Tag:New York
Posted on: November 23, 2008 9:06 pm
Edited on: November 24, 2008 2:39 am
 

The New York Football Giants establish themselves

as a force to be reckoned with and as a strong contender in the playoffs.

Even though the Giants relied on Eli Manning's arm more today than they have in the past few weeks, the playcalling was still reflective of the Giants overall plan to stay balanced between the pass and the run. With 33 pass attempts and 26 rushes, they were able to keep the Cardinals guessing on defense, which only made Eli Manning's job easier.

The Cardinals had 52 pass attempts and only 15 rushes, which definitely made Steve Spagnuolo's job easier. The Cards made no attempt to prevent the Giants from pinning their ears back and getting after Kurt Warner, although the Cards offensive line handled the pressure well.

After all the debate before this game, it all ended up coming down to the special teams. Domenik Hixon came through in a big way with three long kickoff returns for 180 yards that gave the Giants excellent field position. The key to the game for the Giants was their ability to use the short field to their advantage and they scored each time they got the ball after a kickoff.

It is a mark of the best teams that they are able to adjust on the fly and tweak their game plan to take what they're given. The running game didn't produce any big plays, but the Giants got 7 first downs rushing, so they were still effective without the big plays.

The Giants also managed to defeat a strong passing team on the road, and rested Brandon Jacobs and Plaxico Burress for next week's game in Washington against the Redskins. Strong efforts the next three weeks against divisional opponents would clinch a playoff spot for the Giants, and could even give them a first-round bye. The Redskins and Cowboys have been improving of late, but still have weaknesses the Giants can exploit. The Eagles are self-destructing faster than a top fuel dragster with a blown engine.

All in all, the Giants should have no trouble clinching a berth. The Redskins, Eagles, Cowboys, Panthers and Vikings all have winning records, but the Giants should be favored in each contest. The Cowboys still have the Giants, the Ravens, and the Steelers on their schedule, with the Seahawks and the Eagles. The Redskins still have the Giants and the Ravens, along with the Bengals, Eagles, and 49ers. The careening Eagles have the Giants, Cardinals, Redskins and Cowboys, and the Browns, which seems to give the Redskins the advantage over the Cowboys and Eagles as far as the wild card spots go.

We could see a repeat of last year's playoffs where three NFC East teams make it, but too many other teams (Buccaneers, Falcons, Panthers, Vikings, Bears) are playing well enough to preclude that without some stunning collapses.

Whoever their opponents are, the Giants message is simple: We're going to run, run some more, and for a change of pace, we'll run. We're going to get after your quarterback, smother your rushing game, and knock your receivers around. Tighten your chinstraps and make sure your cup is adjusted, because your going to get it right in the mouth every single down. And if you let us, we'll even pass, too.

Posted on: July 16, 2008 3:16 am
 

A Memorable day from Yankee Stadium's final year

My wife and I attended the game vs. the Royals on June 7, 2008, and the game had more than its share of memorable moments. In the third inning, the home plate umpire was knocked out of the game by a bunt attempt. It was 98 degrees in New York that day so it must have been 110 on the field, and it looked like Andy Pettitte would succumb to it as the Royals jumped out to a 5-1 lead after three innings. The Yankees tied it in the fourth, and Melky Cabrera got thrown out at the plate tagging on a Derek Jeter fly ball to end the inning.

The Yanks took a lead with a run in the fifth, and it looked like we might get a good six innings from Pettitte after all. Jose Guillen fouled a ball off his lower leg in the sixth, and was down for several minutes and looked like he wouldn't stay in the game. Even after the Royals tied it in the top of the seventh, it looked like the Yanks would escape trouble when Joe Girardi had Mike Aviles intentionally walked to put the DP back on, and Pettitte struck out Mark Teahen. That brought Guillen back to the plate, and he didn't look comfortable as Pettitte ran the count to 2-2. Then Pettitte hung a slider, and suddenly it was 10-6 Royals, and the game looked lost. The gentleman seated in front of us, Paul Simon, asked the kids he had with him if they wanted to leave. They said, "NO!" so they all stayed.

The Yanks got two runs back in the bottom of the seventh, and Mr. Simon asked, "Do you want to leave?" "NO!" they said. And they stayed.

The Yanks got two more runs in the eighth to tie it up, and you could feel the momentum shift in the crowd. Mr. Simon asked, "Do you want to leave?" "NO!" they said, and they stayed.

Mariano Rivera came in to warm up for the ninth, and the crowd really got loud. For one pitch. David DeJesus deposited Mo's first pitch into the right field stands, and it got really quiet. Rivera retired the side in order, but the damage was done. Or so we thought. Mr. Simon asked, "Do you want to leave?" "NO!" they said, and they stayed.

Joakim Soria came in to close it out in the ninth, and after a Jason Giambi fly ball out, Jorge Posada hit a HR to tie it up and the crowd went wild. After a Robinson Cano grounder, Wilson Betemit worked a walk, and Melky Cabrera reached on a dribbler toward third. That set the stage for Johnny Damon, who came up with two on, two out, tie game, and with a 3-1 count, deposited his sixth single of the game into the right field corner, scoring Betemit with the winning run! Yankees 12, Royals 11, in a game that all the people we saw as we made our way back to the subway said was the best game they had ever seen.

And my wife got a genuine autographed UTZ potato chip bag from Paul Simon.

 
 
 
 
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