Today’s Saturday Sports Bullets

Kershaw
Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw pulled off a double with his Cy Young and MVP wins.

Saturday has again rolled up on me and with so many things to discuss I figure it’s time to throw some more bullets your way with a variety of thoughts from around the sports’ world.

College basketball tips off this weekend so I know all of you are dying for my Final Four selections. Here goes; Kentucky, Arizona, Wisconsin, Wichita State
No surprises in the baseball voting with Clayton Kershaw grabbing both the NL Cy Young Award and the MVP. Mike Trout was the easy winner of the AL MVP as well. I have no issue with pitcher winning MVP. If he’s the most dominant guy on the field then so be it.

I have to wonder what Florida Gator fans are thinking. Will Muschamp is going to get this team to a bowl game. Even if they lose to South Carolina today and Florida State in the finale, they’re going to beat Eastern Kentucky which will give them six wins. Is this what Gators’ fans want?

Brady Hoke’s future is in the same boat. The team needs to beat either Maryland or Ohio State to get to a bowl game. Either way the only way Hoke’s job is saved is through a win at Ohio State and then a bowl win. Those things are unlikely to happen.

I think the Chicago Bulls have a serious problem with Derrick Rose. There’s no way he should be talking about his “after basketball life” the way he is. Then Thursday night he comes up lame again with a hamstring pull. I can’t see the Bulls wanting to invest another dime in him. After all, this is the city where Michael Jordan would have run through brick walls to beat the Washington Bullets.

Kobe Bryant made one of 14 field goal attempts last night in a loss to San Antonio. It was kind of a fitting scene as Bryant and Tim Duncan chatted a few times during the game. Duncan had another double-double going for 13 points and 11 boards. I applaud Bryant for coming back from his injuries but I really don’t know that he is helping the Lakers.

The NBA announced this week that when teams play on Christmas their jerseys will feature the players’ first names rather than their last. Not real sure why but OK.

Drebin
You would think Frank Drebin is running things in Tallahassee the way they do business.

I’m paraphrasing a bit here but I loved the tweet from Fox Sports’ College Football Writer Stewart Mandel who wondered if the people of Tallahassee wouldn’t be safer in the hands of Frank Drebin. I couldn’t agree more. This is of course in response to the constant blundering of the Tallahassee Police Department when it comes to Jameis Winston and Florida State.

There are some great games on tap for the National Football League tomorrow. The Eagles play at Green Bay where the tundra is expected to be frozen a bit early this year. The Patriots play in Indianapolis and this game could go a long way towards securing home-field advantage. Two of the best teams in the NFL face off in Arizona where the Cardinals host the Lions. Unless you have the NFL Sunday Ticket, you’ll most likely be out of luck. Only about 19% of the nation will get this game.

Obviously there are some great college football games on tap today but I want to focus a Big 12 game for a second. Oklahoma will face Texas Tech today without QB Travis Knight. The Sooners were ranked number one in many preseason polls and now have three losses, two of which came at home. Don’t be a bit surprised if Bob Stoops is suddenly on the hot seat. Yes he wins games, but this is a “what have you done for me lately” market place. Alumni aren’t thrilled about losing to Kansas State and Baylor in Norman.

 

 

Random Thoughts on All the Latest Sports News

Kershaw
Kershaw
Clayton Kershaw had another brutal postseason as he and the Dodgers are heading for vacation.

There are times when I sit down with a complete gameplan. It’s littered with the right things to say and the right ways to say them. Everyone once in a while though my gameplan goes out the window for one of two reasons; either I have just one topic which has tons of content available or I have a myriad of things.

Today, much like the entire month of October, is littered with thoughts from around the sports’ world so rather than just pick a few items to cover I’m going to give you bits on just about everything I can possibly write in this space. Here goes….

I couldn’t have been more wrong about the MLB Playoffs. All four teams I had to this point have been eliminated. This is why they call it “gambling” and not “winning.”

After yet another fantastic regular season, Clayton Kershaw was torched in the playoffs. His postseason record now stands at 0-4 and so bad is that he is now being called “Clayton Manning.” Sorry, but it’s a fair comparison to the Denver QB.

Freeze
Call it a gut feeling but I think Hugh Freeze and the Rebels get beat this weekend.

I have a feeling Ole Miss will lose at Texas A&M. Teams that aren’t consistent winners often stumble after huge wins like the one they had over Bama Saturday.

So Northwestern loses to Cal and Northern Illinois and then beats Penn State in Happy Valley and beats Wisconsin in Evanston… The Big Ten is horrible.

Speaking of the Big Ten, everyone wants to go after Brady Hoke at Michigan and rightfully so but what about Tim Beckman at Illinois? He’s won just one conference game there and is 9-27 overall in his third year.

I hear Chris Bosh hasn’t heard from LeBron James since James left for Cleveland. Somehow I don’t think Bosh is losing sleep over this.

It’s a good thing hockey season starts this week in places like Pittsburgh and Detroit. Both cities are dealing with quick baseball playoff exits.

I have no idea why the media asks some of the questions they do. They have to be smarter than some of the stuff I’ve seen and heard recently. After the game four loss Tuesday night, Clayton Kershaw was asked, “What was the feeling when you see that ball (Matt Adams 3-run home run) go over the fence?” Kershaw correctly asked the reporter, “What kind of question is that?” How in the hell do you think he felt?

The best game of the NFL schedule this weekend is in Seattle where the Seahawks host the Cowboys. Despite playing on Monday night, I expect the Seahawks to be prepared. This will be the first true test of how good Dallas actually is.

Another game to keep an eye on is Pittsburgh at Cleveland. In week one the Browns rallied from 27-3 down to tie the game before losing in the final seconds. Last week, they rallied from 25 down to win and beating Pittsburgh in Cleveland is always a welcome sight. It’s only happened once in the last nine years and Ben Roethlisberger has only lost once in Cleveland during his career.

So I guess that even though I didn’t pick any of the teams in the AL or NL Championship Series I still need to pick winners to advance to the World Series. Giants-Cardinals is tough because both teams seem to have mojo right now. The same could be said for Baltimore and Kansas City as well.

Therefore, using the latest wagering and scientific knowledge available, I’ll take the Orioles and Cardinals.

News Around MLB Carries the Day

Kershaw
Kershaw
My mouth would be wide open too after signing a $215 million contract as Clayton Kershaw did.

As the National Football League Playoffs are underway and the NBA and NHL are deep into their seasons, Major League Baseball is suddenly back in the news and for all kinds of reasons. From the Hall of Fame to A-Rod and massive salaries, I’m covering a bit of everything today.

Kershaw Cashes In

Los Angeles Dodgers’ pitcher Clayton Kershaw signed a $215 million contract extension this week making him baseball’s highest paid pitcher easily passing Justin Verlander’s $180 million deal.

At 25, Kershaw has already won the Cy Young Award twice and he has the best ERA of any active pitcher at 2.61 with only Mariano Rivera being the exception but his retirement looks to be a real thing. The question of whether the Dodgers made the right choice in locking him up is a moot one.

Of course they should have. The bigger question for me is whether paying a guy who plays every five days this amount is a smart move. I’ve always said no but I know there are several stats that say otherwise.

Bottom line? The Dodgers will hold their breath with every Kershaw pitch from now until the end of his career.

A-Rod
I wonder if Alex Rodriguez really believes in everything that comes out of his mouth?

A-Rod Will Never Get It

Alex Rodriguez has, as expected, sued both the Major League Baseball Players’ Association as well as Major League Baseball. This was in retaliation for his 162 game ban for 2014. Rodriguez often reminds me of Barry Bonds other than he talks way more than Bonds ever did.

Rodriguez probably could have put up numbers more than suitable enough for Hall of Fame consideration had he stayed off the juice. The same was always said about Bonds but his late-career decisions screwed that.

Listening to Rodriguez speak about the situation almost makes you feel sorry for him. He mentioned just this week in an interview in Mexico that he ‘appreciates the support of his many fans.’ Does he not realize that he really doesn’t have any fans?

If he does, they are no better than him.

Rodriguez also mentioned that he ’looks forward to moving on to the next chapter of life.’ The only way to interpret that is that he believes he will play baseball again. I can’t see it happening. In fact there are already rumors that the New York Yankees would rather eat the millions they owe him than have him wear the pinstripes again.

Besides, who would ever take on his salary or want him in their clubhouse anyway? He is already 38 years old so whatever this ‘chapter’ he’s talking about is, I hope he doesn’t think it includes baseball.

I’m Torn on the Hall of Fame

Baseball has gone through several eras during its’ more than 100 years of existence and some of those have been good and some of those have been bad. I really don’t want to see guys like Barry Bonds or Roger Clemens in the Hall of Fame because that is all that they desire.

Putting them in even with an asterisk troubles me because they still would be “hall of famers” and I hate how they shamed the game.

At the same time, I recognize that there are players already in the Hall of Fame who weren’t exactly gentlemen or men free of issues both on and off the field. This makes me think that maybe it’s time to recognize the steroid guys somehow. Do they create a wing solely for those of the steroid era? Do they finally use the asterisk or do they acknowledge these players but not make them members?

I really don’t have the answer and I probably never will.

College Football, Baseball Awards and Should the Broncos Rest Peyton?

Manning
Manning
Should the Broncos consider resting Peyton Manning? I think it has to be discussed.

This time of year the sports world is as busy as it possibly can be with the exception of baseball. Football, basketball and hockey are all underway and provide us with storylines everyday. Today’s post for me is no different so let’s get to it.

In my somewhat expert opinion, I believe the Denver Broncos have a serious dilemma facing them on Sunday night. This dilemma has nothing to do with Head Coach John Fox who is still recovering from heart surgery either.

This has to do with Peyton Manning and his playing status.

If I’m the Broncos, I’m viewing the next three weeks very carefully. On Sunday night, the Broncos will host unbeaten Kansas City. A week later, they play at New England in another Sunday night game. The final Sunday of those three weeks, Denver will play in Kansas City.

The dilemma they are facing is whether they should play Peyton Manning and how much should they play him.

Manning is clearly less than 100% and anyone who believes otherwise is ignoring the obvious. He has been beaten up pretty severely over the last few weeks and suffered a pretty good ankle injury on Sunday in San Diego.

Let’s examine the key parameters of this dilemma.

If Manning plays on Sunday night and the Broncos win, they will move into a first-place tie with KC but will own the tie-breaker for a couple of weeks. Should they lose whether Manning plays or not, they’ll fall two games back of the Chiefs and Kansas City will have the tie-breaker with a home date in hand.

Should the Broncos go on to lose at New England and the Chiefs win at home against San Diego that would leave the Broncos three games out with four to play and the question will have to be asked. Do you play Peyton Manning if continues to be banged up?

I say, “No.”

If Denver has any hope of making a run to the Super Bowl then Peyton Manning must be the starting quarterback. I’m sure Brock Osweiler is a fine young man and I imagine he has learned a lot from Manning. No one can expect him to play well and run the offense like Manning though.

Peyton Manning will do no one any good if he is sidelined with an injury or if he is hobbling around the field worse than he already is. Rest Manning and be happy with a wild-card Denver. It’s the only way you’re going to have a shot.

Scherzer
Scherzer took 28 of 30 first place votes for the Cy Young Award.

Other Sports Thoughts….

Congratulations to Max Scherzer and Clayton Kershaw on winning the Cy Young Award. Both very deserving and I expect good seasons from both next year as well.

Michigan State travels to Lincoln Saturday to play the Cornhuskers for what will more than likely be for the Legends’ Division Title. For Bo Pelini, a win probably keeps him around for at least another year but a loss could mean anything’s possible.

If Nebraska can’t solve the MSU defense then there will be little chance for them to win.

Miami plays at Duke this weekend and should the Blue Devils pull out the win they would take control of the ACC Coastal Division. Since starting 7-0, the Hurricanes have been whipped in two straight games by Florida State and Virginia Tech.

Beating Duke will not be easy especially with running back Duke Johnson out for the year. Stephen Morris will need to make plays without turning it over and I’m not sure he can do that.

Predicting MLB’s Award Winners for 2013

Cabrera
Cabrera
I see no way Miguel Cabrera doesn't win the American League MVP Award this year.

I’m certainly guilty of spending way too much time lately on pro and college football but considering football is the most popular sport in America these days I should probably be excused. With that in mind, I’m making my return to baseball and in doing so I’m preparing for the playoffs by focusing on the award winners.

These are my selections for Major League Baseball’s post-season award winners.

American League Most Valuable Player

Once again the selections boil down to the new crowd favorite and the old crowd favorite with a potential exception. The new crowd loves Mike Trout because ‘saber metrics’ always seem to give him the advantage over the old crowd favorite Miguel Cabrera. The only other player in the discussion is Oakland third baseman Josh Donaldson who has stats very similar to those of Trout.

To me, this isn’t even close. Cabrera is closing in on his third straight batting title and will take two of the three legs of the Triple Crown missing only on home runs. His team is also in the playoffs whereas Trout’s is not. Trout is a phenomenal talent who will no doubt win this award, but Cabrera is the best hitter on the planet right now and has done it consistently.

National League Most Valuable Player

This is another three-man race but this one really could go in any direction. Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks will win two-thirds of the Triple Crown with 35 home runs and 123 RBI’s while hitting over .300. St. Louis catcher Yadier Molina has an argument of his own for the MVP.

McCutchen
McCutchen's all-around game deserves the NL MVP Award.

Molina is considered the top defensive catcher in the game today and once again has the Cardinals in the post-season. He also is batting .314 which for a catcher is incredible.

The guy that really should get this award though is Pittsburgh’s Andrew McCutchen who is as valuable to his team as anyone could be. He is the leader of a Pirates’ team that has made the playoffs for the first time since 1992 and is one of the top defensive outfielders in the game. He has batted .300 plus all year and has 20 homers and nearly 200 hits.

American League Cy Young Award

This will come down to three guys who have all pitched their teams to division titles or at least very close to one in one case. Bartolo Colon has a league best ERA of 2.64 and has three shutouts. He has been an incredible factor in the rise of the Athletics. Yu Darvish has been good in 2013 as well. He has 260 strikeouts and an opponents’ batting average of under .200.

The guy who has to win the award is the Tigers’ Max Scherzer. While his run support has been huge, he also has pitched a ton of innings and has gone at least six innings in 27 of 31 starts. Factor in as well the less than stellar year of Justin Verlander and it makes Scherzer’s year that much more impressive.

National League Cy Young Award

This really comes down to just two guys in Clayton Kershaw and Craig Kimbrel. While the Braves’ Kimbrel has been outstanding in closing 49 games this season for Atlanta with a low ERA and WHIP of .91, Kershaw has to be the guy who walks away with the award.

Kershaw has an ERA of 1.88 with 224 strikeouts and a WHIP of under one. He has been the stabilizing force for the Dodgers who roared from last place in the NL West to win the division.

AL Rookie of the Year

There will be significant attention paid to Jose Iglesias who helped Boston get out front in the East and then helped Detroit overcome the loss of Jhonny Peralta to suspension. While it wouldn’t shock me to see him win, I have to think it will be either Wil Meyers or Chris Archer of Tampa Bay.

NL Rookie of the Year

There will be a massive call for the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig to win this award and with good cause, but the most impressive rookie all season has been Marlins’ pitcher Jose Fernandez. Teams batted just .182 against him and he finished 12-6 for one of the worst teams in baseball.