My Picks, as the Baseball Playoffs Begin

On the eve of the 2014 Major League Baseball Playoffs, this is what’s going to happen:

One Game Wild-Card: AL Oakland over Kansas City
One Game Wild-Card: NL San Francisco over Pittsburgh

AL Division Series: Angels over Oakland and Detroit over Baltimore
NL Division Series: Dodgers over St. Louis and Washington over San Francisco

AL Championship Series: Angels over Detroit
NL Championship Series: Washington over Dodgers

LA Angels and Washington Nationals in the World Series Continue reading

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How to Blow it Big-TIme in Houston

Jeff Luhnow has done a fantastic job building a team basically from scratch in Houston, stockpiling a wealth of great, young talent. However, he made a mistake in firing manager Bo Porter during the season, and compounded it much further by his decision today to let interim manager Tom Lawless go, and to hire A.J. Hinch as the team’s new manager going forward.

From the outside, it seemed that last season Porter slowly built a cohesive unit from a roster with little talent or experience, and the development and improvement continued this year, Continue reading

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Mike Williams Fine Clearly Demonstrates NFL Priorities

At a time when the commissioner of the NFL is the laughingstock of not just the sports world, but throughout a large segment of the non-sports world as well, where the NFL’s long-standing avoidance of any semblance of a true comprehension of the pervasive problem of domestic violence that is inherent in the brutal psyche of significant numbers of players, and where their half-hearted standard of punishment has been rightly ridiculed across the country and around the world, the league still enforces with overblown fines some of the most asinine rules of any billion-dollar organization. Continue reading

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And The Regular Season is Over – Playoffs Begin in Two Days

The most overrated pitcher in baseball, David Price, looked like the most underrated today, as he led the Tigers to a 3-0 victory over the Twins, giving Detroit the American League Central Division title, and making the Royals a wild card team facing a one game and out meeting with the A’s, who avoided a collapse for the ages by beating the Rangers today, 4-0, behind Sonny Gray. By striking our eight in 7-1.3 innings today, Price led the AL in strikeouts with 271, two more than the Indians’ Corey Kluber. Price also evened his won-lost record to 4-4 since the trade that brought him to the Tigers. Continue reading

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The Last Day of the America League Regular Season

A lot is to be decided on the last day of the American League’s regular season, including whether or not Kansas City or Detroit is the Central Division Champs and whether or not the A’s hold on to a playoff spot or give it away to Seattle. In Central Division games today, the Tiger are playing the Twins, and despite being in the driver’s seat with a one-game lead, they have the most over rated pitcher in the game, David Price, going today, and he has done absolutely nothing since his acquisition from Tampa Bay to indicate that he is up to the task, with his 3-4 record and 3.97 ERA as a Tiger. the Royals, needing a win plus a Detroit loss will be facing the White Sox and Chris Bassitt, coming off a shutout of the Tigers. The Division winner will face the Angels in the first playoff round, while the lose and wild card team, will have that one-game do-or-die meeting against either Oakland or Seattle. Continue reading

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The Last Day of the National League Regular Season

Looking at the National League standings, the first thing that strikes me is that of the 15 teams in the league, only six will finish the season at .500 or better. That is just plain pathetic. The division that began the season as most likely to be the worst in baseball, the NL West, did not retain that distinction, however, despite having, as I also said from before day one, the unquestioned worst team in baseball, the Arizona Diamondbacks. The D’Backs did spend some time in next to last place, ahead of the injury ravaged Rockies, but in the end they came through, losing the most games of any team, and seeing their jerk of a general manager, Kevin Towers, and their manager, Kirk Gibson, both removed from office. But, baseball’s worst division turned out to be the NL East, featuring one great team, the Nationals, finishing with the league’s best record, and no one else even close to .500. As the last day of regular play begins, Atlanta and the hapless Mets are tied for second, Continue reading

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Retirement Circuses Demonstrate What’s Rotten in Pro Sports

