Tuesday, March 29, 2016

Worst Owners in Sports (NBA Edition)

            Here's another edition of "Worst Owners in Sports." This edition looks at the worst owners in the NBA. This was a hard post to do because most of the bad NBA owners like Donald Sterling and Bruce Levenson were either weeded out or sold the team. Anyways, here's a look at some of the worst owners in the NBA right now.

  1. Michael Jordan, Charlotte Hornets (formerly the Charlotte Bobcats): Charlotte's actually looked very good this year. However, they do have a few detriments under Air Jordan's watch, most of them as the Bobcats. They had the worst win percentage in one season, posting a 7-59 record and a .106 win percentage in 2011-2012 (the season was shortened due to a lockout). They've gone through six head coaches since 2004. None of those coaches had a winning percentage over .500 during that time. They never won a playoff game as the Bobcats, having been swept in both of their playoff appearances. Still, it appears that the Hornets are headed in the right direction in an Eastern Conference that's wide open. 
  2. Glen Taylor, Minnesota Timberwolves: The Timberwolves currently hold the longest postseason drought in the NBA at 12 seasons. They're already out of contention for this year's playoffs and Timberwolves fans don't know when things will turn around. Since their last playoff appearance in 2003-2004 (they lost to the Lakers 4-2 in the Western Conference Finals), they've had a record of 325-625 (including this season). That results in a win percentage of .342. It's nice that they brought back a 'Wolves fan-favorite in Kevin Garnett, though. 
  3. Joshua Harris (Apollo Management Group), Philadelphia 76ers: Ever since Harris bought the team from Ed Snider in 2011, this once-proud franchise has trended down very quickly. Not long ago, it was the 76ers who upset the No. 1 seeded Chicago Bulls in the first round of the playoffs (2011-2012). Now, they've regressed with every passing year, currently standing with a record of 9-66 (they started the season 1-30). Their 'star' player, Jahlil Okafor, got suspended for a fight in Boston. Things have gotten so bad in Philly that they've hired Jerry Colangelo as the Special Advisor to the Managing General Partner and Chairman of Basketball Operations. With an insane amount of draft picks gone awry or traded away in the past few seasons, it's no wonder Philly fans are turning their backs on this franchise at the moment. 
  4. Special Honorable Mention: James Dolan, New York Knicks: While his New York Rangers have had significant success in the NHL, Dolan's New York Knicks have been a different story. Carmelo Anthony has been every bit of dysfunctional as a Knick. Phil Jackson hasn't been able to rein in the team. Derek Fisher, who was supposed to help turn this team around, is instead fighting with Matt Barnes (he's been replaced by Kurt Rambis). Players like Raymond Felton and Amare Stoudemire haven't panned out for the Knicks. It's been an absolute circus for Big Apple basketball.
            Other Honorable Mentions (that aren't so special): Richard DeVos (Orlando Magic), Stan and Ann Walton Kroenke (Denver Nuggets), Robert Sarver (Phoenix Suns)

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

MLB Preview 2016: NL West

            We wrap up our MLB Preview with a look at the NL West. The NL West is an up-and-coming division with teams making significant upgrades (Arizona Diamondbacks and San Francisco Giants), teams losing in the offseason (Los Angeles Dodgers and San Diego Padres) and one team standing pat (Colorado Rockies). Let's wrap it up!!

