New York Yankees relocating two Minor League teams

New York Yankees, Yankee Stadium

Reports indicate that the New York Yankees will be relocating two of their Minor League Baseball teams in 2021. The Yankees A-ball affiliate, the Charleston RiverDogs, and the AA affiliate, the Trenton Thunder, will be eliminated. Replacing them will be the Hudson Valley Renegades and the Somerset Patriots, respectively.

The Renegades have been the Tampa Bay Rays A-short season affiliate since 1996, located in Wappingers Falls, New York. They won New York-Penn League championship in 1999, 2012, and 2017. Hudson Valley plays at Dutchess Stadium, a 4,500 seat facility just off on I-84. The team is around an hour north of New York City.

The Somerset Patriots are an Independent League baseball team located in Bridgewater Township, New Jersey. Just an hour southwest of New York City, the team will take over as the AA affiliate of the Yankees.

Since the organization’s foundation in 1998, the team has won 13 division championships and six league championships. They play at TD Bank Ballpark, a 6,100 seat facility known to be one of the most environmentally friendly parks in all of sports.

These changes are a part of the MLB’s initiatives to reduce the overall size of Minor League Baseball. The goal is to reduce the number of affiliates and levels of play.

In the MLB’s original plans, eliminating the Trenton Thunder wasn’t included. The Erie Seawolves and the Binghamton RumblePonies were in the original plans, but the future of those two teams are currently unknown.

These decisions are major decisions that’ll have big implications of communities losing teams. It’s sad to see cities lose affiliates and it could hurt baseball.

UFC Vegas 13 Preview: Ian Heinisch – Brendan Allen

A popular fight of the night pick for tomorrow’s UFC Vegas 13 cards is the middleweight clash between Ian Heinisch (14-3) and Brendan Allen (15-3). Both of these middleweight contenders have been waiting for this matchup since earlier this year.

These two were originally supposed to fight back in June. However, Heinisch had to pull out of that contest. Allen went on to take on Kyle Daukaus and won a grueling decision that night in a fight that proved to be much tougher than anticipated for Allen.

Allen will walk into the cage tomorrow night having won seven fights in a row. Including all three of his appearances in the UFC. A highlight victory for him was the submission of Kevin Holland who is also making a name for himself in 2020.

The Heinisch – Allen fight was setup for June after Heinisch knocked out Gerald Meerschaert. Meerschaert is a teammate of Allen’s and Allen wanted to get that fight back for his team. He finally has that chance at UFC Vegas 13.

That win for Ian Heinisch back in June snapped a two fight losing streak for The Hurricane. Prior to that, Heinisch had won his first two fights in the UFC. A win for either one of these men tomorrow night will likely net them a ranked opponent in their next fight.

UFC Vegas 13 Prediction

When analyzing this fight, a lot of it is going to come down to the first round. Ian Heinisch has good grappling skills, however, I believe he’s going to try to keep this fight standing. I would give the grappling advantage to Allen in this fight.

However, the striking and cardio advantage would have to go to Ian Heinisch. Heinisch is going to come right out looking to pressure Allen. Allen does have a very solid jab, but you can bet he will be looking to get this fight down early and often.

If Allen is able to get this fight down in the first round, I think he can use his top pressure to zap some of the energy from Heinisch. However, I’m not sure he’s going to be able to get him down like he needs to.

I think ultimately the striking advantage will lead to more points in this one. I’m expecting a war that goes the distance, but I believe that Heinisch will be able to secure his second straight UFC victory here in 2020.

Prediction: Ian Heinisch by Unanimous Decision

New York Giants offensive line has tall tasks against Washington defensive front

New York Giants, Nick Gates

The New York Giants are coming off of another disappointing loss in Week 8. The Giants lost to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers 23-25 on Monday night while facing off against one of the best defensive fronts in the NFL. Surprisingly, the Giants’ offensive line held up and exceeded expectations. In Week 9, the Giants’ front line will have another tall task as the team travels to Washington.

The Washington Football Team’s Defensive Front

The Washington Football Team has one of the most talented defensive fronts in the NFL. Washington spent the second overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on stud pass-rusher Chase Young who has been impressive during his rookie season. Washington added Young to an already frightening defensive front that features the likes of veteran Ryan Kerrigan, Montez Sweat, Daron Payne, and Jonathan Allen.

Similarly to the Giants, Washington has invested a lot of assets into their defensive line. Their investments have paid off, as The Football Team has seen tremendous production from each of their defensive linemen.

