Thursday, June 9, 2011

Four Down and Three to Go

"Holy crap, Dirk has a 102 degree fever, Jason Kidd died, and Jason Terry ran his mouth about LeBron James." I swear to you those were my thoughts as I prepared to observe the crucial Game 4 between the Mavericks and Heat. If, while reading my thoughts, you heard a glimmer of hope you heard wrong. Instead, the sentiment was more along the lines of the feeling you would get if Brad Pitt shot your girl a flirtatious glance. Really? I have no shot.

Then the game played out and something happened I never imagined, James played more like "pre-Gasol" Kobe Bryant. He just looked disinterested. Almost, as if to say, "fine, you think it's Wades' team? Let's see how they do without me." Seriously, I have watched the game twice now and that is the only conclusion I can come to. James' inability to get involved crippled the Heat. The Mavericks had no business winning the game. Terry finally contributes with 8 points in the 4th quarter, Kidd slashed to the basket and made the defense work (oh yea, that was Barea) Kidd continues to be dead, and Dirk was missing shots he would normally hit with ease. Yet, it was enough.

As both teams head into Thursdays Game 5, we see two stories shaping up rit in front of us. The Mavericks are finding just enou ways to stay in the games and make this one of the most exciting series in history, while the Heat are on the verge of tearing at the seems. Yes, the Heat prognostication seems a little drastic but if James comes close to emulating Game 4 than will they not be unraveled?

As a fan of the Mavericks, I offer no predicition or false hope ( if I did it would read like this: LeBron James takes every shot in the first quarter and then walks off the floor with both hands flashing "#1" never to be seen again. But I won't share hopes). Instead, I hope we continue to see a great series. Let's appreciate greatness when greatness is before us.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Absence Makes the Heart...

You know the saying. "Absence makes the heart grow fonder." We hope this is true for you considering that we have been absent for two weeks changing our approach. We would like to hear  from you as to what things you would like to see (Interviews with players, top ten lists, poll questions, etc.). We look to "restart" Monday April 18th. We have interviews with former Clemson RB Jamie Harper and sports writer Ed Maisonet, creator of, already lined up for you guys and gals to enjoy. So make sure to stay plugged in and offer any advice or criticisms. Thanks and we hope to see you back soon.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

MLB Predictions

PLAY BALL! Sorry, I'm just a little excited. I think I speak for all of us here that Opening Day should be a holiday. Baseball is our favorite sport so I thought I'd give my predictions for the year. Tell us how you think this season ends up as well. -Collin

AL East

Boston Red Sox
New York Yankees
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Baltimore Orioles

AL Central

Minnesota Twins
Detroit Tigers
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
Cleveland Indians

AL West

Texas Rangers
Oakland A's
Los Angeles Angels
Seattle Mariners

AL Cy Young: Jon Lester
AL MVP: Robinson Cano
AL Rookie of the Year: Michael Pineda

NL East

Atlanta Braves
Philadelphia Phillies
Florida Marlins
Washington Nationals
New York Mets

NL Central

Milwaukee Brewers
Cincinnati Reds
St Louis Cardinals
Pittsburgh Pirates
Chicago Cubs
Houston Astros

NL West

Colorado Rockies
San Francisco Giants
Los Angeles Dodgers
San Diego Padres
Arizona Diamonbacks

NL Cy Young: Zack Greinke
NL MVP: Troy Tulowitzki
NL Rookie of the Year: Freddie Freeman

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

"Maddening March"

Quick, tell me what VCU stands for. What is their mascot? Where is Butler located? I am willing to guess that you were unable to answer all three of those without hesitation and Google. The national media tells us that this is the beauty of the NCAA tournament, that every team has a chance to win the Championship. No year has epitomized that notion quite like this year's NCAA tournament.
Butler (8 seed) and VCU (11) have reached the Final Four by defeating the likes of Kansas, Florida, Pittsburgh, and Florida State...OK, well, the first three were upsets. No one, expert or amateur, predicted VCU to escape the first round, much less make the Final Four. (This is the part where we recall what Dick Vitale had to say about VCU making the tourney.) As great as the stories have been, does the public really want to see Butler of VCU crowned champion?
March Madness is great for the casual observer. Cinderella stories are essentially what drives the NCAA tournament but are they really good for the sport? Sure, it is an entertaining story but ratings show that people would rather view two "powerhouses" instead of two mid conference teams. Veiwership is the ultimate reason for the tournament field being as large as it is. More viewers equals more revenue. You understand.
I find March Madness frustrating. It tears me in two between the fan who wants to see strictly entertaining games and the fan who wants to watch the sport be played at its best by its best. The concept of a playoff in NCAA football is entertaining and the case is strong for one. My hesitation lies in its ability to stay exclusive. If, and only if, the officials can gurantee to limit a football playoff to the top 6 or 8 teams would I sign off. Remember, viewership is the goal of all this; not Championships. The more teams brought into the field the more people watch your program. You understand.
So as America sits back this weekend to watch Cinderella prolong midnight, ask yourself if the idea of Butler or VCU calling themselves the best team in the nation sits well with you as a fan of sport.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

