Thursday, December 29, 2022

Minnesota Takes Pinstripe Bowl, Outlasts Syracuse


Mohamed Ibrahim runs in Minnesota's opening touchdown in the second quarter. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl was held on Thursday afternoon at Yankee Stadium, and the Minnesota Golden Gophers won it, 28-20, over the Syracuse Orange.

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Mets Bring Back Ottavino To Solidify Back End Of Bullpen


Adam Ottavino closing out a win against the Dodgers on September 1. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets announced on Tuesday morning that they have resigned right-handed relief pitcher Adam Ottavino to a one-year contract with a player option for the 2024 season.

Thursday, December 22, 2022

Mets Move McCann, Bring In Narvaez In Upgrade Behind The Plate

The Mets welcomed Omar Narvaez to New York on Twitter. @Mets.

The Mets completed a major upgrade behind the plate, as they traded James McCann and cash considerations to the Baltimore Orioles for a player to be named later on Wednesday night, and then announced the signing of Omar Narvaez from the Milwaukee Brewers on Thursday afternoon.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

New York Baseball Has Massive Day, At Expense Of Team Who Spurned City 65 Years Ago


Aaron Judge (right) signing his new contract with Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman. @Yankees on Twitter.

When the New York Giants left for San Francisco after the 1957, along with the Brooklyn Dodgers, it left a gaping hole in the hearts of the city's baseball fans. 

Thursday, December 15, 2022

Books: "The Dressmakers Of Prospect Heights" By Kitty Zeldis


The Dressmakers of Prospect Heights

By Kitty Zeldis

Harper; hardcover; $27.99

Kitty Zeldis, who was born in Chadera, Israel and currently resides in Brooklyn, is the pseudonym for an award-winning author of nine novels, including Not Our Kind (click here to read our review from 2018) and over thirty-five books for children. Zeldis is also the Fiction Editor of Lilith Magazine.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Thor To The Dodgers: Can They Turn Him Into Comeback Player Of The Year?

Noah Syndergaard announcing his move to the Dodgers on Twitter. @NoahSyndergaard.

The Los Angeles Dodgers have been quiet this offseason, but they made an appealing move on Wednesday night, when it was announced that they signed Noah Syndergaard to a one-year, $13 million deal.

Books: "The Blood And Guts" On How Valuable Tight Ends Are In The NFL


The Blood and Guts: How Tight Ends Save Football

By Tyler Dunne

Twelve; hardcover, 352 pages; $30.00

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and quarterback Tom Brady have had a tough season, and the reason why is pretty clear: tight end Rob Gronkowski retired for the second time after last season.

For all the talk of Brady and Bill Belichick's unrivaled success in winning six Super Bowls with the New England Patriots, Gronkowski deserves to be on their level when it came to the final three, as he transformed their offense. His value was shown, in a sense, even more by how tough a year the Pats had in 2019, Brady's final year in New England, after Gronk retired. 

Then, when Brady went to Tampa Bay for the 2020 season, he knew he needed to lure Gronkowski out of retirement, and not all that surprisingly, they won the Super Bowl that season.

This is just one illustration of the power of tight ends throughout NFL history, which Tyler Dunne, the founder of the Go Long newsletter dedicated to longform pro football journalism, explores in his book, The Blood and Guts: How Tight Ends Save Football.

The position of tight end is one of the most unique in football, as it is a blend of brain and brawn and bruises. You must act as a blocker and mash 320-pound defensive ends in the run game, and twist your torso to make acrobatic catches downfield in the passing game. 

Dunne interviews the greatest tight ends ever, whose stories reveal why they were meant to be the blood and guts of football, the players who keep the sport alive and well. Mike Ditka, who played for the Bears in the 1960's and later led them to a Super Bowl title as coach, epitomized toughness. Ben Coates, the son of a World War II vet who played for the Patriots in the 1990s, put an entire childhood spent building roofs to use by smashing defenders in the open field. Tony Gonzalez, who played for the Kansas City Chiefs from 1997-2008 and the Atlanta Falcons from 2009-13, matured from a kid terrified of bullies to an absolute beast terrifying defensive backs. Jeremy Shockey, who played for the Giants from 2002-07 before finishing his career with New Orleans and Carolina, was hellbent on sticking it to anyone who doubts him, and he was an inspiration for a young Gronkowski.

