It’s that time of the week again. Today, I answer your questions about the Knicks rebounding woes, Francisco Liriano, Oliver Perez, and the NFL CBA. Youah welcome.

Stat and Melo Just Joking Around

Paul Asks:

Seems like the Knicks are getting out-rebounded every night. Can this Knick team win a championship without a presence inside?

In short, no. The Knicks are 3-2 since acquiring Carmelo Anthony. Overall with Anthony, the Knicks have a -15 rebounding margin. Let’s take a look at the table to illustrate that point.

Date Score Knicks Opponent Difference
2/23/2011 (v. MIL) W 114-108 43 40 3
2/25/2011 (@ CLE) L 115-109 42 62 -20
2/27/2011 (@ MIA) W 91-86 43 42 1
3/1/2011 (@ ORL) L 116-110 38 45 -7
3/2/2011 (v. NO) W 107-88 41 33 8
Total 207 222 -15

Orlando is one of the best rebounding teams in the NBA and have a clear advantage over the Knicks at center, so that number isn’t too outrageous. However, there’s no excuse for the Cleveland Cavaliers, who are the seventh worst rebounding team, to out-board the Knicks by twenty. Both JJ Hickson and Antwan Jamison had double-doubles against the Knicks, which is just downright embarrassing. The Knicks get another shot at the Cavs tonight, so let’s see if they can box somebody out and grab a rebound.

If the Knicks run into the Magic in the playoffs, it may be a short-lived run. The Knicks have no answer inside for Dwight Howard and will struggle against teams who possess dominant low-post presences.

Chris Asks:

What are the odds that Francisco Liriano is in a Yankee uniform this season?

I’m going to say 5% for a few different reasons. First off, the trade makes little sense from a Minnesota standpoint. The Twins have Liriano under contract for two more seasons and are only paying him $4.3 million this season for ace-level production. In addition, the Twins are the reigning AL Central Champions and now have Joe Nathan back in the fold. Add in the fact that they just opened up Target Field and I have three strong reasons right there why trading him right now would be a mistake. It would also tell the Minnesota fan base that they are no serious about winning this season. Yes, Brian Duensing, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn are nice pitchers, but Liriano led the starters in ERA and strikeouts. Losing him would really, really hurt.

The Twins may know more than we do about Liriano’s arm issues. It’s no secret that he had Tommy John surgery in 2006 and has dealt with arm fatigue in the past. Perhaps the Twins figure that his value cannot get any higher and want to try to move him before the season starts.

If I was the Yankees, I’d be skeptical about trading for Liriano. Yes, his 2010 season was very good, but I’m not willing to sacrifice one of the Bs, Joba, and Nova for maybe only two years of Liriano before he hits free agency. Liriano may even hurt himself again and be done for good. The trade just doesn’t add up in my opinion.

Bill Asks:

Thoughts on Ollie Perez’s Spring Training performance so far?

Well, his first appearance was absolute train wreck (Four runs, three walks, two innings), but tossed two scoreless innings yesterday against the Cardinals. His velocity topped out at 87 MPH, which is far cry from 94-95 MPH he threw as a member of the Pirates.

I don’t think there’s anyway that the Mets can bring Perez up North. I realize that they’ll have to eat $12 million, but they just can’t let him come up with the team. It’ll be a huge slap across the face to the fanbase by keeping him on the team. His team mates do not like him, the fans do not like him, and the Mets just need to get rid of the guy. Forget about trade value too because teams wouldn’t give the Mets a bucket of bubble gum for the guy.

Sean Asks:

What are your thoughts on the CBA disagreement in the NFL?

To put it bluntly: it’s a load of BS.

The Players’ Association and NFL Owners are arguing like a bunch of spoiled brats over this money. I read a stat where it said the net worth of all NFL owners was over $40 billion and they want more while limiting the share of revenue that the players receive. The owners are demanding that the players agree to a lower minimum salary figure when the league is producing higher levels of revenue each season. Add in the time value of money and the owners are getting greedier by the day.

Let’s think of it this way. The NFL is one of the staples of American culture and the owners use that to their advantage. They can charge tens of thousands of dollars for Personal Seat Licenses because fans have emotional attachments to football games. It’s even tougher for season ticket holders of 30-40 years to give up their seats because of high PSL costs. There’s a sense of sentimental value that these people don’t want to give up and shouldn’t have to give up. The owners recognize this and are more than willing to take advantage of these loyal fans that pay for the product.

The NFL also realizes that there is no suitable substitute for their product. Most football fans have very little interest or knowledge of the CFL, UFL, or Arena Football. Think of the NFL as  the hottest girl in the room while the other leagues are the overweight, desperate ones. Everyone wants what they can’t have and the NFL knows this.

Growing up, my Dad always took me to sporting events and was always willing to pay the outrageous prices at the venue to make sure that I had a great experience and developed a love for that sport. I can honestly say that those early experience shaped me into the sports fan/writer than I am today. And you can bet your bottom dollar that I will pay the outrageous prices at NFL, MLB, and NBA venues one day, just so many children have the same experiences that I did. Emotional attachment and passion for the game trumps all outrageous costs at the game.

Memo to the owners: Ease up on your demands. I know that stadium costs are extremely high for owners who do not receive massive public funding, but no one demanded that you build these huge venues. I know you are still going charge me $10/beer and $9/hot dog whether you get 55% or 56% of total revenues. That’s the nature of the beast and I’m willing to endure high prices to make sure I have a good experience at the games.