Month: September 2011

You. Cannot. Be. Serious.

I don’t want to say, “You won’t find a bigger Jose Reyes fan than me,” because quite honestly, there probably are many more who are bigger.  But I do love him.  I hope he stays a Met, but I am a realist in knowing his limitations as a player and what his “value” may be, for better or for worse.  But I don’t come to you today in writing that.  No, far from it.

If you watched the game today, Jose Reyes bunted for a single in his very first at-bat.  Today was Game 162, in a very meaningless season in an equally-as-meaningless game, after said bunt single, Reyes was pulled for pinch runner Justin Turner.

There were several subthemes in today’s story.  One was that it was Game 162, and Reyes is playing for a contract.  Reyes has also been hurt twice this season, one of his limitations as a player (his legs, and his game is based on his legs).  Two is that Terry Collins even said prior to the game that if Jose Reyes were to get two hits quickly, he’d be pulled.  Third?  Jose Reyes is “fragile” with his legs, and it’s been well-documented that Collins wanted to give him the day game after a night game off.  Two reasons Reyes started today?  1) To appease fans who wanted to wish him well in case this happened to be his last game as a Met and 2) To preserve his lead in the batting race.

You want to know what I was upset about this afternoon?  That I couldn’t go crazy and give a proper standing ovation for my current favorite Met, Jose Reyes.  (Optimistic Mets Fan, Ceetar, said I could give him my standing O when he returned in April…I hope!!).  What I would have liked to do is send him to his position in the 2nd inning, send Justin Turner out there, and have Jose take a curtain call.  People looked at me like I was crazy when I was chanting, cheering and screaming.  Most of the folks who were getting settled in their seats didn’t even realize he was being taken out.  Collins did us dirty, in my opinion.  But we learned later that this was Reyes’ doing.  (Collins also did the same thing with fan favorite David Wright later in the game, giving a pinch runner,instead of allowing Wright to take his position and then come out).

Look, if this was any other day game after a night game situation, none of us would say shit about it.  The reality is, we want our players to “earn” things.  The common refrain I’ve been hearing is, “Well Ted Williams played the last game of the season to preserve his .400 average.”  Well, Reyes is NOT Ted Williams.  The GAME isn’t even of the ilk of Ted Williams day!  ENOUGH ALREADY!!!  Will it make us feel better if it was earned “fair and square,” whatever the Hell that means?

There was no HGH involved, like some tainted records.  There was no “stats padding” involved, like some players are accused of (Carlos Beltran, Alex Rodriguez, etc).  Even a Milwaukee writer defended Reyes earlier, saying that batting titles have been gamed since the beginning of time.

For all the in-fighting I have seen amongst Mets fans, (and trust me, I’ve seen a lot and have been part of many arguments), this has to be one of the most asinine I’ve ever witnessed.

In my years as a blogger, I’ve been a “bitch,” a “loudmouth,” a “know-nothing” (because I am a woman), and a “non-fan.”  The “non-fan” thing always cracked me up, because I don’t think I could ever be accused of that (the other stuff is fair game).   There was one night, as an example, on Twitter where I had a raging migraine, and there was a particularly tedious game on the TV. I made a comment to the universe at the game, that I wouldn’t have lasted as long as they would have.  Some non-entity later told me that, “You’re not a real fan” because I made a comment that I wouldn’t have lasted as long.

I’ve been a fan since I was seven.  That was a LONG time ago.  I go to 30+ games a year, and go to games on the road.  But I’m not a “real fan.”  **SMH.**

I made it a point to never judge another person who called themselves a fan from that point on.  I have friends on the West Coast who can’t make as many Mets games as they’d like.  I have friends close by that can’t make as many games as they’d like.  Does that make them less of a fan?  No.  Just to self-righteous people it does.

My point is, I don’t like to judge or gauge people’s fandom towards the team we both love.  But today takes the prize hands down.  We have a great player who could potentially win something, a MEANINGLESS something, a piece of paper, that no other player who wore their uniform before has won.  And they still wish to diminish it.  My personal favorite?  Some have even said they wish that Ryan Braun goes 5-for-5 today. On “principal!”

I’m going to come right out and say it..

YOU ARE NOT A FAN.  AND YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS.  (My friend Dave is excluded, but he’s a more of an emotional spectrum of fan, so I let is slide. Plus I know him, and I’m biased).

