Sunday, June 25, 2017

The Tigers Have Become the Latest Version of the Post-2009 Phillies

             Remember when the Philadelphia Phillies were really good? They had one of baseball's best rotations consisting of Cole Hamels, Roy Halladay, and Cliff Lee. They also had players like Chase Utley, Jimmy Rollins, and Ryan Howard. They won the 2008 World Series and returned the next year, only to lose to the New York Yankees, 4-2. After that, it was a steady drop-off that devolved into monstrous contracts and a barren farm system. Now, the Phillies are in another year of rebuilding, stuck near the bottom of the National League.
             Enter the Detroit Tigers, a team that had a fantastic run when Dave Dombrowski was general manager. They made two World Series appearances, won four straight division titles from 2011 to 2014, and even had a Triple Crown winner in Miguel Cabrera (2012). Unfortunately, they didn't win a World Series during that run. Ever since their 2013 ALCS loss to the Red Sox, it has been a steady decline for the Tigers that has been comparable to the Phillies. Anchored by fat contracts to the likes of aging superstars Miguel Cabrera and Justin Verlander, the Tigers have plenty of bad contracts on their payroll. Instead of retaining Max Scherzer, who has continued his assent to becoming the best pitcher in baseball, they re-signed Victor Martinez, an aging veteran who can barely move around the basepaths. They also signed Mark Lowe, Mike Pelfrey, and Francisco Rodriguez last year, players who are no longer on the team.
            The Tigers also have a bare cupboard in terms of their farm system, only boosting one player in MLB.com's Top 100 prospect list (Matt Manning at No. 63). The main cause of this has been Dave Dombrowski's willingness to trade prospects for superstars. This was made evident by the trade he made to acquire Chris Sale for the Boston Red Sox, which saw Boston send MLB's No. 1 prospect, Yoan Moncada, and No. 11 prospect, Michael Kopech, to the Chicago White Sox. Players like Avisail Garcia, Andrew Miller, and Robbie Ray were a part of the Tigers' farm system, but were traded to acquire players like Yoenis Cespedes and Cabrera.
            The Tigers might attribute their misfortunes to Brad Ausmus, who has done little to fill the void Jim Leyland left as the manager of the Tigers. Critics are quick to point out Ausmus's inability to engage with the players, probably explaining why players like Cabrera, Verlander, and Nick Castellanos are underperforming this year. Currently, the Tigers are on an eight-game losing streak that includes a winless West Coast trip (at least so far). Who would replace Ausmus as manager? One rumor, and perhaps a favorite name among Tiger fans, is Ron Gardenhire, the former manager for the Minnesota Twins. But one name that could really help is Omar Vizquel, who managed the Venezuelan team in the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Vizquel is said to have developed great chemistry with the Hispanic players on the team, which could help the Tigers going forward.
            Regardless, there seems to have been plenty of regrettable decisions for the Tigers' future in the past few years. From Verlander's $180 million extension to re-signing aging players like Victor Martinez to giving away the farm system, the Tigers will have no choice but to wipe the slate clean. They can start off by trading superstar J.D. Martinez for a prospect or two, but this will be the best they can do. Ian Kinsler has a laundry list of teams he doesn't want to be traded to, Cabrera's contract is enormous and so is Verlander's. And what team would want Victor Martinez and Jordan Zimmermann with those contracts? These are the reasons why the Tigers should just tank it the rest of the way, start from scratch, and not get stuck in a long rebuild the way the Phillies are right now.


