February 12, 2012
Jeremy Lin. What more can you say? I was talking to Coach Schott the other day and I compared the rise of Lin to the Joba-mania of 2007. Remember the excitement at the stadium when Joba Chamberlin would enter a game? That is the same feeling I get when I watch my Knicks play. As the Yankees were then, the Knicks are currently must watch TV. My “other” job often times has me working late hours. Believe me, Cupcake Wars and Fat Chef are not recorded for my family when I am missing the Knicks live broadcast.
Kobe Bryant denied knowing who Jeremy Lin was after the Lakers beat Boston. 38 points, 7 assists and victory over the Lakers later – hey Kobe, how ya like me now?
Magic Johnson compared Lin to Steve Nash and John Stockton.
My favorite part about watching Jeremy Lin is not the drives to the hoop or his control of the offense, but the way that every teammate rushes to chest bump him as he comes off the court.
A good point guard makes his teammates better. Lin has done that over the last week. Tyson Chandler is playing like an All-Star and leading the league in field goal percentage. I love the play of Chandler. He is showing the same intensity and passion that STAT was showing one year ago.
Landry Fields has played like the old Fields of last year with the insertion of Lin into the starting line-up.
Steve Novak has become a household name because of the play of Jeremy Lin. Novak, over a two game stretch, went 10-17 from beyond the three point line. There are times that Novak looks like he is playing HORSE or PIG with the shots he is getting.
Lin makes the team get out and run the break. Imam Shumpert has played much better in the transition game.
Much has been made of the Lin-sanity while A’mare Stoudemire has been grieving the passing of his brother and Melo has been nursing an injury (but sporting a sweet bow tie). Will the offense break down with the return of Melo and STAT?
Hell no. The offense will continue to flourish. Let’s not forget that Melo is a scorer. Lin’s point production might drop off but his assists will go through the roof. The pick and roll to STAT and the drive and kick to Melo will keep the Garden rocking. This is what we envisioned in New York. Except maybe it was Chris Paul (no relation to Derrick Paul) kicked it to A’mare or Melo.
Barring injuries, this team can make a run in the playoffs.
MVP chants? Seriously? Yes! He has saved the season and now will press Kyrie Irving for rookie of the year honors.
Not to brag, but on January 27th, in my Coaches Corner article, I said that Lin and Novak should get a chance. I didn’t anticipate what we have seen this past week but what I saw leading up to their magical run was enough to ask for change.
Kobe Bryant recently moved past Shaq on the all time scoring list. He is within reach of Kareem Abdul Jabbar. His passing of Johnson sparked a debate in the Coach’s Corner over who was a better Laker – Magic or Kobe.
Coach Schott said, “Magic made a lot of players better than they really were. Byron Scott was a premier 2 man because of Magic. It is a pretty easy game when all you have to do is catch and shoot and you are always in rhythm. James Worthy was very good but is he a top 50 player of all time without Magic? Hell no. Half his points were dunks at the end of a Showtime fast break. Jamal Wilkes, Mychal Thompson and Bob McAdoo all were nice players but how many titles did they win without Magic? It is tough to even think of those guys in the league on their own. Magic made very good players great and very average players cogs in a championship machine (AC Green, Kurt Rambis, Mich Kupchack) Magic also made Kareem relevant for at least five more years than he would have been anywhere else. Who has Kobe ever made better? Kobe is a better scorer and a better shooter but no where near the teammate. Kobe ran Shaq out of town while Magic let Kareem pick and choose his times to run along with Showtime for a few more titles. Kobe loves Kobe and Magic loved the Lakers! I would take Magic over Koby any day.”
Derrick Paul (no relation to Chris Paul) believes Kobe is better. “Kobe is a fierce competitor. He is a better scorer and defender. He has more NBA championships and if he stays healthy he could go down as the NBA all-time leading scorer. But Magic’s time in the NBA was cut short.”
Big E believes, “Athletically Kobe. Magic changed the game because we never saw someone his size control the game from the point guard position. His passing was amazing. Both players are all time clutch. Personally, I like Magic because he controlled the game and made it flow smoothly. I am not a fan of pounding the ball into the ground until you get your shot 1 vs 4 or 5.”
One office down believes that Magic was a better player. “Magic revolutionized the game and his position. He made his teammates better. He played with great players and didn’t lose stature.”
