New York Giants: Darius Slayton Excited For Explosive Offense

New York Giants, Darius Slayton

Offense might be one of the bright areas for the New York Giants this year. That’s not to say that everything is perfect for them on that side of the ball. However, the future looks bright based on the pieces the Giants have there.

Quarterback Daniel Jones and Saquon Barkley are major young pieces on the offense that will probably have better numbers next season. And of course, Darius Slayton has emerged as the top receiver on the team. Slayton is one of the players the most excited about the new offense the team has this year. While the personnel hasn’t changed entirely, the team has a new coaching staff and new schemes.

According to Slayton, there’s big things to expect from this new offense.

Slayton makes claims of an explosive offense

The Giants have a good chance to be explosive this year. At least, that’s what Darius Slayton claims.

“I think we just have a really good chance to be explosive. I think we have a chance to be an explosive offense, a really efficient offense. I just look forward to playing this year,” Slayton said to the team website, as training camp moved into its second phase.

He would go into more detail about what the Giants are doing right. That involves changes to the schemes from new offensive coordinator Jason Garrett.

“I think it just does a really good job of harnessing all of our weapons on our offensive skill set…  I think the offense does a really good job holistically of getting everyone involved. Everybody will have a chance to get the ball and have the opportunity to make plays,” Slayton continued.

Slayton led the team in touchdowns last season. This year, it looks like he’ll be in the running to do the same. And like the other receivers, Slayton may just have better odds under more competent coaching than the previous regime.

New York Liberty’s comeback effort falls just short against Indiana

A combined 41 points from Kia Nurse and Layshia Clarendon weren’t enough for the New York Liberty to overcome a double-digit deficit.

The New York Liberty continue to put up solid 25-30 minute efforts in a most unusual WNBA season, but the cruel reality is that professional games last 40.

Kia Nurse and Layshia Clarendon united for 41 points, but the Liberty were unable to erase a deficit that got as high as 16, falling to the Indiana Fever by an 86-79 final on Thursday night in the Bradenton bubble. Tiffany Mitchell led the way with 19 points for Indiana, while the unrelated Kelsey Mitchell had 18 more.

“(Indiana) is good. They got to the rim. Our bigs were afraid to leave their (assignments) because of the offensive rebound ability,” head coach Walt Hopkins said in a postgame Zoom call. “I thought the rhythm the Mitchells set really set the tone.”

The Liberty (1-8) fell behind early, trailing 27-17 after the first quarter. Their halftime deficit was 11, but the remainder of the game was played mostly in the close confines of single digits. New York was able to get as close as five in the third quarter and whittled it all the way down to two in the latter stages. A late defensive lapse, however, allowed the Fever (4-5) to escape with a win.

Kelsey Mitchell, mostly held in check after 13 points in the first half, provided the dagger with a three-pointer that made it 82-77 with 31 seconds to go. New York allowed only 35 points in the second half after trailing 51-40 at halftime.

Clarendon scored quickly on the other side, but Indiana sank their free throws to close it out.

The unfortunate part for the LIberty was that their strong showing came as Nurse, a 2019 All-Star, began to find a bit of a stride. She shot only 4-of-15 from the field but she found new ways to contribute, complimenting a season-best 21 points with six rebounds. Nurse also got to the foul line 12 times, converting all but one of her attempts.

“She’s still putting in the work,” Clarendon said of Nurse’s efforts. “She had a conversation with Coach Walt with what else she can be doing. She had six rebounds and played with a lot of energy and hustle. She’s finding ways to impact the game.”

“Outside of shots falling, Nurse played really, really well,” Hopkins added. “On a night when shots weren’t falling, she found a way. That was impressive.”

Rookie Jazmine Jones also reached double-figures (11 points) for the second straight game after tallying a career-best 24 on Tuesday against Los Angeles. Both Clarendon and fellow veteran Kiah Stokes each played nearly 37 minutes, with Stokes tallying nine points on a career-best three triples.

Two of the Liberty’s past three losses have come by single digits. They’ll get another chance against Indiana on September 10.

The Liberty return to action on Saturday for a rematch with the Minnesota Lynx (6 p.m. ET, CBSSN). Minnesota won the first of two matchups on August 5, using a strong third quarter to earn a 92-66 triumph.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Cynthia Calvillo – Lauren Murphy targeted for UFC 254

UFC 254 is getting a fight between two top five women’s flyweight contenders. Cynthia Calvillo (9-1-1) and Lauren Murphy (13-4) are expected to throw down per MMA Fighting.

