Week 14 Recap: Sanchez Survives, Barely

Another week, another poor Sanchez performance, another win.  The Jets squeaked out a win against a terrible team for the 2nd week in a row.  I know they say a “win is a win,” but this is nothing to get excited about, Jets fans.  At 6-7, the talk of playoffs will now only get louder, but its laughable to think this team has any shot.

Sanchez did just enough to not lose.  But he tried his best when he had his league-leading 11th fumble.  Combined his INTs, he on his own has more turnovers than about 6 or 7 TEAMS, according to the announcer.  He made one- really, one – big play, the entire game, and that was the throw to Cumberland on the last drive.  A throw he almost overthrew.  And the Jets showed how much confidence they have in their $20MM QB on that last drive, by handing the ball off on 3rd and 8, which put them in the desperate situation which almost resulted in a loss.

Rex and co. proved time and time again this game that they have no confidence in Sanchez when they needed a big play in the air.  Why start him if that’s the case?  Even more puzzling, they made McElroy inactive, and listed Tebow as the 2nd string.  Can someone please explain that to me?  You energize your team and fan base last week with McElroy, only to make him inactive this week?  What if Sanchez really, really struggled?  You then go to Tebow – a guy you’ve already demonstrated that you also have no faith in as a starting QB.  It’s a mind-boggling decision from an organization that has no clue right now.  This is 1980s Jets stuff, people.

You will hear a lot this week about the decrepid offense that the Jets are rolling out.  And I don’t disagree.  With Keller out and Stephen Hill hurt early on, the Jets were playing a number of guys on offense who could barely crack the practice squad early in the year.  Sanchez isn’t exactly surrounded by pro-bowl talent.  But that said, he’s still missing receivers, holding on to the ball too long and making terrible decisions.  And that has almost nothing to do with the players around him.

The defense played a stellar game again.  But one has to wonder about the last 2 weeks – was that great defense or terrible competition?  Probably both.  Cromartie and Landry continue to be the defensive MVPs, and today was Quinton Coples’ coming out party.  He absolutely levelled Chad Henne in the 4th quarter, and his pressure on the last play of the game caused the last INT.  With he and Wilkerson coming on strong this year, and the return of Revis next year, the Jets have the makings of a very, very good defense for 2013. And they will need it.

This win shouldn’t give you any additional confidence that the team is improving.  For the 4th time this year, the Jets were shutout in the first half.  Shut out by a team that has won 2 games this year, and who’s defense ranks near last in the league.  The offense has been reduced to one that can’t do anything, but run.  And at the end of the game, when the Jags were stacking 8 guys on the line, we couldn’t run the ball.  Why they didn’t do that earlier makes no sense.  You can be sure Tennessee will do that next week.

So Sanchez will be the starter again next week.  And the offense will struggle, mightily.  Tennessee is a tougher team than Jax, and it’s not an easy place to win on the road – on Monday Night Football, no less.  If the defense gives up more than 10-14 points, I don’t think we have a chance.  And they have two big-time playmakers in Chris Johnson and Kenny Britt.  Sanchez is going to have to make plays.

What’s most depressing about all of this is that it is 100% guaranteed that Sanchez will be back next year, and will be the starter.  Rich Cimini of Espn.com did his usual phenomenal analysis of Sanchez’ contract in this article.  Bottom line – he is uncuttable and untradeable.  The cap hit is enormous.  Unless Sanchez decides to take a massive pay cut to get out of the cauldron that is New York, he’s here next year.  So I hope you like a lot of what you’ve been seeing the past few weeks…

6-7, one win away from .500.  The Jets, who had the most difficult schedule in the NFL across the first 12 games (still, no excuse), now have the easiest schedule the rest of the way.  9-7 is conceivable, but something tells me that they will find a way to lose at least one of those games.  And that “they” is our starting QB.

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It’s Deja Vu All Over Again

This is really starting to get old.  Another week, another loss, and more controversy. The game on Sunday was a joke.  And nothing epitomized the Jets season like the 3 play sequence in the 2nd quarter where the Jets drove to the red zone and brought in Tebow on 3rd and goal to hopefully take it in for the TD.  By now, you know what ensued – Keller was called for a terrible false start penalty which led to Sanchez coming in to replace Tebow, who then threw one of the worst INTs of his career – and that’s saying a lot.  Everyone knows you can’t pump fake when you are that close to the end zone – there are too many defenders in a tight area; it negates the impact – but Sanchez pump faked twice, never taking his eyes off of his intended receiver.  It was a rookie mistake made by a 4th year QB.  Sadly, that pass did not rank as Sanchez’ worst of the year – this one did.  How is this guy still our starter?