Columbus Chris believes its Magic also. “It was his leadership. He is the first player ever to make people around him better. “
Looks like the boys feel Magic is a better ball player.
In baseball related news . . . . .
Why did Mike Piazza have a press conference to announce that he was not gay in 2002?
Can you believe that Spring Training is right around the corner?
Mets Insider Derrick Paul (no relation to Chris Paul) was asked about the Mets offseason. Did they have one?
While most teams went out to improve their team’s chances at a championship run, the Mets allowed arguably the most exciting player in baseball to walk away.
Derrick Paul is always the optimist. He feels the Mets will make the playoffs this year. In unrelated news, Derrick Paul will be doing comedy on America’s Got Talent soon.
I still thank God each day that my Dad made me a Yankee fan.
I really thought Roy Oswald would sign with the Rangers.
AJ Burnett’s name continues to be mentioned as being traded. With two years and 33 million dollars left on his contract, the Yankees would have to eat a majority of his salary in order to dump the struggling pitcher. I still believe he could be salvaged and we all know what he can/will do in his walk year the following year. The Pirates appear to be in the market for a veteran starter and left handed bat Garrett Jones may or may not be dealt to the Yanks . Jones would fill a need for the Yankees as a lefty DH. If the money is right, maybe the Pirates see enough in Burnett to give him an opportunity.
Russell Branyan was signed to a minor league contract. Don’t get to excited Yankee fans, Branyan only hit .197 last year with time spent between the Diamondbacks and Angels. He will not be the left handed DH we have been looking for.
The Yankees appear like they are trying to clear payroll so that they can sign Johnny Damon, Hideki Matsui, Raul Ibanez, and/or Eric Chavez.
Let’s look at the numbers of the four players I just mentioned.
2011- .245 20 home runs and 84 RBI. His on base percentage was .289
2011- .261 16 home runs and 73 RBI. His on base percentage was .326
2011- .251 12 home runs and 72 RBI. His on base percentage was .321
2011- .263 2 home runs and 26 RBI. His on base percentage was .320
I would like to see Chavez re-signed. I liked him as a Yankee and felt he fit a lot of needs. The sentimental choice is to resign Damon. My gut tells me it might be Ibanez and Chavez are Yankees next year.
As Spring Training approaches, I started to think about whom my favorite all time Yankee was. I opened it for discussion with my boys.
Mr. P, a Yankee fan living in South Texas, said, “Thurman Munson. He was my mom’s favorite player. According to her, I used to fall asleep during Yankee games and ask how Thurman did as she took me to bed. I was a fan of his and the Yankees even before I understood baseball. The one thing my parents, brother, sister, and I agree on is the Yankees. My Dad was not a huge sports fan but he loved baseball and the Yankees. That’s good parenting”
Coach Schott,” Reggie Jackson. The first thing I ever remember about baseball is the night Reggie closed out the ’77 World Series by crushing three home runs on three pitches on three different pitchers. Right there began a love affair with baseball and a devotion to the Yankees that I have carried with me every day of my life. It has been one hell of a ride and it all began with “The Straw that stirs the drink.” Mr. October always seemed to come through in big moments in post season play. Reggie won five World Series titles and two World Series MVP awards. Thus the nickname Mr. October. I loved the confidence which often crossed over into cockiness. I loved the bravado and he was never afraid of any moment or any man. I loved the intelligence and eloquence with which he spoke. He was not a dumb ball player and he was deeply proud of that. As a kid, I especially liked the flair which he played the game. He would fire down the bat and watch the all leave the stadium and that still sends chills up my spine. The man was the ultimate showmen but with a ton of substance. I didn’t dress up as Reggie every Halloween because he was a good ballplayer but because he was Mr. October. Hell, they named a candy bar after him!!”
Former college baseball player and Yankee insider Aaron Semper’s favorite Yankee is, “Derek Jeter. Jeter and his heroics on the biggest stage make him my favorite Yankee. The playoffs, the Red Sox series, heck even his 3,000 hit was a home run. He rises to the occasion in every big moment.
Jeter was even respected by rival fans and people appreciate how he plays the game. Jeter is a team first kind of a guy. He is the CAPTAIN. Jeter makes others around him expect to win as well. He does not take plays off or at bats off. He fights for the full nine innings. He is a win at all cost and a rare, true winner.
