Tim Duncan’s Points+Rebound total(11) was higher than Dwight Howard’s Point total(9). That gives us our 13th win during March and our first of a new streak. Today we look to extend our streak to two.

Matchup: #6 Notre Dame Fighting Irish(23-11) vs. #11 Old Dominion(26-8)

Notre Dame’s run to end the season ultimately landed them in the NCAA Tournament. Notre Dame won 6 of its last 7 games, including an impressive Big East Tournament run that ended in the Semi-Finals. Notre Dame was able to take West Virginia down to the wire in that game that they lost, 53-51. Notre Dame’s run is almost unprecedented. Two weeks ago, the Fighting Irish were a bubble…. continue reading…

Both Joba Chamberlain and Andy Pettitte were solid in today’s loss against the Phillies. Pettitte started the game and threw four solid innings, allowing only two runs and only five hits. Pettitte struck out four hitters.

The story coming into today’s game was Joba Chamberlain. Joba threw four solid innings, striking out three and walking only one.  Joba gave up one run, so it’s a start for him. He did not face the Phillies top hitters, but performed well. At this point, it’s important for Joba to have good outings to build his confidence.

Other Notes:

1. Outfielder Brett Gardner hit his first triple of Spring Training.

2. Reliever Damaso Marte was struck by a line drive in the 4th inning. He was removed from the game, but he was ok.

Photo Credit: news.yahoo.com

Chris Drury isn’t the kind of leader that is outspoken and vocal. He leads by example, and that often gets his intangibles overlooked. But like other captains of that nature, Drury picks his spots continue reading…

In this article, I’m going to profile four players who I feel are currently over-valued given their current average draft position. If a player makes this list, don’t freak out! I don’t necessarily think that these players will have bad seasons, but their projected stats do not correspond with their draft rankings. Here we go…. continue reading…

So far, so good for the Yankees. Manager Joe Girardi trotted out his ‘A-Lineup’ in tonight’s 4-1 win against Houston. AJ Burnett, who has not faced hitters in 10 days, was a little erratic. In 2 1/3 innings, Burnett walked four hitters and save up one run. This marked the first time that Burnett and catcher, Jorge Posada have worked together this season.  Burnett and Posada did not work well in 2009, but will look to iron out any wrinkles this spring. Burnett has worked on developing a change-up, something worth monitoring as the season draws closer.

Pitcher Phil Hughes threw four very impressive innings in the victory. Hughes did not allow a run, scattered four hits and struck out two. Alike Burnett, Hughes worked on a change-up this off season. Hughes has a plus fastball and curve ball. Mixing a solid change up will only enhance Hughes’ value for the Yankees.

Closer Mariano Rivera made his Spring Training debut today. In one inning, Rivera gave up a hit and a walk while striking out one batter. Typically Mo stuff.

Mark Teixeira hit his 2nd Spring Training home run today, a 3rd inning solo home run off Brian Moehler.

Other Notes:

Jorge Posada continued his hot hitting streak by going 2 for 3.

Both Nick Johnson and Curtis Granderson went 0 for 3 with 2 strikeouts.

Joba Chamberlain is expected to pitch tomorrow. Joba has struggled in Spring Training so far(4 innings, 11 runs). All eyes will be on him.

Yankee Fans: Encouraged by Today’s Results?

Photo Credit: news.yahoo.com

Winthrop lost the NCAA Tournament play-in game to Arkansas-Pine Bluff, 61-44. This marked our first loss since the NEC Championship. However, we still have posted an impressive record of 12-4 so far this month. Time to start a new streak today.

Matchup: Tim Duncan PTS+REB vs. Dwight Howard PTS

On the season, Duncan has averaged 18.7 PPG and 10.4 rebounds per game. Howard has averaged 18.7 PPG on the season. Upon first glance, picking Duncan seems obvious. However, we need to go 2nd level in our analysis.

Duncan played on Tuesday night against the Heat. Duncan recorded a line of 11 points and 10 rebounds in 31 minutes. The Spurs defeated the Heat, 88-76. Duncan sat most of the 4th quarter as the Spurs assumed a 17 point lead. The Spurs and Magic have yet to play this season, so we don’t have any other data to base our judgments on. The Magic have not played since Sunday, so expect the Howard to be fully rested heading into the matchup.

In his last five games, Howard has averaged 20.8 points per game. Duncan has averaged a combined total of 20 points and rebounds in his last five games. However, Duncan logged only 13 minutes against the Clippers and 25 minutes against the Timberwolves. Both games were blowout wins for San Antonio.

With the playoffs looming, Coach Popovich is obviously trying to rest the 34-year-old Duncan. The game in Orlando will have a playoff-type feel to it so I expect Duncan to log 35+ minutes. Even with the skewed playing times this season, Duncan has averaged 31 minutes per game.

