Tag: World Series

Yankees-Dodgers World Series Can Rekindle Game

By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/

Baseball is back, and let the prognostications begin.

With just 60 games, every one is crucial and there may not be predictable winners in each division. In the American League, the safe picks would be the Yankees, Twins, and Astros coupled with National League version of Nationals, Cardinals, and Dodgers.

Still, anything could happen. A team can get hot at the end of August and ride the wave. How about a  Philadelphia-Los Angeles Angels World Series? Or better yet, Pittsburgh-Texas? Uh..nah..

For our sakes, let’s envision the Yankees and Dodgers meeting in the Fall Classic for the first time since 1981. Yes, you are wondering why I wouldn’t propose a Yankees-Mets series, but a coast-to-coast series would be better for the game. Seeing some of the games from that series on recent YES reruns should provide some fodder. It was an interesting and captivating series.

The two teams have met more than other any other in the World Series, and the Yankees have won eight of 11 contests, the Dodgers winning the last one in 1981 in six games. On paper, these are the two best teams in the game playing in their iconic ballparks.

07/23/15 la dodgers vs ny mets at citifield queens ny Los Angeles Dodgers win 3-0 Los Angeles Dodgers starting pitcher Clayton Kershaw #22 in the dugou during the 7th innning Neil Miller The New York Extra/ copyright 2020

With fans unlikely in the stands, this could be a TV rating bonanza. You have the aging Dodgers’ star pitcher Clayton Kershaw reaching back for one of his final hurrahs with rising superstar Mookie Betts squaring off against top free-agent acuisition pitcher Gerrit Cole and the Bronx Bash Brothers Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez. Needless to say, there will be plenty of subplots along the way.

Ironically, the 1981 Yankees’ and Dodgers’ seasons had some uncanny comparisons.

The 1981 year was a split season due to a strike and the Yankees won the first half comfortably with a 34-22 mark then they slipped to fifth in the second half with a 25-26 mark.

They faced the Milwaukee Brewers, winners of the second half, in the divisional series, and the Yanks outlasted them in five games. From there, the Yanks silenced Oakland in three straight in the AL Championship series.

 These Yankees didn’t have the glaring offensive stats, but the likes of steady Bob Watson, Rick Cerone and Jerry Mumphrey along with stock stars Dave Winfield, Graig Nettles, and Reggie Jackson, who was in his final year of pinstripes.

The current Yankees lineup of Judge, Sanchez. DJ LeMahieu, and Gleyber Torres could garner a slight edge based on power and average.

Ron Guidry still had some of his late 70’s magic left and he was joined by Tommy John, Rick Reuschel, Rudy May, and Dave Righetti. Goose Gossage was nearly unhittable and registered 20 saves.

Cole, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and J.A. Happ would have more overall depth than their predecessors. The current Yanks’ bullpen also gets the check mark with their interchangeable parts.

In case you forgot, legendary Gene Michael managed the team until Sept. 5, and then Bob Lemon took over and won the pennant.

The ’81 Dodgers followed a similar script to the Yankees’ log, as they finished first in the opening half with a 36-21 mark and then fourth in the final section with a 27-26 record.

However, the Dodgers’ still had a leftover productive 70’s pack of Steve Garvey, Davey Lopes, Bill Russell, Ron Cey, and Dusty Baker paired with upstarts Mike Scioscia, Pedro Guerrero, and Ken Landreaux.

Grizzled veterans Burt Hooton and Jerry Reuss blended perfectly with budding Bob Welch and lights-out rookie Fernando Valenzuela. Steve Howe was on top of his game in the bullpen.

Baseball is back, and the games soon will begin. It won’t take long before each of us is entrenched again.

A Yankees-Dodgers World Series can rekindle plenty of memories from fans from 40 to 80, as well as showcasing some of its younger stars to same generation.

Baseball needs to mend its fracture, and it can regain its popularity with its two biggest pieces on the top shelf.   


1969 Redux – Are the Mets Poised For an Amazin Year?


By Lenn Robbins

We’re still smack in the dead of another bizarrely warm winter and with the way things are going we certainly could see snow on March 26, when the Mets host the defending World Series champion Washington Nationals.

File Photo Neil Miller/The New York Extra

It’s at this time of the year that the Gregorian calendar goes out the winter. The Mets held first full team workout today. Spring feels a little closer.

If you’re a Mets fan, you can’t help yourself. It’s in your DNA.

File photo Neil Miller /The New York Extra

Despite all the ridiculous chapters in Mets history, even recently: Yoenis Cepesdes breaks his ankle in a tangle with a wild boar; the sale of the team is deep-sixed at almost the 11th hour – again; Carlos Beltran doesn’t get to manage even one spring training game – Mets fans believe that this will be the year.

