Saturday, April 5, 2008


Two things that everyone I know seems to have an opinion about: Barack Obama and Eric Gordon. And it turns out that even Obama has his two cents to offer on Young EJ, recently telling the Indianapolis Star that "he could use some guidance." What does Sen. Obama believe Gordon needs to receive guidance about? Does he believe that Gordon needed better advice about whether or not to enter the NBA? Gordon seems determined to do so, and despite fading down the stretch of the season, he is still projected as a top 10 pick. It is true that Gordon's shooting accuracy and turnover rate were atrocious during the last seven games of the season. Was it due to the loss of benevolent dictator Kelvin Sampson? The result of having played almost every minute of every game of a more grueling schedule than he was used to? Perhaps the fact that we recently learned, that his wrist was actually broken the entire time he claimed it was just sprained, that caused him to lose the incredible form he exhibited over the first ten games or so of the season. Maybe Senator Obama was speaking as an Illinois resident (and presumably an Illini fan) who thinks EJ got bad advice about reneging on a commitment to Bruce Webber to play for his home state school. Who knows? All I know is that this is the guy we got, and he was a damn special player:

I can think of a few NBA teams that might like to have a freakish athlete like this on their roster. The NBA drafts on potential, otherwise Tyler Hansbrough and Brandon Rush would be top-five picks. And as far as potential goes, Gordon has it and then some.

*Thanks to Young Illiniwek for brining the Obama quote to GDB's attention.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Absolut Insult

The Absolut Vodka company is planning on running an advertising campaign in Mexico using this image:

The map represents the pre-Mexican War boundaries of the U.S. and Mexico. After that war in 1848, the two northernmost territories of Mexico, Alta California and Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico, became State property and sovereign territory of the United States of America. People in Mexico think they were robbed of their rightful land, but it was really just sparsely populated land on the fringe of their territory that Americans migrated to in huge numbers. You can't stand in the way of Manifest Destiny.

Eventually war became inevitable and after a few battles in southern Texas, a small army of mostly volunteers and led by the general-in-chief himself, Winfield Scott, made an amphibious landing at Vera Cruz, on the east coast of Mexico. The army, whose junior officers were mostly men who went on to become leaders in the Civil War (Grant, Lee, Sherman, etc.) outmaneuvered and outfought the Mexicans all the way to Mexico City. They took the capital and negotiated the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, which created the border we have today.

Absolut could not put forward a more inappropriate image as a marketing tool. Besides the fact that it is upsetting to any patriotic American, with the current border crisis going on it is extremely ill-timed. Just think if someone tried to sell beer in Iran or Syria with pictures of the map before Israel existed was pictured on the cans?

Thanks for nothing Absolut, except giving me a good reason to drink any other type of vodka besides yours.

Western Conference Playoff Race

Nobody in America gives a shit about the Eastern Conference since we all know that either the Celtics or Pistons is going to win it, but the west is a whole different story. With 9 teams separated by less than 8 games as of today, everything is still up for grabs. Lets break things down GDB to try and figure out the maelstrom that is the Western Conference

Current Standings
1 New Orleans 52-22
2 San Antonio 52-23
3 LA Lakers 51-24
4 Utah 50-26
5 Phoenix 50-25
6 Houston 50-25
7 Dallas 47-28
8 Denver 46-29
9 Golden State 45-30

Now lets go team by team to see what the stretch run holds for each

New Orleans 52-22
Remaining games: NY Knicks, Golden State, Utah, @Minnesota, @LA Lakers, @Sacramento, LA Clippers, @Dallas
Predicted Record: 5-3, finishing season 57-25
Analysis: The Hornets have not fallen off at all despite some injury concerns and a shallow bench. Chris Paul is simply too good and too determined to let this team slide, but the road is tough over the last 2 weeks of the season. Three tough road games surround 2 difficult home games against playoff contenders.