Furthermore, where the Hell are all the “true Mets fans” who will defend not only Reyes, but also tackle the media that is out to get the Mets?  Before, it was all over Terry Collins.  Collins said it was Reyes’ idea.  Now everyone is quick to throw Reyes under the bus.  The other day, there was a trend on Twitter that was #NegativeMetsHeadlines.  One was: “Mets throw first no-hitter, lose perfect game in 3rd.”  It’s that type of shit that sells newspapers folks and causes all this infighting! ENOUGH!

Look, I will freely admit, some of my favorite players of all time in baseball were not Mets.  To this day, my hero is Cal Ripken Jr.  Currently, I am in love with Matt Kemp and Ryan Braun.  Yeah, I said it, the guy who is in battle for the batting title with my own Jose Reyes (who is my favorite Met, as I’ve illustrated several times).  Ryan Braun is a legit MVP candidate.  If his team makes it to the World Series (which I hope, if only to knock out the Phillies), I’ll root for him and hope he does well.  I’m sure the “batting title” means very little to him at this point compared to a ring and an MVP award.  This is just my personal feeling.

In conclusion, I get why Mets fans are just so angsty and so angry.  For over five years, we’ve been sitting in our seats, waiting for that moment we want to leap out our seats to celebrate something.  It hasn’t happened.  So what if Reyes wins a batting title and he bunted his last at bat to get to that point? Does it matter?  Because in a few years, when we look at the batting title champion wall in the Mets Hall of Fame and Museum, we’d have probably forgotten about how he got there in the first place.

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Coopie Says “Relax”

Today is Tuesday.  It’s been two days since the Jets had a tough loss to the Oakland Raiders.  My Twitterverse is STILL up in arms about it.

While I was disappointed in the loss…and Hell, I’ll be honest, one of the reasons I like football the least out of my three sports is because the redemption factor is at least a week away…I’m ready to move on and look to next week.  After all, that’s all that can be done at this point too.

My advice to you, besides starting to drink heavily, is to RELAX.

Well, Frankie is telling you to do so, but Coopie says it as well.

1) It’s ONE friggin game. Again, I say RELAX.

2) Did we truly expect for the Jets to go 16-0?  I certainly did not.  The fact is, you win some games and you lose some games.  RELAX.

3)  I guess what people are up in arms about is that after starting the season two games at home, they have three games on the road.  Do people seem to forget this is the same team that had all their playoff victories on the road?  RELAX.

4) I was a little torqued about the defense, defense, defense mantra, then allowing the opposition to score 34 against them.  Also, there were some dumb ass penalties during the game.  You could see it either way: home cooking by the hometown refs, or that the defense just wasn’t doing it’s job or taking unnecessary risks.  My thoughts?  Let this one go.  Certainly, this wasn’t the game for them.  RELAX.

5) My mom thinks he’s cute, but I don’t like Brian Schottenheimer.  Ah, fuck it.  RELAX.

The reality is, I think the Jets are allowed a tough loss every now and then.  Sucks that it could have been a 3-0 start and not 2-1, but that’s the way the turd curls.  You want to know what I am really pissed off about, mostly?  That I have to wait till December to go to my first Jets game…and that due to my half-marathon on Sunday, I can’t take a road trip to Baltimore to see them play.

RELAX.

Wins Count No Matter When They Happen

I am about to hit the bricks for the evening, but I have one thing to say to Red Sox fans and to a lesser extent Braves fans.  Actually, I could give a shit about Braves fans.  I guess I feel for Red Sox fans more, you know, the enemy of my enemy, etc.

Remember at the beginning of the season, the Mets got off to a very slow start with 5-13 record. Remember all that hullabaloo?  Around the same time, Fred Wilpon conducted an interview with the New Yorker and made a comment about how shitty the team was?

Around the same time, a team with much higher expectations, the Red Sox (who orchestrated a trade for Adrian Gonzalez and signed the most coveted Carl Crawford in the offseason) started with a 2-10 record.

Many of the common refrains we hear at those times include: Oh, it’s only April.  Oh, there’s plenty of baseball to be played.  Oh, we’ll get our act together.  Et cetera, et cetera, et cetera.  I’m beginning to think it’s a rationalization of worse times to come.

The reality is, I think the Red Sox clearly understand the importance of winning games early on in the season.