Time was, a great professional athlete would figure out that it was time to hang them up and go on to other things. This might have happened because they were tired of the grind, because they had other things they really wanted to do, or because the years of competition had taken their toll, and they finally realized that their bodies could take the pounding no more. After the season, they’d announce that was it, that they would not be back, and go quietly off to new endeavors. But, that is no more. Now, star athletes who have made hundreds of millions of dollars or more, directly causing several-hundred dollar ticket prices and team and cable joint venture networks that deny television access to millions of local fans, think the public owes them even more. Continue reading

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UCLA Puts it Together Behind Brett Hundley, 62-27

On an evening when the UCLA Bruins’ defense allowed an opposing quarterback who had completed exactly 14 passes over a three-year college career to complete 42 passes and throw for 488 yards, it was still the Bruins who dominated almost every aspect of the game, silencing critics who had labeled them as overrated and under achieving. Looking at some of the other stat totals, if you had not seen the game, you may not believe the score: Arizona State out gained the Bruins, 626 yards to 580, collected twice as many first downs as UCLA, 38 to 19, and had the ball close to a full ten minutes more than UCLA, 34:07 to 25.53. The Sun Devils also had an astonishing 105 offensive plays from scrimmage. But, big plays, turnovers, and the sterling performance of Brett Hundley were instrumental Continue reading

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Will the Los Angeles Angels Become Once Again the Los Angeles Angels?

After calling the city of Anaheim home since the mid-1960s, are the Los Angeles Angels now destined to return to their ancestral home, from which the name “Angels” was derived? It could be so, and if it is, the good people of occupied Orange County will have the elected officials of the City of Anaheim, in particular their republican mayor, Tom Tait, to thank. And, if it happens, it will be yet another instance of a died-in-the-wool republican saying “screw you” to the public, while lining the pockets of big business. Continue reading

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Mattingly Does Not Learn – Can He Still Blow It All?

Last night, the Dodgers returned from the Friendly Confines for the regular season’s final home stand, with three games against the Giants followed by three with the Rockies to close the season. Wins in the first two games would have given the Dodgers the National League West Division tile, allowing the walking wounded to rest a few days and letting the empty uniform non-manager Don Mattingly adjust his very short starting staff for the beginning of the postseason.

To open the series, the Dodgers seemed to have a fighting chance in game one, with Dan Haren facing the also inconsistent but recently sharp Jake Peavy. Continue reading

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Should the Dodgers Get to Count a Win Against Edwin Jackson?

After hiding out on the disabled list for a full month with a slight pain or a lame strain, or was it the Cubs just keeping him and his $13 Million dollar per year long term contract out of the public eye, the worst pitcher in baseball, Edwin Jackson, got the ball to start against the Dodgers in today’s game at Wrigley Field, and Jackson did not disappoint. Going into the game, Jackson had rewarded the Cubbies and their faith in him by winning six of his first 20 decisions this season, while compiling a 6.09 ERA. Hard to imagine it, but his ERA went up after the Dodgers’ batters were done with him. Jackson did not survive the first inning, allowing five runs, all earned, in two-thirds of an inning, raising his ERA to 6.38 and his WHIP to 1.65, amazingly higher even than that of Kevin Correia (1.61). Continue reading

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Suddenly, Dodgers’ Pitching is in Shambles

They’ve still got Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke at the top of the rotation, but the rest of the Dodgers’ starting staff is now a mess. Hyun-Jin Ryu’s status is at best uncertain, and no one at this point knows when he will next start a game or if he will see action again this year. Dan Haren’s streak of excellent performances came to a crashing halt yesterday, when, after a three-game streak of allowing zero earned runs, he was hit hard by the Rockies, allowing five runs, all earned, in only five innings, in a 10-4 loss. Roberto “Fasuto Carmona” Hernandez, after a series of barely acceptable starts, has now been knocked out early in three straight games, giving up nine earned in his last 11 innings. Continue reading

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