San Antonio 52-23
Remaining Games: @Utah, @Portland, Phoenix, Seattle, @LA Lakers, @Sacramento, Utah
Predicted Record: 5-2, finishing season 57-25
Analysis: Its been a roller coaster season for the Spurs. Sometimes they look as good as ever, sometimes they simply look old and decrepit. From past history, we'd have to believe that the good stretch they are on right now will last into the playoffs. I predict they'll lose 2 of their remaining 4 road games, but be able to win all their home games to tie the Hornets for top record in the division.

LA Lakers 51-24
Remaining Games: Dallas, @Sacramento, @Portland, @LA Clippers, New Orleans, San Antonio, Sacramento
Predicted Record: 6-1, finishing season 57-25
Analysis: The Lakers now have Pau Gasol back in the lineup and have a favorable schedule down the stretch. They may slip up once on the road, but their three toughest games remaining are at home and by the time the Hornets and Spurs come to town, Gasol will be back at full strength.

Utah 50-26
Remaining Games: San Antonio, @New Orleans, @Dallas, Denver, Houston, @San Antonio
Predicted Record: 3-3, finishing season 53-29
Analysis: Good lord what a brutal finishing stretch for the Jazz. I'm calling an even split with them winning all their home games and losing all their road games, but after these next 6 games will their be anything left in the tank for when the playoffs start?

Phoenix 50-25
Remaining Games: Minnesota, Dallas, @Memphis, @San Antonio, @Houston, Golden State, Portland
Predicted Record: 5-2, finishing season 55-27
Analysis: Not a bad stretch of games to finish up the regular season in spite of a Texas Two-Step thrown in the mix. It is very possible they drop a home game though if Grant Hill takes longer to return, but it does seem like this team has hit its stride with Shaq in the lineup now.

Houston 50-25
Remaining Games: @Seattle, @LA Clippers, Seattle, Phoenix, @Denver, @Utah, LA Clippers
Predicted Record: 3-4, finishing season 53-29
Analysis: That road game against the Clip Joint looks a lot tougher now that Elton Brand is back, and a 3 game losing streak against the Suns, Nouglats and Jazz is very possible. Its still amazing the position this team is in after losing Yao, so some stumbles down the stretch would not be the worst thing to happen

Dallas 47-28
Remaining Games: @LA Lakers, @Phoenix, Seattle, Utah, @Portland, @Seattle, New Orleans
Predicted Record: 3-4, finishing season 50-32
Analysis: With Dirk not at 100 percent yet, I see no way the Mavs can win against either the Lakers or Suns this weekend. I also think they stumble against Portland, leaving the final home game of the season against the Hornets as a make-or-break game for the playoffs. The game will be much easier if the Hornets didn't have anything to play for, but chances are they will be fighting the Spurs for the division lead which means they will want the game really bad. Right now i don't think the Mavs can win with their injury problems, but by then they may have enough to overcome CP3.

Denver 46-29
Remaining Games: Sacramento, @Seattle, @LA Clippers, @Golden State, @Utah, Houston, Memphis
Predicted Record: 4-3, finishing season 50-32
Analysis: After playing Sacramento, the Nugs embark on a crucial 4 game road trip. Their matchup against the Warriors may be the game of the year in the NBA, but that crowd is going to be so hyphy that its hard to imagine Denver winning there. Their lack of defense and inconsistenty will probably cause them to drop a game they should win, yet the 2 home games at the end of the season should mean they tie Dallas in wins at 50.

Golden State 45-30
Remaining Games: @ Memphis, @New Orleans, Sacramento, Denver, LA Clippers, @Phoenix, Seattle
Predicted Record: 5-2, finishing season 50-32
Analysis: Getting blown out twice in a row didn't help the Warriors playoff chances at all. Therefore they face a must win tonight in Memphis, because its going to be really hard to beat CP3 in New Orleans on Friday. After that 4 of their last 5 games are at home and they will probably have to win all of them to make the playoffs. The Warriors play with such energy and passion at home that i think they do it, making it a 3 way tie for 8th place in the west.

