New York Yankees: Good news and bad news in Aaron Boone ejecting loss to Miami

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

A spark, a plea, anything to get the New York Yankees to score some runs! Manager Aaron Boone took that to heart, as he stormed out of the dugout to argue strikes thrown to Aaron Judge. Boone’s tirade ended in an ejection but showing some anger and fire was needed for a team that scored just two runs over the final two games against the Toronto Blue Jays earlier this week.

However, on Friday evening, the offense sputtered once again, scoring just two runs over six hits, but it wasn’t for a lack of trying. The Marlins only posted three hits, but thanks to one three-run homer, Miami walked away with a victory in a game that should have been won handily by the Yanks.

FINAL SCORE: 4-3

Good news and bad news for the New York Yankees:

GOOD NEWS:

The offense struggled to pick up the pace for the third consecutive game on Friday, waiting until the final moments to tie the game. However, three Yankee batters recorded two hits, including Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez, and Luke Voit. Unfortunately, fellow slugger Giancarlo Stanton struck out three times over three at-bats. Stanton has been disappointing since returning from his hamstring injury and gaining some momentum before the postseason is essential.

As for their pitching, J.A. Happ had a strong outing despite a three-run homer he allowed in the first inning. Happ limited the Marlins to just three hits, proving that he, in fact, will probably be the Yankees’ third starter in the rotation for the postseason. He finishes his regular season with 3.47 ERA.

Fortunately, the bullpen had a strong outing, and considering their struggles, positive momentum heading into the playoffs is a necessity.

BAD NEWS:

The umpiring during the loss to Miami was awful in every sense. Aside from wayward strikes being called resulting in Boone’s ejection, they also interfered with a throw to second base on a stolen base attempt in the eighth inning. Mike Tauchman stole second base to get one step closer to tying the game but was sent back to first due to the interference.

Rule 5.06(c)(2) says dead ball if “The plate umpire interferes with the catcher’s throw attempting to prevent a stolen base or retire a runner on a pick-off play; runners may not advance.”

Despite the umpire’s lack of efficiency, the Yankees still managed to tie the game in the bottom of the eighth, thanks to an Aaron Judge single, driving in Tauchman. Nonetheless, with the bases loaded in the tenth inning, DJ LeMahieu hit into a double play and ended the game. The Yankees have now gifted playoff berths for the Toronto Blue Jays and Miami Marlins.

Yankees’ Aaron Boone goes ballistic, gets ejected against Marlins

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

New York Yankees‘ manager Aaron Boone lost his composure and calmness on Friday night, as he was ejected from the game against the Miami Marlins for arguing balls and strikes.

Home plate umpire John Tumpane called a very controversial strike three on Aaron Judge on an extremely low pitch, which was very clearly a ball.

The Yankees’ skipper didn’t waste any words, even F-bombs, to express his feelings towards Tumpane once he saw a pattern with other hitters.

“Just because you f— kicked the first one don’t keep kicking it,” Boone said in his rant. He also said that the Marlins’ starter, Sandy Alcantara, has a good sinker, “and those are not f— strikes!”

You can see the pitch to Judge here (number 6):

And here is the one to Aaron Hicks that prompted Boone’s ejection:

Judge, the Yankees’ most dangerous slugger when healthy, has had this issue for virtually all of his career. Pitchers take advantage of the fact that umpires tend to call strikes on the low and away fastball or breaking ball, even if they are outside the zone according to the eye test (and Statcast.)

It is possible that Boone was trying to light a spark in the Yankees, who have dropped four of their last five and started Friday’s contest in the wrong foot, with starter J.A. Happ giving up a three-run bomb in the first innings.

New York Rangers: Decision on Henrik Lundqvist not expected this weekend (Report)

TSN’s Darren Dreger reported on Friday night that his sources with the New York Rangers have told him they will not be making a decision regarding a possible buyout of Henrik Lundqvist this weekend.

Dreger went on to report a few other pieces of information regarding the 15-year veteran who has played his entire career with the Blueshirts.