Montez Sweat leads Washington with five sacks and 28 total pressures, according to Pro Football Focus. Ryan Kerrigan is second on the team with four sacks. Rookie Chase Young has 2.5 sacks and two quarterback hits (via Giants.com).

Washington’s defense has allowed the fewest passing yards (185.9 per game), ranks fourth in total defense (309.1 yards allowed), has totaled the sixth-most sacks (22), ranks 11th in scoring (23.6 points), and is 17th against the run (123.3 yards), according to the Washington Post.

The New York Giants’ offensive line has been a weakness, once again, this season. But in Week 8, they kept Tampa Bay’s dominant defensive front quiet for the most part. The addition of rookie guard Shane Lemieux into the starting lineup seemed to jumpstart the offensive line and elevate their performance. The New York Giants’ offensive line will look to build on their solid performance in Week 8 with another well-blocked game against the Washington Football Team in Week 9.

New York Giants: Golden Tate may miss Washington game due to discipline

New York Giants, Golden Tate

New York Giants head coach Joe Judge is known to run a tight ship, and one player that’s run afoul of that so far is Golden Tate. Tate is in hot water for multiple incidents and it has been reported that Tate could face discipline from the team with their upcoming game against Washington. This comes after Tate maintained his spot on the team through the trade deadline after being rumored to be on the trading block.

While Tate did escape a trade, it doesn’t look like he’s going to get off easy for the incidents this week. Ralph Vacchiano of SNY has reported that the team’s discipline could include making Tate miss a game against Washington coming up on Sunday.

It would of course be an ironic twist for Tate to have no chance to get on the field and make catches on Sunday after getting in trouble for complaining about a lack of passes thrown his way. There’s an obvious symbolism in taking away Tate’s current role to remind him not to take it for granted. However, it doesn’t necessarily spell good things for Tate’s time on the team.

After all, there’s repeated incidents such as Tate’s wife also complaining about the situation on social media and Tate himself subtly pushing back against the Giants through liking Tweets. The bridge with the Giants and Tate may already be burnt.

Getting in trouble like this is pretty embarrassing for Tate and there’s no guarantee he’ll have a desire to remain a Giant in the future. For now, however, Tate remains a part of the roster after the trade deadline has already passed. Even if he may end up missing the next game thanks to Judge’s punishment.

New York Mets: Brodie Van Wagenen OUT as the team general manager

Shortly after announcing that he is now officially the owner of the New York Mets, Steve Cohen made his first tough decision. The team announced that Executive Vice President & General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen is leaving the organization.

The press release also specified that Special Assistant to the General Manager Omar Minaya; Vice President, Assistant General Manager, Scouting & Player Development Allard Baird; Assistant General Manager, Systematic Development Adam Guttridge; and Executive Director, Player Development Jared Banner are leaving the New York Mets.

“I want to thank Brodie, Allard, Adam and Jared for their contributions over the last two years,” said Mets President Sandy Alderson. “I especially want to thank Omar for his long and distinguished service to the Mets in many important capacities.”

The Mets will be looking for someone in charge of baseball operations

The note also says that Alderson “has begun the process of building a new baseball leadership group.”

“This is a significant milestone in the history of this storied franchise. I want to thank everybody who helped make this happen. The 2021 season is right around the corner and we’ve got a lot of work to do, so I’m excited to get started. Let’s go Mets!” were the words of Cohen.

Van Wagenen will be remembered for failing to make the playoffs in 2019 and 2020 despite high expectations. He netted the team J.D. Davis and signed Justin Wilson, but grossly overpaid for Robinson Cano and Edwin Diaz and his free agent track record was also not particularly good.

The now-former GM thanked the Mets and Jeff Wilpon for giving him the opportunity to be in charge and wished Cohen well.

“Congratulations to Steve Cohen on the purchase of your home-town team.  I hope that your energy, competitiveness and resources will be welcomed by Major League Baseball.  The sport can benefit from your fearlessness and aggressiveness,” Van Wagenen wrote in a statement.

New York Islanders: Jordan Eberle must have a bounce-back season

New York islanders, Jordan Eberle

New York Islanders‘ forward Jordan Eberle had a down year in 2019. Another disappointing season after acquiring the top 6 forward. The Islanders traded for Eberle back in 2017, sending Ryan Strome back the other way.