Friday, June 23, 2017

The Warriors' Championship Run Has Sparked An Offseason Madness

            When Kevin Durant signed with the Golden State Warriors last summer, it left no doubt as to who would be appearing in the 2017 NBA Finals. The Cleveland Cavaliers would meet up with the Warriors in those finals only to get steamrolled, 4-1. The ensuing offseason has sparked a plethora of rumors and moves that have teams scrambling to form their own supersquads. The concept of the "superteam" isn't anything new. After all, the 2003-04 Los Angeles Lakers tried this with Karl Malone, Shaquille O'Neal, Kobe Bryant, and Gary Payton, only to be usurped by the Detroit Pistons in the NBA Finals.
            One example of this is the Bulls trading Jimmy Butler to the Minnesota Timberwolves for no reason at all. Granted, Minnesota hasn't made the playoffs in over a decade and needs an additional superstar/dual position player to compliment Karl Anthony-Towns. However, the Bulls got very little back from the T-Wolves, even going as far as to surrender a first round pick to Minnesota. Butler's been linked to the likes of Boston and Cleveland, but those trades fell through due to the asking price not being ripe enough or due to a toxic culture in the organization.
            That hasn't been the only rumor swirling. Chris Paul has been linked to the San Antonio Spurs and Pau Gasol has taken on a contract with less money just to help the Spurs add Paul. Paul George has informed the Indiana Pacers that this will be his last year, leaving George to be linked to the Cavs and Lakers. New York Knicks star Kristaps Porzingis is also being shopped around by Phil Jackson and New York's front office. Even LeBron James has been discussed in potential rumors, possibly looking into one of the two Los Angeles franchises.
            Whatever the case, the Warriors have sparked a madness in the NBA that won't be going away any time soon. Teams will be looking for any combination of superstars that'll put them over the top. However, the Warriors will still be on top until that one team knocks them off their perch.

Photo courtesy of HoopsHype.com

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Grading the Vegas Golden Knights' Expansion Draft

            The Vegas Golden Knights have taken their first cracks at comprising an NHL roster tonight. There were notable names like James Neal, Marc-Andre Fleury, and Jonathan Marchessault that have been picked up by Vegas. Remember that some of these players won't be sticking around with the Golden Knights. So how did Sin City's inaugural pro sports team do?

What I Liked: Vegas added plenty of goal scorers like center Marchessault, forward David Perron, and right wing James Neal. So the Knights should have no problem putting the puck in the net. General Manager George McPhee has stated that he wants to contend right away and he seems well on his way to doing so. The blue line has some experienced players who can hit opponents hard and block shots. Fleury is also a nice veteran pickup between the pipes for the Golden Knights. Vegas also added some prospects such as Tomas Nosek, which should help Vegas with the first youth movement.
Growing Pains: The team does have plenty of veterans on the squad, but the team mostly consists of >26 year-olds. However, that's usually the case for many expansion teams drafting players. Players like Neal and Methot will add leadership to a young squad.
Overall Grade: A-: It wasn't a bad draft and the Golden Knights' front office hit the notes they needed to hit. They went for the experienced veterans while picking up young players. Vegas also acquired numerous draft picks, leaving a blueprint for future success. The draft has left people like Mario Lemieux in awe, leaving many to believe that the Golden Knights are serious about competing.


Monday, June 19, 2017

Teams That May Sneak Into the Playoff

             Believe it or not, college football season is quickly approaching. With the season just two months away, it'll be that time where you should be spending your Saturdays watching the best college football games. Now there are some teams that have favorable schedules that can help them get into the playoff if they play their cards right. Granted, these teams need to win their conferences in order to get to the playoff. Still, which teams have a chance to sneak into the playoff based on their schedules?


  • Michigan: This may sound funny, but Michigan has a winnable schedule that can benefit them greatly. If they beat Florida in Arlington, either Penn State or Wisconsin on the road (preferably both), and Ohio State at home, the Wolverines should be sitting pretty heading into the Big Ten Championship.
  • Oklahoma State: The only tough road game will be at West Virginia on October 28, with a road game at Pitt on September 16 possibly being a trap game. Other than that, they get Oklahoma at home along with Baylor and TCU. 
  • Washington: Surprisingly enough, the Huskies make the list despite making the College Football Playoff last season. Still, they avoid Sam Darnold and the USC Trojans and play only two tough road games (Colorado on September 23 and Stanford on November 10). 
  • Florida: The Gators have a chance to go undefeated heading into the SEC Championship with their 2017 schedule. They only play three(!) road games this season and all three road games are against the SEC's worst teams. What's more is they get to avoid Alabama in the regular season. 
  • Miami: A September 16 date at Florida State is the only game the Hurricanes should sweat. Otherwise, they have the opportunity to build on a nine-game slate that only consists of three road games. 
Photo Courtesy of USA Today

Saturday, June 17, 2017

Greatest Sports Moments For Dad

             Sports are an easy way to bond with your old man. Both of you share a love for the game(s) and you're passionate about your team winning. That's why this blog is dedicated to those who raised you and taught you life's essentials. Here are some of the greatest moments concerning athletes and their fathers.


Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Best Mike Francesa Moments

            Mike Francesa is known for being one hell of a professional sports broadcaster. He's also known for some serious gaffes on the air. Here's a little tribute to America's favorite unintentional goof, Mike Francesa.



Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Biggest Questions Heading Into The NBA Offseason

           Another NBA season is in the books, with Golden State returning to the throne. Now that one of the most milquetoast, boring seasons is in the books, will we have an off-season that can add more flair than the 2016-2017 regular season? Here's some of the questions that will be asked in the NBA off-season.


  1. Will the Cavaliers Add Another Piece or Trade For a Better Player? The hope in Cleveland is that the Cavaliers will add another big piece to their line-up. The problem is that they'll need a great amount of contract restructuring or pieces given up to do so. The Cavs have given up a considerable amount of draft picks, so they'll have to pull some strings if they want to get a player like Paul George or Carmelo Anthony. 
  2. Can the Spurs Acquire Chris Paul? Clippers point guard Chris Paul is in the last year of his contract, which makes him some valuable trade bait. While his contract may seem lofty ($24,268,959 cap hit) and Paul may be on the wrong side of 30, taking a rental on Paul seems quite feasible, especially if the Spurs are to compete with the Warriors. Paul is great at ball distribution and running the floor, making him a valuable piece for the Spurs. 
  3. Who Will the Celtics Take With the No. 1 Pick? Markelle Fultz seems like the consensus No. 1 pick, but the Celtics do have options. They can trade the pick for the likes of Jimmy Butler or Blake Griffin (yes, Griffin's in the last year of his contract as well, although the 15% trade kicker could make things interesting). Still, Fultz is an offensive force who can score in bunches and is reminiscent of James Harden.
  4. What Will the Clippers Do With the Expiring Contracts? The aforementioned Paul and Griffin are in the last year of their contracts, so Doc Rivers has some things to consider and do. Will the Clippers begin the rebuilding process or will they still go for the gold? Rumors are circulating that Lebron James may leave Cleveland again for the likes of Los Angeles or San Antonio, so the Clippers' future looks very intriguing. 
  5. Where Will Lonzo Ball Fall? The speculation around Lonzo Ball is interesting. Reports have stated that the Lakers aren't as interested as LaVar Ball would like. This is due to Lonzo looking out of shape to observers at a recent workout. Both LaVar and Lonzo might scare away the Lakers and someone might not be happy about the outcome if it happens.
Photo Courtesy of SI.com

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Best NFL Rivalries Right Now (Or In Recent Memory)

            The NFL is built in part on intense rivalries. Some rivalries have historical context, some are between competitive division rivals. As a salutation to the competitive nature of American football, here's some of the most intense rivalries in the NFL.


  1. The NFC East vs. Each Other: Really, the NFC East is a division where every team is either competitive year in and year out or has a deep history to their team. Thus, this makes for a mix-and-match of terrific rivalries and for great television. 
  2. Seahawks vs. 49ers: Although the rivalry has died down quite a bit due to the 49ers' lack of competitiveness, this was a marquee match-up a few years ago. Both teams had offense centered around mobile quarterbacks and stout defenses. 
  3. Steelers vs. Ravens: The two teams have escalated their rivalry in recent memory in part to trash talking and success on the field. Pittsburgh and Baltimore always makes for a close game. 
  4. Bears vs. Packers: The oldest rivalry in the NFL, this dates back to 1927. Green Bay and Chicago have won a combined 22 championships and have 65 members in the NFL Hall of Fame. The all-time series is tied at 94-94-6.
  5. Patriots vs. Jets: It doesn't who the coach for the New York Jets is; they usually have a beef with Bill Belichick, the New England Patriots, and their way of conducting business. Noteworthy tidbits of this rivalry include Spygate and Rex Ryan's trash talk towards Belichick.
  6. Falcons vs. Saints: An extremely underrated rivalry in the NFL, the two teams are usually battling for NFC South supremacy. The rivalry may be between two franchises with notable histories of futility, but the "Southern Showdown" is always an intense match-up.
  7. Peyton Manning vs. Tom Brady: Two of the best quarterbacks in the NFL, the games between the two were always solid prime time viewing. The two future Hall of Fame quarterbacks have combined for seven Super Bowls, seven MVPs, five Super Bowl MVPs, 133,522 passing yards. 995 touchdowns, and an average completion rate of 64.6%. Brady leads the all-time series 11-6. 

