Sports Briefs: as 2014 comes to a close, intensity rising in sports

Eric Fishbin, Sports Editor

MLB Winter Meetings:

 

Although it might be the offseason, now is one of baseball’s best times of year next to October.  With new transactions everyday, it is hard to keep on top of teams. The New York Mets and Yankees have been quiet thus far in the offseason.  However, the Bronx Bombers may have found a replacement for The Captain, Derek Jeter.

Dutchman Didi Gregorius, a 24-year-old shortstop, has been moved from Arizona to the Yankees in a three team deal involving the Tigers.  Last season, Gregorius only missed 2 games and hit 6 HRs and had 27 RBIs.  With the generous dimensions of Yankee Stadium, those numbers should rise.

The only significant acquisition for the Mets has been veteran outfielder Michael Cuddyer.  They are still trying to find a shortstop like Stephen Drew or Jed Lowrie.  Dillon Gee has also been on the market for a while now.

The big boys of the offseason have been the Boston Red Sox.  Adding heavy hitters Pablo Sandoval and Hanley Ramirez as well as strong arms Wade Milley and Rick Porcello.

 

NBA:

 

The ailing Knicks have finally snapped its 10-game skid against the Boston Celtics on Dec. 12  despite verbal altercations between 7-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony and sophomore Tim Hardaway Jr. a few days before.

Kobe Bryant passed Michael Jordan on the all-time scoring list to capture third place on Dec. 12 against the Minnesota Timberwolves.

The Splash Brothers in Golden State are coasting through the NBAs top conference and are on a 16 game winning streak as of Dec. 15.

 

NCAAF:

 

Well, all the anticipation and analysis of “Who’s In” is over.  The stage is set for the inaugural college football playoff.  Capturing the one seed are the Alabama Crimson Tide who will play the four seed Ohio State Buckeyes.  The Tide won the SEC Conference in dominant form, beating Missouri 42-13.  The Buckeyes badgered the Badgers and cruised to a 59-0 shutout win over Wisconsin.  This will be the Allstate Sugar Bowl.  On the other side of the bracket, the second seeded mighty Oregon Ducks and 2014 Heisman winner, Marcus Mariota, will go against Florida State with 2013 Heisman winner, Jameis Winston, in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.  The CFP National Championship game will be on Jan. 12 in Arlington Texas.

Some controversy surrounded the decision of who was in the top four.  Both the TCU Horned Frogs and Baylor Bears felt snubbed out of a deserved spot.  The Big 12 co-champions each had impressive résumés, but the Buckeyes got the nod.

 

NFL: 

 

As we near the end of the season, playoffs are right around the corner.  In the NFC, there is close competition in each division; 10 teams are vying for 6 spots.

Both the Jets and the Giants won meaningless games on Dec. 14 against the Titans and Redskins, respectively.

Adrian Peterson’s appeal of his suspension has been denied by an independent arbiter, and the running back plans to sue the NFL.  Peterson has also considered retirement afterwards.  If he chooses to retire, Peterson would get back into the real estate business in Texas.

 

NHL:

 

Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!  Yes!

Believe it, Long Island, your New York Islanders are sitting pretty atop the Metropolitan Conference with the Pittsburgh Penguins.  Brock Nelson is leading the NHL in power play goals, John Tavares and Kyle Okposo lead the team with 26 points, and Jaroslav Halak was named First Star of the Week two weeks ago.  A brief three game skid was snapped on Dec. 13 against the Chicago Blackhawks led by goals by Cal Clutterbuck, Okposo, and Lubomir Visnovsky.

The New York Rangers are in fourth in the Metropolitan Division, and are led by scoring sensation Rick Nash who is in second for scoring in the league.  Veteran defenseman Kevin Klein suffered a scary injury which took a portion of his ear off, but despite that, he scored the game winning goal that night.

 

NCAAB:

 

Through a quick six weeks of college basketball, the Kentucky Wildcats have remained atop the Associated Press rankings.  Highlighted by lottery-pick hopefuls in Karl-Anthony Towns and Willie Caulie-Stein, the Cats passed its first test by defeating the North Carolina handily.

Right behind the Wildcats are Coach K’s Duke Blue Devils.  As one of the youngest teams in college basketball, Duke makes up for its inexperience with versatile talent and, not to mention, more than seven McDonald’s All-Americans.  In one of the most highly anticipated games of the early season, Duke tipped off against the Badgers of Wisconsin at the Kohl Center.  Jahlil Okafor handled Frank Kaminsky down low, as Tyrus Jones led the scoring with 22 points and a 64% shooting percentage.