Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Reyes Return Overshadowed By Injuries And Johan

NEW YORK— José Reyes was supposed to be the storyline at Citi Field Tuesday evening returning to New York for the first time since signing the lucrative off-season deal with the Miami Marlins. However, that was overshadowed by the outstanding pitching of Johan Santana and the Mets placing outfielder Jason Bay and starting pitcher Mike Pelfrey on the disabled list.

Reyes would go hitless in four appearances at the plate. It was due to the sharp pitching of Santana who went 6.2 innings, striking out eleven Marlins. But once again, Santana, in his fourth outing failed to get run support.
He did not figure in the decision as the Mets got a deciding run in the eighth inning and won the first game of a three-game series, 2-1.

Reyes had a pre game meeting with the media in the Marlins dugout. He was excited to be back in New York, met with his old teammates, and the Mets paid tribute to one of their former franchise players with a brief tribute on the video board before the first pitch.

As expected the small crowd that gathered to their seats gave him resounding boos, though there were those who gave him a nice welcome when they stood and cheered his name. When he stepped to the plate, for his first at bat leading off the game the displeasure of Reyes leaving for greener pastures to Miami were heard from the announced crowd of 20,192.

“It was kind of weird for me a little bit but after the third inning everything goes away and you just focus on playing baseball,” he said. Off to a slow start, Reyes would almost get an extra base hit leading off. The pitch from Santana looked like it would go out of the ballpark, but center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis made a leaping catch at the fence.

Reyes said, “It is good to get it out of the way. Tomorrow I’ll have a better idea. But it’s good to see my buddies over there. I played for them for a long time.”

However, Mets fans may never forgive the National league batting champion and homegrown product from leaving. It was a matter of another year and a few million more that that Mets did not offer to keep Reyes in a Mets uniform. He signed the $106 million, six-year contract with the Marlins, a team expected to contend and favored over the Mets in the NL East.

Santana went about his business and rebounded from his last start in Atlanta. Last week he gave up six runs in the first inning, eight overall in 4.1 innings. The fastball and changeup were sharp and he had great command. But once again he failed to get a single run of support.

“I put that one out of the way,” he said about the loss to Atlanta. “I still have a long way to go but it is good to have an outing like this. I’m looking forward to the next one.”

He struck out two in each of the first five innings and had his most strikeouts since the 11 against the Braves on August 2, 2010. In nine previous starts against the Marlins, Santana was 6-1 with a 1.47 ERA. He gave up a one-out single in the first, and did not give up another hit until a Giancarlo Stanton two-out single in the seventh. He was removed after throwing 105 pitches.

On facing Reyes for the first time, he said, “I didn’t do anything different. Everything we do here is professional and we went about our business.”

Marlins starter Josh Johnson, also working on six days of rest was just as effective going 6 2-3 innings, charged with one run and three hits.

Lucas Duda hit a tie-breaking single in the eighth that came off the finger of Marlins reliever Edward Mujica that scored the deciding run. Jon Rauch (3-0) picked up the win and Frank Francisco with a hitless ninth got his fourth save.

But the Mets win was also overshadowed by their continued bad streak of injuries. Bay, injured fielding a ball in left, in the second game of a twin bill Monday against the Giants, sustained a broken rib and was placed on the 15-day disabled list.

Bay will return, but the Mets will be cautious as he is once again is hindered by an injury coming after missing a significant amount of games last year.

The injury to Pelfrey is more of a concern. The right hander, without a win in three starts, was also placed on the 15-day DL with swelling of his pitching elbow. There were reports circulating at the ballpark, not confirmed, that Pelfrey would be shut down for the season and undergo Tommy John Surgery.

Mets manager Terry Collins would not confirm that report about Pelfrey as the Mets suddenly have a rash of injuries that prompted them to call up youngsters from their AAA affiliate Buffalo and Binghamton AA team.

The Reyes return to New York is over. The Mets have moved on as Ruben Tejada, the heir apparent at shortstop, has assumed the role and handled the job well in the early going.

As Tejada said about Reyes, “He was a good teammate. Nothing is different. We got the win.” But the manager Terry Collins has to do without Pelfrey and Bay and that seems to have not changed for the Mets, the injuries that continue to plague this team.

e-mail Rich Mancuso:

This post is provided in part by Bayside Real Estate & Nassau County Apartments

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Double-Dip At Citi Field Was All Giants Before Reyes Arrival

New York –It was the first double doubleheader between the Mets and San Francisco Giants since June 6, 2006 at Shea Stadium when they split a pair of games. The last time the Mets swept the Giants in one day was July 13, 1979, at Shea. Instead it was the Giants taking two from the Mets, 6-1 and 7-2, — last done April 13, 1997.

A double-dip of agony as New York now has lost five of their last six games and after 16-games stand at 8-8. That 7-3 start after a win down in Atlanta a week ago, seems like a distant memory.

“They’re a tough team to pitch against,” said Mets manager Terry Collins about the Giants. “They run all those switch hitters against you. They just outhit us and outpitched us tonight. It was pretty simple.”

Simple but now complicated because Collins may have his first crisis of the season, even though the manager will not admit to it. “We have to attempt and try to execute better,” he said. His team went 2-for7 with runners in scoring position, and in the last four games, 7-for-48.

And when the pitching as it was in the doubleheader fails, driving in runs is essential. Ike Davis continues to struggle at Citi Field failing to reach base five times, once as a pinch hitter in the second game. He stranded the bases twice in both games and is 2-for-34 in the ten games played so far at home.

“You struggle and try to find out what is wrong,” he said. “Every day is a new day, that’s the game of baseball,” explained Davis about his inability to get on base. Collins leaves him in the lineup, explaining that he is one of the better home run hitters he has, and “you can’t let him sit on the bench.”

Collins opted to go with the veteran Miguel Batista in game one in order to give Johan Santana another day of rest. Santana gets the start Tuesday evening when the Mets welcome back an old friend, Jose Reyes and his new team the Miami Marlins.

Batista, as is the attitude with this Mets team, will not give in to the sudden struggle. He said to reporters in between games, “The challenge is to let Terry Know that I can pitch for the next game.” Meaning of course, if Batista was needed in game two, after throwing 77 pitches and giving up six runs in 3.2 innings, he would be available. That comment got some attention and a few laughs from the media, but Collins was not smiling after the uneventful night. Not when two games are lost in a matter of hours.

“Every time I executed my game plan they hit the ball on the ground,” said the 41- year-old right hander who gave up the first of his two home runs in the first inning to Buster Posey. In the third inning, Nate Schierholtz hit a 1-1 pitch that landed up in the Pepsi deck in right field.

For RF Nate Schierholtz, it was a twin bill for that a ballplayer will never forget. He had six hits, a triple and stolen base.

In his fourth start, Giants game one starter Tim Lincecum got his first win of the season. He allowed one run and striking out eight in 5.0 innings. He won his fourth consecutive start against New York with an ERA of 0.67, with 31 strikeouts.

Two additional home runs were hit by San Francisco off game two starter Dillon Gee who gave up a career high 12 hits, allowing seven runs in 6/2-3 innings.

No, there was no room for skipper Collins to smile.

And the Mets have an additional issue – ah, with Jason Bay who bruised his ribs trying to catch what went for a two-run double in the second game. He was lifted and x-rays were negative and will be re –examined Tuesday. He could go on the disabled list joining Ronny Cedeño who is sidelined with an intercostals left strain.

There was some good news. Outfielder Andrés Torres and pitcher D.J. Carrasco started their minor league rehabilitation assignments down in Port St. Lucie Florida, and they are making progress to rejoin the team.