NBA Most Underrated

It is a common topic within any sports community, who is the most "underrated" player. What qualifies a player as underrated? Salary? All-Star votes? Followers on Twitter? Whatever the logic one chooses, every list, without fail, stirs some type of debate. It is one of the many beauties of athletics.
Top Underrated NBA players is compiled on a wide range of sources. As I am currently reading Jonah Keri"s The Extra 2%, my mind is forcing itself to look beyond the traditional statistics. Thus, along with personal perception and traditional stat lines (i.e PPG/RPG/APG), I will also be incorporating Hollinger's saber-metric system ratings. (No Big Baby, you will not be in this list I don't  care how much you try and say you deserve it.)

That attachment to her shoulder is
Nets forward Kris Humphries.
10. Kris Humphries PF-Nets- I should probably show you his 10.2 rebounds per game or the fact that he his shooting 53% from the field. Maybe, mentioning his 17.86 PER (Player Efficiency Rating) would convince you. What if I told you this guy landed a Kardashian? Now you understand why he is underrated.

9. Danny Granger SF-Pacers- Scoring 20 points a game is enough to justify the offense running through him even though he is only pulling 2 rebounds  per game. Leading the Pacers to playoff contention, even after a coaching change, seems to go unnoticed.

8. Dwight Howard C- Magic- That is correct. 23 PPG, 14.3 RPG and a PER of 26.27 (2nd in the NBA) and he still does not get the respect that he deserves. He is officiated differently than any other superstar. His supporting cast is dependent on the "three" ball far too much to be considered a legitimate threat in the playoffs. Yet, he continues to dominate the NBA and lead his team to contention every year.

7. Luol Deng SF-Bulls- Derrick Rose is the flavor of the month and deservedly so. However, without Deng the Bulls would lose not only 17 points a game but also their top perimeter defender. According to Hollinger, if Deng were not on the Bulls, they could expect a 7 win/loss differential. According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said Deng is an "All League defender, he guards everybody."  Pretty substantial for a guy we never hear about.

6. Nene C-Nuggets- He has no stat line that stands out to you. He only brings in 7 rebounds a game, little offensive production but he is always around. Watch the Nuggets and you cannot help but notice Nene. He is the Gruden of the NBA, nothing great but for some reason he is all over my television.

5. Monta Ellis SG-Warriors- Electric comes to mind. So does Allen Iverson but we will instead focus on electric. Bringing 24 points into every game along with almost 6 assists, Ellis finds himself overshadowed by Steph Curry and the obscurity that is due to the Warriors being forever irrelevant.

4. Kevin Martin SG- Rockets- Top 20 in both PER and EWA (estimated wins over replacement) as well as 23 points a game and somehow he continues to go unmentioned by most media outlets. Sure, winning will alleviate some of this issue but the man has game regardless of wins and losses.

3. Kevin Love PF/C- Timberwolves- How does a guy whose historic double-double streak made nightly highlights make the underrated list? Did you know that besides his 20 points and 15 rebounds per game he has an estimated win/loss differential of 16.5. Here is a little perspective. Kobe Bryant has a 15.9, Nash has 11.7 and Dirk has 13.7. Those three have 4 regular season MVPs.

2. Russell Westbrook PG- Thunder- He barely made the All Star team, and when you mention Thunder, Kevin Durant instantly enters one's mind (for good reason). However, on any other team Westbrook would be the face of the team. Derrick Rose is considered by most to be the runaway MVP. Rose and Westbrook are 1 and 2 in scoring by PGs. As far as PER, APG, RPG and Steal per game; Westbrook leads Rose.

