Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Mets and Baseball Are Back and Arsenal Prepare For St. Totteringham's Day

April is the best time of the year for baseball fans. It's when the long season starts and every team begins with a clean slate. As a lifelong Mets fan, those new beginnings have generally soured pretty fast over the years. Even this year, most rational Mets fans are not expecting much...but true fans always stick with their team and celebrate the small victories. This year that includes a shift in the New York baseball pecking order. The Yankees are heading down while the Mets are moving up.
Cashman and the NY Gimps
Niese takes the win

For the past 20 years the Yankees have hogged all the headlines, been the lead sports story on the local news and pretty much purchased a championship caliber team season after season. They basically operated like a combination of Manchester City and Manchester United. City in the sense that money was no object. United, in that they always seemed to be at or near the top. Now it appears that the Yankees are paying for their past greed. They have a roster of old and broken down players with fat contracts and a very thin crop of prospects.

On the other side of town, the Mets have been mediocre to bad for close to seven years. The club used this to their advantage by developing young talent and making a number of shrewd deals. A lot of these "kids" are starting to make it up to the big club and the future is starting to look bright for the Mets.

The Captain David Wright
While two games out of 162 is a tiny fraction of the season, the Mets have looked like the 1927 Yankees while the Yankees have looked like the 1962 Mets. The Mets are 2-0 are scoring runs and showing power and the pitching has been phenomenal. Meanwhile the Yankees' pitching has been terrible and they look like they can't hit at all.

I can't wait to see the "lifelong Yankee fans" under the age of 30 quickly jump off the bandwagon. These are fans that have never seen their team struggle or not win. They don't know what it's like to truly support a team as opposed to a money grubbing corporation like the NY Yankees. The trash talking days of Yankee fans are over and it's going to be a much more enjoyable baseball season for us on the other side of town.

We'll see what the situation is at the end of the year, but I'm convinced that a shift in fortunes has begun for both New York baseball clubs.

Another great baseball event that will take place at Citi Field in Queens this season is the All-Star Game in July. It'll be nice for a change to see the eyese of the baseball world focused on the "other" team in New York for a change.

The Harlem Shake phenomenon is one of the stupidest things ever, but this one from the Mets is hysterical solely for the efforts of 67 year old Mets PR man Jay Horwitz.



Meanwhile, Arsenal's season is in the final stretch and they  still have some unfinished business to take care of. It's been a totally frustrating season with inconsistent play, infighting among fans and disappointing losses. In fact I even spent a ton of money to head over to London only to see Arsenal lose to Schalke and barely defeat QPR. (Arsenal is supposed to manhandle the other team whenever I see them play live).

Berbatov sinks Spuds
Despite all the negatives and all the critics predicting Arsenal's demise, the club is currently in 5th place. They are just 2 points behind the reigning European champions, Chel$ki and 4 points behind the Spuds with a game in hand. With eight games left, the schedule favors Arsenal and the club appears to be turning things around. Meanwhile Chel$ki and Spuds still have to play each other and one, or both, will lose points from that match.

Is the mask to hide Torres' face?
While it's too early to start talking smack, I cannot wait for Arsenal to finish above either or both of their London rivals. The smug and arrogant fans of these clubs deserve a bit of karma, and Arsene Wenger deserves nothing but respect from the footballing community. The amount of grief that this man has had to take is truly shocking.

I am hoping that we will be celebrating St. Totteringham's Day by May. It may be arriving later than usual this year, but at least the weather will be nice for this annual holiday...

Monday, March 4, 2013

North London Is Red and Always Will Be...and the Judas Kiss from Cesc & RVP Visiting The Mets

Sadly when Arsenal lost yesterday to Spuds I wasn't too shocked. I really was hoping that the "real" Arsenal would show up and put the pretenders to shame. However, I have to admit the truth and the truth is that this current Arsenal squad is collectively not good enough to get it done on a regular basis.

Both goals that the Spuds scored were exhibits of shambolic and almost non existent defending. Szczesny has proven that he's not a number one goal keeper and always seems to be in the wrong spot. Our offense is still pretty at time but there's no end product. The team needs finishers and they also need to learn that the object of the game is to get the ball in the net. They are so concerned with making pretty passing patterns and trying to create the perfect goal that they never seem to just take a shot. Podolski, Walcott and Cazorla have all displayed excellent long range shooting from set pieces. They need to do this during live play as well.
The original Judas Kiss

I used to take such pride in Arsenal's dominating possession statistics, however, it's now a source of embarrassment. Arsenal could have 75% of the ball and double the shots on goal and still lose.

On the other hand, a team in 5th place in a 20 team league is hardly what I would call a "crisis" club. Perhaps I'm looking at it from my rose tinted "American" glasses but the negativity being hurled at the club and the manager are a bit out of control. Take the case of Roberto Martinez for instance. The guy is a class act but he's been hailed as a hero the past few seasons for keeping Wigan just above the relegation zone every year. Yes the clubs are at the opposite ends of the financial spectrum, but they are in the same league. Arsene Wenger is already being crucified with ten games remaining and his club in 5th place. Meanwhile Wigan are in their customary 17th place position and the club's annual fight for survival is on with the lauded Martinez at the helm.
Judas & Judas have put a curse on Arsenal
Anyhow, I'll leave the arguing and the mud slinging to the media and the irate fans calling for blood. I do have a theory though of what  might be the cause of Arsenal's recent fall from grace. Some may call me crazy, but look at the facts.

Here is a blog post of mine from the summer of 2011:

Arsenal Meets The Mets: Cesc and Van Persie Pay a Visit to Citi Field

That's right our former captains, Cesc Fabregas and Robin "Judas" van Persie were hanging out together in New York City and paid a visit to the home of the New York Mets, Citi Field.

Now, I am a Mets fan, but let's be honest, they've been horrible since making the playoffs in 2006. So, maybe, just maybe, the combination of those two traitors spending time at the home of a losing franchise and then returning to Arsenal brought some type of curse to the Emirates. 

Soon after their New York visit both turncoats decided it was easier to jump on the bandwagon with other teams than lead their own club to success. They both bolted, but perhaps the lingering effects of their version of the Judas Kiss has remained.

After conferring with an expert in this particular affliction the best way to remove this curse is to stay loyal to the Arsenal and listen to the following song while repeating the phrase "North London is Red, North London is Red, North London is Red". Then watch the following video twice and finally learn all the words and sing along to this song.

That should work, but more than anything, stay calm and support The Arsenal.