There it is. That is how they will finish.
Why not start a breakdown of every division with the easiest to call. Philadelphia comes into this season every bit as talented as last year. In some senses they went and got better. They now have the best in the business in Roy Halladay. He will prove a vital tool when the Phils make it back to the playoffs. Philadelphia has a bit of karma on their side by throwing geriatric hurler Jaime Moyer every fifth day, and some say the elderly are useless, puhshaw. Philadelphia has an American League type lineup with hitters one through eight and will run away with the division, if they decide to win at home this year.
The problem for prognosticators comes at second and third place. Therein lies real challengers to the wild card race.
While both the Braves and Marlins tout strong pitching staffs, the Braves get the edge with a little more depth. Even with a sophomore jinx, Tommy Hanson will be one of the best 4th starters in baseball. He should keep his ERA under 3.50 and net at least five more wins over the Marlins fourth hurler Chris Volstad.
The Mets should find a way to under utilize Johan, Beltran, Reyes, Wright, and Bay. They will suck but not in a way that anyone will notice. Which is the worst kind of suck.
The Washington Strasburgs will sell out every five days if and when their lord and savior Stephen Strasburg gets called up.
2. Red Sox
5. Blue Jays
I imagine it must suck to be the Tampa Bay Rays. You wake up every morning knowing that no matter how hard you try, you may not succeed because you play in the same division as the Red Sox and Yankees. Now take that feeling and imagine you are the Orioles. Its like you wake up and someone tells you that Santa does indeed exist but he finds you to be utterly horrible and will never visit you or your city.
The AL East, also known as the douche-bag division houses two teams that literally throw money at their problems. Rumor is George Steinbrenner came down with a bad case of SARS but then just rubbed a finsky on his chest and, voila! It wouldn’t be so aggravating if it didn’t actually work.
It will once again be a coin flip at the top of the table. More than likely the loser of heads/tails will still get into the playoffs as the wild card. It is my hope however that the Rays can bounce back from a less than stellar year and show us all that youth and vitality is not wasted on the young, or the vital.
The Blue Jays should bring up the rear on the division. They are gutted and want for any semblance of a star. But please don’t count out the Orioles and their amazing ability to play really bad baseball.
Last week Urban Meyer had a PR nightmare on his hands when he publicly emasculated Jeremy Fowler of the Orlando Sentinel. The outburst was caught on tape, and soon, it spread across the internet. Talking heads everyone castigated the Florida coach for stepping over the line.
His way of repairing the situation was to have a private conversation with the reporter whereby he was able to explain himself. Fowler accepted his apology, but afterwards, Meyer refused to face the media. From my point of view, that was a big mistake. The right thing to do is to offer a public apology. After all, he embarrassed and threatened the man in public, so why not apologize in Public?
We all know that Gilbert Arenas and Javaris Crittenton were stupid to bring weapons to their place of work. And though the court could have thrown the book at him, Arenas was only sentenced to 30 days in a halfway house, two years probation and 400 hours of community service.
Some may think he got off easy but considering the plea deal Crittenton received, it wouldve been wrong to punish him more. After all, both were at fault here, but only Arenas suffered the public scorn and humiliation. Sure, he brought a lot of it on himself by not taking the situation seriously. Still, the media attention made it seem like Arenas was the only one who brought a gun with him to work. And that simply was not the case.
I had my fantasy baseball keeper league draft this past weekend. One thing I have noticed about fantasy owners, they always think they drafted the best and you drafted the worst. You can follow every mock draft and pick with the precision of a scalpel but you’re still an idiot. In the end, the grass always looks greener on your own front yard post draft. So here is the information you didn’t ask for:
The eleven team league I am in is a collection of dudes I have known from college. They range from the obsessed waiver wire pick-up guy to those that lose interest sometime in April. The constant rule is you keep your six best players from the year before. This has posed a detriment to me when I had to keep the likes of Adrian Beltre from lack of star power. This year is different. It just has to be. Because I am horrible at fantasy sports. I am the Washington Nationals of our league. Perennially in last place, it all changes here and now. I feel it with this list of studs:
There it is, speed, pop, and pitching. That’s even before I drafted.
