April 29, 2009
The NFL Draft is where the wild things are. This year the Jets fans were more then just wild, They were wildly happy that owner Woody Johnson gave GM Mike Tannenbaum and Head Coach Rex Ryan the Green light to trade up for USC QB Mark Sanchez. But Is Sanchez what the NY Jets really need? While the Jets organization, most of the beat media, and even most fans feel that the USC Product was one of the only two QB’s in this draft that could start sooner rather then later, I’m not totally convinced. Personally, i don’t dislike him, infact he is very likeable, with a great sense of humor and a great personality, which he showed in the draft press conference Sunday when two of my writing partners, SBS media’s Zennie Abraham and Yardbarker.com’s Dewey Hammond were razzing him about his hair and the CAL-USC rivalry. It’s not his ability, he has plenty. I just think the Jets gave up too much to get him in this economy, and the Jets already have three QB’s, including one they won’t let play the position (Brad Smith) who passed for over 5,000 yards in college. Maybe they will try the wildcat offense with slow guys. Meanwhile they did not address the issue of getting a fast receiver. Had they done so, any QB would have been good enough for one more year. Give the Jets a B to a B+ depending on how long it takes Sanchez to get it together and adjust to the NFL game, which his agent David Dunn says will happen smoothly.
Thoughts on the other AFC teams:
Bills: 8 Picks. LB Aaron Maybin (rd1) and CB Jairus Byrd are good solid choices, But OC Eric Wood wasn’t even among the top 2 Centers, and the other Offensive Lineman Andy Levitre was only an after thought on many Draft expert’s charts, including mine. Grade: C to C-
Dolphins: 10 Picks. I’d like to give big poppa Parcells the benefit of the doubt here(and so would at least one of my associates who knows him personally and spend a year following him as research on his book) regarding Vontae Davis, But ego runs in the family (see big brother Vernon). I love Pat White as a QB, but they need to add more speed at receiver for the wildcat to work well. Sean Smith is the biggest CB i have ever seen. no addition of a Stout DL would worry the Phins faithful. Grade: C+ unless White gets the help he needs.
Patriots: 12 Picks. S Pat Chung could play anywhere in the defensive backfield, and Butler is a shutdown CB. Got Depth and scored 2 picks next year by smart trades, but no true “impact” players here. Grade: B
Ravens: 6 Picks: Just on Mike Oher alone Ozzie Newsome and his personnel crew get the “A”, but i have to take away a half a grade because CB Lardarius Webb could pass for a 15 year old H.S. player in his pads at 177lbs. soaking wet. Rb Cedric Peerman could develop into a good reserve/role player. Grade: A-
Bengals: 11Picks. If Andre Smith doesn’t flake out from the stress, he could someday be in that Building in Canton. Rey Maualuga is the Troy Polumalu of inside linebackers, and TE Chase Coffman has the NFL pedigree through his dad. Add OC Jon Luigs and P Kevin Huber(if he continues to improve his hang time numbers). The issue as always in Cincy is will these guys act their age or their shoe size. Grade: B-
Browns: 8 Picks. Alex Mack is the best Center in this class. Add the two receivers, Robiskie & Massaquoi and LB Kaluka Maiava (who we all know is the nephew of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) and you have added enough depth at key positions. Kudos to the Mangeinus for doing the deal with his old team, but there aren’t any Real great players here. Grade: C
Steelers: 9 Picks. While i like DT Ziggy Hood, OL Kraig Urbik and OC A.Q. Shipley are back-ups at best for now. CB Joe Burnett is a decent CB for where he was picked. The rest are just back-ups if they make it at all. Grade: C+
Texans: 8 Picks. Houston got one of the steals of round one with Brian Cushing, and Connor Barwin will combine with Mario Williams to greatly improve the Texans D. The only problem here is that no receiver or running back was chosen to help with depth. Grade B+
Colts: 8 Picks. Are you surprised that Donald Brown came of the board before Ohio State’s Chris Wells? You shouldn’t be, because Brown is more adaptable to more offensive sets. DT Fili Moala, WR Austin Collie, and QB Curtis Painter will help with depth, but they still need another DL from somewhere. P Pat McAfee could get teh job on his toughness alone. Grade: B
Jaguars: 9 Picks. Great use of draft slots to get the best players to fill needs. OT’s Eugene Monroe and Eben Britton will help Maurice Jones Drew have a “career” year in 2009, plus adding three receivers (Mike Thomas, Jarett Dillard, and Tiquan Underwood will add bench depth, but they are still missing an instant starter at the position to help veteran FA signing Torry Holt. Liberty;s Rashad Jennings is an undiscovered talent at RB. Grade: B+
Titans: 11 Picks. I’d grade them higher if i could but they didn’t get someone who could even develop into Al Hanesworth’s replacement. Sen’Derrick Marks is good but not good enough yet to do it alone. WR Kenny Britt and TE Jared Cook will add some zest to the passing game, and smallish RB Javon Ringer was a Michigan State stand out and quality person all around, who could be the next Dave Meggett talent wise. Grade: B
