Wednesday, September 28, 2016

GOD-SMACKED! Tebow Silences Critics with Homer

Tim Tebow Homers in First at Bat as Met
SPORTS- God may just be a Met fan. Tim Tebow took a step toward quieting the naysayers with a home run in his first at bat.

During his first at bat for the minor league Mets down in Port St. Lucie, Fla., Tebow took his first step up to the plate. He then crushed the ball with a homer out to left center field. 

“I honestly try to [go after] everything pretty hard and try to stay intense. Hopefully, that’s something I can bring to this game and these young kids,” Tebow told the Associated Press. “Everything you do, just do it with an intense amount of focus and effort.”

And that intensity also applies to critics. Several sports shows openly snarked at the homer calling the game a “scrimmage” and that he would not be able to hit Major League pitching.

The Tebow controversy has not ended it just moved to another sport. With Tebow, now a member of the Mets minor league team, going 1 for 6, the lone hit was a homer, both critics and supporters had something to hang their hats on.

Tebow annoyed and then down right ticked off the sports media because of his “Tebowing” kneeling after each touchdown pass. While Colin Kaepernick is being hailed as a hero for taking a knee to protest the National Anthem, Tebow was excoriated for bringing religion and politics to the NFL.

Despite taking the Broncos to the playoffs, the Heisman Trophy winner was let go to bring in Peyton Manning and we know how that worked out. Then came the NY Jets who decided to use Tebow not for his passing or running abilities but to sell tickets.

Tebow sat on the bench most of the time while Mark Sanchez continued to stink up Met Life Stadium. 

Then when no other NFL team wanted him, Tebow decided to change sports. 

The word from the sports media before he even tried out was this was a joke. Tebow is washed up and Michael Jordan played better baseball than he did. 

Whether or not this is the highlight of his baseball career or the first step on the road to Cooperstown remains to seen.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Young club NYCFC clinches playoff spot

Soccer Club Scores at Yankee Stadium
(Photos by Robert Cole)

SPORTS- A day after a 4-1 win over the Chicago Fire put NYCFC on the brink of clinching a first-ever MLS Cup playoff berth, it became official 24 hours later when the Red Bulls defeated the Montreal Impact.

As a result of the Red Bulls victory, NYCFC, the Red Bulls and Toronto FC clinched three of the available six playoff spots in the Eastern Conference. All three are also level on points atop the east.

“We are only one-and-a-half years old and we fight with teams that play for 20 years. We are very happy, I am very proud for 48 points,” NYCFC captain David Villa said. “We are happy to make history for our club.

Although NYCFC has officially booked a spot in the playoffs, there is still so much left to play for with three regular season games remaining, beginning with a road game against Houston Friday at 8 p.m.

“It’s our second year as a club so that is huge,” forward Khiry Shelton said. “It’s a great part of history, we are all happy about it and just looking forward to the next game.”

The top two teams in each conference earns a spot in the two-legged conference semifinal series, while teams that finish 3-6 play in a in one-game knockout round match with the higher seed hosting. That game will be either October 26 or 27.

The top two finishers in each conference earn a bye into the two-legged conference semifinals. The first leg is October 30, with the second leg being played Nov. 6.

The winners advance to the two-legged Eastern Conference finals, with the first leg Nov. 22 and the second leg Nov. 30.

Each conference champion will compete for the MLS Cup Dec. 10 at the site to be determined based on regular season points total.

“Of course, the second objective is to fight for the best position possible to be good in the playoffs,” Villa said. “We are three games more, but now its time of rest and Monday start the week again to try and get another three points in Houston.”

Football upends Penn on Homecoming, 31-17

Rams Beat Penn

SPORTS- Despite rushing for 225 yards over the first two games of the year, there was one thing that Fordham junior running back hadn’t done too much of this season: find the end zone. That changed as Edmonds scored all four Ram touchdowns, three on the ground and one through the air, to lead Fordham to a 31-17 win over Penn on Jack Coffey Field on Homecoming Weekend.

With the win, Fordham improves to 2-1 on the season while Penn falls to 0-2.

The four touchdowns brings Edmonds’ career total to 53 as he surpasses Kirwin Watson’s school record of 49, set from 2000-03. The three rushing scores gives Edmonds 47 for his career, one shy of Watson’s school record of 48. He finished with 152 rushing yards on 29 carries in the game.

