A look at the 2017 New York Mets

The New York Mets are coming off of back-to-back playoff seasons, but, as is often the case in sports, the focus for everybody involved with the franchise is to take it a step further and win the team’s first World Series crown since 1986.

Unfortunately, last year was a letdown from the year before. In 2015, the Mets played in their fifth World Series and first in 15 years, where they were defeated by the Kansas City Royals in five games. Although another playoff appearance followed, marking the first time since the 1999 and 2000 campaigns that the Mets have played into the postseason, it only lasted one game.

New York snuck into the playoffs after finishing the regular season with an 87-75 record, the same mark as the San Francisco Giants, while both of those teams were a game ahead of the St. Louis Cardinals. As a result, the Mets and Giants met in the wild card game, and Madison Bumgarner quickly quieted the Citi Field crowd in helping lead San Francisco to a 3-0 win.

The regular-season record was just three games less than the 2015 National League champions earned, but that was enough to keep them from repeating their division-title winning campaign. That provided them with a much more challenging route through the playoffs, which was not navigated.

Many believe that pitching troubles contributed to the team’s fortunes taking a turn for the worse in 2016. Poor performances from the mound combined with injuries to starting pitchers resulted in 12 different throwers starting a game that campaign. Only one, Noah Syndergaard, started at least 30.

The offense was hit by the injury bug too as David Wright and Lucas Duda both suffered injuries. Meanwhile, fans were looking for Michael Conforto to start becoming a mainstay in the outfield, but he struggled, only hitting at a .220 clip and ended up spending a bit of time with the Las Vegas 51s instead.

But there were plenty of positives in 2016 as well. Both Syndergaard and Bartolo Colon excelled, Syndergaard with a 14-9 record and a 2.60 ERA and Colon with 15-8 mark and an ERA of 3.43. However, Colon departed for Atlanta in the offseason. Meanwhile, Jose Reyes turned in a solid season, recording a .267 batting average after having started the campaign with Colorado’s AAA affiliate, the Albuquerque Isotopes.

Heading into the 2017 campaign, many prognosticators stated that if New York’s pitching arms can remain strong and not get injured, the team should be able to return to their division-winning ways and then make a deep postseason run, hopefully to the World Series and maybe even to a championship. In other words, most did not believe that much needed to change other than ensuring that the team’s medical staff is not being kept busy working on pitching arms over the season’s six months.

Also important is that right fielder Jay Bruce and center fielder Curtis Granderson provide enough spark with their bat to make up for their lack of defensive skills relative to other outfielders in the game. Duda and Wright need to keep healthy as well while plays such as Neil Walker and Asdrubal Cabrera need to perform as is being expected of them this campaign.

Of course, some criticize the fact that the Mets did not do much with the roster in the offseason, banking on having a healthy 2017 campaign, saying that it was irresponsible and that improvements should have been made to the areas of the team that are currently being held by injury-prone players, and it’s difficult to argue that point. However, David Wright and Yoenis Cespedes are earning more than $40 million combined, which hampers the team’s ability to make too many changes, especially if you’re looking to add competitors who can make a significant difference.

However, heading into a middle-of-May series with the Arizona Diamondbacks, the Mets are 16-20, seven games behind the NL East-leading Washington Nationals (23-13) and four games behind the second wild card, which is currently held by the Milwaukee Brewers (21-17).

Although eight pitchers have already started at least once less than a quarter into the season, three of those have only started one contest apiece (Tommy Milone, Rafael Montero and Adam Wilk), so it doesn’t appear that this has been a serious issue so far. However, the quality of the pitching staff is as the Mets occupy the bottom spot in the entire majors with a team ERA of 4.89.

Of those who have started at least five games, Syndergaard is performing as expected, recording a 3.29 ERA to go with a 1-2 mark while Jacob deGrom and Zach Wheeler have decent ERAs, 4.07 and 4.18. However, Matt Harvey, who many fans used to view as one of the team’s most promising talents, has posted an ERA of 5.63, and Robert Gsellman’s is 7.07.

It doesn’t help that the team’s team batting average of .238 is 20th-best in the majors. Wright has not even remotely been able to overcome the injury bug as he has yet to play a game this season after suffering a shoulder injury in late February. Meanwhile, Duda has not been healthy either, having injured his left elbow during a collision at first base in April. And he has only hit .231 this season.

However, not all of the news is bad as Conforto’s stellar .343 batting average places him sixth among all National League players. He has also shown a bit of power, smashing nine homers and tallying 16 extra-base knocks. The Seattle-born outfielder is well on pace for his best offensive season ever.

Bruce and Granderson have provided mixed results as the former has one of the best batting averages on the team (.274) and has hit a Mets-leading 10 home runs, but the latter has the worst batting average of any regular player on the team (.144).

Although there is time for players having subpar campaigns to turn around their seasons, it is likely time for the Mets front office to start looking for players to trade for in order to make another postseason run. This is especially true for the pitching staff, but offensive players who could help should be considered too.

The New York Rangers Youth Hockey Camp 2016 Session Information

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Avi Weisfogel spends much of his time seeking sleep solutions through dentistry. When he’s not working, Avi Weisfogel enjoys following the New York Rangers hockey team. This year, the team will host a youth hockey camp for their smaller fans.

The Rangers Youth Hockey Camp is part of the team’s Go Skate program, which seeks to educate kids and inspire an interest in the sport. Each year, the program’s combined efforts reach over 10,000 regional children.

