Tag Archives: new york mets

The Birthday Confessions Of A Sports Writer

Nothing will ever beat this game.

So I turned —- today (you’ll never get my age ever in life), and I’m currently nursing a hangover thanks to the normal heavy dosage of liquor consumption made possible by my friends (raspberry rum and soda and raspberry vodka and soda are two totally different entities, ugh).

This is hardly the condition I should be in to write a blog especially when there isn’t much to discuss right now.

However, in this silly mind of mine I decided to give you some of my sports confessions.

We as sports writers get our favoritism, views and beliefs in sports at a young age and two things happen; either you stick to your guns or you switch up sides.

I’m the latter of this. Truth is my New York sports bias is a recent thing. I used to…

Wait, let’s do this in a proper numerical style. I mean why give you a drawn out explanation then get into the confessions? I think we’ll do 24 facts, not my age but the number I wanted to wear if I ever got to play with Michael Jordan as a kid because 23 was sort of taken.

1. I hated New York sports teams growing up

Giants, hated them. Yankees, they sucked. Mets, them too. Knicks, yuck. Rangers… That’ll be number two.

My mom forged my sports life as a kid. I loved who she loved because she was a sports nut. She loved Joe Montana, Michael Jordan, and the Mets. All I knew was the San Francisco 49ers, Chicago Bulls, baseball cards and that NY sucked.

I actually cried when the 49ers lost to the Giants in 1991 when they were trying to three-peat. That seems so weird now especially now that I scream at Eli Manning every two seconds and own 8 giants jerseys.

This is how I got into hockey.

(my favorite sports moment is still Super Bowl 23. Me and my mom watched that game on the couch together with me curled up underneath her. As Montana led the 49ers up the field on that last late fourth quarter drive my mom and I slowly pulled away from each other and moved closer to the TV until Montana hit John Taylor for the winning score. You should’ve seen us scream and parade around our house like we had won the Super Bowl. That will never be beat.)

2. I used to hate hockey.

I mean I’m black and from the projects in Brooklyn, NY. My mom hated hockey and so did I. She always thought it was a dumb sport and there were no black players so there was no point for it. Since I followed her lead with everything (except the mets, I wasn’t that dumb) I followed that philosophy.

Then the New York Rangers won the Stanley Cup and I watched it all. That hooked me.

I was in Washington D.C. when it happened but I felt the energy of New York. I learned about the 54 year curse, how much of a hockey city New York actually is and how truly bad ass Mark Messier truly was.

After that run you couldn’t pull me away from a hockey game. Even when the New Jersey Devils killed hockey in the late 90’s I was still into it heavy.

(I guess you could say the Rangers made me a New York fan. After that run in 94 I felt that I had to like all New York teams because how could I like teams from other cities when I was a true New Yorker?)

3. I was a Michigan fan growing up. (Florida State too.)

In New York there was no college team team in the area that drew attention. Every Saturday the TV selections were Notre Dame, Florida State on ESPN and the Big Ten on ABC with Michigan on every single week.

Truth is I always wanted to go to Michigan. I loved the colors, the fight song, Brian Griese, Elvis Grbac, Desmond Howard and Charles Woodson… And the fab five… And Glen Rice’s performance against Seton Hall in 1989….

I still have more great Michigan memories than Ohio State memories… AND I WENT TO OHIO STATE!!!

I could point out moments in great games like the Rose Bowl in 1997 versus Washington State, I cried when Kordell Stewart’s hail Mary beat Michigan in the Big House, I was so happy when we got revenge in Boulder some years later…

I should probably stop there before all of my Ohio State buddies kill me.

4. I never truly liked Tiger Woods

HELLLLOOOO HEISMAN!

There was always something off about him to me. He was too pristine, too clean. Me being from the projects I felt as though with black men there had to be some nasty streak in you somewhere. Jordan had one, Michael Irvin too, Jerry Rice was a prick at times but Tiger was too perfect.

I didn’t like how he always won and how everyone jumped on his bandwagon. I didn’t like how black people crowned him as our king of the moment when he didn’t seem interested in being black (whatever that means) I just never liked him.

When this scandal tore him down I laughed at him, but it didn’t bother me too much. It was just another athlete taking a nose dive. I don’t feel bad for him, I don’t care that he’s not playing well and honestly I dont care if he ever does again.

5. Maryland made me love Duke

I used to be the biggest Duke hater alive… They beat UNLV when I loved Larry Johnson, they prevented the Fab Five from winning a title, The Laettner shot that beat Kentucky made me want to stab myself… and I couldn’t believe that this many white guys were good at basketball and that they kept beating brothers.

(side note 2: for Grant Hill and coach K to criticize Jalen Rose for saying that Hill was an Uncle Tom because he played at Duke was silly. Everyone in the projects felt like that. We liked Kenny Anderson, baggy shorts and baldies. Hill and any other Dukie was a sellout to us. How could they play with all of these white boys and not there own people? Do I think like that now? Of course not. I understand what coaching can do and that you can ball no matter the color. But still you can’t criticize a guy for saying something that the majority of people like him felt was true.)

Then I moved to Maryland where they hate anything New York; Yankees, Jets, Metrostars it didn’t matter. I didn’t understand the hatred because one, New York wasn’t their rival in anything and two, because it didn’t make sense. It got to the point where I kept hearing Yankees this, Giants that, blah blah blah that I got angry and said that I would hate the Terrapins just out if spite.

And who do Terps fans hate more than anything?… Duke.

So there I was cheering for Duke, the team I always hated but because I wanted to piss Marylanders off I was forcing myself to like.

That’s when I fell in love with Jay Williams, Shane Battier and Carlos Boozer and they had me hooked.

It was Williams especially because he was a Jersey kid and I always liked guys from my neck of the woods. I loved his game, fearlessness and how he ate the Terps for lunch. His ten points in 58 seconds still makes me laugh.

Watching Maryland fans whine and cry more than made up for the Yankees not winning a World Series for ten years.

6. I didn’t care that Brett Hull’s skate was in the crease.

The skate had nothing to do with the goal. Get over it Buffalo.

Dumbest… Rule… Ever!!! So many goals were disallowed because of that dumb rule that never should have been made because half of the time the skates never interfered with the goalie.

Did Hull affect Hasek’s angle? No. Did Hull interfere with Hasek? No. Did he skate in late and come up on the side if Hasek an nothing to do with the goal? Yes.

Ok then. Sorry Buffalo deal with it.