Arizona Diamondbacks
Sweet Dream: The new additions of Zack Greinke (1.66 ERA, 19-3, 200 SO, 0.84 WHIP) and Shelby Miller (3.02 ERA, 171 SO) help form a great 1-2 punch in the rotation. The fielding (86 errors, tied for eighth-fewest in baseball) does a decent job. Paul Goldschmidt (.321 BA, 33 homers, 110 RBI, .435 OBP) leads a formidable lineup and has an MVP-caliber season as the D-Backs make it to the postseason.
Nightmare: The rotation (11th in the NL in ERA at 4.37) doesn't hold up in spite of Zack Greinke. Hell, none of the pitching holds up as the Diamondbacks miss out on the postseason and fall at least 12 games under .500.
Colorado Rockies
Sweet Dream: A lineup that features Nolan Arenado (.287 BA, 42 homers, 130 RBI, 177 hits), DJ LeMathieu (.301 BA, 61 RBI, 23 stolen bases, .358 OBP), and a healthy Carlos Gonzalez tears through baseball. They also take advantage of the thin air at Coors Field as everything else holds up enough to get the Rockies into October baseball.
Nightmare: Everything else falters. The pitchers can't figure out how to pitch at Coors (or anywhere, for that matter). Carlos Gonzalez gets traded as the Rockies are stuck in last place, seemingly stuck in the rebuilding monotony.
Los Angeles Dodgers
Sweet Dream: The best fielding team in baseball (75 errors, .988 fielding percentage, both best in baseball) saves the pitchers (5th-best team ERA at 3.44) plenty of runs. Clayton Kershaw (16-7, 2.13 ERA, 0.88 WHIP, 301 SO) has another Cy Young-like year and gets help from new acquisition Kente Maeda as the Dodgers bring home their first World Series title since 1988.
Nightmare: Andre Ethier's right tibia fracture hurts the Dodgers' lineup. Losing Zack Greinke hurts the rotation considerably. The Dodgers lose too many quality players from a season ago either to a bad offseason (free agency) or injury as they fall around .500, missing the postseason. If they do make the postseason, they get eliminated in the Divisional Series due to Clayton Kershaw's postseason problems and lack of hitting.
San Diego Padres
Sweet Dream: Tyson Ross (3.26 ERA, 212 SO) shows he has ace material as he forms a great duo with James Shields (13-7, 3.91 ERA, 216 SO). Matt Kemp (23 homers, 100 RBI) has another decent year along. Derek Norris (14 homers, 62 RBI) improves as the Padres stay in contention until September.
Nightmare: A gutted bullpen can't close the door on opponents. The lineup is bogged by the pitcher's park known as Petco Park as no one can hit above .280; only Yonder Alonso (.282 BA) hit above .280 with at least 100 plate appearances in 2015 and he's gone to Oakland. The Padres look like a mess as their future outlook appears bleak.
San Francisco Giants
Sweet Dream: New additions Johnny Cueto and Jeff Samardzija benefit from not only being in the National League, but from pitching in a pitcher's ballpark. They help Madison Bumgarner (2.93 ERA, 18-9, 234 SO, 1.01 WHIP) shut down opposing hitters early and often. Buster Posey (.318 BA, 19 homers, 95 RBI, .379 OBP) has another MVP season. The infield talent featuring Brandon Belt (.280 BA, 18 homers, 68 RBI), Joe Panik (312 BA, .378 OBP), and Brandon Crawford (21 homers, 84 RBI) help propel the Giants to another World Series title. After all, it's an even-numbered year!!
Nightmare: The team gets slammed with either injuries or disappointment. The bullpen doesn't do a whole lot, especially after losing Sergio Romo (2.98 ERA, 71 SO, 34 holds. 1.06 WHIP). The outfield can't produce a lot of hits as the Giants barely miss out on another postseason.

Monday, March 21, 2016

MLB Preview 2016: NL Central

            We continue our preview of the 2016 MLB season by taking a look at the NL Central. This division features a World Series favorite amongst many experts in the Chicago Cubs along with a couple of quality teams on the side. Will this be the year the 'Curse of the Billy Goat' is broken?

