NCAA Basketball: 2017-2018 Preview

It seems like only yesterday that North Carolina rebounded from their heartbreaking loss in the 2016 tournament by winning the 2017 tournament over Gonzaga in a tournament that featured some good (South Carolina’s epic run, Gonzaga finally breaking through, Northwestern’s historic first tournament appearance, and Michigan turning a traumatic plane experience into a Big Ten Championship and a run to the Sweet 16), and some not-so-good (a disappointing season from…

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MLB: Quick Recap + Award Predictions

In one of my first baseball blog entries on this site, I put together a season preview, predicting that the Houston Astros would end up winning the World Series.  I will give myself a pat on the back for that, while trying to conveniently ignore the fact that I had them beating the Mets in said series.   The Astros were a bit of a trendy pick this past winter, but…

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MLB: The Surge of Analytics in the Dugout

“What are the percentages of scoring a run with a runner on first with nobody out, versus a runner on second with one out?” That is the most basic of the analytical questions that you hear about nowadays when it comes to managerial decisions.  The question stems from one simple situation in baseball:  Whether or not you should bunt with a runner on first base and nobody out. As the…

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MLB: World Series Preview

1970.   Cincinnati vs. Baltimore.    That represents the last time two teams who won 100+ games in the regular season ended up meeting up in the World Series.  There have been a few close calls since then.  In 2004, the Boston Red Sox won 98 regular season games (the Cardinals won 105).  The 1998 Yankees are considered one of the best teams in history, and their opponent in the World…

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Opinion: The Sudden Ending to a Season

New York Yankees.  Michigan Wolverines.  Carolina Panthers. If you think you had a bad weekend watching sports, the three teams above represent the three teams I root hardest for.  All three of them had bad weekends.  Depressing weekends.  Michigan and Carolina didn’t show up for their games, while the Yankees’ youth and Houston’s love of their home ballpark ultimately did in my favorite baseball team.   If you are a sports…

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MLB: League Championship Series Preview

So far, my predictions have been spot on!   I said the Indians would win the American League, and the Diamondbacks would represent the National League.   I boldly predicted that the Astros were better suited for 162 games than a shorter postseason series (that could still come true, I suppose).   I didn’t think the Cubs would repeat, and I certainly thought the Dodgers’ late-season slowdown might carry over into the playoffs. …

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MLB: National League Playoff Preview

I wrote up the American League preview yesterday. Los Angeles Dodgers (104-58) 58-15.  From June 1st through August 25th, the Dodgers put together one of the best stretches of baseball in the history of the game, and were primed to make a run at some of the best single-season teams in history.   A 13-22 finish to the season turned the discussion from “one of the best teams ever” to…

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MLB: American League Playoff Preview

Cleveland Indians (102-60) Do you remember that time earlier in the season when the Cleveland Indians seemed to be suffering from “World Series Hangover Syndrome”?   When they woke up on June 17, 2017, they were 33-31, one game behind the upstart Minnesota Twins for the division lead.    They swept a double-header that day in Minnesota, and never again lost control of the division. Reasons for hope:  The Indians…

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NCAA Basketball: The Big Shoe Has Dropped

We all knew this was inevitable, right?    Eventually, some coaches would begin feeling so bulletproof that they would do something that was no longer a “simple” $5,000 stuffed in a duffel bag.   I recall the scenes from “Blue Chips” (a good movie that probably didn’t quite go far enough) where friends of friends of friends of the alumni were handing out cars, tractors, houses, and cash.     It…

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MLB: National League Offensive Breakouts

In the last of this series of breakout players in 2017, I am going to take a look at National League hitters.  I was surprised that there wasn’t a big breakout season for surprise teams like the Diamondbacks and Rockies.   Those teams have been helped more by solid pitching than they have been helped by breakout players. Players like Paul Goldschmidt and Nolan Arenado are playing up to their…

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