For the first couple of years, this looked like one of the best trades of the decade for the Isles. Eberle has been slowly declining throughout his time on the Island. In his first year, he recorded 59 points, then 37 points, then 40 points. Eberle is paid a top 6 forward but doesn’t put up the numbers to back it up. Jordan Eberle must improve in these 2 categories to make sure he doesn’t go to Seattle.

Off the Puck Skating

How can you get open without moving your feet? Jordan Eberle occasionally forgets this idea and stands flat-footed in the offensive zone. I don’t know why he does this, though. I mean, his best goals are when he’s moving towards the net. His top-shelf backhand is always set up by him, slashing towards the net.

Once Eberle gets his feet moving, it creates amazing opportunities for the first line. Remember, the first line is geared towards Barzal dishing to Eberle, Ebs shooting, and Lee tapping in the rebound. That’s the first line’s dynamic, but this doesn’t work if Eberle doesn’t move his feet.

Cashing-In Opportunities

Jordan Eberle could’ve won game 6 against the Flyers maybe 7 times. One of his shots was a wide-open tap in to win the series, and he still missed the net. I don’t care about his goal in game 5 against the Lightning, he needs to convert on 80% of his chances. Eberle gets the best opportunities on the team, and yet he never leads the Islanders in goals. It’s almost like he chokes up and overthinks his shot. Eberle needs to stop thinking and start getting the puck on the net. If he can do this, he can stay for another year or two.

UFC: Darren Till out; Kevin Holland steps in to face Jack Hermansson

Kevin Holland

One of the more popular fighters in the UFC‘s middleweight division is out of his main event next month. Per ESPN’s Brett Okamoto, Darren Till has been forced to withdrawal from his December 5th main event against top contender Jack Hermansson.

The fight was proving to be a pivotal fight in the fluid middleweight division. However, an injury has derailed the fight. Jack Hermansson really wanted to get another fight in before the year ended. He wanted the UFC to find him a ranked opponent after Till fell out.

However, all ranked opponents that the UFC offered the fight to, turned it down. That’s when the UFC turned to Kevin Holland. The brash middleweight has competed and won four fights since the month of May.

Holland is riding high right now and has even had some back and forth with current UFC champion, Israel Adesanya. This was an opportunity that Holland simply couldn’t pass up when the UFC called. Despite not having a ranking, Holland was willing to fight, and that’s what mattered to Hermansson.

UFC’s New Main Event

Talk about a golden opportunity for Kevin Holland. The UFC loves guys who have the attitude that they will fight anyone at anytime. That is exactly how Holland has acted in the year 2020. If he’s able to win next month, it would be his fifth win since May.

Holland has been knocking on the door of the top 15, but he hasn’t cracked the rankings just yet. He know will be jumping into the deep end of the pool when he takes on the UFC‘s fourth ranked contender in the middleweight division.

This is quite the gamble for Hermansson. Hermansson is coming off of a quick and dominant win against Kelvin Gastelum back on Fight Island. The Till fight was huge for Hermansson, but it’s obvious that the main thing Hermansson wanted to do is stay active.

It’s a very risky move to take on a hot fighter who’s not currently ranked. Hermansson really doesn’t gain a ton from winning the fight, however, he can lose a lot if Holland pulls off the upset. Should make for a very interesting contest.

Report: 2 players the New York Knicks refuse to trade away

New York Knicks, RJ Barrett

Under new management, the New York Knicks are looking to make a statement in the 2020 NBA draft. Whether they make a blockbuster move to acquire LaMelo Ball at the top of the draft, the Knicks had unfortunate luck in the lottery, falling all the way to the 8th spot.

They had high hopes of having a top draft pick, but now they are forced to make a difficult decision, which could send away foundational youth players to acquire a top talent.

They do have some tradable pieces, including Julius Randle and point guard Frank Ntilikona. However, there are two players that they would prefer to keep.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe stated that the Knicks are not looking to engage in a trade that would send RJ Barrett or Mitchell Robinson away:

Finding a trade-back scenario that nabs veteran help while reaping appropriate value for the No. 2 pick is difficult. A potential package from the Knicks of No. 8, Kevin Knox II, and two Dallas first-rounders doesn’t get it done, and might not leave enough of the trade exception for another quality player. (New York has been reluctant to discuss RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson, sources say.)

Kevin Knox is an interesting piece, considering his inability to develop into the player most thought he would become. Over two seasons in the NBA, he’s averaging 9.9 points, one assist, and a .367 field-goal percentage. Overall, he’s been quite bad on both offense and defense.