Chicago Cubs
Sweet Dream: The Cubs get a lot out of their loaded outfield with their newest addition Jason Heyward (.293 BA, 60 RBI, 23 stolen bases, .359 OBP). Heyward brings an effective outfield glove who can also run the basepaths well. Mix in a strong rotation (Third in ERA at 3.36, most strikeouts with 1,431) and you get a team that will end the 'Curse of the Billy Goat' on Chicago's North Side. Can you imagine the party that ensues at Wrigley once the Cubs win it all?!
Nightmare: Jake Arrieta (22-6, 1.77 ERA, 236 SO, 0.86 WHIP) can't even come close to duplicating last year's Cy Young season. The lineup hits a lot of home runs and drives in plenty of runs, but not when it matters. The lineup (Most strikeouts by any lineup in 2015 with 1,518) succumbs to the pressure as the Cubs falter either in the Wild Card Game or the Divisional Series.
Cincinnati Reds
Sweet Dream: The rebuilding process gets started in Cincy. There isn't a whole lot to look forward to this year for Reds fans with both Todd Frazier and Johnny Cueto gone. Plus, the NL Central is pretty tough this season. The goal is to get some respectable prospects for Brandon Phillips, Jay Bruce, and perhaps former NL MVP Joey Votto.
Nightmare: Nobody gets traded and Reds fans suffer through a long season with the long-term outlook still bleak. Either that or the Reds don't get anybody good from trading Phillips, Bruce, or other quality players.
Milwaukee Brewers
Sweet Dream: Brewers fans are treated to a pleasant surprise as Milwaukee float just under .500. Ryan Braun (.285 BA, 25 homers, 84 RBI, 24 stolen bases) has another great year and Scooter Gennett improves as the rebuilding process looks promising in Milwaukee. If the Brewers get a good return for Jonathan Lucroy, things will look up for Brewers fans.
Nightmare: The pitching leaves a lot to be desired and the Brewers fall to the bottom of the NL Central as another long summer drags on in Wisconsin. Like Cincinnati, the Brewers must continue to retool for the future or be faced with being stuck in the baseball abyss.
Pittsburgh Pirates
Sweet Dream: Gerrit Cole (2.60 ERA, 19-8, 202 SO, 1.09 WHIP) puts together a Cy Young-winning season and Francisco Liriano (3.38 ERA, 206 SO) makes for a great complement to Cole. The underrated bullpen featuring closer Mark Melancon (2.23 ERA, 51 saves, 0.93 WHIP, 62 SO) and Tony Watson (1.91 ERA, 41 holds, 0.96 WHIP, 62 SO) slams the door on opponents as the Pirates make it to the World Series.
Nightmare: Losing Neil Walker (16 homers, 71 RBI) and Pedro Alvarez (27 homers, 77 RBI) hurts the lineup noticeably. The Pirates are mired with nobody else in the rotation who can pitch as Pittsburgh barely makes the playoffs, losing in the Divisional Series in the process.
St. Louis Cardinals
Sweet Dream: The best pitching staff in baseball (2.94 team ERA, .246 opponent's BA) continues to confuse and confound opposing batters. Adam Wainwright comes back from an Achilles injury looking better than ever. The Cards prevent a good number of runs with stellar fielding. Matt Carpenter (28 homers, 84 RBI, .365 OBP) and the bats do just enough as the Cardinals win it all.
Nightmare:  Starting with Jhonny Peralta being gone for awhile, St. Louis can't stay healthy. The Cardinals also miss Heyward and John Lackey (2.77 ERA, 175 SO). The bats can't get anyone on base and the bullpen is a big problem as St. Louis misses the postseason for the first time since 2010.

Saturday, March 19, 2016

MLB Preview 2016: NL East

            Now we head into the National League portion of our MLB Preview. We take a look at the NL East, a division that might not look good now. However, there is a bright outlook for most of the teams in this division. This division also features the reigning National League champions in the New York Mets. Anyways, let's get this preview underway!!