QB Change? Not Likely.

The week that followed was typical Jets.  Rex continued to stand by his “franchise” QB even though the rest of the sports world is calling for a change.  An unnamed source inside the Jets locker room called Tebow “terrible,” which led to Ryan calling that player a coward.  A former Jet, Rob Turner (a back-up offensive lineman), who now plays for the Rams, called the Jets the “Chicago Cubs of football.”  And through it all, many players remain confident that the Jets, at 3-6, can still make the playoffs. Right. (that said, in 2009, the Jets were 4-6 and then went on to the AFC championship game).

A loss this week against the Rams would be the final dagger for any fan or player who still has hope for this season.  Even with an “easy” schedule ahead, at 3-7, the Jets would have to run the table to even have a chance at the playoffs.  And with New England coming to town on Thanksgiving night, that ain’t happening.

In the next few months, A lot will be written about what has to change with the Jets. I’ve been saying for some time that it starts with Tannenbaum.  After a great start to his career as GM, it’s been all downhill.  His strategy of trading away draft picks to move up in the draft has not paid off, and if you like at the Jets’ recent drafts, you would be hard pressed to find a ton of impact players (Wilkerson and Kerley are the exceptions with Coples, Hill and Davis showing promise).  This review of his performance in another Jets blog is pretty sobering:  http://tinyurl.com/akj8q8z.

It’s Time for Him to Go

 

I’ll still be watching on Sunday, but it’s hard to get excited about this team when you have no faith in the leadership.  To hear Rex and Tannenbaum stand by Sanchez and the rest of the team week after week is getting old.  There is no accountability and no real commitment to winning.  Thankfully, for the first time, Woody Johnson expressed some anger about the 3-6 record.  We can only hope that if the losing continues, he will force the needed changes.

On a lighter note:

  • Grantland last week ran one of the funniest stories about Tebow that I’ve ever read – it is a must read.
  • Huge congrats to R.A. Dickey on his Cy Young.  There hasn’t been much for us Mets/Jets fans to be happy about in 2012, but Dickey was one of them.  You would be hard pressed to find a more thoughtful and sincere player in sports in right now.  If the Mets don’t sign him to an extension, there should be a mutiny.
  • The Knicks are off to one of their best starts in franchise history.  Even with the loss to Memphis last night, you have to be excited about what’s happening at the Garden.  I grew up watching Knicks teams that were known for their intimidating defense – Oakley, Mason, Starks, Ewing, etc. – and it’s nice to see a return to that form.  Woodson deserves some kind of medal for even getting Carmelo to play defense.  If this team stays healthy (a BIG if), they will be a force to be reckoned with deep into the playoffs.

On a more personal note, it was a week of both loss and life in my family.  My paternal grandmother of 88 years left us last week.  Nearly 45 years ago, she and my grandfather decided to purchase season tickets for this “new football team” and a family of Jets fans were born.  She spent many a cold day in Shea Stadium with my grandfather and father, watching Joe Namath, Don Maynard, Richard Todd, Ken O’Brien, etc..  And while she undoubtedly saw more losses than wins, she always remained a loyal fan.  I’m sure she’ll be watching on Sunday from wherever she is.

Just a few days after her passing, the newest Jet fan in the family was born, as my sister gave birth to Luke Charles.  The circle of life and Jets fandom continues…

Week 8 Recap: Franchise Altering Loss

This was not just another loss.  This was a loss that will change the fate of the Jets franchise for the next few years.  Mark Sanchez wasn’t just bad, he was incompetent. The preparation wasn’t just bad, it was completely missing.  The execution wasn’t just bad, it was embarrassing.  Everyone in the franchise had a hand in this loss, and if I’m Woody Johnson, major changes have to happen.