Broncos: 10 Picks. Although Ex-Georgia Bulldog Knowshon Moreno was the best RB in the Draft in my mind, Denver did little else to help other need areas, like the defensive line. Also didn’t address the offensive line until late in the draft. Grade: D-
Chiefs: 8 Picks. Nice job of starting to rebuild the defense. RB Javarris Williams from Tenn. State in the Ohio Valley Conference was one of our “small school prospect unknown” and another steal at his position in round 7.Still need more help for QB Matt Cassel. Grade: B+
Raiders: 7 Picks. If Al Davis would only retire or at least let someone else handle the personnel side of things, maybe the raiders can move forward. While Darrius Heyward-Bey is a quality receiver he wasn’t the 7th pick overall, and who the heck is Michael Mitchell? Grade: D+ if Heyward-Bey develops faster then expected, otherwise they get the big “F” again.
Chargers: 8 Picks. While I really like LB Larry English as a defensive player, there is no way he should have been a 1st round pick no matter how much you are worried about Shawne Merriman not being able to come all the way back. Explain to me why you also pick 2 OG’s in a weak class for Guards? LSU’s Demetrius Byrd is a better receiver then his slot would indicate. Seems to me like they had a Brain Cluster after Denver picked Moreno ahead of them. Grade: B-
Next: The Giants and the NFC
April 24, 2009
I’ve written in the past about Jen Liu, a femme fatale from Chicago who is also part of a professional women’s baseball league. Read the background HERE so I don’t have to recap the whole thing. Trust me. She’s great and played in Hong Kong this past winter and is a very large (in stature, not physical size) proponent of women’s baseball. She’s such a big proponent that she was part of a challenge on Facebook to get 10,000 people to sign up to include women’s baseball in the International Baseball Federation’s petition to have the International Olympic Committee reinstate baseball for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Let me ’splain, Lucy. Right now, baseball – men’s & women’s – isn’t going to be part of the 2016 Summer Olympics. It’s just not. And folks like Jennifer Liu and members of the Internatiional Baseball Federation are trying to get that changed. With that in mind, the IBAF (that’s the short way of writing International BAseball Federation, but not short enough or understandable enough since I had to not just write International BAseball Federation twice in these parenthesis but also a whole lotta extra words to make you understand what IBAF stands for and how much time we’ve all saved by using that fantastical acronym) hired a lady today, or recently they hired a lady and just announced it today, to help formulate the plan to include baseball, and women’s baseball, into the 2016 Summer Olympics. The lady has a name, and it’s Donna Lopiano. No, her ancestors did not invent pianos for the vertically impaired. That’s just her name. And, if she’s married and took her husband’s name, she really has nothing to do with the name besides including it on her driver’s license after standing in front of a room of well-dressed folks and declaring to one and all that she loves and will always love Mr. Lopiano, he of the vertically challenged keyboard instruments.
She also throws a mean splitter, so that’s another reason why she’s now in the IBAF.
Here’s what concerns me. On April 6th, the IBAF announced the formation of “a committee to oversee the growth of the women’s discipline.”
What does that mean, to form a committee? This is where American business, politics, and MLB team front offices go wrong at times. Sometimes there’s just a right and a wrong. If I’m in the IBAF, I either include women into our efforts or I don’t. It’s pretty cut & dried. Form a committee? What will they do on this committee? The hyphenated word “think-tank” comes to mind when I hear of a committee like this being formed. But really, what’s there to think about? Just do it. Include the ladies and tell the International Olympic Committee that baseball is a multi-billion dollar business in the US of A alone. Did these Olympic pansies see the World Baseball Classic, emphasis on “World”? Do they see the fans who come out every year for the Caribbean World Series? Have they heard Bobby Valentine’s Kermit the Frog imitation in Japan as he manages the Chiba Lotte Marines? Asia. North America. Central America. Israel. Europe. Baseball’s big, man. Real big. To pull it in the first place must have been some big political act of egotistic stupidity on some man’s part, or the man & his cronies who like soccer but call it “football.” Or, this man and his cronies, all fat with power by being part of some big “International” organization, formed a committee to “study” whether or not to pull baseball. The outcome was to drop America’s pastime, probably because they didn’t get something they really wanted. Like season tiks to the new Yankee Stadium.