Atlanta Braves
Sweet Dream: The league's best farm system helps expedite the rebuilding process earlier. Think of the Houston Astros in 2014, when they went 70-92 before making their surpise run the next year. The difference would be that the Braves get here with good, young starting pitching and less home runs. Anyways, if this year goes right, it could help usher in the SunTrust Park era with a promising future. The Braves shouldn't really shoot for .500 this year. Instead, they should hope that the rebuilding process goes swimmingly well.
Nightmare: The Braves say goodbye to Turner Field by ending the 2016 season with not just the worst record in baseball, but the worst record in a 162-game season. That's right, worse than the 2003 Detroit Tigers. The Braves can't find anybody who can hit, let alone get on base, many of the prospects show signs of being potential busts, and star first baseman Freddie Freeman gets traded. All of this adds up with little reason for Braves fans to want to go to their new SunTrust Park in 2017.
Miami Marlins
Sweet Dream: Marcell Ozuna (.259 BA, 10 homers, 44 RBI) rights the ship and gives the Marlins the lethal outfield that they've wanted. It'll be interesting to see what new manager Don Mattingly and new hitting coach Barry Bonds do with Ozuna. But a lot will be riding on what Ozuna does this season. Also, Dee Gordon (205 hits, .333 BA, 58 stolen bases, .359 OBP) continues to amaze for the Marlins and Giancarlo Stanton (27 homers, 67 RBI in 279 at-bats) plays a full season along with Jose Fernandez. All of this will add up to the Marlins making the playoffs (By the way, the Marlins have never lost a playoff series in franchise history).
Nightmare: Injuries plague this team all season long. The Marlins also can't get reliable help from the rest of their starting pitchers as the Marlins fall into the bottom of the NL East with the Braves and Phillies. With that possibly comes the Jeffrey Loria fire sale as whatever Marlins fans are left call for Loria's head.
New York Mets
Sweet Dream: The Mets make their return to the Fall Classic by way of their bread and butter: pitching. Jeurys Familia (1.85 ERA, 43 saves, 86 SO, 1.00 WHIP) remains a solid closer for the Mets and the rotation picks up where it left off from last season with the likes of Jacob DeGrom (2.54 ERA, 14-8, 205 SO, 0.98 WHIP), Matt Harvey (2.71 ERA, 13-8, 188 SO, 1.02 WHIP), and Noah Syndergaard (3.24 ERA, 166 SO, 1.05 WHIP).
Nightmare: The lineup doesn't produce enough runs, leaving the starters with very little run support. This time, it's with Yoenis Cespedes (.291 BA, 35 homers, 105 RBI) in the lineup, who's the only one that produces. David Wright starts to show signs of degenerating play as the Mets barely miss out on a playoff berth.
Philadelphia Phillies
Sweet Dream: Like the Braves, Philadelphia shouldn't worry about making the .500 mark this season. They must hope that most of the prospects they've acquired continue healthy developments in the minors. They've gotten rid of most of their bad contracts and have replenished their farm system. Now their hope to usher in a new competitive era of Phillies baseball in the future.
Nightmare: Like the Braves, the Phillies end up with the worst record ever in a 162-game season. At least Phillies fans will see this team in the same park in 2017.
Washington Nationals
Sweet Dream: NL MVP Bryce Harper (.330 BA, 42 homers, 99 RBI, .460 OBP, 172 hits) gets some hitting assistance from his lineup. Despite being third in runs in the National League with 703, the Nationals were ninth in team batting average at .251. If new manager Dusty Baker can also reel in the clubhouse tension, then Washington will finally be able to win a playoff series.
Nightmare: Stephen Strasburg starts to trend down a bit and the rotation misses Jordan Zimmermann. Gio Gonzalez (3.79 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, 69 walks) gets exposed as a pitcher who puts too many men on base, leading to Max Scherzer being the only viable starter for Washington. Tensions arise between Harper and his teammates as the Nationals fall to around .500, missing the playoffs.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

MLB Preview 2016: AL West

            We wrap up the American League portion of our preview with a look at the AL West. This division features two of last year's most pleasant surprises: the Houston Astros and the Texas Rangers. Will these two teams continue their storied uprisings this year? Let's take a look at what to expect from the AL West this year.

