Thursday, March 31, 2011

My Guess

Before I make my standings prediction, let's go with the most important prediction: what will Sterling say for a Russel Martin home run? I have two possibilities: Oh, Russel, you DO the Hustle. Or, Oh Russel, you're my favorite Martin! Predictions?

The Phillies can't overcome a lack of hitting and miss the playoffs. I remind you that this is a team that was shut out by the METS 4 times last year.

The Mets show that they have a lineup and enough pitching to stay in race. In mid season, Wilpons sell team to Hank Steinbrenner, who is pissed that younger brother Hal gets all the spotlight and does all the talking for the Yankees. Yammerin' Hank makes all the right midseason moves, acquires Soriano from the Yankees, and the Mets make a push for it
- Hide quoted text -

Reds show the promise of last year was not a false one. They lose first World Series game since the 70's.

Twins get to avoid the Yankees in the playoffs and finally go some place. Win World series by winning all four home games (I guess this means I am predicting an American League victory in the All Star Game).

The Sawx discover that importing a player from San Diego, a la Ed Whitson, is ALWAYS a bad strategy for an Al East team.

Here's the National League:

Who else is in this division?

Who else is in this division?
Wild Card: Mets

Giants over Mets in 5
Reds over Braves in 5
Reds over Giants in 6


Blue Jays



Wild Card: Yanks
Rangers over Yanks in 4
Twins over Rays in 5
Twins over Rangers in 6

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Challenge Accepted

I applaud my good friend for throwing down a challenge which he must know he can't win.  The Brewers of 2011 are the Mariners of 2010 (except they won't be quite as painful to watch and won't have the Cy Young winner at year's end).  I'm hearing lots of hype, but remember that the Brew Crew finished 16 games behind the Reds a year ago.  I don't see them making up all that ground in 2011.  I'm also not ready to write off the defending champs and their rotation.  I'm not sure how the Phillies are going to be two games worse than they were last season, so I have them as the only squad to hit 100 wins.  Other than that, our numbers are pretty close, so it should be interesting.  Also, think I deserve 100 bonus points if I correctly predict the one-game playoff between Atlanta and Colorado for the NL Wild Card.

Either way, here are the correct answers (2010 final record and division finish in parentheses):

American League
1. Boston Red Sox: 97-65 (89-73, 3rd)
2. New York Yankees: 93-69 (95-76, 2nd)
3. Tampa Bay (Devil) Rays: 84-78 (96-66, 1st)
4. Toronto Blue Jays: 79-83 (85-77, 4th)
5. Baltimore Orioles: 70-92 (66-96, 5th)

1. Minnesota Twins: 93-69 (94-68, 1st)
2. Chicago White Sox: 90-72 (88-74, 2nd)
3. Detroit Tigers: 79-83 (81-81, 3rd)
4. Cleveland Indians: 64-98 (69-93, 4th)
5. Kansas City Royals: 58-104 (67-95, 5th)

1. Oakland Athletics: 87-75 (81-81, 2nd)
2. Los Angeles (nee Anaheim) Angels: 86-76 (80-82, 3rd)
3. Texas Rangers: 85-77 (90-72, 1st)
4. Seattle Mariners: 71-91 (61-101, 4th)

National League
1. Philadelphia Phillies: 101-61 (97-65, 1st)
2. Atlanta Braves: 89-74 (91-71, 2nd)
3. New York Mets: 80-82 (79-83, 4th)
4. Florida Marlins: 76-86 (80-82, 3rd)
5. Washington Nationals: 71-91 (69-93, 5th)

1. Cincinnati Reds: 93-69 (91-71, 1st)
2. Milwaukee Brewers: 84-78 (77-85, 3rd)
3. St. Louis Cardinals: 81-81 (86-76, 2nd)
4. Houston Astros: 73-89 (76-86, 4th)
5. Chicago Cubs: 70-92 (75-87, 5th)
6. Pittsburgh Pirates: 55-107 (57-105, 6th)

1. San Francisco Giants: 91-71 (92-70, 1st)
2. Colorado Rockies: 89-73 (83-79, 3rd)
3. San Diego Padres: 84-78 (90-72, 2nd)
4. Los Angeles Dodgers: 76-86 (80-82, 4th)
5. Arizona Diamondbacks: 62-100 (65-97, 5th)