Here’s my proposal. Let’s drop all of the studies and politics and committees. Want to settle this once and for all? We’ll have our committee challenge the Olympic committee to a game of baseball in my backyard. The big oak tree can be home plate and we can find some sticks for bases. From some kid in the Dominican, we’ll borrow a ball, which is really a rock, and use milk cartons for gloves. The worst committee members can congregate in right field and pray the rock doesn’t get hit to them. And on the mound for the IBAF, the one and only Jennifer Liu, our favorite women’s professional baseball player. Donna Lopiano can close the game out as the IBAF trounces the International Olympic Committee, 24 to 0. You see, the Olympic fat cats all played in right field. The our IBAF? We spread our hits all over. That’s what we do. That’s why we include the ladies.
The Olympic folks? They never had a chance.
Final note: The miniature organ can be played by the Lopiano Family Band. (I just had to get that one in. Please forgive me.)
Now screw this committee crap. Let’s just play some baseball!
Jimmy Scott is probably the greatest pitcher you’ve never heard of. Visit Jimmy Scott’s High & Tight to read more from Jimmy. You’ll also hear a new interview every Monday morning with former MLB players, agents, wives and others; giving new outlooks on this great game we call Baseball. Go there now to hear Jimmy’s latest interviews with Nelson & Alisa Figueroa, Craig Swan, Desi Relaford and MLB Umpire Hunter Wendelstedt. You can follow Jimmy on Twitter or Facebook.
April 18, 2009
UNIONDALE ,NY- Coaches usually send nothing but platitudes to a team’s prized prospect in training camp. A poor start can be attributed to a lack of experience while solid play is sold as a harbinger of greatness to come.
But Flyers coach John Stevens delivered a not-so-subtle message to Claude Giroux in the summer, instructing the 2006 first-round pick to improve in the minor leagues before thinking about a promotion.
Giroux went to the AHL, where he became a ghost. No, the Hearst, Ontario native didn’t literally disappear. He joined the Philadelphia Phantoms and quickly emerged as one of the league’s most talented players, racking up 17 goals and 17 assists in just 33 games. That led to late a Christmas gift, as Giroux was called up and played his first game with the Flyers on Dec. 26, earning a spot on the team he hasn’t relinquished.
As he gets ready for help the Flyers go up against the potent Penguins in a first-round Stanley Cup playoff series that starts tonight, Giroux said his Phantoms stint was a boon for his career.
“It actually helped my game a lot being able to [log] a lot of ice time,” Giroux said after the Flyers 3-2 victory over the Islanders Saturday. “Playing on the power play, penalty kill, just playing in all those different situations helped my game.”
Stevens said he noticed the difference in Giroux’s all-around game immediately since his promotion. It also helps that Philadelphia boasts six 25-goal scorers, allowing Giroux to fill a complementary role. At 5-11, 179 pounds, Giroux provides speed as a right winger who also can win faceoffs and present different matchups.
Stevens successfully found a formal to incorporate Giroux’s skills into the team framework, playing him alongside veteran Daniel Briere, a former All-Star game MVP. After a two-game stint with the Flyers last season that featured zero points, Giroux scored nine goals and logged 18 assists in 44 games since proving his worth as a complete player to a once-skeptical coaching staff.
“He’s playing at a high level every day,” Stevens said. “We always knew he could play with the puck. But it’s his ability to play without the puck that’s allowed him to be here.”
After turning 21 in January, Giroux finished strong, scoring four goals in Philadelphia’s final eight games, which were pressure-packed contests as the Flyers were fighting for position and home-ice advantage. Philadelphia ended up behind Pittsburgh in the battle for the fourth seed, though Giroux said the games’ intensity was a good test for the best-of-seven series to follow.
“It’s a lot different than during Christmas time,” Giroux said. “The games are a lot tighter and you get less room with the puck. You have to make some quick decisions, but that’s part of hockey.”
