Washington Nationals Move To Top of World Series Futures

It may be just mid January, with the NFL preparing for the Super Bowl, the NCAA for March Madness and the NBA for the All-Star break.

However, odds makers have released their futures for the World Series to be played in October.

This offseason has been relatively quiet for Major League Baseball, but that ended when Max Scherzer signed a $210 million seven-year deal with the Washington Nationals.

Upon the signing, the Nationals moved up to the top spot on the MLB Futures board as well as on Bovada and betonline for the World Series. The Nationals had their odds shrink to 5 to 1 to win the World Series.

Washington was priced following the Winter Meetings at 8 to 1, but passed the Dodgers and are now the new favorite to win the 2015 World Series.

With Scherzer in the fold, the Nats have a rotation of Scherzer, Jordan Zimmermann, Stephen Strasburg, Doug Fister and Gio Gonzalez. With a rotation like that, it is safe to say it is the best in baseball.

While the signing of Scherzer was certainly a big deal, the depth of their rotation might allow them to solidify their weaknesses, most notably the infield.

It is quite possible this is not the last of the signings by the Nationals during the offseason.

The Detroit Tiger, the team that lost Scherzer saw their odds to win the World Series double to 20 to 1 from 10 to 1.

Nobody will likely feel sorry for the Tigers, as their rotation will be led by the talented southpaw David Price and their batting order by Miguel Cabrera. The Tigers should once again be very strong.

The Dodgers have not been as active in the trade or free agent market as they were last season, with the exception of trading Matt Kemp their talented outfielder to San Diego. Nevertheless, with their strong pitching rotation the Dodgers are a strong second on the futures board.

The futures will undoubtedly see many more movements before the regular season starts in April. However, on this day, the Nationals are at the top of the board on both topbet and sportsbook.com.

2015 World Series Futures

WASHINGTON NATIONALS 5 to 1
LOS ANGELES DODGERS 6 to 1
LOS ANGELES ANGELS 8 to 1
ST. LOUIS CARDINALS 12 to 1
SEATTLE MARINERS 12 to 1
BOSTON RED SOX 14 to 1
CHICAGO CUBS 14 to 1
DETROIT TIGERS 20 to 1
BALTIMORE ORIOLES 20 to 1
KANSAS CITY ROYALS 20 to 1

Sunday Bullets On a Variety of Topics

Gronkowski
Gronkowski
Rob Gronkowski's big day helped the Pats rally to beat the Ravens.

Once again my ADD has set in and I can’t focus on just one or two or even three specific items for the blog this Sunday morning so once again I firing some bullets your way in an effort to cover numerous thoughts in my mind.

-Tom Brady and the Patriots were staring yet another loss at home in the playoffs to the Baltimore Ravens. Down 14-0 and then 28-14, the Patriots rallied and finally took their first and only lead of the game with five minutes to go to win 35-31. Ravens’ QB Joe Flacco who had been so unflappable in the playoffs threw two crucial interceptions to allow the Pats’ comeback.  New England will play the winner of today’s game between Indianapolis and Denver in the AFC Championship game next Sunday.

-Is it just me or are more NBA stars missing games at a higher rate than ever before? We know how the San Antonio Spurs operate and who can argue? Resting their aging stars has paid dividends but now we see even more teams doing the same thing. While LeBron James is on his two-week rest due to his knee and back, there are rumors that he was convinced to take the time off to rest period. Maybe it’s just me but I don’t remember so many stars missing so many games in the 1980s’.

Wilson
Rusell Wilson accounted for three TDs as the Seahawks beat the Panthers.

-In Seattle, the Seahawks relied on three Carolina turnovers and a couple of big plays en route to a 31-17 win. While I thought Seattle would cover, I didn’t expect to the Panthers out-gain the Seahawks and hold the ball considerably longer. Regardless, the Seahawks are into the NFC Title Game and will await either the Dallas Cowboys or Green Bay Packers next week.

