Well-traveled youngster Darius Morris getting a chance in Brooklyn

Well-traveled youngster Darius Morris getting a chance in Brooklyn

By Steve Simineri

The Brooklyn Nets announced that Deron Williams fractured the cartilage portion of his 12th rib on the left side during Wednesday night’s embarrassing loss to the lowly Boston Celtics. He is out indefinitely and the Nets are left with just Jarrett Jack and Darius Morris to keep the position occupied. Jack, however, has played a ton of minutes lately – to the point where coach Lionel Hollins held him out of practice Thursday, which means the 24-year old Morris will get a chance to play more.

“All I can say is we’re going to play Darius Morris some more because he’s on the roster,” Hollins said.

Morris, a 2011 second-round pick who is on his fifth team in four seasons, hails from Los Angeles, California. He attended a small private high school in Mar Vista, called Windward Preparatory School, where he became close friends with Malcolm Washington, aka “Denzel’s son,” and helped lead the Wildcats to four straight league championships, a California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Southern-Section Championship, and a Division-5 California State Boys Basketball Championship.

Despite being recruited by traditional basketball powerhouses like Kentucky and Arizona, as well as USC, Morris chose Michigan — a low-end Big Ten program that by the time he signed hadn’t made the NCAA tournament in more than 10 years. He was Coach John Beilein’s first major recruit, but he struggled mightily his freshman year, averaging only 4.4 points and 2.6 assists as Michigan finished 15-17 despite beginning the season ranked in the top 25.

During his sophomore campaign, he was named to the All-Big 10 Third Team after averaging 15.0 points, 4.0 rebounds and 6.7 assists per game, and helped the Wolverines to a 21-14 record and a trip to the NCAA Tournament third round. He recorded the largest margin of improvement in scoring in the Big Ten, jumping from 4.4 points per game as a freshman to a team-best 15.0 per game this past season. Additionally, he broke the U-M season record for assists with 235, becoming just the third Wolverine to record 200-plus assists in a season.

Many thought that another year in college would have catapulted Morris into the first round of the 2012 draft, but he ultimately decided to enter the draft after his sophomore season. Some expected the 6-foot-4 guard to be a late first-round pick, but he dropped to the 41st overall pick where he was selected by his hometown Lakers. It’s was a “special” feeling to be drafted by the team he rooted for growing up, especially after spending so much time away from his family during college.

“It was kind of surreal leaving L.A. to go to Michigan, and then getting drafted back with my family there and everything was a pretty cool experience,” said Morris, who made his first visit to the Lakers’ training facility as a 12 year old, when he tagged along to watch his older brother DeWayne tryout for the team. “I learned a lot there, especially from Kobe and those guys and the coaches that I had while I was there. It was a just a good overall experience.”

As a rookie he appeared in 19 games, averaging 2.4 points and 1.1 assists in 8.9 minutes per game. He also saw action in the D-League and in four playoff games, scoring 10 points in eight minutes. In his second season, Morris appeared in 48 games (17 starts), averaging 4.0 points, 1.2 rebounds, and 1.6 assists in 14.2 minutes per game. In the 2013 playoffs’ first round, with the Lakers dealing with a slew of injuries, Morris scored 24 points and had six assists in Game 3 against the San Antonio Spurs. It was the best game of his career and he averaged 10.5 points as the Lakers were swept by the San Antonio Spurs with Kobe Bryant recovering from surgery.

In the off-season, Morris left L.A. for Philadelphia because the 76ers offered him a partially guaranteed contract and he thought he’d have a better opportunity with the rebuilding Sixers. Instead, Morris was buried behind two other point guards also acquired by the Sixers last summer: First-round draft pick Michael Carter-Williams and Tony Wroten. After 12 games with the 76ers, averaging 6.9 points and 2.6 assists in 16.1 minutes, Morris was released.

He then signed two 10-day contracts with the Los Angeles Clippers, appearing in 10 games, and one 10-day contract with the Memphis Grizzlies, seeing action in five games. He finished the season in the D-League, where he averaged 17.1 points, 6.7 assists and 4.3 rebounds in 29.3 minutes per game over nine appearances with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers of the D-League.

“The D-League was just a really humbling experience. Being in the league and going to the D-League is kind of different in terms of everything else, the travel and the competition,” said Morris, who exploded for 51 points and 18 assists in an overtime playoff loss against the Iowa Energy, the latter a single-game playoff record. “I think that’s where I really built a lot of character.”

In July, Morris joined the defending champion San Antonito Spurs for Summer League, and a few weeks later the Portland Trail Blazers signed him to a non-guaranteed contract, but he was among the team’s final cuts. About a month ago the Nets picked him up to help fill the third point guard void left by Jorge Gutierrez who was shipped along with Andrei Kirilenko to the 76ers. On Wednesday his contract was effectively guaranteed for the rest of the season, and he now has a prime chance to show why he belongs in this league.

“Everything that happened to me good and bad is just a part of my development process,” Morris told me in the Nets locker-room. “I like to look at it like a movement and I just keep moving through it. So hopefully every time somebody sees me out there in a situation they can say I’ve gotten better or he looks a lot better than he used to.”

Comment: Steviebklyn14@aol.com

Buckle up; it’s going to be a rough weekend for New York football fans.

Buckle up; it’s going to be a rough weekend for New York football fans.

By Mike Florio

First, the Jets will host the Steelers and despite only being four-point underdogs, this game has all the makings of being a rough one.

Ben Roethlisberger is the first QB in NFL history to throw for six touchdowns in back-to-back games. He has done so being surrounded by perhaps the best weapons he has had since his Super Bowl days with Antonio Brown, Martavis Bryant, Markus Wheaton and Heath Miller along with running back Le’Veon Bell.

The Jets have allowed a league-leading 24 passing touchdowns this season, and have a secondary that has only forced one interception this season.

While the Jets front seven do a great job of getting after the QB, Roethlisberger has made a career off of avoiding sacks and extending the play with his legs. He also has one of the best pass-catching backs in the league at his disposal in Bell, that could make defenders miss and is a threat to break one deep at any moment.

This matchup is a rough one for the Jets.

Along with that, there have been rumors that this Monday could be “Black Monday,” for the Jets, in which they would clean house, likely including Head Coach Rex Ryan and General Manager John Idzik.

If the Jets are going to clean house at any point before the end of the season it makes sense to be after this week. The Jets are on a bye after this week, which would allow a new coach and possible GM more time to adjust.

As for the Giants, they are traveling to the North West to take on the defending Super Bowl champions Seattle Seahawks. They are an eight-point underdog this week.

The Giants struggle to score at home against the Colts, who allowed the Steelers to score 51 the game prior. The Giants will likely struggle to keep Eli Manning upright, and when they do, will have difficulty finding open wide receivers.

Besides Larry Donnell, do not be surprised if every Giants offensive player struggles this weekend.

If Peyton Manning and the high-powered Broncos offense only scored 20 in Seattle, it’s hard to imagine Eli and the Giants scoring more than 14.

Comment: Michael.florio726@hotmail.com

Question Marks for the Giants as they go Forward

Question Marks for the Giants as they go Forward

By Mike Florio

Despite one of the greatest catches of the season- and all-time- the Giants were unable to defeat the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday night.

The Giants had the game for the taking after Eli Manning connected with Adrien Robinson to put them up with 6:12 left in the fourth quarter.

The Giants, however, could not stop the Cowboys allowing them to march down the field. Tony Romo found Dez Bryant and Cole Beasley for big gains on the drive. The drive was capped off with a 13-yard pass play from Romo to Bryant with just under 2 minutes left to give the Cowboys a 31-28 lead.

Not only was Romo able to find an open Bryant in the back of the end zone, he could have taken a nap first before connecting with his all-pro wideout. On the throw that proved to be the game winner, Romo was able to hang in the pocket for nine seconds.

The Giants were unable to get any sort of pressure on Romo on that final drive, let alone the game. Due to that, Romo was able to connect on 18-of-26 passing attempts, for 275 yards and four touchdowns. He posted a passer rating of 143.

You’d be hard press to blame anyone expect the defense, particularly the D-line.

Manning went 29-for-40 for 338 yards, three touchdowns, and one interception. Odell Beckham Jr. hauled in 10 of 11 targets for 146 yards and two touchdowns. He also took the world by storm with his one-handed leaping catch as his body contorted.

The loss drops the Giants to 3-8 (2-4 at home) and leaves nothing but question marks going forward. The front office will have to closely evaluate every position, besides maybe QB and WR, going forward.

Perhaps the worst part of the loss was that after the Giants failed to convert on a short fourth down on their final drive, the fans began to cheer. Originally, it was ruled a Giants first down, but under further review, Rashaad Jennings was ruled short of the mark and the game was all but over.

With the Cowboy players celebrating on the sideline, loud cheers erupted from the crowd, likely leaving many wondering who the actual home team was.

Comment: Michael.florio726@hotmail.com

Giants Get The Win They Needed

Giants Get The Win They Needed

By Mike Florio

It won’t take seven games for the Giants to find the win column this season after defeating the Houston Texans yesterday, 30-17, with strong play on both sides of the ball.

The Giants were able to pick up the win for strong performances from the players they expect to step up.

Rashaad Jennings carried the G-Men, rushing 34 times for 176 yards (5.2 yards-per-carry), and a touchdown. Victor Cruz was able to break out of his slow start, hauling in five balls for 107 yards, including a 61-yard catch and run. He added his first touchdown of the season, sidestepping a defender and sprinting to the end zone. Larry Donnell added in six catches for 45 yards.

Eli Manning completed 21-of-28 pass attempts for 234 yards and two touchdowns. Most importantly, he did not turn the ball over and finished the game with a passer rating of 123.2.

On defense, the Giants were able to force the Texans to make mistakes. Quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick has a reputation of being a gunslinger, and the Giants made him pay as Prince Amukamara, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie and Antrel Rolle all recorded an interception.

The Texans were without star running back Arian Foster (Hamstring), and the Giants did a nice job limiting backup Alfred Blue. The Giants held the Texans to 119 yards rushing, 34 of which were Fitzpatrick.

Jameel McClain recorded 11 tackles, one for a loss and assisted on a sack. Jason Pierre-Paul added seven tackles of his own, one of which went for a loss.

The Giants game plan was simple, have a balanced offensive attack, win the turnover battle and have their big-name players show up. They will certainly need those players to step up again this Thursday, as they get the Redskins on a shortened week, in what could be a shootout.

The stress this Thursday will once again be for Manning and co. to take care of the ball, as Kirk Cousins and the Redskins will not be as careless as Fitzpatrick.

Comment: Michael.Florio726@hotmail.com

Lionel it is. Nets hire Hollins as new coach after Jason Kidd debacle.

Brooklyn Nets hire Lionel Hollins after ‘trading’ Jason Kidd to Milwaukee Bucks

By Clifford Davis

Jason Kidd was hired as the new Brooklyn Nets coach weeks after shooting bricks for the New York Knicks in the playoffs. He guided the Nets who had a payroll over $100 million this past season, to 44 wins and into the second round of the playoffs before being eliminated in five games by the Miami Heat.

Kidd did a very well job in his first year as head coach for a guy with no prior experience, apparently, he thought so as well. Sources say Kidd went to ownership and requested he holds a position above current GM Billy King. Once Kidd has rebuffed the Bucks swopped then and requested to interview Kidd for their head coaching position.

The Nets granted the interview for the Bucks who already had a coach under contract. The Nets and Bucks eventually agreed on a deal that sent Kidd to Milwaukee to be their coach and Brooklyn received two future draft picks.

“The organization’s got to be bigger than one person. If you sit there and say one person leaves and everything comes falling down, then you don’t have an organization,” said King.

Lionel Hollins was hired a few hours after the Bucks introduced Kidd as their new coach. The deal for Hollins is believed to be worth $20 million dollars for 4 years with a team option for the 4th year. Hollins will represent the Nets fourth coach in the last two years. His last coaching job was with the Memphis Grizzlies when he guided them to the Western Conference finals in 2013, then fired because he and ownership had different visions.

Before the Nets hired Kidd last year, they were hot on Lionel Hollins. Billy King thought Hollins was a perfect candidate but Kidd was hired because of his contributions to the franchise during his hall of fame career, and because it drew headlines, which owner Mikhail Prokhorov loves stealing from cross-town rival New York Knicks.

The decision to hire Hollins was an easy one for the Nets. They only interviewed one other candidate besides Hollins but GM Billy King did not mention who because the coach was not interested in the position. Lionel Hollins is a defensive minded coach who preaches discipline and toughness. He is an established coach who got better each year with the Memphis Grizzlies all the way up until they reached the Western Conference finals.

“If you look at track record and what he did in Memphis, he was able to go there and take a team, added some veterans and they continually got better,” King said. He developed some young guys, Gasol, some big guys. If you look at Memphis, they got consistently better every year. All the way to the Western Conference Finals.”

Lionel is 60 years old, he comes in with a record of 214-201 career coaching record, and he won an NBA championship in 1977. He was the guy Billy King originally wanted before they ultimately decided to go with Jason Kidd. Now King gets his man, who he hopes he can trust more than Kidd, who has proven he is only loyal to himself.