Fight for the next UFC title shot?

Cynthia Calvillo didn’t mess around when she made the move up to flyweight this year. After struggling with her weight to stay at strawweight, Calvillo moved up to what’s more of her natural weight class.

In her first fight in the division, she took on the number one ranked contender at the time, Jessica Eye. Eye had only lost one fight in the division and that was to the current UFC champion, Valentina Shevchenko.

Calvillo and Eye got a main event slot at UFC on ESPN 10, and Calvillo put on quite the performance. She used her strong grappling base to neutralize Eye and get the unanimous decision victory.

Because she moved right in and took out the number one contender, she made her flyweight rankings debut at number two. Her impressive victory in her first fight proved that she could hang, and some thought she could be ready for a title shot.

We now know that Jennifer Maia is getting the next shot at the champion, Shevchenko at UFC 255. With that, Calvillo will need one more fight to get to a title shot.

That is where the fourth ranked fighter in the UFC‘s flyweight division, Murphy, steps in. Murphy is no joke herself and she’s coming into this contest riding a three fight winning streak.

In her last fight, Murphy put on an excellent performance over the tough Roxanne Modafferi. That win put Murphy squarely in the top five, perhaps just a win away from the title shot.

These two ladies are likely next in line for a shot at the title. We do not know what this means for Katelyn Chookagian. However, these two will face at UFC 254 and the winner will likely have their eyes focused on the UFC 255 co-main event.

New York Mets: Nido’s Two Home Runs Lead to a 8-2 Victory

The day game after a night game is always an opportunity for the backup catcher to get himself some at-bats. For the New York Mets, Tomas Nido took full advantage of the opportunity with two home runs, including a grand slam, along with six of the eight RBIs in the Mets 8-2 win over the Washington Nationals.

Nido was 4-for-13 heading into Thursday’s matchup but hit under .200 in the previous two seasons. The breakout game gave him more home runs, and RBIs than Wilson Ramos has all season. Nido became the fifth Mets catcher ever to record six RBIs in a game. He joined the selective group of Gary Carter, Todd Hundley, Mike Piazza, and Paul Lo Duca.

Dominic Smith remained hot, adding another home run to his team lead and solidifying his spot as the everyday designated hitter. Pete Alonso also recorded an RBI single for the eighth Mets run. Luis Guillorme also recorded two more hits to push his average to .375. His defense up the middle with Andres Gimenez has proved Guillorme to be a valuable backup.

Injury Woes

The game started with an injury scare as Jeff McNeil fearlessly rammed into the left-field wall, making a tremendous catch to end the first inning. Though he attempted to walk off the field on his own, he had to get carted off. X-Rays for McNeil came back negative, and he will undergo an MRI to get a clearer idea of the severity of his injury. It forced the Mets to insert Billy Hamilton into the third spot in their order in the bottom of the first.

David Peterson once again put together another impressive start. He only allowed one hit through five innings and striking out three Nationals. After allowing two walks and an unearned run in the first inning, Peterson retired seven in a row and only allowed two base runners for the rest of his start. Peterson has proved his worth as the second-best starter behind Jacob deGrom.

At 9-11, the Mets are somehow three games out of first place and begin a three-game weekend series with the Philadelphia Phillies on Friday. Jacob deGrom takes the mound against a starter to be announced, most likely Vince Velazquez. The first pitch from Citizens Bank Park is at 7:05 p.m. ET.


New York Mets: X-rays turn up negative on McNeil’s knee; MRI next

The New York Mets performed X-rays to Jeff McNeil’s knee after he banged it against the left field wall while making a highlight-reel catch. They turned out to be negative, which is of course excellent news, but the Mets and McNeil are not completely out of the woods yet.

The Mets will perform an MRI just to be sure but for now, the injury is being labeled as a bad bruise. McNeil caught a fly ball to the gaps hit by Washington Nationals’ infielder Asdrubal Cabrera in Thursday’s matinee. He immediately crashed into the wall and had to be removed from the game.

“Sources: Jeff McNeil’s knee X-ray is negative, so the hope is it’s just a bad bruise. Will go for MRI to confirm though. McNeil, the heart of the team, made a run-saving catch while diving into the wall in 1st inning,” MLB Network’s Jon Heyman tweeted.

