Category Archives: Uncategorized

ANOTHER RANT ON NOT FIXING WHAT ISN’T BROKEN

You may remember earlier in the baseball season, I ran a piece on the changes being made in the game of baseball over the past few years.  After the events that occurred during Game 1 of the National League Championship Series, it’s time for another round of ranting.

The controversy arose in the bottom of the eighth inning Saturday night when the Dodgers’ Justin Turner singled and Charlie Culberson attempted to score from second base.  Cubs’ catcher Willson Contreras did exactly what he was trained to do as a little boy, he blocked home plate.  The Dodgers runner was originally called out, but after a 2 minute and 45 second review, Culberson was called safe.  The ruling was that Contreras didn’t afford a “lane” for Culberson.

 

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Chicago Cubs catcher Willson Contreras seemingly tags out Los Angeles Dodgers Charlie Culberson at the plate in the eighth inning of Game 1 of the National League Championship Series.  The call was overturned after a review.

 

Chicago manager Joe Maddon was livid following the reversal and came out to argue with home plate umpire Lance Barksdale.  Maddon would be ejected from the game for arguing the call.

The new age of plate collision management in Major League Baseball arose from an incident that happened in a game between the then Florida Marlins and San Francisco Giants.  On that play, Giants catcher Buster Posey also did what he learned as a boy, HE blocked the plate.  Scott Cousins, the Marlins runner did what HE was trained to do in such situations, he attempted to bowl over the San Francisco catcher to reach home plate.  As a result of the collision, Posey broke his leg and didn’t return the rest of the year.

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Marlins’ Scott Cousins bowls over Giants Buster Posey at the plate attempting to score 5/25/11.  Posey suffered a broken leg as a result of the play.

 

Posey’s injury, unfortunate as it was, came from a textbook play.  As a result of that collision, Major League Baseball changed a long-standing and exciting part of the game.  Beginning in 2012, a catcher can no longer seal off access to home plate for the base-runner.  He must provide a lane for him to score.

Getting back to the play on Saturday night, Contreras did exactly what Posey did back in 2011.  He also did the same thing as any other catcher would have done prior to 2012.  This is a natural reaction for anyone playing the position.  Both Joe Madden and pitcher John Lackey were incensed by the reversal of the call.

As I wrote back in May, why are we changing a rule that affects the very way ball-players are taught to play the game at a young age?  Injuries, unfortunate as they are, are  part of any sport.  Players get injured from time to time.  Nobody got hurt, nor was there a collision at the plate on Saturday.  Contreras defended his territory and tagged the runner, that should’ve been the end of the story.

 

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Dodgers Chase Utley takes out New York Mets’ shortstop Reuben Tejada during the 2015 National League Division Series.

 

Two years ago this same subject came up during the National League Division Series between the Dodgers and New York Mets.  Los Angeles’ Chase Utley took out Mets shortstop Reuben Tejada at second base to break up a double play.  This play resulted in Tejada suffering a broken leg.  Utley was accused of playing dirty.  This writer believes he was guilty of playing hard-nosed baseball.

In reflecting on the softening of the rules in Major League Baseball, as well as in other sports, I wonder about some things.  Are we finished with the by-gone era of the likes of Bob Gibson, Juan Marichal, and Don Drysdale and their in your face inside pitching?  Consider what would happen if a batter crowded the plate today and the Hall of Fame Cardinals hurler played chin music?  Would he be warned for defending his part of the field?  Would the likes of Pete Rose be allowed to run over Bud Harrelson or Ray Fosse?  Would Harrelson be fined for fighting back?

It’s a new era in baseball of avoiding contact and counting pitches.  Maybe I’m too old school to get it.

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THE NEXT WAVE OF CHAMPIONSHIP DROUGHTS

As the League Divisional Series’ wrapped up this week, we saw the continuation of the Cleveland Indians’ World Championship drought advance to an agonizing 69 years.  With the 108 year dry spell of the Chicago Cubs ending last year, much has been publicized of the plight of the Indians.

