Ace in the Hole

Not the Ace the Mets expected, but the one they need

Not the Ace the Mets expected, but the one they need

When the grass was first cut and the infield groomed at Citi Field for the opening of the 2014 season, many die-hard Mets fans expected the orange and blue to have an ace. One problem, their ace Matt Harvey wouldn’t be toeing the rubber for the 2014 season. Who would be the Mets number one pitcher? Most people felt it would be Bartolo Colon, one of the two biggest prizes of the offseason. Others felt that Zach Wheeler would follow in the path of Harvey’s sophomore campaign and rise to the occasion. While those pitchers may not look like aces here in April, there is one who has, and noone saw him coming.

After winning the fifth starter role out of camp, it looked like Jenrry Mejia was just added to the roster to keep a spot in the rotation warm for Noah Syndergaard or Rafael Montero. Through four starts this year Mejia is a perfect 3-0 with a 1.99 ERA and 25 strikeouts. While it remains to be seen if he can get through an entire season without an injury, if he continues to stay healthy the Mets may have another future ace in their rotation. At the age of 24, Mejia has already shown he can be a starter in the majors posting a 2.30 ERA in 2013. However, he has never completed a full season and needs to find a way to stay on the field. If he can pitch an entire year, the Mets may have another great front line starter to pair with Matt Harvey in 2015.

Watching Mejia early in this season it is clear that he has made some great adjustments that have been crucial to his success. Mejia has focused more on location then trying to overpower hitters with his fastball. His fastball still remains in the low to mid 90s, but he has better command and gets great late life on the pitch. When he first came up, Mejia tried to overthrow this pitch and get it into the upper 90s. With an ability to now throw his breaking pitches consistently for strikes, Mejia has been very effective at keeping batters off balance and guessing what pitch is coming next. Now with better control of his fastball and vast improvement of his breaking pitches, it is clear that not only does Mejia have control on the mound this season but something even better, confidence.

Seeing Mejia steadily improving start after start has to give Mets’ fans hope that this team will be in serious contention in 2015. If Mejia can continue to develop, the Mets arm race for power arms just could give them one of if not the best young rotation in the game of baseball.

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Barr Hopping: Should the Jets trade up?

Would Barr be worth trading up for?

Would Barr be worth trading up for?

With less than a month to go before the NFL Draft, the New York Jets are preparing to find the pieces to get Gang Green back into the postseason. With a slew of Draft picks in a loaded draft, it looks like the Jets maybe able to do just that. While most people think the Jets should stay put with the 18th pick and select an offensive prospect, one intriguing possibility is trading up for one of the best defensive players in the draft.

There is no question that the Jets need offensive weapons. However, if they are able to sign Chris Johnson they may want to reconsider the top of their draft board. While wide receiver and tight end are vital needs for this team, the good news is that this draft is loaded at those positions with talented players being available in the second and third rounds. With that in mind, one player the Jets should consider trading up for is outside line back Anthony Barr. I know I know, the Jets need offensive pieces and help in the secondary. Why trade up? For starters this draft is loaded with talented corners and safeties that will be available from rounds 3-5, where the Jets have an abundance of picks. Using rounds 2-3 to address the offense, if the Jets can trade later draft picks or future picks to move up, it would be smart.

Of course the price has to be right, but if the Jets don’t give up too many picks, Barr would be perfect in green. As a pass rushing 3-4 outside linebacker, he could provide the dynamic speed pass rusher the Jets have been looking for. With the potential for double-digit sacks as a rookie and being compared to Demarcus Ware in terms of pass rushing, it’s clear that his presence in New York could be huge. The best way to help their depleted secondary could be by addressing the fronts seven. Passes can’t be completed when the quarterback is on the turf. With his flexibility to line up in different positions, Barr could make the Jets front seven one of if not the best unit in the league. Can you imagine the Jets stout defensive line with Coples and Barr as edge rushers? Talk about a nightmare for Tom Brady! If the Jets can make this deal a reality, Barr could become a dynamic playmaker for the Jets prolific defense.

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The King and the ring

Does the King and need a ring?

Does the King and need a ring?

Henrik Lundqvist has established himself as the king of the crease on the grandest stage, the world’s most famous arena. Throughout his career for the blue shirts Lundqvist has conquered every mountain there is to for an NHL goaltender. Most career wins and shutouts for the franchise? check. Being the team’s icon? check. Vezina trophy winner? check. There is only one hurdle left for Lundqvist to overcome, a Stanley Cup Championship. If Lundqvist wants to make a case for the hall of fame and cement his legacy as the greatest net minder in Rangers history, he needs to win a championship. There is no question that Lundqvist is one of the best goaltenders in the NHL, but to solidify his legacy he needs at least one Stanley Cup.

Just look at other great goaltenders in recent memory. Martin Brodeur has three rings, and even Jonathan Quick has one. Even Hall of Famers Patrick Roy and Dominik Hasek have a championship on their resume. In some Rangers fans eyes, Lundqvist cannot be considered the best goaltender in franchise history because even Mike Richter, despite his records being broken by Lundqvist this year, was the backstop to the 1994 championship team. Just ask Lebron, when your nickname is The King, you need to back it up. If he wants to remain the king of the big apple, Lundqvist needs to bring home a ring to The Garden.

