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Aaron Judge’s Rib Injury is a Concern of Biblical Proportions

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

The troubling part of great expectations is the slow dissent into the possibility of greater disappointment.

06/18/19 Norfolk Tides Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders at PNC Park Wilkes Barre Scranton Pa Scranton/Wilkes-Barre RailRiders right fielder Aaron Judge #99 at batting practice/Neil Miller/The New York extra/copyright 2020

Friday was another day of disappointment for the Yankees with news that Aaron Judge has a stress fracture of the first right rib. Manager Aaron Boone told reporters in Tampa that surgery is not off the table.

Let’s consider where the Yankees were in mid-December and where they are now:

Gerrit Cole/Neil Miller/The New York Extra

They had just signed Gerrit Cole away from the Houston  Astros, giving them an ace of aces, a Game 1 starter, a losing skid ender, a pitcher who possesses a $324 million arm and a master brain. The one glaring hole in their championship plan had been filled in extraordinary fashion.

Meanwhile, their top contender in the AL, those same Astros, were exposed as low life cheaters. Although no players were penalized, the pressure Houston will face every day of the season could break them by the All-Star break.

The Boston Red Sox came to the realization that any franchise that tries to go dollar for dollar with the Yankees does so at its own financial peril. They traded Mookie Betts and David Price to the Dodgers.

It was as if the highway to the World Series contained one Heavyweight Occupation Lane for the Yankees and the rest of the AL can get jammed up on the rest of the road. (The Dodgers their owns lane in the National League).

Now suddenly the Yankee’s express lane is starting to look like the Cross Bronx Expressway with a pothole here a stalled car there and an 18-wheeler belching more smoke than a coal plant.

James Paxton needed back surgery. Luis Severino underwent Tommy John surgery. Giancarlo Stanton got injured – again. This time a calf muscle.

Now Judge might have to have surgery and lose that rib. He’s on the brink of going from Aaron to Adam in what could turn out to be a disappointing season of biblical proportions for Judge and the Yankees.

Opening Day is three weeks away. Is Disappointment Day that far behind?

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The Knicks Spike Lee and I Grew Up No Longer Exist

Every day it becomes harder and harder to remember the last time the Knicks made for good news. It has little to do with losing.

Spike Lee /File photo/Neil Miller/The New York Extra /copyright 2020

The 76ers took losing to a new tank high. The Cavaliers contributed to Cleveland’s moniker as the Mistake on the Lake. The Charlotte Bobcats once won seven games.

Losing happens. Losing as a corporate environment shouldn’t.

File photo /James Dolan ?Neil Miller/ The New York Extra/copyright 2020

Which brings us to James Dolan. Under his ownership, The Garden and the Knicks have gone from a storied franchise that plays in The World’s Most Famous Arena to a sullied team that competes in building run by an Undercover Paranoid Boss.

Spike Lee and I hail from the same borough (his family moved to Brooklyn when he was a child). He attended Dewey High School. I attended Canarsie.

File photo/Spike Lee at Yankee Stadium /Neil Miller/The New York Extra /copyright 2020

He’s 62. I’m 60. We’re of the same Knicks generation, the one fortunate enough to be in our formative fans years when the Knicks raised their only two NBA Championship banners to The Garden rafters.

We were raised on Red Holzman’s thinking man’s basketball.

None of us will forget that magical night when Willis Reed limped out of the tunnel, drained his first two shots, and Clyde Frazier turned in the greatest performance in Game 7 history. But most forget that every starter on that 1969-70 team averaged at least 10 points and two assists in the regular season.

Spike was the guy from Brooklyn who made it big. That’s what those front row Knicks tickets represent, more than his success as a director. Occasionally we would exchange a nod and quick handshake. Thank goodness for a press pass or I would never have gotten within two levels of Spike.

Of course, there was no social media and no smartphones back then when pickup basketball was the city game and we believed more titles were to come. We were naïve. Not we’re broken. Spike temporarily broken.

The Knicks have been reduced to a soap opera, The Garden as the set on which the segments are filmed.