1. Zach Randolph PF-Grizzlies- Is this the same guy who was traded by numerous teams because of character issues and work ethic? On a team with Rudy Gay (if I ever write an "Overrated" list I believe I have a lead candidate), OJ Mayo, and Mark Gasol, Randolph is the catalyst. Averaging 20 PPG as well as 12.3 RPG, Randolph has carried the Grizzlies to playoff contention in the Western Conference and you never even heard about it.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Fantasy Draft Diary

20 dollars. It's all it cost for me to play fantasy baseball with my guys. 20 dollars. It's a number I prefer not to remind my wife of until after the season has begun. (Newlyweds. You either understand or will one day). At this moment, post 12 AM, I am about to start a baseball draft and I have decided to journal it for you all to read and enjoy as I am sure you will.
This is the view during my offline
draft.  Now you know why
 Im doing this online. 

One team name in this lobby is "Honey Nut Ichiros". This was a horrible idea already. 
I would prefer to get a middle round pick and load heavy on infield with pitching being the deepest position of them all. 

Round 1 Pick 1: Albert Pujols 1B
What joy! I have the 1st pick of the draft. This is the worst. Albert Pujols is the obvious choice.
All around the greatest player in baseball. 
Tulowitzki just went 4th overall. Yep. Longoria goes undrafted in the 1st. These are things that I dont understand.
Round 2 Pick 20: Kevin Youkilis 1B/3B
I am hoping Kevin Youkilis will drop my way. Judging by the way these guys pick I should have no problem.... and I was right. 
Round 3 Pick 21: Jon Lester P
What? A pitcher? I like Lester alot. Great numbers and his offense should have no run support issues. 
Round 4 Pick 40: Dan Uggla 2B
Looking to go infield again. Outfield is deep with solid players. Infield is shallow. Kiddie pool shallow. Buster Posey just got drafted at pick 35. I dont understand sometimes. I get Dan Uggla. Uggla has great power from a MI spot as well as a very solid lineup surrounding him in Atlanta.
Round 5 Pick 41: Jose Bautista 3B/RF
This goes against everything I believe in. He has had one great year which would normally cause me to stay away from him. However, he is like the Jersey Shore. Out of nowhere crazy success, great highlights, with the very real chance that it is all fake. 
Round 6 Pick 60: Derek Jeter SS
Guy on the message board just asked me if I would take him to dinner. Collin Douglas should be expecting a call soon. Also, BJ Upton just got drafter. Trying not to tear up. I am more than happy with Jeter here. Look for him to have a better year than last that is for sure. 
Round 7 Pick 61: Andre Eithier OF
Round 8 Pick 80: David Price P
The Price was Right!!! His average draft position is 69th in ESPN leagues. I got him at 80. Solid strikeouts with a high "win" potential. He is also a Ray. 
Round 9 Pick 81: Delmon Young OF
Please read Jose Bautista and then apply here. 
Round 10 Pick 100: Casey McGehee 3B
He will be my UTIL as of right now but at this point in the draft, 100 RBIs, 20+ HRs and a .280 avgerage are too good to pass up. 
Round 11 Pick 101: Stephen Drew SS
Upside is solid. Downside is he is related to JD Drew. 
Round 12 Pick 120: Tim Hudson P
Message Board stalker just asked me for a "pic". I havent responded to him one time. This could be Chris Hansen from MSNBC. 
Round 13 Pick 121: Aubrey Huff 1B/OF
A funny thing happened after pick 121. I fell asleep. Something about drafting in a room that literally took 2 minutes per pick and the time was post midnight. I had a few on my player queue but this should be fun to see who the computer drafted. 
Round 14 Pick 140: John Danks P
Round 15 Pick 141: JJ Putz RP
I am not upset with Putz. I need a closer and he is in line for a lot of saves with the Diamondbacks. Danks however? I would have preferred Texas hurler Colby Lewis but whatevs. Its what I get for being the nerd who fell asleep first at the sleepover. 
Round  16 Pick 160: Jeremy Hellickson P
Round 17 Pick 161: Brandon Morrow P
This is the worst news I have heard since hearing about Steve Austin and his run in with a sting ray. 
Round 18 Pick 180: Mike Napoli C
Round 19 Pick 181: Jason Bay OF
This is the worst news I have heard since hearing I drafter Jeremy Hellickson and Brandon Morrow with consecutive picks. Auto pick is the worst invention ever. "Screw you over pick" would be the more appropriate name. (Insert "ZING" here)
Round 20 Pick 200: Ricky Romero P
Round 21 Pick 201: Alcides Escobar SS
Compared to my previous four picks, I am no completely disappointed. I would never ever draft this many pitchers when I already had Price, Lester and Hudson. 
Round 22 Pick 220: Ike Davis 1B
Round 23 Pick 221: Chris Coghlan OF
Let me offer some perspective. Davis was drafted before Mitch Moreland, James Loney, David Freese and Scott Rolen. Other than Rolen, I would have preferred the other three before Davis but that is what you get with the "Screw you over pick". 
Round 24 Pick 240: Jim Thome DH
Round 25 Pick 241: Travis Wood SP
Did you notice it too? Thome plays DH. You know what that means? He can only fill one spot on my starting lineup. Too bad for him he will not being doing so. 