Where to start?  The offense was putrid.  Sanchez looked lost from the start and did nothing to make you believe that he can still be the franchise QB that we thought he’d become.  Today marked the beginning of the end of the Sanchise era.  No question. Many of the fans, including me, were clamoring for Tebow to enter the game.  But I do understand why they didn’t put him in.  The controversy that would create would be overwhelming, and you don’t just institute a Tebow offense in the 4th quarter.   But if he (or Greg McElroy) is not the starting QB after the bye week, then something is wrong.  Take the 2 weeks and make the change that has to happen.  Nobody, I mean nobody can have confidence in Sanchez at this point.  If I’m a Jets RB or receiver, I’m quietly hoping for this change.  Tebow time in New York has arrived.

His Last Time as the Sanchise?

The defense was not much better.  The only player that showed up was Laron Landry (he’s a guy they should definitely re-sign, although I’m not so sure he would want to be back).  They were flat from the start, committed stupid penalties (welcome back, bad Cromartie) and were beaten by a backup QB and a bunch of 2nd string receivers.  They have the players, but don’t have the heart, the execution or the prep.  A lot of that falls on the coaches.  I’ve never been a Mike Pettine fan and he may be one of the first coaches to go in the offseason (that is if Rex survives).

And Special Teams?  This was supposed to be Mike Westhoff’s swan song – his yearlong victory lap.  Instead it’s turning out to be a nightmare.  An onside kick recovered by the Dolphins, a blocked punt for a TD, a blocked FG and poor coverage on kickoffs.  What used to be a unit that the Jets could always rely on, has now become a liability.

This is officially the low point of the Rex Ryan era.  It was all fun and games for the first 2 years, and a dominant running game and defense masked the many deficiencies that our supposed franchise QB had.  The disappearance of that running game and defense has exposed Sanchez, and more alarmingly Rex, for the player/coach they really are.  This was one of the most poorly played games of the Rex Ryan era – on all sides of the ball.  The fact that it happened in a “must-win” divisional game at home is beyond comprehension.

Rex will have a lot of questions to answer this week.  How could a team be outplayed this badly at home – for the second time this season?  As a season ticket holder, I demand answers and changes.  If you were one of the fans there today, who came out (and spent hundreds of dollars) despite the fact that Frankenstorm is looming just hours away,  you should be livid.  It’s one thing to lose, it’s another thing to be outclassed and flat out embarrassed.  There was NOTHING positive you could take from this game.  I repeat – NOTHING.  The team was undisciplined, unprepared and flat.  The yapping all week proved to be that – talk.  This team is all talk and no action. And that falls on the coach.  When they were winning, you could deal with that.  Rex has lost this team and for the first time, his leadership and future as coach is in question.

And of course, Tannenbaum should get as much of the blame as anyone.   The Tebow trade has been a disaster.  You trade 2 draft picks for the guy and then never use him?  This was the week that the Jets were going to “empty the tank” when it comes to Tebow.  His stat line?  1 rush for 2 yards.  ONE RUSH.  That’s emptying the tank?  If we had a true “backup” QB, he would have been in there by now.  The offense is lacking too many playmakers and there is almost no depth on this roster.  I would be shocked if he’s back as GM next year.

And so the agony that is life as a Jets fan continues.  Another week, another low point.   Anyone want to buy some tickets?

A Picture Speaks…

Squish the Fish

That was always one of my favorite pre-game chants for the annual Jets-Dolphins showdown at the Meadowlands.  I haven’t been back for one of these games since they moved to the new stadium, but if the trash talk this week is any indication, the pre-game scene in the parking lot should be just as intense and fun.

Much has been written about how improved the Dolphins are since the Jets last faced them.  And while they have evened their record at 3-3, those wins have come against the Raiders and Rams (a game they barely won) at home and Cincy on the road.  I don’t doubt they are an improved team, but this should be a winnable game for the Jets.  Our run D has improved every week since the Dolphins’ game, and if we shut down Bush, we should be able to force rookie QB Ryan Tannehill into mistakes.  Sanchez will have to make some big throws, just like last week, and he’ll be under more pressure.  But with Keller back (he missed the last game) and Kerley playing like a #1 receiver, I expect another solid performance in the air.  Let’s just hope they get the game in before Frankenstorm arrives…

Another New York team made big news this week: the New York Islanders.  I grew up in a family of diehard Islander fans – my parents had season tixx throughout the 80s and were lucky enough to watch four Stanley Cup victories in a row – one of the few true dynasties in sports.  Since that time however, it’s been pretty much misery.  Numerous owners, over 10 head coaches, and a lot of bad hockey.  Making matters worse, they played in one of the worst arenas in all of sports – Nassau Coliseum.  And while I have fond memories of the place, it’s fallen apart in recent years and was generally regarded as a dump (much like the former home of my beloved Mets – Shea Stadium).