Predicted Final Standings
1 New Orleans 57-25, Central Division Winners
2 San Antonio 57-25
3 LA Lakers 57-25 Pacific Division Winners
4 Utah 53-29, NW division Winners
5 Phoenix, 55-27
6 Houston 53-29
7 Dallas 50-32, 3-1 head to head vs GS, 1-2 head to head vs Denver
8 Golden State 50-32, 1-3 head to head vs Dallas, 1-1 head to head vs Denver
9 Denver 50-32, 2-1 head to head vs Dallas, 1-1 head to head vs GS

As you can see we are headed for a clusterfuck the size of Marwan's beer gut. I had no intentions of the records ending up the way they did, and quite honestly, I have no idea how to place one team on top of another with the same records. The bottom line is nothing is going to be decided until the last game of the season and if anyone predicts the final standings correctly they did it through blind luck. I'm just going to sit back and enjoy these 2 weeks of the regular season because we've never seen anything like this before

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

2008 All-Tournament Team

Now that we are down to the Final Four, its a good time to list which players have been at their best in the big games and did the most for their team in the month of March

1st Team
G - Stephen Curry, Davidson. No player made more of a lasting impression on the tournament than Curry, and no player did more for his team. Curry averaged over 20 points in the second half alone during Davidson's run, and despite only shooting 9-25 against Kansas, the Jayhawks still sent 3 players at him in the final possession so that he could not get a shot off. Without a doubt, Curry will be the most exciting returning player in the nation next year
G - Derrick Rose, Memphis. No player seemed more NBA-ready as a freshmen than Derrick Rose did. I remember seeing him play against Duke early in the year and he was constantly out of control and making awful decisions. But his two performances in beating MSU and Texas not only proved he was the best player on the court, but could possibly turn out to be the best freshmen in this class. No one has more athleticism and talent, and the rate at which he is learning the game is absolutely frightening. Please Seattle draft this guy.
F- Joe Alexander, West Virginia. While it hurt to watch him miss a potential game-winning free throw against Xavier, Alexander proved over the last month that he is All-America material. He destroyed Duke by displaying the best mid-range game in the country and helped make WVU one of the most overachieving teams in the nation.
F - Kevin Love, UCLA. Tim Duncan may be the Big Fundamentals, but Kevin Love sure seems to be the next in line. He seems to do every aspect of the game well whether it be in the paint, at the three point line, or at the defensive end. People keep saying he's not going in the top-10 of this years draft, which means a lot of people either haven't watched him play in this year's tournament or ride a little ass yellow bus to their day jobs.
C - Tyler Hansbrough, UNC. Look we're all annoyed at how Hansbrough has turned into the Brett Favre of college basketball the way announcers slurp up to him, but he has been great in this tournament. If UNC wins the title, his ability to hit a 15 foot jumper like how he did to win the Louisville game, which subsequently opened up his post game, will have been the key.

2nd Team
G - Mario Chalmers, Kansas. One of the most complete guards in the nation. His defensive efforts help shut down Scottie Reynolds and Stephen Curry, and he also hit huge shots to help Kansas finally get to the Final Four. You get the feeling if he wasn't on a team as deep and talented as the Jayhawks, he could probably average 20 points a game.
G - Dewon Brazelton, Western Kentucky. His cinderella efforts were easily forgotten thanks to the attention Stephen Curry got, but no player proved he belonged at a big-time program more than this guy. One of the quickest penetrators in the country, he helped the wacky Hilltoppers to the sweet 16, and kept them close with UCLA all throughout their matchup.
F - Chris Douglas-Roberts, Memphis. Another guy who probably doesnt get the credit he really deserves. He is an all-around player who can score seemingly whenever he wants, and is long enough to shut down any shooting guard or small forward in America. Watch a bunch of idiot teams pass on him in the draft so that he goes to a good team, and turns into another Tayshaun Prince type player for a contending team.
F - Earl Clark, Louisville. He was the best and the most talented player on a really good Louisville team. This dude can do it all and is extremely athletic for a 6-8 guy. Not many people may know him now, but I guarantee you hear about him next year.
C - Brook Lopez, Stanford. OK he likes Disney movies and looks like a Menendez Brother, but if you saw him absolutely dominate the Marquette game, you know that this freak show can ball.

