuster. Will the Yankees be able to prevail over three-time CY Young winner Max Scherzer? Or, will it be the Nationals getting to Gerrit Cole in his first Yankee start?

The UFC’s strategy for Sean O’Malley

Dana White and the UFC are constantly looking for their next superstar that would resemble a Conor McGregor or a Ronda Rousey. A fighter than transcends the sport and becomes a massive star.

Right now, the UFC has a few stars on the rosters in guys like Khabib Nurmagomedov, Jorge Masvidal, and Israel Adesanya. Excluding McGregor those are the three most popular fighters that they have.

However, there is one fighter not in that group that has the potential to become the biggest star in the promotion. That fighter is Suga Sean O’Malley.

The Rise of a Star

The Suga Show first made it’s UFC debut on Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contender Series back in 2017. O’Malley delivered the goods in an epic knockout victory over Alfred Khashakyan.

O’Malley followed that up with back-to-back victories to start his UFC career. However, issues with USADA would sideline O’Malley for two years.

In his two years off, O’Malley completely elevated his game, and his star didn’t dim at all. In fact, his return at UFC 248 this year was talked about almost more than any fight on the main card.

O’Malley starched Jose Alberto Quinonez in the first round. O’Malley got a quick turnaround at UFC 250 against former title challenger, Eddie Wineland.

In the toughest matchup of his career, O’Malley put on his best performance. O’Malley slept Wineland early in the first with a walkoff KO that will be watched for years.

The UFC’s Plan Moving Forward

The promotion is being incredibly smart when it comes to the development of O’Malley. I think the company sees the potential they have with this guy.

Certain fighters just have it, and O’Malley definitely has it. People are just drawn to the guy and when he talks, people listen.

O’Malley is scheduled to fight Chito Vera at UFC 252 next month. If O’Malley gets the victory, he will continue to climb up the rankings.

The UFC is bringing O’Malley along like they did with Conor McGregor. Slowly building him up and giving him opponents that will allow him to put on exciting performances.

Think about McGregor’s fight against Diego Brandao. That is how I’m viewing the UFC 252 fight for O’Malley. A win will likely get him a crack at someone inside the top eight of the division.

The UFC is going to play this very smart and they are going to be strategic with O’Malley. Starting with the August fight, O’Malley might only be two or three wins away from his first crack at UFC gold. If O’Malley is able to become champion, he might become the biggest star in the promotion.

New York Yankees: A season like no other, begins tomorrow

New York Yankees, Yankee Stadium

Opening Day for the Yankees is one day away, and Gerrit Cole is ready to make his debut. It’s a day that Yankee fans have been anticipating ever since Cole got signed back in December. A player that grew up a fan of the Bombers finally gets to live out his dream. It’s a perfect moment for him and the Yankees. Though, we all wish it was in a different fashion. Cole will start his Yankee career with an artificial crowd coming out of the thousands of speakers at National Park. Not ideal for a pitcher making his debut with his favorite childhood team. But what has been ideal in 2020? 

The Yankees will begin a season that will be remembered like no other. New York will have to win games with no real crowd noise supporting them along the way. The Bombers have always been driven by the 54,000 die-hard fans that never stop making noise. But this year, they can’t. Now for teams like the Marlins and the Orioles, that’s not really something new. But for the Yankees, they’ve always had fans in the stadium no matter their record. It will truly be a season like no other. There is no denying that. No fans to catch foul balls, no proposals, no cute babies, no autographs, no new dances, nothing. A huge chunk of what made the game so great is lost this year. 

Yet, here we are. Everyone wanted baseball, and here it is. Sometimes, you have to make sacrifices to get what you want, and this season is exactly that, a sacrifice. Players, coaches, executives, and fans are all making a huge sacrifice this year just to see baseball continue.

What does this year mean?

A lot of people say that this year, the World Series shouldn’t count. To me, I think the exact opposite. Winning the World Series this year will be harder than ever. There are so many things that players have to overcome this season and still have to keep their focus on one goal. For some, that’s not an easy task at all. A player will not be allowed to play for two weeks, even if he doesn’t feel any different than before. This virus has changed everything, and players have to adapt. 

One mistake in health protocols could be the end for some players. This year, you will have to be the best of the best to be on top of the MLB. Not just physically, but mentally. For some, it will too much to handle. This year will prove whether or not the Yankees are good enough to survive on the big stage. They will have to do so cheering on themselves. But get ready, because baseball is back! It’s time for the Yankees to finally get that 28th championship that they have been working towards for a decade. I cannot wait!