So it was very welcome news this week to learn that the Islanders would be moving to Brooklyn.  While the news was surely met with mixed emotions by many Long Island fans, this move is a great one for the franchise.  They get the stability and world-class arena they’ve been craving, and the team stays in New York (there were serious threats of a move to Kansas City, etc.).  The team will now be able to attract marquee free agents and with a young and promising core, this will be a team to be reckoned with again in the near future – if the lockout ever ends, of course.

Somewhat coincidentally, a fellow Jets and Islanders fan (but alas, Yankees fan) this week sent me this clip – it hit a little too close to home.  If you are a Jets/Islanders/Mets fan, you must watch this:  Are You a JIM?

Kick-off is in 4 hours….Let’s Go Jets!

Week 7 Recap: It Still Goes Down As a Loss

Final Score (OT):
Pats: 29
Jets: 26

Reading all of the analysis in today’s papers and on the web, it would be easy to lose sight of the fact that nobody – NOBODY – gave the Jets even a remote chance of winning.  The fact that we are even talking about how close they came to winning this game, needs to be reflected upon for a moment.

Okay, enough reflection.  The reality is that the Jets blew a golden opportunity to pull off a major upset, and take sole possession of first place.  They had every opportunity to win this game at the end of regulation, but instead played very conservatively on both sides of the ball, and it burned them.  So much for Rex’s proclamation that you always “play to win the game.”  Last night at the end of the game, they played not to lose, or to tie at best.  It was a valiant effort, but there are no moral victories.  And at the end of the season, it still goes down as a loss.

Looking back on the game, there were I think a few critical decisions & plays that came back to haunt them:

  • On 3rd and 1 at the 2 yard line, they decided to throw a quick slant to Chaz Schillens, instead of running it up the gut.  This was an absolutely perplexing call.  For starters, your workhorse back, Shonn Greene, has been nearly perfect on 3rd and 1 situations all year long, including a previous conversion in that game.  Secondly, you have Tim Tebow – one of the best in the game in these situations.  This is why you traded 2 draft picks for him – for this very situation.  Finally, if you are Rex/Tony and you really think it calls for a pass, why in the name of Leon Hess are you passing to your no. 3 receiver, and a guy who has about 10 catches all year at this point?   Somebody please answer these questions.

    The Closest He’s Come to “Tebowing”

  • The final drive of the game – obviously there was the drop by Stephen Hill.  That was an absolute killer.  Santonio Holmes makes that catch.  But even so, the Jets were very conservative on much of that drive, which started at the Pats’ 20 yard line.  The Jets clearly felt that a 3 point lead with only 1 timeout for New England was a lower risk scenario vs. going for the 7 points, not getting it, and then leaving more time and timeouts for the Pats.  What happened next?  Tom Brady marched down the field in 90 seconds and set up a game-tying FG.
  • Employing a 3-man rush – On the last two drives, the Jets went heavy in pass coverage, and light on their pass rush.  Big mistake.  Brady carved up the Jets all day when they rushed 3 passers.  When they rushed 4 or more, his completion percentage really dropped.  How did the coaches not know this by the 4th quarter and make the appropriate adjustments?
  • Sanchez’ turnovers – all 3 were killers.  The 1st quarter fumble & safety was only partially his fault, and they survived it.  The INT in the 2nd quarter was one of those throws that just leaves you shouting at the television (apparently there were Boston area beat writers in the press box who were publicly saying that he was the “worst QB” in the league right after that), and then of course, the fumble in OT.  That was his 3rd turnover in OT since 2009 – 2 more than any other player in the league in that timeframe.  That’s called “not clutch.”

    The Definition of “Not Clutch”

A quick recap on the performances:

QB: As I wrote earlier, you live with Sanchez and you die with Sanchez.  His performance is so inconsistent, it’s maddening.  Get this: he went 16 for 20 with 190 yards and a TD after halftime, including that beautiful game-tying 92 yard drive in the 4th quarter.  Those are insanely good numbers on the road against New England.  But then of course there were the killer turnovers, including the game-ender.  How do you coach for this?  How do you know which Sanchez you can rely on in a given drive, let alone an entire game? Some will say these are growing pains.  Many, like me, increasingly believe that he’s no longer the answer.