Giroux enticed the Flyers to take him with the 22nd overall pick after scoring 48 goals as part of a 103-point season for Gatineau Olympiques as a junior player in 2005-06. He seemed destined to justify the high draft selection, scoring 48 goals in a 112-point season for Gatineau the next season before closing out the season in the AHL.
That success didn’t translate to training camp and the preseason. Giroux’s slow maturation forced the club to send him down an entire level, though he had to walk just a few hundred feet away, where the Phantoms play in the soon to be demolished Spectrum. Once the home to the Flyers’ Cup-winning teams, Giroux thrived on the same ice the Broad Street Bullies made famous three decades ago.
“During camp, playing defensively wasn’t really important for me,” Giroux said. “I learned playing in the AHL that if I wanted to play in the NHL, I really have to be responsible. I learned a lot by playing on the “PK” with the Phantoms and against the top lines.
His upbeat attitude and scoring touch allowed Giroux to re-cross the parking lot to play at the Wachovia Center, the Flyers’ current home. Before even being allowed to drink legally, Stevens saw signs that Giroux was ready to shed the prospect tag and became a regular contributor.
“He’s been a strong performer,” Stevens said. “I think he’s allowed us to get Danny really involved. [They've] had good chemistry and he’s shown the ability to be responsible without the puck. He’s certainly been a pleasant surprise and he’s a fixture on our team.”
Living away from home continues to be an off-ice challenge for Giroux. But he said Simon Gagne and Briere have helped in that department since all three are French- Canadians.
“It was a little easier to speak to them. They just understand how hard it is when you get in the league,” Giroux said. “Every day, they come to the rink and still have fun. It’s just a big motivation to see the passion they still have.
“Everyone in general has been nice and tried to show me a good path.”
April 18, 2009
On Tuesday, the National Football League unveiled its 2009 regular season schedule and both occupants of the present Meadowlands/Giants Stadium (depending on which team is playing at home that particular day) will receive national exposure a total of seven times. The Giants will bid farewell to their home since 1976 with a Sunday Night Football contest on October 25 versus the defending NFC champions Arizona Cardinals and another NBC game versus their division rivals, the Philadelphia Eagles, on December 13.
The Jets? Without the fanfare of Brett Favre and their December collapse, they will have to go on the road for their two prime time affairs – an ESPN Monday Night Football game at Miami (October 12) and in Montreal for what is considered a Buffalo Bills home game on Thursday, December 3 on the NFL Network.
For the sideline boss of Gang Green, finally seeing where and when his team will be was a sign of good things. “We got the schedule today and I am fired up about the coming season,” Rex Ryan said. “This will be my first season as a head coach and the schedule is filled with challenges, but our coaching staff and players have been working hard and I know that we will be ready.”
On the plate in Week One for the Jets is a road game versus the Texans, the first time in 22 years that they have opened up the season in the big state. Back then it was the Houston Oilers on the short end of a 20-0 score at the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World,’ otherwise known as the Astrodome.
The home opener a week later will bring a familiar foe into East Rutherford as the Patriots make the trip south for the fourth consecutive year. Things do not get any easier as the Tennessee Titans are up next and they will be looking to avenge the Jets’ Week 12 win last year that snapped their 10-game winning streak. Other notable games on the schedule are at Indianapolis (December 27) and – barring any post-season home games – the last dance at the old building on January 3 versus Cincinnati.
In 2010, both teams will move into the brand new stadium right next door and the Giants would love to close out an era with a better showing than last year’s Divisional Round playoff loss to the Eagles. They open things up on September 13 at home versus the Redskins then go on a three-game road trip to Dallas, Tampa Bay and Kansas City.
Big Blue will have the evening game on the NFL Network on Thanksgiving Day at Denver then have three division games after that, at home versus Dallas and Philadelphia and at Washington. A tough stretch, indeed, something not lost on head coach Tom Coughlin, who noted the advantage of having the bye in Week 10.
“We play nine games before the bye – I think that’s better for us,” he said to reporters, commenting on the early Week 4 week off in 2008. “The bye gives the players, I think, an opportunity to play a long stretch against high-quality opponents and then have a little break.”
For the second consecutive season, the G-Men finish up at Minnesota (January 3) and will look to springboard into the playoffs on a higher note than last year when they lost by a field goal at the final gun.