However, it was a night for the Giants. “Anytime you take two games in one day it is great,” said Giants infielder Emmanuel Burriss.

e-mail Rich Mancuso:


This post is provided in part by Towers At Waters Edge & Nassau County Rentals

Sunday, April 22, 2012


New York – Angel Pagán knows something about how the wind can play a factor at Citi Field. He was in the San Francisco Giants dugout watching a play in the ninth inning, the Mets one out away from a win and getting their starter Mike Pelfrey his first victory.

Jon Rauch came out of the bullpen to get that final out. But pinch hitter Brandon Bell hit a shallow ball to center. Shortstop Ruben Tejada saw the ball was trouble swirling in the wind. Rookie center fielder Kirk Nieuwenhuis tried to come to the rescue but the ball dropped for a two-run double and tied the score.

“It can be a tough field to play if you are not used to it,” said Pagán when asked about the dropped ball. Pagan, traded to the Giants for Andés Torres in the off-season could not help giving his opinion. “You can’t be to over aggressive on a play like that out there,” he said.

Pagán would know. He patrolled the outfield for New York in four years as a New York Met. Those years were tenuous at times and there were a share of errors in the outfield. The Giants acquired Pagán from the Mets during the off season to get some speed in their lineup.

In that time, Torres has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left calf and Nieuwenhuis was granted a chance. Mets manager Terry Collins put his head down and put his hands on top of his cap showing his frustration after the play.

In the inning he lifted closer Frank Francisco for Tim Brydak, and then giving the ball to Rauch who got the win. He defended the rookie and said, “He works as hard as anyone else and in that situation he has to play back.”
Nieuwenhuis, was redeemed when the Mets scored the winning run in the bottom of the ninth for a 5-4 win, the second walk-off win for New York this young season.

“I was coming from a long way out and it’s my ball all the way and I just overran it,” he said about the play. “I thought it was going to be closer to the infield and it ended up carrying a lot more than I thought.”

Prior to the botched outfield play, and before the Mets would win on a throwing error by Giants catcher Buster Posey that scored Ruben Tejada, Pelfrey went a season high eight innings for a Mets pitcher and outpitched Giants starter Ryan Vogelsong.

“Pelfrey deserved the win,” commented Nieuwenhuis. “He pitched a great game, unbelievable.”

Tejada had a two-run double in the seventh that just got by third base down the left field line. That gave the Mets a 3-1 lead and they added another on an unearned run in the eighth. It was the seventh double for Tejada who entered the game tied for fifth in baseball in that category.

And as ironic as the game of baseball can be, Nieuwenhuis and Tejada were involved in the game ending play that gave the Mets a win in the four- game series that concludes Monday evening. The Giants won the opening game in 10-innings Friday night.

With the bases loaded in the ninth, Nieuwenhuis hit a grounder to first. Belt, inserted in a lineup move by manager Bruce Bochy, threw home for a force. Posey looking for an inning ending double play missed reliever Jeremy Affeldt covering first but the throw ended in right field that enabled Tejada to score from second with the winning run.
“I had faith in my teammates to pick me up,” said Nieuwenhuis afterwards. And for the Mets a win that will be memorable because of that botched play in the outfield.


This post is provided in part by Bay Club Bayside & Hudson County Pest Control

Recent Sports Thoughts From Rich

Bartolo Colon continues to amaze me and people around baseball. The 38-year old veteran pitcher, now with the Oakland Athletics, threw 38 consecutive pitches for strikes Wednesday night leading his team to a 6-0 win, over the Angels. And this is the same pitcher who the New York Yankees refused to pay $2 million more for another year?

Say what you want. Colon does not resemble a Major League Baseball pitcher with the pudgy appearance on the mound. But, as seen last year with the Yankees, Colon throws consistent strikes and still manages to have some velocity on the fastball, also using a nasty changeup in between.

The streak went from the second pitch in the fifth inning until the seventh. Colon is 3-1, showing no signs of quit. Baseball is determining if the accomplishment is a record and should have an answer in the next day or so. Regardless, how many 38-year old men can be as consistent throwing a baseball?

Colon, the Dominican Republic native, always a subject of using anabolic steroids, because of a bad right arm, has always refuted those claims and there has never been a positive test to confirm the allegations. So keep throwing strikes Bartolo. This is quite an accomplishment and for your age, motivation to keep going….

So, two weeks into the baseball season and you have to be impressed with the Los Angeles Dodgers. They are hitting the ball with authority, getting good pitching and it seems Matt Kemp, who finished second in the National League
MVP award for 2011, is on to a record breaking season. He hit his 7th home run Thursday night and Andre Eithier is also ganging the ball making this Dodgers duo a west coast Murders Row….

New York Knicks clinch a playoff seed. Here is another thought. As a 7th or 8th seed out of the east they would get, as it appears now to be, Chicago or Miami in the first round of the playoffs. Sixth seed is out of the question with four games remaining. If you are the Knicks, do you really want Miami? Even if they draw the Bulls and advance, New York never gets by the Heat even if Carmelo Anthony is playing their best basketball of the season…

Kobe Bryant returns to the Los Angeles Lakers lineup Friday night against the San Antonio Spurs. The bad shin, which kept him off the court for six games, is healthy and Kobe is well rested which is bad for teams in the west. Because a healthy Kobe knows what to do with the ball late in the fourth quarter Lakers will do fine in the post season because Kobe knows this is his team and his time of year…

Impressed with the Phoenix Suns playoff run, another dramatic win over the Clippers Thursday night in Phoenix and it could come down to the Suns-Spurs game in the desert next Thursday night, the final game of this abbreviated season,
to determine if they are playoff bound as a final seed in the west. Problem is, Phoenix can’t find a way to defeat the Spurs….

Happy 100th Birthday t Fenway Park in Boston, the old venue where watching a baseball game still has tradition… Oh, is there any doubt that Brock Lesnar and The Rock will meet at WrestleMania XXVIIII (29), I think, next April at Met Life Stadium in the Meadowlands swamp of New Jersey?...

Any doubt that Andrew Luck will be the first round pick of the Colts in the NFL draft next Thursday night? And any doubts about Floyd Mayweather Jr? There is no doubt that Mayweather and Manny Pacquiao will never meet. Or is there a
possibility they will fight, as this continues to be the only hot and continuing topic for the sport of boxing.

E-Mail Rich Mancuso: Watch and listen to Rich Thursday nights, 5-7pm www.Inthemixxradio,com live. Also log on the fan page: it in the Ring and the group page for discussions.


This post is provided in part by Bayside Coops & Hudson County Exterminator

Friday, April 20, 2012

Keep It In The Ring Radio for 4/19/12

Watch live video from Inthemixx Radio LLC on

Here is the latest edition of Rich Mancuso's Keep It In The Ring radio show on a new station, a new day, a new time...Everything is new, until Rich ends up somewhere else and we have to start all over again. Talk about commitment issues, huh?


This post is provided in part by Woodmere Homes for Sale & Glen Cove Homes For Sale

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Booker's Reality Wrestling Has Lack of Perception

I'm a fan of Booker T's work...but, not so much of his commentary skills. Yeah it's different, but it has to be one of the worst experiments since the WWE tried to put Superstar Billy Graham behind the stick in the 80's. Luckily, I'm not here to talk about that right now.

I've had the pleasure of working with Booker T on numerous occasions, and he is hands down one of the most humble and giving performers in the business. His insight to pro wrestling and his dedication to perfect the craft is what has helped him become one of the most decorated superstars in the history of the business. But what if the creative weight of the wrestling world fell into his hands? Would a spin-a-rooni be enough to get over? What if Booker T were in a position to put on the best wrestling product to engage a wrestling audience?

As some of you might know, Booker T runs his own pro wrestling school in the great state of Texas. With a school, comes student shows. And with student shows, even a veteran wrestler like Booker T soon learns that performing in the ring and promoting what's in the ring are worlds apart.