The feeling here is that this emotional state of being, call it the Miracle Syndrome, began in 1969, the greatest year in Mets history and one of the most amazin runs in sports history.

You know the story. You witnessed it yourself or heard it from your father or grandfather or uncle.

The Mets, who began their residence in Queens by losing 120 games, were nine and one-half games behind the Cubs in mid-August.

The rest is mystery.

Behind one of the great pitching staffs in baseball history the Mets overtook the Cubs and upset the mighty Orioles in the World Series.

There was no time to prepare for such exuberance. Teachers stopped classes and put radios on their desks for all to listen to playoff games. A city riddled with crime and graffiti needed a salve if not a savior, the Amazin Mets came through.

No wonder that no matter the number of broken dreams and tear-stained jerseys, Mets fans remain more exuberant than a rooster in a henhouse.

Which brings us to 2020, 51 years after the Miracle Mets. As was the case in 1969, when the Mets actually finished the previous season with some success, the 2020 Mets were in the 2019 playoff hunt until the final weeks.

As was the case in 1969, the Mets have one of the best pitching staffs in baseball. Jacob deGrom, Noah Syndegaard, Marcus Stroman, Steven Matz, Rick Porcello, and Michael Wacha offer dominance and depth.

File photo Neil Miller/The New York Extra New York Mets starting pitcher Steven Matz #32

The bullpen hopefully has been bolstered. Seth Lugo is proven. Robert Gsellman can swing from starter to pen. The acquisition of Dellin Betances could help. Edwin Diaz can’t be any worse.

File Photo Neil Miller The New York Extra

There are questions, of course, as is the case with most teams at this time of the season:

Luis Rojas seems universally liked in the organization and there’s no doubt he knows the game, but he’s never managed before and he never played in the Majors.

File Photo Neil Miller The New York Extra

Pete Alonso can own this town by notching another 40-plus home run season but opposing pitchers have had an entire winter to study him.

Were the Mets the team we saw in the first half of the season or the second?

08/24/19 atlanta braves vs ny mets at citi field queens ny #20 Pete Alonso hits a 3 run homer in the 5th inning Neil Miller/The New York Extra

 “We agreed on the things we need to do in order to get the edge that we need, as far as being successful this year and to achieve our goal — which is winning,” Rojas told reporters about his message to the team. “We have a lot of competition out there and this is where it starts.”

Yes, this is where it starts every spring for the Mets and their fans. They need the slightest of reasons to believe. This team provides many. Which means it also provides the perfect setup for more broken dreams and tear-stained jerseys.

Cole’s Signing Can Only Mean One Thing – Another Yankees Dynasty

Robbins Nest

By Lenn Robbins

The elephant that once resided in the Yankees clubhouse has been replaced by a mammoth elephant of a contract.

The Yankees reportedly got their guy, agreeing to terms with pitcher Gerritt Cole, the unquestioned No.1 free agent on the market. The cost was staggering, shattering every baseball contract and then some.

For the chance to field another dynasty, the Yankees will pay Cole a reported $324 million over nine years. And dynasty is what this is about, not one World Series championship, but several.

Of course, the fact that the Yankees haven’t paraded down the Canyon of Heroes in a decade was the driving force in acquiring Cole. Ten years without that 28th championship is hard time for a franchise that measures success in rings or bust.

It’s amazing how quickly the Yankees’ years of fiscal restraint went over the short porch in right. That’s what happens when the Yankees have to watch the Red Sox celebrate twice in the last 10 years.

Hal Steinbrenner might not be impetuous like his late father but he too is a competitor, one who fully understands the Yankees don’t compete for the A.L. East title. They compete for historic success, which required a historic contract.

Cole’s deal shatters the seven-year, $245 million contract the Nationals ponied up to retain Stephen Strasburg. Cole’s $36 million per season also eclipses Mike Trout’s $35.54 million per season.

It’s almost as much as Mayor Pete’s city of South Bend, Indiana’s 2020 budget of $358 million. Cole’s signing automatically makes the 2020 Yankees the favorite to win the World Series.

 At the age of 29, Cole is at the peak of his game. He went 20-5 last season with a career-best 2.50 ERA. His 326 strikeouts (also a career best) broke the Astros single season record of 313 set by J.R. Richard 40 years ago.

The Yankees now have a starting rotation that is as formidable as their lineup.

Cole becomes the ace followed by James Paxton, Luis Severino and Masahiro Tanaka in some order. Remember, the Yankees didn’t have Severino for most of last season. Now they have Cole, Severino, a workhorse in Tanaka, and a Paxton who adjusted to New York and got stronger as the season went along.

All this can only translate into success if the Yankees do what they did just before the turn of the century – three straight titles and four in five years. That’s what $324 million buys – the next elephant in the room.