At closer look, there is a new generation of dry spells in Major League Baseball.  The Expansion Era of baseball began in 1961 when the American League expanded to Washington and Southern California.  The clubs that began play that year were the current day Angels and Texas Rangers (who moved from our Nation’s Capitol following the 1971 season).  In 1962, the National League expanded to New York (Mets) and Houston (current day Astros).  1969 saw both leagues expand when the Seattle Pilots and Kansas City Royals joined the American League. The San Diego Padres and Montreal Expos also joined the National League.  The Pilots would move to Milwaukee the following spring and become the current day Milwaukee Brewers.  The Expos franchise relocated to Washington in 2005 and became the current day Washington Nationals.

The expansion era continued in 1977 when the Seattle Mariners and Toronto Blue Jays joined the AL.  In 1993 it was the NL’s turn to welcome the Florida Marlins (now the Miami Marlins) and Colorado Rockies.  The expansion era ended in 1998 when the Arizona Diamondbacks joined the National League and the Tampa Bay Rays franchise joined the American League.

 

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The 2005 Houston Astros celebrate after winning the National League Championship.

 

Now that I gave everybody a baseball history lesson I’ll get to the point.

I still have trouble wrapping my head around the fact that the Houston Astros are competing for the American League championship.  After 50 years in the National League, including a National League championship in 2005, the Astros moved to the American League in 2013.  That trip to the Fall Classic in 2005 was the franchise’s only appearance.  They would be swept by another drought-beater, the Chicago White Sox.  That World Championship was the Pale Hose’s first title since 1917, they haven’t been back to the Fall Classic since.

Getting back to the Astros, their drought is now going on 55 years without a World Series title.  Can the Astros be the drought-enders this year?

 

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The Washington Nationals were eliminated from playoff contention by the Chicago Cubs in 5 games.  The Expos/Nationals franchise has never appeared in the World Series.

 

With so much being made of the Indians early exit, there was another team that is almost under the radar.  When the Washington Nationals lost the National League Division Series to the Cubs, that made 48 consecutive years without an appearance in the World Series.  The closest this franchise has come to a Fall Classic berth was a dramatic five-game loss to the Dodgers in the then best-of-five NLCS in 1981.

 

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The Seattle Mariners won an MLB record 116 games in 2001.  The Mariners have yet to appear in the World Series.

 

There is another franchise that has not seen the Fall Classic.  The Seattle Mariners drought began with their inception in 1977.  That’s forty years and counting in the Pacific Northwest without a trip to the World Series.

Looking at the rest of the expansion classes that I mentioned in the opening, the Rangers, Astros, Padres, Brewers, Rockies and Rays have all made Series appearances and have lost.  The Rangers (2010 & 2011) and Padres (1984 & 1998) are the only two of these franchises to appear more than once.  The Brewers won the 1982 American League title, they have been members of the National League since 1998.

Will the drought of the Houston Astros, the team that switched leagues after half a century, come to an end this year?  Will a metropolitan area that was ravaged by a hurricane in August finally see the top of the baseball heap this fall?  To be continued!

IT’S ICE TIME AGAIN-PART II

When I left you on Sunday, I had finished off previewing the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League.  Tonight, I turn my attention to the Western Conference.

Last season, the Nashville Predators won their first Western Conference title in franchise history.  The Predators claimed the final playoff spot and went on a playoff stretch for the ages.  Can Nashville repeat this year?

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The Nashville Predators celebrate their first trip to the Stanley Cup Finals in franchise history.

All-World goaltender Pekka Rinne will once again lead the boys from the Music City, however Mike Fisher will not return.  Fisher announced his retirement over the summer.  The big free agent splash for Nashville came from the Stanley Cup Champion Pittsburgh Penguins when center Nick Bonino signed a four-year deal.  Will Bonino replace Fisher as a leader in the clubhouse?  That remains to be seen.

It could be a fun year in Texas as the Dallas Stars hired Ken Hitchcock as head coach.  In May the Stars acquired goaltender Ben Bishop from the Los Angeles Kings, and signed him to a six-year contract extension.  Can Bishop be the force in Big D that he was in Tampa Bayearlier in his career?

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Can Ben Bishop return to All-Star form in Dallas?

