MLB predictions: NL and world series

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Okay, and round two begins – right now.

The NL west hosts the reigning champion of the MLB – the San Francisco Giants. They have a great squad, an ace – and a big three. Which could be problematic for them. Why, you ask? Think about it. Last year, when Posey was out and Sandoval wasn’t putting up numbers, they were out. Who can stop them though? Well, could it be the D-Backs? I don’t know. This team is very streaky and on and off. Could the money-all Dodgers dethrone them? I don’t think so. Putting talent together and putting talent together with chemistry are two completely different things. The Padres and Rockies both have one bright spot, but other than that – not so much.

In the central, things are all but a one-horse race. While I do expect the chemistry filled and talented Reds to take this division, I think the Cardinals, with their young-old talent combo can be a threat. I think the Brewers, with their speed and overall playing could be a threat. The Cubs – well, the worst case for them is losing too many, finishing in fourth, and not getting a good draft pick. The Pirates, however, could be able to finally not only scratch .500 baseball, but maybe even a playoff spot.

And in the NL East… expect that phrase to be introduced this season. The dark horse Nationals with sophomore sensation Bryce Harper, and all aces together with no innings limit look to dominate. But, the Braves could make it hard. With the Upton brothers, this team is a catcher’s nightmare. The Phillies, while making a signing here and there, are simply too old. The Mets and Marlins… well – rebuild. That’s all they really can do, except for David Wright and Giancarlo Stanton.

AWARDS:

NL Cy Young: Stephen Strasburg

AL Cy Young: Justin Verlander

NL MVP: Bryce Harper

AL MVP: Mike Trout

PLAYOFFS

WILD CARD: Pirates (91-71) over Braves (93-68)

NLDS: Nationals (103-60) over Pirates (in 4). Reds (97-66) over Giants (96-67) (in 5).

NLCS: Nationals over Reds (in 6)

WORLD SERIES:

Okay, so we made it. The Tigers VS the Nationals.

Let’s review the case for each side.

Tigers: Have a triple crown winner, tons of speed and batting, and an ace with a good supporting cast with playoff experience.

Nationals: Have a sophomore prodigy, a fireballer, and a great supporting cast with a bit of playoff experience.

So, I have the Nats in game one, with DC nearly exploding. But in game two, the Tigers will take it, quieting them down. The nats will take three and four, not even giving Detroit a chance to be loud. In five, the tigers will take it in their final home game of the season, extending the series to game 6 in DC – where there will be a parade the next day.

Nats in 6.

Note: I don’t know if these are accurate. If they are, then holy cow, I’m a genius! If not, don’t blame me for all the broken windows. 

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Let’s talk baseball: My 2013 predictions for the AL.

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Well, It’s finally time. After a long and cold winter, there are thirteen days, twenty two hours and 10 minutes until opening day. And counting. So without any further ado and waiting… my predictions for 2013.

In the AL West, the big splash was Josh Hamilton moving from Texas to LA. Watching him there will be interesting, but I think the more interesting thing is Mike Trout’s sophmore season. I mean, consider this. If last year was his rookie season, and he nearly dethroned a triple-crown winner from winning AL MVP, think about his future.  With the Mariners, they have ways to go – but automatically not as far as Houston, who is in rebuild mode. I don’t expect Bo Porter to be fired, because they’re going to rebuild this club the right way, from the ground up. The A’s, the reigning champs, lost a star. Another day, another dime for Billy Beane. I don’t expect to find them out of the playoffs.

In the AL Central, it looks like a one horse race. Don’t be too sure. While the Tigers are locked, loaded and stocked with power and pitching, the Indians and White Sox have a possibility of making it competitive. Even though they will give the Tigers a challenge, I don’t believe it will be enough to dethrone the reigning AL champs.While the Royals are looking close to a return to .500 baseball, I don’t think they’ll be a contender this year, as well as Minnesota.

And in the AL East…. expect that phrase to be retired. The Yankees are getting old and injury prone. The Red Sox have to rebuild. The Blue Jays, while stocked with talent, I don’t believe the chemistry is there. Which leaves – the Orioles? Whoa. Even though the Yankees aren’t extremely old, they’re getting there, and the O’s are looking to take advantage. This division is (shocker) an open book.

The AL Cy Young will be Justin Verlander. The MVP will be Mike Trout. But in the playoffs….

Wild Card: Angels (92-70) over Yankees (93-69)

ALDS: A’s (95-67) over Orioles (94-68) in 4, Tigers (98-64) over Angels in 5.

ALCS: Tigers over A’s in 6.

Stay tuned – tomorrow, I’ll get the NL – and the world series.

Can the WBC ever become elite?

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It’s that time of year again…

St. Patricks Day! No? Okay. Uh – spring break! No? Hmmm. Spring training? What do you mean, close? Alright, uhh….

Yes, it’s the world baseball classic. But c’mon, are you really paying attention? The world cup has a special sort of atmosphere to it. The olympics have it right. But as far as international sporting events go, this is probably the worst.

Why? First, there’s only one US team, and the best player in the game isn’t even on it. In the world cup, that’s completely the opposite.