After the collision, McNeil tried to walk on his own power but couldn’t do it, and had to be carted off. Billy Hamilton took his place in the Mets’ outfield for the rest of the game. It is still not clear if McNeil will be forced to miss some time.

The Mets are holding their breath

The MRI will provide more clarity in the situation. For now, the New York Mets will be in wait and see mode. If he is forced to miss time, JD Davis will see more time at third and Dominic Smith’s place in the everyday lineup will be virtually guaranteed.

McNeil is one of the Mets’ most talented hitters, as he owns a career .319/.382/ .502 line with a .375 wOBA and a 139 wRC+. In 212 career games and 882 plate appearances, he has hit 26 long balls, scored 123 runs and driven in 101.

For the season, he was at .293/.358/.362 with a .319 wOBA and a 107 wRC+. He already had to deal with a very minor intercostal strain, as the Mets continue to be the victims of bad luck with injuries. They lost Noah Syndergaard for the year and others such as Jared Hughes, Brad Brach, Michael Wacha, Amed Rosario and Robinson Cano have had to miss some games.

New York Islanders: Should Ross Johnston Play in Game 2?

ross johnston, New York Islanders

The identity of the New York Islanders is a tough, physical, defensive team. Who’s the first player that comes to your mind that’s on the Islanders who’s tough, physical, and defensive? Most people would say Cal Clutterbuck, or Casey Cizikas, possibly even Matt Martin.

Then there are the few people who say, Ross Johnston. Ross Johnston is a goon. He’s the enforcer, the head hunter, the brawler. This series vs. the Capitals is a brawler series. I mean, the Capitals have Tom Wilson, Radko Gudas, and Garnet Hathaway.

Many fans are calling for Ross Johnston to come in and replace Leo Komarov on the 3rd line so that the Islanders can fire back. Is this a smart move for the Islanders, though?

Why Ross Johnston Shouldn’t Start

As previously stated, Ross Johnston is a goon. You cannot go into playoff hockey with undisciplined players. Islanders fans saw their team take seven penalties in game one alone. The Islanders have a bad penalty kill, and the Capitals have Alex Ovechkin. Why risk losing a game because you want your goon to hurt Tom Wilson.

The playoffs are for teams who can win the Stanley Cup, not for teams who would rather fight other players. Also, what else does Johnston offer for this team? Leo Komarov at least can play on the penalty kill. Tom Kuhnhackl is great on the forecheck. Andrew Ladd offers veteran leadership and a winning mentality. Michael Dal Colle exists, I guess. Johnston just delivers hits. There’s no reason for Johnston to play unless he can show that he can bring more to this team, such as forechecking or good skating.


I don’t believe there’s a reason for Johnston to play for the rest of the playoffs. The Islanders are here to win the cup, not to injure other players.

New York Mets: Jeff McNeil exits Thursday’s game after crashing into the wall

The New York Mets keep receiving bad news on the injury front. Infielder/outfielder Jeff McNeil had to be removed from Thursday afternoon’s game against the Washington Nationals after he collided with the wall while making a highly difficult catch in left field.

Here is the video:

He managed to hold onto the ball, but he paid the price. Word from the stadium is that the Mets’ batting machine may be dealing with a knee injury, although an official diagnosis is still not available at the time.

The New York Mets already lost rotation stalwarts Noah Syndergaard (Tommy John surgery) Marcus Stroman (opted out of the season because of concerns with COVID-19) and Michael Wacha (right shoulder inflammation,) not to mention infielder Robinson Cano.

Will the Mets’ depth get tested again?

McNeil himself dealt with a minor intercostal strain last week, one that cost him a couple of games. The Mets’ infielder (and outfielder) depth will be tested again, as it is unclear at this point if McNeil is going to miss time and how much.

The Mets’ star player tried to walk off the field under his own power but, according to Rotoworld, eventually sat back down on the ground and ultimately had to be carted off. He was seen grabbing his knee area at the moment of receiving medical assistance.

Billy Hamilton, who was signed by the Mets recently, replaced in the lineup in the bottom of the first frame.
McNeil was batting .293 with no homers or steals, but with five runs, seven RBI and a .720 OPS. He is an important piece in the Mets’ lineup and manager Luis Rojas would have a hard time replacing his expected production if that were the case.