I’m going with Timmy Duncan today. Duncan always steps in big-time match ups and I don’t expect anything less on Wednesday night. A line of 15 points and 10 rebounds should be enough to defeat Howard.

The Pick: Tim Duncan PTS+REB

Photo Credit: news.yahoo.com

March Record: 12-4


The Rangers continue their final three-game homestand of the season tonight when they faceoff against the Montreal Canadiens at Madison Square Garden (7:30 p.m.), in an Original Six matchup. The Blueshirts currently rank fourth in the Atlantic Division standings, and ninth in the Eastern Conference, with a record of 31-29-9 (71 pts.). The Rangers enter tonight’s contest having defeated the Philadelphia Flyers, 3-1, on Sunday at Madison Square Garden. New York has now registered a point in seven of their last nine contests, posting a record of 5-2-2 (12 pts.) over the span, including a 2-0-2 mark in their last four games at MSG. The Canadiens enter the contest with a 35-29-6 (76 pts.) record to rank seventh in the Eastern Conference. Following tonight’s contest, the Rangers conclude their three-game homestand on Thursday, Mar. 18, when they will face-off against the St. Louis Blues at Madison Square Garden (7:00 p.m.), in their final meeting with a Western Conference opponent on the 2009-10 regular season schedule.

Game Notes
With the win on Sunday over Philadelphia, the Rangers are five points back of the seventh spot in the Eastern Conference, held by both Philadelphia and Montreal (76 pts. each), and just one point back of Boston (72 pts.) in the eighth spot. With a Boston loss tonight (they play in Carolina against a red-hot Hurricanes team) and a Rangers win in regulation, the Blueshirts would slide back into the playoff picture. The Candiens however, will make a Rangers win difficult to come by. “Les Habitants” have won five straight, and seven in their last ten.

Every game now is a playoff game for the Rangers. The Rangers seem to be coming together and playing like a team down the stretch, making a serious push for the last three playoff spots in the East. The stars may be aligning at just the right time, but the next two games will be a real test for this club. “These are desperate times for us,” captain Chris Drury said. “Obviously every game is a big game and now we have to regroup and get ready for a real good Montreal team that is one of the hottest teams in the League.”

“We have been in the same position before,” goalie Henrik Lundqvist said. “Like I said, don’t look too far ahead. Don’t start thinking we have to win 10 out of 13 or something; we just have to win the next game.”
Lundqvist is 6-1-0 with a 1.86 GAA, and one shutout, in his last seven home starts versus Montreal. He has been terrific all season, and even better as of late. Although the Rangers have played extremely inconsistent from game-to-game almost all season long, they realize what’s at stake here. With just 13 games left, and 8 on the road, the Blueshirts know that each game gets more and more important if they want to play playoff hockey. They are prepared; they are focused; the playoff push continues tonight.

Rangers win, 3-1

Shot Calling – goal tonight for Marian Gaborik

About a week ago, New York Jets’ owner Woody Johnson suggested a coin toss to fairly determine which New York football team got to play the opening game in their new, evenly shared, stadium.  His idea was rejected, then he was told on Friday that the coin toss took place, and the Jets lost.  Here is his reaction that he released in a statement on Monday:

“An NFL coin toss has a few fundamental elements that are missing here, most notably the presence of the teams involved. That’s how it’s always done in the league, whether it’s determining the order of the draft or deciding who’s going to kick off the game. When the issue of which team would be hosting the first regular season game could not be resolved on the merits, I suggested a coin toss as the fairest way to resolve this issue. The league rejected that idea. Then, I was told on Friday that a coin toss had taken place at the league office and that the Jets had lost. We rejected a process in which neither team was present. The league departed from our time-honored tradition and declined the opportunity to set the matter straight with a transparent process.”

I understand his disappointment to a degree, but does he really think he got cheated in a coin toss by the league?  I highly doubt this.  And to help pacify him, the NFL gave the Jets the first preseason game in August, and they get the season’s first Monday night game in PRIME TIME on September 13.  I think this is beyond fair.

I agree that the Jets were a better team last year, they have done more exciting things this off season, and maybe it would make more sense that this team deserves the opener in the new 1.7 billion dollar stadium.  On the other hand, I think a coin toss is fair.

As a Jets fan, I think I would rather get what the Jets received here.  The first preseason game and Monday night game in prime time.  The entire football world will be watching that Monday night game, no matter who the opponent.

What do you think, football fans?  Who should kick off the 2010 season in the “New Meadowlands”?