I speak from experience.  Actually, my friend Steve Keane at Kranepool Society made a comment on Twitter about how it “will get better” for Red Sox fans.  Well, I think Mets fans can attest…it has NOT gotten any better, in fact, things have gotten progressively WORSE since the Mets ended the 2007 season 5-12 in the last 17 games (when they had a fucking SEVEN GAME LEAD at the time over the hated Phillies, who went 13-4 in that same stretch.  Assholes).  Anyway, I remember telling people, who thought I was crazy, that when the Mets weren’t winning critical games midseason, that they weren’t leaving a margin of error for the playoff run.  I guess at the time, they figured the playoffs were within reach and I was nuts for even venturing to think the Mets would collapse.  Well, they did and now we are on the verge of finishing our third consecutive fourth place finish.  Behind the Nationals.  THE NATIONALS!

The Red Sox probably wish they won some of the games they SHOULD have won now.  I spent a weekend in Boston early on in the season where they lost a game to the Seattle Mariners, and it was very close.  This was an example of a game they should have dominated.  They did not.  See my point?

People are making such a big deal about their epic collapse, specifically now that the Rays are playing the Yankees, and it seems like the Yankees are deliberately blowing the games so the Red Sox have to play much harder.  My philosophy is, it shouldn’t have even come to this.

In 2007, people point to the last game of the season that Tom Glavine started for the Mets, but the reality is there were plenty of games they SHOULD HAVE won but DID NOT before that.  Including that week.  The same goes for the Sox now.

I will always have these seasons in mind provided the Red Sox completely implode, or even if they don’t, it’s something to argue.  Wins count no matter when they occur.  Just something to bear in mind when your team with high expectations comes to a slow start.

Oh and for the record.  I don’t want to hear anything about 2007 ever again.  EVER.  If the Braves and the Red Sox don’t make the playoffs, nobody ever say BOO about it.  Kthxbye.

When Worlds Collide

As a sports nut, I have many rooting interests, sometimes conflicts of interest (especially regarding what game I need to prioritize if multiple events are being shown) and mostly conflicting seasons.  Meaning, end of summer isn’t just about beginning of football or baseball wrapping up, but it also means that hockey is in my cross hairs.

What’s also interesting is how many people seem to think the same way I do about these events.  It’s tough to find many Mets and Rangers fans.  It’s a lot easier to find say, Mets and Jets fans, even Mets and Giants fans, but Mets and Rangers are usually as far apart as I don’t know, Yankees and Mets.  See, the Mets were an expansion team, and the Rangers are an Original Six.  While both have their unique and sometimes quirky history, they are as far apart on the spectrum as any team’s history can expect.  However, the way they operate is very similar.  They both have clueless front office and ownership is family-oriented, meaning sometimes the best decisions are not necessarily made and it’s done more to protect the family than of making their investment better.

Yet, when Alvin, a Mets friend of mine, suggested a few of us get together and see a Rangers preseason game in New Jersey versus the hated Devils…I couldn’t say no.  Preseason games usually aren’t my thing (ESPECIALLY when I have to travel for it), but the people I went with are really good folks and I wanted to see them too since it had been awhile.

 

Preseason games usually don’t mean anything to me, but when I’m with such good company, it makes the trip worthwhile.

Now first things first, the moment we enter the place, it was like we owned it.  Ranger fans are very territorial, and I would say even with the success the Devils have had in recent years, the population is 50/50 at most Devils/Rangers games, and I would even venture to say the over goes to Ranger fans (it’s typically more economical to visit the team on the road in NJ, and especially convenient to the NJ portion of the Ranger fanbase).  In fact, when we walked in, a Swedish news reporter asked us about Henrik Lundqvist and why we followed the Rangers.  Of course, we all offered our opinionated views on why we love the Rangers.

The arena, Prudential Center, is much nicer than the previous hole the Devils used to play in, the Swamp, er uh…Meadowlands “I’m Calling It Brendan Byrne” Arena.  Of course, I am biased with it because while I think The Rock is a nice place, it’s nowhere near as cool as MSG.  The thing I will give it over MSG is that a) it’s newer and b) is easier to navigate than MSG.  During the playoffs last season, I was claustrophobic walking around the Garden.  This place has never given me the shrinking walls syndrome that MSG always does.  The food is also marginally better at Pru too.  Yet, I feel like I am at high school gymnasium when I attend games there, with their Devils Dancers and the overall homage to Jersey they have.  I’m from freaking Jersey, and I hate that this is the representative “Jersey team” and that it’s crammed down my throat.

