New York Giants: Bleacher Report names Patrick Graham as Big Blue’s secret weapon

New York Giants, Patrick Graham

It’s debatable just how much of a secret weapon New York Giants defensive coordinator Patrick Graham is.

On one hand, he came in last season as a new addition that didn’t have a ton of fanfare around his hiring, but on the other, he quickly proved himself in the role and gained recognition around the league. Graham seems like one of the most likely coordinators in the league to end up with a head coaching job, even though right now, his focus is on his role with the Giants.

Despite that recognition that Graham has been getting after turning around the Giants defense, Bleacher Report still believes Graham is flying under the radar enough to take the title of ‘secret weapon’ for the Giants. The outlet listed a secret weapon for every NFL team, and for the Giants, it was Patrick Graham.

Graham helped transform a defense that ranked 25th overall and 30th in points allowed in 2019 into the league’s 12th-ranked overall defense and ninth-ranked scoring unit. While New York added a few pieces during the 2020 offseason, including James Bradberry, Kyler Fackrell and Blake Martinez, Graham made the the unit become a whole.

“Coach Graham is a very, very smart guy. I know he went to an Ivy League school too. His football knowledge, his football IQ, is above a lot of guys that I have been around,” Bradberry said, per Paul Schwartz of the New York Post.

Graham reportedly turned down the Jets head coaching job this offseason to continue with the Giants. The Giants will be lucky if the trend continues and Graham remains with the organization instead of taking an outside offer, but they have some things going in their favor.

According to Graham, who spoke on the decision after turning the Jets down, he did so because working with the Giants is his dream job.

Graham is definitely off to a good start with that job. This season, it’s reasonable to expect he may do even better with more experience in the role and a more normal offseason to help the team learn new plays and systems.

New York Yankees Recap: Yankees take the series from the Red Sox

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone, jameson taillon

Tonight the New York Yankees faced the Boston Red Sox in the final game of a three-game set, of which both teams have won one game making this the rubber game. If the Yankee could win the game, it would be both the second win of the season against their long-time rivals and the first series win since 2020. The Yankees won over the Red Sox and won their first series against the Boston Red Sox this season.

Enriques Hernandez started the game against Jameson Taillon by flying to left field. Alex Verdugo, who was the center of a player fan conflict last night, struck out. JD Martinez lined out to LeMahieu at third for a 1-2-3 inning for Taillon. At the bottom, DJ Lemahieu rolled out to second. Giancarlo Stanton for the fifth time in the series. Gary Sanchez also stuck out for another 1-2-3 half. No score.

At the top of the second inning, Xander Bogaerts led off by grounding out to Torres at short. Rafael Devers walked. Hunter Renfro flew out to Odor. Jerran Duran flew out to MaMarre in left. At the bottom, Gleyber Torres hit his second home run in as many nights. Chris Gittens struck out. Trey Amburgey, in his second major league game, stuck out. Rougie Odor ground out to first, but the Yankees took the lead in the game. New York Yankees 1 Boston Red Sox 0.

Christian Vazquez led off the third inning by sharply hitting to Torres for the first out. Christian Arroyo hit to first for the second out. Hernandez flew out to Amburgey in right to end the half. At the bottom, Ryan LaMarre stuck out swinging. Greg Allen singled to left field. LeMahieu singled for runners on the corner and one out. Stanton reached on a force out with Allen scoring,  Sanchez flew out to right, but the Yankees picked up another run. New York Yankees 2 the Boston Red Sox 0.

The fourth inning was led off by Verdugo, who flew out to Amburgey. Martinez popped out to short. Bogaerts doubled to left. Devers walked. Renfro popped out to Odor to end the half and stranded two Sox runners. The bottom was led off by Gleyber Torres, who got the only home run; he walked. Gittens flew out to right. Amburgey hit into a double play and appeared to injury his hamstring.

Duran led off the fifth by striking out swinging. Vazquez doubled to LaMarre, who hit the wall and crumbled to the ground but was able to stay in the game. Dalbec in for the injured Arroyo flew out to Gittens with Vazquez going to third. Hernandez flew out to left to end the half. The bottom of the fifth saw Odor at the plate who singled in the infield. LaMarre doubled, with Odor going to third. Allen faced new pitcher Gerret Whitlock, and sac flew to center to drive in Odor for the third Yankee run. LeMahieu struck out. Stanton chopped out to the infield for the final out, but the Yankees picked up another run. New York Yankees 3 Red Sox 0.

In the sixth, Verdugo chased for the first out. JD Martinez singled to right. Bogaerts doubled, moving Martinez to third with just one out. Chad Green came in to replace Taillon facing Devers and struck him out. Renfro lined out to LeMahieu at third to end the threat. At the bottom, Sanchez hopped one to short for the first out. Torres, who homered and walked, struck out swinging. Gittens struck out for a no-score inning for both teams.

The seventh inning opened with Duran at the plate; he stuck out. Vazquez walked. Dalbec struck out swinging. Hernandez flew out to Gardner in center. Brett Gardner led off the bottom by singling. Rougie Odor followed with a two-run homer to center for the Yankees five-run lead. LaMarre walked. Greg Allen walked. LeMahieu faced new pitcher Brandon Workman with two on and no outs and flew out to right for the first out. Stanton flew out to center, and LeMarre went to third base. Allen stole second. Sanchez walked to load the bases. Gleyber Torres, with the bases loaded and two outs, walked to bring in a Yankee run. Chris Gittens, the ninth batter of the inning, walked in another run for the 46th pitch of the inning. Brett Gardner ground out to first to finally end the inning, but the Yankees tacked on another four runs. New York Yankees 7 Red Sox 0.

In the eighth inning, Zack Britton entered the game facing Verdugo, who struck out. Martinez walked. Chavis struck out.  Devers walked. Renfro faced the new Yankee pitcher Lucas Luetge and singles driving in the first Red Sox run. With runners on the corners, Duran ground out to end the half. At the bottom of the eighth, Rougie Odor faced the new Sox pitcher Yucksel  Rios, and he walked. LaMarre homered to drive in 2 more Yankee runs. Allen flew out to right. LeMahieu ground out to center. Stanton ground out to third.

With last licks in the ninth and against Yankee pitcher Aroldis Chapman came in and closed out the game for the Yankee win and the series win for the New York Yankees. The final score was the Yankees 9 and the Red Sox 1. The winning pitcher was Jameson Taillon, and the loser was Martin Perez.


NASCAR: Aric Almirola disrupts playoff picture at New Hampshire

Mired in the 27th spot in the standings, Aric Almirola nonetheless clinched a NASCAR Cup Series playoff spot at New Hampshire.

Faced with a win-or-go-home situation, Aric Almirola raced through chaos to clinch a spot in the 2021 NASCAR Cup Series playoffs on Sunday afternoon-into-evening at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.

Braving a wet racetrack, a weather delay of over 100 minutes, and oncoming darkness, Almirola took home the Foxwoods Resort Casino 301, his first win since the Talladega race in October 2018 (98 races ago) The race fell nine laps short of its 301-circuit distance, as rain and a New England sunset forced NASCAR to improvise.

Almirola, driver of the No. 10 Stewart-Haas Racing Ford, had struggled all season after enjoying a career-best campaign in 2020. He was mired in 27th-place in the Cup Series standings entering Sunday, posting only a pair of top ten finishes over the first 21 events of the year. With 232 points between him and Tyler Reddick, the 16th and final playoff driver, and only five races left on the regular season docket, Almirola was clearly in a must-win situation.

He took care of that and then some, leading the final 20 laps en route to this third career Cup Series race and his first on a non-superspeedway track.

Sunday’s race was defined by early controversy. The event went green under overcast skies in Loudon and rain began to fall shortly after. Polesitter and leader Kyle Busch wrecked on the slick racetrack on the sixth lap, as did Joe Gibbs Racing teammate Martin Truex Jr. Afterwards, the race sat through a 101-minute rain delay while the track dried. Busch’s No. 18 Toyota was deemed too damaged to carry on. The two-time champion was visibly agitated with NASCAR’s decision to start the race under the misty conditions.

Almirola’s fellow Fords took over after the race resumed, as the affair appeared to come down to Kevin Harvick or the Team Penske tandem of Brad Keselowski and Ryan Blaney. After the second stage, at lap 186, NASCAR announced that due to the setting sun and ensuing darkness, they would inform the drivers of a de facto 10-lap warning once conditions made a full finish impossible.

The No. 10 picked up speed over the final stage and led its first laps of the day with 55 to go, getting the best of Blaney in the last turn. Shortly after, the field was forced to come to pit road for the final service cycle of the day.

Another Ford, that of Matt DiBenedetto, tried to push his No. 21 Wood Brothers Racing machine to the 10-lap notice but had to stop 28 laps from the originally scheduled finish. The gambit capped off an emotional week for DiBenedetto, who was informed that he would not be returning to the No. 21 Ford next season. NASCAR Xfinity Series standout Harrison Burton will take over the ride while defending Xfinity champion Austin Cindric will take over the No. 2 currently occupied by Keselowski, who is expected to move to Roush Fenway Racing. WBR holds a technical alliance with Penske and has hosted DiBenedetto for the last two seasons.

Behind DiBenedetto, Almirola did battle with Keselowski, who was looking for the perfect Penske parting gift. The No. 10 finally got the best of him as visibility dwindled. NASCAR gave the 10-to-go notice with 19 scheduled laps left, effectively wiping away only nine circuits. Despite some interference from the lapped car of Austin Dillon, Almirola managed to secure the win, holding off the closing No. 20 Toyota of Christopher Bell.

Penske Fords, with Keselowski and Blaney sandwiching teammate Joey Logano, rounded out the top five. Logano’s day was defined by an incredible comeback story, as he recovered from a penalty during the red flag process before making up the time to finish fourth.

Dillon might’ve had every reason to hold Almirola up. With Almirola leapfrogging himself into the playoff bracket, the winless Dillon is now the odd man out. Dillon is now five points behind Richard Childress Racing teammate Reddick with four races left in the regular season.

With TV partner NBC Sports broadcasting the Olympic Games in Tokyo, the NASCAR Cup Series will take a two-week break before resuming at Watkins Glen International’s road course on August 8 (3 p.m. ET, NBCSN).

For full results, click here

For full standings, click here

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Mets rally, avoid sweep to Pirates

The New York Mets haven’t looked great coming out of the All-Star break, losing two straight to the mediocre Pittsburgh Pirates. The two losses included a walk-off grand slam last night given up by Edwin Diaz. Their fortunes changed today.

The game seemed to be getting out of hand early, as Taijuan Walker surrendered 6 runs in the first inning. It was Walker’s worst outing of the season by far, allowing 6 runs, 4 hits and issuing 4 walks all in just 0.1 innings. However, an outstanding day from the bullpen gave the Mets a fighters chance.

The bullpen totaled 8.2 scoreless innings in today’s series finale. Contributions from Drew Smith, Miguel Castro, Aaron Loup, Jeurys Familia and Trevor May kept Pittsburgh off the board for the final 26 outs.

As for the offense, it was a much-needed performance as well. The Mets got on the board in the third inning on a Dominic Smith single and added three more in the fourth on Travis Blankenhorn’s first career home run.

Dom Smith stayed locked in and helped drive in Jeff McNeil on a double in the sixth to cut the lead to one. The big blast, however, didn’t come until the ninth.

Michael Conforto has been ice cold since returning to the field from injury. He couldn’t hit right-handers and couldn’t touch left-handers. Regardless, he had his best swing in a while with the game on the line today.

With a runner on first and Pirates closer Richard Rodriguez on the mound, he delivered. Conforto turned around a high, 94-MPH fastball to center field for the go-ahead, and future game-winning, two-run home run. As great as it was for the Mets, it was better for Michael Conforto to see a ball finally leave the yard, as it was just his fourth of the season.

The win was much-needed for the Mets, as their two-game skid to start the second half has made the division race much closer. This win brings the team to 48-42 on the season, with Philadelphia breathing down their neck.

The New York Mets will look to make it back-to-back wins tomorrow as they start a three-game series against the Reds in Cincinnati. While Cincinnati has announced all three starting pitchers for the series, the Mets have not. It will be interesting to see who is called upon to end the six-game road trip.

New York Yankee Legends: Joe Torre is no ordinary Joe, turns 81

Today the New York Yankee legendary manager Joe Torre turns 81 years old. Joe is no ordinary Joe; he played the game with style, he managed the game with rare calmness and went to the top of the baseball world as the chief operating officer of MLB. To say the least, he has had quite a life, and today he celebrates his 81st birthday.

Joe got to the pinnacle of baseball by playing baseball for four teams as a catcher and first baseman. He got there by managing five teams and bringing the New York Yankees six American League pennants and four World Series wins.  He got there by being a calm, thinking baseball mind with a vast knowledge of the game.

On December 9, 2013, Joe Torre was notified that he was to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

The long and often painful journey began in 1940 in the Marine Park section of Brooklyn, New York, when he was born the youngest of five to Joe Torre Sr and his mother, Margaret. The Torre household was always tense. His Father often verbally abused Joe. He also abused Joe’s Mother. However, his mother was a loving woman who always tried to stabilize the young Joseph. Later in life, mostly because of his own experience, he found the Safe at Home Foundation for victims of domestic violence.

Joe had a brother Frank that was eight years older than him. Frank played in the Braves organization. Due to the turmoil at home Joe would often turn to his brother for guidance. So baseball was an essential part of Joe’s life from a very early age, and it wasn’t long before he got noticed. Torre had been tearing things up for years and was a favorite of Vincent “Cookie” Lorenzo, who headed up the Sandlot League at Brooklyn’s Parade Grounds for more than 60 years. Lorenzo first noticed Torre in 1954 when the 14-year-old, much shorter than his adult height of 6’ 2”, slammed three doubles in a game umpired by Lorenzo. Lorenzo once commented that Torre was “A fire hydrant, short and stocky, but can he hit.

On August 26, 1958, the young sandlotter from Brooklyn took to New York’s Polo Grounds field. The all-but-deserted former home of the New York Giants was hosting the annual Hearst Sandlot Classic between the U. S. All-Stars and the New York All-Stars. The Brooklyn Cadets of the Kiwanis League were represented by their slugging first baseman, Joe Torre. Unfortunately, the consensus of the 16 scouts was that he was too fat, too slow, and too uncoordinated to play either first or third base. However, that would soon change as his brother told him to switch to catching, and he would get noticed. And that he did. The next summer, he was signed by the Milwaukee Braves.

After two years in the minors, he would play six years with the Milwaukee team, three for the Atlanta club, six with the St. Louis Cards, and another three with the New York Mets. His best years as a catcher were 64, 65, and 66, when he averaged .321, 291, and .315. His best year ever was in 1971 with the Cards when he would drive in 137 while hitting an average of .363. He was named the National League MVP. Thus, you could say that Joe had a relatively unremarkable career as a slightly above-average player that never got a lot of attention. But little did he know at the time his star power would eventually come as a manager, not a player.

In 1977 after playing just 26 games and the Mets coming off their worst record since 1967, manager Frazier was replaced by Joe Torre, with no experience as a coach or manager at any level of organized baseball. His lack of experience managing showed as in his five years managing the Mets. He never got the club above a .419 winning percentage. On August 23, 1981, Joe and several of his coaches were sitting at the bar in Stouffer’s Hotel nursing drinks. Things were slow that night, and Joe saw a young waitress reading a book. Bob Gibson invited her to join them, and that is how Joe met Alice Wolterman. Six years later, to the day, Joe and Ali were married. After the 81season, Joe would be fired by the Mets. In the offseason, he was asked if he would consider managing again. Joe answered, “I’m going to keep doing this until I get it right.” The following season would find him managing the Atlanta Braves.

In his first season, he would take the team to the pennant, the first they had won since 1969. Dale Murphy led the offense, and Phil Niekro led the pitching. They ended up winning the division by one game over the Dodgers. During a deep losing streak that year, Torre was praised for keeping the team calm, confident by his stoic demeanor. They would eventually lose the NLCS to the Cardinals. In the next two seasons, the Braves would come in third and fourth in the division. In 1984 the team would win only 80 games, and Torre was fired again. He would spend the next five seasons doing TV commentary for the Angels.

In 1990 after the sudden resignation of St. Louis manager Whitey Herzog, Joe, who had been field manager, was named manager. Torre had winning records in St. Louis from 1991-93, averaging just under 85 wins and a .523 winning percentage, but did not come close to getting the Reds to the postseason. In 94, the Reds were eight games short of .500. Then, in 1995 would see the baseball strike, which was very hard on the union guy Torre. The players came back in April 1995, but the Cardinals got off to a bad start. They were 20-27 when Torre was fired in mid-June. After his managerial record with three teams less than .500, it looked as though Joe’s career was over.

After the 1995 season ended, there were four managerial candidates for the Yankees manager job, Sparky Anderson, Butch Hobson, Gene Lamont, and Chris Chambliss, or so it appeared. But the “boss” had already made up his mind. On November 2, 1995, much to everyone’s surprise, he announced Joe Torre as the new Yankee manager. So naturally, the media and others said Joe Who? During that winter, he and his wife would attend a self-improvement 4-day seminar. Torre would learn how to compartmentalize different categories and emotions, which would serve him well as a Yankee manager.

In his first year as manager, he would be teamed up with veteran manager Don Zimmer as his bench coach. There was one thing Torre wanted to do, and that was to remove tension from the clubhouse and instill the joy of the game and winning by letting the players play and have fun. Zimmer and Torre would take the team to its first World Series win in eighteen years. In the year, not a single player had 30 or more home runs. So the Yankees became more of a running team, manufacturing runs, stealing bases, and getting runs one at a time to overcome large deficits. The team was so balanced on offense that nobody stood out, and not a single Yankee finished in the top ten for MVP. It was a total team effort orchestrated by Torre. The youngest player on the team, Derek Jeter, was honored with the Rookie of the Year Award.

When the World Series victory was complete, Torre, at Don Zimmer’s suggestion, assembled the players for a victory lap around the field. As pitcher David Cone remembered, “It seemed like we were floating around the field. Joe Torre sort of led us. Guys were floating around the field. Next thing you know, the (police) horses were going nuts, and the fans were reacting wildly. It was almost in slow motion. It was surreal.”  Torre would win the manager of the Year Award.  This would not only be a joist occasion for Joe but a time of great emotional stress.  Not just the pressure of winning but personal stress as his beloved brother underwent a heart transplant during the series.  Frank would watch his brother Joe win the Yankee’s first World Series in eighteen years the day after the operation.

A second World Series Championship win came in 1998, and this time the Yankees roared to the AL East championship with a then American League record 114 wins in what many called the most exceptional Yankee team of the modern era. First, they defeated Texas in the ALDS and Cleveland in the ALCS. Then, they swept the San Diego Padres in the World Series to finish things off. Torre won his second American League Manager of the Year Award in three years. Success was sweet for Zimmer and other coaches as Torre would treat them to the best cigars, the best wines, and the best restaurants.

1999 was the most challenging year for the Yankees. Paul O’Neill, Scott Brosius, and Luis Soho would all lose their fathers during the season. Yankee legend Joe DiMaggio passed away. Catfish Hunter came down with Lou Gehrig’s disease. In spring training, Joe Torre would be diagnosed with prostate cancer. It was caught early, and he completely recovered and only missed the first 36 games of the season. Nevertheless, the Yankees would make the World Series again.  In game four, Paul O’Neill, hours after his father died, would play in the game on the verge of tears, as the Yankees won their second consecutive World Series Championship (another four-game sweep, this time against the Atlanta Braves.) They would make it three straight championships when they defeated their cross-town rival New York Mets in five games in 2000.

The Yankees would not have another World Series win until 2009.  After the 2007 season, Torre’s contract would not be renewed, and former Yankee catcher Joe Girardi replaced him.   The year 2004 would make one of the greatest letdowns in Joe’s managerial career.  He would win the pennant and the division and be up three games to none in the ALCS.  He would then lose the ALCS in four straight games to the rival Boston Red Sox.  That and injuries and poor pitching would eventually lead to his 2007 release.  At the end of the 2007 season, he was given a pay cut and was offered a performance-based contract. Torre would reject the offer. However, Joe would not be out of a job long as he signed an agreement to manage the Los Angles Dodgers.  He would lead the Dodgers for three years and step down as manager in 2010 after losing season.  He was replaced by former Yankee Don Mattingly, his bench coach.   In 2010 Yankee owner George Steinbrenner would die, and on September 20th, the Yankees would honor the “boss” with a monument in Monument Park at Yankee stadium.  Joe Torre, as a sign of his respect, was on hand for the unveiling.

In 2011 Commissioner Bug Selig offered Joe the job of Executive Vice-President of MLB Operations.  A job Joe gladly accepted as he wished to remain involved in managing in some way.  In his role, he would be responsible for all on-field operations, including Umpires, rules, and the changing technology in baseball operations.  His title was changed in 2014 to Chief Baseball Officer, although his duties did not change.  Whenever anything controversial comes up in the game, the media turns to Joe for explanations and consul.

Joe to Yankee fans will always be a Yankee, and Joe reminds them of that with his ever-present visits to Yankee Stadium for almost all significant events. Yankee fans were further reminded of Joe’s love for his time with the Yankees as he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2014.  His likeness on his plaque in Cooperstown shows Joe wearing his Yankee baseball cap.

In February 2020, at the age of 79, Torre was replaced as head of on-field operations by former pitcher Chris Young. Torre and was reassigned as special assistant to the Commissioner, a position that has far fewer responsibilities.

Joe has been married three times.  First, to Jackie in 1963, they had a son Michael. Then, he was married to his second wife, Dani, in 1968. The pair had two daughters, Luren and Christina.  Both of his first two marriages ended in divorce.  He married his third and present wife in Alice in 1987, and they have a daughter Andrea.   Joe previously lived in Harrison, NY, but he and his wife presently reside at their lakeside home in Mahopac, NY.  Joe, like deceased Yankee owner George Steinbrenner, is also a horse racing enthusiast and horse owner.

Thank you, Joe Torre, for all you have meant to the New York Yankees and for all of your contributions to the game of baseball.

Yankees News, 7/18: Aaron Boone rips fan for throwing ball at Alex Verdugo

New York Yankees, Aaron Boone

The New York Yankees won their first game of the season against the Boston Red Sox on Saturday evening by a score of 3-1. Thanks to starting pitcher Gerrit Cole and a fantastic performance over 6.0 innings, the Yankees finally managed to get back into the win column, despite them being eight games back in the AL East standings.

After Thursday’s game against Boston was postponed due to COVID-19 protocols, the Yankees will now finish off the series on Sunday evening with Jameson Taillon on the mound. Taillon has performed well as of late, lowering his ERA to sub 5.00.

However, during the win, a Yankee fan threw a baseball at outfielder Alex Verdugo, sparking a verbal fighting match from the stands.

After the game, skipper Aaron Boone commented on the matter, stating how awful and disrespectful it was for a fan to do this, no matter the opponent.

“That’s my understanding, that someone threw a ball and hit him point-blank from behind. It’s awful and embarrassing, unacceptable,” Boone told reporters, per a clip shared by SNY. “My understanding is they did catch the guy. Hopefully, he’s in jail right now. Yeah, it’s just a bad situation. If I was Alex Cora, I would have done the same thing as far as going out and getting his guys off the field. There’s zero place for that in this great game, in this great rivalry. Players should never feel like they ever have to worry about anything like that. So, you know, I already reached out to Alex Cora, just apologized, and to Alex Verdugo. That’s just a terrible, bad, sad situation and sorry about that.”

Hopefully, the fan was punished for his transgressions, and the Yankees can move forward without any further issues. Considering the state of the team, the Bombers can use all the positivity they can possibly muster, and this fan felt the need to curate negative attention.

Rangers protected list inlcudes Kevin Rooney, exposes Colin Blackwell

The New York Rangers protected list has been released for the Seattle Kraken Expansion Draft which will be held on July 21.

The New York Rangers had one player who surprisingly made their protected list. Kevin Rooney will be protected which means Colin Blackwell will be exposed for Wednesday’s draft.

The Details

Here is the list announced this morning.

Barclay Goodrow is not being protected based on Frank Seravalli’s tweet.  This should be of no surprise as it would be a risky pick for the Kraken to select a UFA with one of their selections. The Washington Capitals did the same thing with superstar UFA Alex Ovechkin.

Julien Gauthier, outcast defenseman Anthony DeAngelo, and goalie Keith are the players along with Blackwell that is on the exposed list.

The New York Rangers confirmed list by the NHL of all players exposed and protected is listed below

Colin Blackwell (F)
Jonny Brodzinski (F)
Phillip Di Giuseppe (F)
Gabriel Fontaine (F)
Julien Gauthier (F)
Tim Gettinger (F)
Barclay Goodrow (F)
Anthony Greco (F)
Ty Ronning (F)
Anthony Bitetto (D)
Brandon Crawley (D)
Tony DeAngelo (D)
Nick DeSimone (D)
Mason Geertsen (D)
Jack Johnson (D)
Darren Raddysh (D)
Brendan Smith (D)
Keith Kinkaid (G)

Pavel Buchnevich (F)
Filip Chytil (F)
Chris Kreider (F)
Artemi Panarin (F)
Kevin Rooney (F)
Ryan Strome (F)
Mika Zibanejad (F)
Libor Hajek (D)
Ryan Lindgren (D)
Jacob Trouba (D)
Alexandar Georgiev (G)

The NHL Expansion protected/exposed team-by-team list.

Knicks News, 7/18: Usman Garuba connected to New York, Jared Butler a possibility

jared butler, knicks

The New York Knicks have the luxury of executing several different strategies during the 2021 NBA draft. They could target a young point guard like Davion Mitchell or Jared Butler out of Baylor, but there are other players who could fit the bill for a team that needs upgrades at multiple spots, especially with several starters hitting free agency.

One interesting name that has bubbled to the surface is foreign center, Usman Garuba, out of Spain. Having played for Real Madrid, being listed at 6’8″ with a 7’3″ wingspan, the 19-year-old is considered arguably the best shot-blocker in the entire draft class. His elite defensive instincts make him an instant impact player, especially for a Tom Thibodeau lead team. He can dominate in the paint while also moving out to the perimeter and utilizing his athleticism to guard other positions.

Last season with Real Madrid, Usman averaged 4.0 points, 0.7 blocks, 4.1 rebounds, and shot 50% from the field over 38 games. He only averaged 16.5 minutes per contest, so there’s no question he would have to adapt to the NBA and playing 25+ minutes every night. However, at such a young and ripe age, he has plenty of development left to enjoy. The Knicks could easily consider him a long-term solution at center.

ESPN’s Fran Fraschilla spoke to The Post about the possibility of Jared Butler being an intriguing option for the Knicks:

Another kid, depending on how he’s looked at from a medical standpoint, Jared Butler is a 6-3 point guard who is a great shooter, who is a playmaker, plays with toughness. That’s another kid who’s a 22-year-old junior who could come in and help the Knicks immediately, if they’re looking for the maturity, let’s say, of somebody that they can count on right away.

Why the Knicks could consider Butler:

Butler is another exciting option who offers a well-rounded game at the NBA level. Averaging 16.7 points, 2.0 steals, 4.8 assists, and shooting 47% from the field last season, Butler is ready to make the transition to the bigs. He also shot 41% from three, averaging 6.2 attempts per game, indicating his efficiency as a long-range shooter.

If the Knicks stick to their original selections and don’t trade up, Butler could be available at 19 or 21, but he has a few weaknesses that need to be ironed out. He projects as a secondary creating bench scorer to start his career, as he lacks the size to be a physically imposing guard. If he can add a bit more mass and physicality, he could end up being a great player moving forward, especially on the offensive side of the floor. One more positive that Jared brings, he’s a fantastic leader and exerts maximum effort.

New York Yankee Profiles: Gleyber Torres, has he finally found his stroke again?

New York Yankees, Gleyber Torres

The New York Yankees Gleyber Torres is still very young, and once heralded a future Yankee star; he may still see that in his future. But in a career that started out so bright, he hit a roadblock in 2020, he lost his power, he lost a beneficial batting average and that continued into the 2021 season with him hitting only 3 home runs. Although he has looked close to getting his stroke back, finally last night he hit his no-doubter fourth home run of the season.  Is he on the road back to stardom is it just another blip in his career? This writer believes a turnaround is in the offing. Let’s learn how he got to this point.

The New York Yankees Gleyber Torres was born amongst the political strife, unrest, and violence of Caracas, Venezuela in a middle-class family headed by Eusebio Torres and his mother, Ibelise. He is 24 years old. Gleyber started playing baseball at the age of four. He started in his early years as an outfielder, but shortstop was more suited to his game. His love of the game was propelled by watching games on TV.

In high school, he played both basketball and baseball, but his father got him to concentrate on just baseball. Many thought he had the capabilities of becoming a professional. At age 14, he enrolled in an academy with strong connections to baseball scouts. Shortly after that, he was sought out by the Chicago Cubs, and he signed a contract with them.

In 2013 at the age of just sixteen, he signed a $1.7 million contract with the Cubs as an international free agent. He played in the minors for the Cubs organization; He made his pro debut in 2014 with the Arizona Cubs. In fifty games, he hit an average of .297. In 2015 he played for two minor league teams. In 126 games between the two clubs, he hit .287 with three home runs. In 2016 the Cubs traded Torres with Adam Warren and two other players to the Yankees for a desperately needed Aroldis Chapman. Torres played in the minors but missed most of the 2017 season for an injury that required Tommy John surgery, but still recorded a .287 season with seven home runs.

Gleyber Torres made his major league debut on April 22, 2018, against the Blue Jays but went hitless. The next day he got his first hit off the Twins. On May 4th, he recorded his first home run. The youngest Yankee to do so since 1969. In 2018 after batting .297 with fifteen home runs, he was selected to the All-Star team He was named AL player of the week twice. For his sophomore season, on April 4, 2019, Gleyber Torres became the fourth-youngest Yankee with four hits and three extra-base hits in a game since Joe DiMaggio did it in 1936.

On June 29, 2019, he hit the 39th home run of his short career. On August 2nd, he hit his second Grand Slam. To end his 2019 campaign, he batted .278 and led the New York Yankees with 38 home runs with 90 runs batted in. In his two years in the majors, he has been a New York Yankees All-Star twice and has received an MVP nomination. He finished the 2019 campaign he ended with 62 home runs for his three-year career and 167 RBIs.

Torres played well in the 2020 spring training and in the later summer camp. The New York Yankees had great hope for their young, new shortstop would repeat his excellent performance. The Yankees hoped for the best as he tried to follow in the footsteps of Yankee all-time star Derek Jeter, and last year’s departing Didi Gregorius, who is now a Philadelphia Philly.

Fast forward to the coronavirus shortened baseball season. Has all the 2019 magic disappeared from that new guy at short? Well, it appears there certainly have been some struggles that he has suffered, from both behind the plate and at his new position. Before Torres went on the IL with both calf and hamstring strains, he led the league in errors at short and was hitting just .231 with only one home run and a measly six RBIs.

On August 21, 2020, Torres went on the 10 day IL. Upon his return, he had three at-bats and managed a double in the game. It was at the time hoped that was a good sign for the remaining weeks of the season but it was not to be. Torres ended the 2020 season hitting just 3 home runs with an average batting average of .243. One must keep in mind that the 24-year-old is still very young, and has plenty of time to improve. One season does not make a career. This season has given his detractors even more ammunition that he will never make stardom. The home run last night may just be the catalyst he needs to turn it all around.

New York Yankees: 3 Takeaways from wet and wild Yankees’ win over the Sox (video)

yankees, gerrit cole

The New York Yankees finally won a game against their hated rival, the Boston Red Sox. Previous to last night, they had not won a game against the Boston team in seven tries. So last night with Yankee ace Gerrit Cole on the mound, the Yankee fans were hoping for a big win. Although the win wasn’t big, a win is a win. In a rain-shortened game, the Yankees outscored the Sox 3-1.

Gerrit Cole doesn’t disappoint

For the second game in a row, New York Yankee ace Gerrit Cole threw a complete game, albeit a shortened game.  In a full six innings of play, Cole struck out eleven Red Sox. Cole was pretty much on fire allowing only one run-walking just two. Cole had complete control of his pitches as he did in his last game against the Houston Astros. He pitched a complete 9 inning game in that game using a career-high 129 pitches in a complete-game shutout of his old team. Cole is now 10-4 with an ERA of 2.63 in 19 games.

Back to back homers power Yankees to a win

The Yankees that so often this season have lacked hitting the long ball did it last night in the sixth and final inning of a rain-shortened game in the Bronx. In the sixth inning, Gary Sanchez and Gleyber Torres hit back-to-back homers to win the game for the Yankees. Torres had gone 29 games without hitting a home run.

Although it was a wet and wild game, there was not a lot of action; not much happened until Christain Arroyo brought in a run for the Red Sox in the second inning. The Yankees answered in the fifth, Greg Allen doubled. Then, LeMahieu singled, driving in Allen for the tie of the game. Stanton flew out to first to end the inning, but the Yankees tied the game.

The real action took place in the pouring rain in the sixth inning. Rougie Odor struck out, Sanchez homered to center as the Yankee took the lead in the game. Torres went back to back with a homer to right-center. As the inning continued, the grounds crew again came out to add a drying agent to the mound and home plate. Brett Gardner walked. Chris Gittens singled, putting two on for the Yankees. Tyler Wade singled with Gittens going to second on a bad throw. But on review, he was called out. With two outs and two on, Allen struck out to end one of the longest innings I have seen, but the Yankees took the two-run lead. At the end of the sixth, with the field becoming dangerous, the umpires finally called for the tarp. Unfortunately, the tarp never came off as the Yankees won the game 3-1.

One fan got far too excited

Even though fans expect some wild stuff when the Yankees meet up with the Red Sox, last night’s game was wild even for those standards. First, the game was delayed about 50 minutes because of storms nearby. Then, it never rained, and the game was finally started. After the sixth inning, with rains pouring out of the heavens, the game was again delayed another 50 minutes until it was finally called. From the third inning on, it rained hard at times at the Stadium in the Bronx.

Also, in the sixth inning, the Red Sox Alex Verdugo threw a ball to a Red Sox fan, but a Yankee fan caught it in right-center. Verdugo turned and crouched to get ready for the next play when he was plunked in the back with a fan-thrown ball. To say the least, Verdugo was outraged. What followed was an obscenity ladened back, and forth the caused a long game delay. Umpires and both managers took to the field while the Red Sox manager Alex Cora called his team off the field.  Both managers condemned the action of the fan and said that no player should have to worry about their own safety.