The top prospects in the draft remain Ball, Anthony Edwards of Georgia, James Wiseman of Memphis, and Deni Avdija Israel.

There are plenty of talented players to consider in the top 10 picks, but if the Knicks really want an elite player to add to their ranks, they will likely have to move up. If they can keep Barrett and Robinson in the process, they will be in good shape moving forward. They also have plenty of cap space to utilize in free agency.

New York Yankees Legends: “Louisiana Lightening” Ron Guidry the last 25 game winner (video)

Ron Guidry, the early years

The New York Yankees Ron Guidry was born in Lafayette, Louisiana, on August 28, 1950; Ronald Ames Guidry spent his entire fourteen-year pitching career with the New York Yankees. This short for a pitcher, “this skinny kid was the fiercest competitor I have ever played with. He has more heart and more determination than anyone I have ever known,”  was said by former teammate Willie Randolph.

Guidry’s family is Cajun through and through. Ron Guidry grew up hunting and fishing on the bayous, as well as speaking Cajun French. One day, at the age of eight, Ron told his mother that he would visit his grandmother, but instead took a detour by a park where some boys were playing baseball. When a ball got away and rolled towards Guidry, he threw it back with such velocity that a man who was watching ran over to Guidry. The man was a Little League team coach and happened to be a friend of Roland Guidry Ron’s Father. Ron did not need too much convincing and joined his first organized baseball team at eight years of age. Like many players who showed plenty of ability, Guidry excelled and then graduated to American Legion baseball.

Guidry shows great promise as a pitcher

In high school, Guidry would excel in two sports, baseball and track and field. He showed great promise as a pitcher, but it was sprinting that Ron was most noticed for. He was awarded scholarships for track; he chooses a baseball scholarship close to home at the University of Southwestern, Louisiana. In his freshman year, he posted a 5-1 record with a 1.57 ERA. The next season he was 7-4, striking out 87 batters in 80 innings. Already he was recorded as throwing up to 95 miles per hour.

Upon the advice of a Yankee scout, the Yankees selected Guidry in the 1971 draft. Guidry began his professional career in 1971 with the Johnson City Yankees. He was able to blow his blazing fastball by most hitters in the low minors. Although he struck out many batters, he also walked quite a few. Guidry enlisted into the National Guard in 1971 and was active through 1977. On September 23, 1972, he married the former Bonnie Rutledge. They had three children: daughters Jamie and Danielle and son Brandon.

After Guidry was with the Yankees for four years, he hadn’t made a name for himself. He struck out a lot of batters, but he also walked a lot of them. In 1974 he was transferred to the West Haven Connecticut Yankees and made a reliever. This was a big mistake because the results were horrible. He went 2-4 with an ERA close to 6. In 1974 he was sent to Syracuse, where good pitchers surrounded him for the first time. Pitchers like Tippy Martinez, Scott McGregor, and Jim Beatie, who all showed him the ropes. The club manager at the time was Bobby Cox, who Guidry greatly admired. He would make Guidry his closer, and Guidry racked up 14 saves in that role to go with a 6-5 record and a 2.90 ERA in 42 games.

Guidry makes his major league debut

He then earned a ticket to the Queens Shea Stadium as Yankee Stadium was being renovated. Guidry made his major league debut on July 27, 1975, in the second game of a doubleheader against Boston.  While there, he met up with teammates Sparky Lyle and Dick Tidrow. Tidrow gave Ron his nickname “Gator.” Sparky Lyle gave him something else, his slider pitch, and Ron became a two-pitch pitcher combined with his high-velocity fastball. When the Yankees acquired Doc Ellis, Guidry was sent back to Syracuse, where he pitched very well. In 11 games, he posted a 3-1 record with a 1.37 ERA, fanning 25 batters in 20 innings.

The New York Yankees traded away a pitcher, and Guidry would be called back up to replace him. New manager Billy Martin put him in a game on his first day back. Just off the bus. Guidry would later say Billy Martin didn’t like me and was setting me up for failure. It worked, I got one out and gave up four runs. Both Martin and Steinbrenner wanted more experienced pitchers, so Ron sat in the bullpen for 47 games. At one point, George Steinbrenner, the “boss” would tell him you will never make a pitcher in the majors.

