Former A’s GM Heads East

by Eddie Mayrose

The New York Mets made one very big statement this week in their hire of Sandy Alderson as GM. As a baseball lifer, there’s no way Alderson will stand for the meddling of Fred and Jeff Wilpon, neither of whom has ever heard an opinion he didn’t respect. With Alderson on board, there’s no doubt who’ll be calling the shots.

His first move was stellar, appointing J.P. Ricciardi as his assistant.  Formerly the Toronto Blue Jays‘ GM, Ricciardi’s skills as a talent evaluator are among the most respected in the game; skills the Metsies desperately need as they try to rebuild a farm system bereft of top prospects.

Alderson’s next move might be a little dicey, however, as the fan base clamors for the hiring of Wally Backman; a move destined to keep the Mets behind the eight ball.  Backman has no Major League experience, his volatility will quickly wear thin in a big legue clubhouse and, most importantly, he’s given no evidence that he’s tamed the wild lifestyle that got him fired in Arizona after just a few days.  When asked about Backman’s antics in the NY-Penn League, an exec from a rival team shrugged his shoulders and said, “Don’t get me started on the (crap) that guy pulled.” Continue reading »

Dolan Continues To Destroy Knicks’ Tradition

by Eddie Mayrose

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice…

Remember when we thought that failing to sign LeBron James was the worst that could happen to the Knicks this summer?  Now come whispers from Madison Square Garden that owner James Dolan has taken under consideration the rehiring of Isiah Thomas, perhaps the most incompetent employee the Knicks have ever seen.  Fans can only hope the rumor is a test balloon being floated by Little Jimmy to gauge public reaction.  Prayers might be more appropriate.

Thomas’ bumbling as President and coach was epic.  So much so, that, burying the Knicks in a salary cap mess that required the sacrifice of two full seasons to undo was not even close to his greatest failure.  Nor was the trading away of  so many draft picks that the roster was barren of any players that might have James consider coming to the Big Apple.  Rather, it was his sexual harassment of team exec Anucha Brown Sanders that resulted in a settlement of $11 million and a blight on one of the league’s most storied franchises that is Isiah’s legacy.

So, if Dolan is actually mulling Thomas’ rehiring, if he continues to act like the little rich boy born on third yet thought he hit a triple, if he refuses to acknowledge that New Yorkers paying the league’s highest ticket prices deserve more than one playoff appearance per decade, why should any player, fan or league executive take him seriously? Continue reading »

MLB Clubs Undermine Own Chances at Title

by Moonlight Graham

In 2003, in an attempt to regenerate fan interest just a year after a lack of available pitchers forced MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to declare the All Star Game a tie, Baseball’s hierarchy decreed that the Mid-Summer Classic would now determine home field advantage in the World Series. It wasn’t already bad enough that the rosters were watered down by the requirement that each team, no matter how bad, must be represented; now, a player from a second division club could have a hand in deciding the outcome of the sport’s premier event months in advance.

While the move was and is opposed by many, I never really had a problem with it.  Not because I agree with the concept; it’s completely ridiculous to think I’m staying up that late to watch Garrett Jones of the Pittsburgh Pirates face Kansas City Royals’ closer Joakim Soria because I’d like the Mets to have home field if they get that far.  However, because the old system of alternating the privilege was also completely without merit, I figured, “Who cares?”  Until I realized that the new policy actually gives mindless fans the opportunity to hurt their team’s shot at a championship; often at the prompting of it’s own front office. We’ve all been to the ballpark in the early part of the season and heard the huge pitch to vote for the hometown boys.  Actually, you don’t even have to attend a game anymore, as on-line balloting has given everyone a voice.  “Send Joe Blow to Los Angeles for the All Star Game”, blare the ads.  “Forget the stats, vote for our guys!”  On the surface, a nice marketing strategy, but one that could prove fatal to a championship run.  Continue reading »

by Eddie Mayrose

St. John’s Basketball Hires (Settles For?) Steve Lavin

Don’t know if there’s a better indication of how far the St. John’s basketball program has fallen than the difficulty the powers that be had in signing a new head coach.  ESPN analyst and former UCLA head man, Steve Lavin, accepted the job after the Johnnies were rebuffed by Florida’s Billy Donovan and Paul Hewitt of Georgia Tech.  In addition, Fran McCaffrey, who led Siena to the top of the MAAC during his tenure, and Boston College head man Al Skinner were brought in for interviews and may or may not have been offered the job.  That Lavin is, at best, the Red Storm’s third choice, and might actually be the fifth, speaks volumes to the current irrelevance of what was once a national power.  While Lavin has his work cut out for him, he does have a significant resource of talent in his own backyard.  Armed with four returning senior starters and eight scholarships, he may actually be able to effect a significant turnaround in very short order if he can tap into the prep talent in New York City; something at which his two predecessors failed miserably.  It’s been too long since the Johnnies were at the top of the Big East and a viable threat in the NCAA tournament.  Lavin has an opportunity to be a hero to all of the Johnnie faithful longing to, once again, be a part of March Madness.  Here’s hoping he delivers. Continue reading »

by Dennis Rizzo

New York Mets Moving in Wrong Direction. Again!

It can’t be too hard to be a GM, can it? Assuming Omar Minaya is not being omardirected (like George used to do with the Yanks), and realizing that the new Citi Field is a cavernous, pitcher’s park, why would the first free agent signing be Jason Bay? Typical Mets blunder. Get a pitcher!! John Lackey would’ve been perfect, since he comes from that real league (the AL) and would basically be pitching against minor leaguers in the NL. Oh, sorry, Minaya did sign Kelvim Escobar, who may have to pitch left-handed this year.

John, Paul, George, Ringo and The Bachelor. The Bachelor?

Don’t you wish you were “The Bachelor” (right), even for just a month or so? What kind of women cry within an hour of meeting a man? Yes, the women bachthat attended the Beatles concerts started crying as soon as the Fab Four stepped on stage. But, c’mon; they were The Beatles. These “Bachelor” ladies, however, were saying things like, “I was picturing our lives together.” What?!  I’d toss any girl that a)said the word “like” more than once per sentence; b) was from California (they’re all nuts) or c) had made “poor male choices” for 8 years in a row.

What A Difference A Decade Makes

Tiger Woods is so 2009!  Randy Johnson retired. He is so 1999.

Naturally Unnatural

Speaking of Johnsons, I read today that Casey Johnson, the 30 year-old heiress to the Johnson & Johnson fortune, died of natural causes. Natural causes? Sorry, it’s not natural to die at 30 years-old. Please!

New York Knicks Achieve Addition By Subtraction

Is Stephon Marbury still playing basketball? After a quick check on nba.com, he’s nowhere to be found. I guess the Knicks made more good moves than we initially thought. They’ve won a few games and play exciting ball; they kicked Marbury and his nasty attitude to Beantown and they have all this salary cap room. Break out the Knicks jersey from the closet, I’m buying back in.

Broadway Blues Land A Top Dog

The NY Rangers’ Marion Gaborik is really, really good. Reminds me of a mixed-breed dog. Sort of a Jaromir Jagr/Pavel Bure/Mike Gartner combo, except, you won’t find him in a shelter.

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