The video above is part of Booker T's new project with his school students, entitled "Reality of Wrestling". To be fair, I don't know much about this project at this time - but by watching this video, I've already lost interest.

Promoting pro wrestling hinges on the vision of the promoter. Innovation, engagement, uniqueness and most of all, perception are critical elements. Ever seen the film "Boiler Room"? Ben Affleck lectures the young group of salesmen who are still wet behind the ears, and tells them the secret to success is to "act as if". Act as if you are the boss of the company. Act is if you have a million clients. Act as if you own the most expensive car on the street. Act as if you have 12 inch penis. Just, act as if. Perception is critical.

When you put out a piece of material such as this video, what is your perception? Are you still interested? Does it get the blood pumping? or are you looking at it wondering, "WTF?"

Wht would you build up using these two performers? Why would you build up using sloppy video shooters? Why would you build up letting a pre-school kid edit this on his Fisher Price My First Editing System? This is tragic! A reason to tune out. Most of all, it's a disappointment because you know Booker T is capable of better. You start to wonder if he officially approved this video or if one intern put this out there for public consumption.

Looking at the arena, Booker T has done his part in putting together a local show for his students to perform in front of their families and peers. And maybe he doesn't want to become a strong indy organization in the mold of a Ring of Honor. Perhaps he's content doing what he's doing. But at the end of the day, this is still a business. His business is judged by his perception. When looking at this video, you question the business. You ask where the money goes. You ask why he doesn't hire a better production team. You ask if you're interested in learning pro wrestling from this company or is it just a front with Booker's name on it.

Now don't get me wrong - I'm not saying the Booker T school is a scam at all. Booker is all aces in my book. He is one of the few people in this business you can depend on and trust. Booker is a true man of his word. But this video doesn't help the perception. This video is less than amateur. And without interest you have no growth. Without growth... well, you have nothing. Booker T is more than that, and I have a strong interest in anything he is attached to (except TNA programming... even he couldn't sit through that). But from a man who has achieved so much, we expect better because if anybody, you know better. And this is far from where a Booker T production should be. Now can you dig that, sucka?

This post is sponsored in part by Build A Photography Website and Online Wrestling Videos

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Hughes Home Run Ball Hurts Yankees in Loss To Angels

Phil Hughes got the start at Yankee Stadium Saturday afternoon and it was not
what the New York Yankees hope they will get from their number three starter
this season. Hughes gave up two early home runs and the Los Angeles Angels
never looked back.

In, 3-1/3 innings, Hughes allowed six runs, six of ten outs by strikeout. The
Yankees dropped the second game of their season opening home stand to the
Angels and snapped a four-game winning streak. His outing was quite a contrast
to the start that Hiroki Kuroda gave the Yankees Friday afternoon in their home

The other concern for New York is the lack of hitting coming from the middle of
their lineup. Robinson Cano recorded his first RBI of the season with a single in
the fifth inning. The Yankees were also stopped with the effective pitching of C.J
Wilson, who along with Albert Pujols signed two of the top free agent deals in rhe
off season.

Wilson recorded his first career win against the Yankees in four starts, allowing
one run in six innings.

“I think he got us to chase some pitches off the plate inside, and that’s what he
does,” said Yankees manager Joe Girardi about Wilson. The manager was more
concerned with Hughes who showed no signs of arm problems in spring training,
something that hindered the right hander.

In his two starts, Hughes is 0-2 with an ERA of 9.00. “T o me his arm strength is
fine to me it’s a matter of making more consistent pitches,” said Girardi.

“Things have not gone the way I wanted to,” said Hughes who was behind hitters
and ran up his pitch count. “I just have to keep a good attitude and hope things
turn around.”

Wilson gave up six hits and when he left after six innings, after throwing 105
pitches, the Angel pen of three other pitchers held the Yankees hitless. The lone
bright spot for the Yankees was Derek Jeter, 2-for-5, collecting his fourth multi-hit
game of the season.

They are 4-4 after eight games. Girardi is not concerned as the Angels try and take
the series Sunday night in the Bronx and Ivan Nova (1-0) making his second start
for the Yankees. The Manager said, “This is a long season. We are not 0-8,” as he
defended claims that his team may be in a panic mode.

Email Rich Mancuso:

This post is provided in part by Woodmere Real Estate & Glen Cove Real Estate

Friday, April 13, 2012

Another Perfect Home Opener for the Yankees

Nick Swisher got a good pitch to hit in the first inning, a double to deep center
that scored Robinson Cano, Alex Rodriguez and Mark Teixeira. That opened the door for another perfect Opening Day in the Bronx at Yankee Stadium Friday afternoon.

Even more perfect because Jorge Posada returned to the Bronx, one of the “Core
Four” throwing the ceremonial Opening Day pitch to his father.

“The season does not start until after the home opener,” said Swisher after the
Yankees 5-0 shutout over the Los Angeles Angels, their 14th in their last 15th in the
Bronx. It was that type of day again at Yankee Stadium. Warm enough also for
the Yankees to entertain a sold out crowd with home runs from Alex Rodriguez
and Curtis Granderson.

The home run from Rodriquez, second of the season off Angeles starter and loser
Ervin Santana, was the 630th of his career which tied him with Ken Griffey Jr.
on baseball’s all-time list. He was moved from the clean-up spot to third in the
batting order after failing to drive in a run in the first six games and the home run
was his first.

Hiroki Kuroda (1-1) who struggled in his first start down in Tampa Bay last
Saturday, allowing six runs, four earned gave up five hits, struck out six, walked
two and did not allow a runner to reach second until the fifth inning. The former
Dodger had good command with his splitter in eight innings.

When he left the mound he received a standing ovation from the 49,386 Opening
Day fans. “It was the greatest feeling in the world and I would like to repeat
that,” he said. “When you have that type of run support I was able to be more

It was that type of Opening Day in the Bronx. The Yankees have a way of making
this day more special than any other team in baseball. The win made it extra
special with the home runs and good pitching to go with it. But the pitch from
Posada, who retired in January, made it more compelling. After the pitch, Posada
was hugged by his former teammates on the field.

At the team Welcome Home Dinner Thursday night in Manhattan, Posada was the highlight and what teammates described as the incentive to make this home opener extra special.

“It has to be something special for those two,” said Yankees Manager Joe Girardi
about Posada returning to the stadium and his father watching him throw the first
pitch at home plate. “He deserved that and it was great.”

But it was greater moment for Girardi to his starting pitcher rebound in his second
start. And Rodriquez finding the home run swing, a huge shot into the netting in
Monument Park, to straight center off the first pitch from Santana in the third
inning, was an impressive swing. He also singled in the first and later scored on
the Swisher bases clearing double.

“It puts a little sidebar on our season,” said Girardi about the milestone home run
from Rodriguez. And he said about Kuroda, “I don’t think it gets any better, you
get a quality start from your pitcher into the ninth inning.”

And it does not get any better when the Yankees win their home opener of the new season.

e-mail Rich Mancuso:

This post is sponsored in part by Building A Photography Website and Women of Wrestling

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mets’ Offense Showing Deficiency; Johan Continues Recovery

New York – Johan Santana was pleased with his second outing of the season at Citi Field Wednesday afternoon. The New York Mets left hander opened the2012 campaign six days ago at home throwing five scoreless innings in a no-decision. Though the Mets would lose 4-0 to the Washington Nationals, Santana was pleased. “I was able to compete and feel good,” said Santana the two-time Cy Yong Award winner who sat out all of last year after surgery to his left elbow. It was a tough first inning of work, 27 pitches, but he had good command except for a slider that got away in the second inning that gave the Nationals a run.