Comment Clifford Davis: cliffdavis46@gmail.com
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Unfortunate season ending injury to Victor Cruz

Unfortunate season ending injury to Victor Cruz

By Michael Florio

Trailing 20-0 the Giants had a tough decision to make, kick the field goal or go for it on 4th-and-goal from the Eagles three-yard line. They elected to be aggressive and go for it. As Eli Manning slung a pass towards the back right corner of the end zone, it looked like the Giants were clawing their way back into the game.

Then Cruz came down empty handed, but not for long, as he soon grabbed his knee and it was evident he was in pain. It may be hard to even see the injury on the replay, but it appears his knee buckled when he planted his foot to leap for the ball.

As Giants and Eagles players took a knee around the injured Cruz, it only got worse as he had to be picked up and carried on to the cart, unable to put any pressure on his injured knee. But the worst image of the night was about to occur.

Cruz, clearly in pain, was unable to hold back tears and sobbed as he was carted off the field. It was quickly reported that he tore his patellar tendon, and his season was likely over.

The Giants wouldn’t be able to recover in the game, but the question remains; can they recover going forward without their star wide receiver?

The first thought is Rueben Randle and rookie Odell Beckham Jr. will both step up and play larger roles in the offense. While this is true, as both will likely be more heavily targeted, the Giants often run three wide receiver sets, which both are already used in. Both will likely remain on the outside, leaving a gapping hole in the slot.

Per ESPN, no player has more touchdowns since 2011 then Cruz’s 19.

The Giants could rely on Preston Parker or Julian Talley in the slot. Another option is sliding Beckham into the slot on some plays and allowing the athletic Corey Washington on the outside.

Tom Coughlin and offensive coordinator Ben McAdoo will have to be creative going forward, but it will be impossible to replace the presence Cruz brings to the Gaints and the attention he receives from opposing defenses.

The Giants and their fans will spend the next year waiting to see another salsa dance. As Cruz came down and hit the turf, the game and perhaps the season, went with him.

Comment to Mike: Michael.florio726@hotmail.com

Must win game for Giants

Must win game for Giants

By Mike Florio

It’s a term that is far to often thrown around sports. It’s a term that some have used to describe this weeks home opener for the New York Giants.

It’s easy to understand why people are labeling this game a must win, as the Giants are coming off a very ugly man handling at the hands of the Detroit Lions. The scoreboard may have read 35-14, but the truth of the matter is, it was much ugly than that.

The Giants only had 197 total yards of offense. That is not a typo, they only had 197 total yards, with 144 of them coming through the air. The run game, which was viewed as the strength of the team, struggled against a talented Lions front seven, only rushing for 53 yards, on a terrible 2.4 yards-per-carry.

Eli Manning was constantly pressured, with what seemed like every play ending with him on his back, and disgust on his face. The O-line struggles, and lack of separation from wide receivers against a very poor Lions secondary, led to Manning having to try to do too much. Those awful decisions, led to another two interceptions.

Matt Stafford and Calvin Johnson picked the defense apart. Stafford threw for 346 yards, two touchdowns and even ran one in. The D-line were able to limit the Lions run game, holding them to only 76 yards rushing, but the running backs were a big factor in the passing game.

Despite all these reasons to panic, the season does not come down to this game. The Giants host a talented Arizona Cardinals team, that can get after the quarterback and sports one of the more dangerous secondaries in the league. That with a stout receiving corps and solid run game, and this matchup is very difficult for the Giants.

Those who say this is a must win are focusing too much on the dreadful 0-6 start that the Giants got off too last season and were unable to overcome. While it would be reassuring to see them come out and win one at home, it is not a must win game.

It is more important to see the offense progress, and the Giants simply compete.

The Giants get the Houston Texans at home in week three and hit the road for a Thursday night game against division foe, the Washington Redskins in week four. Both of those are very winnable games, and the Giants could find themselves sitting at 2-2, very much in contention in the weak NFC East.

This is a big week for the Giants, but it is not a must win game.

Comment: Michael.Florio726@hotmail.com

Chase Whitley, Brian McCann help Yanks take first game vs Royals

The Yankees finally got their offense going, sort of, scoring four runs, three coming on a bases clearing double in the third inning by Brian McCann. Brian Roberts got the scoring started with a two out RBI single in the second inning, but it was McCann’s double that gave the Yankees the cushion they needed.