Charles Oakley fights with Msg security/Neil Miller/The New York Extra/copyright 2020

If Dolan isn’t feuding with former players (Charles Oakley) he’s feuding with teenage fans and now he’s feuding with the most fanatical A-list fan any team in sports has known.

Spike is to us what Jack Nicholson is to the Lakers and a less subdued Drake is to the Raptors. Nicholson’s presence in the Forum has never been a distraction and, if Drake can just stop trying to run huddles, he can continue in his role as self-designated celebrity super fan.

Spike? Spike never was the story, with the exception of one epic exchange in 1995 with Reggie Miller. Heck, if Reggie, who scored eight points in the final 18.7 seconds of a Game 1 playoff game, can’t get under your skin, no one can. That’s a compliment.

Now Spike and Dolan are the story. It matters little who is right or wrong in Monday night’s EntranceGate blowup. It’s the pettiness. The constant siren of pettiness that sounds from The Garden and his heard around the NBA world.

Dolan is the common denominator in all of these petty episodes. The man with enough money to own the most valuable NBA franchise can’t buy himself a healthy sense of self.

The slightest perceived offense triggers some insecure fight response from Dolan. It’s as if he’s never outgrown that 10-year-old, “You started it! No, you started it!” phase.

Dolan announced the hiring of Leon Hall as the Knicks president on Monday morning. Dolan has been quick to remind us that he leaves the business of basketball in the expert’s hands. This way when Phil Jackson or Steve Mills falters, Dolan has his fall guy.

It can’t be his fault. But it is. Free agents know it is. Current players know it is. Current and former coaches know it is.

Makes you wonder if Rose checked the small print in his contract for an out clause. Makes you wonder if Spike will return next season. Makes you wonder if we should too.

Because these are not the Knicks Spike and I grew up on. This is not thinking man’s basketball.

Once Again, Knicks Fans Are Asked to be Patient

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

   Former player agent Leon Rose was officially hired Monday as the president of the Knicks president. As was the case with his most predecessors – Steve Mills and Phil Jackson – Rose asked Knicks fans for patience.

These are Rose’s words:

Nothing about this is easy, or quick, so I ask for your continued patience. What I promise you in return is that I will be honest and forthright. We will develop a plan that makes sense, both to jumpstart our short-term grow and ensure our long-term success. Our team will work hard, stick together and ensure we live up to the honor of wearing the New York Knicks jersey.

This is what Mills had to say after last year’s draft:

I think we’re asking them to continue to be patient. We laid out a plan when Scott [Perry] came on board and then David [Fizdale] joined us that we were gonna build this team the right way. We we’re going to draft well and we’re gonna be diligent about how we make this team and not taken any shortcuts.

And here is the Zenmaster prior to the 2015 draft:

We have a clear plan and expect our efforts to really take shape as we enter the 2015 draft and free agency in the months ahead. I ask that you remain optimistic and hope you will join us in our continued journey as we build a team that once again reflects the spirit of being a New York Knick.

With each regime, this plea for patience gets a little more galling. it’s been almost half a century since a Knicks championship banner was raised in The Garden. Half. A. Century.

Meanwhile, smart rebuilds are taking place all over the NBA map in places much less glamorous than the Big Apple such as Memphis, New Orleans and Oklahoma City. The Thunder have been gutted more thoroughly than all the fish in Greenport yet they have two first-round draft choices in each of the next five drafts. Five!

During this time, it’s hard to imagine another fan base more patient, supportive and perpetually hopeful than Knicks fans. They embraced Frank Ntilinka (Jackson) Kevin Knox (Mills).

There are many NBA executives that say Dolan dearly wants the Knicks to be good. They point to the $60 million he gave Jackson, hoping the extraordinary coach could make the transition to elite execute. He couldn’t.

Dolan tried the tandem of Mills and Scott Perry, hoping they could parlay their good standing in the NBA into bonanza free agent signings. They didn’t.

Now he has gone with the former agent, Rose. Those who know him say he’s sincere and his desire to make the Knicks a premier franchise is genuine. He deserves the benefit of any doubt.

We just have one piece of advice:

Don’t ask these fans to be patient. They could write the book on it.