One thing is certain for the Mets. They know Santana has recovered, though they are still being cautious. He threw 93 pitches in five innings. After his 99th pitch to Jason Werth in the sixth, he was lifted.

However the Mets bats have not been very active these past two games against the Nationals. Washington took two of the three games and New York was limited to three hits in the Wednesday afternoon game, attributed to their highly touted 23-year old starter Stephen Strasburg.

He threw over 100 pitches and was able to get out of two-out one out jam in the sixth inning. One of the outs was a pitch that was questionable to Bay which appeared to be a ball on the replay. Terry Collins was tossed in the top of the seventh inning by plate umpire Larry Vanover regarding that strike call to Jason Bay.

Bay, batting fourth, was subjected to constant boos from the Citi Field crowds this week when he came to bat. One of the high salaried players left on a Mets team payroll, that has been reduced, was not productive last season. In the six games Bay was 3-for19, in 19 at bats.

“I have been facing pretty good pitching the past couple of days,” said Bay who did not address the issue about the controversial pitch. “It’s a matter of building on it. I feel I have had some pretty good at bats.”

Ike Davis, who sat down the night before was back in the lineup and a single off Strasburg in the sixth ended a 0-for-18 start. And the Mets may not see David Wright for the next few games as they head to Philadelphia and Atlanta.

Wright is scheduled to see a hand specialist in New York on the off day Thursday to further determine his condition of a small fracture in the fifth finger of his right hand. Wright was wearing a splint Wednesday in the clubhouse and said he hopes to be back in the lineup Friday when the Mets open a three-game series in Philadelphia.

Notes: Collins said about the lack of hitting: “We took some good pitches down the middle the last two innings and you can’t do that.” On the bullpen that issued ten walks, the first since May 9 of 2010 against San Francisco, he said “We didn’t pitch well today. Lucky we did not lose by ten runs.”

The Mets went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and are 9-for-54 in their first six games….Ruben Tejada went 1-for-4 and the last four games is 7-for-15 and was at the top of the league in the category coming into the game….Santana and the pen struck out 10, the fourth consecutive game Mets pitchers have had double strikeouts which was last done June 10-June 13, 2008.


This post is provided in part by Great Neck Apartments & Five Towns Homes For Sale

Keep It In The Ring Radio Returns - New Day, New Time, New Station

A new station, new day and time, and bigger, better and as they day, badder.
That is what Rich Mancuso says about the debut of Keep it in The Ring, this time
this time which debuts on Thursday April 12th from
5:30-7:30pm. The program can be viewed on U-Stream via your laptop or home
computer and most phone apps.

Rich, a veteran sports journalist of 28 years, who also worked in the pro wrestling
industry will once again be joined by his sidekick Jason Feliciano. And like the old
show, you will never know what to expect from the two of them on the set. There
will be a cast of characters, sports talk. Live phone guests and calls, plus the usual and unusual highlight clips.

Keep it in the Ring was tagged when Rich sat by the side of Jodi McDonald on
his overnight weekend program on Sports Radio 66 WFAN in New York City, a
segment on pro wrestling that began in 1988 and ran for four years. At the time,
pro wrestling again was at a peak and Mancuso ended the segment with “Keep it
in the Ring.” It has passed on to mean all sports, covering the issues and athletes
that are a part of what Mancuso calls, “The World of Fun and Games.”

Said Mancuso about the new program, “Things did not work out at the former
station which was not my doing but this is better and bigger. I look forward to
the opportunity once again tying to keep Jason in the Ring.” He also hopes to
have Die Hard Derek Gordon on a regular basis to contribute with a pro wrestling

Mancuso will be joined by a cast of characters behind the scenes. “I will get them
involved as the creativity like a pro wrestling audience is so important.”

Reach Rich and Jason on It in The Ring or on the group page
Keep It in The Ring. Also get on the blog with your thoughts and feedback. Enjoy
and Keep it in The Ring.

This post is sponsored in part by Create A Photography Website and Classic Wrestling Videos

Santana Gets The Loss in Mets Loss to Nats and Strasburg

New York - Johan Santana was pleased with his second outing of the season at
Citi Field Wednesday afternoon. The New York Mets left hander opened the2012
campaign six days ago at home throwing five scoreless innings in a no-decision.
Though the Mets would lose 4-0 to the Washington Nationals, Santana was

“I was able to compete and feel good,” aid Santana the two-time Cy Yong Award
winner who sat out all of last year after surgery to his left elbow. It was a tough
first inning of work, 27 pitches, but he had good command except for a slider that
got away in the second inning that gave the Nationals a run.

One thing is certain for the Mets.. They know Santana has recovered, though they
are still being cautious. He threw 93 pitches in five innings. After his 99 th pitch
to Jason Werth in the sixth, he was lifted relieved by Manny Acosta. Four other
pitchers followed and if the Mets were able to score some runs, perhaps Santana
would have been got his first win of the season.

“I’m very happy at this stage,” said Mets manager Terry Collins about Santana.
He was tossed in the top of the seventh inning by plate umpire Larry Vanover
regarding a strike call to Jason Bay in the previous inning. “And five days from
now you will see him again,” he said.

And that is the plan for Santana, to pitch on schedule now that it appears the 33-
year old is back to health. During the completed opening season home stand, in
which the Mets went 4-2, players in the clubhouse said having their ace back was
an incentive and the pitching staff reiterated that Santana made it competitive to
go that extra mile on the mound.

However the Mets bats have not been very active these past two games against
the Nationals. Washington took two of the three games and New York was limited
to three hits in the Wednesday afternoon game, attributed to their highly touted
23-year old starter Stephen Strasburg.

He threw over 100 pitches and was able to get out of two-out one out jam in
the sixth inning. One of the outs was a pitch that was questionable to Bay which
appeared to be a ball on the replay.

“He never says a word and when he is angered there is an issue,” said Collins
about the pitch to Bay. “I went out there to protect him,” added Collins as to what
caused his first ejection of the season.

Bay, batting fourth, was subjected to constant boos from the Citi Field crowds this
week when he came to bat. One of the high salaried players left on a Mets team
payroll, that has been reduced, was not productive last season. In the six games
Bay was 3-for19, in 19 at bats.

“I have been facing pretty good pitching the past couple of days,” said Bay who
did not address the issue about the controversial pitch. “It’s a matter of building
on it. I feel I have had some pretty good at bats.”

However, Collins is concerned that good pitching from Santana did not come with
runs from his offense. Ike Davis, who sat down the night before was back in the
lineup and a single off Strasburg in the sixth ended a 0-for-18 start. And the Mets
may not see David Wright for the next few games as they head to Philadelphia
and Atlanta.

Wright is scheduled to see a hand specialist in New York on the off day Thursday
to further determine his condition of a small fracture in the fifth finger of his
right hand. Wright was wearing a splint Wednesday in the clubhouse and said he
hopes to be back in the lineup Friday when the Mets open a three-game series in

Notes: Collins said about the lack of hitting: “We took some good pitches down
the middle the last two innings and you can’t do that.” On the bullpen that issued
ten walks, the first since May 9 of 2010 against San Francisco, he said “We didn’t
pitch well today. Lucky we did not lose by ten runs.”

The Mets went 0-for-6 with runners in scoring position and are 9-for-54 in their
first six games….Ruben Tejada went 1-for-4 and the last four games is 7-for-15
and was at the top of the league in the category coming into the game….Santana
and the pen struck out 10, the fourth consecutive game Mets pitchers have had
double strikeouts which was last done June 10-June 13 , 2008.

Email Rich Mancuso:

This post is sponsored in part by Bay Club Bayside & Forest Hills Rentals

Wednesday, April 11, 2012


New York – Ross Detwiler had a shaky first inning on the mound for the Washington Nationals Tuesday night at Citi Field. The New York Mets had two runners on with no outs. But in his first start of the season, Detwiler got out of a jam. From there the Mets had to play catch up baseball and at times it resembled so much of what went wrong last season.