“That’s a huge hit,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi.

Those four runs were all the Yankees would need as Chase Whitley held the Royals to two runs over seven innings. Dellin Betances continued his dominance in the eighth inning and David Robertson survived a ninth inning scare for his 14th save of the year.

Chase Whitley, who got his first big league win, has been an impressive fill in for the Yankees. With CC Sabathia, Ivan Nova, and Michael Pineda all on the DL, it is up to guys like Chase Whitley to fill in and help Masahiro Tanaka and Hiroki Kuroda stabilize the rotation, especially with the offense struggling to score runs.

Whitley has never gone past the fifth inning in his previous four starts, but he went seven tonight, allowing five hits and zero walks. He admitted he was a little surprised by his outing because, “I don’t think I threw a strike out in the bullpen,” he said.

He credited his first big league win to Yankees catcher Brian McCann, “He told me a game plan before the game and we were able to execute it, just follow whatever he has in store because that guy knows everything. He does.”

Jeremy Guthrie was a tough luck loser, giving up four runs in seven innings, with three of the runs coming off the bat of Brian McCann. Guthrie hasn’t got much run support from the Royals, who have been shut out in two of his past three starts.

The Yankees thought they would get a boost to their struggling offense with the return of Carlos Beltran from the disabled list but it hasn’t happened just yet. He was 0-4 tonight with a strikeout and is 0-7 so far since coming off the disabled list.

The Yankees have won two straight games since losing four straight. The two teams go at it again tomorrow as the Yankees send David Phelps to the mound and the Royals send Danny Duffy. The Yankees trail to Blue Jays by six games in the American League East.

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Nets rookie Cory Jefferson’s on the pursuit of relevancy

Nets rookie Cory Jefferson’s on the pursuit of relevancy

By Steven Simineri

Two weeks ago Brooklyn Nets rookie Cory Jefferson became famous for all the wrong reasons. During a nationally televised game against the Chicago Bulls, the young forward took a three-pointer that landed well short of the hoop and prompted TV commentators to question whether the basket had moved.

“Did the goal move? My goodness,” Bulls color commentator Stacey King said on the CSN Chicago broadcast. “Put that roll back in the oven, baby. Oh my goodness. It’s not ready to come out.”

The shot went viral instantly, topping ESPN’s infamous “Not Top 10″ plays of the week and making Jefferson the highlight of TNT commentator’s Shaquille O’Neal’s “Shaqtin’ a Fool” segment. These things happen, especially in a Nets season gone terribly wrong. But the 23-year old Jefferson quickly moved on, joking about the shot on his personal Twitter page and going on to play the best basketball of his young career.

Against the league-worst Philadelphia 76ers just two nights later, Jefferson played a season high 28 minutes, notching three blocks and showing off the athleticism that earned him a spot in this league. The following night, Jefferson made his first career start in Charlotte, hitting all five of his shots against the Hornets, adding five rebounds, two assists, and a block as the Nets cruised to a 114-87 win.

“Interesting week,” Jefferson told me in the Nets locker room about his eventful couple of days. “I tweeted later you just got to love the NBA. Like I shot the air-ball in Chicago and then next game I had a good game playing against the Sixers and then another good game in Charlotte. So in basketball you have plenty of opportunities to make up for whatever you do that’s wrong.”

Jefferson played in only 12 of the Nets’ first 23 games, and he still has a lot to work on – including his shot – but he’s given the Nets some crucial minutes and shown coach Lionel Hollins that he can help if called upon. Jefferson is an athletic freak, who is tall, long and rangy. He has a 7″0.5 wingspan and a 37.5″ max vertical, which was the highest amongst the bigs drafted, trailing only Arizona’s Aaron Gordon, the No. 4 pick overall.

However, nobody had to wait longer to hear his name called in the NBA draft than Jefferson, who sat by his phone until the Nets bought the Spurs pick and took him at No. 60, making him “Mr. Irrelevant,” the last pick.

“It was a lot of emotions going on of course. Everybody getting picked before you, just kind of wondering when you’re going to get picked,” said Jefferson, who played at the University of Baylor for five years. “I had a lot of friends that got drafted along the way and then I ended up hearing my name as the last pick, so after all that I just felt pretty good.”