I Wish I Were You

And the Tim Tebow experiment continues to fail miserably.  Just when you thought the Jets figured out to use him last week, they regress.  He was on the filed for less than 10 snaps and he wasn’t used on that key 3rd down situation at the 2 yard line.  Wasn’t this the reason you brought him here?  And while I love the 3 and 4 yard pick-ups he gets, can we please let the guy throw the ball?  Just once, to keep the defense honest.  I know I’m no expert here, but doesn’t everyone in the building know he’s going to run?

RBs:  A solid showing against a very tough run D.  Give credit to the Jets – they found a way to pick up tough yards when they needed it.  At the end of the game they were down to one healthy RB – rookie & former practice squad player, Jonathan Grimes.  Not exactly ideal.  Greene and McKnight put in gritty performances and I’m liking Lex Hilliard more and more.  It’s no surprise that with the return of a respectable run game, the Jets offense has looked better the past 2 weeks.

Receivers:  Hello Jeremy Kerley!  I think we’ve found ourselves a starting WR for years to come.  He was everywhere yesterday, making big play after big play including many key 1st downs.  I like his game.  And welcome back Dustin Keller.  7 receptions for 93 yards and a TD – yesterday showed how much we missed him.  As for Stephen Hill…we knew there would be days like this.  He’s going to mature into a big-time receiver in this league, but there will be growing pains along the way.

Welcome Back

Defense:  Despite the last two drives, you have to give these guys a lot of credit.  Everyone thought that this unit would get torched by the Pats, but they hung in there.  It was a frenetic pace, and the Pats did everything they could to keep them off balance.  Wilkerson and Coples had another solid game – these two will get better and better.  I loved rookie LB Demario Davis’ game (did we see the end of the Bart Scott era last night?) – he’s fast and a solid tackler.  And the secondary had a really solid game – no major blown coverages and they kept Welker (Isaiah Trufant?!) and Lloyd in check.  It was inevitable that Gronkowski would get his catches (the man is just unreal – a person that big should not be that fast with the ability to make diving catches in the end zone), but they did a decent job containing him and Hernandez.   Cro dropped a game-changing INT and Wilson was flagged for a questionable pass INT call in the 4th quarter, but overall solid performance.

Beast Mode

Special Teams:  I really thought Mike Westhoff was going to destroy someone on the sideline.  The kickoff return for a TD took away any momentum the Jets had after their first TD.  That team did atone for that mistake with the fumble they recovered at the end of the game.  And while he had a great game receiving, I’m not sure what Kerley is thinking when he fair catches the ball inside the 5 yard line – isn’t the golden rule that you let it go if it’s inside the 10?  Nick Folk was money – someone remarked he’s the most consistent player on the team.  Sad, but true.

Coaching:  First off – credit to Rex and co. for a great game plan and phenomenal preparation.  This team was not intimidated, and they had a plan to attack the defense and stop Brady.  And that plan, despite some shoddy execution by Sanchez and others, worked well for 3 1/2 quarters.  They Jets were aggressive on offensive and selectively aggressive on defense.  But then they got scared.  Scared of turnovers, and scared to get burned by Brady.  So they went conservative on offense and defense.  And they paid for it.

I know it’s easy to second guess – everyone is an expert on Monday.  But as a Jet fan, you’ve seen this happen so many times.  The team fights and claws its way back into the game, only to get conservative when victory is so close.  Rex has to know that while he has a very good defense, it is not a great defense.  It’s not a shutdown defense.  And asking any defense to limit Tom Brady – the master of the 2 minute drill and an offense built around that very scenario – to just 3 points when the game is on the line, is frankly asking too much.  Rex should have known better.

So, where does that leave us.  3-4, which is where I thought we’d be after the post-Revis predictions.  All in all, not terrible, especially when you consider that there are just three – yes, three – teams who are over .500 in the AFC right now.  That’s crazy.

It does make a victory next week pretty darn important.  Division game, at home, against the Dolphins.  A sweep of the season series would give them a huge advantage and would put them at .500 going into their bye week.  The Jets then hit the road for two tough road games against Seattle and St. Louis, before returning home to see the Pats on Thanksgiving evening.  That is going to be a fun one.