The Mets are currently in fourth place in the National League East division with a 8-11 record, ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies but behind the Atlanta Braves, Miami Marlins and the Nationals.

MLB Analysis: The top ten surprises of the 2020 baseball season, find out here

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge, Jose Altuve

For the New York Yankees and the 29 other MLB teams, this has been a bizarre but exciting 2020 season so far.  Some things have been expected and some not.  Like everyone knew that there would be teams that would have positive coronavirus tests. Another example is who you have thought that with 25% of the season played that the lowly Miami Marlins would be tied on top of the American League East?  Here are my top 10 surprises of the 2020 baseball season.

1. Miami Marlins leading AL East

Last year the Derek Jeter’s lowly Marlins lost 105 games.  Their winning percentage was just .352.  This year they looked like they would be as bad or even worse. Then the coronavirus struck the team big time.  Two crew and 17 players tested positive for the coronavirus.  The team was shut down by MLB. As they prepared to play they picked up a couple of players and brought some up from their minor league affiliates.  The result is a team that has played 7-3 in their last ten games.

2. Boston Red Sox

The Boston Red Sox are in a big mess.  During the offseason, they lost superstar Mookie Betts and pitcher David Price to the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Pitcher Chris Sale is on the IL, their best pitcher from last year was Eduardo Rodriguez, he has been shut down for heart inflammation due to the coronavirus and will be out the rest of the season. That leaves the Red Sox with just Nathan Eovaldi from the 2018 winning season.  Also since then, Rick Porcello has gone the World Champion Nationals. However, with their pitching rotation in shambles, they still have a potent lineup even without Mookie Betts. The Red Sox are second to the worst team in all of baseball.  Only the 3-13 Pittsburgh Pirates are worse.

3. Detroit Tigers and Baltimore Orioles will be in the postseason.

The Baltimore Orioles and Detroit Tigers that sat at the bottom of baseball last year, are playing a bit better this year. Both teams are playing over .500 ball.  In this short season and the expanded postseason setup of 16 games, both teams seem headed to berths in the postseason.

4. What happened to the Met’s expectations?

Before the beginning of the 2020 baseball season, the New York Mets had great expectations this year. So what happened?  Noah Syndergaard is out for the season after having Tommy John surgery.  Jacob deGrom has been dealing with back issues and pitcher Marcus Stroman has just decided to opt-out of the season, leaving the Mets with few pitching options. Yoenis Cespedes also opted out. With the Met’s mediocre hitting they really need some pitching help.

5. The struggling Houston Astros

The Houston Astros seemed to gain some as the season would start without fans in the stands to boo them at every city they visited.  However, that became a secondary thought as the Astros lost ace Gerrit Cole to the Yankees in the offseason. Then they lost the other starting ace in Justin Verlander when he became injured.  With there two best pitchers gone, their outlook was bleak.  Now we have drama with huge fights on the field. The Astros that have been at the top of their game for the last three seasons, now find themselves playing .444 baseball.

6. The Cleveland Indians are batting just .195

The traditionally good Cleveland Indians are batting just .195 this season, the worst record in all of baseball. To find a team batting average that low across a full season at the highest level, you must go all the way back to the 1884 St. Paul White Caps of the Union Association. Given that modern baseball dates back to the American League and National League agreement prior to the 1903 season, you can say Cleveland is on pace to register the worst team batting average in MLB history.

7. The Yankees Aaron Judge set to be the 2020 MVP?

Although presently suffering from some minor lower body tightness, Aaron Judge is off to a fast start this year, and it appears he may eclipse his 2017 season when he was voted second as MVP.  In his last fourteen games, he has 9 home runs leading all of baseball and has 19 RBI’s. In 2017 Judge hit 52 home runs.  With each stat being worth a factor of 2.7 he would be on pace to hit over 60 home runs if this were are regular 162 game season.  Even in this short season, he could hit 30 or more home runs, as long as he stays healthy.

8. The St. Louis Cardinals have played only 5 games

Earlier in the season, the Maimi Marlins were struck with the coronavirus.  But they have since for the most part recovered from the disaster. The Saint Lous Cardinals have not been that lucky. St. Louis hasn’t played a game since July 29, and it’s not certain when the Cards will be able to take the field again. Maybe it’s by Friday, but nothing’s certain. Each time the Cards were set to play a series it was canceled when even more players had positive tests.  The Cards have now had 13 games postponed making it likely that they won’t even be able to play 50 games this year.  Commissioner Manfred has already said that if several teams are unable to play the schedule that season winners would be decided by percentages.

