Sunday, April 10, 2011

Opening Weekend!!

After the Mets started 3-3 on the road, The Mets opened their home schedule this past Friday. I try to make it a point to go to Opening Day every year. And since 1999, I've been to every one but two (2000 and 2002). I love the feeling and energy at Opening Day and if I have any say, I won't be missing any of them anytime soon. Besides' they've done pretty well in the 10 games I've been to before this year, posting a 7-3 record.

I went to this year's Opening Day with a number of friends I met on Twitter. Mary, Patti, Joni, and Cynthia were a pleasure to hang out with at the game! I also ran into Kerel, author of the Mets blog On The Black. You can check out his blog here.

As for the game...

During the National AnthemMy view on Opening Day

Sadly, my opening day record would not improve Friday, as the Mets lost 6-2 to the Washington Nationals. Ivan "Pudge" Rodriguez had the hit of the game for the Nats, hitting a 2-run bases-loaded single off Bobby Parnell in the 8th. Add that the Mets couldn't produce anything against the Nats bullpen (3 2/3 IP, 1 H, 2 BB, 3 K) and this one was over.

I also went to today's rubber game. Thanks to Christine and Danny for inviting me. I also went with Lisa, Benny, and Courtenay.

My view on Sunday

Chris Young pitched a great game, giving up only 1 hit and 1 run in 7 IP. But while Parnell let the lead grow on Friday, D.J. Carrasco couldn't hold the lead in the 8th. By that point, the Mets offense had shut down, striking out 16 times and getting only 4 hits after the 1st inning (4 hits in 1st inning alone). And with Pudge's RBI single and Laynce Nix's 3-run shot off Blaine Boyer in the 11th, I witnessed my 2nd home loss of the season. Last year it took until July 5th, my 14th game of last season, to witness my 2nd home loss.

My next game is on Tuesday against the Rockies. In the 10 years I've been keeping score at games on a regular basis, only 2008 did I start with an 0-3 home record. Hopefully that doesn't happen this year. Let's Go Mets!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

S.O.S. (Same Ol' Sh...uh, Stuff)

After Tuesday's loss to Buffalo, I said that the Rangers must come out tonight and get 2 points, whether in regulation or in OT. And while they went ahead and put over 40 shots on goal, they were only able to muster one goal. Add to the fact that their defensive zone presence was basically non-existent, and the game sums up to a 3-1 loss to the equally (or maybe more) offensively inept Minnesota Wild.

Sean Avery was the only Ranger who was able to put the puck in the net, off a great centering feed from Erik Christensen. The remaining shots were not quality shots, and the few that were quality were miraculously stopped by Dominic Ha...uh, Jose Theodore. In addition, there were a number of quality chances where the Rangers were either out of position or shot the puck wide of the net.

Just like Tuesday night, teams that needed to win to solidify/improve their playoff chances (Montreal Canadiens, Carolina Hurricanes, Toronto Maple Leafs) were able to win. And even the Buffalo Sabres, who lost to the Hurricanes, helped themselves by getting a point by losing in OT. The Rangers now find themselves in 8th place, with Buffalo 2 points back and Toronto 3 points back. This is gonna be a tough final 16 games.

Oh, one more thing. The Wild couldn't even bring a little joy to me tonight. Jed Ortmeyer was called up from their AHL team and I was looking forward to see him play again at MSG. But nooooooo, they had to go ahead and scratch him from tonight's lineup. Morons...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Not Taking Care of Business

Around this time of season, every game you play is important. Not that they're not important earlier in the season. But results of games in March and April are magnified as the playoff picture becomes clearer. And they're even bigger when you play a team that you're fighting against for a coveted playoff spot. Going into tonight, here's the Rangers W-L records against their playoff competition:

5 - Washington Capitals 3-1
6 - Montreal Canadiens 0-3
8 - Carolina Hurricanes 2-2
9 - Buffalo Sabres 2-0

Tonight, the Rangers ended up being the only team in the Eastern Conference playoff race that seemed to play as if the game was not important with a huge 3-2 loss to the Buffalo Sabres. They completely didn't show up in the 1st period, and were lucky to escape being down only 1-0. And while their energy improved during the 2nd and 3rd periods, they could never overcome that one goal deficit.

To make matters worse, as I mentioned before, every other team who played tonight took care of business. Montreal, Washington and Carolina all won. The Rangers are now 8 points behind Washington for 5th and 5 points behind Montreal for 6th. Carolina is 1 point behind in 8th and Buffalo, with their win, is 3 points behind in 9th. And they ALL have at least a game at hand (Buffalo actually has 3 games at hand). With 17 games to go in the season, the Rangers have lost control of their own destiny. And while a lot can happen in these final 17 games, the way they're playing right now doesn't make me very comfortable...

Their next game is Thursday night vs Minnesota - a possible Jed Ortmeyer homecoming - where they need to win and get both points (Minnesota is in the Western Conference, so giving them a point in OT or a shootout won't matter) Time is dwindling. And so are the Rangers chances of making the playoffs.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Do You Believe In Miracles?!?!?!

Today's post title is thanks to Al Michaels who, 31 years ago today, called arguably the greatest game in US hockey history...

The game was a semifinal game in the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, NY. USA vs. the Soviet Union. The underdog USA team was made up of amateurs and college kids, while the heavily-favored USSR team was a bunch of professionals. But the USA team stepped up and were able to defeat the Soviets 4-3. And 2 days later, they beat Finland 4-2 to win the Gold Medal. Now because I was a bit older than 2 years old, I don't remember many details of the game...duh!! So for more info, you can check out the page on the USA Hockey website or its wikipedia link.