Colorado Rockies over Atlanta Braves in one-game playoff

American League Division Series
Boston Red Sox over Oakland Athletics (3-0)
Minnesota Twins over New York Yankees (3-2)

National League Division Series
Philadelphia Phillies over San Francisco Giants (3-1)
Colorado Rockies over Cincinnati Reds (3-1)

American League Championship Series
Boston Red Sox over Minnesota Twins (4-1)

National League Championship Series
Philadelphia Phillies over Colorado Rockies (4-0)

World Series
Philadelphia Phillies over Boston Red Sox (4-1)

Two things: 1) I don't want to hear any nonsense from Yankee fans that I didn't pick them to win it all.  My wedding cake was an interlocking "NY", and 2) I like my steak medium-rare.

Winning, duh.

Pre Opening Day Predictions & A Challenge

I know what you all want. You want another set of predictions for the way the MLB season will play out this year. Well let me save you the time of watching all of the games. The Yankees win it in the end. However, to make it fun and see if I'm right, I challenge the newly married Starving Waiter and the same old Grau Geist to a stand off. Post your own predictions! We can do a points system to see who’s the best. Let's use a system I’m going to make up on the spot (literally). For every place you’re off (you say the Mariners will finish 4th and they finish first) – its minus 5 points. For every game you’re off, it is minus a point (you think the sox will win 100 games, and they win 99 or 101, its minus 1 for you). Then for playoffs, we’ll simply do if you pick a correct winner of a series, it’s +10. A correct AL/NL winner equals +20 and correct WS winner, +30. The man with the most points (or least negative points most likely), like in golf, will win.

Wait, you think you can do better? Challenge accepted. If anyone else not a writer for this blog wants to get in on this, you’re more than welcome to copy the following template into a really long message below (or drop me an e-mail before opening day tomorrow at If anyone out there beats me, I will take you to dinner. I will pick the place, but you get a free dinner on me at the end of the regular season (no fast food, real dinner). So come on! It is worth a shot!

AL East
Red Sox: 94-68
Yankees: 93-69
Rays: 88-74
Jays: 80-82
O’s: 74-88

AL Central
Twins: 85-77
Chi Sox: 83-79
Tigers: 83-79
Royals: 70-92
Indians: 67-95

AL West
A’s: 88-74
Rangers: 85-77
Angels: 82-80
M’s: 72-90

NL East
Phillies: 95-67
Braves: 90-72
Mets: 82-80
Marlins: 80-82
Nats: 69-93

NL Central
Brewers: 90-72
Reds: 86-76
Cards: 84-78
Cubs: 78-84
‘Stros: 71-91
Pirates: 62-100

NL West
Rockies: 88-74
Giants: 86-76
Padres: 82-80
Dodgers: 73-89
D-backs: 70-92

ALDS: Rex Sox over Twins, Yanks over A’s
NLDS: Phils over Rockies, Brewers over Braves

ALCS: Yanks over Sox
NLCS: Brewers over Phils

WS: Yanks over Brewers

Seriously – with your picks. I will honor them and buy you dinner if you (while adhering to my made up points system above) beat me by the end of the season. You too writers – I would gladly eat dinner with you guys as long as you return the favor if I win. Oh and click the like button so your friends can do it too.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

4 Sport Buffet

I know it has been awhile. I have broken my new year’s resolution to you all, but for it to have lasted this long was a miracle. I simply haven’t had the time or inspiration at work to hammer one of these out. If I feel like I’m forcing something, it probably isn’t much fun to read either. I actually had an article typed about my views on the NCAA tournament, but I do realize a lot of you that follow it religiously would have laughed at my weak knowledge. So here are my four extended blurbs for the day.

NCAA hoops prove to be the most entertaining thing around for most sports fans right now. Somehow in one of my brackets I picked 12 of these sweet 16 teams, and have a pretty high potential to score a lot more points having my final 4 intact. I think my personal best before this was 9 or 10 with 3 teams in the FF left. If anyone wants to see my bracket, I will gladly send them an autographed copy. Okay fine, I know it isn’t world record winning, but for a guy who starts watching college ball in late February and ends at the end of the tourney, I bet a lot of you are jealous with your busted brackets.