3rd team
G - DJ Augustin, Texas
G - Jason Richards, Davidson
F - Brandon Rush, Kansas
F - Luc Richard M'Bah A Moute, UCLA
C - Josh Duncan, Xavier

All-Bum Team
G - Greg Paulus, Duke. I had to put the most overrated player on the most overrated team in the country on the list. Not only does he always play like ass in big games, his bitch-like attitude guarantees that Duke will always be everyone's least favorite team in the tournament.
G - Eric Gordon, Indiana. I am going to suspect that Gordon was just burned out from the amount of minutes he played all year and the Kelvin Sampson saga, but he was absoutely terrible down the stretch for Indiana. While its obvious he has a lot of talent, there is no way he should go pro this year because his decision-making and strength is about on par with Rashad McCants, and no thats not a compliment.
F - JP Prince, Tennessee. For some reason this guy thought he was Bob Cousy and tried to dribble all over the place for the Vols. This predictably led to tons of turnovers and was one of the main reasons none of the other Vols played up to their potential. This guy's fine playing off the ball and cutting to the basket, he should just leave the dribbling to the guys that can actually dribble.
F - Chase Budinger, Arizona. All season long I hear about how good this guy is, and then every time I see Arizona play all i see is some goofy white guy standing around the perimeter either shooting an awful three or driving to the hoop for a guaranteed turnover. His defense is also awful so excuse me for not seeing what all the hype is all about.
C - Drew Naymick, MSU. This guy has been garbage the second he got to East Lansing. He has hands of brick, a jump shot that would make his mama cry and no defensive ability other than hack his opponent. The way Joey Dorsey made him and the whole Spartans team his bitch was flat out embarrasing. I will dance a jig the day this guy leaves Sparty for good. What a trick ass mark

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

So Fresh and So Crean

Hoosier Nation's long national nightmare is over. And it awoke to the real-life version of being safely in your bed at 10:00 a.m. on a Saturday, with nothing to do but watch sports and lay on the couch. For everyone who was ready to vomit on more than one occasion while watching IU stumble its way through an embarrassing cheating scandal, botched "firing", off-his-rocker interim coach, starters dismissed, and who knows what else, I have this to say: We are going to be all good. IU finally hired the man who should have had the job two years ago. And why? Here's why:

Why Crean was smart to come to IU:
-Big time money
-He cut his teeth in the Big Ten (Assistant coach at Michigan St.)
-He recruits that area (Wisconsin, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana)
-Chance to establish his own era at a school still searching for someone to fill The General's shoes
-Better facilities (AH holds a good number, ground broken for state-of-the-art practice center)
-Basketball is king in Indiana, especially at IU

Why IU was Smart to get Crean:
-Big "name" coach
-Has led a team to the Final Four
-Knows the Mid-West (Asst. at Pitt, Michigan St., W. Kentucky, Head Coach in Milwaukee, Wis.)
-Averaged 20 wins a year
-Workaholic who can right a wayward ship
-Pedigree (family includes Stanford and Baltimore Ravens football head coaches)
-Young enough to be here a long time (41 years old)
-Not even a whiff of past recruiting violations
-Proven winner

All of this considered, it was almost a must-do for Indiana. I honestly believe that Crean, along with Mark Few, should have been the only guys considered for the job that ultimately became Sampson's in 2006. This time around, he was overshadowed by "reach" names like Izzo, Matta, Pitino, Pearl, etc. as well as young(er) guys like Tony Bennett and Sean Miller. Throw in usual suspects such as alumns Steve Alford and Randy Whitman, NBA has-beens Mike Montgomery and Scott Skiles, plus wild-cards like Lon Kruger, and you've got yourself a coaching-carousel shit-show. I'm glad to see the cream rose to the top and the right man got the right job at the right time. A man who respects tradition and has a tireless work ethic, like Crean supposedly does, has the sky as his limit with a destination job like IU in his hands. Go ahead and laugh but even with impending NCAA sanctions IU is still a member of the "Big 6" of college basketball: UCLA, Kentucky, Indiana, Kansas, Duke, and North Carolina. Crean could easily join the likes of Branch McCracken, Fred Taylor, Jud Heathcote, and Bob Knight in the Pantheon of Big Ten greats, just like Tom Izzo and Bo Ryan are well on their way to doing.