I have no relief pitching. I am going to have to make some trades or hope to grab a future closer in free agency. My corner infield spots are solid with Pujols, Youkilis, Casey McGehee. Outfield looks decent. I hate this team. I am trying to convince myself to write something else so people do not read this draft and laugh at me. Would you believe me that my wife drafted this team based on how funny she found their names to be? 
What do you think my teams strengths and weaknesses are? 

From Big East to Small East

After sending eleven teams to the Tournament, the Big East remains represented in the Sweet Sixteen, but only by two teams. Were the bids deserved? Or is this a matter of East Coast Bias, with the media vaunting the teams? Or could this only be the nature of the Tournament, where one game decides everything and going cold means going home?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

2011 NCAA Brackets

Every time a sport season begins, fans claim it to be "the best time of the year". That statement never seems more appropriate than when you get your NCAA college basketball bracket in your hand and begin to choose your winners. The 2010-2011 NCAABB season has been one of parity. No elite team has emerged as a clear cut favorite to "win it all". One week the Dukies looked like the team to beat, the next week Ohio St. stepped up to the front of the pack. The point is, no one has a handle on who will win the Championship. So as tip-off takes place Thursday, sit back and enjoy the idea of finally completing the perfect bracket. At least until after the first game.

Check out our picks:

Top Ten First Basemen

1. Albert Pujols- There's no other option here. Not only is he the best 1B but he's far and away the best player in baseball. He hits way above a .300 average, 35 plus home runs, and he'll steal you a dozen or so bases. Also he's a two time gold glove winner. He's the complete package.

2. Joey Votto- He's your reigning NL MVP for a reason folks. He had a higher OPS, AVG, and SLG Pct than Pujols with just 5 fewer homeruns and the same amount of steals. He's only 27 and could be a stud in this league for years to come.

3. Miguel Cabrera- So maybe he has a tiny problem with alcohol. Nothing a little rehab won't fix. Anyways he's another 1B who's going to hit for power and average. He's almost 35 and .300 in the bank. If he stays off of grandpa's cough medicine then we could be looking at another monster year from Miggy.

4. Mark Teixeira- Another guy who has huge power at the 1B position. He's had 30 home runs and 100 rbis for seven seasons in a row. If he comes back healthy then you can expect that number to increase to 8.

5. Prince Fielder- His numbers in 2010 were down from his incredible 2009 season, but I expect that Fielder will bounce back. Sure, it may have something to do with it being a contract year because let's face it, money talks. You can look for another 40 home run season from the Prince.

6. Adrian Gonzalez- I'm starting to notice that there's a trend at 1B. Here's your 6th guy in a row who has, or has the ability, to hit for 35 homeruns and a .300 average. If you aren't familiar with baseball then you have no clue how deadly of a combination that is. The fact that Adrian moved to a much better lineup in Boston means that his production should only keep going up.

7. Ryan Howard- The former MVP used to be the clear cut number two on this list, but his production took a big drop in 2010. He still hit 31 homers last year, which isn't a bad number at all, until you consider he hit 45 the year before, and 58 back in 2006. Hopefully Howard can bounce back after last year's disappointment.

8. Justin Morneau- I'm listing Justin at 8 with lots of optimism that he recovers from his injury. Morneau missed significant amounts of time last season with a concussion and post-concussion syndrome, but if he comes back healthy, then he has the potential to be a top 5 1B in the league.

9. Kendy Morales- Another guy who is extremely productive when healthy. I expect him to stay healthy and perform at a high level all year. As long as he doesn't go to crazy after a grand slam again...

10. Billy Butler- The local kid from here in Jacksonville, FL is only 24 and has all the potential to be a great star. He has incredible plate discipline and will almost guarantee you a high batting average. He hit 45 and 51 doubles the past two years. Imagine if half of those doubles start going over the fence next season.

NFL = Chain Gang

As you may or may not have heard, according to Yahoo! sports, Vikings RB Adrian Peterson was quoted as having said playing in the NFL is like "modern day slavery". Slavery? Really? Do you agree with Petersons perspective? When you hear him say that what is your reaction?