New York Giants: Joe Judge expecting both Fromm and Glennon to play vs Bears

mike glennon, giants

Unless something strange happens, the New York Giants aren’t going to try Brian Lewerke at quarterback. Instead, it looks like we’re in for more of the same. In this case, that means Jake Fromm and Mike Glennon. Both quarterbacks have appeared over the last two games for the Giants, neither one being able to complete their start without getting substituted out. And without flat out confirming it, Joe Judge seemed to hint that it could happen again when the Giants face Chicago.

Of course, Judge didn’t flat out say that the starter will get pulled for bad performance. But if one quarterback is working, it’s unclear why the Giants would put in another.

Fromm was the starter last time out but only managed 25 yards for the entire game, despite having more attempts than in his first appearance. He was replaced by Glennon, who overall didn’t have a good performance but managed 93 yards and an interception, in addition to a garbage time touchdown.

All in all, it’s a nightmare situation for the Giants at quarterback until Daniel Jones is back. We already know that isn’t going to be this season, and the matter of picking a quarterback every week has turned into a necessary evil.

It’s not that anyone wants to see more of Jake Fromm or Mike Glennon at QB, but any other options such as Lewerke only bring to the table less experience than Fromm does. One can only hope that against the Bears, the Giants can get into a good rhythm running the ball and not have to rely too much on either backup passer.

4th quarter surge propels Knicks past Detroit for 3rd straight win

rj barrett, knicks

Despite an awful shooting performance, theNew York Knicks overcame the Detroit Pistons 94–85 on Wednesday night. Coming off a poor win against the Timberwolves on Tuesday, the Knicks weren’t able to find their shooting efficiency against Detroit, hitting just 25.8% from three-point range and 38.3% from the field. In the first half, the Knicks weren’t able to crack five made three-point shots, holding a slim lead over the Pistons.

In the third quarter, Detroit pulled away with a double-digit lead, leaving the Knicks in their dust as Saddiq Bey contributed 32 points and Hamidou Diallo posted 31 and 13 rebounds.

Despite New York’s awful first half, they marched back with a resilient performance in the fourth quarter, posting 30 points and holding Detroit to just 14. The entire second team carried New York to victory, especially Alec Burks, who contributed 34 points over 27 minutes, in addition to three steals and four rebounds.

Second-year guard Immanuel Quickley also provided the team with a spark, recording 18 points over 35 minutes, completely supplementing Evan Fournier, who sat out due to a sore right ankle.

The starting team performed poorly, with Julius Randle posting five points and a -27 +/-. While RJ Barrett recorded 15, his -29 +/- told a story of his defensive efficiency. After three consecutive games with double-digit point production, rookie guard Quentin Grimes was unable to get on the score sheet, missing all five of his three-point attempts over 13 minutes.

Without an incredibly resilient effort from the second team, the Knicks might’ve dropped an extremely disappointing game to a team that has only won five contests this season. Once again, the second team stepped up and carried New York to victory, indicating once again the team has significant issues with the starting five.

The combination of Kemba Walker and Julius Randle posted just seven total points, a significant downturn after Walker returned from exile with a bang. Nonetheless, the Knicks will look ahead to the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night. Tom Thibodeau‘s team has a chance to string together four consecutive victories, despite some of them being rather ugly. Oklahoma City has won just 12 games this season.

Knicks: Grimes carves solid role as RJ Barrett works his way to shape

quentin grimes, knicks

RJ Barrett shook off some rust with a scintillating fourth quarter in Minnesota as he brought the New York Knicks home in a hard-earned 96-88 win Tuesday night.

Barrett hit his final three shots to overcome a woeful 0 for 7 shooting in the first three quarters. He scored all of his eight points in the final 5:49 to stave off the depleted Timberwolves’ challenge.

“[RJ] made big plays down the stretch for us, and that’s what I like. He didn’t force and then he found a rhythm by the end of the game. I thought he read the game very well down the stretch, and that’s the big thing,” said Tom Thibodeau effusive in his praise.