The St. Louis Blues are off to a flying start.  The Blues began the 2017-18 campaign with a four game winning streak.  Will this be the year that the best regular season team of the past fifty years actually skates away with Lord Stanley’s Cup?  Will the Chicago Blackhawks rebound from last year’s early playoff exit?  These story lines will play out in the Central Division as the year progresses.

The major story in the Pacific Division so far has to be in Las Vegas.  The Vegas Golden Knights have begun play as the NHL’s 31st franchise.  The boys from Sin City are wasting no time in making themselves heard.  Vegas won their first three games in franchise history, they are the first expansion team in league history to get off to a 3-0 start.

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The Vegas Golden Knights are off to a historic start, winning the first three games in franchise history.

 

Will there be a passing of the torch from Sidney Crosby to Connor McDavid this year?  Will the Edmonton Oilers return to the big stage for the first time since 2006 and hoist the Cup for the first time since 1990?  In my opinion, Edmonton might have the most well built lineup in the Western Conference.

 

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Will Connor McDavid lead the Edmonton Oilers to the promised land?

 

So it is now prediction time.

Eastern Conference Champion:  Montreal Canadiens

Western Conference Champion:Edmonton Oilers

Stanley Cup Champion: Montreal Canadiens

 

Yes, the Stanley Cup will return to Montreal for the 25th time in franchise history.  The Habs will be the first Canadian franchise to win the Cup since they, themselves won it in 1993.  It will be the first all-Canadian Stanley Cup Finals since 1989, when Montreal lost to the Calgary Flames.

To the new fan base in Las Vegas, welcome aboard!  To all hockey fans, enjoy the ride!

 

IT’S ICE TIME AGAIN!

We are now a week into October, the first full month of fall.  Leaves are changing colors, the weather is turning cooler, and summer’s warmth is beginning to fade.  Do you know what that means?  It’s time for NHL hockey!

When last we left the National Hockey League, Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins were skating around the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville with the Stanley Cup.  The six-game victory over the upstart Nashville Predators was the first repeat since the 1997-98 Detroit Red Wings.  Can the boys from Steeltown become the first franchise to three-peat since the legendary New York Islanders of 1980-83 (who were on their way to a four-peat)?

 

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Can Crosby and company bring a third straight Stanley Cup to Pittsburgh?

 

The truth is that the Penguins came out on the losing end of the summer of 2017.  Three blaring subtractions headline the 2017-18 edition of the reigning two-time champs.  Gone are Chris Kunitz (signed with Tampa Bay), Nick Bonino (signed with Nashville) and Marc-Andre Fleury (selected by Vegas in the expansion draft).  Many believe that Matt Murray has become the heir to Fleury’s goal crease, given his success in the past two playoff seasons.  The truth is, in my opinion, that Fleury was the steady hand during the season that enabled the likes of Murray to grab the headlines in the playoffs.  If the first two games of this year is any indication, it could be a rough road for Murray.  The Pittsburgh netminder allowed eleven goals in the team’s first two games.

Speaking of success in the regular season, but not so much during the playoffs, the Washington Capitals come to mind.  The Caps did little to improve themselves over the summer, but could still finish on top of the Metropolitan Division.  Can Ovechkin and company get past round 2of the Stanley Cup Playoffs?, That remains to be seen.

 

Can Steve Stamkos return to form and lead the Lightning back to the Stanley Cup Finals?

 

After being the kings of the Atlantic Division in 2015-16, both teams from the Sunshine State failed to make the playoffs last year.  Can the revamped Tampa Bay Lightning return to the playoffs, and possibly the Finals?  A healthy Steve Stamkos and the addition of the aforementioned Chris Kunitz could make for an interesting season on Florida’s west coast.  Over in Sunrise, there is a new coach in Bob Boughner, and a new, younger attitude.  Gone are Jaromir Jagr (signed with Calgary) and Jussi Jokinen (signed with Edmonton).  The core of Aleksander Barkov, Jonathon Huberdeau, Vincent Trocheck, and Aaron Ekblad are expected to take the torch and lead this team.

In the northern part of the Atlantic Division there are many questions too.  Will “Le Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge” repeat as champs behind All-World goaltender Carey Price?  Will Auston Matthews continue to bring in a new era in Toronto?  Were the Ottawa Senators for real last year?