Houston Astros
Sweet Dream: Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve form one of the best hitting duos in baseball. They lead a Houston lineup that can steal on a dime (third-most stolen bases in baseball with 121). Dallas Keuchel (20-8, 2.48 ERA, 216 SO, 1.02 WHIP) continues his ascent. He also gets some help from Collin McHugh (19-7, 3.89 ERA, 171 SO) and Lance McCuellers (3.22 ERA, 129 SO, 1.19 WHIP in 22 starts) as Houston goes to the World Series.
Nightmare: The lineup (second-most strikeouts in MLB with 1,392) can't put the ball into play. The team can't duplicate their magic from last season as they suffer a sophomore slump en route to a season as high as .500.
Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
Sweet Dream: Mike Trout (.299, 41 homers, 90 RBI, .402 OBP) and Albert Pujols (40 homers, 95 RBI) form a power-hitting duo. The outfield bats actually assists the lineup. Jered Weaver returns to form while Andrew Heaney builds on his good rookie campaign as the Angels make a return to the postseason.
Nightmare: Mike Trout can't find any help in the lineup as the Angels fail to get on base regularly. The pitching implodes. They can't turn to a barren farm system as they falter to at least 10 games below .500.
Oakland Athletics
Sweet Dream: The ninth-best rotation in baseball from last year (3.91 ERA) continues to impress as Henderson Alvarez has a solid season. Billy Burns makes for a good leadoff man as Oakland is in contention all the way into September.
Nightmare: The bullpen, along with everything else, stinks as usual. The Athletics get trapped in a good division as everyone else is up by 20 or more games. The Athletics remain at the bottom of the AL West as they trade Sonny Gray to a contender.
Seattle Mariners
Sweet Dream: Most of Jerry Dipoto's trades work. Joquain Benoit helps solidify the bullpen, Wade Miley makes for a good innings-eater, and Nori Aoki adds a bat that can rarely strike out. Robinson Cano continues his second-half surge from last season and Nelson Cruz (.302 BA, 44 homers, 93 RBI, .369 OBP) continues to mash. Taijuan Walker and James Paxton improve as the Mariners make the postseason for the first time since 2001 (they went 116-46 that year).
Nightmare: The lineup has a hard time utilizing the confines of Safeco Field. Felix Hernandez shows signs of wear as his ERA hovers around 3.50. Injuries plague the team and the pitching (22nd in overall ERA at 4.16) struggles once again. The M's fall 20 games below .500.
Texas Rangers
Sweet Dream: Shawn Tolleson (2.99 ERA, 35 saves, 1.15 WHIP, two blown saves) shows baseball fans why he's one of the better closers in the league while keeping the ball in the park. Prince Fielder (.305 BA, 23 homers, 98 RBI, .378 OBP, 187 hits) takes advantage of the hitter's park known as Globe Life Park along with the rest of the lineup. Delino DeShields and Elvis Andrus (combined for 50 stolen bases last year) aid the Rangers' baserunning as they show that last year was no fluke by returning to the top of the AL West.
Nightmare: Yu Darvish shows some rust in his return to baseball. Cole Hamels has a tough time in his first full season in the American League. Ian Desmond does absolutely nothing or becomes irrelevant. The bullpen struggles to hold onto leads as the Rangers fall to the bottom of the AL West.

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

MLB Preview 2016: AL Central

            We continue our preview of the 2016 MLB regular season with a look at the AL Central. A lot of experts are touting this division as being the toughest and their statement's true. Any one of these mentioned teams can win the division. Take a look at what to expect from the AL Central this season.