The defense also played a major role in the win, forcing three turnovers (two fumble recoveries and one interception) and coming up with big stops in key situations. The unit was paced by senior linebacker George Dawson, who led the Rams with 12 total tackles, eight solo, including one for loss and he had an interception and two pass breakups, and freshman linebacker Max Roberts, who finished with ten stops, five solo, including three sacks and he forced two fumbles.

The defense limited Penn senior quarterback Alek Torgersen to completing 17 of 31 passes for just 125 yards, sacking him five times.

It appeared that the 7,816 fans in attendance would be in for a high-scoring game as both teams scored on their first possession, the Rams first on a 22-yard Edmonds run 3:44 into the game. The Quakers answered with a 22-yard scoring run of their own just under four minutes later.

Fordham made it a 14-7 game on the ensuing possession as Edmonds took it 24-yards to pay dirt with 3:23 left in the first.

The defense then came up with its first turnover of the game when Dawson picked off a Torgersen pass on the Fordham 49 and returned it to the Penn eleven. The Fordham offense couldn’t put it in the end zone and settled on a 22-yard Makay Redd field goal seven seconds into the second.

Two plays later, Roberts came around the corner to knock the ball out of Torgersen’s hand on the Penn 36 which was scooped up by Brett Lambert and returned to the Penn 23. Six plays later Edmonds burst through the line from the one to put Fordham up 24-7 with 11:45 remaining in the half.

On the third play of the ensuing Penn possession, Roberts again got to Torgersen in the backfield and forced a fumble, which was recovered by Noah Fitzgerald on the Penn 27. But the Rams couldn’t capitalize on the miscue as quarterback Kevin Anderson was intercepted in the end zone on Fordham’s first play from scrimmage.

Penn did take advantage of the Fordham turnover, moving to the Fordham five where Jimmy Gammill booted a 23-yard field goal with 3:13 on the clock to make it a 24-10 game.

The Rams had one last chance to add to their lead before the half. A 21-yard Redd field goal attempt was blocked as time expired but the Quakers were whistled for being offside, giving the Rams one last untimed play from the Penn two. Fordham elected to go for the touchdown but Edmonds was stopped just short of the goal line.

Midway through the third, Penn scored to make it a seven-point game, 24-17, and the Quakers were driving for a game-tying score in the fourth quarter but the Fordham defense came up big on fourth and 15 from the Fordham 33. Torgersen threw a lateral to running back Tre Solomon who then threw back across the field to Torgersen but Caleb Ham was there to break up the trick play, taking Torgersen down on the Fordham 27.

A 57-yard bomb from Anderson to Austin Longi three plays later gave the Rams a first down on the Penn five and Edmonds covered the final five yards on two carries to put Fordham up 31-17 with 5:31 left.

The Quakers moved the ball to midfield on the ensuing possession but a fourth-and-nine pass from Torgersen to Justin Watson was incomplete and the Rams ran out the clock.

Anderson competed 18 of 33 passes for 231 yards and one score with Longi hauling in four balls for 92 yards, Edmonds four for 49 and Jorge Solano four for 43 yards.

The Rams return to action next Saturday, October 1, as they travel to West Long Branch, N.J., to face Monmouth University on Kessler Field at Monmouth Stadium at 1:00 p.m.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Baseball’s Pope Dispenses Wisdom to New Crop of Players

Legendary Baseball Scout Tom “T-Bone” Giordano Meets Young Stars

By Rich Mancuso

SPORTS- They sat in the office of the TM Baseball Academy in the Bronx. The parents and some of the 250 or more youngsters who are a part of learning more about the game and striving with their academics. They listened and heard a night of baseball wisdom from longtime scout Tom “T-Bone” Giordano.

And wisdom it was. To many in the game, Giordano ,with 71 years of baseball under his wing, is considered a “Godfather” to the game. Last Wednesday evening, the 91-year-old Giordano kept his commitment to the kids after comprising another scouting report at Yankee Stadium after monitoring the pitchers and hitters on the field in his role with the Atlanta Braves organization.

The Yankees completed a series with the first place Los Angeles Dodgers. “T-bone” walked into the warehouse that has been converted into a baseball training facility in Zerega. He greeted Tony Melendez and his wife Jessy, who put this foundation of baseball and youth together ten years ago.