  • The Detroit Red Wings will probably miss the playoffs this year, but they usher in a new era this season.  The Joe Louis Arena, where the Wings won four Stanley Cups and qualified for 25 consecutive Stanley Cup Playoffs closed its doors following last season.  The Red Wings opened their new home, the Little Ceasers Arena with a 4-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild this past Thursday.

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The Detroit Red Wings opened the Little Caesars Arena with a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild on Thursday Night.

 

Speaking of newness, I offer my congratulations to the brand new Vegas Golden Knights for beginning their existence with a 2-1 victory in Dallas on Friday night.  Good luck to the NHL’s newest franchise!  More on the Golden Knights and the rest of the Western Conference on Wednesday when I conclude the NHL preview.

 

A program note.  Due to the Major League Baseball post-season, and the beginning of the hockey and basketball seasons, football will be put on the back burner for now.  If anything major happens in the football world as the season progresses I will be addressing it.  As for now, I will conclude the NHL Preview with the Western Conference this coming Wednesday.  Beginning next Sunday, through the conclusion of the World Series the focus will be on Major League Baseball.  Football will return in early November.

THE ROAD TO THE FALL CLASSIC IS OPEN

I would like to begin tonight by offering my thoughts, prayers, and condolences to all of those that were affected by the unthinkable events that unfolded in Las Vegas on Sunday night.  I’m still dumbfounded by the demented thinking of some members of the human race.

Here we are in the first week of October.  Football is now in full swing, hockey begins this evening, and basketball training camps are now open.  October means that the warmth of summer will give way to the cooling of autumn and leaves will put on a color show before falling off the trees.  But above all October means one thing in the world of sports, baseball is going to be on its biggest stage!

The 2017 Major League Baseball post-season kicked off last night with a slug-fest at Yankee Stadium in New York.  The American League Wild Card Game got off to a roaring start when the Minnesota Twins darted out to a 3-0 lead in the top of the first inning.  The Twins were the biggest surprise in the American League this year.  They won the second Wild Card while rebounding from a 100+ loss season last year.  The Yankees came up with three runs in the bottom of the frame, and really never looked back, winning the game by the score of 8-4.  Next up for New York, the Cleveland Indians.

Tonight the National League begins its road to the World Series in the desert where the Arizona Diamondbacks will host the Colorado Rockies in their Wild Card Game.  Like the Twins, both of these teams were long-shots to be playing in October.  Arizona had a very solid year, finishing with a 93-69 record, good for a six game advantage in the Wild Card standings.  The Rockies held off a charge by the Milwaukee Brewers to claim the second wild card on the next to last day of the regular season.  The Los Angeles Dodgers await the winner of tonight’s game.

 

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The Arizona Diamondbacks celebrate clinching the first National League Wild Card.

 

I have to be honest, when Major League Baseball added a second Wild Card spot to the playoff format, I wasn’t a fan.  This further weakened the mystique of finishing in first place, which has always carried more weight in baseball than any other sport.  I will admit the concept has grown on me.  Something about a one shot, winner take all game adds a lot of drama and excitement.

Let’s take a look at the Division Series’ that will follow after tonight’s National League Wild Card tilt.

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The Los Angeles Dodgers won 104 games this year.  They will own home field advantage throughout the post-season.

 

The Los Angeles Dodgers owned the best record in the Majors this year at 104-58 and will have home field advantage throughout the playoffs.  They await the winner of tonight’s game between the Diamondbacks and Rockies.  The danger that lurks for the boys from Hollywood is the familiarity between all three teams involved.  Both National League Wild Cards came out of the west this year, these three teams know each other very well, this could be a recipe for a possible major upset.

The second seed in the National League belongs to one of two franchises that has never been in a World Series, the other one being the Seattle Mariners.  Could this be the year that the Montreal/ Washington franchise breaks their drought?  Speaking of drought beaters, the Nats will face the defending champion Chicago Cubs in the Division Series.  Will it be another year without being on the big stage for Washington?  Will the Cubs repeat or start another drought?  This should be an interesting series.

 

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Will the Chicago Cubs repeat, or begin another drought?

