's good for you.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

The Yanks end with a whimper

The Yankees' 2015 season came to a close on Tuesday night with a 3-0 disappointing performance against the upstart Houston Astros.  The Yanks, who had faltered offensively since mid-August, failed to put up a single run against the dominating Dallas Keuchel and Houston's relievers.  

From the NY Times:

“It’s really disappointing,” Girardi said. “This is a club that fought all year long, and there’s a lot of character in that room, and it hurts. We just didn’t get it done.”

So, instead of playing in October (and November), the Yanks head to the off-season.  Unlike last season, I do have some hope going into next one based on the resurgence of many older players and the development of many younger ones.  However, they Yanks have to figure out a way to keep the older guys from wearing out during the regular season.  It may be time for more of a youth infusion.

Congrats on proving the doubters wrong this season, New York - you may be done, but you didn't finish in 4th as predicted.


Tuesday, October 06, 2015

Cowboys fall again...2-2 on the season

The Dallas Cowboys continued to struggle without their star QB and WR, losing to Drew Brees and the New Orleans Saints on Sunday night 26-20 in OT.  They had a chance to win this game, after driving down the field at the end of the 4th quarter and scoring a game-typing TD from Weeden to Williams.  However, the Saints missed a chip shot FG that would have ended it in regulation before winning it on the second play of OT.

With the loss, the Cowboys fall to 2-2 on the season and they're now tied with Washington and the NY Giants for first in the very average NFC East.  Next up:  The undefeated New England Patriots.  It's gonna be ugly.


P.S.  The Cowboys suffered another bad loss on Sunday night with a season-ending injury to RB Lance Dunbar, who was leading the team in receiving out of the backfield. 

Friday, October 02, 2015

The Yankees are back where they belong

It took a little longer than expected, but my beloved New York Yankees finally clinched a postseason berth last night by defeating Boston 4-1 in the Bronx.  Rob Refsnyder, above, was one of the youngsters who helped lead the charge last night for the Yankees' 10,000th franchise win as well.  The Yanks can clinch a home game in the Wild Card game on Tuesday with one more win.  Their opponent is still TBD; Texas, Houston, and Minnesota are the contenders.  

The Bronx Bombers may have fallen short in their bid to win the A.L. East, but I have a lot of respect for what this team accomplished when EVERYONE doubted they'd finish higher than 4th the division.  They have an incredible mix of vets, rookies, and young players who have bonded together for a common cause.  The Yankees often get criticized for being too old and overpaid, but take a long at the roster and see who's contributing.  They're getting just as much from guys like Betances and Bird as they are from guys like Beltran and A-Rod.  This team is built for the present and the future.

From the NY Times:

The Yankees’ hunt for their 28th World Series title has taken many twists and turns, and Thursday was no different. They rode an effective, if not artistic, effort by C. C. Sabathia, who has found late-season life with a brace for his degenerative right knee that he called “a lifesaver.” They got a strong relief effort by Warren, who learned when he arrived at the ballpark that he would be in the bullpen rather than starting Friday in Baltimore.

And their offense was again a mix of the young and old — Carlos Beltran, 38, staking the Yankees to a lead with a solo home run, his 19th homer of the season, and the late-season call-ups Greg Bird and Rob Refsnyder adding late solo homers to provide a level of comfort.


Sabathia is one of a handful of longtime Yankees who may have best appreciated the return to the playoffs. For some franchises, two years without the playoffs is something that happens. For the Yankees, it can seem like an epoch.

But now they are back in the playoffs, with a difficult road ahead, but at least with a chance.
“For some reason we’re an underdog,” reliever Andrew Miller said. “For some reason, we’re thought of as underachieving. We’re a really good team. We have a chance to beat anybody, and that’s what the playoffs are all about.”

The Chase for 28 begins.  Let's do this, Yankees.


Monday, September 28, 2015

A Tale of Two Halves

When you're up by two TDs on an opponent, you should be able to finish the deal and get a victory.  Well, that didn't happen in Dallas on Sunday.  The Cowboys blew a 28-14 lead to the Atlanta Falcons to fall 39-28.  They scored 22 2nd half points, and we didn't score a single one.

The Dallas D, which had played so well the week before, was below average or worse in this loss.  Atlanta had too many opportunities in the 2nd half on Sunday to go on long scoring drives.  No excuses...the D sucked.

Things may get better next week vs. a now downtrodden Saints team...but, you never know.  Brandon Weeden is definitely an average, back-up QB.  The Falcons showed on Sunday what it means to have a number 1 QB (Ryan) and number 1 WR (Julio Jones) on the field at the same time.  Dallas's best hope is to hover around .500 until Romo comes back, and hope the rest of the division continues to stink as well.