Chicago White Sox
Sweet Dream: Chris Sale (274 SO, 3.41 ERA) rebounds and gets some help from his fellow starting pitchers, i.e. Carlos Rodon. Jose Abreu throws his hat into the AL MVP discussion with a solid year. The outfield improves enough offensively to help the South Siders get back to the top of the AL Central for the first time since 2008.
Nightmare: The lineup (622 runs in 2015, 28th in MLB) sans Abreu can't take advantage of the hitter's park known as U.S. Cellular Field. The lack of run support hurts the staff as the White Sox fall below .500, leaving trade rumors of Chris Sale festering.
Cleveland Indians
Sweet Dream: The pitching staff (1,407 total strikeouts, second in MLB) picks up where they left off with Corey Kluber (3.49 ERA, 245 SO, 1.05 WHIP) leading the way. There's enough hitting from Francisco Lindor (.313 BA, 51 RBI in 390 plate appearances) and company to get by for when Michael Brantley (.310 BA, 15 homers, 84 RBI) returns. The Indians build off of a hot second half in 2015 with a solid bullpen (3.12 ERA last season, fourth in MLB; allowed 150 walks last year, sixth-lowest in baseball) en route to an AL Central title.
Nightmare: Cleveland gets mired in their traditional April/May swoon as Cleveland pitchers, especially the starters, can't stop giving up the long ball (123 homers allowed last year, sixth-most in MLB). Their division rivals build a sizable lead to where Cleveland's playing catch-up all season, thus hovering around .500.
Detroit Tigers
Sweet Dream: Justin Verlander continues his rebound as he forms a formidable 1-2 punch with Jordan Zimmermann. A revamped bullpen featuring Francisco Rodriguez (2.21 ERA, 38 saves, 0.86 WHIP with Milwaukee) and Mark Lowe (1.96 ERA, 17 holds, 1.05 WHIP) finally puts the relief issues to bed. An intimidating lineup (.270 team batting average, best in MLB) featuring Miguel Cabrera (.338 BA, 18 homers, 76 RBI, 440 OBP in 119 games), J.D. Martinez (38 homers, 102 RBI), and Justin Upton (26 homers, 81 RBI) propels the Tigers to a return to the Fall Classic.
Nightmare: Like Cleveland, the Tigers continue to give up the long ball (second-most homers allowed by starters last year with 136), along with many other hits. Injuries also plague this team as they fall back down into the AL Central cellar.
Kansas City Royals
Sweet Dream: The 2015 World Series champions continue their formula of pesky hitting and a solid bullpen (Joakim Soria's back in KC)! With the likes of Lorenzo Cain (.307 BA, 16 homers, 72 RBI, 28 stolen bases, .361 OBP), Eric Hosmer (.297 BA, 18 homers, 93 RBI, .363 OBP), and a returning Alex Gordon in the lineup, this team will continue to find ways of manufacturing runs. Whether it's through timely hitting (973 SO, the only team below 1,000) or through stolen bases (fifth-most stolen bases in 2015 with 104), Kansas City will hit you into oblivion and retain their World Series title.
Nightmare: The rotation makes like the lineup: lots of runs (22nd-best starting ERA in baseball at 4.34), not many strikeouts (24th in starters SO with 658). If starters like Danny Duffy (4.08 ERA, 1.39 WHIP, 53 walks in 30 games) and Yordano Ventura (4.08 ERA, 1.30 WHIP, 58 walks in 28 starts) can't improve, the Royals will fulfill many pundit's predictions of a below-.500 season.
Minnesota Twins
Sweet Dream: One of the best prospects in baseball in Byron Buxton is as good as advertised. He becomes an on-base threat (94 steals, .301 BA in four seasons in the minors) and is part of the youth movement in the Twin Cities. This mix of young and prime featuring Miguel Sano and Trevor Plouffe doesn't miss a beat as they make their way into the postseason.
Nightmare: The team hits a bump in the road as they falter back into the bottom of the division. Only one batter had an average of .280 or higher in at least 180 plate appearances for the Twins last year (Eduardo Nunez). The Twins' batting woes (.247 team BA, 26th in MLB) will linger on as they fall behind in this packed division.

Sunday, March 13, 2016

MLB Preview 2016: AL East

            It's getting close to that time of year. The time where you take your friends to a baseball game. The time where you soak up the beautiful outdoors and its scenery. The time where you do the seventh inning stretch. That's right, the MLB regular season is nearly upon us. That means it's time we preview every MLB team. We'll start in the AL East, a division that can be won by any team within its division. Without further ado, let's get started with our preview!