“They want to treat him with the respect he has earned.”

  • There is no trade interest at this point.
  • It’s highly unlikely that he is going to retire.
  • A decision on a buyout won’t be made today or this weekend.
  • A buyout is possible.

Hank began the season as the team’s number one goalie but his struggles early on combined with the emergence of rookie Igor Shesterkin relegated him to a backup position for most of the second half of the season. Hank ended the regular season with a 10-12-3 record playing in 30 games.

In his career with the club, Hank has compiled a 459-310-96 record awhile appearing in 887 games.

Lundqvist did play the first two games of the qualifying round, both losses, to the Carolina Hurricanes as Shesterkin was forced to sit out due to an injury.

Regardless of what scenario the club and Hank decide on, one thing is apparently clear. Blueshirt fans have seen the last of Lundqvist in a Rangers sweater.

Giancarlo Stanton makes his decision on future with Yankees

New York Yankees, Giancarlo Stanton

While no one expected Giancarlo Stanton to try to hit free agency, it’s official now. Giancarlo Stanton will void his opt-out for the offseason as expected. This means the Yankees will owe him $218 million over the next seven years. While it is backloaded, it has an AAV of $29 million for the next two years, which isn’t bad. The heavy part is the next three years of a $32 million AAV. This is all before a $25 million cost in year seven and a $10 million buyout in year eight if he doesn’t get the option. He has a huge number and long years, but overall the contract may not be as bad as it’s presumed to be. Giancarlo Stanton is a Yankee, and we have to give him a chance in the Bronx.

Giancarlo Stanton’s Health In New York

Despite what most people will tell you when Stanton plays, he’s very, very valuable. While yes, I would still say his contract is an overpay, it’s definitely not a nightmare contract. He has a huge health concern, but that was a risk the Yankees knew they were taking with him. The season in 2019 seemed to be a bit of an anomaly, though, as the last time Stanton didn’t play 100+ games, he got hit in the face with a fastball. He will probably play 120 games, which is around his per year average, and I assume he will be able to post a four fWAR per 120 games as that’s his per 120 average since 2017. That would make him worth a little bit more per year than his contract actually. This is, of course, just speculation, but it is the thought the Yankees should have.

Constant Threat At DH For the Yankees

The New York Yankees, for 120 games a year, will have a 140 wRC+, .360 OBP, and high hard-hit percentage. This is all right between their high OBP guys and solid bats. They know they need Stanton’s presence to win, so him staying will help chase for 28. There really wasn’t a high chance he would leave, but baseball is weird. You never know if or when a player has had enough of a team or a city. I think he will enjoy some success in the Bronx, and he will get the fans on his side with a title in his prime while he’s here.

I can’t give any guarantees as injuries can derail a career, that’s very true. What I can say that if we get 120 games of standard Stanton, we’re going to be fine paying him what we pay him.

Which are MLB’s most popular jerseys? The New York Yankees have several names on the list

New York Yankees, Aaron Judge

New York Yankees‘ slugger Aaron Judge may not have had the most successful season health-wise. He almost missed the start of the season with a rib/lung issue that he battled for months, and he has missed two large chunks of the year while recovering from a grade 1 calf strain that he latter aggravated.

However, the fact that he hasn’t been able to stay on the field didn’t prevent him from seeing his name in the list of most popular jerseys in the Major League Baseball universe.

The New York Yankees, of course, are no strangers to famous players who are stars in the field and also very popular outside of it. Judge, in particular, isn’t very talkative, but he is committed to the community, and his legendary power and cannon of an arm in right field do the talking.

The Yankees’ outfielder was only bested by Betts

The Yankees’ outfielder had the second most popular jersey in the league behind Los Angeles Dodgers’ star Mookie Betts, who moved to LA after several successful seasons with the Boston Red Sox.

The list was released jointly on Friday by MLB and Major League Baseball Players, Inc., and was based on sales of jerseys from MLBShop.com, which is the official online shop of Major League Baseball, since Opening Day.