 

Nice arena, but certainly not my cup of tea.

Anyway, back to the matter at hand which is the game itself…

Well, Not Henrik played, Uncle Daddy Marty (aka Martin Brodeur) did.  We got to see Ryan Callahan and his Sweet C.  Even some role guys like Mike Del Zotto showed up.

   

Some aspects of history were brought up, some sad, some kind of interesting.  One thing was that we heard most NHL teams had a dedication to those we’ve lost this summer, most specifically the plane crash that took the lives of the Lokomotiv Russian team.  It was a tearjerker for sure, and even highlighted one of the ’94 Rangers, Alexander Karpovtsev.

For the interesting part…not many people know that prior to his now synonymous #30, Brodeur was #29 at the first point of his career.  I bet this chick thought she was all hard-core wearing not only her fugly red and green originals, but that she was on board with #29 before everyone else.

As legend has it, the Rangers won in the 3rd period with a go-ahead goal and all was right in the world.  Well, I was annoyed and a bit bored since Pru did not get the memo that a) I was there and b) would like to be served immediately if not sooner between periods (especially when all I want is a goddamn soda). Plus, I had to run 10 miles the next morning and needed to get a good night of sleep.  Trust me, this stuff doesn’t happen during the season.  Plus, it was kind of entertaining to see the Devils fans treat this game like a Stanley Cup playoff.  I just had fun hanging with the people who make it worthwhile for me to root for a team and be an active participant as a spectator.

Some other observations I made, albeit quickly and with a watered-down preseason team: Passing looked smoother, they took more shots (no la-la-la pretty set-up dancing) and their power play looked at least a bit tighter.  Clearly, the boys did their homework over the summer break.

Yet, the same night, the Mets were supposed to play, and did not because of a rain out.  Typically, we are going out all out trying to keep up with the scoreboard watching, even though the Mets game meant nothing, even though it’s a meaningless game in September.  But for all intents and purposes, we were also sitting at a meaningless game.

It took more meaning with the people I was with, who also have active interests.  This is what happens when my sports worlds collide.

Oh and not only did my sports worlds collide, my arena worlds collided when the only true dancer of hockey, the Blue Seats’ own Dancin’ Larry, came and regaled us with a few moves at one point in the game!

Preseason games aren’t always to warm the teams up, it’s to warm the fans up too. Judging by the turn out for this particular game, I think it’s shaping up to be a fun season.

A Sports-Filled Weekend

One of the drawbacks of having a sports-oriented website and story-telling regarding specific sporting events is time, or lack thereof.  Lack of time is partially responsible for my lack of writing this weekend.  Trust me, I have LOTS to talk about too.  Of course, with writing about sports mean attending sporting events, which also accounts for me not posting as much (but you can always follow me on Twitter @Coopz22 for in-game commentary and snarky comments).

I attended a Rangers preseason game on Friday night against the enemy New Jersey Devils.  I went to this game with people I’ve met over the years especially regarding Mets fandom (most of the people I attended the game with were Mets fans).

I attended to other things on Saturday most of the day, while hubby was tuning into the Mets / Phillies games on his radio.

Then on Sunday, there was not only Jets football to attend to, the Mets actually held a season ticket holder appreciation day prior to Sunday’s game.  So for a game I had originally written off (I was even planning to sell my tickets to it) I had to all of a sudden care about it because the Mets were actually honoring me (well, people like me, who have season ticket plans) and I was obligated to attend.  It was a nice event, but I wish the game had fared a bit better.

Of course, Philly and New York sports were also a big theme yesterday, as I was at the game, most of the folks were hanging out in the Caesars Club to watch the Eagles face the Giants in football. I typically don’t care about how the Giants do, but I really really really dislike the Eagles (especially that douchecanoe quarterback they have…and the fans…and the city…okay fine I just really don’t like Philadelphia sports at all), so I was happy to see the Giants win.  My Jets, on the other hand, did not fare as well.  But I will save that rant for another post.