 

The subject of droughts runs deep into this year’s post-season.  The Cleveland Indians, who lost to the Cubs in last year’s Series now own the longest World Championship drought in baseball.  The Tribe last won the World Series in 1948, that’s 69 years ago, folks!  The Indians enter the American League playoffs as the number one seed.  Cleveland’s 22 game winning streak was one of the highlights of the regular season.  The Yankees, hot off of their Wild Card win, will oppose the Indians in the first round.  Can this be the Indians turn to make history?  They need to get past a franchise that has won more championships than any other team.

 

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Will 2017 be the Cleveland Indians turn to make history?

 

What a year it has been in Houston!  Can the Astros be a bright spot in a metropolitan area that was devastated by Hurricane Harvey?  Houston had a very solid season, and came up a game and a tiebreaker short of catching the Indians for the top seed.  The Boston Red Sox will be the Astros opponent in the first round.  Boston sputtered a bit down the stretch, but held off the Yankees to win the American League East by two games.  Will we see the next chapter of the Red Sox and Yankees?  Will the Astros claim their first American League title since switching leagues in 2013?

Baseball is a laid back game until it comes to October.  What memories await us this year?  Pull up a chair as Vin Scully used to say, history is waiting to unfold.

 

I dedicate tonight’s article to a very special fan of the Cleveland Indians.  Robin and I joined a group of some very amazing people this year as a result of Justin’s passing.  The Healing Hearts organization has been a means of tremendous support for us in dealing with the tragedy in our family.  Through Healing Hearts we became friends with this Indians fan’s mom.  Matthew Graham lost his life one year ago this past Monday.  Matthew was a huge fan of the Cleveland Indians.  If the Indians do in fact break their 69 year championship drought this year Matthew will certainly be celebrating in heaven.  Here’s to you Matthew Graham!  Rest well.

 

WHEN AMERICA’S PASTIME BECOMES DRAMATIC

Major League Baseball, the green grass, the white lines, the hot dogs and cold beer!  The night that families can enjoy each other while watching the calm and patient American sport.  That’s all well and good on a Saturday night in July, but something happens to the grand old game at the end of September and into October.

With the field  down to a precious few as the weather turns cooler and the leaves change colors, games become bigger and moments become more dramatic. Fans and players alike keep their eyes on the scoreboard while their heads are in the game at hand.

The waning days of the 2017 season haven’t disappointed.  The only drama left today when all fifteen games are contested at 3:05 EDT will be whether or not Giancarlo Stanton of the Miami Marlins ties or passes Roger Maris’ 61 home run plateau.  Twenty-four hours ago the story-lines were completely different.

 

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Giancarlo Stanton is sitting on 59 home runs, 2 shy of Roger Maris’ 61 in 1961 on the final day of the 2017 regular season.
The final Saturday of the 2017 regular season began with the American League Eastern Division up for grabs. The American League top seed still had not been decided, and their was one last National League Wild Card berth to be filled.

At 1:00 in the afternoon, at two iconic ballparks, the two scenarios in the American League played out.  While the Yankees hosted the Toronto Blue Jays at Yankee Stadium the Houston Astros were at Fenway Park visiting the Red Sox.  Were we headed for the latest chapter in the lore that is the American League’s oldest rivalry?  The Yankees began the day 2 games behind the hated Bosox.  Were we headed for “Bucky Dent, The Sequel” on Monday afternoon?

In The Bronx, the Yankees and Blue Jays were tangled in a low scoring pitcher’s duel.  Aaron Judge put the Bronx Bombers on the board with his 52nd home run of the year.  New York would hold on for a 2-1 victory.

Following the victory in The Bronx, the scoreboard watching continued.  The Yankees and their fans left the fabled ballpark in mild disappointment.  The Red Sox had wrapped up the American League East with a 6-3 win vs. the Astros.

As for those Houston Astros, that loss at Fenway Park cost them the top seed in the American League Playoffs.  The Cleveland Indians clinched a tie with the Astros as a result of their loss to the Red Sox.  Since the Tribe swept the season series vs the Astros they locked up the number one seed.

 

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The Cleveland Indians celebrate the 2017 American League Central Division championship.  They locked up home field advantage in the American League Playoffs yesterday.