Speaking of the New York Rangers (snuck that in there) – they are on a 5 game win streak after a gritty 1-0 win last night against the Florida Panthers. King Henrik pitched his NHL leading 10th shutout of the season last night and it couldn’t have come at a better time. The Rangers need these wins to assure they at least maintain a #7 ranking going into the playoffs, but ideally can move up to #6 in order to avoid the 1 and 2 seeds in the first round (Flyers and Caps as it stands now - a point away from each other). Rangers hockey isn’t pretty hockey, but the last 5 games they have really woken up and played as a team. I am excited to see if they can upset one of these higher seeds moving towards the postseason.

Baseball is right around the corner. Opening day is happier than Christmas for me and lacks the snow… okay USUALLY lacks the snow. The Yankees are limping in hurting a bit with Granderson most recently straining an oblique. Also, Cervelli broke a foot and won’t be there to start the year as backup. I can imagine Posada being the only backup on the roster to start the season unless Montero shows he can hit in these next few games. I was really looking forward to seeing what this kid Montero was going to look like at the dish only to be disappointed with a bad average and only 2 doubles and 0 HR all spring. I am not too scared as it will work itself out for the club this year. Watch out for Jeter’s game to rebound, Cano to get better as he hits his true prime, and the rotation to exceed expectations (which aren’t that high) – among other things.

Lastly, the NFL is making noise. No, we have no confirmed 2011-12 season yet, BUT we have “fixed” a few things. We will now see more touchbacks due to moving up the kickoff spot (and I’m pretty sure the guys with big legs will be making the occasional "field goal"). Nice work guys – almost got that new CBA worked out I see. The last thing I want to hear as I’m dozing off on my couch is Joshua Cribbs and Devin Hester complaining via cell phone about how they won’t get as many chances to return a kickoff anymore. They had to be C- students at best. I do agree with them, I love kickoff returns - but mostly for those brusing hits they usually take when caught with nowhere to go. Why not just let teams with big leg kickers place the ball on the 20 for the other team and save the time. Oh right, commercial time before and after the kick. Lastly, it has also been said that there is no desire for replacement players if the lockout continues into the regular season. Aw man! I was looking forward to seeing this guy under center again some day.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

A New Yankees Team to be Excited For

With the beloved Andy Pettitte retiring, the aging Posada serving a DH role, Jeter hitting 37 years old this June and coming off his worst statistical season, and Rivera hitting 40 – one needs to get a little excited. Yes, I said excited. The Yankees and their 4 winning teams from 1996-2000 had a lot in common. Their names, in no particular order, were Posada, Pettitte, Jeter, Rivera & Bernie Williams. Also probably the last Yankees to ever wear 20, 46, 2, 42, and 51. Yes, Posada wasn’t the true backup catcher (only 8 games and bat .071) in 1996, but he was there. The core was in place of this young blossoming talent that was drafted or originally signed by the Yanks.

In the early 90’s, the Yankees raised a few solid players and used their funds and a few other prospects as trade bait to build completely around them. With the exception of Tino Martinez and Paul O’Neil, I think you can argue that these “home grown players” have always been the most popular with the fans. Something is just so awesome about saying that you were at the stadium during someone’s rookie season. Then you watched him win a world series - or two - or five. And now, that you are currently watching what may amount to be the last meaningful season, pitch, or at bat of that player. Every time you have seen a player make any play over their entire career – it was for your favorite ball club (let’s forget Andy went to Houston for awhile – like a divorced mother my friends just told me Andy was “away on business” for those three years). While we’re not there yet with Jeter, Posada, or Rivera just yet (knock on wood), we just watched Andy throw his last pitch in pinstripes. The good money is on him getting the biggest ovation at old timer’s day this season.

Before I continue, let me first say that I will miss these guys more than you will. I tend to talk about past games I’ve been to or seen. A lot. Nothing means more to me as a fan than showing someone I not only care now, but I have cared for as long as I can remember. I am so impressed with old timers who say they’ve watched the greats and were at games during the ’61 season where Maris hit home runs. With that said, I am excited to see these current guys go out with their rings, their hall of fame careers, and legacies that I will tell to my children like my father has told me tales of Mantle, Munson, and Jackson. Now, I will say that I am possibly more excited watching some of these kids play than I am watching the same old guys win another series. Yes, I would rather both. It would be great if the old guys and the new guys can win another series. And I know that the odds are that prospects, even when solid players in the minors, aren’t going to be your next franchise player and future hall of famer. Cano, Gardner, Hughes, Nova, Montero and even still Chamberlain look as if they can be the beginning of a new young core.