Thursday, June 8, 2017

What to Do Now That the Warriors Have Essentially Ended the NBA Finals

             The Golden State Warriors (namely, Kevin Durant) have put the Cleveland Cavaliers in a gigantic hole that they won't escape from, going up 3-0 in a 118-113 win in Game 3 of the NBA Finals. With the Warriors basically ending the Cavaliers' hopes of repeating as NBA champions, that leaves a bit of an early void for this month. No team has ever come back from a 3-0 deficit in the NBA Finals, mind you. With that being said, here's a list of what you can do with some friends and family (or by yourself) for the next week or two before it's baseball-only time (unless you're a soccer fan).


  • Get a head start on watching baseball games
  • Fire up the barbecue and start grilling with your peeps
  • Watch the French Open and witness Rafael Nadal try to win another title in France
  • Start a bonfire and crack a cold one with your friends
  • Head out to the lake for some aqua fun
  • Get up early and watch overseas football or watch MLS matches during the evening
  • Work on the summer body
  • Take a good ol' dump on the can and listen to music

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

Oakland, CA: A Sports Ghost Town

            It's hard to imagine a city like Oakland having some championship pedigree in the NFL, NBA, and MLB, yet they're on the verge of losing all of their franchises in a span of a decade. The Oakland Athletics and Raiders play in a broken-down swamp known as Oakland Coliseum and the Golden State Warriors are jumping across the bay to the more hip city in San Francisco in 2019. The Raiders are headed to Sin City in 2020, accompanied by a $750 million stadium funded in part by the taxpayers. The A's are scrambling to find a new stadium to get them out of their native dump, but are also facing relocation rumors (the most prominent being San Jose and Sacramento). With all this reshuffling of Oakland's teams, it seems like San Francisco's bay brethren will become a sports "ghost town" in the near future.
            It wasn't always like this. From the 1972-75 Oakland A's to the modern budding dynasty in the Golden State Warriors, Oakland has quietly been a sports bastion and home to some of the greatest teams in sports history. The 2002 Oakland A's won 20 straight games and were the revolutionary sons of "Moneyball", a concept and brainchild of Billy Beane that was centered around sabremetrics. The Warriors are introducing the concept of efficient three-ball shooting and "small ball" teamwork where the players move better up and down the floor. The Raiders are on the comeback, invoking memories of the 1980's Raiders and making the playoffs for the first time since the early 2000's. They're armed with some dangerous offensive weapons in Derek Carr and Amari Cooper. Raider fans are still filling the "Black Hole" to this day in spite of a shoddy owner relocating the team in the future.
            Unfortunately for Oakland fans, two of their better teams are leaving for greener pastures. The city itself has been bogged down by crack/cocaine problems dating all the way back to the 1980's and violent crime. The crack/cocaine epidemic has evolved into one of economic woes. Filled with a large number of African Americans, Oakland has had its share of trauma that it's had to deal with, but sports has given the city hope. Unfortunately, in an age where taxpayer-funded stadiums are the norm, cities like Oakland can't afford to keep up with such trends, especially at the expense of their citizens. Granted, this is a good thing for a rebounding city like Oakland. But who will the people have to fall back on in the face of various epidemics like the crack/cocaine epidemic?
            This was a city that had lost franchises in the past: They lost the California Golden Seals in 1976 as they moved to Cleveland and eventually folded (they played in the Oracle Arena like the Warriors, which was known as the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum Arena back in the 70's). They also lost the Raiders before the Las Vegas move. Al Davis moved the Oakland Raiders to Los Angeles before moving them back to Oakland in 1994. Franchises moving out seems like a part of being a fan of Oakland sports, especially when the teams are moving to cities that have more sex appeal and leaving a city with a beautiful sight like Lake Merritt.
            The days of Jim Plunkett, Rickey Henderson, the Bash Brothers, and Tim Brown are behind Oakland sports fans. What's more, sports have been the one thing that has kept Oakland residents happy for as long as they remember. With the uprising of the Warriors and the Raiders, this only makes it worse for Oakland. The city will be reduced to just a sports "ghost town".