Of course, the NFL’s flexible scheduling in the season’s final seven weeks make all of those games tentative and officially considered “To Be Announced” for a starting time. Depending on where both teams are at that point in the season will determine their schedule, with NBC getting the opportunity to switch their night game to show a better match-up than what was put on the charts months in advance.
If Ryan and Coughlin’s troops do their jobs, both teams may end up with more national games than the seven planned now. First things first, though.
April 12, 2009
He had just pitched the game of his life, and what Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart did afterward was do what any 22-year old kid would do. He wanted to celebrate his good fortune with friends.
Unfortunately, Adenhart died only hours after shutting down the Oakland Athletics; pitching six scoreless innings in the process. It was the best performance of his short career.
Adenhart was a passenger in a silver Mitsubishi Eclipse that was broadsided by a red van apparently blowing through a red light in Fullerton. The horrific crash not only killed the young pitcher, but also claimed the lives of the driver, another passenger, and sent a third passenger to the hospital in critical condition.
The driver of the van, Andrew Thomas Gallo, 23, split the scene, leaving the wake of destruction behind him. He was identified by a passenger in his van and Gallo was located and arrested one-half hour later.
According to authorities, Gallo failed a blood-alcohol test and reported his BA level was nearly 3 times the legal limit of .08 in California. It was also learned that Gallo was driving on suspended license for a previous driving under the influence conviction.
At a news conference Friday Orange County District Attorney Tony Rackauckas said Gallo was being charged with three counts of second degree murder, felony drunk driving, and felony hit and run. If convicted, Gallo faces 55 years to life in prison.
This tragedy goes far beyond the accident scene. Now the Adenhart family is without a son, but it doesn’t end there. Along with Adenhart, the driver of the Mitsubishi, 20-year old Courtney Frances Stewart, a sophomore at Cal State Fullerton and 25-year old Henry Nigel Pearson are lost to their families too. The fourth victim, 24-year-old John Wilhite, was critically injured and remains in the hospital.
Gallo’s alleged acts didn’t just affect his victims’ families they also affected his own family as well. It has to be a gut wrenching feeling knowing that within the Gallo family one of their own is probably responsible for killing three innocent people and that he may spend the rest of his life behind bars.
The worst part of this situation is that it all could have been avoided.
Gallo was convicted in 2006 for drunk driving and his license was suspended. He knew it was suspended. He was advised of that in court and it was part of his sentence. A suspended license means NO DRIVING, unless an exception is made by the court to allow someone to drive to and from work or for some other stipulated hardship. Other than that, you walk, get a ride or take the bus. No exclusions. The second Gallo got into the van and put the key into the ignition he broke his probation and the law. The now fatal catastrophe was put into motion.
This accident also affects those outside the families that were also close to the victims. It’s like when you throw a stone in the middle of a still pond and you watch the ripple affect spread out from the point of the splash and get bigger and bigger as it moves away from the center point. Something like this has a profound impact on more than just the six people who were involved in the collision.
However, out of all the anguish and agony, something positive can come out of this situation. It can be a profound object lesson to others.
Take Joba Chamberlain for example. While in his home state of Nebraska in October of 2008 Chamberlain was pulled over by state troopers while driving his 2006 BMV. After smelling an alcoholic beverage and seeing an open container of Crown Royal on Chamberlain’s seat Chamberlain was busted for DUI. On April 1, after numerous postponements, Chamberlain pled guilty to driving while drunk in Lincoln, Nebraska.
A few days ago a police video of Chamberlain’s encounter with state troopers surfaced on thesmokinggun.com and it showed Chamberlain poking fun at New York drivers and Yogi Berra’s height, or lack thereof. Funny how alcohol will make you do and say some pretty stupid things. Now Chamberlain is answering questions and making apologies about those comments, and he put it this way.
“If I don’t put myself in the situation to begin with, I don’t have to answer any of these questions,” Chamberlain told reporters. “You take it, you understand that’s what it’s about and there are going to be a lot of questions. I’m never going to run from them.”
He also said something very reflective of his situation.
“Life is full of second chances; I got a second chance, and a lot of people don’t in this situation,” Chamberlain said. “I’m very, very thankful for that….I put myself in a bad situation, but came out unharmed. A lot of people don’t get to say that. I’m fortunate enough that nothing happened to me. I can take this and help a lot of people, or maybe even just one person. That’s gratifying for me.”
I can imagine Andrew Gallo was saying or thinking pretty much the same thing when he was convicted in 2006. He was given a second chance and he blew it. Now it appears he’ll have the rest of his life behind prison walls to reflect on the decisions that changed the lives and fortunes of so many people.