Consider Crean's record at Marquette (playing/recruiting against the likes of Georgetown, Syracuse, Louisville, Notre Dame, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan St., etc.):
-190-96 as MU head coach, over 9 seasons
-90-56 conference reocrd
-5 NCAA tournament appearances
-1 Final Four
-1 Conference Title & Conference Tourney Title (CUSA)

If he can do that at Marquette, a small Catholic school in Milwaukee that is a mid-level Big East School, think of what he can accomplish at IU!

Five Banners Is Not Enough!

UPDATE: When asked today at his press conference why he would leave Marquette for IU, Coach Crean had this to say:
"'It's Indiana. It's Indiana,' he repeated. 'It's the absolute pinnacle, and that's to be the head basketball coach of Indiana University.'"

I love this guy even more every minute!!

2008 Fantasy Prognostications

Fantasy, as well as the MLB, season is upon us!! Hooray! In honor of this hallowed rite of spring, I'd like to offer a few predictions for the fantasy season...a season in which otherwise-unknowns like Delmon Young and Ryan Zimmerman can be crucial to a team, where defense doesn't matter, where people are even more concerned about closers-in-waiting and blown saves than the actual teams dealing with them, and where A-Rod is, well, still basically A-Rod.

Fantasy MVP: Alex Rodriguez - the guy is an animal

Fantasy Bust: Scott Kazmir-say hello to the new Ben Sheets/Rich Harden?

Best Hitter: A-Rod-duh

Best Pitcher: Justin Verlander-"the juggernaut"

Breakout Hitter: Kosuke Fukudome-Ichiro with pop

Breakout Pitcher: Brian Bannister-more run support + expirience = bright spot in KC

Most HR: Ryan Howard-they still can't test for HGH!

Most RBI: A-Rod-the Yankees lineup is still good

Most Runs: Jimmy Rollins-he's not even 30

Best AVG/Batting Title: Robinson Cano-finally delivering on the promise

Best ERA: Jake Peavy-he's that damn good

Most Wins: Justin Verlander-easy to rack up W's pitching for an All-Star team

Most Strikeouts: Justin Verlander-he brings the gas, too

Most Saves: J.J. Putz-he did it last year, and the team is only getting better

Player who regains the most fantasy-relevance: Andruw Jones-free of Contract-year distraction

Player who will get hurt soon and crush their owners' hopes: Kerry Wood and/or Ben Sheets

Monday, March 31, 2008

New York Yankees Preview

2007 Record: 94-68
We wrap up or 2008 MLB Team previews with the Evil Empire. It's only fitting that "America's Team" (or is that America's most hated team?) finishes off our epic 30 team in-depth coverage. Although we weren't able to get it done in 30 days (cough Porque is a BN cough cough) we did complete every team preview before each squad threw out their first pitch. This was aided a bit by the Yanks and Jays game being postponed today, but a win is a win here at GDB. Anyway, on to the analysis. The Yankees made the playoffs last year but were bamboozled by the Indians in the ALDS. Their pitching woes couldn't pick up the slack for their always stellar line-up and a blunder of a signing of Roger "Needles in my ass" Clemens went horribly wrong. Surprisingly, most things stayed the same in the Big Apple (outside of the manager and GM leaving town/dieing), but if the Yankees don't finish better this season, look for many more personnel changes in the near future. By the way, every toolbag in Binghamton is a Yankees fan and I'm already starting to hate them as much as the Red Sox.