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Best NBA Finals Moments

            Since the NBA Finals (and the NBA playoffs, for that matter) have been extremely lackluster this postseason, let us take a trip down memory lane and revisit some great moments in NBA Finals history.


Monday, June 5, 2017

Early MLB Trade Targets

            The MLB season is already flying by and there are teams that are looking into selling some assets. A lot can change in a span of a month. But in the meantime, let's take a look at which of these valuable pieces could be expendable come late July.


  1. Sonny Gray, Oakland A's: Sonny Gray's name has been thrown around quite a bit regarding trade talks. Oakland can fetch a sizable package for Gray before the deadline in spite of not having the best year. Gray's K/9 is an adequate 8.09 and his BB/9 is 2.83. His ERA's 4.57 and his groundball rate's 59.3%, so teams will have to be cautious of Gray throwing meatballs. 
  2. J.D. Martinez, Detroit Tigers: In just 22 games (72 at-bats), Martinez has ten homers, 22 RBIs, an OPS of 1.201, and an average of .292. Martinez is perhaps the only Tiger who can garner a quality return in trade talks. The one problem is that the Tigers are teetering between contending and selling and this is the last year of Martinez's contract.
  3. Zack Cosart, Cincinnati Reds: Cosart has been another trade target for teams. The Reds can at least get one MLB Top 100 prospect for Cosart, who's batting .344 this year with nine homers and 33 RBIs. Cosart is also a stellar defensive shortstop, which will help his asking price quite a bit. 
  4. Eric Hosmer, Jason Vargas, and Lorenzo Cain, Kansas City Royals: Hosmer's having another solid season at first base, batting .305 with a decent OPS of .796. Cain has an OPS of .736 and is a threat on the basepaths (12 steals this season). Vargas has seven wins this year to go with an ERA of 2.08. It appears that the Royals are going to be sellers by the trade, so Kansas City will have to start selling and making moves in a month (Maybe sooner). 
  5. Yu Darvish, Texas Rangers: Surprise! Jose Quintana's not on the list since he's not having the best of seasons. So here's a look at Darvish. Although Darvish has allowed three runs in his last two starts, Darvish still is a valuable pitcher. Capable of striking out double-digits with a nice fastball and decent breaking ball stuff, Darvish has a K/9 of 9.64 and an FIP of 4.01. His ERA's decent as well, standing at 3.13. Darvish is more of a flyball pitcher and is often prone to allowing home runs and walks, but that shouldn't deter teams from trading for him considering how many strikeouts he racks up along with how many guys he leaves on base (84.6% this year). 
Photo Courtesy of MLB.com. Stats courtesy of Fangraphs.com

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Blending Buddy

            Welcome to another edition of "Blending Buddy", where I show you what I've been drinking to help me lead a healthier lifestyle. This month's edition is called the "Kickstart Your Intake". It consists of these ingredients:

  • 1 kale leaf (maybe 2)
  • 1 1/3 inch slice of pomegranate
  • A pinch of tumeric
  • 1 tbsp of apple cider vinegar (fill the rest of the container with water)
  • 2 tomato halves
  • 5 slices of cucumber
  • 1 1/3 inch slice of lemon
  • 1 chopped carrot
           This is supposed to be the ultimate health drink (at least I think so, from gathering all the information about these ingredients). Just a bit of background on some of these ingredients: Tomatoes are great for your heart's health, so if you're struggling with heart problems, add some extra to your drink. Pomegranates are also a great help regarding heart health and have many nutrition benefits, including plenty of vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin E, and folic acid. However, they have an overpowering taste (same thing with the apple cider vinegar). So, if you're not a big fan of puckering up after drinking this, put a limited amount in. While apple cider vinegar won't help you instantaneously lose weight, it is a solid support of weight loss and can help relieve acid reflux and lower blood pressure. This is due to its healing compounds, which include magnesium, probiotics, and potassium.