Nevertheless, his situation can be a sobering reminder to those of us left behind. Drinking and driving don’t mix. If you drink, DON”T DRIVE. That’s a pretty simple rule. Sadly, there are a lot of people out there who don’t follow it.
It is naïve to think that this will be the last alcohol related incident involving metal and human flesh, but what if just one person who follows this heartbreaking story makes the decision not to get behind the wheel after reading about it? If that can happen, think of how many sons, daughters, husband, wives, friends and teammates will make it home and walk through their front doors.
Nick Adenhart and his friends died senselessly, but not without purpose. We can hold these young people up and point them to others to show them they can end up like Mr. Gallo if they contemplate getting behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking.
If these awful deaths can do that, then there will be a lot less funerals to attend.
April 10, 2009
Yes, folks, the 2009 season is underway; there’s further talk of steroids, a bad economy, and ticket prices resembling monthly rent payments–yes, those made in the HIGH RENT district. Here’s how they’ll finish this season:
AL EAST AL CENTRAL AL WEST
N.Y. Yankees Minnesota Twins L.A. Angels
Boston Red Sox Cleveland Indians Oakland A’s
T.B. Rays Chicago White Sox Texas Rangers
Toronto Blue Jays Kansas City Royals Seattle Mariners
Baltimore Orioles Detroit Tigers
AL EAST- Flip a coin between New York and Boston; it’ll all come down to who stays more healthy–but I think Teixeira’s impact will be huge. Sox’ staff deeper, but Yanks will have a sense of desperation with their older core players–and make the most of it. Rays’ young staff to blow out come September. Halladay in Toronto doesn’t get enough help from his fellow starters. Orioles have a totally new pitching staff–but it won’t matter; yes, poor Brian Roberts.
AL CENTRAL- I like the Twins starting pitching better than Cleveland’s–and Joe Nathan is still Joe Nathan; however, Mauer must return to full strength. I’m not crazy about Chicago’s bullpen–and there are health concerns. Royals low on-base percentage will hurt them–but they could surprise somewhat. Tigers’ young, talented arms of ‘06 now a distant memory; if they were to win this division, then yours truly could be dating Charlize Theron come October.
AL WEST- Angels just too talented in an otherwise weak division, but will they get enough production out of the 1B and DH spots? Giambi will test cleanly and Oakland will score more runs–but their pitching is suspect. As usual, Rangers’ pitching is “iffy,”–to say the least. Mariners start the season without Ichiro, and their ”big” off-season acquisitions were an over-the-hill Griffey, Jr. and Russell Branyon–telling you all you really need to know.
NL EAST NL CENTRAL NL WEST
N.Y. Mets Chicago Cubs L.A. Dodgers
Philadelphia Phillies Milwaukee Brewers Arizona D’Backs
Atlanta Braves St. Louis Cardinals S.F. Giants
Florida Marlins Houston Astros Colorado Rockies
Washington Nationals Cincinnati Reds S.D. Padres
NL EAST- Mets’ acquisitions of Putz and K-Rod put them over the top–but WHICH Oliver Perez will show up every five days? Phillies will score, but starting pitchers like “Father Time” Moyer will disappoint. Braves lack power–and will have trouble closing games. Marlins may make more errors than the Bush administration did; Nationals located in D.C.–where NOTHING good happens these days.
NL CENTRAL- Cubs starting pitching still excellent–and Milton Bradley helps the offense. Brewers will simply try to outscore opponents–but this isn’t bowling. Cards will have trouble closing games–and they have no bench. Houston has too many #5 starters; I don’t like the Reds outfield. Pirates’ only hope is that SOME people show up in person to see them finish last once again.
NL WEST- Infielder Hudson helps Dodgers a lot, but will Manny quit come September? Haren and Webb may win 40 for Arizona–but they’ll fall short. Giants’ lack of power puts too much pressure on a decent staff. Rockies can’t outscore people like they used to and will miss Holliday too much. If you can name the Padres lineup, you have WAY too much time on your hands.
*Postseason: I’ll say the Yankees’ off-season money machine propels them to yet another World Series appearance–despite A-ROID appearing on the cover of the New York Post at least a half-dozen times this summer. Cubs make up for the embarrassment of last postseason (and the past 100 years!) and win the World Series in early, bone-chilling November.
Enjoy the season, everyone!