There are plenty of countless harrowing, never-before-told stories, from Gonzalez nearly socking a coach in the eye and Shockey breaking the orbital bone of someone in a bar fight.

In this excerpt, Dunne writes of the mindset of football players: "The absurdity of the profession becomes clear to players once they're ejected into mainstream society.

As a player in the National Football League, you are contractually obligated to physically punish your coworkers. You strap on a helmet and take the field with bad intentions. The temperature will rise into the nineties during training camp, too, with livelihoods at stake every rep of every drill. That pales in comparison to your internal temp, of course, because the window of opportunity is small. With an endless supply of potential replacements, one mistake can quickly get you fired in this testosterone-fueled environment.

As coworkers beat the hell out of each other, tempers reach a breaking point. Fists are thrown. Helmets are pulled. Manhood is tested. And, moments later, those same two combatants are seated next to each other in a meeting watching film and talking X's and O's. No, this is not the scene at your local bank or neighborhood pharmacy. Imagine walking down the hallway at your job, picking up that brownnoser in sales by the collar and piledriving him into a desk, then walking back to your office and running more accounting numbers. It takes a special kind of person to play professional football and, by God, it's beautiful. This is as close as we have to modern-day gladiators.

No sport captivates America like football because football is the most primitive form of competition in human existence. And no position captures the essence of this all quite like the NFL tight end.

Remember Jeremy Shockey showing zero regard for human life in an exhibition game? Remember the night Jason Witten was sandwiched by two Philadelphia Eagles defenders, his helmet popped off, and he kept running? And Travis Kelce's walk-off touchdown in the playoffs? And Rob Gronkowski throwing Sergio Brown out of the club? And John Mackey treating the Detroit Lions' defense as a collection of bowling pins? This is the book for you.

As the men playing this sport get stronger and faster, the league has tried to curtail injuries. Rules overcorrect over time. Controversy threatens the league's brand just about every year. Yet the NFL plows through it all because what drew everyone to football to begin with - the violence, the fact that this sport is not for everyone - remains. Anyone can play a game of H-O-R-S-E in the driveway or gather at the neighborhood park for a baseball game. This requires something different from the pit of your stomach.

The tight end is the sport itself distilled to one position. You must possess the athleticism to burn a 190-pound defensive back one play, the guts to stick your face into the chest of a 300-pound defensive end the next, and the toughness to wipe that blood away and play on. Brawn alone is not enough at tight end, either. You're required to tap into corners of your brain other players never do. The NFL can try to sanitize its product year to year, rule to rule. Everything we love about football will always be saved at the position Mike Ditka essentially founded sixty-plus years ago."

Sunday, December 11, 2022

Books: "Pickleball Is Life" By Erin McHugh


Pickleball Is Life: The Complete Guide to Feeding Your Obsession

By Erin McHugh

Harvest; hardcover; $17.99

Erin McHugh is the author of 30 books of humor, inspiration, trivia, children's, history, and LGBTQ topics. She has worked for various publishers, was Executive Vice President and Creative Partner at Franklin Spier, the publishing advertising agency, and has enjoyed a second career as a Barnes & Noble bookseller in New York City, where she is a judge in Barnes & Nobles' national Discover Great New Writers program. 

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Mets Add Depth To Bullpen By Adding Robertson


David Robertson with Philadelphia last season. @MLB.

One of the biggest questions the Mets had to address this offseason was bolstering their bullpen, really finding reliable options for the innings before closer Edwin Diaz enters to the sound of trumpets in the ninth inning.

