MLB: Previewing the National League West

Who holds the longest divisional title streak in baseball?  That would be the Los Angeles Dodgers, who have won the National League West every year since 2013 (from 2014-2016, the Giants have finished second each year).    So it appears that this division should be the easiest to call, right?    Two strong teams and three teams that seem to be spinning around in circles, making weird transactions (Diamondbacks), shady…

March 31, 2017
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MLB: Previewing the National League Central

In 2015, the National League Central was one of the most competitive divisions in recent history.  Three teams finished the season with 97 wins or more.  The rest of the National League only had four teams over .500.    Of course, as is usually the case with baseball, unpredictability ruled the postseason, and none of those teams made it to the World Series.  The Cubs gave a glimpse of what…

March 31, 2017
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MLB: Previewing the National League East

This division appears to be the “Tale of Two Teams”, right?   The Mets and the Nationals.  The Nationals and the Mets.      As I like to say, it isn’t the stuff in front of me that will ever make me nervous – it is the stuff going on behind me that can make me uncomfortable.  And if I were these two franchises, I would be paying very close…

March 30, 2017
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MLB: Previewing the American League East

A division that was once dominated by two franchises has suddenly become one of the most competitive divisions in baseball.  In 2016, four of the five teams in this division finished above .500, with three making the playoffs.    From 2007-2016, only once did the American League not produce at least two playoff teams (2014). This year may not be any different, as the division once again promises to be…

March 29, 2017
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MLB: Previewing the American League Central

From 2011-2014, the Detroit Tigers dominated this division, winning four consecutive division titles.    Owner Mike Ilitch desperately wanted to add a World Series title to his list of life accomplishments, but it just wasn’t meant to be as the Tigers consistently mediocre-to-bad bullpens seemed to always hold them back. From 2011-2014, they ranked 11th, 10th, 12th, and 13th in the American League by bullpen ERA.   Their postseason performances…

March 28, 2017
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MLB: Previewing the American League West

Over the past five seasons, every team in this division other than the Seattle Mariners has made at least one playoff appearance.   However, once in the playoffs, it hasn’t been pretty.  The Houston Astros famously choked away the 2015 Divisional Series to the Kansas City Royals.    In 2014, the Oakland Athletics famously choked away a Wild-Card game against…the Kansas City Royals.    The Rangers have lost back-to-back divisional…

March 27, 2017
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NCAA Tournament Thoughts 3/26/17: The Final Four is Set

92-69 in 1972. What does that represent?  The score of the North Carolina-South Carolina NCAA Tournament game back in 1972, won by North Carolina.  Why is that important?  It represents the only game this group of Final Four teams has EVER played in the tournament.  (OK, correction:  North Carolina beat Gonzaga in a 2-vs-10 game in the 2009 tournament.  My bad!)   You would think that Oregon and Gonzaga would have…

March 26, 2017
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NCAA Tournament Thoughts 3/25/17: West Coast Basketball Rules the Night

Let me start with this:  Gonzaga has finally proven all their doubters wrong.  In an impressive display of team defense, the Zags were able to grab a big lead early and rarely looked back today.    The only time they were threatened was when Xavier hit a three-quarter court heave at the end of the first half…a shot that was just after the buzzer.    It didn’t matter, as Xavier…

March 25, 2017
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Indiana Makes Smart Move In Hiring Archie Miller

The lists of potential names to replace Tom Crean at Indiana was impressive – from NBA coaches Brad Stevens and Billy Donovan down to college mainstays like Chris Mack (Xavier), Steve Alford (UCLA – former Indiana player), and Gregg Marshall (the Wichita State coach who, to date, has simply refused to budge from his post of the mid-major giant). In the end, I think they made the right choice in…

March 25, 2017
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NCAA Tournament: Elite Eight Thoughts

Bracket A:   51 Final Fours, 17 national championships Bracket B:  5 Final Fours, 2 championships (All by Florida) The illustration above is what makes this tournament the best event in the world of sports.    You just never know where you are going to end up once the whole spectacle begins. Obviously, the above illustration is an outline of the Midwest-South vs. the East-West brackets.  The Midwest-South is loaded….

March 25, 2017
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