Second, it’s not as celebrated as the world cup or olympics, so really any game without the US in it doesn’t get watched around here (I mean, MLB Network is broadcasting it).

But I think there is hope. I do believe this sporting event can become elite. But what needs to happen?

One, get the stars on the team. Do you think Ben Zobrist is the equivalent of a world cup player? We need Mike Trout and Bryce Harper on this team. Second, the games need get better coverage and commentary. Third and finally, it needs more adverstising.

I think if those four things can happen, this event can become an elite one.

It’s a brand new game

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Slowly but surely, a new era has emerged right under our noses

Slowly but surely, a new era has emerged right under our noses

Today, Mariano Rivera announced he will retire after this season, and the first season in quite a while will not have Chipper Jones on the Atlanta Braves’ lineup. Meanwhile, the two rookies of the year who started last year in the minors are the stars of their respective opening day lineups. Slowly but surely, a new era is emerging.

There are many players considered “The future of baseball.” Stephen Strasburg, Kris Medlen, Wil Myers, Craig Kimbrel, and so many more. But none are more visible and prominent than these two, Trout and Harper.

They are the headliners for a new baseball player era that is beginning pretty much this year.

The game has changed so much, so by that definition, so have the players.

Sluggers are a rarity. The new superstars are players that can do it all. While you have to say that it is sad to see these legends go, you have to say baseball is changing – and I agree with people who say it’s changing for the better.

Harper at age 19, stole home in his second week of baseball at the major league level, hit .270, and 22 home runs. Trout was close to taking the MVP instead of the first Triple-Crown winner since 1969 – nearly dethroning him on average. That shows you the potential of these players. And players like Kimbrel, Medlen and Strasburg should be expected to have ace-caliber seasons. The minor leagues are stronger than ever – so don’t try and fight it.

These players are going to define the new age. All we can do is sit back and watch.

The madness of march is some awesome chaos

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The cinderella story – it’s always there. The upsets? Oh, no doubt. The suspense, the great games? Never have they missed a beat. You know what I’m talking about – March madness.

So it brings me to this question. Why can’t all other tournaments be like this? Think about it. In the pro leagues, whenever there’s a cinderella upset – it’s right back home for them the next game.  The good games can be there, but they just aren’t as common.

I don’t understand why professional leagues can’t reach this level of excitement, fun, craziness – whatever you want to call it. They’re professionals, right?

March madness has it right with tournament style. In March, there’s never not a game going on – so many teams, chances and players!. That is the one thing. Professional leagues can’t boast that many teams in their playoffs, if not even an eighth of that.

The NFL needs to work on their playoff style. So does the MLB. The NHL and NBA are okay with it, but everyone needs to face it – March Madness has it right!

The BCS is being fixed up, and almost every NCAA tournament is Madness-style. So in a league with so much controversy, so many worries and so many changes behind and ahead – the one place the NCAA has it right?

The most important place. The playoffs.

The road ends here: The ridiculousness of calling Kim Jong Un “An awesome guy”

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If you’re friends with a murder, he’s still a murder – right?
Dennis Rodman on his recent trip to North Korea called Jong Un “An awesome guy.” He said that Obama should “call him” (Jong Un) 

Okay, where do I begin?
First things first, he’s Kim Jong Un. I’m not going to rant about his ways, his tactics, because that’s been done too many times before. In fact, none of this is about him. It’s more about Rodman.

I cannot believe he would even go there in the first place. I get he’s a bit nuts. But going there and hanging out with one of the world’s most hated people? That’s just wrong. He is not an ambassador, and even if he was – nobody who calls him a “Great Guy” knows what he or she is talking about.

Another thing is the way he approached it. He dodged around Un’s ways in an interview, and would not admit he has done bad things. I cannot understand how he could try to forget about that. 

Dennis Rodman was being the definition of an idiot there. It’s humiliating as a country and as fans of the NBA to see this.

I know this isn’t about sports. But frankly, this is a topic I don’t think any writer could leave untouched.

 

Is your mind blown yet?

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OK, seriously. When will they die? When is it going to be over? The Spurs are just not going away!

I’m a little scared. This team is an obvious dynasty, an obvious powerhouse. But every year since – well – I can’t even remember that far back – the Spurs have been a high seed in the playoffs. I simply don’t get it.

I can’t understand. Why? They’re OLD! How are they so old and so good? Tim Duncan and Tony Parker are the face of this franchise, and somehow STILL THE CORE. They’re the leaders.

For years, I’ve said that this team will be gone by next year. But I don’t know if anybody can anymore! I suspect that in the year 2073, Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili will be in a wheelchair, in an ad-covered Spurs jersey, averaging 44.4 points a game with a little star next to it because he’s now part robot.

This team is defying gravity – or at least age. I get that the three – Ginobili, Parker and Duncan are incredible. But this really has never been done. I wouldn’t be surprised if they were fighting for the fifth spot in the playoffs. But the best record? Geez.

I – I can’t say anymore. Why, you ask?

Because I know I’m going to feel like an idiot next year.