Cano you may say is not in the same category as the others. True. But neither was Bernie Williams. Bernie was the senior officer of that group. A link to the Mattingly era where a trip to the playoffs was unheard of. He was the one to show success before the other kids showed up to the party. He showed them that it could be done. You can achieve respect from fans and other players as a young player if you just keep working and getting better. Hughes is getting better as he ages and his consistency and longevity over the course of a full season will hopefully improve. We were hoping for Joba to be the next closer, but it seems the Yankees and/or his eating habits have retarded his progress. Still, he has the potential to be completely lights out for the long haul. If he can find that slider every time out and still not fall too much in love with it, he is almost unhittable. Gardner is the only one left with moderate big league success. While he is a completely different breed than anyone else we’ve seen come up in recent times. He definitely has tools the Yankees love. Only batting .280 or so this spring, his OBP is at .500. Who goes to spring training to practice taking walks? I love it. Much less is known about how Nova and even Montero (who may or may not see much action this season) our stud catching prospect will turn out. Nova can turn out to be a solid starter, and Montero could be better than Posada. They both can also fizzle as soon as they get their chances only to be known as the latest to not be able to hack it. (Side note – Nunez looks like he’ll be a fun replacement for Jeter if they don’t trade him and let him blossom. Ramiro Pena has to feel the heat behind him as the utility guy)

All I know is that I am excited to see a lot of these kids get a chance to really shine. I love World Series wins just like the next guy. The Yankees may not win a series this year, but we will definitely see some guys get their shot to show their hunger to make the future brighter. OR, knowing the history of this team, we’ll see Montero, Nova, and Hughes packaged up for another ace in the rotation. However, it seems as if (GM) Brian Cashman and the Yankees know that they can’t buy an entire team – they have to raise part of it too – or else I’m sure most of these kids would be gone. I really just think the organization has to get more realistic and stop saying every year is a goal to win the series. We had that luxary for awhile. Now it is their job to build a young enough team from our guys and some spare parts to try and repeat the success of the last decade and a half. I am not saying lose games for it, they can afford not to. Just don't go selling the future just yet.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

I Don't Care About Your Boycott

I should not be hearing about the 2012 Olympics yet. Thanks to the fine folks in Iran, however, I got to hear about a potential boycott. And for what? Because they think the logo kinda-sorta looks like the word “Zion?” You can see the logo here and decide for yourself what it looks like. If you ask me, it looks like it says “2012,” though I was never good at those Rorschach inkblot tests.

What I really want to know is why anybody cares that Iran might not play in to Olympics. If the Americans don't play, that's news. If the Australian swimmers aren't going to show up, that's news. If Usain Bolt decides he isn't going to race, that's news. Iran boycotting the Olympics because they don't like Jewish people is not news. It's crazy. And it should not affect anyone's day-to-day existence.

The Olympics are about national pride and rooting for your country. If you have a staunch hatred for an entire group of people, then you probably should not be allowed to participate. We don't need another Munich on our hands. Since the IOC apparently has no qualms about these countries competing, however, it would be nice to see them all get lumped into the American bracket—in every sport. I want to see the United States play Iran, North Korea, and Libya in everything. Hell, it's been thirty years and people still talk about the Miracle on Ice. Why not showcase a 145-30 beat-down against Kim Jong Il's boys in basketball or watch some Iranian try to do the doggy-paddle against Michael Phelps? Let us continue to beat down our enemies in sports. And let them blame their inferiority on a logo. Until then, keep the hate-mongering off ESPN.

Iran, by the way has won a grand total of 44 medals (of any kind) in its entire Olympic history. The United States won 36 golds in Beijing alone. We have almost 2300 total medals in the Summer Games. And in case anyone was wondering, the only sport Iran qualified for in 2012 is Shooting, in which the USA has taken home gold 50 times. Go figure.

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