Jordan Rules: Montgomery Filling the Pitching Void

By Lenn Robbins

File photo /NeilMiller/ The New York Extra/copyright 2020

When the Yankees opened the vault and gave Gerrit Cole a $324 million deal, they all but took out an LCD billboard in Times Square: Title No. 28, No Excuses.

Even after learning that Jim Paxton would miss at least the first two months of the season after undergoing a micro discectomy to remove a lower back cyst, and losing Luis Severino for the season to Tommy John surgery, manager Aaron Boone didn’t blink.

“I don’t want to sugarcoat the fact that being without Sevy, that’s a blow, but it doesn’t change our expectations and what we’re truly capable of,” Boone told reporters recently. “So, no, nothing changes.”

It may not if Jordan Montgomery pitches as he has this preseason.

Montgomery, who won the No.5 starter spot in 2017 only to lose most of 2018 and ’19 to the knife, struck out four and allowed just one hit in two innings against the Red Sox. He struck out three and walked one in his first preseason outing.

“I’ll treat it like 2017,” Montgomery told reporters about how he’s approaching this preseason. “I’ll do my best to compete. Things always happen, so the more arms you have the better. I’ve got to be ready.

“I just want to pitch and be healthy. Whatever the Yankees need, I’ll bring something to the table. I had a normal offseason, finally. Good to get home and just work out and throw. I feel pretty strong right now. It’s good to have a new arm.’’

The old one wasn’t too bad. He went 9-7 in 2017 with a 3.88.

 Unlike 2017, Montgomery has the added confidence of having done it in 2017 and returning to the mound at the end of last season. At 6-foot-6, 228 pounds, Montgomery is mostly a curveball/slider pitcher but he hit 94 on the radar gun in his first Grapefruit League game.

“I think he has proven himself at this level. For him to get back last year was big, just for his frame of mind,’’ Boone said. “The fact he was able to make it back and get some work done, get into some games, I think was big for him and his mindset moving forward.’’

With Paxton and Severino out, Montgomery’s arm could big for the Yankees.

It’s the Last Dance For Cespedes and the Mets

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

File photo/Neil Miller/The New York Extra/copyright 2020

There are two lines a professional athlete in this city simply can’t cross. One is to not hustle. The other is to be selfish.

Yeonis Cespedes has crossed both.

New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes #52 /File photo /Neil Miller/The New York extra/copyright 2020

Of  course, he also flashed enough of his prodigious power and potent arm to be embraced by the World Championship-starved fans that flock to Citi Field each season with endless hope, a pilgrimage as mystical as any in religion.

That Cespedes no longer exists. The man once known as La Potencia (The Power) should now be known as El Jabali (The Bore). It isn’t funny.

The 5-foot-10, 210-pound Cespedes is one of those rare Major Leaguers to have been touched by the forefinger of the Lord of Baseball. His swing is majestic; his throws explosive. His glove, golden in 2015, tarnished from the World Series on.

By the time Cespedes arrived at Spring Training a few weeks ago, his reputation was  as tarnished as a subway station stair rail. His declaration that he would not speak to the media should have been met with ‘who cares shrugs.”

02/03/16 Yeonis Cespedes press conference at Citi Field Queens N.Y. Yeonis Cespedes talks to the press with Sandy Alderson left and Jeff Wilpon right/File photo /Neil Miller/ The New York Extra/copyright 2020

Cespedes has said enough without speaking over the last four seasons to make one thing clear. Cespedes had crossed the lines from hero to bore, uh, goat. He was no longer a player worthy of respect because he had stopped respecting the game.

This awkward dance started at the end of the 2016 season, after Cespedes had performed well enough in 132 games (31 homers; 892 OPS) to opt out of his three-year $75 million contract. He signed a four-year, $110-million deal that included the treasured no trade clause.

The Mets were stuck with him.

They were willing to overlook the 108 strikeouts, the red flag that he was on his fourth team in six seasons, and the embarrassing revelation that his hamstring injury was severe enough to end his season, but not his golf game.

New York Mets center fielder Yoenis Cespedes #52 /File photo/Neil Miller/ The New York Extra/copyright 2020

His 2017 season lasted 81 games. The following season saw him on the field for 38 games. He needed surgery on both heels. It would be too cynical to suggest Cespedes didn’t play because he had nothing to play for, too cynical.