Barrett said he’s happy to get the opportunity to get back into the game and catch his rhythm down the stretch after his shooting struggles.

Over his last two games, since his return from the health and safety protocols, Barrett has only played an average of 25 minutes. His shot — 7 of 25 from the field and 2 for 12 from downtown — is still shaky most of the time.

“The first two games, I’m just trying to play within the team concepts and find my rhythm again,” Barrett said. “Any time you’re out for 10 days, it’s going to affect you whether you have COVID or not.”

Barrett said he only experienced mild symptoms, and getting tired easily is one of them. But he quickly added he’s feeling better after catching fire in the fourth quarter.

As he continues to work into game shape, rookie wing Quentin Grimes seized the opportunity to prove that his 27-point outburst against Milwaukee before he also had COVID-19 was not a fluke.

Grimes had his third consecutive double-digit scoring in Minnesota. He poured in nine of his 11 points in the second quarter, helping the Knicks build a 17-point lead.

Over his last three games dating back to his breakthrough performance against the Bucks, Grimes averaged 17.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, 2.0 steals, and five triples per game on a staggering 44 percent.

Derrick Rose’s ankle injury has opened up a spot in the second unit, and Grimes walked into it and grabbed it. Grimes had seen his role grow since his return averaging more playing time (28 minutes) over Barrett.

Thibodeau has fallen in love with the rookie’s 3-and-D play that helped solidify their defense in recent games. The defensive-minded coach hinted that Grimes would be a regular fixture in the second unit moving forward.

“I really thought at the start of the season, the bench really played well together. That was a big plus for us,” Thibodeau said. “When you move some of those guys, their chemistry changes. Then you have to find a way with that. You’re getting more and more information [as you do that].”

“So, we know Quentin is a very good player. He provides something that we need — high energy, very good defense, shotmaking, and real toughness.”

Grimes came into the NBA with a reputation as a tough 3-and-D player. But some people thought he was a reach at the 25th pick. But Grimes’s recent play proves the Knicks’ scouting department got it right.

Adam Tatalovich (left) was hired by the New York Knicks as an international scout this year with the help of his mentor and good friend, Kelvin Sampson (right). Sampson is the head coach of the University of Houston Cougars, where Knicks rookie Quentin Grimes played for two seasons. (Photo from Adam Tatalovich Twitter account and Thomas B. Shea-USA TODAY Sports)

Grimes had been on the Knicks’ radar way before the NBA Draft as one of their new scouts, Adam Tatalovich, had extensive intel on the former Houston standout. Tatalovich unofficially worked for Grimes’ coach at Houston, Kelvin Sampson, last college season before the Knicks scooped him up last February.

It was Sampson who recommended Tatalovich to Knicks GM Scott Perry when the team was looking to beef up their international scouting department.

“When that position came up, I called Scott and said: Look, there’s a young man in Adam Tatalovich. Here’s his story. I couldn’t recommend him highly enough. He’s got a great work ethic. He’s good, and he’s ambitious, and he’s task-oriented. Whatever job or task that you want him to do, I think he’s going to be outstanding,” Sampson told Empire Sports Media before the season began.

Tatalovich first burst into the basketball scene under Michael Jordan and late Kobe Bryant’s trainer Tim Grover after graduating from Indiana University. Before the Knicks, he had stints with the Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Pelicans, and Sacramento Kings as video coordinator and pro personnel scout. He also coached in Australia (NBL) and China (CBA) before returning to his roots in Serbia at the height of the pandemic last year. Just recently, he acquired Serbian citizenship to stay in Eastern Europe. Tatalovich is also involved with the Serbian national basketball program as an assistant coach.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

New York Giants: Injuries continue to pile on for rookie Kadarius Toney

new york giants, kadarius toney

The New York Giants are winding down another disappointing season. The team has two games left on the schedule and sits with a putrid 4-11 record. Fans expected a big turnaround in 2021 after New York finished the 2020 season with a 6-10 record. However, the maximum amount of wins the team can gain this season is six with only two games left, and this is including the extra game added to the NFL’s new seventeen-game schedule this year.