 

There was still one piece left to fill in the National League puzzle.  Coming into play on Saturday, the Milwaukee Brewers trailed the Colorado Rockies by two games for the final Wild Card spot.  Things were looking pretty good for the Brew Crew in the middle of the third inning of their game with the St. Louis Cardinals.  Milwaukee darted out to an early 6-0 lead over the Redbirds.  Then the roof caved in on the Brewers.  The Cardinals scored four runs in the bottom of the third and added three in the bottom of the eighth to win the game 7-6.  The Milwaukee loss ended their surprise run at the post-season, and nailed down the final spot for the Colorado Rockies.

 

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The Colorado Rockies unexpected trip to the National League Post-Season was completed with the Milwaukee Brewers loss to the St. Louis Cardinals on Saturday.

 

So there will be no Yankees-Red Sox one game playoff this coming Monday.  There will be no Brewers-Rockies either.  All eyes will be on Marlins Park in Miami on Sunday.

Giancarlo  Stanton tries to catch Roger Maris at 61 home runs.  Also, Marlins second baseman Dee Gordon trails Cincinnati’s Billy Hamilton by one stolen base in the National League Stolen Base race.

The American League Stolen Base crown is a three-way race going into the final day.  Houston’s Cameron Maybin is tied with the Royals’ Whit Merrifield.  Maybin’s Astros teammate Jose Altuve trails them by one.

Altuve and Charlie Blackmon of the Rockies have already nailed down the batting titles.  Stanton and Aaron Judge of the New York Yankees are already the home run kings.

So enjoy the finales today amid today’s NFL games. Major League Baseball’s second season begins on Tuesday in The Bronx.  I will be previewing the post-season on Wednesday night.  See you all then!

IT WAS A CRAZY FOOTBALL SUNDAY

I spent this past weekend deep in enemy territory relating to the Dolphins-Jets rivalry.   Actually, my family and I were visiting with my parents and brothers and their families in New Jersey.  I spent much of the early part yesterday’s NFL schedule at my brother’s home in Bloomfield, New Jersey which is in earshot of Met Life Stadium.

OK, so I may have come off a little dramatic with this opening since my brother and nephew are actually Giants fans.  Part of the mystique that is the rivalry between the Miami Dolphins and the New York Jets is that it is something of a family squabble. Almost everyone in the New York area knows, or is related to, someone in South Florida, and vice-versa.

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The heated rivalry between the Miami Dolphins and New York Jets is the NFL’s version of a family squabble.

 

I will spare everyone of my opinion regarding the National Anthem, although the undertone throughout yesterday’s schedule stemmed from President Trump’s remarks on Friday night.  Some say it presented a distraction to some players yesterday, whether or not that is the case it made for an epic Sunday.

The weekend actually began with a shootout between another set of rivals.  With the Rams returning to Los Angeles last year, the battle of California and the NFC West was reborn.  The Rams and 49ers played a dramatic game on Thursday night that was a failed two point conversion away from a 41-41 score headed for overtime.  The Rams 41-39 victory in the Bay Area was just the beginning.

 

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The re-relocation of the Rams to Los Angeles has re-ignited the Rams-49ers rivalry.

 

While my family was visiting in the shadows of Met Life Stadium, my brother and sister-in-law invited my family and parents for lunch yesterday.  The 1:00 games made for some interesting lunch table conversation.

First and foremost on the minds of myself, my wife, and my daughter, was the events taking place inside Met Life Stadium.  As we passed the stadium along New Jersey’s Route 3, we were following the events on our cell phones.  In the time it took to get basically from one side of the Meadowlands Sports Complex to the other, the Jets had taken a 17-0 lead.  The Dolphins would never recover.

The game between the Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions ended on a controversial call.

 

Our family has represented the likes of the Giants, Jets and Dolphins for years.  My dad is a fan of both teams, but primarily gravitated to Gang Green.  My older brother, who hosted yesterday’ proceedings, and my nephew are Giants fans.  As for myself and my family the Dolphins are king and the Giants are the prince.  Last year, when we welcomed our son-in-law to our family, the Detroit Lions entered the mix.  Matt was raised in the Grand Rapids area of Michigan, and has Lions blue in his veins.