Fellow Yankee Giancarlo Stanton checked in at number 16 in the ranking, while stellar free agent signing Gerrit Cole was in the 19th position.

Most Popular MLB Player Jerseys of 2020

1) Mookie Betts, Los Angeles Dodgers
2) Aaron Judge, New York Yankees
3) Bryce Harper, Philadelphia Phillies
4) Fernando Tatis Jr., San Diego Padres
5) Juan Soto, Washington Nationals
6) Cody Bellinger, Los Angeles Dodgers
7) Max Scherzer, Washington Nationals
8) Javier Báez, Chicago Cubs
9) Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers
10) Ronald Acuña Jr., Atlanta Braves
11) Christian Yelich, Milwaukee Brewers
12) Manny Machado, San Diego Padres
13) Anthony Rizzo, Chicago Cubs
14) Mike Trout, Los Angeles Angels
15) Kris Bryant, Chicago Cubs
16) Giancarlo Stanton, New York Yankees
17) Yadier Molina, St. Louis Cardinals
18) Jose Altuve, Houston Astros
19) Gerrit Cole, New York Yankees
20) Freddie Freeman, Atlanta Braves

New York Yankees: Wild Card series seeding scenarios

New York Yankees, Gerrit Cole, James Paxton

With just three games left in the regular season, the New York Yankees are sitting fifth in the American League and second in the AL East. Although the team is locked into the postseason, a lot can still happen with seeding.

The team sits two games back of the White Sox for fourth in the American League. Fourth place is significant as that would be enough to host the Wild Card round. If the Yankees finish fifth, it would mean that the team plays the Wild Card series completely on the road. And with an 11-18 record away from home, it’s even more important the Yankees get fourth. But to get there, they would need a sweep of the Marlins and a Cubs sweep of the White Sox. They would also need at least two losses from the Indians, who face the Pirates.

But even if the Yankees don’t get the fourth seed, there’s no guarantee that they will play the White Sox. The AL Central is yet to be decided, with the White Sox, Twins, and Indians all within two games of each other. The Yankees will play whoever finishes second in the AL Central, if they finish fifth.

However, the Yankees don’t have the fifth seed locked up just yet. The Blue Jays sit just two games back of them, and a Marlins sweep of the Yankees and a Blue Jays sweep of Orioles. That would give the Yankees the eighth seed, facing either the Rays or the AL Central winner. The Twins currently lead the central, but that could change.

For everything to work out in the Yankees favor this weekend, they just need to keep on their own path and sweep the Marlins. Losing games puts them in a worse position and matches them against tougher teams.

 

‘We have great teachers’: How the Knicks are laying the foundation of a rebuild

New York Knicks, Tom Thibodeau

The New York Knicks are back in the gym. But it feels more like they’re back to school.

After a week of individual workouts, the Knicks have advanced to voluntary team sessions that consist of drills, team practice, and intra-squad scrimmages sprinkled with sitdown, class-style sessions in between.

Tom Thibodeau, a basketball lifer, doesn’t look like the gruff taskmaster, which every naysayer depicted him to be.  The photos on the Knicks’ social media accounts project him more of a teacher, just like how he wanted it.

During his zoom call with reporters earlier this week, Thibodeau expressed how pleased he is to have been surrounded by a “group of teachers.”

Thibodeau regaled the media with a story on how he came away left impressed with associate head coach Johnnie Bryant during his visit to Utah. He also noted his close relationship with Kentucky Wildcats coach John Calipari that led him to get to know Kenny Payne.

“For us to have the opportunity to hire both of those guys (Bryant and Payne) I think adds a lot to the staff,” Thibodeau said.

While he doesn’t have a prior working relationship with the returning Mike Woodson (Knicks coach in 2012-14), he’s heard a lot from their circle.

“I’ve known Woody for a long time,” Thibodeau said. We have a lot of mutual friends. Getting a chance to be around him on a day to day basis has been great and I love the experience that he’s bringing to our staff. Having Woody and Andy Greer, I’m very pleased. I think we have great teachers on our staff.”

This is how Thibodeau has envisioned it.