He could’ve been drafted higher in the second round, as Jefferson said three NBA teams indicated they wanted to draft him earlier, but they asked him to play overseas first to get some seasoning. The Texas native didn’t want to go that route and was planning to try out with the Dallas Mavericks as a free agent before he found out he was drafted. He became the first Baylor player from a Central Texas high school chosen in the draft since the Los Angeles Clippers picked Brian

Skinner in the first round of the 1998 draft. Jefferson graduated from Killeen High School in 2009, where he led Killeen to three straight 30-win seasons and four consecutive district championships.

Cory signed a letter of intent to play at Baylor despite knowing that getting playing time right away wouldn’t be easy, as fellow big-men and future draft picks Ekpe Udoh and Quincy Acy were already entrenched in coach Scott Drew’s lineup. He played sparingly as a freshman and after redshirting the 2010–11 season, he averaged 3.6 points, 2.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in limited minutes. After three years in a reserve role, Jefferson’s patience finally paid off as he emerged as one of the best players in the Big 12.

As a junior, he was named to the NIT All-Tournament team after he helped Baylor win the NIT championship. He also earned Big 12 honorable mention honors at the end of the season, after averaging 13.3 points, 8.0 rebounds and 1.9 blocks in 37 games. During his senior year, he led the Bears with 13.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game as they reached the Sweet 16. He was named to the 2014 All-Big 12 third team and the 2014 USBWA District VII Player of the Year.

After a strong training camp and Summer League appearance, where he averaged 11.2 points and 6.8 rebounds in five games, Jefferson became the third Mr. Irrelevant in four years to make the NBA following Isaiah Thomas (2011, Kings) and Robert Sacre (2012, Lakers). The probability of a Mr. Irrelevant making an NBA roster has increased exponentially since the NBA Draft went to two rounds in 1989, but teams have still found it difficult to squeeze much production from their selection.

Of the last 20 of them, half never played a minute in the NBA and just one player averaged over 7 points per game in an NBA uniform. In less than two months in the league, Jefferson, however, has already surpassed most who came before him and he’s just getting started.

“Just keep doing what got me here. Working hard and for me I like to make an impact on the defensive end,” said Jefferson, who has done all he can to shake off the unsavory label and become a useful part in Brooklyn. “Blocking shots, taking charges, going after the loose balls and rebounding. So if I’m able to keep doing that I’ll be able to stay relevant.”

COMMENT: Steviebklyn414@aol.com

Johan Santana making MLB comeback to continue legacy.

Johan Santana making MLB comeback to continue legacy.

By Tanya Mercado

It took over 50 years for the New York Mets to make a special history that other teams have made at least two or more times in one year. It was a moment which appeared set to happen decades ago, but continued to appear as the one moment this organization would never see. Fans would hold their breaths every time it looked as if it would happen on their watch. Fans would pray. Fans would stay quiet. Teammates would ignore this one player throughout the entire game. One broadcaster would get tongue lashed by the fans every time he would bring it up when it seemed it was going to happen.

Enter the one man who brought what was considered the most elusive accomplishment to Flushing: Johan Santana. Here is a man who was given $137 million to pitch for the New York Mets. He was to be their ace. He would be a mentor to all who came after him. This pitcher was talented. Everything was put on the table for him. Many would say he was not worth the money he was given.

I ask you this: What price would you put on a no-hitter?

For years the Mets fan base was tortured with near misses for a no-hitter. Many thought it would never happen in their lifetime. Yet one lefty from Venezuela got the job done. It was his shining moment. It was his biggest contribution to the New York Mets and their fans.

Yes, he was brought here to help bring a championship to Flushing. How many games did you watch him pitch? How many games did you see him lose by one run because the team had the weakest offense? In 2008 the team ranked eighth in offense. That was the only strong offensive years during Santana’s tenure as a New York Met. In 2009, 2010 and 2012, they were ranked 25, 24, and 25 respectively. Poor choice of words. I should probably use the term, “disgustingly”. A pitcher can be a winner only if his offense will allow him to be. A pitcher can be a winner only if his offense will allow him to be. He could have been a bigger contributor if he had not been hampered by a tear in the anterior capsule of his left shoulder causing him to miss all of 2011. Then he suffered a re-tear of the same capsule just before the start of the 2013 season.

Now Santana is trying to make his comeback in winter league ball. He makes his debut Tuesday. Scouts will come out to watch him pitch from several teams. The Mets should in no way be interested in him. They have a set rotation. With that said, wish him all the best. Despite what you might see in his win percentage with the New York Mets, he was the ace the team needed. He was also the guy that gave you that elusive moment in Mets history.

Comment: tmercado@live.com and also follow @CitiField of Dreams