While the Jets were beating up on the Dolphins, the conversation at the lunch table turned to the Giants battle with the Eagles in Philadelphia, and the Lions-Falcons game in Detroit.  The Lions seemingly had the go-ahead touchdown when Matthew Stafford completed a pass to Golden Tate.  The football appeared to break the plane of the end zone, but upon further review the touchdown was overturned.  The ending to the Lions game was the topic of conversation well into our flight back to Fort Lauderdale.  Matt’s father didn’t even want to discuss the turn of events that cost Detroit a win.

Then there was the Giants, oh boy, the Giants.  This one I witnessed for myself while watching on the TV in the kitchen.  Total mismanagement of the final two minutes and two time outs ended the latest Big Blue debacle.  Why were they running when they should be doing out-patterns?  Why did 20 seconds run off the clock without a timeout being called?  Why wasn’t a time out called at all???    The agonizing end of the game culminated with a Jake Elliott 61 yard field goal.  It was a meltdown almost of Joe Pisarcik proportions.

The day culminated with an interesting scene inside Terminal A at Newark Airport.  It turns out that I wasn’t the only one wearing Dolphins colors.  In fact, there were more travelers wearing Dolphins gear than Jets and Giants jerseys.  While I was waiting on-line to sit down at a restaurant while waiting to board my flight, I felt a strong pat on the back.  It was a random Jets fan who said something to the effect of “Bad game for you guys.”  I countered by saying, enjoy it, it could be your only win this year!

It all returns to the family squabble that is the Jets and Dolphins.

THE FALL SPRINT IS IN FULL SWING

It’s been three weeks since we last talked baseball.  Part 2 of a football preview and Hurricane Irma put America’s pastime on the back burner.  Miss three weeks, you miss a lot!

Since we last talked baseball, the Indians won 22 in a row, and the Dodgers lost 11 straight.  The Dodgers have cooled off for the first time since June and have gone 5-16 since my last baseball blog.

 

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The Cleveland Indians set a modern-day record with a 22 game winning streak.

 

Since we last spoke, the Indians have clinched the American League Central, the Astros rebounded from Hurricane Harvey and clinched the American League West.  The Washington Nationals sewed up the National League East, and those Dodgers, despite their recent skid have nailed down a playoff spot.  The Dodgers magic number now stands at one.  They have failed in two attempts this week to clinch the National League West.

The American League East race could add yet another chapter in the fabled Yankees-Red Sox rivalry.  As of this writing, Boston leads the Yankees by 2 1/2 games.  The Sox still have eleven games to play,  New York has ten contests remaining.  They have already concluded their season series.  The Yankees  hold a comfortable seven game cushion in the American League Wild Card race.

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The Yankees and Red Sox are looking at another epic battle for the American League Eastern Division Championship.

 

About that American League Wild Card race, the Yankees (or Red Sox) will win the fist Wild Card, past that it remains a free for all!  As of this writing, the Minnesota Twins are clinging to a one game lead over the Angels.  A total of FOUR games seperate those Angels and the Baltimore Orioles.  The  Texas Rangers, Seattle Mariners, Kansas City Royals, Tampa Bay Rays stand in between the Angels and O’s.  As the late voice of the New York Mets, Bob Murphy used to say “fasten your seat belts!”

The Milwaukee Brewers refuse to fold.  The Brew Crew has been hanging around both the National League Central and National League Wild Card races all year.  With eleven games remaining, Milwaukee trails the defending World Champions Cubs by 3 1/2 games in the Central race.  The Brewers are also 1 game behind the equally surprising Colorado Rockies for the second Wild Card spot.  The Arizona Diamondbacks consistent lead in the NL Wild Card race was also unexpected.

 

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The Milwaukee Brewers are still hanging around in the National League playoff hunt.

 

So here we are on September 20th with 3 divisions still undecided, a number of possibilities in the American League Wild Card chase, and a playoff appearance from two of three surprise teams in the National League.

Oh, and Giancarlo Stanton is now sitting on 56 home runs.

I will be back next Wednesday, barring any natural disasters.  It should be an interesting week in the 2017 pennant chase.