Dallas falls to 2-1 on the season.


Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Rest in peace, Yogi

Baseball and Yankees legend Yogi Berra passed away early this morning at the age of 90.  Berra is one of the greatest to ever don the pinstripes, and will be missed not only for his great play on the field, but his spirit off the field.

From the Times:

The character Yogi Berra may even have overshadowed the Hall of Fame ballplayer Yogi Berra, obscuring what a remarkable athlete he was. A notorious “bad ball” hitter — he swung at a lot of pitches that were not strikes but mashed them anyway — he was fearsome in the clutch and the most durable and consistently productive Yankee during the period of the team’s most relentless success.
In addition, as a catcher he played the most physically grueling and concentration-demanding position on the field. (For a respite from the chores and challenges of crouching behind the plate, Berra, who played before the designated hitter rule took effect in the American League in 1973, occasionally played the outfield.)

Stengel, the Hall of Fame manager whose shrewdness and talent were also often underestimated, recognized Berra’s gifts. He referred to Berra, even as a young player, as his assistant manager and compared him favorably to star catchers of previous eras like Mickey Cochrane, Gabby Hartnett and Bill Dickey. “You could look it up” was Stengel’s catchphrase, and indeed the record book declares that Berra was among the greatest catchers in the history of the game, some say the greatest of all.

I urge you to read the full piece from the Times.  The Yanks have another angel watching over them this upcoming postseason.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Mason signs first recruit for 2016

New Mason head coach Dave Paulsen and his staff picked up their first commitment for the 2016 recruiting class.  Welcome to Fairfax, Troy Temara.  More on the young man from New York can be found here.  


Cowboys win again, but suffer another big loss

The Cowboys beat division rival Philadelphia 20-10 to improve to 2-0 on the young season, but they suffered another devastating loss in the win.  Cowboys starting QB Tony Romo went down early in the 3rd quarter with a broken collarbone, which will likely end most or all of his regular season.  With starting WR Dez Bryant already out anywhere from 4 to 12 weeks depending what you read, this is a huge blow to Dallas's prospects for a Super Bowl in 2015-16.  Nonetheless, they still got the win on Sunday afternoon behind back-up Brandon Weeden and mix of talented options on offense.

The Cowboys' special teams - who got a TD on a block punt - and defense were huge in this challenging to watch game.  LB Sean Lee, back from an injury year, led the charge with 13 tackles and a HUGE INT when Philly was on the doorstep of scoring in the 3rd period.  It's good to have Sean back, especially since so many others are dropping.

Meanwhile, former Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray, who went to Philly for the big dollars, was held to 2 yards on 13 carries.  He had 9 yards on 8 carries last week vs. Atlanta.  

Next up:  The 2-0 Falcons.  Another tough match-up in an increasingly stressful season.  


Monday, September 14, 2015

Dallas 27, New York Giants 26

With a 4:15-30 am wake-up alarm, I generally don't stay up for Dallas's late start games during the NFL regular season.  Last night was no exception...after a wasted first half with the Cowboys down 13-6 when they should have been up by a couple TDs, I went to bed.  

I was pleasantly surprised to wake up to a come-from-behind 27-26 win this morning on a Romo-to-Witten connection with only 11 seconds to go.  Unfortunately, this morning was marred by the news that all-pro WR Dez Bryant will be out 4-6 weeks because of a broken bone in his right foot.  Ugh.  That's not good news, but hopefully our stable of talented WRs can pick up the slack.  I know Witten (above) will do what he can.

The schedule doesn't get any easier.  Next week, the Cowboys travel to Philly to take on a tough Eagles team who now have former Cowboys RB DeMarco Murray.  Dallas did alright last night with a variety of runners behind our stellar OL.  But, that was one week.  We'll see how the season goes.  It won't get any easier without Dez getting double coverage, which helps the running game.

1-0.  Good start.  Let's get to 2 next week, Boys.


Tuesday, September 01, 2015

First day of school, 2015-16

I'll post more later in the week from our regular camera, but here's a couple pics Julie captured on her smartphone of the kiddos on their first days of school, 2015-16.  Sophia is starting middle school, or 6th grade; Tyler is starting 2nd grade.  Both had pretty good first days.  I look forward to hearing about Day 2 when I get home from work today. 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Mason's not done yet adding new players (well, now they are)

George Mason wasn't done until last week adding new talent to the roster for 2015-16.  Mason added big man Daniel Relvao (6'9) of Columbia, who played last year at a prep school called Mountain Mission in Grundy, VA.  Relvao will add some depth to the front line in his first year in Fairfax.