The Giants took a step backward this year. One of the main reasons why the Giants did not improve their record this year was injuries. The Giants are the most injured team in the NFL this season, losing so many key players for the season. Even some of the most exciting players on the roster had their seasons derailed, like Saquon Barkley, Blake Martinez, and Kadarius Toney.

Just when fans thought they had a reason to tune in and be excited to watch the Giants, that reason was quickly sidelined with injuries. Kadarius Toney totaled an insane 189 receiving yards in the Giants’ Week Five matchup with the Cowboys. But since then, the rookie wide receiver has barely seen the field, picking up injury after injury over the course of the season.

Kadarius Toney was once again listed on the injury report today. Toney did not participate in practice with a new shoulder injury.

Kadarius Toney’s long list of injuries

For as talented as Kadarius Toney is, he will only ever be as effective as his body allows him to be. In the NFL, sometimes the best ability is availability. Unfortunately, Toney has struggled to be available to play this season. Here is the long list of injuries and ailments that Kadarius Toney has had to deal with this season:

  • COVID (2x)
  • Hamstring
  • Ankle
  • Thumb
  • Quad
  • Oblique
  • Shoulder

When he is on the field, Kadarius Toney is one of the Giants’ most explosive playmakers. But it has been a struggle for Toney to get on the field and to get to 100% when he’s out there.

The Giants selected Kadarius Toney with the twentieth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. This draft was praised by many and criticized by others. One of the biggest criticisms of the selection and the prospect selected was Kadarius Toney’s slender frame. Kadarius is listed at 193 pounds but has a thin frame complemented by a playing style one would see from a  230-pound running back. He is explosive and has elite tackle-breaking ability, but it seems as though Kadarius does not have the body type necessary to match his playing style.

Heading into the 2022 offseason, Kadarius Toney is still one of the Giants’ most exciting players. But one must wonder if these injury problems will persist in the future. Toney is talented, but he needs to get healthy. Maybe the Giants should consider shutting Kadarius down for the final two games of the season and letting him get a head start on the offseason to get healthy.

Top Male UFC prospects entering 2022

Paddy Pimblett

The UFC is gearing up for another massive year in 2022. There are already big time title fights on the books for next year and one already features a man who was considered a top prospect to start 2021.

That man is UFC interim heavyweight champion Ciryl Gane. Entering 2021, Gane was 7-0 and he had just defeated Junior Dos Santos. Given his lack of experience, many still considered him to be a prospect.

Well, he went 3-0 this year and captured the interim heavyweight title. He will be fighting for the undisputed title next month. The other top prospect entering 2021 was Khamzat Chimaev.

Now, Chimaev was kept out of action most of the year due to covid. However, he didn’t disappoint in his lone appearance. He fought Li Jingliang at UFC 267 and completely dismantled him.

That win shot Chimeav up into the UFC’s welterweight rankings. He’s likely going to get a top opponent next and he could very well fight for the welterweight title this year.

With that in mind, who are the top male prospects in the UFC entering 2022? While there’s a ton of options out there, I wanted to focus on two fighters from across the pond.

UFC Prospects to Watch

Paddy Pimblett

The first fighter that I want to focus on is Paddy “The Baddy” Pimblett (17-3). Paddy The Baddy made his highly anticipated UFC debut back in September when he took on Luigi Vendramini.

It wasn’t a flawless performance as Pimblett took a few good shots. However, he stormed back and knocked Vendramini out and showed the world why there are so many people high on him.

I’m expecting some big things from Pimblett this year. There’s already talks about the UFC booking him against Donald Cerrone. A win over Cowboy would be big in terms of building up the Pimblett name.