Baltimore Orioles
Sweet Dream: A lineup featuring Chris Davis (47 homers, 117 RBI, .361 OBP) and Manny Machado (.286 BA, 35 homers, 86 RBI, .359 OBP) continues to rake for Baltimore as the lineup takes advantage of the bandbox known as Camden Yards. The fielding (77 errors, second-fewest in baseball) and the relievers (3.21 ERA, fifth in MLB), lead by Darren O'Day, (1.52 ERA, 0.93 WHIP, 82 SO) help to make this team look like a more powerful version of the Kansas City Royals as they win the AL East.
Nightmare: Yovani Gallardo falls apart and the Orioles miss Wei-Yen Chen. Kevin Gausman doesn't break out for the Orioles as the rotation looks for help and aid. The lineup only hits home runs and nothing else as the Orioles fall to the AL East basement.
Boston Red Sox
Sweet Dream: Xander Bogaerts (.320 BA, 81 RBI, .355 OBP) and Mookie Betts (.291 BA, 18 homers, 77 RBI, 21 stolen bases, .341 OBP) help send off David Ortiz (37 homers, 108 RBI, .360 OBP) with another World Series title as the youth movement in Boston continues. Craig Kimbrel (2.58 ERA, 39 saves, 87 SO, 1.04 WHIP) shuts down the competition and fills a void left at the closer role.
Nightmare: David Price is the either the only starting pitcher who performs well or is hit with a bad season. The Red Sox have more fielding issues (97 errors, 12th in the AL), which leads to a season of being 12 or more games below .500.
New York Yankees
Sweet Dream: What is perhaps the best bullpen in all of baseball lives up to its billing with Dellin Betances (1.50 ERA, 131 SO, 29 holds, 1.01 WHIP) and Andrew Miller (2.04 ERA, 100 SO, 36 saves, 0.86 WHIP) closing the door on the competition. Luis Severino (2.89 ERA and 56 SO in 11 games) continues his ascent as he forms a great pitching duo with Masahiro Tanaka. Pitching is stellar for the Yankees as they return to the postseason.
Nightmare: Aroldis Chapman (1.63 ERA, 33 saves, 116 SO, 1.15 WHIP) comes back from his 30-game suspension a little rusty. The age of the lineup begins to show as Mark Teixeira, Alex Rodriguez, and Carlos Beltran all struggle to produce. This leads to the Yankees falling to near or at the bottom of the AL East.
Tampa Bay Rays
Sweet Dream: Chris Archer has another spectacular season as he leads an underrated rotation (sixth-best ERA in baseball with 3.63 ERA). Opponents will have a hard time figuring out the starters (fourth-lowest BAA in baseball at .240). This team goes on to win the AL East with under-the-radar players like Kevin Kiermaier (10 homers, 40 RBI, 18 stolen bases) and Logan Forsythe (.281 BA, 17 homers, 68 RBI, .359 OBP).
Nightmare: The lineup (644 runs scored, 25th in MLB) can't score runs, leaving the starting pitchers with little run support. The bullpen struggles while Brad Boxberger's (1.37 WHIP, 4.6 BB/9, six blown saves, 3.71 ERA) transition to closer falls off the tracks due to control problems.
Toronto Blue Jays
Sweet Dream: Baseball's top offense (891 runs scored last season) continues to mash with the likes of Jose Bautista (40 homers, 114 RBI, .377 OBP), Edwin Encarnacion (39 homers, 111 RBI, .372 OBP), and AL MVP Josh Donaldson (.297 BA, 41 homers, 123 RBI, .371 OBP). Adding Troy Tulowitzki last year (,280, 17 homers, 70 RBI, .337 OBP) bolsters the lineup even more. The rotation holds up as Toronto defends their AL East crown.
Nightmare: The loss of David Price hurts the Blue Jays as no one in the starting staff can fill his void. The pitchers doesn't put away enough batters (1,117 SO for all pitching, 26th in MLB) as the Blue Jays miss out on the postseason.

Saturday, March 12, 2016


            To show my (and the internet's) undying love for cute, cuddly kittens, I've decided to add more GIF's and pictures of these little darlings. Enjoy!!

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

The Odd Couple: The Eerie Similarities Between Sports and Politics

            People don't often see the world of politics and sports as being alike. In fact, these two couldn't be further apart in the eyes of a non-sports/politics fan. However, comparing these two shows how similar they are and how politics is even needed in sports at times. You'd be surprised at how these two are alike.