9. The season hasn’t been canceled

With at least four teams having major outbreaks of the coronavirus, and the lack of health protocols being followed by all teams, its a miracle that the season hasn’t already been canceled.  Commissioner Manfred has issued strong warnings about not following the rules, but it didn’t seem to have much effect. Players still don’t wear masks and don’t social distance in the dugout.  Add to that, the spitting and high fives are ramped. Manfred seems to be set on getting this season done at any cost.

10. Will the Los Angeles Angels and Colorado Rockies be a surprise this year?

Although the Angels are now fourth in the AL West, can new Daddy Mike Trout and newly acquired Anthony Rendon lift the Angels to a postseason berth.  The answer is probably.  The Colorado Rockies presently sit tied for second in all of the NL behind the Chicago Cubs. Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies is poised to give it a go in 2020. To be sure, a .400 season across just 60 games prorated to beat Ted William record, from 1941. With the Rockies and the Cubs playing as well as they are, the Dodgers better keep looking over their collective shoulders.

New York Giants: Corey Coleman Healthy And Ready To Earn WR4 Position

New York Giants, Corey Coleman

The New York Giants‘ offense has battled injuries over the last couple of seasons. Last year, all of the Giants’ top playmakers missed time with injuries at some point or another. Saquon Barkley, Daniel Jones, Evan Engram, Golden Tate, Darius Slayton, and Sterling Shepard were all absent at one point or another. All of those players suffered injuries midseason and did get regular-season action. But the Giants have another playmaker on their roster who suffered an injury prior to the start of the regular season, keeping him sidelined the whole year.

Wide receiver Corey Coleman tore his ACL in training camp last year. He missed the entire 2019 season. The Giants certainly felt Coleman’s absence as the season went on, seeing multiple injuries arise in the receiving corps. But entering the 2020 season, wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert says that Corey Coleman is healthy and ready to go.

Tyke Tolbert On Corey Coleman

New York Giants wide receivers coach Tyke Tolbert spoke with the media today as the team begins full-squad practices. Tolbert has been a coach with the Giants since 2018, making him one of the few coaches leftover from Pat Shurmur’s staff. Tolbert has done an excellent job with the Giants’ wide receivers and has received plenty of praise from his players.

Tolbert discussed wide receiver Corey Coleman today, saying Coleman is “pretty much back to what he was before he was injured.” Coleman has struggled with injuries throughout his career, so it is encouraging to hear he is healthy and ready for 2020.

Tolbert also had this to say about Darius Slayton:

Corey Coleman’s Return

Corey Coleman has been with the Giants since 2018. Since then, he has only been active for 8 games and started in 1 game. Last offseason, former head coach Pat Shurmur expressed confidence in Coleman, saying he had big plans for the receiver. Unfortunately, Giants fans never got to see those plans put into place as Coleman suffered a torn ACL early on in training camp.

Coleman is a former first-round pick that has struggled to stay on the field in his career. He has never played more than 10 games in a season. Corey was electric during his collegiate career at Baylor and has certainly flashed potential in the NFL. But he has never been able to put it all together.

Now that Corey Coleman is fully recovered from his injury, he can finally return to the field and prove the doubters wrong. The Giants have plenty of depth at the wide receiver position. They recently signed three undrafted free agents to compete for the backup wide receiver positions. Coleman will need to impress in training camp to prevent one of the rookies from taking his spot.

FOCO releases awesome Derek Jeter bobble-head

Derek Jeter, New York Yankees

If you are a New York Yankees fan, you obviously know who Derek Jeter is. The star shortstop represents the epitome of Yankee baseball, bringing championships and professionalism to the Bronx. Donning the pinstripes, Jeter earned 14 All-Star selections and won five championships with the Yankees.

Derek Jeter New York Yankees Framed Showcase Bobblehead. Now batting… Number 2… Derek… Jeter! 14 All-Star selections. Five championships. One legendary bobblehead to celebrate them all.

FOCO has released a limited edition bobblehead, which would go perfectly on any shelf or desk!

Check it out here: