Archives for: 2011, week 42

10/20/11

October Random Ramblings

Permalink 08:06:47 pm, Categories: All World All Sports Blogs by Digger  

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-Digger's Daily-

Random thoughts evolving from recent events in the sports world.

NBA
Timing couldn't be worse for millionaire crybabies. Players vs owners remain far apart on negotiations. The blame finger points towards everyone involved. It doesn't matter which side you're rooting for - or against. Bottom line is two weeks of games have been wiped out. As these greedy folks attempt ironing out their differences - or finding common ground - the people losing out most are middle America. How many ticket collectors, food vendors, beer sellers, parking lot attendants, maintenance crews, security personnel, ushers, now find themselves out of work? It effects far more than just stadium/arena folks. How about the pizza shop which loses thousands of dollars without fans? Transportation systems? Parking garages? Local cabs? Bus service? Parking meters? Local corner newsstand? Hotels? Restaurants? Air travel? All are taking a direct hit during economic times when the cost of everything - especially lost wages/revenue - soars. It's become a crippling domino effect.

SOMEONE TELL THESE FOLKS TO STOP BICKERING AND GET BACK TO WORK!!!

NFL
Did everyone catch the post-game clip of what transpired between 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh & Lions coach Jim Schwartz ? Wow. Harbaugh's rough handshake/shove of Schwartz nearly caused a bench clearing brawl. Surging SF had just beaten previously undefeated Detroit and Harbaugh seemed to shove Schwartz aside. Schwartz then verbally went after Harbaugh. They soon had to be separated. Players and coaches from both teams were involved trying to keep them apart without starting a melee between themselves too. Quite the spectacle. Catch the YouTube video here

New feud brewing? Rex Ryan vs Norv Turner? Ryan's big mouth was at it again. Ryan has since apologized for dissing Turner over comments made to reporters earlier this week claiming - "Well, I think I would have had a couple of rings," Ryan said. "I'm telling you, those teams were loaded."

Turner's response: "I hadn't seen his quote and I was a little bit surprised by the call," Turner said. "And then after I saw the quote, I didn't have a chance to ask him this, but I was wondering if he had those rings with the ones he's guaranteed (New York) the last couple of years."

These two teams go toe to toe this weekend at MetLife Stadium. It should be a bruising game - and San Diego victory.

MLB
It's World Series time. One game and one unfortunate distinction/record recorded. Texas Rangers starting pitcher CJ Wilson became the first pitcher in Major League history to lose an All Star Game, American League Divisional Playoff game, American League Championship Series game and World Series game all in the same season! That's got to hurt an ego. Don't forget - the American League All Star Game loss meant the National League representative would have World Series home field advantage. Wilson served up a game winning homer to Milwaukee's Prince Fielder meaning St. Louis hosts 4 of 7 games if needed.

Welcome to the show Arthur Rhodes. Rhodes (StL) appeared in his first ever World Series game last night after 900 regular season games. Manager LaRussa summoned Rhodes from the bullpen to get out Texas slugger Josh Hamilton in the 8th inning. Hamilton's been struggling at the plate nagged by a lingering groin injury. Manager Washington (Tx) plans to shift Josh from CF to LF. Rangers need their slugger who looks out of synch due to the groin issue.

It appears Theo Epstein is soon to officially take over GM duties of the Chicago Cubs. He was a main architect of Boston's jinx breaking 2004 World Series winning squad. Can he reverse another curse? Chicago's gone over 100 years without a World Series title. Cubs will be paying a hefty price tag. It's been reported Epstein is set to earn over $15million! You've got to be kidding me? I guess it's desperation - once again - in the Windy City. Theo's hands will be challenged to systematically transform the Cubs into winners. Good luck. While credited with helping Boston win a World Series - he must also be credited with handicapping Boston's payroll for years to come after several bad contracts (John Lackey, Carl Crawford). Cubs already have contract troubles which questions why they're interested in gambling $15million on a GM?

NCAA
Football
Potheads busted! #1 ranked LSU Tigers suspended three players for testing positive for a synthetic type of marijuana in a university administered test. Not cool fellas. These 3 players - cornerbacks Tyrann Mathieu and Tharold Simon and tailback Spencer Ware - will not be forgiven anytime soon if LSU loses this weekend vs rival Auburn. They've let down a lot of people from fellow players, coaches and student body. Exactly how long these 3 will be out of action has yet to be determined. Simpleton's weren't thinking or didn't care.
Basketball
Get ready for regular season NCAA hoops. The first poll of the year was released and North Carolina is the near unanimous #1 pick in the coaches poll (30 of 31 1st place votes). Pretty high praise indeed as experts expect UNC to roll through the regular season after finishing 29-8 a season ago. Defending champion Connecticut and a host of other noteworthy teams set out to prove the pollsters wrong.

NHL
Toronto's Phil Kessel is on fire scoring at least one goal in 4 straight games. He's tallied a league best 7 goals in 5 games along with 5 assists topping the NHL with 12 points.
Washington Capitals off to another fine beginning in 2011-12. Eastern Conference leaders undefeated and untied after 5 games (5-0-0). Western Conference sports Detroit perfect after 4 contests surrendering a league low 5 goals against.
Columbus starting out in the opposite direction losers in all 5 games.

NASCAR (In memorandum)
Two-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dan Wheldon was tragically killed Sunday in the IndyCar season finale at Las Vegas. One of racing's good guys leaves this world way too soon. Click link to: In Memory of IZOD IndyCar Series Champion Dan Wheldon. Rest in peace.

NFL 2011 Predictions: Week 7

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Week 6 produced a few stunners. New Orleans shocked by Tampa. Detroit fell from the unbeaten ranks to surging San Francisco. News of Carson Palmer coming out of retirement to take over QB duties in Oakland. Freak plays, big injuries and coaches nearly brawling.

What's in store for the season's seventh week? It's anyone's guess. Is there a new coaching duel brewing between San Diego and New York Jets? Rey Ryan's flamboyant mouth sounded off again claiming if he'd been selected Chargers coach instead of Turner then San Diego would already have won multiple Super Bowls. Hey - I seem to remember similar statements from Ryan promising Super Bowl victories in New York the past two years. Adding to the mix of Sundays Chargers @ Jets is former Bolts now playing for the Jets wanting revenge against their former team. Expect tempers to be boiling.

It's a good thing World Series games take place this weekend. NFL schedule lacks thrilling match-ups on paper.

Speaking of guesses - 8 correct last week (out of 13). Not impressive unless money was on the winners. Overall, after 6 weeks of picks - the crystal ball has a cumulative season record of 57-33 (63.3%). Here's this weekends winners and losers including two out-on-a-limb shutout predictions.

Week 7 (home in CAPS)
Sunday
Chargers 31 - JETS 17
BUCS 24 - Bears 20
PANTHERS 30 - Redskins 14
LIONS 28 - Falcons 27
BROWNS 17 - Seahawks 14
Broncos 28 - DOLPHINS 10
TITANS 30 - Texans 27
Chiefs 30 - RAIDERS 21
Steelers 27 - CHIEFS 3
Packers 48 - VIKINGS 6
COWBOYS 24 - Rams 23
SAINTS 44 - Colts 0

Monday
Ravens 27 - JAGUARS 0
(Bye: Buffalo, Cincinnati, New England, NY Giants, Philadelphia, San Francisco)

2011 Football Power Rankings

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-Digger's Daily-

College's top 9 remain unchanged from our last rankings segment. The creme of the crop has a strong grip on the top spots - for now. All World All Sports rankings have no weight on official collegiate rankings. NCAA ranking system continues to be a hot topic of water cooler conversation. Our rankings try to cut through the dust of official ranking systems by incorporation our own added little rankings ingredient.

NCAA Top 20 (6 weeks completed)
1 - Oklahoma
2 - LSU
3 - Alabama
4 - Boise State
5 - Wisconsin
6 - Oklahoma State
7 - Stanford
8 - Clemson
9 - Oregon
10- Arkansas
11- Kansas State
12- Nebraska
13- Michigan State
14- South Carolina
15- Virginia Tech
16- West Virginia
17- Houston
18- Michigan
19- Georgia Tech
20- Washington

NFL rankings keep getting more and more interesting. This past weekend: Detroit finally lost. Tampa stunned New Orleans. Jets won ugly over Miami. Quarterback changes coming in Minnesota, Oakland, Denver and Washington. Jets coach Ryan disses Bolts coach Turner claiming he (Ryan) already would have won a few rings in San Diego. Funny -- hasn't Ryan promised/predicted his Jets would be NFL champs the past 2 years? Go figure. The wacky world known as the NFL continues.

NFL Rankings (5 weeks completed)
1 - Green Bay Packers
2 - New England Patriots
3 - Baltimore Ravens
4 - San Diego Chargers
5 - Detroit Lions
6 - San Francisco 49ers
7 - New Orleans Saints
8 - Pittsburgh Steelers
9 - Tampa Bay Buccaneers
10- New York Giants
11- Buffalo Bills
12- Cincinnati Bengals
13- Oakland Raiders
14- Houston Texans
15- New York Jets

10/19/11

Game On! 2011 World Series Begins Tonight

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-Digger's Daily-

It's time. Baseball's Fall Classic begins tonight. 2011 World Series features two teams sporting explosive batting lineups. Back to back American League Champion Texas Rangers hitters are on fire led by ALCS MVP Nelson Cruz. National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals are led by soon to be free agent star slugger Albert Pujols.

All indicators suggest the 107th World Series will be quite different from past classics. We could be treated to a hitters special. Baseball purists love to boast great pitching beats great hitting. This often rings true. 2011 doesn't feature great starting pitching. It does bring us two teams with red hot lineups.

Rangers slugger Cruz set an all time playoff record with six monstrous home runs and 13 RBI. Not bad for a seventh place hitter. Texas lineup is very deep. It all begins with 2B Ian Kinsler who was a 30/30 man this season (32 HR, 30 SB). Rangers hitters erupted for 39 runs in ALCS vs Detroit. Toss in 17 2B, 7 HR, .286 team BA and one can easily overlook how dreadful their starting rotation performed. Starters left too many fat pitches down the middle as Tigers hitters feasted on mistakes. Cardinals hitters will need to continue scoring early and often because the Rangers bullpen has been lights out shutting down opponents all season long.

This is not your typical NL team. Starting rotation is not considered upper echelon. This is a hitting first team. Future Hall of Fame 1B Albert Pujols leads the Cardinals attack. One of the hottest of all playoff hitters is David Freese who seems to be smack in the middle of all Cardinal rallies. Freese (.545, 3 2B, 3 HR, 9 RBI, 7 R) and Pujols combined to score 12 and drive in 18 during Cards 6 game romp over Milwaukee. As a team, Cards hitters finished the NLCS with a .310 BA, scored 43, 16 doubles and 8 big flies. St. Louis starting rotation has been hit too. Same as Texas, it's been relievers saving the day.

Here's a link to Baseball-Reference.com's Game 1 statistical breakdown

Game 1 Lineups Rangers @ Cardinals
Texas (projected)
1 - 2B Kinsler
2 - SS Andrus
3 - CF Hamilton
4 - 1B Young
5 - 3B Beltre
6 - LF Cruz
7 - C Napoli
8 - LF Murphy
9 - SP Wilson

St Louis (projected)
1 - SS Furcal
2 - CF Jay
3 - 1B Pujols
4 - LF Holliday
5 - RF Berkman
6 - 3B Freese
7 - C Molina
8 - 2B Punto
9 - SP Carpenter

Keys to the Series:
(1) Both teams need big time performances from starting rotations. Neither rotation has shines thus far minus a solid game or two. If Carpenter and Garcia get hot Texas could be in trouble. Wilson leads the Rangers staff. He'll have to find top form to hold down the Cards. Edge: Cardinals
(2) Defense - giving away outs will kill your chances - especially in World Series action.
(3) Bullpen - recent pitching strength of both clubs must stay hot in WS. Giving away walks vs these lineups sets up big innings.
(4) Can Cards hitters keep up with Rangers sluggers when Series shifts to Arlington?

World Series Predictions

Albert Pujols plays his final game as a St. Louis Cardinal.
CJ Wilsom pitches his final game as a Texas Ranger.
Tony LaRussa manages his final game for St. Louis.
Pujols hits over .400
Freese produces 16 runs/rbi
Berkman bats under .200
Hamilton hits over .400
Both teams: 270+ BA, 4.00+ ERA
Home teams win all games.
Carpenter lone starting pitcher tossing 6 or more innings/game.
Freese or Motte MVP

Cardinals win in 7