So it goes. Another holiday season is here and from yours truly to yours a Merry Christmas and Happy holidays.
There were the usual highs and lows during the 2019 sports year in New York. From the abysmal Knicks, to the continued regression of the Jets and Giants, the Yankees failure to close the decade without another championship.
And the Mets, of course, awaiting the check book of billionaire Steve Cohen as they try to contend and deliver. Hockey is healthy as the Rangers and Islanders are at a pace to be contenders for playoff position.
With all of this, and more, here is that annual Christmas list for the New York sports fan. A little of everything and not being naughty but nice.
Yankees: The Gerit Cole signing to a record nine-year $324 million contract is the missing piece, so says the Yankees hierarchy. Though, as mentioned on these pages,a pitcher with that long term deal is expected to deliver.
The Yankees, as that holiday gift for their fans, got them Cole. It means the supposed best pitcher in baseball is expected to deliver, and at a risk in this long range plan to end their decade drought without a World Series championship.
Though, the appropriate gift of cheer for the Yankees is to get the timely hits in the postseason, which was more of the contributing factor of their failures to go deep in another postseason series loss to the Astros.
METS: The gift has been Michael Wacha and Rick Procello, two pitchers at low cost that add to their depth. If anything, rookie manager Carlos Beltran has been granted some flexibility.
Seth Lugo, the Mets most reliable reliever, can stay in the bullpen as does Robert Gsellman. The need was to revamp a bullpen that was second worst in baseball to the Red Sox in 2019.
The gift this holiday season for the Mets, another bat in the lineup before Opening Day and possibly a healthy Yoenis Cespedes in his final year of a revamped contract.
Most of all, the best gift here? A turn-around 2020 out of the pen for Jeurys Familia and Edwin Diaz. Late inning outs and saves cost the Mets in 2019. Familia and Diaz could be a difference maker, along with Justin Wilson in the mix.
Giants: Yours truly will be the first to admit this is not an area of expertise. However, it is easy to comprehend that stability on the coaching end is important, why it is important to give another year to Pat Shurmur.
There are signs of progress. No more Eli Manning. Daniel Jones is improving, five touchdown passes Sunday against the Redskins. The gift is acquiring a top draft choice, improve the defense. We haven’t seen Saquon Barkley at his best and healthy.
Jets: Same situation with the Giants and that’s coaching stability. Adam Gase? He needs another year. Disagree, of course Jets fans would. You see the continued development of a quarterback, Sam Darnold, and how he can control the ball out of the pocket.
Again, a gift here for the Jets is patience. They are close. And the draft picks will be significant as the long and championship reign of the Patriots is on a decline, which makes the Jets a team to be enthused about in the AFC East.
Knicks: Sell the team. This is not a coaching situation. The answer is get rid of Dolan. A gift of joy for every Knicks’ fan is becoming that franchise champion again that takes the court in the “Mecca” of Madison Square Garden, and having the appropriate basketball personnel to run the show.
NETS: Did you say, can’t wait for Kevin Durant? That 26.0 points per game is a void and a difference maker.
Rangers: Sunday, Henrik Lundqvist made his first start in a week and stopped 19 of 20 shots that prevented the Rangers from losing their fourth straight. And that is the difference, because the veteran in goal can lead this team in his final years.
You want to see a good old NY rivalry on ice with the Rangers and Islanders. It can get there again, of course it begins with the consistent play in goal from the veteran.
Islanders: All good in Nassau County and Brooklyn. The Islanders are leaving a gift this season and striving to become another dynasty before moving to their new digs in a few years over at Belmont Park.
NYRA: Can we get another Triple Crown winner at Belmont Park?
NYCFC: Two years of semifinal and final conference elimination for an MLS CUP. The gift is go another step. The added gift is securing a stadium they can call home as the Yankees kick them out of the ballpark to avoid disrupting their sacred field during playoff time.
Boxing: The sports deserves more championship fights in New York. Barclays Center in Brooklyn is in survival mode as a host for major fights and Madison Square Garden, well the “Mecca” always finds a place for the big fight. Then again, the sport is healthy but no longer in that category of mainstream.and deserves a gift of returning to the heyday of Ali, Frazier, Holmes, Hagler, Hearns, and Leonard.
There you have it. Just some thoughts. From all of us at TheNYExtra.com a healthy and happy holiday season with the gift of joy and a championship.
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