“It is a pleasure to be here,” Giordano said. “I have heard so many good thing about what goes on here.”  

And then the wisdom began as Giordano sat down in a chair with a small cane that assists with his walking. He resembled a Pope giving mass for over an hour. He talked about how “T-Bone” became one of those unknown legends in the game of baseball. The journey started with old school grandparents of Italian descent and there was the recollection on how he hit more home runs than Hank Aaron- the real all-time baseball home king as a minor leaguer.

“Parents are the most important part of this,” he said. The parents gave their nod of approval. The youngsters, who train and play organized games in the summer and fall months could not get their eyes off the scout who signed Manny Ramirez and Cal Ripken Jr. to Major League Baseball contracts. 

The fondest memory was asked. “T-bone” talked about his association with the late and great Yankees greats, Joe DiMaggio and Phil Rizzuto. The youngsters only know those names and can only relate to those greats by viewing video on social media.

The cane became a demonstration on how one should approach an at bat. “T-Bone” stood and the youngsters were told about never giving up. “Be positive and when in a slump say you can come out of it.”

Wisdom from a scout, and to those youngsters at TM- a Baseball God. 

Comment Rich Mancuso:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Smith crushes Stevenson in PSAL action

NYC PSAL Football
(Photo by Gary Quintal)

By Gary Quintal

SPORTS- While PSAL Boys Football Bowl and City conferences opened their respective season schedules last weekend, the Cup conference opened this weekend.  Among the opening slate were Bronx rivals Alfred E Smith hosting Adlai Stevenson for a Saturday late morning affair.  

The first half was closely contested as Smith held a 6-0 lead thanks to a TD run in the second quarter. 

Stevenson would close the first half with two drives inside the 20 yard line, including a 1st and 10 at Smith’s 12 yard line, but couldn’t finish either drive. 

The second half was a different story as Smith opened the half with a botched snap, but recovered nicely with a 42-yard TD pass on the next play.  

Smith would later add three more touchdown scores including a 40-yard pass and a 45-yard run with time expiring to cruise to a 30-6 victory.  

A full slate of PSAL boys football continues next week, including Saturday home match-ups for both Stevenson and Smith at 11am.  

Monday, September 12, 2016

Fordham Sets Records in Bronx Opening

By Rich Mancuso

SPORTS- What a difference a week makes and that held true at Rose Hill Saturday afternoon for the Fordham University football Rams. Last week the execution was off and new head coach Andrew Breiner saw that in an opening season loss to Navy.

The 52-16 loss was not a good start for Fordham that has been the winningest New York area football team since 2012 with 38 wins. Breiner was there under the Joe Moorhead regime which included the past five years as the pass game coordinator and quarterback coach the past four.

So with Columbia University off the schedule, Fordham got some type of reprieve for their home opener Saturday afternoon against Elizabeth City State, a division two opponent out of the CIAA Conference.

Oh, what a difference a week makes as Fordham scored early and often. They set school and Patriot League records in points and a Rose Hill scoring record with an easy 83-21 win. No matter who the opponent, they executed and next week get to rest with an early bye week on the schedule.

This type of win, and in their second game was a confidence builder, and you can say that despite the inferior competition. 

The test comes in two weeks when the University of Pennsylvania visits Rose Hill.

And the Rams, known for that high scoring offense, expect the momentum to continue. The bye week came in the next to last game last season, the second consecutive year the Rams had a postseason bid to the Division 1-AA Playoffs.

“I know that the expectations around the program are high,” said Breiner. “They should be. I tell people we don’t shy away from those expectations. Taking over from coach Moorehead, a tremendous football man, I worked everyday with him for seven years. A lot of the same things, are here. The foundation, a different voice but same idea.”

And in any sport, a coaching change means there is transition. But that does not apply to this Fordham offense that saw three of their runners finish with over 100-yards in rushing.

Chase Edmonds, a 2016 preseason All-American and preseason Patriot League Offensive Player of the Year continued where he left off last season. He rushed for 155-yards on 19 carries and a touchdown. Kendall Pearcey had 115-yards on 12 carries and two touchdowns.

They were not greedy as D’Angelo Palladino added 166 yards on 19-carries.  