Cespedes regained his desire to speak publicly on Sunday. When asked, on a scale of 1-to-10 what he would rate his motivation for this season he responded, “12!” Of course, it is. In a reworked deal, Cespedes will earn $6 million if he doesn’t play, a minimum of $11 million if he’s not on the injured list on Opening Day.

A healthy, incentivized Cespedes could put up big numbers. He could offer protection in the lineup for Pete Alonzo. He could be taking crucial at bats or celebrating a World Series victory when he turns 35 on October 18th.

Then the Mets can happily let Cespedes cross any line he wants. As long as he’s walking away.

Imagine the Season When Thor Puts it All Together

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By Lenn Robbins

New York Mets #34 Noah Syndegaard pitches in the 2md inning today 2/26/2020/Neil Miller/The New York extra copyright 2020

One of the first narratives regarding Mets pitcher Noah Syndegaard was not a positive one. He was spotted by David Wright eating in the clubhouse during an intrasquad scrimmage in March of 2015.

This was little more than a rookie error. Syndegaard should have been watching the action, learning one more piece of information or soaking up via osmosis what being a Major League pitcher is all about.

New York Mets #34 Noah Syndegaard warms up rior to the game on 2/26/2020 Neil Miller/The New York Extra /copyright 2020

Wright chewed out Syndegaard. Bobby Parnell tossed Syndegaard’s plate in the trash.

If this is the biggest mistake Syndegaard ever makes as a Met that would be OK. But OK, as the AT&T ad states, is not OK when it comes to Syndegaard.

From that rookie season when he struck out 166 batters in 150 innings, Syndegaard standing at 6-6 and weighing around 240 pounds with that lightning blond flow, began drawing hushed comparisons to other previous Texas flamethrowers such as Roger Clemens, Nolan Ryan or pre-injury Kerry Woods.

There was that game last May when Syndegaard four-hit the Reds and drove in the game’s only run with a solo homer. And the one in late-September when he two-hit the Giants, striking out 11 and walking one.

Every time Syndegaard dominated, he raised the bar for himself and for the Mets. Every time he didn’t reach those heights, as was the case at times last season (10-8, 4.28), there were whispers of doubt: Maybe he’ll never be destined for Cooperstown.

Edwin Diaz reacts after giving up a run in todays game 02/26/2020 Neil Miller/The New York Extra copyright 2020

Syndegaard did nothing to deflate expectations for this season. There were the shirtless photos of him early in camp, showing off that Greek freak physique. There was today’s first spring training outing when he worked the standard two innings, striking out two, allowed one hit and left with Mets fan feeling good until Edwin Diaz showed off his dreadful 2019 form.

Jake DeGrom /2/26/2020 /Neil Miller/The New York Extra /copyright 2020

With Jacob deGrom and Syndegaard, the Mets can have the best 1-2 front end of any rotation in baseball. That has been the hope for the last five seasons. But this could be the year that deGrom and Syndegaard combine to lead the Mets to an October parade.

New York Mets #34 Noah Syndegaard pitches in the 1st inning 2/26/2020 Neil Miller/The New York Extra /copyright 2020

Syndegaard, 27, spent the offseason in Los Angeles sharpening his mental approach to pitching. The hope is that a better plan, combined with his 97.6-mph four-seamer, his 91.1-mph changeup and an unhittable curve when the first two are working, will establish him as one of the best in the game.

 “It was a top-notch pitching program the performance people put together for me,’’ Syndergaard told The Post. “I followed it to a T. Previous offseasons I would go into spring training lackadaisical on the mound, figuring, ‘Oh, I will just figure it out there.’

“Now I’ve had 10 mound sessions under my belt already. Our analytics guys came out to LA a few times to really figure things out. I have a much better grasp now on everything.’’

Wouldn’t that be something to witness? Syndegaard standing on the mound at Citi Field, knowing his stuff can blow away any man in the box, knowing exactly what’s the best pitch to throw, and executing it? We’d cater the clubhouse spread.

Cole Case: Yanks $324 Million Man Brings the Heat

By Lenn Robbins

Neil Miller/The New York Extra

   For one night, call him the One and Done Kid.

