New York Sports Storylines: Chris's Take
The New York Yankees have entered a new era. And I'm not talking about the mediocrity that will probably ensue after their abysmal 2013 season. In an emotional ending, Andy Pettitte, the Yankees winningest pitcher, and Mariano Rivera, the best closer of all time, are retiring. Obviously their production and experience will be missed, but their professionalism and class will be missed even more by Yankee fans. Only Derek Jeter remains of the core four and the mystique that surrounds them. As Rivera and Pettitte walk out the door, they take some of the magic of the franchise with them as the Yankees are seemingly filled with washed up veterans with uncertain futures. The quiet grace of the core four is all but gone now, replaced by audacious demands for $300 million contracts by the likes of Robinson Cano. Cano recently leaked information to the press that he would seek a ten year deal this offseason worth somewhere north of the $300 million mark. This would be above the lofty contract Alex Rodriguez received of 10 years and $275 million after the 2007 season. However, in that 2007 season, Rodriguez drove in 156 runs and smacked a staggering 54 home runs. I'm certainly not saying he deserved that amount of money for that performance. But if he didn't deserve it, Cano certainly doesn't. Cano only hit 27 home runs this year and drove in 107 runs. The numbers are nothing to sneeze at but they are nowhere close to what Rodriguez put up before his mega deal. Rodriguez's contract has also been cancerous for the Yankees. Thinking back, they signed a 32 year old to a ten year deal worth about $28 million a season in his declining years. This has tied up cap space and has created an embarrassment for the organization when he doesn't perform. Not to mention the new steroid allegations against him on top of his admission that he has used in the past. At a time when the Yankees are trying to save money, do they really want another huge contract on their books, which could come back to bite them? If Cano sticks to his guns and another team is willing to pay anywhere close to what he is demanding, look for the Yanks to let him walk. And rightfully so. In another bizarre story, the Knicks owner James Dolan fired general manager Glen Grunwald before the season even began. Reports are that he was not satisfied with the Knicks' second round exit in last year's playoffs and did not think Grunwald did enough to improve the team in the offseason. This may or may not have something to do with the monster acquisitions by the Brooklyn Nets of Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett and the fact that many analysts put the Nets ahead of the Knicks in the Eastern Conference. I actually thought that Grunwald did a pretty good job this offseason to improve the team. The Knicks probably had their best draft in years as they got Michigan shooting guard Tim Hardaway Jr in the first round. They also got veterans Andrea Bargnani, who should hop give the Knicks some much needed size, and Metta World Peace, whose defense is still considered to be some of the best in the league. New general manager Steve Mills used to be with the organization and has connections to Isiah Thomas, which I'm sure no Knicks fan wants to hear. If Mike Woodson can't get the Knicks further along this season than the pundits predict, he might be the next one to get axed. Finally, the depressing talk of the town recently has pertained to the lowly New York Giants, who dropped to 0-4 this past Sunday against the upstart Chiefs. Eli Manning has looked absolutely lost trying to play behind a makeshift offensive line. The running game has also suffered due to poor line play, but also up inexperience on the part of David Wilson, who was supposed to take up the mantle from former running back Ahmad Bradshaw. Despite the discrepancy in time of possession, the defense actually hasn't played as badly as some thought, especially with all the injuries in the secondary to the likes of Corey Webster and Stevie Brown. Still they have been mediocre at best. The linebacking corps was always going to be a weakness, but it has been exposed as being absolutely inept at defending intermediate pass routes. Furthermore, the defensive line has gotten almost no pressure on opposing quarterbacks due to Jason Pierre-Paul's back injury and Justin Tuck's continued decline. This is clearly not a playoff team, but if they don't turn it around soon, some on the coaching staff may find their jobs in jeopardy.