New York Giants: What Eli Manning has to say about his return

New York Giants, Eli Manning

We know by now that the New York Giants will have Eli Manning with them this season. Not on the field in his former role as quarterback, but in the front office helping with the business side of the organization.

It seems like Manning will have a busy 2021 as it was announced earlier in the offseason that he’ll host a show on ESPN+, but that isn’t the only job on his hands this year. After taking some time away from the game, Eli has decided the front office is where he belongs. What did he have to say about this? Well, according to what he told Giants.com, it looks like this was a plan for some time now.

“I wanted to take a year off anyway… But I was hoping there would be a spot back with the organization to do the things because of what it’s meant to me. The Giants organization is what I know. Since I’ve been out of college, this is all I’ve done and all I’ve ever wanted to do was do well for the Giants and win games and represent the organization in a positive way, and hopefully I can continue to do that,” Manning said.

It seems like the COVID-19 crisis delayed a deal getting worked out. Supposedly, Manning wasn’t allowed at the team’s practice facility last year due to health and safety restrictions. But when those restrictions eased up, it was a meeting between Manning and John Mara that got things rolling.

“I sat down with John Mara and kind of said, ‘Hey, I’d like to get back involved if you think there’s a spot for me or a way that I can help out.’ From there, we did some brainstorming and figured out a way for me to get back involved,” Manning elaborated further.

The meeting did make the news back when it happened, but it was unknown back then if Manning would actually take a role with the team.

Now, we know the answer. It took longer than some might have expected, but it’s not surprising at all that both sides are back together again. Manning, after all, can boast being the quarterback of the Giants for a decade and a half. After all that time, it’s not so easy to just part ways for good.

Acuna Jr. Does it All in Braves 1-0 Victory Over Mets to Take Game Two

Scoring was minimal during game one of the doubleheader between the New York Mets and Atlanta Braves, and it was almost extinct in game two. There we only four baserunners in the game, and Ronald Acuna Jr.’s majestic solo home run was all the Braves needed for a 1-0 victory.

The Mets had four hits on the night and were even worse on the bases. Pete Alonso tested the arm of Acuna Jr. and was thrown out on a 97.3 strike from the All-Star. In the sixth inning, Jose Peraza failed to advance to third base on a wild pitch and then tried to advance on a groundball hit right in front of him. Peraza entered the game immediately after Jonathan Villar doubled and left with a leg injury. It was clear Peraza was not fully acclimated to the game immediately. Francisco Lindor ended the sixth by getting picked off by A.J. Minter on the next pitch.

Ian Anderson was responsible for shutting down the Mets offense after having a 7.27 ERA against them coming into the night. Anderson pitched 5.1 shutout innings, allowing three hits, striking out five, and was thoroughly in control throughout the night. The Mets’ best scoring chance came against Braves closer Will Smith in the seventh inning with one out and the bases loaded.

Coming Up Short

Kevin Pillar smoked a ball right into Austin Riley‘s glove at third, and it almost ended the game. Alonso and Riley scrambled back to the bag, and Alonso won the race after a replay review. Brandon Drury came up as the final hope but popped up to short center field, allowing the Braves to escape with a doubleheader split.

Jerad Eickhoff made his Mets debut, and it looked like it would end early. Eickhoff walked two in the first but worked out of a one-out, bases-loaded jam. He persevered through four shutout innings, allowing three hits and walks while striking out three. With Joey Lucchesi likely needing Tommy John surgery, Eickhoff had a good audition for the fifth spot in the rotation.

Game three of the series is a regular nine-inning game between two pitchers who know how to move the baseball. Marcus Stroman takes his 2.35 ERA to the mound against the veteran Charlie Morton. The first pitch from Citi Field is set for 7:10 p.m. ET.

deGrom Amazes Again in Mets 4-2 Win Over Braves in Game One

New York Mets, Jacob deGrom

Jacob deGrom showed he was just fine in the New York Mets 4-2 victory over the Atlanta Braves. The Mets ace battled shoulder soreness in his previous start and showed no ill effects as he lit up the radar gun once again. The victory put the Mets six games ahead of the Braves as they head into game two of their doubleheader.

deGrom had everything working for him in five shutout innings and striking out six. He should have allowed no hits but miscommunication between Dominic Smith and Albert Almora Jr. in the outfield resulted in a ground-rule double. deGrom became the first pitcher to undergo an on-field “foreign substance” investigation for MLB’s new initiative. The Mets kept deGrom to just 70 pitches as they continue to treat him as carefully as possible.