7. My least favorite sports moment as a kid was watching my Oakland A’s get swept by the Cincinnati Reds.

How did Eck, Dave Stewart, Rickey Henderson and my favorite player Mark McGwire not only lose but look awful against the Reds? Was Jose Rijo that good? How about Chris Sabo and Eric Davis? That was the first time in my life where I went to school the next day after a game and couldn’t stop thinking how in the hell that just happened.

The A’s were so much better, they had the pitching, the hitting and the power and they lost to The Nasty Boys?

I need a juice box.

8. Syracuse-Georgetown is the best basketball rivalry in college basketball

John Thompson, Jim Boeheim, Billy Owens, Alonzo Mourning, Dikembe Mutombo, Sherman Douglas, technical fouls, physical basketball, a loud Carrier Dome and an even louder Capital Center… God I love the Big East.

9. I will always hate Texas A&M football

Why? Because they screwed Michael Bishop out of everything.

A title, a Heisman, and a pro career.

I only watched Kansas State because of Bishop and his speed, arm and instinct. I couldn’t name another Wildcat from that team but I just loved Bishop.

I didn’t care that he was six feet tall or needed some fine tuning. I just knew that once K-State got to the National Championship all the world would see his skill…

And Sirr Parker killed that.

I’m glad the SEC said no to you.

10. I really don’t care who did steroids in baseball

It was legal and it brought the game back.

Where would baseball be if Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa didn’t have their home run chase?

Steroids or not that was a magical summer where everyone sat in front if the television and their lives hinged on every at bat. It was awesome; McGwire found the fountain of youth, Sosa emerged as a superstar and the game was popular again.

As much as everyone hides it we love baseball. We all played it, watched it live and have fun at the yard whenever go. The game was suffering well after the strike of 1994 it needed a boost and this was it.

Yeah he did steroids... he also saved baseball.

Did the use get out of control? Yes, but to me it was worth it and I’ll always remember the summer of 1998 as the summer that baseball truly came back.

11. Steffi Graf is my least favorite athlete ever.

She beat Monica Seles who was my favorite women’s player at the time, she beat Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario, she won seemingly every tournament she played and won with ease.

She wasn’t snooty, had no mean strike, no off the court issues… nothing.

She was just a machine, a well-oiled wrecking ball that made Saturday’s at Roland Garros and Wimbledon no fun to watch because you knew she was going to win.

She was the Bulls before the Jordan, golf before Tiger and Yankees before their rise…

And she was a total class act. That’s why I hated her I guess.

12. The only reason why I hate The Pittsburgh Steelers is Super Bowl 40

The Seahawks played against 17 men at a time, the Steelers and the refs. Quite honestly the worst called game ever and the Steelers acted like nothing happened. I still want Mike Holmgren to body slam Bill Cowher.

13. If Ohio State plays Syracuse in anything… I’m cheering for Syracuse

Buckeye Nation is really going to kill me.

Now I was a Michigan fan and I loved the Seminoles but I always wanted to be an Orangeman (and I would’ve if tuition wasn’t $42,000 a year).

Of course in basketball I loved the Orange and always will, however I like Syracuse football as much as I love OSU football.

Those were the Donovan McNabb days when he was slinging it to Marvin Harrison. I had a man crush on McNabb because he was just a beast. He could run it, throw it and make a three pointer every once in awhile. He was the first in the era of the scrambling QB and he made it work.

Harrison I thought was going to be the next Jerry Rice, and he almost was. He made everything look easy and could catch any ball thrown at him. With those two guys I thought it was the beginning if a dynasty at The Cuse on the field…

But we know how that went.

Fast forward to this year and The Cuse is on its way back. Coming off of an 8-5 year Syracuse has an outside shot at the Big East and could win 9 games. I’m honestly more excited for Orange football than Buckeye football.

Maybe it was the scandal, the tats, the selling of rings but I’m over it. I want to cheer for something I can believe in and right now my childhood favorites are trending up. I’m not totally abandoning Ohio State, but if they square off against the Orange I might be in a Syracuse Marathon Men shirt.

I’m looking so bad to the alumni right now.

My man Donovan.

14. I laughed at The Knicks when Reggie Miller scored 8 points in 17 seconds

I mean it was funny.

15. I still think the Ravens fixed Super Bowl 34

THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL THAT BALTIMORE CAN SCORE 34 POINTS!!!! ESPECIALLY AGAINST A TOP FIVE DEFENSE!!! AND I’M STICKING WITH THAT!!!!

16. My first pair of basketball kicks weren’t Jordan’s… They were Ewing’s

That orange and blue with the basketball hanging off the side… C’mon son! They were way fresher than the Jordans.

17. As much as I loved Mark Messier my favorite Ranger is Adam Graves

You ever date a girl who isn’t prettier than other girls that you’ve dated, doesn’t have big boobs, doesn’t have a great body, but makes you happy and does all the little things? That’s Adam Graves. He wasn’t as well known as Messier or Brian Leetch, he wasn’t as rough as Jeff Beukeboom and he wasn’t Mike Gartner fast.

But he always scored goals when you needed them, always killed penalties well and always laid it out in the ice. I was more upset when we traded him to San Jose than when Wayne Gretzky retired… true story.

18. The first game that made me throw a violent tantrum and had me cursing up a storm was the Mariners-Yankees ALDS game 5 in 1995.

Literally cursed so loud that my mom barged into my room and caught me about to tear into my book bag.

I hate that the M’s got into the playlets in the first place with that late season run (I was cheering for then to make it at first because I loved Ken Griffey Jr… Learned that lesson) I hate that Randy Johnson was so unhittable and I hate Jack McDowell because he had no business being out there amongst other reasons for hating him.

When we fired Buck Showalter at the end of the year I was part pissed and part happy. I was happy he was gone but mad that he cost us so many games including that one.

19. Pete Sampras- Andre Agassi is still my favorite sports rivalry.

This was the first sports thing that me and my mom went at each others throats about. She loved Agassi, the image, the hair, the return game and that he seemed like a down to earth guy. I liked Sampras’s nerve, his serve, the way that he played the game. He was the first cerebral athlete that I admired because he always seemed in control.

She called Sampras snooty, I called Agassi a punk, yeah a tennis rivalry broke up our house, weird I know.

It was the tennis that was so great. They were constantly gunning for each other and only measured themselves against each other. Jim Courier, Boris Becker. Stefan Edberg, none of them mattered. Sure they were good competition but Sampras only cared about Agassi and vice versa

You know these Roger Federer- Rafael Nadal matches? Those were three to four times a year for Sampras and Agassi or so it seemed. They were epic and just had you sitting on your hands past the third set.

Man did they hate each other.

They wanted to kill each other I thought. It was the perfect match if wits; Sampras and his finesse versus Agassi and his power. The series never tilted too far in one way. Sampras won his titles as did Agassi but Each has their own bragging point; Sampras won 7 Wimbledon crowns the most ever while Agassi has the career slam.

(side note 3: you know how I know this rivalry was really nasty? Last year in a charity match Sampras teamed with Federer to take on Agassi and Nadal. Agassi and Sampras traded barbs that were more than just smack talk. The crowd and Federer and Nadal just stood there with the crackers looks on there faces. I guess time doesn’t heal all wounds.)

20. The biggest choke job I ever saw was at the 1994 World Cup when Roberto Baggio missed a wide open net in penalty kicks costing Italy a chance at beating Brazil

I didn’t understand soccer at the time and didn’t like it… But even I was saying to myself “how did he miss that?”

21. As much as I hate the SEC, Nebraska is still my least favorite college team

They are still the most overrated program ever. They never threw the ball and no one could stop them. I remember watching the 1996 National Title game against Florida (who I also hated thanks to my allegiance to Florida State) and watch them beat down a team that beat down everyone and I couldnt understand it.

That Tommie Frazier run was the perfect example. You know option right was their bread and butter, they were in position had him stopped, yet 65 yards later the Huskers were up 62-24.

I can’t believe in 1994 that Nebraska and Penn State both finished undefeated but Nebraska won the outright title. PENN STATE WOULD HAVE KILLED THEM!!! Kerry Collins, Ki-Jana Carter and Kyle Brady along with that defense would’ve stopped that option I guarantee it.

Same with the split tile in 1997 with Michigan. Michigan was definitely the better team and had a better defense. However, everyone loved Nebraska, the loved Tom Osbourne a his gimmick offense. It ticks me off and I hope Ohio State beats them by 80 this year.

(by the way, you know what could’ve solved the issues of 1994 and 1997? A playoff… Just saying)

22. I still get nervous when I see a Florida state kicker kick

Wide right… Wide right 2… Wide left… That’ll do it to you.

Ugh!

23. I used to love Cal Ripken Jr an thought he was the greatest shortstop ever…

Then I moved to Maryland and heard about Cal so much that I wanted to puke… oh and Derek Jeter happened.

Cal made me want to be a shortstop. He hit for power, drove in runs and was great defensively. He had the iron man streak and everything pulled me in.

I had a serious collection of Cal Ripken cards that I wouldn’t sell for anything…

Then I got older and studied the game more and realized that he was alright.

One, that streak is the most overrated streak ever in sports. Of those 2600+ games only 200 of them were meaningful. He trotted out for so many bad teams and bad years that really the streak took on it’s own life because that’s all there was in Baltimore.

When you look at Brett Favre’s streak in the NFL it is way more impressive because Favre played in title games, won 3 MVP’s, went to the playoff in all but 3 or 4 years and carried his team to victory. Ripken wasn’t even close.

Then there was the fact that he wasn’t a great hitter. He always hovered around .275 and once his power went so did he.

Then there’s this fact… for all of the mess about Derek Jeter’s defense did you know that Ripken has more career errors, more 20+ error seasons and a lower fielding percentage than Jeter.

Maybe we should steer some of this overrated talk in Cal’s direction.

Ripken was good but he isn’t Jeter. Jeter has played in way more important games, come through in the clutch too many times and has made more ridiculous plays than Ripken ever did.

It’s not even close as to who’s better. Jeter is hitting almost .300 and playing decent defense at shortstop at age 37, Ripken was already tanking.

I’m sorry Maryland and baseball critics, Ripken was highly overrated. It just took me a few years to figure it out.

24. My middle school teacher Ms Rodriguez first put it in my head that I should be a sports writer.

We had a project where we had to write something and put it into summary form for class. I used the NHL all-star game for my project. I watched the entire thing took notes, wrote a three page report and talked about in threw minutes or less highlighting Owen Nolan’s hat trick (I still don’t know how he didn’t win MVP that year, the game was in San Jose… He was a Shark… silly voters),

Needless to say I got an A and she, as well as my classmates were really impressed. She told me to stick with it and that I would be a really good writer one day.

Overrated.

I hope she’s right. Writing a blog hungover while spilling your sports guts isn’t fun. However it may be worth it in the end and I might have many more happy birthdays in my future.

Thanks for reading and supporting the blog so far and letting me spew my ridiculousness for all the world to see. Now if you’ll excuse me my hangover is gone and I’m going to try to get a new one.

I might need a few drinks once I hear it from Buckeye fans about what I said.

Sometimes confessions should stay secret.


How Sports Helped Us Get Through 9/11 To Today

As last night's display of patriotism in Philadelphia went on, it showed how no matter how hard you try you cant change our way of life.

I remember 9/11/01 and what it meant at the time.

All I was concerned with at the time was Jay-Z’s new album, the Yankees pennant chase and how poorly the Giants played the night before on Monday Night Football.

Nothing prepared me for the horrors of what would take place the next day or anyone else for that matter.

9/11 was the uneasiest day for anyone living in the continental United States at the time. The attacks made by the Al Qaeda terrorists were an attack on our way of life and were made to frighten us and prevent us from doing the daily things that we love to do.

I remember how everything on TV just stopped. There were no sitcom reruns, no reality show re-runs, and most importantly no sports.

Baseball had halted its season, which included Barry Bonds’ chase of Mark McGwire’s home run record and the NFL and College Football called off their weekly schedules giving us no relief from the sad, new reality that was setting in around us.

It dawned on me how important sports was to out landscape at that moment.

Were called fans for a reason, we’re fanatical about the teams that we follow to the point that it places us in a world that’s far away from reality for just a few hours. Think about how much most of us hate our jobs or get annoyed by certain things in our life and about how three hours of watching the Heat, Bulls, Lightning or anyone gives us a sense of relief whether its through the frustration of putting ourselves in the athletes shoes or the joy of having you team come out on top.

the attacks of 9/11/01 brought us all together in the face of a new threat.

Truthfully sports helped us all get through the tragedy of 9/11 more than anything else. We immersed ourselves in Bonds’ chase; we became amazed and gazed in awe as the Yankees somehow came back from deficits in three straight games to turn the World Series into a classic that’s still talked about today. We rode on the Patriots bandwagon and their “nobody believed in us” story all the way to the Super Bowl and fell in love with Tom Brady and he ultimately became a superstar.

The presence of sports helped us cope and deal with the seemingly new world that we were living in, but it also became a rallying call as a means to fight what Al Qaeda was trying to do to us.

Their plan was to put fear into our hearts and to prevent us from living our lives. Yet even as stadiums were put on high terror alerts the fans still came out in droves to support their favorite teams.

Fathers brought their families, friends came out to have a good time and watch their favorite athletes do their thing for 4 quarters or 3 periods and to help deal with the terrors of possible attacks by terrorists and from the anthrax scare that existed at the time.

The point was that even though they were trying change who we were and how we lived it wasn’t working.

Yesterday was a big reminder of just how far we’ve come from that day almost ten years ago.

In the 9th inning of a rivalry game between the New York Mets and the Philadelphia Phillies, a buzz came over the stadium as fans let out loud cheers and raucous chants of U.S.A! U.S.A.! No the Phillies hadn’t scored and they weren’t even up to bat. Osama Bin Laden was killed by our troops in Pakistan after they found his hiding spot. As President Obama was confirming the news, Citizens Bank Park had erupted in a huge celebratory cheer. The man that spread hate and declared war on our way of living was dead.

Far be it for anyone to celebrate anyone’s death but we had a right to.

Ten years ago we had out family time, our recreation time, our night out with the fellas or our date night with our mates taken away by this man. And the threat that it would happen again was far too real. More than a cheer for his death, it was a cheer for our service men that hunted him for ten years and kept Al Qaeda at bay to preserve our way of life. It was Philadelphia’s and our way showing them our appreciation even though some cheers were taunts at Osama’s demise.

As troops fought for our freedom overseas, we fought the hate by continuing to go out and support our teams and have fun.

Is there still a threat of danger out there even though Osama is gone? Of course. He spread his message of hate to other people who will probably take a crack at damaging our way of life again. However, we as people and as fans have made our statement with our actions since then.

We as a culture don’t get scared. It’s not in our blood. We’ve become a nation of bravado and pride due to the music we listen to, the people we idolize, and the athletes that we watch on a daily basis.

We love the tough guys, the Brett Favre’s who never miss a day of work, the Daniel Carcillo’s who are tough as nails and will scrap with anyone, the Derrick Rose’s who drive down the lane knowing they’ll get hit but keep doing it again and again. That’s who we are. It doesn’t matter who tries to change that about us, it’s instilled in us. You may have gotten us to flee for a week, and we were weary when first began to return but once we came back, we stayed in our seats and cheered, and booed and had fun in ways that only we can.

We not only earned a victory in the execution of Osama Bin Laden, but we won the battle for our way of life here at home long before he met his end.

After I shed a few tears of relief and reflected on that horrible day ten years ago, I went to home and cranked Jay-Z’s Blueprint while I went nodded to sleep, the same as I did ten years ago. This sleep was much more relaxing and calming then the one that occurred after 9/11.

When I woke up today all I did was listen to Jay-Z, think about how Ivan Nova is improving as a starter and wonder how well the Giants draft picks will do once we get some football going again.

Just the status quo for me, thankfully nothing has changed that.


Baseball Preview Day 4: Concussions In Baseball

This was the play that ended Justin Morneau's season.

Justin Morneau was 0-10 in live baseball games this spring up until this week. He was hit by a few balls and took a few good cuts, but he just couldn’t seem to get going.

 

Recovering from a concussion in baseball may be harder than one would ever think.

 

Morneau hasn’t played since July 7th of last year when his head met the knee of Blue Jays infielder John McDonald during his attempted breakup of a double play. At first it was supposed to be a mild concussion that was going to keep him out for one-maybe two games.

 

Then the All-Star game past… then August… September… the playoffs… and a month of spring training. Morneau had not had an at-bat in over 90 games of live ball due to that one seemingly harmless play that has hurt him in the short-term and possibly could effect him for the long haul.

 

It’s also raised awareness about the severity of concussions in Major League Baseball and what the future holds for players who could end up like Morneau.

 

Concussions as you know have become a hot topic in football and hockey circles recently. Head injuries have been moved to the forefront in light of devastating injuries that have occurred recently to Sidney Crosby, Austin Collie, Marc Savard and a slew of other players.

 

Crosby’s case is similar to Morneau’s in the sense that the hit he took he took in the Winter Classic seemed relatively harmless but has kept him out for nearly 4 months.

Concussions have been a major cause for concern in the NHL and NFL.

The difference in the cases of the NFL, NHL and now the MLB is that football and hockey are much more physical sports with a higher risk for injury. The NFL reported that this year had the number of recorded head injuries in the history of the league. The news has made the league more cautious of how to handle head injuries and it is going over guidelines on how to make the league safer for players.

 

You wouldn’t think that Major League Baseball would have the same cause for concern. Even in instances when we do see a player hit in the head by a pitch or by a line drive the severity of the injury is relatively low.

 

There have been instances where I’ve seen players hit in the head by wild pitches and the fall, get up, shake it off and act like nothing happened.

 

The dynamic changed four years ago when Mike Coolbaugh, a first-base coach of the Texas league’s Tulsa Drillers was killed by a line drive in the ninth inning of a game. Ever since then first and third-base coaches have to wear batting helmets as a mandatory guideline mandated by the league.

 

However, most batting helmets protect against a certain level of speed that a ball is thrown. Most Major League batting helmets to tend to protect against speeds that hit only up to 80 mph (even Barry Zito’s fastball hits 80… sometimes). But for the most part there’s no way that those helmets are going to be useful if a Justin Verlander fastball goes AWOL and knocks a guy out.

 

In recent years, helmets have been designed to protect against 90 mph and Rawlings introduced the S100 helmet, which can protect batters against 100 mph fastballs. The thing is that these helmets are not required to be worn by teams. Simply put, baseball’s motto is, wear a helmet, it doesn’t matter what kind it is as long as you got one on. The reality is that the S100 should be a mandatory piece of equipment worn by Major league Baseball teams.

 

Then there are other instances where head injuries can occur.

Jason Bay's season was also cut short after running into a wall.

 

Mets outfielder Jason Bay suffered a season ending concussion by running into a padded wall at Dodger Stadium on July 23rd. Anyone who watches baseball knows that those walls have as much padding as the Mets have good luck. Very little.

 

Up until the Bay injury no one has ever really though of how to make those walls safer. Now they may want to. Padded walls have led to injuries suffered by Ken Griffey Jr. and Aaron Rowand amongst others. In Bay’s case losing a guy to a concussion by running into a cement wall with 3 inches of foam padding might be cause for greater concern.

 

We always see players give up their bodies to make plays to keep a game in their favor. Now those types of plays can knock a guy out for long periods of time. I’m not saying the MLB should make outfielders wear helmets incase something were to happen, but they have to view their options before someone gets seriously injured again

 

These are issues that should be made relevant by players in the CBA talks, which will be ongoing all season as it is set to expire in December.

 

Player safety in baseball should be just as equal of a concern as it is in the NFL and NHL. Before MLB starts having the same issues as the other two sports they need to act now. They can’t afford to have many more incidents like the Morneau and Bay cases before it becomes prevalent in the national.

 

The good news is that last night Justin Morneau smacked two doubles against Boston Red Sox last night and that his fielding has been superb all spring training.

 

The Twins need him to make a deep postseason run this fall. Let’s hope he’ll be healthy enough to be there.


Baseball Preview Day 3: Meet The Mess

Fred Wilpon and the Mets are baseball's biggest joke.

Growing up in New York there are lines crossed with which baseball teams you have to follow.

 

The Bronx and Staten Island are primarily Yankees fans, Brooklyn and Queens were partial to the Mets and Manhattan is always split in half.

 

Being that I am from Brooklyn I should have been a Mets fan growing up. My mom was a Mets fan, my Dad was a Mets fan, my uncles, aunts and cousins were all Mets fans. Yet somehow during the Steve Sax, Randy Velerde and Luis Polonia days I was always partial to the Yankees.

 

I couldn’t tell you why I was more partial to the Pinstripes, but I was. Both teams had great play-by-play guys, Phil Rizzuto for the Yanks, Ralph Kiner for the Mets, both teams were at the bottom of their divisions and going to Yankee and Shea stadium really wasn’t too different to me because both places were dumps.

 

Yet I liked the Yankees more. My first games was a Yankees game, my first hat was a Yankees hat, and my favorite player at the time was still Andre Dawson so I couldn’t like the Mets anyway because I would always want Dawson’s Cubs to go off on the Mets.

 

20 years later when I look back on those times and my subconscious decision-making I’m so happy that I became a Yankees fan, because the Mets stink.

 

Actually let me rephrase that…  the Mets are the biggest mess in baseball ever.

 

As a fan of this team there isn’t a single reason that you should look forward to this season. You’re team is bleeding money thanks to the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme, your lineup cant produce runs in any way shape form or fashion, your star players can’t stay on the field and your pitching staff is horrendous.

 

Mets tried to talk themselves into Oliver Perez, fail. They gave Carlos Beltran 119 million 7 years ago in hopes that he would be the piece that put them over the top, fail. They traded for Johan Santana in hopes that he would carry their staff to the top of the division, fail. Jason Bay, Luis Castillo, K-rod, J.J. Putz, fail, fail, fail.

Oliver Perez... insert joke here.

 

There have a laundry list of deficiencies that have hindered this team on off of the field. Whether its Jose Reyes’s health or K-rod knocking out his girlfriends dad, Johan’s sex scandal or the Willie Randolph firing. The Mets have been baseballs best soap opera for years and the hits just keep on coming.

 

When you look at the Mets have some talent on paper. Ike Davis was a mid-season call-up last year that showed potential and, Mike Pelfrey could possibly be a top of the rotation guy and the face of the franchise, and David Wright, is one of the best third basemen in the game. Yet on the field they have no cohesiveness, no consistency, no nothing.

Watching the Mets is like a lesson in futility. They were 24th in the league in runs scored, hits and home runs,  22nd in batting average, 25th in OBP. Their pitching was mediocre as well by being 18th in the league in WHIP and BAA, and that was due in part to Pelfrey and Santana.

 

They made mistakes in crucial situations, they were a sideshow of errors that came with a blooper reel in the field that seemed to happen every other day. There were times where I think I saw Wright mutter to himself “two more years and I’m out of here,” and I wouldn’t blame him.

 

Would you want to play for this team? This is a team with no identity, a dark future, an owner who needs money, a fan base that’s embarrassed to come to the park and watch them and in their division they are an easy choice for 5th.

 

The Mets bad decision from the Beltran and Santana deals, to the quick trigger release of Randolph, to the Madoff scandal, have crippled them to the point where they could easily be one of the worst teams in the league.

If you were David Wright, you'd be feeling like this too.

Entering this year they don’t have Santana until the summer time, the are still concerned about Beltran’s health as well as Reyes’, and their only hope in their rotation is Chris Young, who hasn’t been healthy in 3 years, Pelfrey, Jon Niese and the ageless wonder R.A. Dickey.

 

And you thought the Yankees had pitching problems.

 

If you want any good news, Beltran’s contract comes off of the books this year and there is optimism with Davis and David Murphy possibly playing everyday, and that’s about it.

 

The rest is one big snowball that hasn’t reached the bottom of the hill yet and seems to be rolling along at a steady pace.

 

The Yankees problems with pitching, age and deciding the future of the team would be welcomed in Queens. At least have some idea about what’s going on and on what to do about it. The Mets on the other hand are taking it day-to-day, not knowing what will happen next.

 

It’s a sad story of a team that 5 years ago was a World Series contender and three years ago was a front-runner in the NL East. Nowadays they would be thankful enough to have a day without something going wrong.

 


A Little Baseball Reality Check

Don't panic, Tex will turn it around.

You know what you learn from the first two weeks of baseball? Nothing. The first month, two even for that matter. The first two weeks are like extended spring training where pitchers and hitters play with each other in full game action without any short limits on pitch counts and can go full speed. All these two weeks are, are just like the opening night of your favorite play: they’ve rehearsed, dry runs and costume designs, or redesigns (love the Tampa Bay blue unis) and now let’s put it all together in front of a nice crow.

So naturally there are going to be some bumps, bruises and miscues as the show goes along. Just keep this in perspective baseball fans… THERE ARE 162 GAMES IN A SEASON!!! DON’T CRY ABOUT YOUR TEAM SUCKING WHEN NOT EVEN 10% OF THE SEASON IS IN THE BOOKS!!!

This isn’t the NFL were having two bad weeks of football could kill you by week 17, its ok that Mark Teixeira is hitting .114, its ok that the White Sox are having troubles hitting the ball, or that Jimmy Rollins and Brandon Webb on the DL. We haven’t even hit interleague yet.

Here are some early season trends that will continue, will come to a halt soon, or if they’re not fixed could mean trouble down the line:

Mark Teixeira, New York Yankess: .114/1/6. Tex is a slow starter by nature, last year he didn’t hit his first home run of the season until his 58th at-bat, he finished with a league leading 39. The Yanks have jumped out to a fast start thanks to great starting pitching (no not you Javy Vazquez) and timely hitting from 5th in the order down. Tex normally heat up in late May so keep your shirt on.