Ian Garry

The next fighter I’m focusing in on has a little Conor McGregor vibe to him. That would be Ireland’s Ian Garry (8-0). Garry is already saying he’s the takeover part two after his UFC debut.

Garry made his debut at UFC 268 when he took on Jordan Williams. In the arena where Conor McGregor became a two-division world champion, Garry knocked Williams out with a step back shot that McGregor would be proud of.

I definitely see the competition level increasing for Garry this year. However, I think the UFC will bring him along gradually. He’s a massive welterweight that will remind you of McGregor at featherweight.

New York Yankee Legends: A most exciting season, the M&M boys race to surpass Babe Ruth

It was 1961, one of the most exciting seasons for the New York Yankees and its fans. Not only did Casey Stengel’s Yankees win the World Series four games to one over the Cincinnati Reds, but an exciting drama played out from the middle of the season until that win. The M&M boys (Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris) fought each other for the most home runs that season.

It was so exciting that the season would end, breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record that stood for 34 years. In 1937 Ruth would hit 60 home runs, the most ever by an MLB player. On October 1, New York’s final game of the regular season, Yankees slugger Roger Maris hit his 61st home run, becoming the first player in Major League Baseball to hit more than 60 in a single season. Mantle ended the season hitting 54 long balls, enduring injuries that held him back.

Here is a brief story of these two super players that kept Yankee fans entertained and on the edge of their seats in 1961.

Mickey Mantle

Few players for the Yankees were as good or beloved by fans as #7 Mickey Mantle. His real name was actually Mickey, not Michael. He was born in 1931 in Spavinaw, Oklahoma; his Father “Mutt” Mantle named Micky after the Hall of Fame player Mickey Cochrane, the famous catcher. #7 or the “Mick” as he was called, had an amazing career with the Yankees, achieving an unprecedented 20-time All-Star award winner, seven World Championships, three-time MVP, Gold Glove, and other awards as he spent his entire eighteen years career, all spent with the Yankees. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first year of eligibility in 1974.

He was a multi-talented athlete playing baseball, basketball, and football at Commerce High School in his teen years. He was offered a football scholarship, but that was not to be. In a game, he was kicked in the shin and endured a crippling disease known as Osteomyelitis that almost took his leg had it not been for the newly discovered Penicillin. Saved from amputation, Mantle recovered while being treated at Children’s Hospital In Commerce.

Mantle began his baseball career in the neighboring state of Kansas when he joined the semi-pro Baxter Springs Whiz Kids. In 1948 a Yankee scout was scouting the Whiz’s third baseman Billy Johnson, but during that game, the scout took notice as Micky hit three home runs in the game. 

Mantle was invited to the Yankees instructional camp before the 1951 season. After an impressive spring training, Yankees manager Casey Stengel decided to promote Mantle to the majors as a right fielder instead of sending him to the minors.

In the 1951 World Series, Mantle was playing right field and raced to catch a long fly ball; in doing so, he tripped over a drain pipe and tore his ACL. This was the first of numerous injuries that plagued his 18-year career with the Yankees. He played the rest of his career with a torn ACL. However, from 1952 to 1960, Mantle played his brains out and achieved all kinds of awards. During this time in World Series games, Mantle would hit 18 home runs and score 42 times. Mantle escaped the military draft because of his leg ailment. Still, when he was selected to the All-Star team, the military ordered another physical exam, but he was rejected for the final time.

Mantle’s overall performance in 1956 was so exceptional that he was bestowed the Hickok Belt (unanimously) as the top American professional athlete of the year. He is the only player to win a league Triple Crown as a switch hitter Mantle won his second consecutive MVP in 1957 behind league leads in runs and walks, a career-high .365 batting average. He continued his fine play through 1960.

In 1961 began the period of the M&M boys. He and Roger Maris competed for the most home runs and chased Babe Ruth’s 1927 single-season home run record. Mantle was the media favorite, and Maris, the surly outsider, was new. They both fought for the title through the season, but again Mantle would be hit with a medical issue. From a flu shot he had gotten earlier in the year, he developed an abscessed hip and was hospitalized. He missed 41 games, and Maris beat out his 54 home runs with 61 for the batting crown.