Lastly, my Friday began with a matinee of Moneyball.  Baseball fans will enjoy it, and anyone who has read the book and has an acute understanding of how statistical analysis and targeting players who can provide more “wins” and using undervalued statistics will see the Hollywoodization of it, as Mike Silva over at NY Baseball Digest discussed today.  I will be posting a review at some point, I can’t guarantee when because…

Baseball season ends this week…well, for me, since my team is not playing in the postseason.  So I am going to all games this week (till Wednesday).  So my posts may be sporadic.  Or they may be very heavy one day, light for a few.  I promise, once baseball season ends, I’ll be on a more regular schedule.

Candy Coating a Poison Pill

If you listen carefully, you will hear the mumblings and grumblings of several in-the-know folks about the walls at CitiField.  Hell, even our very own Howie Rose calls the wall over in left field the “Great Wall of Flushing.”

On one hand, I can understand the venom.  Home runs have dropped off noticeably for the Mets in the time since CitiField opened, and in the design, our owners went for the “quirk” factor and not “realistic helpful” factor.  On the other, if there were low walls, the dimensions were any shorter causing a MORE homer friendly scenario, we’d hear all about how “CitiField is a little league park” or “bandbox” (similar to the refrains we hear about Citizens Bank Park and Yankee Stadium).

You can’t win, but you get what you deserve too, Fred.

Yet, on my weekly podcast, we’ve had some really passionate debate about moving the dimensions at CitiField, redistributing the field (moving home plate and playing field up a few feet), among other things.  I can’t say that I disagree with thinking that SOMETHING needs to change, but the items I feel passionately about are the Great Wall…there’s no reason why it should be so difficult to hit a home run to that side of the field (nor should it be so difficult to try to “stop” a home run from being hit).  The Mo’s Zone is the bane of my existence. There aren’t things that I think will compromise the integrity of the playing field, and won’t make a bandbox or make it prohibitve.

Sandy Alderson on last night’s game broadcast suggested that not only will changes be potentially made at CitiField, that they won’t be “subtle.”  Translation,they should be drastic.  The cheers could be heard ’round the Twitterverse.

I guess I have to ask this question: is this just candy-coating a poison pill?

Keep in mind, I am just looking at home runs hit at CitiField against Mets pitchers (starters or otherwise).  In 2011, Mets pitchers have given up 54 home runs; in 2010, 47 home runs; and in 2009, growing pains to the new park led to the Mets pitchers giving up 81 round-trippers.  Conversely, the Mets’ pitchers have given up 84 HRs on the road this year, 88 HRs on the road in 2010 and 77 away in 2009.  The disparity really wasn’t that great in 2009, but they were giving up way too many home runs in 2009.  Clearly, they’re giving up fewer home runs at home.  Compared to Shea, 2008 and 2009 numbers were VERY similar: 79 home runs at home, 84 on the road.

We could theoretically argue that the home run factor or lack thereof for the Mets has almost HELPED Mets pitching.

But the question isn’t so much what the pitchers are doing and how the hitters are faring.  How many times have we seen what would be home runs at other parks (and not even bandboxes) that aren’t even close at CitiField, or those infamous 400 foot outs in the Mo’s Zone.  Yeah, you know what, that pisses me off too.  But the Mets’ offense has had THREE YEARS to get used to the dimensions at this place and learn to play to its strengths.

In 2008, Mets hitters had 95 home runs at home, with 77 on the road.  Compared to 2009, they had 49 at home, and 46 on the road.  Due to the nature of the injury-ridden and horrific season in 2009, we could throw that stats out as an anomaly and call it a day (or a year, in this case).  Mets hitters had 63 home runs at home in 2010 and 65 on the road, and finally in 2011, with a few days left in the season, 45 home runs at home, 57 on the road.

Throw out the home run factor for the Mets offense. In 2011, with eight games left, the hitting line has been relatively uniform at home and on the road.  At home, hitters have ..263/.336/.390; on the road, .267/.335/.393.  Compare to 2010, .255/.326/.393 at home, and .243/.304/.373 on the road.  Who says the Mets have a problem hitting at home!  Okay, fine it’s all relative, but the point is all we’ve heard is how detrimental CitiField is to the team, and their stats bear out lower on the road.