Find Ways To Score

The Mets’ offense was lackluster against Braves starter Kyle Muller, who made his first big league start. They played small ball early in the first inning by bunting Jonathan Villar to second on a walk, moving him to third on a flyball, and scoring him on a wild pitch. Muller ended up pitching four solid innings, holding the Mets to a hit and the one run. Smith took care of the final three runs with his double in the bottom of the fifth.

Seth Lugo had the opportunity to complete a six-out save but did not look sharp in his one inning of work. Lugo allowed a two-run home run to Ozzie Albies and was bailed out by instant replay, which turned a Ronald Acuna Jr. hit by a pitch into a strikeout. Edwin Diaz stepped in to get the final three outs of the game and secure his 15th save of the season.

Ian Anderson takes the mound in game two for the Braves against a pitcher to be determined for the Mets. The first pitch from Citi Field should be thrown around 8:15 p.m. ET.

The New York Giants picked the perfect game for Eli Manning’s jersey retirement ceremony

New York Giants quarterback, Eli Manning.

Eli Manning is back with the New York Giants. After retiring at the end of the 2019 season, Eli Manning has made his return to football, this time not as a player. Manning has rejoined the Giants in a business operations & fan engagement role, the team officially announced today.

Along with this announcement, the Giants also announced that they have set a date for Eli’s jersey retirement and ring of honor ceremony. Eli Manning will officially have his number ten retired and be inducted into the New York Giants’ Ring of Honor on September 26th, the Giants’ Week 3 matchup with the Atlanta Falcons.

The Giants could have picked any of their home games to induct Eli this season. But the Giants ultimately picked the perfect game to induct Eli Manning into their ring of honor.

Perfect weather

The end of September is the perfect time of the year for football. It is usually sunny out and the temperature is in that perfect stage between the hot summer and the cold winter. Autumn, a beautiful season when the temperature is usually in the 70’s, the sun is out, and football is in full swing.

Football is a unique sport that is played in any weather. That includes the frigid cold of New Jersey’s December. Thankfully, the Giants opted not to schedule Eli’s ceremonial activities in the winter. This date should provide the teams with lovely weather, enticing more fans to pack the stadium full and give Eli Manning the ovation he deserves.

An exciting, winnable matchup

The Giants will likely be the favorites to win their Week 3 matchup this year. The Atlanta Falcons’ roster has depleted in recent years. They possessed one of the NFL’s worst defenses in 2020. Their long-term superstar on offense, wide receiver Julio Jones, was traded away this offseason. Granted, they still have some decent firepower on offense with Calvin Ridley and Kyle Pitts. But the Falcons are expected to be one of the league’s bottom feeders this season.

The new-and-improved New York Giants are expected to be at least middle-of-the-pack in 2021. The team possesses a top-ten defense and made many crucial acquisitions this offseason to fix their offense. Many believe the Giants can make the playoffs if everyone stays healthy this year. It might not be a walk in the park, but the Giants should be able to manage a win over the Falcons on Eli’s big day.

Historic connections

Eli Manning’s first-career start in 2004 was against the Atlanta Falcons. The only home postseason victory of Manning’s career came in 2012 against the Atlanta Falcons in the midst of a historic Super Bowl run. Now, to officially end Eli’s time on the field, he will have his jersey retired and his name placed in the New York Giants’ Ring of Honor during a matchup with the Atlanta Falcons. Poetic.

Magic Johnson on Knicks: ‘Superstars are gonna want to play here now’

The days are gone that superstars would avoid the New York Knicks like a plague.

That’s how Magic Johnson views the current Knicks situation following a surprising turnaround this season.