When I hear the NY Yankees he is the face of the organization and the first guy that pops into my mind. Jeter doesn’t get into trouble or caught up in the NY hype. He keeps his private life separate and you will never hear about Jeter shooting himself in a night club.
Jeter has his teammates back. When Posada got into mess last year, Jeter was right beside him. Posada even thanked Jeter during his retirement speech. I would have been honored to ever have been compared to his way of playing the game.”
Coach Woods, a very successful high school basketball coach in San Antonio and true Yankee fan’s favorite player is Donnie Baseball. Here’s why. “Don Mattingly did everything for the TEAM. He was the ultimate team player. In my opinion, he is the best player, other than Pete Rose that will never be in the Hall of Fame. In his time, he was arguably the best player in major league baseball. My favorite story about him is in comparison to Wade Boggs and their battles. It was said that Boggs would never do anything to risk his average. Donnie Baseball did anything to move the runner or win for the team.”
Congratulations to Coach Woods. His varsity team has recently won 23 consecutive district games and back to back district championships. His team is fun to watch and has two Division 1 signees and one junior in waiting to sign, his team should make a deep playoff run.
Yankee Todd, “I have debated this question for a long time. Is it Derek Jeter? Mariano Rivera? How about Don Mattingly? I love all these guys, but my favorite Yankee is Paul O’Neill.
He played the game with a passion and desire to win that un-matched by anyone. It is comical the number of water coolers or bats that he broke because he was disappointed in his performance. His emotion was contagious to his teammates.
O’Neill provided a huge spark to the team when he joined the Yankees as part of the Roberto Kelly trade in 1992. O’Neill was a five time all-star and five time World Series Champion. He won a batting title in 1994.
George Steinbrenner referred to O’Neill as a “Warrior.”
He was so beloved by the fans. In the 2001 World Series, with the fans realizing that O’Neill was playing his last game at the stadium, they chanted his name until O’Neill tipped his cap.
Paul O’Neill’s jersey should be retired at the stadium.
In College Basketball news –
Chris from the ‘Cuse reports that the Bernie Fine scandal has not affected the Orange recruiting class for next year. According to Chris from the ‘Cuse, it’s a top ten class as far as recruits. Chris from the ‘Cuse is also high on Trevor Cooney, who they redshirted. Cooney can flat out shoot the rock according to Chris.
The Orange are a different team with Fab Melo in the paint.
We asked Big E about the pipe line from Philadelphia to Syracuse. In the past few years, the Orange have brought Scoop Jardine, Rick Jackson, Dion Waiters, and Rakeem Christmas from the City of Brotherly Love to the comforts of the Dome.
Big E predicts if Temple goes to the Big East that they would be able to keep the great recruits at home.
Isn’t Villanova in the Big East? According to Big E, who is a 6’9 former college basketball player himself, Nova has an elitist attitude about themselves.
In NFL news . . . .
The Giants Victor Cruz wants to be paid like the top receiver in the game. The second year pro put up big numbers this year and was a huge reason why the Giants won the Super Bowl. It will be interesting to see the Giants off season.
Mario Manningham, Osi Umenyiora, Justin Tuck, Jason Pierre Paul? All these gentleman can either walk or deserve a pay raise.
While the grass is always greener (and the money also) the Giants have done an incredible job of plugging in parts to make the machine go.
I coached middle school football in San Antonio, Texas for 7 years before becoming an assistant principal. I had four years of varsity coaching experience outside Houston before that. In that time, I had the privilege of working with some outstanding young men. None of them went on to play in the NFL and only a handful had the opportunity to play in college.
On February 9th, 2012, I received news that a former 7th grade football player of mine had been killed in a car accident in Waco, Texas. Will Patterson played fullback and linebacker for me during one of most enjoyable years coaching. We were very competitive and a big part of that was Will. We used to throw the ball to the fullback in the flats and no one could cover Will on that route. Will went onto high school to graduate Summa Cum Laude, earned his Eagle Scout badge and was a reserve on the varsity team. He was in his second semester at Baylor University when the good Lord called him home. Please keep Will, his family and friends in your prayers.
Follow me on Twitter – @YankeeTodd1