One additional piece of info: The head coach of that USA team was the late Herb Brooks. He went on to coach the Rangers for 3 1/2 seasons, making the playoffs the 3 full seasons he was at the helm. But while with the USA team, he was praised for being able to bring together a bunch of youngsters and have them work cohesively as a team. Which is a similar position that John Tortorella is finding himself in with the current Rangers, especially with their defensemen: their oldest d-man is Steve Eminger at 27, and he's been a healthy scratch the last few games. Hopefully, Torts can keep the youth movement successful and coach them into the playoffs, where miracles are definitely believable!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Back Home Again (Rangers 4 - Kings 3)

It felt great being back at MSG for the first time in over a month. (1/13 vs Van was my last home game) and it felt even better to see the Rangers defeat the LA Kings 4-3 in a shootout. As usual, Callahan and Dubinsky did not disappoint with their hustle on both ends of the ice. Zuccarello and Christensen showed off their shootout skills again. Lundqvist held on as he barely got a piece of Kopitar's shot to win it. And while Gaborik did score tonight, I still have that gut feeling that all is not well.

One thing from tonight's game that doesn't sit well with me, and hasn't throughout the month of February, is the Rangers inability to hold a lead. And how quickly they seem to give up that lead. Twice tonight (at 2-1 and 3-2) they gave up a tying goal within 1:40 min after taking the lead. And I feel the timeout that Torts called for after their 3rd goal wasn't necessary. Maybe he wanted to remind the team to stay strong on D. Or he wanted to give Staal and Girardi a bit of rest so they could immediately go back on the ice. Whatever the case, it gave the Kings a moment to regroup and they responded quickly.

Now the Rangers have won 2 games in a row. And to paraphrase Lou Brown from the movie Major League, "We win one tomorrow, that’s called a winning streak. It has happened before." They'll be playing in NJ to face the Devils, or, as I like to call them, the Little Debbies. I'll probably be watching the game at Mustang Sally's as the Rangers will be hosting a viewing party there. If anyone wants to hang with me, just let me know.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Taking a Break

OK, the title has nothing to do with my blog. I just started posting again, so why would I take a break from posting? No, this has to do with something I've done for the last 6 years.

Since the NHL came back from the lockout for the 2005-2006 season, I have been a season ticket holder for the New York Rangers. Just one ticket. I didn't know anyone who was willing to go in for a full season like I would. Mostly because I didn't personally know anyone who nearly as big a Rangers fan as I was. But I didn't have a problem going alone. I sit in the first row in Section 406 (which is a center ice view from the top level at MSG) surrounded by season ticket holders that have been going to games for many years. Most games would be after work, so the only part of going alone would be if there was a game during the weekend and that would just be going back and forth between home and MSG. I'd usually go to about 30-35 games a year, missing a game here and there, but rarely ever letting the ticket go to waste. I'd give it to one of the people sitting in 406, or give it to a co-worker or friend.

That changed this season. I haven't been going to as many games as I have in seasons past. And it's been for a number of reasons. Too tired, too much pain (that is, physically - the Rangers have played pretty well this season, or at least well enough to not cause me too much pain), too much fun pre-gaming. And a couple of times, completely forgetting that there was a game that night. If I go to every remaining home game the rest of the season, I'll have gone to 23 games the entire season. And I have a feeling that over the next couple of years it's going to be more of the same.

So I've decided to take a break and drop my season tickets starting next year. It was a hard decision to make, but I know it will be for the better. I'll get to save some money and be able to relax more during the winter, which really took a toll on me this year. But I'm going to miss the people in 406 I get to hang out with at the games. I'm going to miss the games and watching Dubi, Cally, Gabby, Hank and the rest of the team get underneath the opponents' skin. I'll also miss how the Rangers organization treats their season subscribers.

I hope that a couple of years from now, I'll be able to straighten some things out and sign back up for a full season. But I want to make sure that if/when I sign up again for tickets, that I'm able to keep them. I wouldn't want to go through the whole process again.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

A New Start

It's been a while since I've posted anything on my blog. I don't know why I had stopped originally, but it grew into the fact that I lost the urge to write everyday. But that lack of urge is gone. My friend Nicole put together a blog about her interests (Crafts, Fashion, DIY, etc.) and while I'm not going to be writing about the same topics that she is, the idea of writing again was awoken. Hopefully I'll keep up the writing this time. Between all the sports I follow, I shouldn't have a problem the second time around. Now, onto the post....

Don't tell me about the world. Not today. It's springtime and they're knocking baseball around fields where the grass is damp and green in the morning and the kids are trying to hit the curve ball. ~ Pete Hamill

Today was Reporting Day for Pitchers and Catchers for the New York Mets, the official start of Spring Training. While I follow sports year-round, I always look forward to this time of year. It reminds me of childhood and how my friends and I would start playing stickball around now. Didn't matter that it was still cold here in NY. The first month or so was pretty difficult to play. We would play a couple of innings and call it a day. Then...we wouldn't be able to fully lift our arms for 3 days. But as February would turn into March and into April, our arms would get looser. We'd start pitching for 3, then 4, then 5 innings. The soreness would be less intense. And we'd start playing multiple days in a week. It was our form of Spring Training.