Prince Fielder, Milwaukee Brewers: .244/0/3 15 strikeouts. This is a guy that’s averaged 40 homeruns and 120 RBI in the last 3 seasons establishing him as one of the premier first basemen in the game. What’s disturbing is his strikeout total. He’s on pace for over 200 K’s this year and he’s never had 140. A visit from the pitching inept Pirates should start to get him going.

The Boston Red Sox: 4-9, 4.65 Team ERA. Their lead hitter is Jason Varitek, every starter has an ERA of more than 4 except Clay Buckholz, Kevin Youkilis is hitting .211 after a brilliant opening game against the Yankees and David Ortiz is still ready to set Boston reporters on fire… as much as I want this to continue it won’t. Youkilis is one of the best hitters in the game, but he has no protection in the lineup with Ortiz struggling early behind him and Victor Martinez hitting .208 in front of him. it would also be of help if Jacoby Ellsbury would get out of his personal funk and become the threat on the base pads that he was last year, he has only two swipes so far this year. The rotation is a different story. Dice K’s shoulder still isn’t responding properly and Time Wakefield, Jon Lester, Josh Beckett and newcomer John Lack have been awful. Lackey’s bomb on Monday against Tampa was the latest shelling suffered by the starting rotation. They have the best bullpen in the game, but it means nothing if the rotation can’t get their stuff right and give the pen the support they need. I think the Red Sox will get it together, but with the way that the Yankees and Rays have jumped out, it might be a little hard to come back if this is still the case in May.

New York Mets: 5-8. David Wright is struggling, again. Jose Reyes can’t hit, and Johan Santana is struggling. The papers in New York are calling for phenom Ike Davis to come up and bring some thunder to the struggling lineup. They need Crash Davis and Ike Turner at this point. I knew the Mets weren’t going to be good, but they may be worse than I thought.

Jason Hayward, Atlanta Braves: .302/3/15. He’s been better than advertized in Atlanta thus far from the opening day homer to the game winning hit on Sunday. However, he is a rookie, he will hit a wall and his average and production will dip. His strikeout total will continue to rise.

Barry Zito, San Francisco Giants: 2-0, 1.86 ERA, 0.88 WHIP. Zito looks like the guy from his Cy Young winning days in Oakland. A bust in his first two years in San Fran Zito has looked like an ace again going 6 innings in each of his first three starts. I don’t think he’ll keep up at this pace all year but he certainly won’t be the bust that he’s been the last two seasons.

Barry Zito is starting to earn his money.

Houston Astros offense: .233/2/12. You think they need Lance Berkman? Carlos Lee is batting .104 in the early going. Team that with an already erratic staff and you see why they’re in last place in the Central, and will stay there.

Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies: 3-0, 1.12 ERA 21 K’s. yeah, like you didn’t expect that to happen.

Josh Willingham, Washington Nationals: .359/3/10 .692 slugging. He’s making Nats fans forget that Adam Dunn is… well… done. His power numbers aren’t a surprise because he was a big bopper in Florida. His average is shocking as he’s never hit more that. 277. His average will drop but he should go for 30/100 this year.

Chicago White Sox: where do we start? They’re 5-9, no one has a batting average over .260, Jake Peavy is struggling, so is Gavin Floyd, they are last in the majors in hitting and run production and Mark Buerhle is the only thing going good for them pitching wise. They sit in last place currently, yes the Royals are Hitting, pitching and playing better than them. While I don’t think it will continue, you have to wonder if the Chisox are capable of pulling themselves out of this mess. The leadership of Jim Thome and Jermaine Dye is missing and nothing that Ozzie Guillen is doing thus far seems to be working. Hopefully they get better, but who knows.

Ok, there. There are a few things to digest early in the season. Some guys are hot and get cold and vice versa, unless you’re the Mets, they’re already done. Just keep this in perspective, its April there is time for change. However, early bad habits do have lingering effects.


This Years Smart Baseball Picks

Aaahh, still a beautiful sight.

Hey did you know that the New York Yankees were world champions? Sorry I had to rub that in one more time. After a decade of dealing with annoyingly fair-weather Orioles fans in Baltimore and bitter fans in Cleveland I got to throw it back in the face of everyone within a 500 mile radius of my obnoxiousness.

After Mark Teixeira collected the final out of the World Series me and buddy Mark Damiano jumped around like kids that just found out that they were going to Disneyworld. It was as if we had never won a title even though the nineties were the greatest time of my sports life when the Yanks won 4 titles in 5 years. Truth is the last ten years of being a Yankee fan was hell (and here’s where the Cubs, Astros and about 20 other teams fans tune me out until I get to my picks). It wasn’t hell in the sense that we didn’t a title every year; it was hell due to the amount of pressure that was placed on the team every year to win a title.

When I was a kid I was happy to watch Don Mattingly roam first base freely even though the team was terrible. When we lost in 97 to Cleveland after winning the title in 96 I was upset but it wasn’t a monumental thing that made me want to jump off of a cliff. For a stretch of the 2000’s the Yankees front office made it impossible to watch the Yankees without being disappointed. We treated playoff appearances like wins over the Royals. If we didn’t win titles we spent millions on guys who we thought would make the team better (Jason Giambi, Randy Johnson, Kei Igawa, etc.) and when they failed we spent more. For a while I felt like- gulp- a Red Sox fan.

That’s why last year’s title was a relief for fans (again boo-hoo’s from the Mets, Pirates and Reds fans). This year we can go back to being normal fans. We didn’t spend a ton of money on free agents because we didn’t need to. For all of the flack that Brian Cashman receives, he is without question the best GM in baseball. After watching the rotation feast or famine with 3 pitchers, and somehow win, he traded for Javy Vazquez (moment of silence for my “Got Melky?’ t-shirt). He knew our outfield needed to get younger so he traded for the underachieving yet talented outfielder Curtis Granderson. He got guys that fit the attitude of these Yankees and didn’t break the bank to do it.

It sets up the Yankees for another title run with expectations to win, but not in a psychopathic “we have to match the Red Sox” kind of way that it has been. In all honesty if the Yankees don’t win it all this year it won’t be such a bad thing (and if you truly believe that last line I just typed, then you must not understand the Yankees or our fans. As long as someone named Steinbrenner owns the team it’s all about winning and winning now. In fact if we don’t win it all this year I wouldn’t be surprised if Joe Girardi got fired. Welcome to the Bronx Zoo. Come for the excitement, stay for the carnage).

If the Yankees do want to repeat they need to be the exact same team they were last year. This year so many teams and divisions are so tough to call that the six divisions could be won by either two or three teams. There are no gimmies this season; the Braves are the Rockies are the Mariners are the Rays are Cardinals. Every team in contention has a go to starter, big time hitter and consistency in most areas of their game. The Phillies for example picked up Roy Halladay to go with Cole Hamels (who will not have another 2009. EVER! Write that down. Last year was a fluke. I’m talking Kevin Stevens 50 goals in 1992 fluke.) , they have a ton of offensive fire power and you know once August rolls around that Ryan Howard should put up his usual .300/15/45 last two months to carry Philly to the postseason. Likewise in Boston who have a healthy Josh Beckett (don’t get it confused, he struggled last year because he was injured. He didn’t tell anyone but we knew) plus John Lackey, Jon Lester and the best bullpen in the game. However, the Sox struggled against the Rays all year last season, and with a sense of urgency on a team that has this season as its last for contention with this much talent, who’s to say Matt Garza and James Shields won’t dominate them again as they did last year or that a possible career year from free agents to be Carl Crawford and Carlos Pena wont overpower them? Likewise in the Central, couldn’t you imagine the Astros putting it all together and using Roy Oswalt and Wandy Rodriguez to lead a charge to the top of the division, or Ryan Braun and the Brewers overpowering the Cardinals?

As you can see, the Phillies didn't take losing the series lightly.

With all of these possibilities comes one thing that is for sure, that I will predict something completely and utterly stupid this season in my preview. Let’s not forget that two years ago I thought the Reds were good enough to win the NL Central (fail), or that the Mariners with Erik Bedard were the best team in the AL West (to my credit, so did everyone else for that matter). My favorite was predicting that Robinson Cano would have an MVP year in 2008; he ended up with his worst offensive season of his young career that year (triple fail). So for this year I have a full proof way of showing off my prowess for baseball knowledge, without looking like a jack-ass. Ladies and gentlemen I give you my picks, and the picks I would make if I had no sense whatsoever:

NL WEST: Old Kevin- San Francisco Giants. Smart Kevin- Colorado Rockies

I love the pitching by the bay. Tim Lincecum and Matt Cain might be the best one-two punch in baseball (apologies to Carpenter and Wainwright). Plus they have a healthy Nate Lowry and Jonathan Sanchez looks like he has finally put it together. However, if you think they can get by with that offense of theirs you must be crazy. Pablo Sandoval is about as much of a clean-up hitter as Aaron Rowand is a lead-off guy.

In Colorado you have a team primed for another run at the playoffs. Troy Tulowitzky is an MVP caliber player and Ubaldo Jimenez and Jorge De La Rosa make a great tandem at the top of the rotation. The only question is what about the health of Huston Street? When healthy you can argue that Street is of the top 5 closers in the game. Once is arm is healthy look for the Rocks to outlast Los Angeles in the West.

Player to watch- Adrian Gonzalez.

The Red Sox wanted him, and failed in acquiring him. The Padres will finish last in the division, and will do so after jettisoning Gonzalez before the deadline.  Gonzalez is a 30 homerun 100 RBI guy on the most inept team in baseball. Imagine him in Atlanta or Chicago with the White Sox.

NL Central: Old Kevin- Milwaukee Brewers Smart Kevin- St. Louis Cardinals

Can the Brew Crew hit? Uh yeah. They didn’t ink Braun and Fielder for fun and games. The two of them are a yearly 80+ homeruns and 200-225 RBI. Yet the Rotation (as always) is a huge question. You don’t doubt Iovany Gallardo, but you question whether or not Randy Wolf and Doug Davis are 2 and 3 guys.

The Cardinals are more complete in all aspects. Pujols is in MVP until further notice mode while Matt Holiday should put up huge numbers in season number two in the Lou. Plus the aforementioned Carpenter and Wainwright are worth a guaranteed 42 wins this year. Only concern might be Ryan Franklin as closer. Some days he’s good, some days he’s not.

Wildcard team- Cincinnati Reds

I’m not picking them to win the division, but they are going to give teams fits, as well as themselves. Look at the rotation: Jonny Cueto, Aroldis Chapman and Homer Bailey are talent scouts wet dreams. Yet Bailey seems to be on his last chance and Cueto still has questionable maturity issues. Then there’s the much talked about Chapman with a cannon of a left arm and a mound of control problems. Add in Jay Bruce (he’ll bounce back after a poor 2009) and Joey Votto and this young team should be a problem. If they can get over struggles better than they have.

NL East: Old Kevin- Florida Marlins Smart Kevin- Philadelphia Phillies

I can’t pick a team with Dan Uggla as there Feature power hitter. I want to pick the Marlins I really do (sound familiar). I have a man crush on Josh Johnson and Hanley Ramirez. Yet once again I don’t trust Uggla, Leo Nunez and I don’t think Chris Caghlan will have another year like last year.

The Phillies aren’t exactly a smash either. Brad Lidge is injured, Cole Hamels is fragile as we learned last year and Jimmy Rollins might be a 7 hitter disguised as a lead-off man. Yet there’s still Ryan Howard (My pick for MVP), Chase Utley and the addition of Roy Halladay that makes every team fear for their lives against the Phillies. So it’s the Phillies to win 4 years and running.

The Team that reminds me of the Jersey Shore cast – New York Mets

Sucks to be you.

THEY ARE A TRAIN WRECK… yet I can’t stop watching. How can I not watch? Who’s going to back up Johan Santana in the rotation? Who’ll protect David Wright in the lineup? When will Jerry Manuel get fired? Will Omar Minaya punch Jose Reyes in the face? All they need is The Situation and J-Woww swinging at each other in between innings and they become the best side show in baseball.

AL West: Old Kevin-Texas Rangers Smart Kevin- Seattle Mariners

On paper the Rangers can compete. They’ll score 850 runs and Derek Holland and Neftali Perez look like future aces. In reality, Ron Washington’s a coke head. I’m sorry; I’m not picking a team managed by Tyrone Biggums.

Seattle was handed Cliff Lee for reason that still puzzle me. What did they give up again? A mid-rated minor leaguer? Anyway, he and Felix Hernandez get the honor of scaring every team on back –to-back days for at least a year and there’s Ichiro. In this division that’s all you really need. (How about Milton Bradley batting fourth for them. Did they not see him in Chicago last year? His one good year came in a hitters park in Texas. Clean-up? Clean-up in a pitchers park? Why am I picking Seattle again?)