Quarterback Kevin Anderson, who targets Edmonds and often, threw for 225 yards and four touchdowns. Fordham set a school and Patriot League record with 17 points in PAT’s made in a game, and Makay Redd converted two field goals of 42 and 37 yards.

But the most important thing, Fordham got the win at home and they executed. It’s something they worked on during the week as they prepared for a day that was hot and humid and not the best conditions for a September football game in the Bronx.

“We learned from the mistakes,” said Breiner. “We had a lot of execution. The focus of this league is to execute. We did that today. We have to execute at a high level no matter who is out there.”

And no matter how inferior Elizabeth City was to the Rams, that Navy team last week had a similar attitude in Annapolis, Maryland.

“They looked at us as the inferior opponent,” Edmonds said about Navy. “We kind of looked at Elizabeth as the inferior opponent. A good test for us and real significant to look down at an opponent and have to play your best football. All good teams have to play at this level no matter who the opponent is.”

There is no telling what the impact will be regarding the early bye week. Two games into the season, Fordham has no significant injuries and Edmonds is healthy after playing hurt with a bad quad in the final games of last year.

“Changes the emphasis,” said Breiner about the one week hiatus on the schedule, and how it comes early this time around. “Bye week is about getting healthy, improving fundamentals and technique. With Penn there are no expectations.”

Except there is that expectation to win another game, and for Fordham to score a lot of points. They are 22-2 since 2012 at home, and Penn is not Elizabeth City State that was that option school on the schedule.

“Me and Kevin (Anderson) feel we should put up 40 points against anybody we play no matter who is on the schedule,” said Edmonds. “That’s a very high standard we hold ourselves accountable to that standard. We have the coaching, we have the talent.”

And that talent showed at Jack Coffey Field on Saturday. Most of all, nothing has changed with the coaching philosophy and that speaks volumes for the Fordham Rams.

Scoring 83 points in a game, that’s a rarity. Winning though up at Rose Hill, that is expected and these Rams feel this will be another special season.

Comment Rich Mancuso:  Twitter@Ring786 Mancuso

Sports: T-Bone Gets Hall of Fame Nod

BronxVoice Sports: T-Bone Gets Hall of Fame Nod: Pioneered Help for Players with Substance Abuse By Ray Negron SPORTS- Who is Tom Giordano? Well, if you have worked in baseba...

T-Bone Gets Hall of Fame Nod

Pioneered Help for Players with Substance Abuse

By Ray Negron

SPORTS- Who is Tom Giordano?

Well, if you have worked in baseball for the last 70 years you know who he is. T-Bone was a player. He hit his first major league home run off of Virgil Trucks and actually beat Hank Aaron in home runs during the 1953 minor league season.

His claim to fame, however, came as an executive for the Baltimore Orioles, under the great general manager Hank Peters. He then decided to get his hands dirty and became one of baseballs all-time great super scouts.

His baseball genius helped to discover some of the best baseball minds in the business today including Atlanta Braves President Jon Hart, who is probably one of the most respected general managers of all time. Hart's innovative ways in Cleveland became the manuscript for how teams were run throughout baseball and through it all T-Bone was always there for him. Hart has always said that T-Bone's baseball genius runs second to the love that he and his family and all people in general feel for him.

When Ted Williams museum head Dave McCarthy and Claudia Williams (Ted's daughter) told me that T-Bone was being enshrined for his lifetime achievement it was one of the great moments of my life. What people don't know about Tom Giordano is that he was the first executive to help players go to drug and alcohol counseling, during a period when it was very taboo and in turn led to the denial by lots of players with issues.

Giordano would be my first mentor in the subject, which would later help me in my assistance to Dwight Gooden and Darryl Strawberry when with the Yankees. When Gooden went to Cleveland, T-Bone insisted that I be allowed to help Gooden there.

At the age of 91, T-Bone is baseball's senior full-time scout and still one of the best. Congratulations to Tom "T-Bone" Giordano, for your great achievements in a great game and congratulations to the Ted Williams Hall of Fame for acknowledging the greatness and true soul of a good man. I also congratulate Jon Hart:

You never forgot where you came from which is why T-Bone wants you to make the presentation on February 18th at the Ted Williams Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg Florida.

Editor Note:  Ray Negron is a consultant to the owner of the New York Yankees and has been involved in the game of baseball over 40 years. This article was reprinted from original post per permission from www.newyorksportsday,com