Appearing as a guest on Keyshawn, JWill & Zubin radio show, Johnson said the Knicks have become a viable destination.

“Superstars are gonna want to play here now (in New York),” Johnson said.

The former Lakers executive explained how players think and play out a possible scenario.

“I think because they made the run and got to the playoffs. And the city is alive about the Knicks, right? I think guys are now looking at and say, ‘Hey man, if I put myself in that lineup with Julius (Randle), (Immanuel) Quickley, (RJ) Barrett and on, and on. Hey, man, we could do something special.’ Because that’s what guys wanna see,” Johnson said.

“If I put my talent with those guys, can we make a run for the championship? And that guy will talk to another guy and that’s how it’s gonna get started. And Julius Randle, I think guys would want to play with him because he plays hard, he’s a team player. He’s tough and rough,” he added.

Johnson said he’s glad that he had a hand in Randle’s development with the Lakers.

Randle, who left Los Angeles for New Orleans when LeBron James took his talent to Hollywood, finally found a home in New York. His hard work paid off with his first All-Star appearance, a spot in the All-NBA Second Team, and the Most Improved Player award on top of leading the Knicks to the first round of the playoffs.

While the Knicks, under former super-agent turned league executive Leon Rose, have finally found stability, the rest of the league is in a state of flux.

Some of the league’s stars enter the summer with their future in question.

Damian Lillard openly aired his frustrations in Portland following another first-round exit. Washington’s Bradley Beal has one year left in his extension with a new coach coming in. Luka Doncic just lost the executive who handed him the keys to the Mavericks’ franchise. Zion Williamson will be having his third coach in three seasons in New Orleans’ small market. Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers are reeling from a second-round upset, in large part, due to Ben Simmon’s broken jumper.

Seven teams are searching for a new coach. Established superstars fell one by one in the first two rounds, failing to survive the pandemic-condensed season. There’s a new order in the league. There will be a new champion this season.

Then there’s the Summer Olympics in Tokyo which could become another breeding ground for a future super team.

For the first time in decades, the Knicks have more to offer than just money and the bright lights of Broadway. They finally have a culture and a young playoff core to pair with their large cap space of more than $50 million.

Magic Johnson always tweets the obvious as a reaction to what’s happening around the league. This time, he’s manifesting the obvious direction of the Knicks’ franchise.

There’s a perfect storm waiting to happen in New York.

Can the Knicks capitalize?

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

 

Mets finally get star infielder back from hamstring injury

After an injury crisis that started on May and extended through June, the New York Mets are starting to get healthy just in time to defend their first place in the second half of the season. At one point they had 17 players on the injured list, but most of them have returned at this point.

One player who will be returning today is infielder/outfielder Jeff McNeil, who has been activated from the 10-day injured list and will be available off the bench for the first game of Monday’s doubleheader.

The Mets are mulling the possibility he could start the second game. The 29-year-old had been out of action since May 16 with a left hamstring strain that took over a month to fully heal. He has the talent to provide a huge lift to an improving lineup in need of some offensive thump.

Even if McNeil hasn’t had the season we are all used to seeing to this point, his hitting ability can help set the tone near the top of the Mets’ lineup. Before Monday’s action, he has a .242/.336/.374 batting line with three homers over 31 games.

He proved last year that he can get into a rhythm after a slow start, as he hit .311/.383/.454. The Mets, however, really hope to see him return to his 2019 form, in which he had a .318/.384/.531 with 23 home runs, 75 RBI, and 83 runs scored.

Mets send Robert Gsellman to the injured list

As Jeff McNeil gets of the injured list, another player is sent to it to recover from a physical ailment.

Reliever Robert Gsellman will be on the shelf for a while due to a lat problem, SNY’s Andy Martino reported on Monday.

The last time the Mets’ right-hander pitched was on Saturday against the Washington Nationals, conceding three hits in a couple of frames as the opener.