New York Islanders: New Arena Name Revealed

3d rendered image of belmont park

The New York Islanders finally have a permanent home, and now that home has a name. “The UBS at Belmont Park” is the name of the Islanders’ arena for at least the next 20 years. The deal is worth a minimum of $275 million and the arena will sit 17,000 fans per game. Every arena has a name, but every good arena has a nickname; the Nassau Coliseum was nicknamed “The Barn”, FIU stadium is nicknamed “The Cage” etc… What will Islanders fans call their new home?

The Options

UBS stands for The United Bank of Switzerland, so Islanders owner Jon Ledecky wants to call the new arena “The Bank”. I think this is a great name, it’s very simple and marketable.

However, other fans want to call the new arena “The Barn 2.0”. I am not a fan of this name at all. The Nassau Coliseum is the only arena worthy of ever being called “The Barn”. Even though, Jon Ledecky says he wants to transfer the energy the Coliseum had to the UBS, sometimes it’s better to leave history in the past. Another name for the arena is “The Stable”. This is by far my favorite name; if the last arena was called “The Barn”, why not call the new one “The Stable”? Especially since Belmont Park is home to many famous horse races such as the Belmont Stakes, the Jockey Club Gold Club, and the Champagne Stakes.

Conclusion

No matter what the new beautiful arena will be called, Islanders fans are just glad to have some stability in their lives for the first time since the move to Brooklyn. Long LIve Belmont.

New York Giants: Rag-Tag Team Of Pass-Rushers Could Be Dangerous In 2020

The New York Giants‘ defense does not have a single top-tier pass-rusher. Instead, the Giants have a rag-tag group of pass-rushers and a blitz-heavy defensive scheme to generate pressure. The Dolphins Blitzed on 35% of their snaps in 2019 with Patrick Graham running the defense. The Giants are expected to run a similar defensive scheme in 2020.

New York will use its scheme to make up for its lack of EDGE talent. The Gmen do have a few talented pass-rushers on their roster, but not a proven singular game-changing pass-rusher. But the Giants might not need that. The group of underrated pass-rushers that the Giants have assembled could be dangerous for opposing offenses this season.

New York Giants: Sterling Shepard will have a breakout season

New York Giants, Sterling Shepard

The New York Giants’ new and improved team could open some eyes in 2020. Especially, Sterling Shepard who is coming off a rough 2019 season. To rephrase it, I’m saying rough season because of the number concussion he dealt with.

For example, Shepard missed six games due to concussions, this was tough to watch as a fan. I love Sterling Shepard, not seeing him on the field hurt me, he is a great team leader.

What we can expect from Shepard

Year in and year out, Shepard is that guy who lights a fire in his teammates. He is a team leader and a motivator, there is no better hype man than Sterling Shepard. Without a doubt, Shepard is a guy who needs to stay healthy and be on the field all game. First off, expect Shepard to be a force in the slot and out wide. Not to forget, Shepard has been used before on Jetsweeps, and wheel routes. Overall, Jason Garrett will have a lot of options to choose from, Shepard will be a huge part of the offensive system in 2020.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWQLwgIdoK8

2020 stat line projection

In 2020, Sterling Shepard will be a man on a mission. Hopefully, he is healthy for all 16 games. I’m projecting Shepard to be targeted over 100 times with 70 receptions, and have over 700 receiving yards!  Although Shepard only had three touchdowns in 2019, I’m expecting him to have eight receiving touchdowns this year. Overall, I think Shepard will compete with Slayton for receiving yards and touchdown catches.

I’m expecting a big year out of Sterling Shepard especially with the new offensive system installed. I think Jason Garrett will improve Shepards’ game by a landslide. However, the Giants need Shepard to stay healthy in 2020, having two concussions last year scared a lot of Giants’ fans. Especially me, at the end of the day, Sterling Shepard is a family man and has to consider that factor.

New York Yankees: Yankees to honor the late Hank Steinbrenner

YANKEES TO WEAR COMMEMORATIVE PATCH TO HONOR HENRY G. “HANK” STEINBRENNER

To commemorate the life and recognize the passing of former New York Yankees General Partner / Co-Chairperson Henry G. “Hank” Steinbrenner, the Yankees will don a uniform patch for the 2020 season.Mr. Steinbrenner passed away on April 14, at his home in Clearwater, Fla., from a longstanding health issue. He was 63.

The commemorative patch will be worn on the left sleeve of the Yankees’ home and road jerseys for the entire 2020 regular season and postseason.

New York Yankees, Hank Steinbrenner

Hank, the eldest son of George M. Steinbrenner, maintained his Yankee office at the spring training complex in Tampa, Florida. Although he was seldom involved in the day to day operations, he was deeply involved in player negotiations, player development, and plotting the future of the Yankees.