This is what separates the men from the boys. Championships are won and lost through season long tinkering but immediate scolding and draft smack talk happens immediately. Here are some of the finer points in this years draft:
- In the first round of the keeper draft Mike starts a closer run by picking three straight closers. This is for lack of a better term, a dick move. No one like drafting closers. They are unreliable messy entities. They are kind of like pubic hairs. Very messy up-keep but everyone has them. So you may have to trim Brad Lidge every once in a while but rest assured this particular pube is on someone’s team.
- I take Nate McLouth in the fifth round (13th overall). A great pick until after the draft when I find out he forgot how to hit. Now the next few weeks will be dedicated to stalking the progress of McLouth like he was an ex-girlfriend on Facebook. Unhealthy, but it happens.
- Adrian Beltre goes to Keith in the 23rd. I always have a special place in my heart for this steaming pile of 3rd baseman. I put so much trust into him for so long and he always underachieves. I feel like a disappointed father season after season as I see this man who could have been a mixture of Brooks Robinson and Mike Schmidt. Being a loafer myself I can appreciate when someone is phoning it in. And I hate it. So I make special note when he gets taken.
- We added a 25th round this year. Usually the last couple picks are poop you wouldn’t scrape off your shoe but for some reason the guys really wanted to draft more poop. I am particularly proud of mine because he backs up Billy Wagner. Being Billy Wagner must be tough because you live everyday knowing you are going to get shelled and/or hurt for a 15 day spell. Here is to Saito in the 25th.
Well despite my fantastic picks I am sure to suffer from torn hamstrings, bloated ERAs, and the like. But I will be sure to keep you up-to-date on my ineptitude.
One of my favorite sporting events of the year is now less than a month away: the NFL Draft. It is a day where jerseys are turned in for thousand-dollar suits, scores are converted into draft grades, and college football players become multi-millionaires without a fraction of professional experience.
Only football in America could bring such attention to an athletic event where there is no ball, field, score, or sweat (unless you are Brady Quinn). What once was considered an afterthought, the draft has been turned into a year round discussion beginning with the start of the college football season. It is considered a holiday by some diehard football fans.
These days scouts work non-stop to establish the best evaluation on every player in the nation. They know everything from their best 40-time to their bench press reps to their passion for the game. Hell, there is so much time, research, and evaluation of potential draftees that scouts could probably tell you the last time someone had a beer. Players see their stock go up and down more than Kirstie Alley’s weight.
But no matter what team you bleed for every NFL Sunday, fans always take notice of who is available to improve their organization’s chance of success for the upcoming season. And the 2010 NFL Draft has a handful of intriguing prospects:
Ndamukong Suh – Widely considered the best available player in this year’s draft class. Constantly drew double and triple teams at Nebraska. Mel Kiper has said Suh may be the best defensive tackle prospect he has seen in 30 years. But is a DT really worth the financial investment of a #1 overall pick?
Sam Bradford – Could have potentially been chosen over Detroit’s Matthew Stafford as last year’s top pick. However, Bradford decided to return for his junior season at Oklahoma, which turned out to be a nightmare. A terrible shoulder injury required season ending surgery only a few games into the season. He still decided to leave school. His stock went straight down, but is now straight up after arriving at the combine with a much bulkier frame. He is currently the odds-on favorite to become the St. Louis Rams QB of the future with the #1 pick.
C.J. Spiller – The most exciting college football player since USC’s Reggie Bush. This guy can fly in the open field. He is a true game breaker, and should be the first running back taken off the board early in the first round.
Tim Tebow – One of the best college football players of all-time. Not the most talented quarterback in the draft by any means, but has the heart and leadership qualities that have NFL GM’s drooling. It will be interesting to see which team will take a risk and grab him earlier than he should go.