The "bigger" signing in terms of talent is Michigan guard Jaire Grayer.  Grayer spent his last year at IMG Academy in Florida, which has provided new Mason coach Dave Paulsen two other players in his first recruiting class. I recall Jaire's dad Jeff, who was a stud college player at Iowa State and spent ten years in the NBA. Jaire is a three-star talent, who would have likely gone to a bigger school if he had done the prep school route after high school.  Instead, we're getting a good one in Fairfax with NBA aspirations.

From the Flint, MI paper:

FLINT, MI – Three-star basketball recruit, Jaire Grayer, was close to pursuing a post-graduate season at Don Bosco Prep in Indiana, to chase bigger college offers.

But after making the trip to Fairfax, Va. for a visit to George Mason University, the Flint guard changed his mind.

Grayer, 18, fell in love with the campus and ultimately decided to sign with the program this week. He will leave Flint to begin his college journey on Thursday, Aug. 28.

“Nobody at George Mason talked me out of going back to prep school, I just really talked to my family about the best decision,” Grayer said. “They both were two great decisions to make, and good opportunities, but I just thought I was ready to come out and go to college.”

Grayer left Flint Southwestern Academy after an all-state junior season to finish his prep career at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. Although leaving his family and high school buddies was hard, Grayer felt like he made a smart move.

“It turned out really good,” Grayer said. “I think that was a great decision.”

Over the summer, Grayer has trained religiously and says he’s added 15 pounds of muscle. He is a 6-foot-5, 200-pound shooting guard that wants to make an impact immediately on the college level.
“My goal is to come out this year and showcase myself,” Grayer said. “I want to become a NBA pro.”

Grayer was 8 years old when George Mason shocked the college basketball world with an unexpected Final Four run in 2006. The Patriots compete in the Atlantic 10 conference and hired new coach Dave Paulsen in March, after a disappointing 9-22 season.

Kent State, Robert Morris, Bowling Green, Western Kentucky, Fordham, Oakland, Tennessee State and DePaul Universities all offered scholarships to Grayer, but several other Division I schools showed interest as they anticipated his return to prep school.

In the end, Grayer leaned on his parents to for advice.

His father Jeff Grayer, a Northwestern grad, had a 10-year stint in the NBA and still holds the all-time scoring record at Iowa State University. And his mother, Patrice Martin, earned a college scholarship to the University of Detroit Mercy, where she finished her career seventh on the program’s list for career scoring (1,362 points) in 1993.

“They were just talking to me about the best options,” Grayer said. “Both of them really thought that George Mason was the best situation.”

Welcome to Fairfax, gents.  We're happy to have you as Patriots.  If you're interested, Mason's current roster (without these two gents listed) is here.


Friday, August 07, 2015

One day away

Soccer became a big part of our household in 2014-15, with Tyler playing both the fall and spring seasons.  In addition, we started a new tradition every Saturday and Sunday:  Watching the Premier League.  Before last season started, Tyler & I decided to focus on a couple key teams - Manchester United (who has my favorite player, Wayne Rooney) and Newcastle United.  He decided on Newcastle after reviewing choices on the Premier League website, and followed them throughout the year along with Man U.  

Well, the season turned out quite differently for both squads; Man U finished in the top four as usual, and Newcastle had to avoid relegation in the final weekend of the season in May.  Nonetheless, both are back for another season in 2015-16.  My son & I can't wait until the Red Devils take the pitch tomorrow morning at 7:45 am.

SI has a preview of the upcoming season, and one of the reasons we're excited is the addition German forward Bastian Schweinsteiger (love that name!!).  He was one of our faves during last year's World Cup.  Man U decided to let go of some disappointing players in the off-season (however, still bummed to see Van Persie go) and brought in some new talent to surround Rooney.  

I've also decided to follow Swansea more this season, since they're a Welsh team (the birthplace of the Brann surname).  The Swans beefed up their roster as well and should be able to compete most weeks with the league's top teams.  New addition Andre Ayew from Ghana is excepted to do great things this season.

Who will finish on top?  Which three teams will end up getting demoted at the end of the long season?  Stay tuned...there's a lot more to come on the original football on this blog through 2015-16. 

Wednesday, August 05, 2015

Weekend pics from the Neck (happy early 85th, Mom)

Nine years ago

Nine years ago yesterday, this blog was started.  As you can tell, I've gotten away from writing on it frequently, and it will likely stay that way.  I just don't have the time anymore to devote to a blog.  Plus, in the fast-paced world of social media, I'm similar to others and don't seem to have the attention span anymore to read anything that isn't a Twitter feed or a Facebook status update.  I used to share a lot of thoughts on social and political issues, but I'd rather keep those to myself nowadays or share them with a select group of individuals. 

Thanks for reading.  I'll try to keep posting something...occasionally.

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