Thursday, December 8, 2022

Mets Bring Back Nimmo, Who Had Best Season In '22


Brandon Nimmo connecting on a single on September 18 against Pittsburgh. Photo by Jason Schott.

Mets center fielder Brandon Nimmo will be returning to Queens on an eight-year, $162 million contract, according to reports.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Mets Bring In Quintana & Raley, Make Verlander Signing Official

Citi Field, with the Tom Seaver statue greeting fans. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Mets made two key pitching moves on Wednesday, as they signed free agent veteran left-handed starter Jose Quintana and traded for left-handed reliever Brooks Raley from the Tampa Bay Rays. They also made the signing of Cy Young winner Justin Verlander official on Wednesday night.

Yankees Bring Back Judge, Who Must Now Win A Ring To Completely Cement Legacy


Aaron Judge at bat on May 11, 2002 against the Toronto Blue Jays. Photo by Jason Schott.

On Wednesday morning, the Yankees announced that they have re-signed the reigning American League Most Valuable Player, Aaron Judge, to a 9-year, $360 million contract.

Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Books: Tom Coughlin On The Greatest Super Bowl Ever Played In "A Giant Win"

A Giant Win: Inside the New York Giants' Historic Upset over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLII

By Tom Coughlin, with Greg Hanlon; Foreword by Eli Manning

Grand Central Publishing; hardcover, 288 pages; $30; available today, Tuesday, December 6

Tom Coughlin was the Head Coach of the New York Giants from 2004 to 2015, a period in which he and quarterback Eli Manning were the faces of one of the NFL's landmark franchises.

Yankees Canned Food Drive At Yankee Stadium On Wednesday


Photo by Jason Schott.

The Yankees' 28th Holiday Food Drive, held in conjunction with C-Town, Bravo Supermarkets, and Krasdale Foods, will take place this Wednesday, December 7 between 10:00 A.M. and 2:00 P.M. at Yankee Stadium's Gate 2.

Mets Coat Drive At Citi Field On Wednesday


The Mets, as part of their MetsGiving initiative, will be partnering with New York Cares for their 16th Annual Mets Winter Coat Drive this Wednesday, December 7 from 10:00 A.M. to 7:00 P.M. in the Mets Team Store at Citi Field. 

Monday, December 5, 2022

Yankees Bring Back Cashman To Continue Run Of Regular Season Success


Yankee Stadium. Photo by Jason Schott.

The Yankees, in a move than was widely expected, announced that they have given their Senior Vice President and General Manager, Brian Cashman, a new four-year contract that will have him continue to run the team through the 2026 season.

Jake Who? Mets Waste No Time Finding His Replacement, Justin Verlander


Justin Verlander, when he was with the Houston Astros, pitching to the Mets' Pete Alonso at Citi Field on June 29. Photo by Jason Schott.

Just three days after the Mets said goodbye to their longtime ace, Jacob deGrom, the Amazin's found his replacement, reigning American League Cy Young Award winner and World Series champion Justin Verlander.

Sunday, December 4, 2022

Syracuse Back In The Pinstripe Bowl, Taking On Minnesota


The Bad Boy Mowers Pinstripe Bowl, which is on Thursday, December 29 at 2:00 p.m. at Yankee Stadium, will feature Syracuse taking on Minnesota.

College Football Week 14: FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll


In the final FWAA-NFF Super 16 Poll for Week 14 of the College Football season, the top four schools - who will be competing in the Playoff - were Georgia, Michigan, Ohio State, and TCU.

Friday, December 2, 2022

DeGrom Departs Mets For Texas

Jacob deGrom when left his first start of the 2022 season on August 7. Photo by Jason Schott.

There are dates in Mets history that fans can recall with little effort, such as the day they won their first World Series championship (October 16, 1969), when Tom Seaver was traded (June 15, 1977), the day they won the 1986 World Series (October 27, 1986), and the day Mike Piazza was acquired (May 22, 1998). Now, there is a new day that they will never forgot.