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Curtains? Brodeur’s last game?

Was this it for the best  Devil?

Was this it for the best
Devil?

In 1990 the New Jersey Devils drafted a goaltender with the 20th pick in the draft. At the time none could have guessed in their wildest dreams the franchise player they had selected. 688 wins later, that goaltender could finally be ready to hang up his pads for the final time. When talking about the greatest net minders that have stood between the pipes in the NHl the conversation must start with number 30. After 3 Stanley Cup Championships and an unprecedented 20 NHL records, Brodeur is a first ballot Hall of Famer. When people ask who the greatest goaltender in NHL history was, it’s hard to argue that Brodeur isn’t the greatest of all time. No matter what he accomplished on the ice in terms of statistics or records, the impact Marty had on the Devils is immeasurable. The Prudential Center should be nicknamed the house that Brodeur Built. Throughout the ups and downs, occasionally relocation threats, and roster changes, the one constant has been Brodeur. He has been the icon of Jersey’s team for almost two decades and has brought the Devils from a relocated franchise, to a perennial NHL power. While we can easily measure Brodeur’s career from his incredible statistics, his influence goes beyond the numbers. He has put the New Jersey Devils on the map and given the Garden State a team that they can be proud of. If this was indeed the last game for the NHL’s greatest goaltender, the Jersey faithful gave him the send off that he rightfully deserved. Marty could come back for one more go, but at this point it might be time for him to hang it up. Either way, when he finals decides to call it a career, the Devils will sadly lose their greatest icon. The next question won’t be if but when he will get the call from the hall and when the Devils will inevitably hang #30 in the rafters of the arena he helped build.

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Connecticut #1 in all of college sports?

The Champs are here!

The Champs are here!

In a span of 24 hours the melting pot of college basketball wasn’t Dallas or Nashville, but Storrs Connecticut. For the second time in history the UConn men’s and women’s basketball teams are the National Champions at the same time. The school is now an incredible 13-0 in National Title games with four men’s championships and a record best nine National Championships for the women. 2014 will be remembered for the historic run of the men’s team after going through the ringer the previous season and the sheer dominance the women’s program which once again ran the table with 40 wins. After this week the main question shouldn’t be about UConn’s dominance, but the state’s dominance as a whole. Is Connecticut becoming one of if not the best state in the nation for college sports?

Hockey is on the rise in the Nutmeg state

Hockey is on the rise in the Nutmeg state

I can already hear the yelling and screaming already. What are you nuts? Connecticut the best state for college sports? Blasphemous! But is it? In the span of twelve months the state has won 4 National Championships. Last year, Yale won the hockey National Championship to go with the three championships the Huskies added, two in basketball one in field hockey. We all know about basketball. The UConn men remain one of the best programs in the country, and the women are in a league of their own. However, the nutmeg state has become a hotbed for college hockey. Last year both Yale and Quinnipiac made it to the finals in hockey and both have been perennial powers for years with consistent top 15 rankings in the country. With UConn hockey moving into Hockey East and steadily improving, the question is becoming when not if another team from the Constitution state will win the National Championship.

Yeah, but what about football? True Connecticut is not a football state, this isn’t Alabama with the Crimson Tide and Auburn. I think that is pretty obvious, but across the board the other sports in this state prove that Connecticut is the cream of the crop in college sports. Field Hockey? UConn won the National Championship in 2013. Baseball? UConn reached the regionals for the first time in 2013. Along with these national appearances the Connecticut schools have won numerous conference championships across the board.

Connecticut could soon be the place to be.

Connecticut could soon be the place to be.

With already established powerhouses, and strong up and comers, the Nutmeg state could soon be more than just the center of college basketball, but the NCAA universe as well. With some of the greatest underrated fan bases in the country, it’s not hard to see why Connecticut loves it’s college teams. With dominance in basketball and hockey, if Connecticut can establish another team or teams that become perennial powers, it will be hard to argue that Connecticut is not a great home for college sports, but “the home” for college sports.

 

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Field Of Screams: A’s game postponed due to terrible field

Not a good start

Not a good start

The Oakland Alameda Coliseum has long been considered one of the dumpiest venues in sports, and sunday afternoon did nothing to fix that reputation. After a weekend field with numerous complaints about the field the game between the Mariners are Athletics was cancelled on Sunday because of poor conditions. This isn’t the first time the A’s have had a strange cancellation at their stadium. One time they had to cancel a game because of sewage in the dugouts. Here’s the thing. This isn’t in September after a football game, this isn’t the day after a major concert, so why is the field not ready? They’ve had months to prepare for baseball and can’t even last a week? I’ll tell you one thing. This is defiantly not helping Oakland keep the A’s or Raiders. If no new stadium solutions are found and stuff like this continues to happen, Oakland will lose it’s teams sooner then later. Instead of a field of Dreams in Oakland, it’s only a coliseum of calamity. For the video on the field click (here)

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