For the fan in enemy territory

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Let's Take a Break...

It's Valentine's Weekend. I know most people have big plans for a big weekend, so let's take some time off from the revolving door that is sports. Let's play a game called love it or hate it.

Question 1)Love or hate the Knicks this year? Hate. With the team being so far down in the standings, including the conference standings for a possible 8 playoff teams, they have little to cheer for at the Garden this year. They have an offensive minded coach but not the right parts for the offense he wants to run. This is not Phoenix, maybe in Phoenix, the fans will be patient and wait until LeBron or Wade are free agents, but not in New York. My friends that root for the Sixers, laugh whenever I tell them I like the Knicks. Shouldn't it be the other way around? I remember a time when it was. Sure they have an all star in Lee, but they need a little more than that to contend in the City that never sleeps. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy for Lee and the Knicks have an upside, they are young and have talent, but they lack the spark needed to capture the collective attention of its fan base.

Question 2)Love or hate the Rangers playoff hopes this year? Love. I'm optimistic to a point. I am glad that they are on an Olympic break, the younger players are needing a rest. The Veterans need some too, but with the Olympic games schedule for their respective countries they are almost all playing for, it will be difficult to obtain such a break, but at least they can take a mental break from the Rangers and it will be a welcome return for them when the season resumes. If Gaborik is not seriously hurt and Jokinen can continue to contribute, they have a great chance. If they get in the playoffs, they can get as hot as anybody else. It all depends on Lundquist. He is one of the best goalies in the league that no one talks about. He gets hot, they can go far. They are only 3 points out of a playoff spot with 30 some games left after their break. I like the chances they have.

Question 3)Love or hate the Mets this year? Love! I know, I know, most people are down on them, and they had a bad to average offseason, but I have a feeling. I know there are many ifs involved here, but stranger things have happened. I can see Santos being okay, not great, but okay, particularly in a full year of working with a pitching staff that he now has some experience with. I can see Maine, Santana both being healthier, I see Pelfrey and Perez being less psychotic this year and improving. Overall, the division is not the property of the Phillies, despite what my coworkers and friends here like to say. Most importantly, it is a very long season, let us not forget that. If they are still contending in July, which is very possible, they can make some midseason moves to sure up the bullpen or help the offense or both. I'm surprisingly optimistic, despite previous entries or comments on other blogs. I am realistic, but I think it could shape up to be a good year. The division is more well balanced after lack of moves from Florida and Atlanta. The Phillies, Mets and Nationals have been the busiest and Washington will not be a pushover this year. The Mets have a similar roster returning after a year where they were heavy favorites. All they truly need is hustle, heart, intelligence and execution.

Question 4)Love or hate a Yankees repeat? Hate. There are too many teams and too many things that have to go perfectly right for them. Forget it. I see them definitely contending, however. Question 5) Love or hate the J-E-T-S for next year? Love. They are for real. They are young and hungry. They win with defense. The need to rebuild the running attack though as I'm sure 2/3 of last year's tandem will be retired or still getting over injuries next year. Question 6) Love or hate the Giants return to contention? Love. I'll get into more before the draft, but I think they are very close to being a major force in the NFL.

Question 7)Love or hate Valentine's Day? Love it! I am a romantic at heart. I believe all sports fans to some degree are, especially New York fans, in particular, Mets fans. We love in the most dire of circumstances and hope for the best in the worst scenarios. However you spend your weekend, or with whomever you spend it, the important thing is to not be alone. Enjoy life and love. That why we're here for this short time. Appreciate everyone you care about this weekend and be sure to tell them. I know this is usually the romantic time of year, but there is no reason it can't also be a time for appreciation and love for all of those in your life. I appreciate anyone who is reading this and in that respect, happy Valentine's Day to you all.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The New York Mess?

Hi. You can call me Spankie. I'll be your host in a wonderful journey through enemy territory. I am a New York sports fan and I live in southern New Jersey which, historically is Philly sports country. How do I do it, you ask? With much patience and staying on top of my game in debating sports knowledge with every drunken cheesesteak eating talk radio host wanna be. I will be blogging occasionally so check back from time to time and I will usually be talking New York sports, but on the rare occasion, I'll add personal insights on society. Let's dive in, shall we.

Let's start with the New York Mets or as I've been calling them lately, the New York Mess. When I examine the division, I see a few things. 1)the Phillies aren't much better than last year. I realize they got better on offense (if that's possible) with Palanco, but Lee for Halliday is a trade off and not a deeper rotation as some would suggest. 2) Atlanta and Florida are not getting younger and also not getting better neither have added enough to push them past Philly. 3) Washington has gotten better. Adding Pudge helps immensely with the young pitchers and the starting staff is deeper now. They still will not overtake Philly, but they could win a few more unexpected games thereby playing spoiler.

All of this considered, the Mets have more than a chance, however there are many if's. For example, if #1- the many no name players they have signed this offseason contribute at all and more importantly if #2 - they shake the injury bug, and if #3 - the previously injured players come back to form. Also, if #4 - the mental asylum that is the pitching staff can finally perform up to their expectations and contracts. Finally, if #5 - they play with passion, hustle, fire, intelligence, heart and proper execution, then and ONLY then will they not only be able to compete, but be a legitimate contender for the World Series. Have I forgotten anything? That's too many if's, if you ask me (no pun intended). To hope that everything pans out just exactly that way is foolish. Let's just hope for mediocrity with this group and maybe we won't be disappointed, and maybe we'll be surprised. If only.....Let's go Mets!