Mets Game(s) Preview: (6/21/21) vs. Atlanta Braves (33-36)

After a disappointing weekend in Washington D.C., the New York Mets return home for a crucial series against the Atlanta Braves. The Braves are five games behind the Mets, and the teams play four games in three days. Monday begins with a twi-night doubleheader, and game one begins at 5:10 p.m. ET from Citi Field.

The Mets struggling offense will get a massive boost as Jeff McNeil will return off the IL. McNeil has not played since May 16, when he injured his hamstring during the series against the Tampa Bay Rays. Before the injury, McNeil was only hitting .242 with three home runs and eight runs batted in. The offense needs the help as they have scored just nine runs in the last five games.

The Braves come off a big series win against the St. Louis Cardinals where they took three out of four games. They have severely underachieved but are still just five games out of first place. Ronald Acuna Jr. is putting up MVP again after a rough month of May. In June, Acuna is hitting .311/.463/.574 and has stolen nine bases as he pushes towards a 40/40 season.

Pitching Matchups

Game One:

Jacob deGrom returns to the mound after leaving his last start with shoulder sorness. In the start against the Chicago Cubs, deGrom faced eight batters and struck out eight of them to lower his ERA to 0.54 on the season. Luckily for the Mets, deGrom’s injury showed no damage which allows him to return to the mound on regular rest.

Kyle Muller makes the first start of his big league career after making one relief outing. The bullpen cameo did not go well as Muller allowed four hits and two runs to the Boston Red Sox. Mullet is just 23 and has a 3.17 ERA during his minor league career.

Game Two:

The Mets have not listed a starter for the second game as they have no idea how game one will play out. Jerad Eickhoff is with the team and is likely to pitch game two if all goes well for deGrom. If Eickhoff has to pitch in game one, the second one will likely be a bullpen game.

Ian Anderson is the definite starter for the Braves and is putting together a solid rookie campaign. Yes, despite getting rookie of the year votes in 2020, Anderson is still in his rookie season. Anderson went over the 50 inning threshold this season and has been a reliable piece of the Braves rotation. After having a 2.82 ERA through nine starts, Anderson has struggled slightly to put up a 5.59 ERA in his last four outings.

Matchups To Lookout For

Jacob deGrom vs. Freddie Freeman: 15-for-58 (.259), 2 Doubles, 3 Home Runs, 8 Walks, 16 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Ronald Acuna Jr.: 8-for-25 (.320), Double, 2 Walks, 7 Strikeouts

Jacob deGrom vs. Ozzie Albies: 5-for-37 (.135), Double, Walk, 9 Strikeouts

After UFC Vegas 29, will see see Dominick Cruz – Chito Vera?

Dominick Cruz

Over the weekend at UFC Vegas 29, we saw the rematch between Marlon “Chito” Vera (17-7-1) and Davey Grant (13-5). The two bantamweight contenders first met back in 2016 where Davey Grant was able to pick up the unanimous decision victory.

Despite having won the first fight and won three straight entering UFC Vegas 29, Davey Grant was the betting underdog on Saturday night. That was because Chito Vera has been really taking off over the last few years.

Since that loss to Davey Grant back in 2016, Vera had gone 9-4 in thirteen fights. At UFC 252, Vera got his highlight victory when he stopped the hype train of Suga Sean O’Malley by stopping him in the first round.

Back in December, Vera fought Jose Aldo and it was an incredibly competitive fight, however, Aldo got the victory. The rematch between Vera and Grant at UFC Vegas 29 didn’t disappoint as the two men took home Fight of The Night honors.

It was a back-and-forth battle on Saturday night. However, Chito Vera was just always one step ahead of Davey Grant. A few times it looked like Chito could get the finish, but Grant was all heart and fought to the final bell at UFC Vegas 29. Ultimately, all three judges gave the fight to Chito Vera.

UFC looking at Vera – Cruz?

So, where does former UFC bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz (23-3) fit into all of this? Well, after the fight was over, Vera said that he would love to fight Dominick Cruz next. Cruz was on the broadcast calling the fights on Saturday night.

The former champion last fought back at UFC 259 when he defeated Casey Kenney by Split Decision. It was a big fight for Cruz who showed that he wasn’t done competing yet and he didn’t care about fighting up and coming contenders.