Most fun guy to watch- Brett Anderson, A’s Pitcher

If you ever get to watch this spazz in between innings please do. Get a bucket of popcorn and watch him go OCD on a water bottle, and look like he has facial contusions. Comedy. (Also watch him on the mound. In his first season he finished 11-11 with a 4.50 ERA but he thrived in the second half of the season.)

AL Central: Old Kevin- Minnesota Twins. Smart Kevin- Detroit Tigers

I would’ve been been blinded by Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Michael Cuddyer. I would’ve said Nick Blackburn and Francisco Liriano were more than enough pitching with that offense. I would’ve ignored the fact that Joe Nathan’s career is possibly over following Tommy John surgery. Now I’ve come to my senses. It aint happening.

It’s not that I truly trust a team with a recovering Alcoholic, a mentally complacent right-fielder, a head-case of a starting pitcher or a bullpen with live arms and no health. I just know that Jim Leyland, who is one of the top 5 managers today, will put it together, and as long as Justin Verlander is going every 5 days that’s 20 wins in the bag. (But to reiterate I really don’t trust them.)

Team I really think can be better than both teams mentioned, but no one is noticing- Chicago White Sox

It’s a team with more questions than the GRE. Is Jake Peavy healthy? Will Alex Rios ever return to the form that made him tantalizing in Toronto? Will Alexei Ramirez, Carlos Quentin and Gordon Beckham put up the numbers that they should put up yearly? Can Ozzie Guillen keep his job? How can you not like the makeup of this team? They have a great rotation lead by Mark Buerhle, a steady bat in Jermaine Dye and of course the mad scientist Guillen who is heavily underrated as a Manager. The problem is you really don’t know what to expect from them on a game to game basis. They seem to have the tools to be great, but it may take time. Also you have to wonder if eventually this team will tune out Ozzie. His fiery style may finally be wearing thin, and unless he can deliver on the field he might be in a studio by October.

AL East: Old Kevin- New York Yankees. Smart Kevin-Tampa Bay Rays

Expect The Rays to win the east and this guy to win the MVP.

Ok I had to throw in one shocker. Why don’t I trust the defending champs? The best looking pitcher in spring training was A.J. Burnett for one (C.C. Sabathia looked miserably bad). Two, A-rod has been in the news for things other than baseball, again. Three,  Joba Chamberlain isn’t saying it, but he looks like a disgruntled reliever after losing a rotation spot to Phil Hughes. I think these Yankees also have to go through being the prey for the first time to get a good feel for them. This is a different Yankee team because these boys are more blue-collar than the teams of Yankees past. You have to wonder if that laid back style will falter when the pennant race heats up, and the pressure of repeating kicks in.

So why Tampa? Like I said, this is their last chance to win a title for another ten years. They won’t keep Crawford and Pena after this year. They may deal Matt Garza. This might be a different team next year. They will play like their lives depend on it. This team is so undisciplined at the plate (ahem, B.J. Upton), so streaky and so hit or miss that you love them one second, and pull your hair out the next. Yet Joe Madden had righted the ship for two straight years. He’s molded Matt Garza into an ace, Evan Longoria into a star (he’s my AL MVP) and a league laughingstock into a respectable contender. The urgency is there and I think Madden will mold it into another division title and possibly a World Series birth.

Team to fear in two years (once they get some pitching)- Baltimore Orioles

I hate admitting this, but Baltimore is almost back. If Peter Angelos can somehow spend a little money on a pitcher next year or down the line (how crazy would it sound to get Cliff Lee or Zach Greinke in Baltimore?) then this team could be better than Boston or New York. The outfield is set for years to come with Nolan Reimold, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis, and Matt Wieters behind the plate will be a monster. Yet it’s that product on the mound that hurts them more than anything else. They thought Jeremy Guthrie was an ace, oops. They thought Erik Bedard was as well, oops number two. Instead of getting pitching one year they got Sammy Sosa. Angelos had been so bad in making this team competitive that it’s a wonder that all of this talent fell into their lap.

He has routinely made decisions that hurt the Orioles on and off of the field. Go to an O’s game when the Red Sox or Yankees are in town and you’ll know what I’m talking about. It’s embarrassing that Camden Yards becomes Yankee Stadium and Fenway South. Angelos has ticked off his own fans and turned them into fans of the enemy. Yet here he is on the cusp of reviving baseball in Baltimore, one of the best baseball towns in America. Will he finally get it right? (Probably not. If you ever live in Maryland than you know that Peter Angelos is loved about as much as the Yankees. AND YOU KNOW HE WONT DO ANYTHING REMOTELY CLOSE TO MAKING THE ORIOLES LOOK GOOD!)

World Series: Old Kevin- Yankees vs. Phillies with the Phillies winning it all

Smart Kevin- Tigers vs. Cardinals with the Cardinals winning it all

I really like the Cardinals this year. I like the rotation with the addition of Brad Penny. I like the subtraction of Rick Ankiel and having Cody Rasmus in Centerfield. I like the lineup headed by Scott Schumaker with Pujols, Holliday and Ryan Ludwick in the middle. This team is capable of winning the title with what they have, save for possibly acquiring a middle reliever at the trade deadline. It is a good mix of youth and experience. Plus the best player in the game plays for them so why not take a flyer on them.

So there you have it. No crazy picks, no ridiculous obsession over the Yankees. A smart pick to win the title from a crazed baseball fan. However, you all know I think the Yankees will win it all. You’ll read my facebook statuses and watch me cry, whine and moan every time A-rod strikes out or Robby grounds into a double play. Just remember don’t blame me, blame Cashman and the powers that be. They made all Yankees fans like this. I just have to keep reminding myself that we’re World Champions. That does sound great doesn’t it?

AL EAST- RAYS                         NL EAST- PHILLIES

CENTRAL- TIGERS                   CENTRAL- CARDINALS

WEST-MARINERS                    WEST- ROCKIES

WILDCARD-YANKEES              WILDCARD- DIAMONDBACKS

NLCS- PHILLIES VS. CARDINALS          ALCS- YANKEES VS. TIGERS

WORLD SERIES- CARDINALS VS. TIGERS        CARDINALS-WORLD CHAMPS

AL MANAGER OF THE YEAR- DON WAKAMATSU NL- TONY LARUSSA

AL CY YOUNG- CLIFF LEE        NL- CHRIS CARPENTER

AL MVP- EVAN LONGORIA      NL- RYAN HOWARD