Of course, at the end of the day, it’s all about wins and losses at home.  There’s been a distinct home field disadvantage.  CitiField was built for the mantra of “speed, pitching and defense.”  Speed and defense have clearly been lacking in the Mets, but the pitching has been relatively uniform.  I know, there have been inconsistencies but fact is, the dimensions of CitiField have been favorable to the Mets pitching.  In 2011, averages against are .254/.333/.376 and on the road, .274/.341/.376.  Mets pitchers in 2010: at home, .243/.318/.350 and on the road, .276/.342/.437.

It’s clear to me the problem lies in lack of offense, especially in situational hitting.  Unfortunately, that cannot be “taught” and is a favorable argument to saber folks about it being a crapshoot.  Want to know what I think is a crapshoot?  Tinkering with the dimensions and walls at CitiField.   We need better PLAYERS to hit in the park, and the only thing tinkering will do is mess with the pitching progress, and have the other teams hit more home runs as well.

Moving in the dimensions will only silence the vocal minority, when the reality is, a candy-coated poison pill will still kill you in the end.

Proceed With Caution

The Rangers are proceeding “with caution” in regards to Marc Staal’s concussion symptoms.  What surprises me is that post-concussion syndrome stuff is being addressed from a hit he took on the ice in February (by his brother, ironically), and he sat all summer with this.  I mean, nothing against Staal, I hope he takes care of himself and is back on the ice before we know it.  My problem, though, is with the treatment, not just of hockey players but of players who are prone to concussions, specifically due to big hits and subsequent brain injuries.

I know I discussed this the other day in my post on hockey’s dark side.  But it’s not just hockey, football players get concussions as a matter of course almost and now even baseball players (notably, Jason Bay in 2010 ran into a wall and missed the entire season, and it took him a good half-season to get back into things, and even Ryan Church who was on the Mets in 2008 flew cross-country with a brain injury before experiencing post-concussion symptoms) are joining in on the non-fun.

I guess because of Eric Lindros, and two of my favorite players of all-time Pat LaFontaine and ’94 Ranger great Mike Richter had to retire prematurely due to post-concussion syndrome, I am a little gunshy about hearing things like “proceeding with caution” (which is a good thing) to “flying with the team to Stockholm” (bad thing), which is what they are talking about doing with Staal.  Look, I know Staal’s health is critical to the team’s health.  But if they are truly to proceed with caution, wouldn’t flying to Stockholm be in effect a bad idea? I would hate, you know, to see the Rangers put money over the health of one of their best players.

Maybe I’m just being overly cautious myself or feeling that way anyway, since a blogger-with-shitty-opinions’ opinions don’t weigh much on the organizational health of my favorite hockey team.  I guess in a summer where several hockey players died tragically indirectly or perhaps more directly to head injuries sustained on the ice, and former NFL player Dave Duerson took his own life with a suicide note attached saying to donate his brain to the NFL Bank…causing other NFL alums and writers to speak out on behalf of players who become depressed because of diminished capacity after suffering long-term concussion effects, and causing non-pro levels to listen with care about potential backlash due to concussive symptoms…I mean, these are “tough guys” who are supposed to take it “like a man” and not complain, but the truth is, these guys are hurting.  It’s in their nature to not speak up, or therefore look like a pansy.  The fact of the matter is, it is a problem, and someone needs to think about it.

Perhaps it is I,though, who is thinking overly cautious, or putting a value on the effects of this stuff.  I guess when I’ve seen so much of this in all the sports I watch, and then cringe each time Jason Bay has to get too close to a wall, or Mike Richter has to retire before his time…I guess I can think that flying Staal across the ocean to play in two games when he’s been sitting on this injury for SEVEN MONTHS is a bit excessive and he can sit out the first few games of the season.

If Grandma Had Balls…

I famously turned down a business trip because of baseball season.  I got married to as big of a baseball (and Mets) fan as I am (he’s probably a bigger one though).  It’s probably an understatement to say that I am a big sports fan.

One of the big tests of a fan is each pre-season of any sport they follow.  For me, it happens three times per year — in the late summer (football), in the early fall (hockey) and of course the late winter/early spring (baseball).  And a tried and true fan goes through the hopefulness, reality and high hopes each of those times, and that’s prediction time.

On my podcast, the Kult of Mets Personalities, we went through the motions of doing predictions for the Mets.  Most of us said they would be a .500 team (they are below, right now, with nine games to finish), one of my other co-podcasters kept saying “NINETY WINS!”  Yeah, right.  But it goes to show what our feelings were, where reality crept in and somewhere in between.