Key Additions
Morgan Ensberg 3B
Latroy Hawkins RP
Hank Steinbrenner GM
Joe Girardi Manager

Key Losses
Roger "Roid Rage" Clemens SP
Doug Mientkiewicz 1B
George Steinbrenner GM
Joe Torre Manager

Projected Line-up
1) Johnny Damon LF
2) Derek Jeter SS
3) Bobby Abreu RF
4) Alex Rodriguez 3B
5) Jorge Posada C
6) Hideki Matsui DH
7) Robinson Cano 2B
8) Jason Giambi/Shelley Duncan 1B
9) Melky Cabrera CF

Offensive Grade: A-...Don't sleep on the Yanks line-up. They aren't exactly young, but they are a strong veteran bunch that will give pitchers fits this year. Damon doesn't really apply to this situation, he has declined severely over the last 2 years and isn't really an ideal lead-off man anymore. Jeter is one of the most consistent players in baseball and fits well in the 2 hole. Abreu is no spring chicken, but he's still a 25/25 threat. Gay Rod had one of the best seasons in recent memory last season and will look for a second straight MVP award with another strong season. Posada had a career year last year and is one of the best all-around catchers in the game. Matsui is a crazy jap but when healthy has some serious pop. Cano is up and comer that could become an elite 2nd baseman over the next couple years. Giambi has kind of fallen off the map now that he's not on the juice, but his power potential is still there. Duncan and Cabrera are harmless but not too shabby for where they are in the line-up. Overall this is a top 5 offense in baseball once again.

Projected Rotation
1) Chien-Ming Wangggggg
2) Andy Pettite (DL)
3) Phil Hughes
4) Mike Mussina
5) Ian Kennedy
CL) Mariano Rivera

Pitching Grade: C+...Pettite should be back relatively quickly so I'm not gonna take him out. He's dropped off quite a bit in production since the beginning of last year, and this could be his last season. Considering he admitted to using HGH, his legacy has been greatly tarnished outside of NY. Wang is a servicable Top Starter. He was good for 19 wins the last 2 years and there's no reason to believe he won't equal that mark this year (just don't expect any K's). Hughes missed 2 months last year, but showed some real promise when he was on the mound. If he can stay off the DL a breakout season is entirely possible. Mussina is pretty much done, and the only reason the Yanks still trot him out is because they are so thin at SP. This leads right in to Pitcher 5 in the rotation. Kennedy could be solid down the road, but he's just not ready yet. Rivera is still one of the better closers in baseball, but he used to be elite and now he's just above average. Waiting in the wings is young Joba Chamberlain. Who knows how he'll be used this year. No matter how NY uses him he will probably be highly effective. Joba the hut is the closer of the future and he was brilliant in limited action last year.

Projected Outlook
Once again the AL East is going to be an absolute war. The Yankees and Red Sox have been two of the top teams in baseball over the past decade and this year will be no different. You can expect ESPN to overhype every matchup between the two clubs and I'm sure I'll be close to slitting my wrists by the end of each series after having to beat this shit into the ground on-air. Back to the outlook...the Yanks starting pitching is going to be a real pain in the ass for them this year. The line-up should be able to carry them to victories more often than not, but when they are out of sync, it's going to get rough. Still, be ready for another top 2 finish and a good shot at some sort of playoff spot for NYY.

Predicted 2008 Finish: 92-70

2008 Toronto Blue Jays Preview

2007 Record: 83-79, 3rd in AL East

Key Losses: 3B Troy Glaus

Key Additions: SS David Eckstein, 3B Scott Rolen, OF Shannon Stewart

Projected Lineup:

1. David Eckstein SS
2. Alex Rios RF
3. Vernon Wells CF
4. Frank Thomas DH
5. Matt Stairs/Shannon Stewart LF
6. Lyle Overbay 1B
7. Aaron Hill 2B
8. Marco Scutaro 3B
9. Gregg Zaun C
*3B Scott Rolen will return in late May, hitting in the 5 hole and bumping everyone else down one spot.

Lineup Grade: C When Rolen returns, you can maybe tack a + on the end of that, but otherwise there isn't anything special with this lineup, especially when compared to divisional foes Boston and New York, or maybe even Tampa Bay. If Rolen comes back healthy and doesn't look like he has over the past three years (with the exception of October 2006), there may be some pop in the middle of the order, but there are still too many bad players weighing them down.