  Gerrit Cole, the Yankees $324 million professor of pitching, has a plan for everything. Or he’s working on it.

  According to numerous reports out of Tampa, when Cole isn’t plying his trade, he’s talking about it, or studying it, or thinking it. Monday night was Cole’s turn to pitch in pinstripes for the first time.

NeilMiller/The New York Extra

He executed his plan almost perfectly: One inning pitched. No questions left.  

Cole threw 20 pitches, 14 of them fastballs. He hit 98. He threw 12 strikes.

“Yeah, that’s kind of why I try to keep it to one inning,” Cole told reporters when asked if his fastball is usually strong early in spring training.

Neil Miller/The New York Extra

“Some guys go two innings early. I like to take it one at a time for the first two or three until you build up that tolerance to up and down. Then you can extend the pitch count in certain situations here and there. For the first time go pitch for the one inning and do your best with whatever you got that day.’’

Cole struck out two and walked one.

Go ahead Yankees fans. Even with the injuries to James Paxton and Luis Severino, start dreaming.

NCAA Tourney Cheat Sheet Vol. II – Year of the Streaker

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File photo Neil Miller/The New York Extra

By Lenn Robbins

When the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee arrives in New York the Tuesday prior to Selection Sunday they will be charged with one of the most daunting tasks in college basketball history:

Try to make some sense of this unpredictable season.

Why do we proclaim this season to be one of the hardest to predict in history? Consider the streaks we’ve seen this:

When Kansas edged Baylor 63-61 on Saturday it snapped the Bears 23-game win streak, which snapped the prior Big 12 record of 22 straight, held by, yep, Kansas. The Jayhawks also avenged a 67-55 loss to Baylor in Lawrence which snapped a 28-game home streak. Kansas has now won  12 straight.

Baylor’s five-week run as the nation’s No.1 team was the longest in the Associated Press since Kentucky in 2015.

BYU’s  91-78 upset of Gonzaga snapped the Bulldogs 19-game win streak. It also broke Gonzaga’s streaks of 40-straight regular-season wins in the West Coast Conference and 39-straight road wins in the WCC. against WCC opponents. The 40-game winning streak was the longest league streak in the nation.

UNLV took out the last remaining unbeaten, shocking San Diego State, 66-63. The Aztecs opened at 26-0 and unveiled its regular season conference championship banner before tipoff, something that wasn’t lost on the Runnin Rebels.

“They’ve had a historic year,’’ said UNLV coach T.J. Otzelberger. “Is there a chance it got talked about in our locker room before the game? Certainly, but I seem to forget what they said.” Doubtful.

In Volume I of our NCAA Tournament bracket cheat sheet, we named Mick Cronin as one of our coaches who is doing a terrific job. It’s only gotten better. Not only did the Bruins post their ninth straight win in their last 11 games, but the last victory was a 70-63 stunner at Colorado.

The Buffaloes were up 50-41 with 12:34 on Senior Night when the Bruins broke off a 20-3 spurt. UCLA’s bench outscored Colorado’s 28-16.

“It’s senior day, they’re playing for the Pac-12 title, it’s huge,” Cronin said. “Nine down with 12 to play, on the road against a great team. They’re playing all juniors and seniors, you’re playing freshmen and sophomores and you’re able to pull it out? It’s monstrous.”

Are the Bruins as dangerous as the Providence Friars? Not according to coach Ed Cooley.

“There’s no more desperate team in America than Providence College,” Cooley said after an 84-72 victory over Marquette.

Providence was 4-4 in the Big East and 11-10 overall after losing three straight. Earlier in the season the Friars suffered losses to Penn, Long Beach State and the College of Charleston.

The win over the Golden Eagles was Providence’s fourth straight over a Top 25 team and moved the Friars into undisputed fourth place in the Big East at 9-6 and 16-12 overall. On a personal note, here’s hoping the Friars get into the Big Dance. Cooley is a helluva coach and one of the great personalities in the game.

Seton Hall continues to be in first place in the Big East and the Pirates remain a legit Elite Eight or better squad but no team wants to face Creighton, which is one game back after winning 9-of-10.

