Archive for March, 2011

Happy Opening Day!

March 31, 2011

Happy Opening Day, everyone!

The weather bites here in Fayetteville today, but it is bright and sunny somewhere as the boys of summer come back out to play.

I do this every year, and every year I stink at it.

Hope springs eternal, or at least maybe this year I can get more than one division winner right…

A.L. East

1. Boston – The rotation has some minor concerns, but most nights they’ll put up enough crooked numbers to make it a moot point.

2. N.Y. Yankees (WC) – Much like Boston, great offense with some pitching concerns. The Yankees need big years out of some aging and/or unproven pitchers.

3. Tampa – Tons of young arms, but too many holes on offense to contend with the big two.

4. Baltimore – A straight homer pick, but there is a lot of young talent on the way to Charm City.

5. Toronto – I’m not buying the fact that this offense will hit as many home runs this year – or the notion that the pitching staff is up to snuff.

A.L. Central

1. Chicago White Sox – I like their pitching staff and the pop they added to their offense. A high-risk, high-reward pick, though.

2. Minnesota – Continues to win with a smart approach to payroll management and a quality farm system.

3. Detroit – I wonder if the Tigers have the pop and pitching to push any higher.

4. Kansas City – The best farm system in the big leagues is churning out monster talent, and some of it arrives this year.

5. Cleveland – Cleveland may rock, but this team won’t.

A.L. West

1. Texas – Tons of offense and just enough pitching to edge rapidly impoving…

2. Oakland – The A’s have a bright future that might just arrive a year early.

3. L.A. Angels of Orange County – Swung and missed on Carl Crawford, and its core players are getting a little old.

4. Seattle – Still a mess in the great northwest.

N.L. East

1. Philly – If they’re just an average offensive team, they’ll push the 100-win mark.

2. Atlanta – The Braves are intriguing, but a lot has to go right for them to stay with Philly.

3. Florida – Still getting it done on the cheap.

4. N.Y. Mets – This is a tough team to figure. They could be an 85-win team. Or they could be cannon fodder.

5. Washington – Jayson Werth doesn’t pitch, does he?

N.L. Central

1. Cincinnati – Will still score runs in bunches and get just enough pitching to nip the Brewers.

2. Milwaukee – This should be a great race. The Brewers will be potent on offense, but can the bullpen produce?

3. Chicago Cubs – Will be better, but still too many question marks.

4. St. Louis – No Wainright, no title.

5. Houston – Their roster is littered with players who are either not ready, or past their prime.

6. Pittsburgh – Terrible pitching overshadows some good, young offensive talent.

N.L. West

1. San Francisco – The defending champs will be better on offense, and you know they’ll pitch.

2. Colorado (WC) – The Rockies are nipping at their heels, though.

3. Los Angeles – The Dodgers need new ownership before they contend again.

4. Arizona – The new-look Diamondbacks should escape the cellar

5. San Diego – Adrian Gonzalez is gone, and I’m guessing half their pitching staff won’t have career years again.

A.L. Cy Young: Felix Hernandez, Seattle

A.L. MVP: Adrian Gonzalez, Boston

A.L. Rookie of the Year: Mike Moustakas, Royals

N.L. Cy Young: Roy Halliday, Philly

N.L. MVP: Carlos Gonzalez, Colorado

N.L. Rookie of the Year: Aroldis Chapman, Cincinnati

World Series: Red Sox over Phillies

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Don’t be that guy

March 30, 2011

Every office has that guy.

The guy who is just tearing it up in the bracket contest, and just has to tell you how smart he was that he had Kentucky in the Final Four.

My bracket looks like Bourbon Street after Mardi Gras – dirty, smelly and full of things I might regret.

OK, so maybe it wasn’t the best idea to pick San Diego State as the national champion. I’m not playing to win.

At least, it doesn’t appear that I am, since I’ve been doing this for north of 20 years with exactly two wins to show for it (and full disclosure, none since 1995).

I play for fun, and hearing some muppet tell me how awesome he’s doing doesn’t add to my experience.

Maybe I’m just jealous.

Check back tomorrow when I’ll make my annual, and horribly bad, baseball predictions.

And don’t forget, if you play fantasy baseball – like I do – nobody that isn’t in y0ur league, trying really hard to take your money, gives a rats rear end about your draft.

Telling anyone else about it makes you that guy.

 

A March full of madness

March 21, 2011

Wow.

As I sit here Monday morning, I marvel at the fantastic weekend of college basketball we just had.

My bracket is doing OK, as I have six of the Elite Eight and all four Final Four picks still alive.

And if San Diego State wins the whole thing, I’m going to look really smart.

But, let’s look back.

There were 17 games decided by six points or less, and another that went to double overtime.

Butler continues to shock the world, and their coach, Brad Stevens, has to be the hottest coaching prospect out there right now.

The next big-time school with an opening should pack up a Brinks truck and park it in his driveway.

I feel bad for Pittsburgh, ODU, Michigan and every other team that had its heart ripped out.

And even though my team was dust before 3 p.m. on Thursday, I think this may be my favorite dance ever.

Oh yeah, go Aztecs!

The start of tennis season

March 7, 2011

OK, it’s already tennis season.

If you’re a professional.

For me, the opening of the 2011 tennis season happened over the weekend at Lake Wilson Tennis Club in Elm City (Wilson).

It went very much as expected, which is to say not all that well.

After the evil USTA computer moved me up to 3.5 in January 2010, I’ve known the outcome of virtually every tournament match I’ve played in since.

Pain.

I do win every once in a while, as the blind squirrel theory applies to tennis. But typically I end up playing someone in far better shape with much more game than me, and it rarely ends well.

Still, craving exercise and a dose of competition, I renew my USTA membership every year.

No, I’m not really sure why.

Anyway, the point of this story is today, two full days after my last match, I can barely walk, stand up, sit down or walk up or down stairs.

Body-wise, I’m 34 going on 80.

At least I didn’t cry after I lost.