In 1962 Mantle batted .321 in 121 games. He was selected an All-Star for the eleventh consecutive season and played in the first game but couldn’t play in the second game due to old injuries flaring up. In 1963 while catching a fly ball up against the fence, he dropped to the ground and broke his foot.

In the ninth inning of Game 3 of the 1964 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, Mantle hit Barney Schultz’s first pitch into the right-field stands at Yankee Stadium, which won the game for the Yankees 2–1. His 16th World Series home run, the homer broke the World Series record of 15 set by Babe Ruth.

During the late 50′ and early ’60s, Billy Martina and Mickey Mantle were the partiers on the team. Basically, both were alcoholics, and they partied hard. Although Mantle was still a world-class player, his game was starting to slow. Upon the opening of the Houston Astrodome, Mickey would hit the first home run during an exhibition game there. But his alcoholism and numerous injuries were taking their toll. In 1968 his last playing season, his average had slipped to .237 with only 54 RBI’s. Mantle retired from baseball on March 1, 1969.

During this time, his health continued to deteriorate. 

Before Mantle sought alcoholism treatment, he admitted that his hard-living had hurt his playing and family. His rationale was that the men in his family had all died young, so he expected to die young as well. He checked into the Betty Ford Clinic on January 7, 1994, after being told by a doctor that his liver was so badly damaged from almost 40 years of drinking that it “looked like a doorstop.”

In 1995 Mickey received a liver transplant at Baylor in Dallas. Before his death, Mantle would talk of how he wasted his life drinking and urged others not to drink during many speaking events. Mickey passed away from liver failure on June 8, 1995, with his wife by his side at the age of just 63.

Roger Maris

In the fourth inning of the last game of the season, at Yankee Stadium in front of 23,154 fans on October 1, 1961. Boston Red Sox pitcher Tracy Stallard allowed Roger Maris to hit his record-breaking 61st home run and ended the competition between him and Mickey Mantle. The competition was to beat Babe Ruth’s 60 home runs. Maris’s feat has always been controversial because Maris beat Ruth in 162 games, whereas Ruth had his 60 home runs in a 154 game season.

Born Roger Eugene Maris on September 10, 1934, in Hibbing, Minnesota. His parents, Rudolph and Corrine Maris, were of Croatian heritage; they were also born in Minnesota. They legally changed their name to Maris in 1955. Something that Maris would later say he was pleased with so that fellow teammates would stop making rude comments referring to “ass.” When Roger was just five, the family would move from Minnesota to South Dakota. As he aged, he would become a star at his high school in Fargo. He would excel in football and once returned four kick-offs for touchdowns in a single game. After graduation, he would decide not to attend college, and he turned his full attention to baseball, where he would make an indelible mark.

His strong performance in the American Legion League would draw the attention of several baseball scouts. Maris would sign with the Indians organization and be sent to the Fargo/Morehead minor team. He quickly worked his way up the ladder and was moved to Iowa. In 1954 he would be hitting .303, and he would view himself as a contact hitter. His manager trained him to pull the ball, thus unleashing what would prove to be the making of a historical power hitter.

After a very successful time with the Cleveland Indians, Maris was traded to the New York Yankees on December 11, 1959. Maris got off to a quick start in 1960 with the Yankees, hitting two home runs in his first game in pinstripes. By early August, he already had over thirty home runs and over ninety runs batted in as the Yankees, overcoming a slow start, reasserting their American League dominance, ultimately winning the pennant by eight games over a surprising number Oriole squad. He would finish his first season with 39 home runs. In addition, he would earn the AL MVP award and get a Gold Glove.