After that inning, Detwiler retired his final 13 batters and the Nationals would go on to a 6-2 win handing New York their first loss of the season. The Mets did not resemble a team that won their first four games, their best start since the 2007 season, and were one of four teams with a perfect record to start the season. They were denied their first 5-0 start since 1985.

Detwiler (1-0) would throw five scoreless innings and allowed two hits as the Nationals evened the three game series that concludes Wednesday afternoon.
Mets manager Terry Collins had to revamp the starting lineup. Ike Davis, hitless in four games sat down and Justin

Turner got the start at first base. Davis would pinch hit with two on and two outs in the seventh and struck out.
More importantly, Ronny Cedeño got the start at third for David Wright who sustained a jammed fifth finger of his right hand in the Mets win Monday evening. An X-Ray revealed a small fracture at the middle joint of the finger.

“This is a non-operative surgery,” said a statement released by the team regarding the injury to Wright. Last season he was on the disabled list with a lower back stress fracture that caused him to miss action from mid May to late July. Thursday, in their Opening Day win, outfielder Andrés Torres was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained left calf.

The statement went on to say about Wright, “The finger will be splinted and reevaluated tomorrow,” meaning prior to the finale Wednesday a determination will be made about Wright. The statement went on to say, “David can return to baseball activity as tolerated.”

“I couldn’t grip a ball today,” said Wright who went 7-for 12 in the first four games.”It’s always frustrating to miss time. Kinds of breaks up the momentum we had.”

Dillon Gee, who led the Mets in wins last season with 13, got his first start. He allowed four runs, which three were earned in 5 1-3 innings, striking out six and walked one. A booted ball by Daniel Murphy led to an error that helped the Nationals score three runs in the sixth inning.

Gee (0-1) was undefeated in five career starts against Washington. He would also give up a home run to Ian Desmond leading off the game. “Thought he threw the ball good,” said Collins about his starter. “If we make some good plays behind him he leaves with a good outing.”

The Nationals banged out 13 hits off Gee, Bobby Parnell, and Miguel Batista.

The finale Wednesday brings a good pitching matchup. Johan Santana, who threw five scoreless innings in the Opening Day assignment and got a no decision, opposes touted right hander Stephen Strasburg, making his first start for Washington.

e-mail Rich Mancuso:

This post is provided in part by Great Neck Rentals & Five Towns Real Estate

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Mets Three Game Opening Season Sweep Over Braves Brings Another Perspective

New York – A prevailing mood in the New York Mets clubhouse is that they can win and have an impact in the National League East. And after completing a three-game sweep Sunday afternoon at Citi Field over the division rival Atlanta Braves, 7-5, there is every reason to put things in another perspective.

Winning ballgames, and more than the experts predicted has put a different perspective on what is expected to be another dismal season in Flushing. This was the first time in a 50 –year history of the club when a Mets team started the season with a three- game sweep over a division rival.

At 3-0, and with the cross- town Yankees off to a 0-3 start, this is something the organization is hoping will regenerate some interest. More so, if the wins can continue in the next three games at home with the Washington Nationals, getting a good start out of the gate is what will convince fans that this may not be dismal as was expected.

“This means everything,” said Manager Terry Collins when asked about the three games against Atlanta that saw his team pitch effectively, use the long ball, and also get the timely hit. “We’ve done a lot of talk in spring training about getting ready to compete. I told those guys in the first meeting ‘you’re professional baseball players and there are expectations in this town and in this clubhouse.’”

Numerous times last season, his first, Collins reiterated about expectation but the message did not carry into wins. A second half finish saw New York finish fourth in the division with 77 wins, and then losing Jose Reyes to free agency, now with the Miami Marlins, made the outlook look more dismal for 2012.

However, Reyes, for the moment has quickly not been a topic at Citi Field. His replacement, 22-year old shortstop Ruben Tejada, had a career day Sunday with a career high four hits with two doubles, driving in two runs.

“We have to keep working hard every day,” commented Tejada. “We play hard and together as a team,” he said.

And that was a prevailing attitude of this Mets team after the season opening series sweep Sunday afternoon. They believe in themselves as a team and despite what the prognosticators say, they have no intention of making this a dismal season.

And if the Mets get good starting pitching, as they did Sunday from Jonathon Niese, Saturday from R.A. Dickey, and in the opener Thursday, five strong innings from Johan Santana, well this could become a special season. But will the pitching stay consistent? Can Mike Pelfrey and Dillon Gee, who start the first two games with the Nationals Monday and Tuesday, be just as good?

“You can’t ask for better than that,” said Collins about the starts that have put the Mets at 3-0 for the first time since 2007 when they won their first four. “We saw that in spring training even though our starters did not go deep. We like our rotation,” he said also referring to Gee and Pelfrey.

Niese, in particular, who signed a long term contract Saturday, struggled often last year. At times there were doubts he could be a quality starting pitcher. The return of Santana has inspired the pitching staff, and according to guys in the clubhouse the entire roster.

“They want to compete and do what he does,” said Collins. “He creates a great atmosphere. It spreads.

Niese flirted with a no-hitter into the seventh inning before Freddie Freeman singled to right field with no outs. He would allow four runs, two earned, seven strikeouts and two walks. He lasted two more batters after the hit by Freeman. Atlanta scored four runs in the seventh. Lucas Duda lost a ball in the sun, and Jason Howard had a two-run double.

“It would have been hard to take me out,” said Niese who had a 93 mile fastball and control that was rare last season. The Mets after 7,911 games still remain one of four teams in baseball that have never had a no-hitter pitched. “We have a staff that likes to compete with each other and that is a good thing,” said Niese.

And this start has also been attributed to a revamped bullpen. Frank Francisco closed his third consecutive game becoming the first player in franchise history to save his first three games. Prior to a Brian McCann home run in the eighth inning it was the first Mets run surrendered by the pen. In three games the pen has allowed one earned run in 10.0 innings.

“We have to pitch,” said Collins. “We have a lot of work ahead of us. We have a long way to go. All we want to do is stay competitive.”

They have come out of the gate with this good start. That is what every Mets fan needed to see, and this team believes it will continue. David Wright is hitting with authority and showing signs of his old self. Daniel Murphy picked up a couple of hits and two RBI, including a two-run double in the three-run Mets sixth.

Now they need Ike Davis to get it going as well as Jason Bay, two silent bats in the first three games. But they feel like everyone else in the Mets clubhouse. It will come.

“I’m just a little off right now, I’m not worried,” said Davis. His feeling is the hits will come and go five for his next ten, and there will be no reason for concern. “It’s only three games,” he says about going hitless in his first eleven times at the plate.

Last season that would have been a concern. But for now, with the three- game sweep coming out of the gate, there is not one player in that Mets clubhouse who will think otherwise. Winning and a different perspective of what they are capable of doing is here to stay,

Jose Thole the rookie catcher said in that clubhouse Sunday, “We have a team that can win and we will continue to do it.” And for the first three games the Mets have certainly proved they can be competitive.

E-mail Rich Mancuso:

This post is sponsored in part by Bay Club & Forest Hills Apartments

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

It Will Be Dismal For The New York Mets with Some Promise

By Rich Mancuso

New York – There have not been many good moments for the New York Mets and their fans since the move to Citi Field in Flushing New York three years ago. The, ballpark will usher in the 2012 season Thursday afternoon as the Mets host the Braves , and once again there are not expected to be any bright moments for this New York Mets team.