Reggie Jackson reminisced on Hank Steinbrenner’s passing. Reggie played for the Yankees from 1977-1981. He was acquired by Hank’s father George M. Steinbrenner in one of the first big trades in baseball at the time. That is when he first met Hank. Since Reggie’s retirement, he has been a frequent guest instructor at the spring training complex in Tampa, Florida, where Hal maintained his office.

Jackson commented that he found Hank to be “very generous, thoughtful, and respectful.” Jackson admired how Hank and his brother Hal worked together without jealousy for the benefit of the club. Reggie expected Hank to run the team after the death of the “boss,” however, after the 2009 Championship brother Hal took the reins of the day to day operations. Although he first met Hank in his playing days, they developed a strong relationship and friendship since then.

New York Mets bring back old friend on minor league deal

The New York Mets made a couple of minor league signings on Wednesday, as they secured the services of infielder Brian Dozier and brought back their old friend Juan Lagares. MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reported both transactions.

Lagares joined the San Diego Padres at the start of the offseason, but he requested his release in the middle of July and was granted it. The Mets are the only franchise with which Lagares has played at the major league level.

By now, every Mets fan is familiarized with Lagares’ skill set. He is almost a zero in the power department, but he can play a very good center field even if he is already on the wrong side of 30, at 31 years old. He has a career line of .254/.297/.361.

Having Lagares around to back up center field doesn’t hurt anybody. In fact, he still has that difference-making glove.

The Mets bring Dozier into the fold

On the other hand, the New York Mets also announced an infield reinforcement in Brian Dozier. The experienced second baseman, currently 33 years old, has 192 career home runs and even hit 42 in 2016 with the Minnesota Twins.

Over the duration of his career, Dozier has demonstrated a fine glove at the keystone while providing pop and even a little bit of speed to the teams he has played in. He played last season with the Washington Nationals and helped them get a World Series ring.

He joined the Padres but wasn’t included in the summer camp’s player pool and was let go on July 11. He could be a backup option for the Mets because they have a crowded infield, and several players can defend the second bag, most notably Robinson Cano and Jeff McNeil.

Last season, he hit .238/.340/.430 with 20 home runs and 50 RBI in 135 games last season with the Nats. He could be a sneaky good addition by the Mets in the wake of Jed Lowrie’s placement on the injured list.

New York Mets: Juan Lagares and Brian Dozier Added to Player Pool

The New York Mets continue to add veterans to their player pool as injuries are slowly taking over the roster. Former Met Juan Lagares and 2019 World Champion Brian Dozier sign minor league deals with the Mets to add more depth to their roster. They release Gordon Beckham and Melky Cabrera to make room in the player pool.

Though neither player is going to make the opening day roster, the quality depth is needed. Lagares opted out of his San Diego Padres deal and is an insurance policy for Jake Marisnick, who is dealing with hamstring tightness. The only difference between them is Marisnick brings a little more in the power department. Both players are defensive wizards in the outfield, and Lagares has plenty of experience filling in for injured Mets.

Lowrie Replacement

When Jed Lowrie went on the Injured List, once again, the Mets lack any backup infielders with power. Dozier has at least 20 home runs in six straight seasons and hit a career-high 42 in 2016. He struggled in Spring Training with the Padres and opted out of his deal, like Lagares. The Mets will likely start the season with Luis Guillorme as the back up middle infielder, but if they need more with the bat, Dozier should get the call first.

Both players are productive depth pieces, and now their only concerns are with their pitching. They still need more quality depth there, especially with Marcus Stroman questionable for the opening series.

UFC: Holm – Aldana is off; Shahbazyan – Brunson will headline Aug. 1 card

The UFC has lost it’s main event for their return to Las Vegas. It was reported today that Holly Holm (13-5) vs Irene Aldana (12-5) is off after Aldana had to pull out.

As referenced in the tweet, the UFC has promoted the middleweight clash between Edmen Shahbazyan (11-0) and Derek Brunson (20-7) to the main event.

UFC’s new main event is a fan favorite

When it was first announced that the UFC would return to Vegas with Holm-Aldana as the headliner, there was a lot of criticism from fans.

The fight was not sexy at all when it comes to a main event. The fight rivaled Calvillo-Eye in lack of popularity among the MMA fans.

This new main event is an absolute banger. Shahbazyan is arguably the most exciting prospect in the UFC. At just 22-years old, Shahbazyan already looks like a future world champion.

Every test that has been thrown his way, he’s passed with flying colors. He had a massive challenge against Brad Tavares at UFC 244, and Shahbazyan knocked him out in the first round.

Brunson is a tough out for anyone in the middleweight division. If Shahbazyan can get passed Brunson, you can be assured he’s only a fight or two away from getting a shot at UFC gold.