The 2016 camp is a week-long training opportunity for players between the ages of 7 and 15 years old. Sessions occur throughout the months of July and August at the team’s official practice facility and run from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. every day. This year’s camp promises to engage learners in age-appropriate training from Rangers alumni, coaching staff, and other local hockey professionals. Students may even get the chance to meet current Rangers players.

New York Rangers Host Hockey Fights Cancer Night

New York Rangers pic
New York Rangers
Image: rangers.nhl.com

A graduate of the New York University College of Dentistry, Dr. Avi Weisfogel has served as co-owner and business instructor at Dental Sleep Masters for the last year. Outside of his professional responsibilities, Dr. Avi Weisfogel is an avid sports fan who holds season tickets for the New York Rangers NHL team.

Throughout the year, the New York Rangers partner with the Garden of Dreams Foundation to hold fundraising and awareness events that benefit children facing challenges or illness. On October 22, 2015, the team participated in the NHL’s annual Hockey Fights Cancer initiative by holding an awareness event during its game against the Arizona Coyotes.

With the support of the Garden of Dreams Foundation, the Rangers hosted several families from Hassenfield Children’s Center at the NYU Langone Medical Center. Before the game, the children participated in a number of stadium experiences, including riding the Zamboni, throwing t-shirts to the crowd, and eating a catered dinner in the stadium lounge. They then joined nearly 20,000 Rangers fans who had gathered to watch the game.

During the awareness night, the Rangers wore special lavender warm-up jerseys and hockey stick tape, which they later auctioned to raise money for the Garden of Dreams Foundation. After the event, the team offered unique merchandise to benefit the entire Hockey Fights Cancer initiative.

Championship History of the Cleveland Browns

Avi Weisfogel, DDS, is the co-founder and owner of Dental Sleep Masters in South Orange, New Jersey. Beyond his activities as a business leader and dentist, Dr. Avi Weisfogel roots for the Cleveland Browns.

Despite having never won a Super Bowl under the National Football League’s (NFL) two-conference system, the Cleveland Browns stand as one of the most successful football franchises in American history. The team got its start during the 1946 All-America Football Conference (AAFC) season and went on to win the inaugural AAFC championship over the New York Yankees. In fact, the Browns won all four AAFC championships before the AAFC was absorbed by the NFL.

In 1950, Cleveland won its fifth consecutive championship, this time with a two-point, come-from-behind victory against the Los Angeles Rams. Between 1951 and 1953, the team would lose three consecutive NFL championships before winning again in 1954 and 1955. The Browns made additional championship appearances in 1957, 1964, and 1965, with the franchise’s eighth and final victory coming in 1964 with a 27-0 win over the Baltimore Colts.

An Overview of the Los Angeles Lakers-Boston Celtics Rivalry

Dr. Avi Weisfogel, owner of Dental Sleep Masters in South Orange, New Jersey, is an avid sports fan. Dr. Avi Weisfogel is particularly supportive of Los Angeles-based teams such as the Dodgers and Lakers.

Since the start of the National Basketball Association (NBA), the league has been defined by two teams, the Los Angeles Lakers and Boston Celtics. The Lakers have earned 16 championship banners, second only to Boston’s 17. With the teams residing in opposite conferences, their postseason matchups have all occurred during the NBA Finals. Despite this limitation, the two franchises have done battle on 12 occasions. The teams first met in the final series of the 1959 NBA Playoffs, with the Celtics earning a 4-0 sweep over the Lakers.

The Celtics continued to get the better of their West Coast rivals during the 1960s. The teams met in the finals six times between 1962 and 1969, with Boston winning on each occasion. The Lakers, however, started to close the gap and pushed three of the series to seven games. The Celtics again edged the Lakers in a seven-game series in 1984 before the Lakers finally bested Boston with a 4-2 series win the following season. The Lakers again scored a 4-2 victory in the 1987 NBA Finals. The teams would not face off again for more than two decades, when Boston reclaimed its edge in the rivalry with a 4-2 win in 2008. Most recently, the Lakers scored their third NBA Finals victory over Boston in a seven-game series to close out the 2010 season.

An Overview of the Four New York Rangers Championships

Avi Weisfogel, owner of Dental Sleep Masters in South Orange, New Jersey, is an avid sports fan. Avi Weisfogel is especially interested in New York hockey and holds season tickets for the New York Rangers.

One of the oldest and most storied franchises in all of professional hockey, the New York Rangers played their first season in the National Hockey League (NHL) between 1926 and 1927. Quickly establishing a tradition of winning, the team reached the post-season 15 times over a period of 16 years. This extended run of success included six trips to the Stanley Cup Finals, with victories coming in 1928, the team’s second season, as well as 1933 and 1940.

After initial success, the Rangers struggled for several seasons starting in 1942. Over the course of 13 years, the team made only two post-season appearances, though the franchise did secure its seventh Stanley Cup appearance in 1950, losing to Detroit in a memorable double overtime game seven. The Rangers fared somewhat better between 1955 and 1966, reaching the semifinals four times. The Rangers truly returned to the post-season picture in 1967, however. The team enjoyed nine consecutive playoff appearances, with an eighth Stanley Cup Final coming in 1972. After a two-year hiatus, the Rangers established themselves as a playoff threat 18 times over the following 20 seasons.

In 1994, the Rangers made their 10th appearance in the Stanley Cup Finals, finally adding a fourth trophy at the expense of the Vancouver Canucks in front of a packed Madison Square Garden Crowd. It had been 54 years since their last Stanley Cup victory. The Rangers have yet to capture a fifth Stanley Cup, though the team has made the post-season nine times in the past decade, reaching the NHL finals as recently as 2014.