New field dimensions, moving in the fences are expected to increase home run production for a team that has been next to last in that category the past two years. Question marks are many about the health of some key position players. Second year manager Terry Collins will try and keep his team competitive in the National League East a vastly improved division with the Miami Marlins, Atlanta Braves, Washington Nationals and once again the Philadelphia Phillies who are favored to take their sixth straight divisional title.

A wild card berth for New York, even with the addition of another team in the revamped playoff system, probably won’t come. Simply put the Mets are in for another dismal campaign, and if they don’t get out of the gate quick Citi Field will be desolate this summer.

And there is no Jose Reyes in the lineup. He opted to take the big contract and go to Miami. Reyes, who won the NL batting title, in his last game as a New York Met in September, will be missed. When healthy, he is the catalyst leading off and there will be a definite amount of interest when he returns to Citi Field for the first time as a Marlin later this month.

In place of Reyes, 22-year old Ruben Tejada will get the start at shortstop. He has potential but does not have the range on the field, or the ability to spark a rally at the plate. With more playing time last season, Tejada had over 300 at bats and hit .284. He has always been a favorite of Collins, and got more playing time showing potential. He came into spring training stronger and last season was more patient at the plate, making a sparkling play or two in between time at second base and shortstop.

So what should be expected from a team that is beset with financial issues, a projected payroll of $91 million, and maybe looking to shed more of the money to make ends meet? Team owners settled a lawsuit by the trustees for victims of Bernie Madoff, are still in debt and lost $70 million last year after a fourth place finish.

“Almost everybody has room for improvement,” says team General Manager Sandy Alderson in his second year. He was brought in to shed payroll, so there was no room to offer Reyes that long term multi-million deal. The lone franchise player, David Wright is coming off another dismal and injury ridden season of 14 home runs and 84 RBI. He could be out the door by the trading deadine of July 31st.

In the walk year of his contract, and with the Mets not expected to contend, Wright could be expendable and in return worth some prospects and a quality player or two. If the Mets could not afford a contract for Reyes, there is no way they can spend on a huge contract for Wright.

If Wright, Jason Bay, Lucas Duda and Jason Bay hit the home run, and they could with the drawn in outfield fences in left and right fields, there could be an increase in home runs. Bay has not been anything of suburb since coming to New York with the huge contract. Some say it was the big wall out in left that have seen a major decline in his production and he has been plagued with injuries.

But now, Bay is healthy and rejuvenated. The dimensions at Citi Field have changed and there should be no room for excuses. “He will have every reason to prove what he is capable to do,” says Collins about Bay who will bat fifth in the order after Davis. Duda, Davis, and Daniel Murphy, all left handed hitters will bat in the middle of Collins’ batting order. Murphy will get the start at second base and get some help from Justin Turner off the bench.

They will get the opportunity to test the new renovated right field walls at Citi Field. A 39.5 percentage of home runs were allowed by Mets pitchers at Citi Field last year, the lowest home rate in the majors. The attempt has been made to increase that production as the fences were moved by as much as 17-feet in some places.

However, a suspect starting pitching staff going with a revamped bullpen will have to keep the opposition from using those new fences to their advantage. The good news is Johan Santana, the high profiled starter returns from shoulder surgery. He last pitched in September of 2010 and the fastball, changeup and command seem to be back to form. If not, there are plenty of reasons to be concerned about a pitching staff that was second in the league when giving up runs.

After Santana, R.A. Dickey and his knuckleball are interesting. He goes deep into games, and the 36-year old right hander was 8-13 last season. But the record does reflect more wins, over 200 innings, and a 3.28 earned run average. But the bullpen gave the games away and Dickey was victimized with a no-decision or a loss.

Mike Pelfrey proved he could not be an ace last year, more known with the absence of Santana and last week there were reports the Mets were considering a trade for the right hander. He finished with seven wins and an ERA over four. There is no consistency with Pelfrey and he could be traded before September.

The rookie Dillon Gee has good stuff and time will tell what he can offer. After that the Mets could use the 40-year old veteran Miguel Batista who was picked up late last season and got a couple of wins. And expect the youngsters Matt Harvey, Jeurys Familia, and Zach Wheeler to be seen at some point.

Ramon Ramirez and Frank Francisco are a part of the new bullpen, inexpensive acquisitions that offer experience. And Jon Rauch, another veteran with a good right arm could get a shot at closing games as Collins intends to go with a pen by committee. Bobby Parnell, who was tested as a closer last season, his ability to throw a fastball over 95, may eventually be groomed to close games. But his inability to close games, attributed to control problems may leave him as a setup man or a long man.

By no means is this version of the 2012 New York Mets a playoff team. They could finish last in the division however in the course of a long campaign anything is possible.

Regardless, Collins and his new coaching staff will be tested. So will Mets fans. Because being a Mets fan has become a routine of knowing that winning ballgames is not easy to find.

e-mail Rich Mancuso:

This post is sponsored in part by Bayside Coops & Forest Hills Real Estate

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Yankees May Go That Extra Step This Season With Pitching And Depth

By Rich Mancuso

There is never satisfaction in and around the confines of Yankee Stadium unless the team is playing baseball games in the late part of October. Of course if the stadium is busy in October the New York Yankees are in the World Series and in quest of their franchise 28th championship.

And this could be the year of late October baseball in the Bronx. As the Yankees prepare to start another season in Tampa Bay tomorrow, with their home opener in the Bronx next Friday afternoon, there is optimism that the 2012 team will be playing baseball deep into October.

The important aspect for any team is pitching which is something the Yankees can say is a depth of their team. To go deep in October, it is the pitching that will get you there and New York has six quality starters for five spots. The return of Andy Pettitte gives them that extra mile, though the veteran, who came out of an early 2010 retirement, won’t be in the Bronx for a month. With most wins in post season baseball history, Pettitte appears strong but will he be the same pitcher after a brief hiatus from the game?

If newly acquired pitcher Michael Pineda, who will start the season on the disabled list, with shoulder stiffness, needs more time manager Joe Girardi has the depth. Pettitte returns, Phil Hughes works his way into the rotation, and there is hope and optimism that Ivan Nova will be the same pitcher that went 16-4 last season. There is also the addition of Hiroki Kuroda, a $10million investment, who throws hard and has a nasty cutter.

“Eventually Pineda will come back,” says Girardi. “It gives us some time to sort some things out. Things most of the time have a way of working things out. To speculate what might happen is kind of silly because we didn’t expect an injury because all of our starters have been so healthy.”

One thing is certain. Opening Day starter CC Sabathia, the fourth player in club history, with 19 wins the past four years is healthy and will throw close to 200 innings. The bullpen, without an injured Joba Chamberlain is perfect for the best relief pitcher in baseball history, Mariano Rivera, who may throw his last pitches after 18 years in Yankee pinstripes. David Robertson, and a healthy Rafael Soriano, as was the plan last season will get the ball to Mariano.

And getting the ball to Mariano for a save should not be an issue because the Yankees once again have a veteran offense and depth off the bench. They are capable of winning 97- games and take another AL east title in a competitive division with Tampa Bay and the Boston Red Sox. With the new post -season one game wild card that adds two more teams to the party in October, it will be important to have depth off the bench and good arms out of the bullpen.

Brian Cashman, the Yankees General Manager, with a reduced team payroll of a little under $200 million will be the first to say that Boston is still the team to beat. “This division is very close and people are underrating Boston,” he says. However, the Yankees are always the team t beat and to their credit favored to win every year.

They have to many weapons in the lineup to not be one of the four best teams in the long campaign. Robinson Cano is one of the best young players the game, improves as time goes on, and handy at second base. Mark Teixeira is healthy and ready for another 35- home run season and the outstanding glove at first base. Curtis Granderson in center field will once again have a MVP season.