1961 would see new franchises in Los Angeles and Washington D.C., and the Yankees would see a new beginning. In the middle of the summer, the Yankees began moving ahead of the rest of the AL East teams, but the big story was the race to beat Babe Ruth’s home run record by Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris. Near the end of the season, the Tigers were just down a game and a half, and in a crucial three-game set, both Maris and Mantle would hit dual homers. After that, the Yankees would go on a 13 game winning streak and secure the AL Division. Still, the media and fans were focused on the race to beat Babe Ruth. It was settled when Mantle was injured and couldn’t play while hospitalized.

Few know the pressure Maris was until to beat Ruth’s record, he couldn’t eat at times, couldn’t sleep, and even clumps of hair would fall out of his head. Maris would go on to play six more seasons with the Yankees in right field. But in those seasons, he would never hit above 33 home runs. In his last two years with the Yankees, he would hit only 21 home runs.

He would spend the last two years of his career with the St. Louis Cardinals. He was an All-star seven times in his career, would win a Gold Glove, and be an MVP twice with three nominations. Unfortunately, Maris would die very young, at the age of 51, from cancer on December 14, 1985.

UFC books title eliminator between Marina Rodriguez and Yan Xiaonan

The UFC has finalized a big time matchup in the strawweight division which very well might be a title eliminator. MMA Junkie was the first to report this afternoon that Marina Rodriguez (15-1-2) will be taking on Yan Xiaonan (13-2).

The matchup will take place at UFC 272 which goes down on March 5th. For Xiaonan, she will be looking to bounce back after her first loss in the UFC. That loss came back in May against Carla Esparza.

We know that Esparza is getting the next shot at the title, but whoever wins this matchup will likely be next. Prior to the loss to Esparza, Xiaonan was perfect in the UFC.

She made her debut with the promotion back in 2017 and started a perfect 6-0. Some standout victories in that start were wins over Angela Hill and former title challengers Karolina Kowalkiewicz and Claudia Gadelha.

Xianoan looked to be on a destined path to a UFC title shot. However, Esparza stopped her in a big way. Now, she has a big test in front of her in Marina Rodriguez.

UFC title eliminator

When it comes to the female fighters of the year in 2021, it’s hard to pick against Marina Rodriguez. After suffering her first professional loss back in July of 2020, Rodriguez made a massive statement in 2021.

For Rodriguez it all started back in January at UFC 257. That night, she was taking on Amanda Ribas who was riding a big hype train. Rodriguez put a stop to that hype train by finishing Ribas in the second round.

The Brazilian followed that win up with back-to-back main event victories. First, she defeated the tough veteran Michelle Waterson. After that, she took on Mackenzie Dern who was also riding a big hype train.

Rodriguez was being looked at as a dark horse for the next UFC title shot. However, the UFC gave Esparza the shot which was the correct call since Rodriguez’s lone loss came to Esparza.

This is a huge strawweight contest that should setup a summer clash for the winner and whoever is the champion.

Knicks: Mitchell Robinson’s monster game a proof he’s close to best shape

The New York Knicks are starting to get their defensive rhythm back. A big part of that is the resurgence of Mitchell Robinson, their 23-year old center, who is coming off a monster game in Minnesota on Tuesday night.

Robinson took advantage of Karl-Anthony Towns’ absence as he feasted underneath the rim. He scored 14 points on putbacks and slams, grabbed a season-high 18 rebounds, and fueled the Knicks’ 96-88 victory to move two games just below .500 (16-18).

“That was huge,” said Tom Thibodeau of Robinson’s play. “His activity at the rim, altering shots, multiple efforts, second-chance points, putting pressure on the rim. You can’t say enough about the way he played. I thought his rebounding and Julius’ rebounding were huge for us.”

Robinson had 12 defensive rebounds and six on the offensive glass. Julius Randle added 15 rebounds that made up for his poor 5 for 20 shooting. Their activity at the rim led to Knicks’ dominating the battle of the boards, 54-45, and in second-chance points, 23-11, that spelled the huge difference.

