In 2013 the narrative of the AL East has the potential to be the most interesting/exciting in all of baseball because all five teams each have their own individual story to tell. All could possibly win the division or finish last.
The Toronto Blue Jays, for example, the dubious “winners” of the offseason by adding the 2012 NL Cy Young award winner in RA Dickey and every single player from the Marlins who had a name which denotes they belong on be on a major league roster, including the one, who, when healthy, is known as the “most exciting player in baseball,” in Jose Reyes.
New manager same as the old manager in John Gibbons and expectations for 2013 are soaring. To put it in the douchebagian poker speak from seven years ago which still permeates our colloquaial today, the Blue Jays are “all-in” on the 2013 season. But we have seen before, offseason acquisitions don’t always translate into regular season wins.
Then there is 2012’s cardiac kids” the Baltimore Orioles, who won the Wild Card last year after going an astounding 29-9 in one-run ball ames. Thats a winning percentage of .763 which is an all-time record. That, coupled with the fact that in 2012 the O’s scored only 7 more runs then their opponents did all year (715-705) makes people want to say what Buck Showalter’s boys accomplished last year was a fluke and the team is more likely then not to finish worst instead of first.
Next you got the Tampa Bay Rays, a 90 win team a year ago who just missed out on making their third straight postseason appearance.
Tampa Bay has become the modern mecca of pitching. In 2012 they led the majors in ERA and batting average against and were third overall (first in the AL) in strikeouts. For historical connotation, per Sports Illustrated’s Tom Verducci, their 3.19 ERA was the best in the AL in 22 years, their .228 batting average against is the lowest since the DH was invented 40 years ago and their 1,383 K’s were the most in the American League’s 112-year history.
So we know they can pitch the crap out of the ball, so the quesion is, can they hit? And they answer is, probably? Maybe? I don’t know, the uncertainty of it all is what makes this division so great.
Keep in mind, last year, with Evan Longoria in the lineup, the Rays were 47-27 and 43-45 without him. With him healthy and the staff just comes close to replicating last season’s production, then that could easily translate to another 3-4 wins and October baseball
Notice I’m talking about the AL East and i haven’t even mentioned New York or Boston once? That’s what makes this division so interesting. In addition to everything mentioned above, plus the individual stories for the Yankees and Boston ( which I’ll get to next) there is this whole new dynamic to the New York-Boston rivalry. For a decade weve watched them jockey for first and second place but in 2013 it looks like they’ll battle for not last, adding a whole new dynamic to this rivalry.
In 2013 the New York Yankees begin their quest to lead the majors in payroll for the 15th straight year, and they are off to a good start. In fact, you can probably make it offical and wrap that up right now. Their 228mil is 12mil more than the second place Dodgers and, with all the injuries they’ve already sustained, Jeter, Granderson, Texeira, Hughes, Rodriguez, they will more likely then not have to add payroll not shed it.
Question, has any team led the majors in payroll but finished last in their own division? Answer, I don’t know, I’m asking you. I know it hasn’t happened since 2008 when Baltimore almost did but luckily the Rays were called the Devil Rays then and the Devill Rays sucked, so they (BAL) only finished fourth. I could not find team payroll stats pre-’98, keep in mind, im just some fat dude who’s got too much time on his hands, all i got is Google just like you, I’m not an encyclopedia. But this is definitiely something to watch for this year.
Perhaps their fall from dominance won’t be quite that dramatic as to finish in dead last, still, they haven’t finished under .500 since 1992 and their streak of 20 straight seasons of winning ball, realistically, could be in jeopardy. Speaking of 1992, the Yankees lineup featured names like Nokes, Stankiewicz and Maas which sure sound a whole lot like the Hafner, Wells and Overbay’s that they have now. Forget the division and the wild card races, can their first goal should be just get to 82 wins?
And lastly, Boston. Boston would like to forget about 2012, a season filled with fueding, failing and purging, both players, the exile of Beckett, Crawford, Gonzalez to LA as well as the fans “purging” at the teams 69-93 record and their AAAA roster by seasons end.
But 2013 is a new year, new manager, John Farrell, with new lineup and a new attitude. Returing are same solid, youngish pitching staff that should be health, with a positive attitude and the ability to keep them in games. If Dustin Pedroia and Jacoby Ellsbury play 150 games each, Shane Vicorino and Mike Napoli turn out to be solid free agent additions and the eventual return of David Ortiz to some level of a productive player, then Boston could be good. If one of those things go wrong, they could still be tough, but would need some luck to challenge for the division.
My predicition for the division is BALTIMORE.
I don’t buy that they were lucky last year but i do agree that the 29 wins in 1-run games is a fluke. They will win less 1-run games this year because they will win more games by two or more runs. A lot of people claim their lack of offseason acquisiions means they will be the same team as last year only worse due to the fact that they will have to be less lucky. I disagree. Last year Brian Roberts and Nolan Reimold only played in 33 games combined so they are both basically new acquisitions to the 2013 lineup as oppposed to the 2012. Nick Markakis only appeared in 104 games in 2012 because of two stints on the DL. The second of which ended his season prematurely on Sept 8th. Then, factor in that the O’s will get full seasons out of Manny Machado and Nate McLouth who only played in 51 and 55 games respectively in 2012 and they should be better in 2013.
The orioles regular lineup feature only three players over the age of 30, 2B Brian Roberts is the elder statesman at 35 (and just placed on the 15 day DL as I’m writing this), SS JJ Hardy is 30 and won the Gold Glove last year and LF Nate McLouth is 31. With the core of this team, Adam Jones, Matt Weiters, Nick Markakis and the 20 year old 3B Manny Machado, so young, the Orioles are a team that is just starting to come into their own and HAS NOT peaked yet, as the pundits would have you believe.
Second place belongs to TAMPA BAY.
They say good pitching beats good hitting and what the Rays have is great not good. They will scuffle to find enough offense all year but this is post steroid, post HGH, clean baseball that we are watching now, offense will be harder to come by across the board and no team is built better to deal with that fact of life than the Rays are.
Per ESPN The Magazine’s baseball preview issue, Longoria’s WAR is 28.5. For those of you who are unfamiliar with that statistic, WAR stands for Wins Above Replacement. So, in regualar speak, that means with Longoria in the lineup, the Rays will win 28.5 more games per year then they would without him. So what that means funcitally is they need to find a way to protect Evan Longoria both literally and figuratively. Literally because they need him healthy and his bat in the lineup for no less than 150 games. Figuratively they need to protect his bat in the lineup. Tampa has to find a bat to go behind his spot so he can’t be pitched around. Wil Myers came over from the Royals in a trade for Scott Shields and could be delegated with that responsibility once they recall him from AAA.
Third place goes to TORONTO.
RA Dickey will have success in a new league that has to learn his power-knuckler, and the Jays will be competitive. I expect them to finish above .500, make a push for 90 wins and to be involved in the dual Wild Card race for most of the season. I don’t expect them to go from a 73 win team to a to a 95 win team just because they fleeced the Marlins. Their rotation has two guys, Brandon Morrow and John Johnson, who have long track records of injury concerns. If one goes down, they will still be competitive, aided by Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion’s 40+ home run potential and Jose Reyes setting the table in front of them, but if both falter or go down, then the Jays won’t have enough depth to keep a dog in the hunt.
Fourth belongs to NEW YORK.
This may be by biased as a Yankee fan coming through here. I don’t know if i “think” they won’t finsh last, and thus “beat” Boston or “hope” that they will.
By now just about everyone is aware of the of tsunami -esque beat down the Alabama Crimson Tide gave to the Notre Dame Fightin’ Irish in their 42-14 win in last nights’s BCS National Championship game.
It was a complete and total domination by “Bama start to finish. The Irish got off to a good start by winning the coin toss but that was about it for the things they did well. But at least they’ll have that. “Bama got the ball first and ND got to losing right away as they gave up a five play 82-yd touchdown drive. Which, oh by the way, was the longest drive the Manti Te’o led ND defense had given up all season.
There is no better way to illustrate the dominance Alabama’s offense had over the much (as it turns out) over-hyped Notre Dame defense than this, going into last night, the Irish had surrendered only nine total offensive touchdowns all year to their 12 regular season opponents combined but on the first play of the second quarter Alabama’s T.J Yeldon’s 1-yd touchdown run gave the Crimson Tide a 21-0 lead over the Irish.
What that means is, in only 904 seconds of BCS Title game play Notre Dame allowed Alabama to score one third as many touchdowns as they let all 12 of their opponents score during the 20,736 seconds of the regular season combined (excluding overtime, 12G x 60MPG = 144M x 60s =, 20,736seconds). So much for that famed Irish-luck.
The real BREAKING NEWS from the game was last night Brent Musburger got his first boner of the 21st century! It seemed as if after every “Bama score, ESPN would cutaway to a very attractive woman in attendance named Katherine Webb who, in addition to being Ms Alabama 2012, was also AJ McCarron’s girlfriend, hence their excuse for throwing her up there every couple of minutes for Musburger to objectify/wax poetically over. Let’s just say it was unrequited-love at first sight for the 73 year old Musburger who at one point simply just said “WO!”.
It’s being widely reported that when Webb went to bed yesterday she had approximately 2,000 Twitter followers but when she woke up that number was over well over 100,000! It would seem as if Brent Musburger’s slacks weren’t the only things “trending up” last night.
If you want my opinion, any woman that’s nice enough to make pictures of herself like this available on the internet deserves no less than 100,000 Twitter followers.
Like statisticals? I got one for you: When Greg McElroy takes his first snap against the Chargers on Sunday he will be the first quarterback selected in the 7th round of the NFL draft to start ahead of not one but two former first round draft picks!
Not a stat guy? No problem, here’s it put another way: On Sunday the New York Jet-ropolitains will have the dubious distinction of having the most popular backup quarterback in NFL history, Tebow, AND it’s most expensive, Sanchez, both play clipboard-jockey to a former 7th round draft pick.
Either way on Sunday the New York Jets are making history, only the wrong kind.
Here is something I found when I Googled “Greg McElroy draft analysis”. It lists that he was a finalist for the “Wooden Citizenship Cup”. I don’t know what that is but I think it means he is good at golf and friendship.
Great article I found while researching the specifics of the contract extensions Sanchez signed. You can skip it all until you get to the fifth point Manish Mehta made and take it from there. Here are my two favorite parts of the article, ” If Sanchez disappoints in 2012, the Jets may be able to trade him. They aren’t necessarily locked into keeping him for the next two seasons. Why would anyone want to trade for Sanchez at that point? Well, teams would only have to make a $8.75 million commitment ($20.5M minus $11.75M paid in 2012) for a four-year contract. That could happen unless Sanchez regresses badly.”
And, “The worst case scenario for Gang Green: Sanchez regresses badly in 2012 and can’t be dealt after the season. If he underperforms again in 2013, the Jets could simply release him.”
Can anybody say foreshadowing?
Why, how could this happen, why? I have the same questions as you do. But i don’t care about the answers, looking for such is an exercise in futility. What could be said that could ever rationalize something like this? Nothing, absolutely nothing, its impossible. Regardless i will be haunted by visions of something ive never seen before.
Its the kindergarten class at Sandy Hook Elementary…any kindergarten class really.
Can’t you see it? The horrible juxtaposition of the before and after? The walls all decked out for Christmas? The tree, the count down to the big day on the bulletin board. A room filled with excited, sweet, kindergartners on their absolute best behavior so as to not hurt their spot on Santa’s list?
At their age, we all knew when the calendar page turned to December it meant that it was time to be on our absolute best behavior. No matter what happened the other eleven months of the year, December was a time for being good, like it counted double. We sat down, shut up, raised our little hands and ate our peas without being told because we knew we had a years worth of bad behavior to make up for and only 25 days to do it.
Can’t you see the tiny little table and chairs so small to a comedic level? I could do nothing else but sit in one of them, fold my hands, drink my milk and have you laughing for hours.
Can’t you see all the imperfectly perfect green and yellow pictures of dinosaurs adorning the classroom walls? And if it wasnt a dinosaur then it was a perfect little house, with a pointed roof, two windowst and a happy little family holding hand in the front yard with a dog obediently by their side.
Cant you see it? See it all, when school, and life, was all about fun? When you learned your ABC’s, got a toy from the box, drank some chocolate milk then took a nap?
That was the before.
What will haunt me is the vision of that same classroom after this atrocity took place The scene of the crime in that same classroom, which could have been in Anywhere USA where 20 lives were ended before they ever had a chance to live. The sight of that tree overturned as if it was empathetic and cognizant of the events which transpired around it. The idea of 20 tiny bodies lying motionless on the floor and the carnage which surrounded each and every one of them is what will haunt me. The sight of the aftermath of evil incarnate.
Mans capacity for evil which took place in Newtown CT today, thats what will haunt me.
There will always be more questions then answers.
Here is a personal message to every member of the media which stuck a microphone and camera in front of a student of Sandy Hook Elementary: Today, that childs’ innocence was stolen from them and you exploited it. I don’t care why you did it, you are an awful human being and i hope you’re happy with yourself. And for what reason? So they could tell you what every sane, rational human being already knew, that it was chaotic, scary and noisy inside the school? I hope the price of your soul was worth the ratings it brought your station as much as i hope your vile, repugnant actions today keep you awake at night for the rest of your life. You are part of the problem. I’d rather be homeless than you. Integrity counts.
Days like today teach us how precious a second can be and how meaningless our wallets and Xbox’s are. Take the time to say the things you want to but never have to the ones you love while you still can.
Days like today make me sad to be a member of the human race. Man’s capability for violence against fellow man knows no depths nor boundaries. Atrocities like this, as well as the Aurora shooting, Virginia Tech and Columbine, never happened before they happened once and now its a part of life. Sick.
I don’t believe in god, but days like this makes me wish i did just so i could say FUCK and YOU to him when it was my turn to meet him
And lastly, but maybe most importantly, to Principal Dawn Hochsprung and the rest of the staff at Sandy Hook Elementary, thank you. Heroes walk among us every day but unfortunately we don’t usually realize it until its too late. You are everything that is right in this world and the debt of gratitude which the human race owes you will probably never be paid in full, but i hope it is.
Is the real reason why the Wisconsin Badgers football team lost five games this year not because their head coach Bret Bielema was double-dealing behind their back to score the Arkansas job but rather because he was moonlighting as the spokesman in the new Southern Comfort commercials for a some extra cash?
“‘Tom, 24/40 238yds 1 TD 1 INT and 4 sacks isn’t very Brady-like now is it?”
For those of you in a hurry I’ll give you the twitter-ized version: They (NE) have Wes Welker and Aaron Hernandez and we (MIA) don’t. Miami loses to the Patriots 23-16. That’s all you need to know in 140 characters or less.
I’ll keep going for those of you who’d like to know more. I watched every single snap of the Miami-New England game. Some multiple times. On every play I asked myself, “Who more accomplished their goal during that play?” and assigned a winner based solely on that criteria.
For the game, the Patriots won 89 of 167 plays, or 53% of them.
Miami shot themselves in the foot early. After receiving the ball to start the game they couldn’t even execute something as simple as a ” 3 and out” on offense. The punter Brandon Fields couldn’t handle the low snap and New England took over first and 10 from Miami’s 12.
On the Patriots next possession the Dolphins did a nice job of playing a “bend but don’t break” style of defense which kept this game reasonably close all day. Aided by a holding penalty and some well-timed 3rd down pressure on Brady, Miami held New England to zero points after Gostkowski missed a 49 yard FG.
Miami got the ball at midfield but failed to do anything with it and is forced to punt. On second down, Tannehill overthrew a wide open Brian Hartline. It would have been a touchdown had it been completed. This was the first of two occasions in which Tannehill showed that he struggles to hit wide open receivers.
Miami pins New England inside their own 3 and three plays later #20 Jones does a great job of covering #81 Hernandez. He picked Brady off it off and took s it to the house! BUT…FLAG. Two of them actually. Off-setting and on the return. Miami keeps the ball but loses the touchdown.
The Miami penalty hurts them. They wind up trading seven for three when all they can muster is a 44 yard Dan Carpenter FG. And are lucky to get that because #33 D Thomas put the ball on the ground but #68 Incognito bailed him out and RG John Jerry got flagged for holding. 7-3 Patriots.
END of the 1st QUARTER
On the opening drive of the 2nd quarter Miami committed their second special teams turnover of the game. On 3rd & short Miami goes all out for the punt block, missed the ball but nail the punter, 15yd personal foul, 1st down Patriots. Awful job out of #27 Jimmy Wilson on the play. That can not happen.
After a soft pass interference penalty on #2o Jones and some missed tackles by #25 ( I don’t know who he is and don’t feel the need to look it up) and #58 Dansby, on 2nd & G from the Miami 7 #12 Brady makes the perfect adjustment at the line and hits #83 Welker on a screen for an easy touchdown.
14-3 Patriots and there is a lot of time left for this game to get out of hand.
Miami gets the ball and it gets worse. The offense goes nowhere on 1st and 2nd down. Then on 3rd & 4 the Patriots backup LB #99 Trevor Scott dominated Miami backup (Jake Long left early with a triceps injury and did not return) T #75 Nate Garner and gets the ever valuable sack-fumble on Tannehill which Wilfork recovers (and promptly gives to Mrs. Wilfork).
Miami does a good job of holding The Pats to a field goal. Its 17-3 Miami and not looking good.
Miami takes over 1st & 10 at their own 20. HOLDING #80 Fasano. 1st & 20 at their own 10. This is starting to get ugly.
FALSE START #82 Hartline. 1st & 25 at their own 5. It’s going from bad to worse with way too much time on the clock. It looked like things were about to get ugly…
Only they didn’t.
From there, Miami goes on an impressive 13 play 95 yard drive which ends with #17 Tannehill calling his own number and diving into the end zone off a nice play fake. TOUCHDOWN!
17-10 Patriots. We got a game folks.
On the drive Miami “won” 10/13 plays and had nice individual efforts by Fasano, Hartline and Bess picking up critical yards to keep the drive alive and by #68 Incognito and #51 Pouncey paving the way for them.
New England takes a knee to end the half. They go into the locker room with a seven point lead but the game very much still in doubt.
New England gets the ball to start the 3rd quarter but goes three and out. On 3rd & 3 #55 Misi gave a superior effort by taking on not one but two blocks to set the edge and force NE to punt.
For the rest of the 3rd quarter Miami and New England trade punts. On a critical 3rd down #91 Wake got his 10th sack of the year which knocked Brady and the Patriots out of field goal range. And on a just as critical 3rd & 14 for Miami #15 Bess turned what looked to be a sure 1st down into punt.
I don’t know what #15’s problem is but I am not impressed with him at all. I have never seen a WR who catches the ball on 3rd down short of the sticks more often than he does. It’s like he is allergic to first downs. Between the drops, not being on the same page as his QB and plays like this which are all too frequent, I’m done with him.
3rd quarter ends with New England leading 17-10 but deep in Dolphin territory with a 3rd & 1.
Which NE’s #81 Aaron Hernandez converts. Only fitting, he had the catch on 2nd down to set up 3rd and short then he finished it.
Trouble. NE has it 1st & G from the 2.
But wait. Again, bend but don’t break. Sacks by #20 Jones and #55 Misi book ending a 2nd down Welker drop in the end zone (nice pressure by #98 Odrick may have played a part in that) and all of a sudden the Pats have to settle for a FG.
20-10 New England and if you believe in moral victories, Miami’s defense just scored a huge on there.
Miami gets the ball on their own 20 and goes on another impressive 13 play drive which ended in points. Unfortunately they have to settle for a field goal after their own trip to the red zone.
But it is another drive where Miami left points on the board. On the third play of the drive, from their own 33, Tannehill severely under-throws a wide open #82 Hartline on another play which could have easily ended with a touchdown instead of an incomplete pass.
The drive was highlighted by a tough 4th & 1 conversion by #33 Thomas on the NE 22. #68 Incognito basically won the play himself by flat-out dominating Patriots’ all-world DT #75 Vince Wilfork.
With 8:28 remaining Patriots 20 Miami 13 and the Dolphins have all three of their timeouts. It’s official, game on.
But, being the savvy veteran team they are, led by the mad scientist Bill Beli-cheat himself, New England gets the ball and all but ends the game.
They take over on their own 20 and march down the field on a 16 play drive that ends in a field goal which makes it a two score game but more importantly they strangled 7:18 from the clock and ate up all three of Miami’s timeouts AND the two-minute warning.
With only 70 seconds remaining, Patriots lead 23-13 and a two score game means Miami chances of winning are all but over. But they do make it interesting until the bitter end with two big “chunk” yards completions to the sidelines. They muster a FG to make it 23-16 and ensure they at least cover the spread as a 9pt underdog but that’s all. New England easily recovered the onside kick attempt, game over.
It was a loss, a tough one at that but there were some positive things to come of it.
For Miami #55, #96 and #20 all had exceptional games to lead the defense. I thought the Incognito-Wilfork battle was pretty even and very fun to watch. Wilfork dominated early but Incognito did a nice job of battling back and did some dominating of his own. The Patriots entered the game having given up only 15 sacks on the year and the Miami defense got to Brady a season high four times.
Click to watch the full game highlights here.
Is there a more useless play in the history of fantasy football than a touchdown pass from Brandon Weeden to Jordan Cameron?
Regarding the Cleveland-Pittsburgh game, day after, who’s glass is more half-full-er? The Browns for beating the Steelers? Or the Steelers for only losing by six in a game which they turned the ball over eight times AND Charlie Batch started?
Good win for Miami but Tannehill is still way too casual throwing the ball on the run. It’s bothered me all season and it almost cost the Dolphins another game. He got very lucky to get bailed out on a a very questionable roughing the passer penalty.
If you’re looking for a good RB go pick up for the fantasy football stretch run and are lucky enough to play in a league which Daniel Thomas is still available, then the first thing you should do after reading this is pick him up immediately. His time share with Reggie Bush is legit, no worse than 50-50, plus he gets redzone carries.
Awful job of play-calling on those 3rd and 4th & 2 plays down 18, early4th quarter. Forget the obvious about doing the smart thing and taking the field goal there to make it a 2 score game. The smart thing to if you need two yards and have Adrian Peterson
is to have Christian Ponder give the ball to him and not roll out with it. Especially if you got two chances. He leads the league in rushing yards and total yardage and you don’t give him one touch
The resisting arrest charge against Adrian Peterson from a July 7th incident outside a Houston area night club has been dropped.
This is good because, in Texas, the punishment for resisting arrest is death by electrocution plus firing squad then they hang you, and I really need AD alive and well for the fantasy playoffs stretch run. (Seriously, screw the money, my league has a trophy, that’s all I want.)
But on a serious note, when these “star athlete arrested” stories first happen, they’re breaking news. Then when the outcome is like this,charges dropped, the story is nowhere near as sexy, so it gets treated as less than an afterthought, more of an unwanted obligation really, and that annoys me.
Other than his bone crushing handshake, I’ve never heard anyone say anything even remotely negative about Peterson so his name being cleared should be news.
On a side note, am I the only one who finds it fishy when someone is arrested for resisting arrest and that’s it? Shouldn’t there be another charge accompanying it in which you originally resisted and so the police charged you with both? Could you imagine what that conversation would be like?
“Hey you’re under arrest.”
Okay then bye.
“You resisted, now you’re really under arrest! Fool you!”
So i just got back from seeing Adam Sandler’s latest, That’s My Boy, and i gotta say, it didn’t suck. I set the bar real low, 3 being the over/under for total laughs because i was fully expecting it to be another 90 min abortion ala Click, 50 First Dates, Jack and Jill etc, but it easily surpassed that within the first 10 minutes. I’d say it was at least no worse than Mr Deeds and probably a lot funnier.
That’s My Boy had a very late 90’s Happy Madison feel to it. If Sandler was still the box office god he was then and this movie came out somewhere between Bulletproof and The Waterboy, then it would have been a must see which you and your buddies couldn’t stop quoting for weeks.
It’s got the familiar type of story, grown up, loveable loser, immature slacker type who is basically good underneath it all and trying to straighten himself out and do right by somebody he loves. But instead of it being Drew Barrymore or some other hot blonde, this time it happens to be his now estranged son (Andy Samberg) that he had back in the 7th grade with his uber-hot math teacher. Just like any Sandler movie the story is really just a convenient vehicle to cram in as many dick, blow and hand job jokes that can fit in a 90 min movie as possible with a bunch of f-bombs sprinkled in. But that is what Adam Sandler does best, so it has a very familiar feel to it.
If you are like me and there was a time when every single Adam Sandler movie was a “must see’ then you should check That’s My Boy out.