Photo Credit:  blog.nj.com

Via Chad Jennings at The LoHud Yankees Blog

“Today’s lineup against the Astros:

Derek Jeter SS
Nick Johnson DH
Mark Teixeira 1B
Alex Rodriguez 3B
Robinson Cano 2B
Jorge Posada C
Curtis Granderson LF
Nick Swisher RF
Brett Gardner CF”

Manager Joe Girardi has hinted that this lineup will look similar to his Opening Day lineup. Interestingly enough, the Yankees have promoted Granderson to be their Center Fielder all off-season, but Gardner gets the start tonight. The first legitimate lineup will play on Sunday, April 4th.

AJ Burnett will get the start on the hill.

Photo Credit: news.yahoo.com

New York City is the largest city in America. Roughly, 22 million people live in the New York Metropolitan area. Given the Yankees success, New York baseball fans have been spoiled for the past 15 years. If we rewind to 55-60 years ago, New Yorkers lived in Baseball Heaven. New York had three different baseball teams(Yankees, Giants, and Dodgers). During that time frame, each team featured marquee players. The New York Giants had all-time great, Willie Mays. The Brooklyn Dodgers had Jackie Robinson. The Yankees had Joe DiMaggio and Yogi Berra. Between 1949-1957, the Yankees had won 7 World Series titles. Baseball was at its peak in New York.

In 1957, both the Dodgers and Giants moved to California, leaving the Yankees as the only team in the city. The Golden Age of Baseball in the city ended in New York. Five years later, Joan Payson found the New York Mets in 1962. However, the mystique of 1950s New York baseball has never been restored.

Point being: Can New York bring back a 3rd team?

Let’s dive into that question. The Collective Bargaining Agreement in MLB expires after the 2011 season. The financial behemoth New York Yankees will be at the forefront of re-negotiating this agreement. The Yankees outpace every other team financially, paying roughly $215 million for players in 2009. At the core of that new agreement will be revenue sharing. Many owners disagree with the current revenue sharing structure and are clamoring or whining(Hello John Henry) for a salary cap.

Could Major League Baseball institute a salary floor?

This would prevent smaller-market teams, like the Florida Marlins or Kansas City Royals, from pocketing luxury tax dollars from the Yankees. The only draw back to this plan would be increased inflation within the game. Teams would pay more for marginal talent and further drive up salary prices. This in turn, will make the rich, richer, player-wise.

Could Major League Baseball institute a salary cap?

The dreaded SC. Baseball did institute a luxury tax to prevent teams(Yankees) form spending an unlimited amount on free agent players. Since the luxury taxes inception seven seasons ago, the Yankees are a perfect 7 for 7 in exceeding the payroll threshold. $174 million of the $190 paid in luxury tax has come from the Yankees. The luxury tax has been good for the game. Teams who not break the threshold will claim a cut of the Yankees check. The Yankees have no problem paying the luxury tax, given their other sources of revenue.

Is it reasonable for a third team to come to New York?

Yes. I mentioned earlier that 22 million people reside in the NY Metropolitan area. Assuming all things being equal, each New York team has 11 million fans following them. In comparison, LA has 8 million fans per team. Chicago has 5 million fans per team. Injecting a 3rd team into New York would split that ratio to roughly 7.33 million people per team, justifiable in terms of geographic positioning. Teams who make the playoffs benefit greatly from playoff revenues. The Yankees made $20 million alone in ticket sales. This does not take into account for the large media revenues generated by the largest market in America. Alike the 1950s, a third team will renew borough rivalries. Any team or player stands to benefit greatly from the New York media exposure(Hi, LeBron).

Would the Yankees and Mets allow this move? Who would move?

I doubt the Mets or Yankees would allow this move. Each team has exclusive zoning rights in the city. The Yankees have a lot of pulling power in the CBA agreement. After building two stadium in the past year, public funding for a third stadium may be even tougher to come by. This does not even account for the new Nets arena in Brooklyn. I don’t think New Jersey, Long Island or Connecticut would want to foot the bill either for new a stadium. I doubt this new team would detract fans from either side, but players from the smaller market team would receive huge endorsement opportunities and exposure in New York. Tim Lincecum would become the modern day “Cy Young” in New York.

What team would move?

The Dodgers and Giants will not come back to New York. Population-wise, they rank 2nd and 5th respectively. Both teams do extremely well financially. Could the Royals move to New York? Kansas City only has 1.7 million people, but they don’t have the dollars to compete in New York. Ultimately, there really isn’t a great fit for a team to move.

It’s nice to watch film of Willie Mays’ catch with the New York Giants. Jackie Robinson changed the game forever by breaking the color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. The Yankee Dynasty of the 1950s was the best ever in baseball. We will always have these memories of borough baseball. It’s just not possible in today’s game.