Nick Swisher has another contract in right field and recovered from an injured groin that hindered him this spring. And 25 home runs are not out of the question as a starter and when he gets rest coming off the bench. Added to the equation is Brett Gardner in left. His speed is an asset though he does not give numbers, more so a catalyst at the bottom of the order.

The Yankees are rich in the catching area. Baseball experts will say they have an excess of wealthy and young catchers, good enough to trade away Jose Montero to Seattle for Pineda. So Russell Martin, a veteran, coming off a season of 18 home runs and 65 RBI will get the start again behind the plate.

It was an off-season of signings and little activity of acquisitions, and fans won’t miss pitcher A.J. Burnett who went to Pittsburgh for minor league players. Raul Ibanez,a veteran with some power was signed at minimal cost. The former Philadelphia Phillie adds depth coming off the bench and has power to the opposite field. He will also play right when Swisher needs to sit.

Andruw Jones and Eric Chavez were awarded contracts coming off a good 2011, hitters adapted to Yankee Stadium, and viable guys coming off the bench that can give the regulars some rest. As will Eduardo Nunez, a solid backup in the infield.

Two questions for Girardi, who did not have issues this spring with the exception of some injuries, and the return of Pettitte, are the captain Derek Jeter, one of the Core Four of the five championship teams, now three again with Mariano and Pettitte. Jorge Posada has retired and his leadership will be missed.

Jeter has not shown a decline on the field, though his production at the plate has dwindled the past two years, six home runs and 61 RBI last season, and the question is how much more will the 36-year old veteran have left in him? He does not answer that question and there are no signs that Derek Jeter is in a serious decline.

Which leads to the ultimate question, does the highest paid player in the game, Alex Rodriguez, rebound from a 16-home run and 62 RBI season of last year that also had him hindered with injuries? He has hit the ball with authority this spring and a key part of his body, the lower half is strong where he gets his power.

A-Rod, Teixeira, and Swisher when in the lineup together make the Yankees that more of a power threat, but they went a combined 3-for-18 in the AL division series loss to the Tigers last October, which contributed to an early exit from the post season. Last season the Yankees once again once led the American League in home runs but for the first time in three years at the new stadium failed to lead baseball in that category.

But this is a new season and the pitching should be that good for the Yankees to not be concerned about their tradition of being “Murders Row.”

They won 97 games last season and their 25th divisional title. There is no reason why the Yankees won’t win another one in September. How far they go in October will be the question. That answer could depend on how the health of Rodriguez is and if the pitching lives up to expectations.

e-mail Rich Mancuso:

This post is sponsored in part by Woodmere Homes for Sale & Glen Cove Homes For Sale

Monday, April 2, 2012

Cena vs Rock - The Wait Is OVER.

*Excerpts from DieHard Pro Wrestling's "...And Justice For Brawl" Blog*

The Rock defeated John Cena after the year long build up of the greatest pro wrestling main event of all-time.

"As much criticism as The Rock gets, everyone needs to realize he WAS a pro wrestler long before he became a Hollywood star. And when he was a pro wrestler, he was one of the greatest of all time!....It's not like Brad Pitt or George Clooney came in and Cena did the job for them. The Rock came back "home"."

"It's not like Cena had the entire year off to prep for the match. He worked harder than ever to maintain his status as the face of the company and still stay healthy, strong and focused on the "once in a lifetime" match. Hate Cena all you want, but you better fucking respect him!"

"It was built as the greatest Wrestlemania main event of all time... and I think they're right. The only other Wrestlemania main event that could challenge for those bragging rights would be Hulk Hogan vs. The Ultimate Warrior at Wrestlemania VI... I think Rock vs. Cena trumped it!"

"The match is everything it was expected to be, and more. Rock and Cena were in full control and they're eyes were locked only on each other."

"Based on their history and bad blood, you wondered how much of the match was a shoot and how much was a work. You looked for hard punches that may have "accidentally slipped"...there were also times where The Rock was being a blatant prick. You can tell on the outside of the ring that he was dead weight to Cena every time Cena tried to powerlift him. The Rock wasn't giving an inch!"

"This match was a clash of passions. It doesn't matter who won. What mattered was that it got the fans engaged. It wasn't designed to entertain, it was designed to get your blood pumping and make you fall in love with pro wrestling all over again.....Regardless of the outcome, the only two words that sum up this match for both The Rock and John Cena is... Thank you!"

It Really Was An End of An Era

*Excerpts from DieHard Pro Wrestling's "...And Justice For Brawl" Blog*

In a match that was defined as "The End of An Era", The Undertaker continued his Wrestelmania winning streak to 20-0 by defeating Triple H in a Hell In The Cell Steel Cage Match featuring Hall of Famer Shawn Michaels as the special guest referee.

"As I woke up this morning, I had mixed feelings about this match. Perhaps I expected more. Perhaps I expected a swerve. And perhaps I got lost in creatively booking the match myself in my own mind."

"I had expected to see some sort of one night only DX reunion. But, that didn't happen. Instead, we got a slower paced and more dramatic encounter with Shawn Michaels not really playing a major factor in the final decision."

"This match wasn't about creative storytelling. This match was about saying farewell to what is arguably the greatest era of pro wrestling history - The Attitude Era.... And this match at Wrestlemania, was the one moment where we literally said goodbye to yesterday."

"Had Shawn Michaels gotten more involved in determining the outcome of the match, then it would have opened the flood gates of rumors and speculation that he'd be back for at least one more match."

"The match didn't need physical involvement. The story was told through expression....It was technically designed so that you would be able to hear audio bytes of conversations between the those involved. The close up shots of Taker and clear audio of him saying, "Don't end this match Shawn.. No matter what, don't end the match", were more effective than any swerve... The story wasn't in the punches thrown. It was in the facial expressions. And it's an example of the lost art in this business."

"One problem that I had with this match was the lack of blood...I understand the "no blood" policy for the PG-13 product, but this is Wrestlemania!"

"The finish was somewhat weak. Basic tombstone into a three count... Taker saw the end in Triple H's eyes and put the dying dog out of his misery."

"The final shot of Michaels and Taker carrying Triple H to the back was worth a thousand words. You can't put a price on that type of perfection. And while I feel the match itself didn't live up to the expectations, it told the story it needed to tell and ended one of the greatest wrestling books of all time."

Did Punk and Jericho Steal The Show?

*Excerpts from DieHard Pro Wrestling's "...And Justice For Brawl" Blog*

CM Punk retained his WWE World Title by defeating Chris Jericho.

"I felt this was the match to steal the show. And in my opinion, it did...but barely."

"I don't think the WWE Universe understood what they were watching... Jericho and Punk took us to an early time in their career... What we saw was a Japanese exhibition and a technical clinic where these opponents stretched each other in ways the human body isn't meant to bend."

"...let me go on the record in saying that I think the build up was piss poor. Social media killed this match in late 2011..."

"I started to wonder if Jericho's time away had hurt his value. Was his return strong enough to make an impact? Strong enough to change the game? Strong enough to shake the world? The only thing that shook the world was the weight of the ball WWE creative dropped."

"While watching the match, I was trying to understand the input both men had in the match. I sensed a strong Japanese influence..."

"They were looking for acceptance of a unique style, but those 78,000 fans were only looking for entertainment. 78,000 brainwashed fans who don't understand the science of the business, the magic of a match, and who all have accepted that wrestling is nothing more than a fake show."

"Amazingly, Punk and Jericho never let crowd reaction take over. Sure, they were disappointed but they were smart enough and good enough to switch the match around and have the fans eating out of the palm of their hands."

"I applaud Punk and Jericho for taking that chance, but rather than building up the match based on Punk's father being an alcoholic and his sister a crack head, perhaps they should have talked about their years prior to the WWE....THAT would lend credence to the term "Best In The World"."