 The Blue Jays shredded Butler, 81-59 by making 15-of-26 3’s. Creighton has three players shooting 40-percent or better on 3’s – guard Marcus Zegarowski (40-percent) set his career high with seven of Creighton’s season-high 15 treys, is Ty-Shon Alexander also is at 40-percent. Mitch Ballock is at 44-percent.

Creighton does this by making the extra pass. It had 19 assists on 27 baskets against the Bulldogs, who lost one of our favorite Big East players in Kamar Baldwin with an ankle injury.

Staying with the Big East, Villanova uses the 3 as well as any team in the league but there’s an edge to this season’s team that could serve them in NCAA play. In a 64-55 loss to the Wildcats, Xavier coach Travis Steele had this observation after watching the X-men score their fewest points at home since a 57-52 win over Temple in January of 2013.

“That’s the most physical team we’ve play all year, by far, and it’s not even close.”

The team that continues to streak is Dayton, which beat Duquesne 70-60 for its 16th straight. The Flyers (25-2) have won 16 straight and moved to 4th in the AP poll and 3rd in the coaches’ poll, their highest since finishing third during the 1955-56 season. They are dunk contest in action. If you haven’t seen this team play, they’re at Rhode Island on March 3rd (CBSSN) in what could be a streak  ender.

Maryland still has a two-game lead in the Big Ten and should win the regular season title but the Terps, 79-72, loss at Ohio State ended their nine-game win streak. Few teams have been streakier than the Buckeyes who won their first nine and were 11-1 after a 71-65 win at Kentucky before losing 6-of-7.

The Buckeyes win might have boiled some blood between the two schools. Maryland coach Mark Turgeon said Ohio State’s Kaleb Wesson was “allowed to be the bully offensively today. If he’s allowed to be the bully, he is a heck of a player.”

Wesson had 15 points and nine rebounds. Buckeyes coach Chris Holtmann didn’t take kindly to that.

“Mark said that? To each his own. His opinion can be his opinion. I thought Kaleb was physical and well within the rules.”

Staying in the Big Ten, Penn State has a legit conference player of the year candidate in Lamar Stevens but he can’t do it alone. After winning eight straight the loss of Myreon Jones (illness) finally kicked in. Jones has missed five straight including the last two losses, including a 68-60 setback at Indiana.

USA Gymnastics Falters With Its Bogus Settlement Offer

ROBBINS NEST

By Lenn Robbins

  In my first job at Greenwich Time, I had the bright idea of climbing up on a balance beam after a meet featuring the Greenwich High girls’ gymnastics team, a state power at the time.

 Upon getting to my feet I looked down and froze.

“How the hell does one get down, no less attempt to walk?”

That was the day I gained a full appreciation for the courage of gymnasts. And last Friday was the day I grew to fully despise the organization known as USA Gymnastics.

The organization released its proposed settlement in one of the most despicable sexual predator cases of all time.

Former Michigan State and national team doctor Larry Nassar, who is accused of having molested at least 250 young women, girls and one young man, pled guilty to seven counts of sexual assault of minors, three counts of sexual assault and possession of child pornography.

Nassar is now locked away for the rest of his life, which is not nearly a harsh enough punishment. He should be subjected to the Ludovic technique on a weekly basis for the remainder of his days.

One would think that the governing body of USA Gymnastics, which allegedly knew about the monster in its midst but dragged its elephant feet for years in a heinous attempt to protect its now sullied name, would realize upon being outed that there was only one course of action to take: Do everything (everything!), to help every athlete whose body and soul was desecrated by Nassar.

Instead USA Gymnastics offered the following proposal:

Women who were assaulted at the Olympics, world championships, national team training camps and national team events would receive over $1.25 million in compensation.

But for those women who were considered “non-elite” athletes, yet were still sexually abused at USA Gymnastics-sanctioned events, they would receive $508,670, less than half the “elite” athletes.

But wait, it gets worse, much worse. Athletes abused at non-USA gymnastics locations would get less than $175,000, while victims’ whose claims were brought by a shareholder, often on behalf of a corporation, would receive only $82,550.