In 1977 both the “boss” and manager Billy Martin wanted to trade Guidry to the White Sox, but President Gabe Paul would have no part. 1977 also saw new players Reggie Jackson and Don Gullet. In 25 starts and six relief appearances, Guidry posted a 16-7 record with a 2.82 ERA. He threw a two-hitter against Texas on August 28. All the sudden, Billy Martin liked Guidry and took credit for his new fame. The Yankees went 100-62 and won the east over the Baltimore Orioles. Guidry pitched a complete-game win over the Kansas City Royals in the ALCS, but he was knocked out in game 5. In the 77 World Series, he got only one start, and he won a complete game for the Yankees.

Guidry attains the best Yankee pitching record ever

In 1978 it would be Guidry’s best year he would win 25 games while losing only three, the last Yankee pitcher to have a record that good to date. In 1978, the east title would come down to a playoff game for the title. In a now-famous conversation, Ron met George Steinbrenner in the parking lot and noticed he looked dejected. Ron asked why, and George said because we have to go up there to Fenway and play those sons of bitches. Ron answered, “don’t worry boss I’ll win it for us”. And indeed he did; he pitched 6 1/3 innings for the win of the division. Guidry would pitch one game against the Royals in the ALCS and one in the World Series against the Dodgers; he would win won both games. The Yankees would win the World Series for the last time in the next eighteen years.

Guidry would go on to have seven more winning seasons for the Yankees. In 1986 he had his first losing season going 9-12, but still having an ERA below 4. As all fastball pitchers do when they age, they lose velocity, and it was no different for Ron. He became more of a pitcher and less of a thrower. 1986-88 also saw a reduced number of starts as well. Guidry reported to spring training in 1989 but clashed with new manager Dallas Green. The Yankees sent him down to Columbus of the AAA International League. He posted a 1-5 record and decided to move on from baseball and get on with the rest of his life. Guidry was 170-91 with a 3.29 ERA in his New York Yankee career.

Yankee’s number 49 shirt retired, and Guidry honored.

On August 23, 2003, Guidry’s number 49 was retired by the New York Yankees. He was the 16th player to be so honored. He was also presented with a plaque that would be placed in Monument Park of Yankee Stadium. When he was asked to speak at the ceremony, he said:

“I have but one regret in baseball, and that is that I never got to say goodbye to you wonderful fans, and how much I appreciated you. When you would stand and clap on my second strike, I would hear you.”

In his career, Ron Guidry won five Gold Glove Awards, the Roberto Clemente Award, Sporting News Pitcher of the Year Award, Sporting News Major League Player of the Year Award, Baseball Digest and Associated Press Player of the Year Awards, and in 1978 the Cy Young Award.  Ron never achieved entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame, to date, as many voters thought his career was too short, although he was one of the greatest pitchers of the late ’70s and ’80s.

 

It’s official: Steve Cohen is the owner of the New York Mets!

Simeon Woods-Richardson

The New York Mets, after several months of negotiations, rumors, broken deals, and a little controversy are finally ready to start a new chapter. Steve Cohen announced via Twitter that the sale of the team has been finalized.

It’s official, we are closed.” Short, but concise. With that message, published on his Twitter account @stevenacohen2, the new owner of the New York Mets is now ready to take control of the team and start planning ahead to the 2021 season and beyond. He will have former Mets’ general manager Sandy Alderson as his president and right hand.

Cohen acquired the Mets from the Wilpon and Katz families for a little over $2.4 billion. He had previously tried to buy the club but had a deal fell through several months ago. He re-entered negotiations and had to outbid other groups and interested parties, including Alex Rodriguez and his fiancée Jennifer Lopez.

Cohen is reportedly acquiring 95 percent of the Mets. His wife Alex will have a minority share.

The Mets can go ahead and plan

Now, Cohen can go ahead and begin planning the roster for next season. The Mets have several areas to address, most notably pitching, if they want to return to the postseason and be relevant.

Behind Jacob deGrom, the starting pitching depth is lacking, as Marcus Stroman, Rick Porcello and Michael Wacha are all hitting free agency. The bullpen also needs to be addressed, and the team doesn’t have a starting catcher.

A news conference is expected within the next few days, although it will probably be next week. It is unclear if the Mets will retain general manager Brodie van Wagenen and skipper Luis Rojas.

There is enthusiasm within the Mets’ fanbase. A new era is about to begin, one that will have the richest owner in baseball, one that is also a lifelong fan of the team.