“I thought that we just need to come up with some energy, man,” Robinson said on the TV broadcast after the road win. “That’s it really, you know, hustle makes up for everything. And that’s what we just came up to do.”

Over his last six games, Robinson averaged 10.5 points on an astounding 30 of 33 shooting, 10 rebounds, 2.0 blocks, and 1.0 steal in 27.3 minutes. The Knicks have won four of six in that span. In three of the Knicks’ last four wins, they’ve held their opponents to 91 points or less. With Robinson anchoring their defense, the Knicks’ defensive rating during the previous six games surged to 107.2, tied for fifth with the San Antonio Spurs.

“It’s just conditioning,” Robinson told reporters after the game. “Once I’m conditioned, I can think better, I can play better. So, I’m just acting like I’m a high-energy guy. That’s mainly the key. You can’t really teach that.”

He took exception of a couple of plays in Minnesota where he wasn’t ready to receive a pass in traffic. But once Robinson cleans that up, that will take his offensive role to another level from just a lob or putback threat, opening up more space for the Knicks’ offense.

“I could feel myself getting in condition better like I’m running a lot. I think I still have to get stable and catch the ball like kind of messing a couple of passes but other than that, I feel like it’s working out great,” he said.

He added he’s past halfway to getting back to his old form before he went down with a broken hand and foot that sidelined him for eight months.

“It’s right there. I think I have to push a little bit more,” he said.

Thibodeau earlier demoted Robinson to the bench to work his way into game shape. But a week ago, he was reinserted to the starting lineup after Nerlens Noel contracted the COVID-19 virus. Robinson hasn’t looked back since his return to the starting unit.

With the league reducing the isolation protocols from 10 to six days, Noel will likely be back with the team sometime this week. While his play lately deserves a starting spot, Robinson has no qualms if Noel returns and retakes the starting job.

“If I start, I start. If I don’t, I don’t. I’m still coming with the same energy,” Robinson said. “You have your ups and downs so pretty much I’m just going to stay solid.”

Robinson’s current play is worth more than his $1.8 million salary during the last year of his rookie-scale contract. He is set to become an unrestricted free agent. But the Knicks can lock him up to an extension between now and the eve of next summer’s free agency. A four-year, $54-million contract extension is the maximum the Knicks could offer.

Follow this writer on Twitter: @alderalmo

Yankees News: Watch Joey Gallo enjoy batting practice with former Yankee, Freddie Freeman on the horizon?

joey gallo, yankees

The New York Yankees may be in limbo, but their players continue to work hard in preparation for the 2022 season. Last year, the Bombers failed to make the postseason, losing to the Boston Red Sox in the Wild Card round due to a poor performance by ace Gerrit Cole and lackluster offensive production.

After trading for Texas slugger Joey Gallo, the Yankees expected the middle of their lineup to improve considerably. However, Gallo struggled after putting on the pinstripes, hitting a measly .160 with 13 homers over 188 at-bats and 58 games. He recorded a .223 average with the Rangers over the first 95 games of the season, still earning an All-Star appearance for his contributions.

Nonetheless, the Yankees need a better version of Gallo in 2022 – one who isn’t going to strike out on 38.6% of his at-bats. That is simply an unsustainable number the Yankees cannot continue to roll with.

Former Yankee Tyler Wade posted a video with Gallo, as the two enjoyed a session of batting practice.

After a successful tenure in the Yankees’ minor-league system, the Yankees recently elevated Dillon Lawson to the top hitting coach spot. His impact on young prospect Anthony Volpe has been apparent as the shortstop accepted his philosophies.

The philosophy essentially revolves around hitting strikes hard and being patient for the right opportunity. It clearly aligns with the Yankees’ home run centric mentality, which is likely why they preferred Lawson to other alternatives.

Is Freddie Freeman on the horizon for the Yankees?

During free agency 2.0, Cashman is going to have to find a solution at first base, whether that be Anthony Rizzo or an acquisition.

One name that has bubbled to the surface is Freddie Freeman, who is coming off a World Series with the Atlanta Braves.