In the months leading to his appointment as the Knicks head coach, Thibodeau had a revealing interview in The Platform podcast. He talked about how critical is the coaching staff to help him build a winning culture.

For the first time in so many years, the Knicks have synergy from top to bottom.  From Leon Rose and William Wesley down to Thibodeau and his staff, they share the vision of culture setting and player development.

“The best leaders bring out the best in everyone they’re around. That’s what you want, a team of leaders. It’s like a team when you put a staff together. You have to have chemistry. You don’t want to be all the same,” Thibodeau said in the podcast.

Bryant, Payne, and Woodson fit Thibodeau’s criteria.

“Also, who they have been around. It’s different for different people like when you played in the league, you are a great player so let’s start there: have you been around with great coaches? Who is your high school coach? Who is your college coach? What pro coaches have you played for? If you are currently an assistant coach, what great coaches have you been around, and have you won at a high level? At least these things factor into it.”

Bryant is the young up-and-coming coach who has been associated with a perennial playoff team in Utah. Payne has been Calipari’s right-hand man and the acknowledged best assistant coach in college before he came aboard. Woodson has led his past teams to the playoffs and has won an NBA championship with Larry Brown in Detroit.

Thibodeau wants his staff to mirror his team — full of diversity and versatility.

“Just like in a team, you wouldn’t want all older veterans…You’re trying to get different opinions in guys who see things like maybe you want the experience of a long-time assistant, you want the experience of a guy who played in the league maybe in the last three to four years, you want to get a lot of different thoughts.”

With such a young roster and no star in the foreseeable future, the Knicks have finally figured out. The past regime was right when they started to build through the Draft.  But what they seemingly forgot is that it’s only half of the equation.  Player development was neglected.  So when they started to pivot to star-chasing, their empty chest of talent couldn’t draw the stars to come to New York.

It feels like ages ago since the Knicks were relevant, having a playoff team built around stars Carmelo Anthony and Amare Stoudemire. But it was also around that time when their long-time conference rival Miami Heat were entering the peak of the Heatles (LeBron James, Dwyane Wade, Chris Bosh).

The Knicks were never the same again after Anthony and Stoudemire left. In contrast, the Heat are now in the last phase of their rebuild.

How have the Heat done it? By having a culture that has been as steady as a rock, and through player development.

The steadying influence of former Knicks coach-turned executive Pat Riley has empowered Erik Spoelstra to stay afloat during the rebuilding years.

It was that culture that led them to attract a proven star in Jimmy Butler.  It was that solid scouting and player development that enabled them: to have late lottery pick Bam Adebayo rise as an emerging NBA star; to have pushed last year’s 13th pick Tyler Herro to perform like a veteran and to unearth undrafted players Duncan Robinson, and Kendrick Nunn.

The Heat found luck in finding players. But certainly, their stunning development wasn’t out of pure luck.  They have adapted to the cards they’ve been dealt with, and now they are on the cusp of reaping the reward — a return trip to the NBA Finals.

The Knicks, on the other hand, are currently back to the drawing board. They have long ways to go before having a playoff team like the Heat. But if it’s any consolation, they are now laying the foundation of what looks like a real culture.

“I think that’s a big challenge in the NBA — how quickly can you adapt? — because things always change in the league, whether it’s trade, free agency, an injury,” Thibodeau said during the zoom call. “You have to adapt quickly. So for us, the focus has to be on the guys who are here. And that’s what we’re doing.

“So everyday we’re thinking about how we can improve as a team and how we can improve individually. And we want that to be our focus. We want to stack days together. We know it starts with fundamentals. We have to build that base and then we’ll take it from there.”

Going back to school is what the Knicks should have done a long time ago.  But it’s better late than never.  Just ask their two-way player Kenny Wooten, Jr.

New York Yankees: Six years ago today, Derek Jeter walked off Yankee Stadium with style

New York Yankees, Yankees, Derek Jeter

Derek Jeter had one of the most legendary New York Yankees careers. On September 25, 2014, Jeter played the final game of his 20-year career at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx.  And, in usual Jeter style, he did it in the most amazing way. With the game tied between the Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles, the legendary voice announced: Derek Jeter, number 2 Derek Jeter. Jeter stepped to the plate and hit a walk-off single to win the game for the Yankees.

Jeter throughout his career always seemed to come up big in key situations. Just three years earlier with his 3,000th hit on the line. Jeter singled for his 2,999th hit. In his next at-bat, he got his 3,000th with a dramatic home run to left field. He ended up going 5 for 5 on the day. His illustrious career seemed to be almost choreographed at important moments.

Tonight six years to the day he had that walk-off game at Yankee Stadium, his Miami Marlins team will meet up with the New York Yankees on the same field where he ended his baseball career.

New York Mets: What would need to happen for the team to pull off the miracle?

New York Mets, Robinson Cano

The New York Mets won 3-2 against the Washington Nationals on Thursday, to keep their slim playoffs hopes alive. Rookie David Peterson and catcher Robinson Chirinos were the heroes yesterday.

Now, the New York Mets can’t afford to make more mistakes if they want to earn the right to play baseball in October. They are currently 26-31 with three games left against the Nats, which is good for the fourth place in the National League East division.

The Mets ae within three games of the Miami Marlins (29-28) which are currently in the second spot in the East. However, the Philadelphia Phillies (28-29) are also a direct rival for the postseason.

The first two teams in each division qualify. The Atlanta Braves (34-23) are already in, but the Mets, the Phillies and the Marlins each have chances to finish with the second spot.

Can the Mets pull off the miracle?

Another avenue towards qualification to the playoffs is the Wild Card. Each league gives two WC spots to the best records that are not first or second in their divisions. Those positions are currently occupied by the Cincinnati Reds (29-28) and San Francisco Giants (28-28.)

What would need to happen for the New York Mets to finish second in their division? Well, they would have to win all three remaining games against the Nats and pray that both the Marlins and Phillies get swept. They play against the Yankees and Braves, respectively.

The math for a wild card spot gets even more complicated. Eight teams qualify to the playoffs, and the Mets currently have the 11th best record. Lots of things would need to happen.

“Hopefully, it’s not over,” Peterson said per Fox News. “Hopefully, we can finish strong and see what happens. It’s been a good experience for me.”

Can the Mets pull off the miracle this time?

UFC: Conor McGregor claims he’s boxing Manny Pacquiao next

Conor McGregor, UFC

It’s been a social media storm today from the biggest star in the UFC. Conor McGregor has once again been active on his favorite platform, Twitter. McGregor sent a slew of screenshots between him and Dana White showing that he wanted to fight.

The former UFC double champion continued to ask White in the screenshots for options to get him a fight. The only thing that McGregor declined to do was be a backup for the Khabib Nurmagomedov – Tony Ferguson fight.

McGregor became increasingly frustrated with the UFC because he was asked to wait until fans come back. Because of his growing frustration, he decided that he wanted to walk away from the sport because of the lack of options.

However, McGregor went on to say that he’s not done in the combat arena. In the last tweet that McGregor sent, he claimed that he would be boxing world champion, Manny Pacquiao, in the Middle East for his next bout.

UFC versus Boxing Round 2?

Back in late July, the former UFC champion made headlines when he tweeted out the words, “I accept,” in Pacquiao’s native language. The two have been rumored to be a pairing for some time and both have expressed interest in the contest.

The UFC has come out recently and said that they were working on something fun for Conor McGregor. However, when Dana White was pressed on him fighting in the octagon, he wouldn’t confirm nor deny it.

White said that whatever it was would take place in early 2021. Could White have been referring to a potential boxing matching between McGregor and Pacquiao? Pacquiao last fought in July of 2019 when he successfully defended his WBA Super World Welterweight title.

If the UFC were to co-promote a fight between McGregor and Pacquiao, one has to wonder if the title would be on the line or if it would be a one off spectacle. Either way, McGregor has found a way to get his name back in the media right before a massive UFC event.