Of course the proposal would also release the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committees, former USA Gymnastics CEO Steve Penny, and former national team directors Bela and Martha Karolyi from all claims, according to ESPN. Penny was arrested on a separate charge for tampering with evidence.

Let us boil this settlement down to its most pathetic base.

A non-elite athlete is valued as a human being far less, and therefore could not have been as horrifically violated, as an elite athlete. Thus, they should receive less compensation. If your daughter happens to be one of the millions of gymnasts participating in the sport at non-USA Gymnastics locations, the governing body of the sport is telling her she holds some tertiary rank as a human being.

There is a lot of legal wrangling and financial shenanigans that go on in these types of mass tort cases. For example, when USA Gymnastics filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in December of 2018, one of its explanations for doing so was that the action would, “expedite resolution of claims,” according to a statement from the organization.

Here we are, a year and one-half later, and there is no resolution. The proposed settlement is lacking in empathy, decency and remorse. It’s as if USA Gymnastics refuses to accept the enormity of this nightmare and its failure to protect its athletes.

Truth be told, the filing was a defense against the U.S. Olympic Committee, which is seeking to decertify USA Gymnastics, which has taken “Public Relations 101” steps such as seating a new board.

As for the victims, here’s their choice: accept the reprehensible offer and try as best as possible to move forward and heal. Or, reject the offer and sue, which could take years to work its way through the legal system.

Maybe we need to consider tiers for those in charge of USA Gymnastics:  Those at the top are Tier 1 lowlifes. Those in middle management are Tier 2 creeps.

Of course, USA Gymnastics can change all that by having the courage and concentration it takes to do a backflip on a balance beam by coming up with a sincere and empathic settlement. Something tells me they won’t.

2020 Yankees Already Haunted By Injury Demons

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By Lenn Robbins

Derek Jeter used to joke that there were ghosts in the old Yankee Stadium. Those apparitions apparently have found their way across the street. Only now they haunt the home team.

File Photo /NeilMiller/The New York Extra

Yankees manager Aaron Boone revealed Thursday that pitcher Luis Severino has been shut down due to right forearm soreness and a loose body in his elbow. Severino of course, missed almost all of last season with rotator cuff inflammation and a lat strain.

 Any pitcher that has had a loose body in his or her throwing elbow knows this can become problematic at any time.

This alarming development comes almost two weeks to the day that the Yankees announced James Paxton would miss three to four months after undergoing a microscopic lumbar discectomy to remove a cyst.

 Any pitcher that has had back pain knows this can become problematic at any time.

File Photo ?NeilMiller/The New York Extra

And let’s not forget that Domingo German, who exploded on the scene last season, is suspended until June 5th for domestic violence offenses.

As we know, any man that has been found to be a domestic violence offender is capable – some would say prone – to committing such heinous acts again.

We are still more than a month away from opening day and the Yankees are already down two-fifths of their starting rotation (Severino and Paxton) and a valuable swing arm in German.

Never has spending $342 million on a free agent pitcher, Gerrit Cole, seemed like such a valuable signing. Paxton’s injury is more straightforward in terms of recovery than Severino but back injuries are always disconcerting. Severino, 26, is compiling a thick medical file.

08/15/19 Cleveland Indians vs New York Yankees at yankee stadium bronx ny #17 aaron boone takes #57 chad green out of the game after giving up 5 runs in the 1st innning

Boone said Severino’s latest injury activated after last start of the 2019 season, which was Game 3 of the American League Championship Series. General manager Brian Cashman said that Severino twice flew from his home in the Dominican Republic to New York to undergo two MRI exams and one CT scan. None of tests revealed any sign of serious injury.

Severino received anti-inflammatories upon arriving at spring training. He began by throwing only fastballs and sliders, but when he started to integrate his changeup, the pain returned.

“It’s Sevy, and there’s this discomfort that’s been off and on that’s continued,” Boone told reporters at George M. Steinbrenner Field. “That’s certainly concerning. We’ll just have to see how this continues to declare itself.”

The Yankees set an MLB record last season by having 30 players make a combined 39 trips to the injured list. They overhauled the training staff after the season in the hopes of keeping players on the field.

It’s early but the Yankees seem to have picked up where they left off. And that’s downright scary.