Projected Rotation:
1. Roy Halladay
2. A.J. Burnett
3. Dustin McGowan
4. Shaun Marcum
5. Jesse Litsch
CL: Jeremy Accardo/B.J. Ryan

Pitching Grade: B Hallady is a certified stud, and Burnett's amazing stuff usually help him overcome what can only be considered a lack of mental focus. The 3-5 guys are young and showed plenty of promise when called up to the majors last year. B.J. Ryan, the 40 Million Dollar Man, still hasn't been a factor for the Jays, despite being under contract for about a year and a half. He is quickly turning into the Mike Hampton of the AL. On the bright side, Accardo was solid as a closer last year so even if Ryan falls off the face of the earth they know who to give the ball to in the 9th inning.

2008 Prediction: The Blue Jays have been shelling out big time bucks but don't have much to show for it. Despite huge contracts for Burnett and Ryan, and picking up the Cardinal's discarded junk, getting Frank Thomas from Oakland is probably the smartest thing the Blue Jays have done recently. For this and many other reasons (see: Yankee and Red Sox payrolls) the Jays are almost sure to miss the playoffs yet again this year. And to add insult to injury, they are still located in Canada.

Projected Record: 80-82

Dangerous MLB 2008 Predictions

Opening day, along with the Masters, are the two ultimate signs that Spring has arrived. And with one of the most exciting baseball season's on tap, its time for Young Swole to make his legendary picks once again.


AL East Winner - Boston Red Sox
AL Central Winner - Cleveland Indians
AL West Winner - LA Angels
AL Wild Card - Detroit Tigers
AL Pennant - Detroit Tigers

NL East Winner - Atlanta Braves
NL Central Winner - Chicago Cubs
NL West Winner - Arizona D'Backs
NL Wild Card - Milwaukee Brewers
NL Pennant - Atlanta Braves

World Series: Tigers over Braves in 6

Player Predictions
AL MVP - Grady Sizemore
AL Cy Young - Justin Verlander
AL Rookie of the Year - Evan Longoria

NL MVP - Mark Teixeira
NL Cy Young - Jake Peavy
NL Rookie of the Year - Jay Bruce

Bumtastic Awards
AL Shittiest Team - Baltimore Orioles
AL Shittiest Player - Erasmus Rasmer, NY Yankees
AL Biggest Waste of talent - JD Drew, Boston Red Sox

NL Shittiest Team - San Francisco Giants
NL Shittiest Player - Al Reyes, St. Louis
NL Biggest Waste of talent - Andruw Jones, LA Dodgers

Announcer Predictions
Best Game Announcer - Jon Miller, ESPN
Best Color Commentator - Rick Sutcliffe, ESPN
Best Studio Host - Karl Ravech, ESPN
Worst Game Announcer - Joe Buck, Fox
Worst Color Commentator - Steve "Bum" Phillips
Worst Studio Host - Jeannie Zelasko
Most Missed Man in Broadcasting - Harold Reynolds
Best Sideline Reporter - Always and Forever Erin Andrews and her precocious nits

Fan Predictions
Best Fans - Philadelphia Phillies
Worst Fans - Boston Red Sox
Most apathetic fans - Atlanta Braves
Loudest fans - Philadelphia Phillies
Quietest fans - Pittsburgh Pirates (there are none)
Most likely group of fans to get arrested at the ballpark - NY Yankees
Most likely group of fans to like the D: Boston Red Sox

Sunday, March 30, 2008

2008 Boston Red Sox Preview

Boston won it all in 2007 which made all their douchebag fans very happy. Will they win it all again this year and make the gayest fans in sports even more unbearable, or will the Sawks championship run mercifully end after one year?
2007 record: 96-66, World Series Champions

Projected Lineup:
1 Jacoby Ellsbury CF
2 Dustin Pedroia 2b
3 David Ortiz DH
4 Manny Ramirez LF
5 Mike Lowell 3b
6 JD Drew RF
7 Kevin Youkilis 1b
8 Jason Varitek C
9 Julio Lugo SS

Lineup Grade: A- The Red Sox will still have one of the most potent lineups in baseball thanks to Manny and Papi. They are also going to have young guys at the top who could provide some needed speed that Julio Lugo never really provided last year. The Sox will probably need their veteran 5-8 hitters to match last year's output to equal the Yankees offensive potential, but its going to be hard for guys like Mike Lowell to put up the same stats again. This is still a really good lineup that should average above 5 runs a game.

Pitching Rotation
1 Josh Beckett
2 Daisuke Matzusaka
3 Tim Wakefield
4 Jon Lester
5 Bartolo Colon
CL Jonathan Papelbon

Pitching Grade: B... Boston's pitching carried them to the title last year, thanks to the heroic efforts of Josh Beckett and a stifling bullpen. This year though, the staff is not nearly as deep. Beckett is already hurt, and Curt Schilling will be out for most of the year. The pen should still be effective, but the questionable starting pitching could be the weakest link on the team. If one of the young guys, Jon Lester or Clay Buchholz steps up though, they could team with Beckett to once again give the Sox a formidable staff.

2008 Prediction: Its never easy to repeat, and the Sox will learn that this year. The Yankees will always give them trouble, and the rest of the division besides the god-awful Orioles has improved. They are still playoff caliber, but will have no margin for error because there are a number of other teams in the AL that have just as good a chance as them to make the playoffs. If they do make it in, their championship experience will go a long way, but its no guarantee they even get that far. If the pitching holds up, and Manny and Papi do their thing, Boston should be playing in October.

2008 Record: 95-67, 1st or 2nd in AL East

2008 Tampa Rays Preview

These aren't your father's Devil Rays. The newly-annointed "Rays" are less devilish and more dangerous, trying not to finish with the worst record in the league this year.

2007 Record:
66-96, Last in AL East

Key Losses: OF Delmon Young, OF Elijah Dukes

Key Additions: P Matt Garza, P Troy Percival, SS Jason Bartlett, DH/OF Cliff Floyd

Projected Lineup:
1. Akinori Iwamura 2B
2. Carl Crawford LF
3. Carlos Pena 1B
4. B.J. Upton CF
5. Cliff Floyd/Rocco Baldelli RF
6. Evan Longoria/Willy Aybar 3B
7. Johnny Gomes DH
8. Dioner Navarro C
9. Jason Bartlett SS

Lineup Grade: B- Theres lots to like about this year's Rays lineup. If Carlos Pena hits anywhere close to the 46 HR's he stroked last year, the heart of this order is as good as any. And who knows maybe Carl Crawford will finally show that power people seem to think he has? Even if he doesn't he will still get on base and score tons of runs and steal tons of bases. There is good speed at the bottoCm of the order with Navarro and Bartlett, so there should always be base-runners to drive in. The only question marks are the RF/DH platoon effort and whether or not super-prospect Evan Longoria is ready for a full season in The Show.

Projected Rotation:
1. James Shields
2. Matt Garza
3. Andy Sonnanstine
4. Jason Hammel
5. Edwin Jackson
CL: Troy Percival
*2007 League Strikeout leader Scott Kazmir will begin season on the DL.

Pitching Grade: C If Kazmir was starting on opening day, this would be a B. Kazmir, Shields, and Garza represents one of the best, if not the best, young pitching nuclei in the league. But without the ace and de facto leader Kazmir, there is considerable drop-off after the 1 & 2 starters. Apparently the Rays have some other young talent in their farm system who can be called on if the 4 & 5 pitchers suck balls. Troy Percival was brilliant in the Cardinals bullpen last year, but without Dave Duncan around, he might fall back to earth faster than Jeff Weaver.

2008 Prediction: Like so many other teams in the American League, the Rays are taking good steps in the right direction, but a lack of deep pockets or the right timing means they will be looking up at the Red Sox and Yankees yet again. On the bright side, they should definitely finish better than last place in the division, which they have done every year of their existence except 2004.

Projected 2008 Record: 74-88

When I Googled "Tampa Rays" this picture popped up and I thought it should just be included to brighten everyone's day.