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A Tale of Two Gardeners

Did anyone see the Rangers game last night? If you made a conscious effort to tune in, you probably saw more of the game than I did, despite the fact that I had eagerly been anticipating going to this game. Blame it on the hell that is I-95 traffic. I took this picture, on your right, by the way. Hah.

But from what I saw, the Rangers looked good. The best part of their success was that played a throwback style (to um, last year), rather than the haphazard low-effort, sloppy defense output we've come to expect this year

Last year, their play was crisp and urgent, and the stellar play of King Henrik (who was exactly that Tuesday night) vaulted the Blueshirts to the head of the pack, at least until the end of the season. That hangover (sorry, Sandis, for the poor word choice) has plagued the Rangers to a certain extent all of this season, as they are tied for first with New Jersey in the Atlantic, with New Jersey having a few games to spare.

The fact that the Rangers are tied for first in the Atlantic Division, where the record of the first-place team is just as bad or even worse as that of any other division leader, is not exactly something to write home about. But Tuesday's game was. Shanahan and Jagr were both very impressive, and the sloppy and excessively penalized play of Saturday night was nowhere to be found.

It is nice to see that the Rangers are at least trying to rectify things, and Henrik's near shutout on Sunday plus an actual shutout on Tuesday bode well for this team's future. I predict a first place finish in the Atlantic Division, but, regrettably, I know that Gomez, Brodeur, Elias and Co. will have quite a bit to say about that.

Alas, MSG's other inhabitants (and the tenant with MSG TV precedence) have played a horrendous game tonight, and nearly lost by less than fifteen, in spite of the fact that the Minnesota T-Wolves (who were 3-6 and in last place in their divison going into tonight's game) led by 17 at the end of the first quarter.

I grant that I don't know all that much about basketball, but when it seems as though most of your television advertising space is devoted to telling people to come to the games, despite the fact that the Knicks play in the biggest market in the nation, it's safe to say that your team is in trouble.

The team is utterly horrendous this season. Their 4-9 record projects to about 25 wins (and 57 losses) over the course of the NBA's 82-game season, which would actually be a two-game improvement over the previous season. I guess there's some silver lining in that.

It's actually funny to listen to these guys (Gus Johnson and Walt Frazier tonight) try and not say anything horribly negative about this team, or try and highlight only the least negative aspects of this squad. I would like to note that my ex co-blogger forecasted a playoff season for these Knicks. Instead, you'll be lucky to see thirty wins.

I think this is what makes me just dislike pro basketball... the game seems horribly uninspired, with chumps in cornrows jogging up and down the floor, missing free throws and making sloppy passes. I also dislike Bill Simmons, so, yeah.

Cablevision needs to put forth more Rangers coverage and realize that people honestly don't give a damn about pro basketball, especially the brand put forth by Isiah and his Knicks. Put anything on instead. I don't care. Have a show where professional Ranger shill Bobby Granger fights Colton Orr for two hours. I'd watch that rather than the Knicks.

Maybe they should take the games off television entirely, resurrect Orson Welles, and broadcast the games over the radio as though the Knicks are winning them all. Given the money they're spending on contracts of ex-Knicks Allan Houston, Shandon Anderson, Jalen Rose, Maurice Taylor, and Jerome Williams, they could probably afford such a plan.


I'm pretty sure that this free agent market is actually a figment of my imagination. Soriano getting the huge contract is even not as loony as the deals handed out to Juan Pierre and Gary Matthews, Jr. If I declared myself a free agent, the Cubs would probably offer me a nine-year deal. I'd be represented by Scott Boras, though, so I'd hold out for 11 years.

I can't decide which is a worse deal. I'm probably leaning towards the Pierre contract, because he has shown a great deal of regression since his 2003-2004 progress. He's not a horribly valuable player, granted, and his status as an average defensive outfielder probably means that he can't be a full-time centerfielder, since he can't hit.

Matthews, Jr. at least had a 7.1 WARP3 this season, in his first full season of playing time.


Even though my feelings on Yankees SS/God Derek Jeter are well-known (save for one April Fool's Day prank), I'm not terribly vindicated with the fact that he didn't win the MVP.

He, like his NL counterpart in running-up Albert Pujols, was victim to someone with gaudier HR/RBI numbers. And since RBI is a statistic thoroughly dependent on the number of opportunities one has with men on base, it's not altogether that hard to discount it mathematically.

Morneau, though, was still a credible candidate. It's just funny to hear Windbag and Loudmouth on the WFAN drive time talk about how Jeter was utterly robbed, while they talk about his intangibles, clutch, and leadership. Why don't they just reference VORP? For once, his statistics were actually called the league's best by these evil statheads and their computers.

Instead, they then talk about how he did a poor job leading Alex Rodriguez. Well, if his candidacy is based on leadership, why do they say he should be the MVP? Presumably, someone didn't screw up leading their team to the extent that pundits blame it for the demise of a superstar. Ugh.


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