After Saturday’s win, Vera will still likely be on the back side of the top fifteen in the UFC’s rankings. Dominick Cruz is ranked inside the top ten, and my guess is that he will look for a top-tier opponent in his next fight. Chito Vera is great, but I think we will likely see him fighting someone else.

After coming up short at UFC Vegas 29, what’s next for Dan Ige?

This past Saturday at UFC Vegas 29, in the main event Dan Ige (15-4) got a shot at former title challenger Chan Sung Jung (17-6). Heading into Saturday night, Ige was coming off of a 22 second knockout over Gavin Tucker back in March.

After Ige got that win, he immediately called out The Korean Zombie for his next fight. The UFC honored that request and the fight was made between the two men. So far in Ige’s UFC career, he’s been incredibly solid.

After losing his debut with the promotion, Ige won six fights in a row including a win over Edson Barboza. From there, Ige got his first headlining fight against Calvin Kattar last July during the UFC‘s first stint on Fight Island.

Ige was ultimately outboxed by Kattar in that one. After defeating Tucker, this shot against Chan Sung Jung was Ige’s chance to prove he belonged with the top of the division. However, it wasn’t in the cards for him on Saturday night to pick up the win.

While Ige had his moments at UFC Vegas 29, it was ultimately the fight of The Zombie. Jung dropped Ige at one point and really landed the more significant shots throughout. All three judges gave the fight to The Korean Zombie.

What’s next after UFC Vegas 29?

Dan Ige is now just 1-2 in his last three UFC fights, but both of those losses were in headliners where he was challenging the division’s best. Now, it looks like he’s going to have to take a bit of a step back.

In looking at the division, there are two fights that could make a lot of sense for Dan Ige next. One fight that I like is with Sodiq Yusuff (11-2). Like Ige, Yusuff earned his UFC contract via Dana White’s Contender Series.

Yusuff is just outside the top ten and he’s coming off of his first loss in the UFC. Another option for Ige could be Shane Burgos (13-3). Burgos has lost two in a row, but he’s in a very similar position as Ige. Both of those losses were against top level competition. A matchup between Ige and either of these men will really let us know where he’s at.

Mets’ owner Steve Cohen is not afraid to go over the luxury tax if needed

New York Mets

The New York Mets are comfortably in first place of the NL East division, which was one of the objectives of new owner Steve Cohen when he took control of the team in the offseason. They have managed to navigate through a myriad of injuries and have the chance to pull away as they get healthier.

Cohen met with some media members on Sunday to discuss the Mets’ plan for the trade deadline. They are fairly deep when it comes to position players and their bullpen is getting reinforcements in the form of injured players returning, but the starting rotation depth has been hit by injuries.

Carlos Carrasco and Noah Syndergaard will not be back for at least several more weeks, probably after the break, and the Mets could use a starter. Max Scherzer, for example, could be available near the deadline.

Cohen was asked by Anthony DiComo of MLB.com and Mike Puma of the New York Post if he would be willing to surpass the luxury tax threshold of $210 million with a hypothetical trade acquisition.

“It’s something to think about because there is a price to pay if you go over for the following year or the year after,” Cohen said, as published in MLB Trade Rumors. “I am not going to go over for a million or two million. That’s stupid, so if you are going to do it, you are going to do it, so we’ll see what’s available.”

There would be penalties for the Mets (and every other team) that goes over the limit, but it seems the team is mulling the option of doing it as long as it’s worth it.

Could the Mets entertain extensions for key starters?

Cohen was also asked whether the Mets will extend Marcus Stroman and Jacob deGrom, but he said he remains focused on this season.

“I’m focused on this year,” he said. “I don’t think it’s the right moment (for extension talks). We’re focused on this year, so obviously it’s something we’re thinking about. We love Jacob.”

MLB Trade Rumors explains that deGrom is under contract through 2024, but has an opt out clause after the season.

Stroman, meanwhile, will be a free agent after this season, after he accepted a qualifying offer from the Mets to cover the 2021 season.