Who are these Jets?  Are they the “same old Jets” that we often cite and refer to?  Or are they a team of fighters who are just starting to come into their own, as Rex would have you think?  While, I still don’t think we can answer that, I think it’s safe to say that they still have a lot of work to do if they have any serious hope of making a real Super Bowl run.  Still too many mistakes, especially by their “franchise” QB, and too many holes on the roster.  But at least they are making it interesting and fun to watch on Sundays.   Because hey, it could be worse – you could be a Cleveland Browns fan.

Hi, I’m Evil. Thanks for Playing!

Just Another Reason to Hate the Pats

You live with Sanchez, you die with Sanchez

It’s 12:50am here in London, which means the full post will have to wait until tomorrow.   But what a heartbreaker.  Ultimately, it came down to the fact that the Patriots have a Hall of Fame QB and we have a QB who, despite a valiant effort in the 4th quarter, proved that he’s not capable of the big win anymore.  Too many missed throws, terrible decisions, dumb INTs and lots of points left off the scoreboard.

Nobody gave the Jets much of a chance in this one, so big kudos to Rex and the defense for keeping them in this one.  There is some hope left in the season.  But unfortunately a lot of the hope still has to rest on the arm of one Mark Sanchez, and he proved once again that he’s the thing holding this team back.

Full recap to come tomorrow…

Another Day, Another Headline

Is anyone else tired of reading about the Jets?  There’s not a day that goes by where there isn’t another headline about them on ESPN.com and other national news media.  Woody Johnson speaks at a Mitt Romney event – headline.  Tim Tebow says that he wishes he had more goal line carries – headline.  Rex says that Sanchez is the starter “this week” – headline.  It’s ridiculous and I can only imagine how annoying it must be the rest of the football fan base.  You have teams like Houston who are 5-0, and other great stories like the Colts rallying to beat the Packers in the same week when their coach is diagnosed with Leukemia.  But no, the Jets still grab the headlines.   Here’s a quick recap of what happened:

  • Terrell Owens tweeted that the Jets are “more desperate than him.”
  • The injuries continued to mount up – NT Kenrick Ells is out 4-6 weeks, and Safety Eric Smith was hurt in practice and will also miss time.
  • WFAN commentator and self-professed Jets fan Adam Schein predicted that the Mark Sanchez era is coming to an end.  It’s a pretty damning but convincing article.  I have lots of respect for Schein, so this was a sobering read.
  • Actor Kevin James even chimed in saying Tebow should start in this video clip and article.  And when Kevin James speaks, you LISTEN.
  • Revis was finally put on season-ending injured reserve.  Not a surprise of course, but now it’s official.
  • Tim Tebow obsessed about his spot on the Jets depth chart (okay, not really, but still  a funny read).

Look at Those Guns…

You may have noticed that there was no recap this week.  The combination of a Monday Night game (Tuesday morning here in London) sandwiched in between two epic Radiohead concerts (where on Tuesday night I literally ran into Aaron Paul aka Jesse Pinkman of Breaking Bad fame) made for tough blogging conditions.  So I decided to skip the write-up this week, but will be back to the regular schedule starting this Sunday.

Speaking of which, I think this is a game that the Jets will win.  The Colts are coming off a very emotional victory at home for their coach, but this is still a team we should match up well against.  A rookie QB on the road usually makes for tough going, even though Andrew Luck looks to be the real deal.  The Colts run D is not good (a nice break for the Jets after facing the top 4 rush defenses in the league, in a row) so look for Greene and Powell to get on track (and can we PLEASE give McKnight a few carries and the occasional screen pass!).  But most importantly, Sanchez gets back his top target and safety blanket, Dustin Keller (Stephen Hill as well).   If he underperforms and we lose, that will almost guarantee that we will see the start of the Tim Tebow era in New York (and perhaps he’ll even get an entire drive this week).  And then the madness will really begin.   Time to step up, Sanchise.

My predictions, Jets: 27, Colts: 17

Not Looking Over His Shoulder, Yet…

Finally, a big congrats to the DC area baseball teams.  Having lived in DC for a number of years, I know how starved that city was for quality baseball.  What a tough ending for the O’s and especially the Nats, but both teams are built for future success, so hopefully they’ll be back next year.  In the meantime, I’m pulling for the Tigers (because who really wants to see the Yankees, Giants or Cards win yet another pennant.  Bor-ing).