"This is an example of WWE creative not being in tune with what the business is about, so they rather stuff some senseless sitcom type of formula down your throat. After all, what other option do you have? TNA?"

"On a side note, one thing I did notice about this match was that Punk is better suited to play a heel....Remember, you first started loving CM Punk when he was a heel and cutting down Cena, Triple H, Vince, and the company. Not now, when his only grip is with John Laurinaitis."

"Overall, neither man was the best in the world that night.... It was still a great match, but it won't be one that is remember as one of the greatest of all time."

This post is sponsored in part by Towers At Waters Edge & Pro Wrestling Blogs

Tag Match Ends With Zack's Sack

*Excerpts from DieHard Pro Wrestling's "...And Justice For Brawl" Blog*

Team John Laurinaitis defeated Team Teddy Long to take over control as general manager of the RAW an Smackdown brands.

"This was a typical throw-away match... creative decided to compile 12 roster members into one match as a "thank you for your hard work this year"."

"From the start, it was obvious Team Johnny was going over.... Team Johnny was stacked with some of the top talents on the roster, some who are former champions such as Dolph Ziggler, Jack Swagger and The Miz. What did Team Teddy bring to the table? An aging Booker T? Kofi "Lost In The Shuffle But Good For Highspots" Kingston? R-"My Promos Sometimes Make Less Sense Than Jimmy Snuka" Truth? And Santino "Glorified Jobber Whose Sock Puppet Is More Over Than He Is" Marella? Seriously, this match was over before it even started."

"...what really pissed me off is that the match concluded with the love affair between Zack Ryder and Eve Torres."

"...what has become of Zack Ryder?.... no rematch for the US title. No feud with Kane for almost killing him. But instead, he's chasing a piece of ass that is way out of his league. Not to mention, Eve had a prominent spot in the divas tag match, so why was she allowed to get double duty by appearing in this match only to attack Zack's nut sack? Prime example of WWE creative making zero sense and throwing shit against the wall just to see if it sticks."

This post is sponsored in part by Hudson County Pest Control & Nassau County Apartments

Big Show Gets Big Moment, But Put Focus Back on Rhodes

*Excerpts from DieHard Pro Wrestling's "...And Justice For Brawl" Blog*

The Big Show finally got his Wrestlemania moment when he defeated champion Cody Rhodes to win the Intercontinental title.

" was one of my favorite original concepts of the year... simplicity at its best! Another prime example of less is in fact more!"

"What made this angle work is that most fans forgot how bad Big Show's Wrestlemania track record really was. He truly never had a real Wrestlemania moment. Before this angle, if you were to ask a fan about any of Big Show's matches at previous Wrestlemanias, they'd be stumped to answer you...It's like anytime Wrestlemania season came around, Big Show got bit by the asshole bug."

"The problem here is that Big Show doesn't need the title as much as Rhodes does, and it would be wise for creative to put it back on him as soon as possible. Remember, this was never really about being a championship match. It was simply about Big Show having his moment."

"Well, the moment happened. Wrestlemania is over. Now we need to get the focus back on bringing value to the title and making Rhodes one of the top stars on the roster... There has been talk of pushing Rhodes to the main event level and having him feud with Randy Orton to set him up for a shot at the heavyweight title. In my opinion, it's a mistake."

"...look at Dolph Ziggler...Got his main event match at the Royal Rumble and has been main eventing house shows with CM Punk across the globe. But after doing the jobs, where is he now? .... pushing him to the top only to knock him back down makes no sense at all. And I fear the same fate for Cody Rhodes."

"In this new WWE creative universe, valid history has no part. They may keep track of how many titles you've won, but your win/loss record is meaningless. When you're wrestling every week and doing jobs for the sake of entertainment or cheap pops, matches become meaningless themselves."

"It's like WWE suffers from severe cases of A.D.D. and short term memory loss....The constant flipping of scripts and rebooting of characters doesn't leave much to build a legacy on. The time line of careers is so botched and flip flopped, you'd think you were watching a Republican GOP race."

"In the end, Big Show finally won his moment. But now that Wrestlemania is over, it's time to focus on the future...and it starts with putting the IC strap back on Cody Rhodes."

This post is sponsored in part by Hudson County Exterminator & Nassau County Rentals

Diva's Match Didn't Need "Extra" Hype

*Excerpts from DieHard Pro Wrestling's "...And Justice For Brawl" Blog*

Kelly Kelly and host of television's Hollywood gossip show Extra, Maria Menounos defeated Divas champion Beth Phoenix and Eve Torres.

"Not much to talk about here. It's the token boobs and booty match of any WWE event."

'I'm glad that the WWE didn't go over the top like they usually do when promoting a celebrity wrestling appearance at Mania.... nothing more than a slap to the face of the talent that works 340 days a year, and I can easily understand John Morrison's position last year..."

"I don't know how many additional PPV buys and newly converted fans the WWE gained last year by having Snooki on the show - but I sure as shit know that they didn't gain anything from having Menounos appear."

"Overall, the match was treated right and offered the divas a deserved spot on the card...the match proved that the girls can in fact wrestle and don't have to be resorted to yearly gimmick matches such as Playboy Pillow Fights and Lumberjack matches."

This post is sponsored in part by Bayside Condos For Sale & New Jersey Insurance Directory

The Monster's Fire Keeps Burning

*Excepts from DieHard Pro Wrestling's "...And Justice For Brawl" Blog

In a surprise to many for a match with minimal build, Kane defeated Randy Orton.

"There was never any real reason for heat between the competitors. It was simply two of the top veteran guys working against each other on the main card."

"Sometimes, drawn out storylines overkill the concept of having an effective match. It compromises the choreography of the match because you have to hit certain spots to make sure the story is properly told. There are times where outside entertainment factors play too much of a role when the match should simply focus on the wrestling."

"Kane needed the win a lot more than Orton did.... Had Kane lost this match, his appeal and effect as a "monster heel" would have been killed."

"The best way to move forward here is to end this feud now. There was no real story or real reason for the program to continue. They are just two guys whose paths crossed at Wrestlemania. One guy lost and the other got his hand, move on!"

This post is sponsored in part by Bayside Condos & Massachusetts Insurance Directory

Smackdown Title Loses All Value in 18 Seconds

*Excerpts from DieHard Pro Wrestling's "...And Justice For Brawl" Blog:*

A new world champion was crowned at Wrestlemania, as 2012 Royal Rumble winner Sheamus defeated defending champion Daniel 18 seconds!!!

"Now this could technically go down as one of the biggest and most surprising Wrestlemania moments of all-time, but I'd categorize it as one of the most insulting and demeaning."

"..the Raw title is the most prestigious championship in all of pro wrestling and no one really gives a shit about the Smackdown title."

"Sure, the office won't say it publicly. They fear the backlash of going on the record and saying, 'He's too small...He has no charisma...He doesn't draw.'"

"A historic moment was at the first Wrestlemania when King Kong Bundy defeated SD Jones in 9 seconds. But it was Bundy squashing a jobber, not a world title match with a guy who can run circles around most of the roster."

"... it's apparent that creative doesn't know how to utilize Daniel Bryan. Now that his title run is over, the chances are slim to none that he will ever regain the strap, let alone the opportunity."

"Unfortunately for Daniel Bryan, pro wrestling is fake...or shall I say "pre-determined"? It doesn't matter how good he is. What matters is how good they make him look with their script-writing. While he has no control over his character or the words that come out of his mouth during his promos, Daniel Bryan's future seems bleak as he resorts to being another one of the creative robots. A championship squash match during the opening of Wrestlemania is a clear indication that creative has nothing left for you."

This post is sponsored in part by Bayside Real Estate & Long Island Insurance Directory