  1. Analysts: Have you noticed the commentators on CNN or Fox News after every debate, speech or primary? These analysts break down a political event the way sports analysts break down a game. From breaking down a politician's performance in an event to what their next plan of attack will be, a political analyst looks at what's going on in politics from all angles. 
  2. The Ideology (Part 1): To quote Jerry Seinfeld during one of his routines: "Loyalty to any one sports team is hard to justify, because the players are always changing; the team could move to another city. You're just rooting for the clothes when you get right down to it." In a way, this is similar to rooting for a politician that shares your ideological beliefs (or recently did, for that matter). Just look at Donald Trump. The 2016 GOP front-runner used to be an advocate for banning assault weapons and universal health care. He even lauds Planned Parenthood as "a wonderful thing," yet that doesn't stop his supporters from backing him. If you want other examples, take a look at Michael Bloomberg and Charlie Crist, both of whom used to be conservative Republicans before taking more liberal positions on issues.
  3. Politics in Sports: If the Rams' relocation to Los Angeles have proven one thing, it's that politics are ingrained into the fabric of sports. The Rams had a deal with the St. Louis CVC that would get the Edward Jones Dome in the top 25 percent of stadiums in the NFL. In 2013, an Arbitrator found that not only was the Edward Jones Dome not in the top 8 regarding NFL stadiums, but city, county, and state officials had expressed no interest in providing renovation funds for the Edward Jones Dome. If a resolution wasn't done by 2014 with the city of St. Louis not complying with the obligations of the lease agreement, then the Rams could void the agreement and go to a year-to-year lease. Then, owner Stan Kroenke partners with the Stockbridge Capital Group and starts a project on his purchased land in Inglewood. The rest is history. The point? Politics are often involved in sports and it's apparent in stadium deals. How much do taxpayers have to contribute to the sporting venue? What are the stipulations that the owners must abide by? You can also find hints of politics in policies that sports leagues place, such as domestic violence policies and anti-doping policies. 
  4. The Ideology (Part 2): Having hit on ideology earlier, this aspect has some parallels to sports. Politicians carry an ideology with them that a voter will match up with. That voter becomes a supporter of that politician a way they would support a sports team. What happens when their politician wins? The supporter expresses their joy for their politician's victory. So, an election/primary is really like a sporting event with the voters being the points that the politician must score in order to win.
  5. Favorites and Underdogs: Bernie Sanders won the Michigan Democratic Primary last Tuesday in spite of FiveThirtyEight's Nate Silver (along with every other pundit) giving Hillary Clinton a '99 percent chance' of winning the state. If you go even further back, Jeb Bush was the proverbial favorite at the start of the 2016 GOP race. Now where's Jeb at? Out of the race with Donald Trump leading the GOP pack. There are upsets that happen in the political process, although some people are skeptical of these 'upsets'.

Monday, March 7, 2016

A Tribute to One of the Greats

            Today, Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning will announce his retirement. He will be ending an illustrious career that started in 1998 as the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft. He's won two Super Bowls in his career: He won one with the Indianapolis Colts (Super Bowl XLI) and one with the Denver Broncos (Super Bowl 50).
            If you don't know who Peyton is, you ought to know. He's the first NFL quarterback to reach the 200 win plateau. He's also won the NFL MVP five times, an NFL record. Speaking of records, here's a breakdown of some of the records that Manning holds:

  • NFL's all-time leader in passing yards (71,490)
  • NFL's all-time leader in touchdown passes (539)
  • Most 4,000-yard passing seasons in the NFL (14)
  • Indianapolis Colts franchise leader in:
    • Wins (141)
    • Passing touchdowns (399)
    • Passing attempts (7,210)
    • Passing completions (4,682)
    • Passing yards (54,828)
            Manning was also the Super Bowl MVP for Super Bowl XLI. He also made the Pro Bowl 14 times, was a seven-time First-team All-Pro, three-time Second-team All-Pro, two-time Offensive Player of the Year, and the 2012 Comeback Player of the Year. On top of that, he was a four-time passing yards leader and a three-time passing touchdowns leader.
            For Manning, the decision to retire is a wise one. He's had a great NFL career with the Indianapolis Colts and the Denver Broncos. Sadly, he was hampered by neck and spinal injuries that have sapped him of his legendary arm strength during his later years with Indianapolis. Later in his last NFL season, he was plagued by plantar fasciitis and poor passing, throwing for a 59.8 completion rate, nine touchdowns, and 17 interceptions.
            Fortunately for Manning, he had the NFL's top defense to help carry him to one last Super Bowl. Manning and the Broncos beat Carolina 24-10 in perhaps the most fitting Super Bowl for what would be his last hurrah numerically: Super Bowl 50.
            If you're not really into the NFL, you might recognize Manning for when he says, "OMAHA!" That's a huge part of what makes him special: calling an audible. In fact, Manning has earned the nickname of "The Sheriff" by Monday Night Football commentator Jon Gruden because of these audibles. Throw in Peyton running a hurry-up offense instead of a standard huddle offense and you have one of the hardest quarterbacks to prepare for and predict in NFL history.
            Manning isn't just known for being one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL. He's also one hell of an actor. Check out some of his best commercials that includes an SNL appearance!!

            For many NFL fans, this will be a bittersweet day. But Manning made the right decision to go out on top. Morphing into an NFL icon, Manning will go down as one of the best quarterbacks in NFL history, if not the best. For such a memorable and illustrious NFL career, the NFL universe thanks you, Peyton Manning.

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

On the Playlist

           Here's another edition of "On the Playlist!" Check out some of the tunes that I have bumping on my playlist!!