In addition to this year’s collection of talent, the drama has increased even more. No longer will it be on a Saturday afternoon. ESPN has now made it a three day and night affair, starting with the first round on a Thursday April 22nd. The second and third rounds continue on Friday evening, with the remainder of the draft concluding Saturday morning.
When the date finally decides to arrive, all evaluations, player rankings, and mock drafts can be thrown out the window. Because as a GM, player, or fan, you never know which direction teams will head. That is what makes the NFL Draft exciting. It is the reason why I tune in to draft day!
Its going on three weeks since this story broke, and amazingly the Police still havent spoken with Ben Roethlisber. They did, however, rescind their request for a sample of his DNA. And now the woman who filed the complaint against him is reportedly refusing to give a follow up statement to the Police.
But one person who will soon be speaking with the Steelers QB is NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. Whether Big Ben is innocent or guilty, one thing the commish will certainly convey is his intolerance for players casting the league in a negative light.
Los Angeles Lakers fans are spoiled. Look at what they have to put up with: inconsistent play, lazy defense, a so-so road record and only the second best record in the league.
The Lakers are the defending NBA champions, but they have seemed disinterested in many games this season. In their last game against Washington, one of the NBA bottom feeders, the Lakers had a 28-point lead in the third quarter. What should have been a laugher turned into a narrow seven-point victory.
That’s some serious inconsistent play.
During the last East coast three-game road trip, the Lakers surrendered 114 points to the Miami Heat. The Heat, although headed for the playoffs, are a mediocre team. Yet the Miami offense was high octane with Quentin Richardson scoring 25 points after bombing several three pointers, many of them uncontested.
These Lakers, although successful, suffer the same defensive lapses on pick-and-roll plays as Andrew Bynum, much like his predecessor, Shaquille O’Neal, doesn’t jump out at guards with the ball. So these little guys knock down open jumpers.
That’s lazy defense.
Currently, Los Angeles has a 20-13 road record. That’s actually one of the five best in the league. But it’s not the best as last season’s Lakers were road warriors with the No. 1 away record. They clinched the Western conference finals and the NBA finals on the road.
There has been a lot of talk about the Lakers’ home-heavy early season schedule. That luxury is over now, and besides, that doesn’t matter too much in the long run since every team plays 41 at home at 41 on the road.
That’s so-so for them.
This week, Kobe Bryant’s squad hits the road for a difficult five-game trip. Four of the five games are against playoff teams. The Lakers may trail the Cleveland Cavaliers by three games for home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, but they have a comfortable six-game lead in the Western conference.
That’s the burden of the team with the second best record, home court advantage through three rounds. Barring a total collapse, that should stand.
Despite all of their faults, the Lakers still have the most talent in the league. They should win about 60 games and will be heavy favorites to at least get to the NBA finals.
Perhaps this team is copying the blueprint of the dominant Lakers teams led by Shaq and Kobe: cruise through the regular season and turn on the switch in the playoffs. This team doesn’t have a force like Shaq in his prime, but it is built for success.
Until someone beats them they are the defending champs. Someone has to knock them out four times in seven games. With or without home court advantage, that will be a difficult task for any team to accomplish.
The first two rounds of the 2010 NCAA Tournament have been overrun with upsets. And though my brackets are officially busted (I bet youre pretty much in the same boat), I have enjoyed the drama.
So at this point I say keep it coming. Lets see Cornell or Northern Iowa in the Final Four. Heck, for that matter, lets see one of them in the title game! Now that would be exciting.
As we all know, Tiger Woods is making a comeback. Next month he is set to resume his career at the Masters. But someone in his camp was smart enough to realize that he couldn’t just show up at Augusta National without fielding a few questions first.
Thus, two interviews, five minutes each, no restrictions on the questions that would be asked. The end result was both pleasing and surprising. It was the best thing he could do to “humanize” himself, and in turn, start the healing process for both his fans and sponsors.