So now, the predictions are filtering in for hockey teams, including mine, the New York Rangers.

To be honest, I have no idea where to lump this team.  In 2010-11, there’s a reason why Henrik Lundqvist was the league leader in shutouts…he couldn’t afford to give up any goals per game.  Because they didn’t have a “sniper,” as my dad would call that missing link to the Rangers being a more successful team.

The Rangers also have 7th & 8th Avenues littered with bad contracts and players who came to the team only to never quite live to their potential.  Wade Redden?  Eric Lindros? (On that note: ugh).  This year, we are expecting a lot from two players: Brad Richards and Marian Gaborik.  Gaborik was brought in to be “that guy” and had a clear drop-off recently.  As for Richards, I am not sure what to expect from him specifically.  He has BUST written all over him given my history of rooting for this team, but I decided he’s the player I am giving the benefit of the doubt to in 2011-12.  My dad even said to me that he’s a nice addition – big ass guy standing at goal crease.

And I wonder where I get it from.

Hey, all I’m looking for is for them not to figure skate when they need to start shooting.  “Smurfs on Ice” is this phenomenon which I’ve coined with my husband, when the Rangers tend to dance around and look pretty and not looking to spare Henrik from having to stand on his head to make plays.

As for predictions…well, I was inspired by a preview over at Ranger Nation, a very definitive Rangers site.  They profile TSN’s 30 teams in 30 days predictions and sum it up with “If the Rangers fire on all cylinders, they could dominate in the East and even win the Atlantic Division.”

Isn’t that akin to saying, “If Grandma had balls, she’d be Grandpa?”

I hate to sound so cynical.  Each year, I have a high expectation level for this team, and it never truly comes to fruition or they fall short.  I had the misfortune of going to the playoffs last year, which they promptly were out in first round.  I wasn’t expecting Stanley Cup of course…but I certainly would have liked to see more fight.  So this year, I’m supposed to think it’s all different.

Look, I’m gonna be as hopeful as I can.  But I think predictions are funny.

Apologies in Advance

I noticed that last week a few of my Twitter followers from the baseball tweets were complaining about the amount of football tweets in their time line…

To that I say…I am sorry.  For the next few weeks, I will be double-dipping on Sundays as long as the Jets and Mets are still playing.

Again, my apologies but till then…Try to block out my Jets-related tweets till then…

(Oh and uh…J! E! T! S! Jets! Jets! JETS!!!!)

(Or…Titans?)

Aint No Shit Talker Like a Football Shit Talker

I’m certainly not reinventing the wheel by writing about football players who talk smack.  I happen to love it though, and I don’t really care about what people think about people backing their shit up or whatever.  I think it’s one of the great things that makes football football.  The anticipation of week to week, between games, there’s not much to do but practice and talk to the media.

Of course, when talking to the media, words can get twisted…or strategically placed to cause some friction.

One has to be living under a rock if one is not aware that there are high expectations placed on the Jets this year.  It’s easy to pick on them because they haven’t exactly won anything or made it far but not quite enough.  Trust me, as a Jets fan, I am well aware of this concept.  Even last week, the Twitterverse was blowing up at their play, only to come from behind and beat the Cowboys.  For their opponent this week, the Jacksonville Jaguars, it would be a feather in their cap for beating the big green machine.

Then Jaguars WR Jason Hill had to say that Darrelle Revis is a product of the New York hype.

Oh, brother.

I suppose that Hill is one of those aforementioned rock-dwellers who is unaware that Revis is pretty a much of a product of his OWN hype and styling, and is one of the most popular members on the team (and on Twitter).   How does Revis respond?  Oh, that he basically doesn’t know “Who that dude is.”

Do I think it will spill over into the field?  No.  Because at the end of the day, these guys get paid millions of dollars to take their lumps in the media and on the field.  But the funny thing to me, being with the spacing of games, is that a shit talker in the NFL is much different than the MLB, even NHL.  I know that if someone were to say something about, I don’t know, Jose Reyes (like the Phillies did monumentally in 2008), the media would be all over it, dragging it all over.  With the games being once a week, it’s just a build up, it’s done with as soon as the final gun goes off.

But it’s entertaining to sit and watch, both the game, and the pregame shit talk that occurs.