At 32 years old, Freeman hit .300 this past season, with Atlanta over 159 games. He hosted a 15.4% strikeout rate, 12.2% walk rate, 31 homers, and 83 RBIs. Most would say he is the best offensive first baseman in baseball, if not one of the best offensive players, period.

If Atlanta is unwilling to give him a deal longer than five years, he could be available for another team to steal him, which is where the Yankees would come into play. His defense is solid enough to hold them over, but injecting a player with a low strikeout rate and incredible lefty bat in Yankee Stadium would give them home run abilities beyond their wildest dreams.

A lineup consisting of Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge, Joey Gallo, and Freeman would propel them to potentially historic heights regarding home runs. With that being said, the Braves aren’t going to let Freeman walk without a fight, so the Yankees are going to have to outbid them by a significant margin.

Virginia Tech football pays tribute to Yankees with Pinstripe Bowl helmet

New York Yankees, Yankee Stadium

The Hokies’ maroon and orange helmets will get a New York Yankees-inspired makeover as they do battle in The Bronx.

The Virginia Tech Hokies have been designated the home team for Wednesday afternoon’s New Era Pinstripe Bowl at Yankee Stadium (2:15 p.m. ET, ESPN). Less than 24 hours before kickoff, they showcased their willingness to look the part.

When the Hokies take the field on Wednesday against Maryland, their maroon and orange helmets, often adorned with an interlocking “VT”, with be joined by the united “NY” that often appears on the Yankees’ pinstriped uniforms and navy caps over the summer.

The Hokies’ descent upon Yankee Stadium for its first appearance in the Pinstripe Bowl has invoked memories of the bond they built with the Bronx Bombers following the tragic shooting on the Blacksburg campus in April 2007. New York would make a sizable donation to the Hokie Spirit Memorial Fund. During the ensuing spring training season in 2008, the Yankees visited Blacksburg for a seven-inning exhibition game at the Hokies’ baseball stadium of English Field.

“That (game) symbolized that 11 months later, we’re still healing but we’re moving forward and there’s people that have our back,” Anthony Sosnoskie, the Hokies catcher that afternoon, told Mark Berman of The Roanoke Times in a retrospective. “We all as a collective unit really appreciated what they did for us that day.”

As the designated home team for Wednesday’s game, Virginia Tech (6-6) will be stationed in the Yankees’ locker room. Each team’s fanbase also shares the love of Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”: the song often signaled the insertion of legendary Yankees closer Mariano Rivera into close games while it has also been used when the Hokies take the field at Lane Stadium since 2000.

The Hokies are looking to end their season on the right note after what’s been a tough season following an upset triumph over preseason No. 10 North Carolina on Sept. 3. It was a year that saw them bid farewell to head coach Justin Fuente after six years at the helm. They’re nonetheless back in a bowl game after last season’s opt-out of postseason proceedings, which ended the fourth-longest streak of bowl game appearances in college football history at 27 seasons. They’ll face off against their former Big Ten brother Maryland (6-6), which is likewise seeking a winning campaign, which would be their first since their inaugural Big Ten outing in 2014.

Wednesday marks the seventh Pinstripe Bowl showcasing an ACC-Big Ten matchup, with last year’s game canceled in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic. Previous winners of the David C. Koch MVP Award (named after the late CEO of game sponsor New Era) include Zack Martin (Notre Dame, 2013) and Jonathan Taylor (Wisconsin, 2018), each of whom has built prolific NFL careers with Dallas and Indianapolis respectively.

Yankee Stadium is one of four active baseball stadiums to host a college bowl game: while both the Holiday Bowl (at San Diego’s Petco Park) and the inaugural Fenway Bowl (Boston’s Fenway Park) were each canceled in the wake of the ongoing health crisis, Minnesota topped West Virginia 18-6 in the Guaranteed Rate Bowl at Chase Field in Arizona on Tuesday night.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags