Sunday, April 01, 2007


Quick Hit Baseball Predictions

No time to do an exhaustive analysis of the divisions this year, so here's my predicted orders of finish:

AL East: Red Sox, Yankees, Blue Jays, D-Rays, Orioles
AL Central: Tigers, Indians, White Sox, Twins, Royals
AL West: Rangers, Angels, Athletics, Mariners
AL Wild Card: Yankees
ALDS: Yankees over Rangers, Red Sox over Tigers
ALCS: Red Sox over Yankees

NL East: Phillies, Mets, Braves, Marlins, Nationals
NL Central: Cubs, Brewers, Cardinals, Astros, Reds, Pirates
NL West: Giants, Dodgers, Padres, Diamondbacks, Rockies
NL Wild Card: Mets
NLDS: Mets over Giants, Phillies over Cubs
NLCS: Phillies over Mets

WORLD SERIES: Phillies over Red Sox

AL MVP: Mark Teixeira
AL Cy Young: Jeremy Bonderman
AL Rookie: Daisuke Matsuzaka

NL MVP: Derrek Lee
NL Cy Young: Barry Zito
NL Rookie: Felix Pie

Saturday, June 17, 2006


Posting Funk

Al Baker (one of my preferred reads) commented yesterday on his blog about being "blog dry". I have been that way for months. I get ideas in my head to post about, then forget them when I do have time to post. I have been doing a LOT of wrestling with matters spiritual lately and hope to get time to create a cohesive blog post over at Sojourn. I also want to get mediarants active again.

In the meantime, I will tell you it was a very busy spring, we've had a lot of great family time together and look forward to lots more this summer and, oh yeah, the project I'm leading at work SUCKS.

's about it. Later.

Wednesday, April 05, 2006


2006 MLB Season Preview

OK, so I did off-season reviews for everyone but the NL West. You can read them here, here, here, here and here.

I really wanted to do a super-detailed post like last year's , but there just isn't time, so here's the quick'n'dirty predictions.

AL East: I think the Blue Jays are, on paper, better than the Red Sox this year. The Sox offense can be controlled if Manny Ramirez and David Ortiz don't have runners on base to knock in. I think the Jays can do damage from anywhere in their order. However, they're playing for the wild card. I think the Yankees have a pretty special team this year. I expect Randy Johnson to be much improved in his second year in NY and Johnny Damon is going to have a huge impact at the top of the order. 150 runs scored by Damon this year is not inconceivable. I also expect the Devil Rays to finish ahead of Baltimore and Miguel Tejada to be elsewhere by the trade deadline.

Predicted order of finish: Yankees, Blue Jays, Red Sox, Devil Rays, Orioles.

AL Central: The Indians are the darling pick this year, but there's a lot risk here. C.C. Sabathia has already gone on the DL, Bob Wickman is an injury risk and there is the potential of sophomore slumps for Jhonny Peralta and others. The White Sox were the better team last year and the changes they made (Javier Vazquez for Orlando Hernandez, Jim Thome for Frank Thomas) are all improvements. If Brian Anderson can handle centre field, the Sox should run away with the division. Minnesota and Detroit will have a battle for third. Detroit could backslide this year in terms of wins, but that's just because other teams improved so dramatically. Kansas City should just stimk on general principle.

Predicted order of finish: White Sox, Indians, Twins, Tigers, Royals.

AL West: This should be a fun division. I think the Angels are weaker this year and will be passed by the A's, who have much better pitching. Texas took some big strides forward, pitching-wise, this offseason but took a major hit losing Adam Eaton until the All-Star Break. Seattle is coming on strong, and may pass Texas this year, but it'll be next year they contend for the division title.

Predicted order of finish: A's, Angels, Mariners, Rangers.

NL East: A lot of predictions I have read this year favour either the Braves or Phillies this year. I think the Braves are thin on offense and Philly's starting pitching is thin. I am leaning in the direction of the Mets, but this is a division loaded with ifs. If Chipper Jones stays healthy, if Andruw Jones' numbers are closer to 2005 levels than 2004, if John Thomson comes back strong and if Chris Reitsma or Joey Devine can become a reliable closer, the Braves can win this. If Philly's starting pitching is better than advertised, if Tom Gordon can hold up as closer, if Ryan Howard doesn't have a sophomore slump and if the Phils can land a solid #1 starter in exchange for Bob Abreu, the Phils can win. If Billy Wagner, Pedro Martinez and Steve Trachsel stay healthy, if David Wright and Jose Reyes continue trending up and if the clubhouse holds together, the Mets win. The Nats and Marlins go into the season knowing they have no hope of making the playoffs, so it will be interesting to see how things play out in those two cities. I still see good things happening in Florida and Washigton dismantling at the deadline.

Predicted order of finish: Mets, Phillies, Braves, Nats, Marlins.

NL Central: St. Louis still wins, but the Cubs and Brewers will close the gap. I really like Milwaukee this year, with better-than-average starting pitching (especially once Ben Sheets is healthy), a plus closer and a great offense made up of up-and-coming youngsters and experienced veterans. The Cubs have a good setup for the top of the order, but need Kerry Wood and Mark Prior. Houston will struggle this year, with or without Clemens (but I like their chances better with him) and Pittsburgh is a year away yet. Cincy could compete, if they could find some pitching.

Predicted order of finish: Cardinals, Cubs, Brewers, Astros, Pirates, Reds.

NL West: 82 wins will not win the division this year. Assuming San Francisco stays healthy and the Bonds Circus doesn't swallow the team whole, they have a shot. Chris Young should be really good following Jake Peavy in San Diego this year and, as they learn how to play at Petco, the Padres should enjoy one of the more significant home field advantages in the majors. Arizona will muddle along this year, as will Colorado. The wild card is the Dodgers. They made some great moves in the offseason, particularly signing Rafael Furcal away from Atlanta. The Dodgers are a talented team, but they always get burned by intangibles and/or injuries. Says here it happens again this year.

Predicted order of finish: Padres, Giants, Dodgers, Diamondbacks, Rockies.

So the division winners are: Yankees, White Sox, A's in the AL. Mets, Cardinals, Padres in the NL. AL Wild Card will be Toronto. NL Wild Card will be Philly.

Division Series:

White Sox over Blue Jays
Yankees over A'
Cardinals over Phillies
Mets over Padres


Yankees over White Sox
Cardinals over Mets

World Series:

Yankees over Cardinals

Wednesday, March 29, 2006


It's coming.............

The 2006 Baseball Season Preview is being written. Check back soon!

Friday, February 24, 2006


My two cents on the Olympics

The Olympics wrap up this weekend. I have watched less than 6 hours of coverage. I doubt I'll see much more. However, me being me, I want to add my two cents on a couple of things.

First, when the Canadian Olympic team was announced, a number of my coworkers and I grumped long and loud about the number of "oldsters" playing on the team. I felt that guys like Sidney Crosby, Jason Spezza and Eric Staal had more than earned their way onto the main squad. I couldn't understand why guys like Todd Bertuzzi, Shane Doan and other older players got the nods. I also was somewhat upset that Paul Kariya, a guy who ALWAYS has stepped up his game on the world stage, was left off. However, my brother and brother-in-law both made sound arguments to me supporting the selections, so I figured I'd wait and see.

Looks like I was right. But I blame Pat Quinn, who has outlived his usefulness as a coach (for now). This was a horribly unmotivated team that underperformed across the board and, after a hot start against creampuffs, packed up and went home once they faced some real competition. Sound like the Leafs? Everybody praised Quinn after the 2002 Olympic Gold but let's be real here. I could've coached that group to the gold. Putting the same guys out 4 years later (and 4 years older and slower) will not win a medal. Quinn cannot teach or motivate young guys (nor does he know how to incorporate them into the lineup), because he prefers to deal with a group of seasoned, ultra-talented vets who know how to go out and win, because they've done it over and over again. I hope that, in 2010, Gretzky puts a young team out there, supported by key veterans (a list that will include the young guns of this season) and a coach that has fire, skill and the ability to relate to and motivate a diverse group of players.

Oh, and the over-under on Quinn's ouster from T.O. is about 1 month.

Secondly, and more important, I fear that the lousy men's hockey result will lead to a "we sucked in Turin" backlash. Nothing is further than the truth. I am proud of this team and their (so far) 19 medals. Cindy Klassen has been awesome, the women's hockey team proved themselves yet again, there have been some surprises (cross-country skier Chandra Crawford) and, on the whole, Canadians should be VERY satisfied with the results.

Go Canada!!!!!!!!!

Friday, February 03, 2006


If you have no other plans for SuperBowl

Come join us:

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Tickets are $15 and available Sunday morning and at the door. Food menu includes:

Roast pig
Hot Roast Beef sandwiches
Sausage on a Bun

A licensed cardiologist will be on site. Dietitians are not invited.

Great prizes including official NFL jerseys, t-shirts, caps and footballs, all sorts of hardware and a great grand prize that will be revealed at game time.

E-mail for more information.

If you cannot attend, your prayers for this event are coveted.


Super Bowl Prediction

So, I did pretty good through the playoffs, going 7-3 picking winners. Now comes a game that is really tough to pick, so I'm going to break it down:

Offense: These two teams will both want to establish the running game, moreso Seattle than Pittsburgh. Assuming the teams stay to form, Ben Roethlisberger will be taking to the air in an effort to spread the defense and open up the ground game for Jerome Bettis and Willie Parker. Meanwhile, Seattle will turn Shaun Alexander loose and dare Pittsburgh's defense to stop him. Odds are they will, to a degree. I like Pitsburgh's receivers a lot more than Seattle's and Jerome Bettis will be seriously motivated, as he plays his final game of his illustrious career in his hometown. Advantage: Pittsburgh.

Defense: Blitzburgh will be in full effect. The Steelers will put 7 and 8 defenders in the box to try and stop Alexander and mix schemes and blitz angles in an effort to confuse Hasselbeck. The Seahawks defense will also be loading up to put pressure on Big Ben and the runners, but the Seahawks can do so confident that their corners are OK in man-on-man situations. The Steelers have to make sure they get to Hasselbeck, because if he get s time to throw, the Steeler secondary can be had. Especially if Troy Polamalu is part of the blitz package. Advantage: Pittsburgh up front, Seattle in the secondary.

Special Teams: Should be pretty even, since neither team has a real breakaway kind of returner and they are not overly aggressive trying to block punts. Antwaan Randle-El can break big punt returns (2 TD's this year), but I don't see him getting many chances, since Seattle will likely key on him and try to kick away from him. Field position will be huge in this game and the team that does the best job of pinning the opposition deep will win. For that, it's the punters and gunners, and I like Pittsburgh's Chris Gardocki more than Seattle's Tom Rouen. Add in the fact that the game's indoors, and I like the Steelers. Advantage: Pittsburgh.

Coaching/Intangibles: Mike Holmgren has a shot at history, becoming the first coach to win Super Bowls with two teams. He has Seattle really clicking and knows how to keep 'em performing. Bill Cowher has toned down the emotion in the last few years, but don't mistake that for a lack of intensity. He and his staff have come up with schemes to rein in Peyton Manning and Jake Plummer this playoff season and they made the right adjustments against Cincinnati to enable them to come back and win. Plus there's the Bettis factor and a few boneheaded comments made by Seahawks players during the media days that you can bet will be on the locker room boards. Advantage: Pittsburgh.

Add it all up and I see a long day coming for Seattle. Pittsburgh 26-19.

Saturday, January 21, 2006


Off Season Transaction Analysis - NL Central

St. Louis has owned this division for the past two years, but everyone else is starting to catch up. Let's review:

Chicago: I have been hard on the Cubbies in earlier posts, but I will give them props for some recent deals. Signing Jacque Jones away from Minnesota and trading for Juan Pierre are two significant steps in the right direction. They gave up on Corey Patterson, too, which I think was a good move for both sides. The power is all in the infield (Aramis Ramirez and Derrek Lee, specifically), but Pierre and Jones should hit 1-2 and be effective. This is a team that will play a lot of small ball this year, manufacturing runs rather than waiting for the big bop. Pitching is always a question mark, since the health of Kerry Wood and Mark Prior is never guaranteed. Having said that, a starting five of Wood, Pior, Greg Maddux, Carlos Zambrano and Glendon Rusch isn't too shabby. Direction: Slightly Up.

Cincinnati: Boy, I wish I knew what to make of this team. They have a scary good group of outfielders (Adam Dunn, Ken Griffey, Austin Kearns and Wily Mo Pena). Looks like one of them (probably Dunn) will likely be converted to a first baseman to replace the departed Sean Casey, swapped to Pittsburgh for Dave Williams. The Reds then dealt for Tony Womack, probably as insurance in case super-sub Ryan Freel gets hurt. Felipe Lopez had a breakout season last year, and this year could be Edwin Encarnacion's turn. Add in the great catcher combo of Jason LaRue and Javier Valentin, and you have as good an offense as anyone else in the division. But, boy, is that pitching still bad. Direction: Neutral.

Houston: If you've heard of the play "Waiting fo Godot", meet the cast of "Waiting for Clemens". Everything in Houston depends on Roger Clemens' decision whether or not to pitch this season. The only significant move the Astros made this offseason was signing Preston Wilson. That move further proves that the Astros want to get rid of Jeff Bagwell and his wrecked shoulders, as Wilson's signing forces Lance Berkman to first base, assuming the Astros feel Jason Lane is ready to assume the center field job full-time (which he is). Direction: Neutral, pointing Down.

Milwaukee: Here's the team that could make the jump from division also-ran to player. Of course, we've heard it all before. Did OK in completing two trades with the Blue Jays, getting David Bush, Gabe Gross, Zach Jackson and Corey Koskie for Lyle Overbay and Brian Wolfe. Overbay was out of a job with the ascension of Prince Fielder, and the Brewers have a lot of good, young talent (Rickie Weeks, JJ Hardy and Brady Clark) combined with some great veterans (Carlos Lee, Geoff Jenkins and Koskie). The pitching staff is better than you think, as Doug Davis would have won more than 11 games last year with better run support. Tomo Ohka and Dave Bush are both good pitchers and, if Ben Sheets is healthy, this team looks good. In short, they didn't make a lot of moves this offseason, but they really didn't need to. And the moves they had to make, they did. Direction: Up.

Pittsburgh: I really want to see Pittsburgh do well. Sadly, it won't be this year. Instead of sticking with growing a team up from the minors, they go out and sign Joe Randa and Jeromy Burnitz to free-agent contracts, trade for Sean Casey, re-signed all of their arbitration-eligible guys and unloaded Mark Redman, Tike Redman, Mike Restovich and Dave Williams. Doesn't make much sense. Also, they let Jose Mesa walk (not necessarily a bad thing), but Mike Gonzalez looks ready for prime time. This club got older this offseason and that's not good. Direction: Neutral, pointing Down.

St. Louis: The defending division champs underwent an extreme makeover of sorts after last year's ugly playoff exit against the Astros. They cut ties with OF's Reggie Sanders and Larry Walker and dealt for Juan Encarnacion and Larry Bigbie, added 2B Junior Spivey and Aaron Miles (who should have a fun slugfest for the job in Spring Training) and signed Braden Looper to set up, and as insurance, for Jason Isringhausen. They also cut loose Matt Morris and are giving Sidney Ponson a second chance after his Baltimore banishment. On paper, not good, but this is St. Louis, land of the greatest clubhouse and fans in the NL, not to mention Tony LaRussa, so you gotta think good things. Direction: Neutral, pointing Down.

Coming soon....the NL West!


NFL Conference Championship Predictions

Well, I got the NFC 100% right. Sadly, I got the AFC 100% wrong. Let's see how we do this week:

Pittsburgh at Denver: Turns out I had things backwards for the Steelers-Colts game last week, as the Steelers were seriously motivated and took an 11-point lead to the locker room at halftime. Oh, well. Despite the big lead, Bill Cowher yet again went ultra conservative in the 4th quarter and nearly paid for it. I have come to the conclusion that he will never learn. When the Steelers are aggressive on defense and mixing up the offense, they are nearly unbeatable (as we saw through much of last week's game). They need to do it for 60 minutes. I think if the Steeler blitz starts getting to Jake Plummer, he'll revert to Arizona-vintage Plummer and start throwing ducks and interceptions. Both teams will be putting 6, 7 and 8 guys in the box to stop the run and this game will come down to two things, the QB and the O-Lines. In both cases, I like Pittsburgh more. Pittsburgh 27-20

Carolina at Seattle: Everybody is talking about Steve Smith, and well they should be. What he did to the great Chicago defense last week was amazing. Problem this week is that Carolina deosn't have DeShaun Foster to offset him. I think Seattle will double and triple team Smith and dare Carolina to beat them with Nick Goings, their third-string RB. Seattle is expected to have Shaun Alexander ready to go, and their balanced attack will give them more options than Carolina has. I think we'll see a high scoring game with Seattle getting the last points. Seattle 30-27

Super Bowl in two weeks.