-Ravens’ Coach John Harbaugh was steamed after the game because of a formation the Patriots used three times. In it, the Pats only had four offensive linemen and six eligible receivers. One of those players reported as “ineligible” and was not involved in the play other than to block. Harbaugh claims this is illegal and was flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct for running onto the field to argue it. He claimed his players didn’t have time to determine who was eligible and who wasn’t. I’ll be checking the rule book today.

-The Major League Baseball hot stove was burning hot this fall but has since cooled dramatically. Oddly enough the most sought-after free agent is still unsigned. Right-hander Max Scherzer is still a man without a team. It was thought he would never be able to return to Detroit simply because the money he wanted would be too much. Maybe not… The latest rumors I’m hearing are that Scherzer has narrowed his choices between the Tigers and his hometown St. Louis Cardinals. Stay tuned.

-The NFL Regular Season officially ended December 28th but a few players have wasted little time in getting in trouble with the law. Saints’ LB Junior Galette was arrested for domestic violence while Vikings’ DB Jabari Price was arrested for a DWI. Then yesterday, the Jets’ Chris Johnson was arrested for having a registered firearm out in the open when he was stopped for a traffic violation. There will sadly be more of these as the offseason comes.

-There has been substantial talk this season about John Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats going unbeaten for the entire 2014-2015 season but in the last week the Wildcats are finding out just how tough it will be. Yesterday they defeated Texas A&M in two overtimes while earlier in the week they survived Ole Miss winning by three points. Calipari says his team isn’t very good right now and perhaps he’s right.

 

 

Wednesday Bullets to Power You Through the Day

Floyd
Floyd
Is unbeaten Floyd Mayweather Jr finally headed for a showdown with Manny Pacquiao?

It’s been a few weeks since I gave you my patented bevy of random bullets from the sports world so without further ado let’s get on with it.

-While it appears that we are a step closer to the long awaited match between Manny Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather, Jr, I still can’t help but wonder what might have been. Five years ago this could have been a bout that could have saved boxing but instead, arguments over money continue to hamper a once-proud sport. Ya, this will draw money if it happens but it will be a shadow of what it could have been.

-The Dallas Cowboys are 10-4 and have a game advantage on the Philadelphia Eagles. Sunday night though star running back DeMarco Murray suffered a broken hand that led to surgery on Monday. The question is, should they rest Murray or play him with a playoff spot still not yet sealed? If it’s me, I rest him. You have more than enough talent to get a win over Indy or Washington without him.

-For all of the things that the National Basketball Association has going right for it, once thing that needs to be addressed is tanking. There is no way the Philadelphia 76ers haven’t been built for total futility this season. This isn’t to say the current players aren’t trying but this team could have been better and it isn’t.

Harbaugh
I just don't think Jim Harbaugh will pass up the huge payday awaiting him in the NFL.

-I have a feeling Michigan fans are in for really bad news. Despite rumors yesterday that with Jim Harbaugh out of the playoffs he’d be coming to Ann Arbor, I’m not buying it. His services will never be more in demand by NFL teams than they are now and that means a pretty price tag. I just don’t see him giving that up to return to college coaching.

-Yankees’ General Manager Brian Cashman says that as of right now Alex Rodriguez will be penciled in as the team’s designated hitter. A-Rod is of course coming off his year-long suspension.

-There were two plays in the NFL on Sunday that epitomized just how pathetic the league has gotten in their protection of quarterbacks. In Seattle, a 49ers players unloaded on Russell Wilson as he let the ball go. The tackler put his helmet right in the chest of Wilson and was flagged. This was nothing however compared to the Steelers’ Jason Worilds who sacked Atlanta’s Matt Ryan with what can only be described as a “perfect form tackle.” Ryan should have been flagged for not seeing Worilds coming to his play-side in my opinion.

-Watching Army-Navy never gets old. It isn’t just the tradition and the rivalry either. If you’ve been around long enough, then you know how exciting option football can be.

-I had a lot of people laughing at me for picking the Bills to beat the Packers last weekend but I could just see it coming. The Packers and Aaron Rodgers had been so hot, especially at home and with Buffalo’s very strong defense I just thought it was a perfect storm. A blind squirrel finds a nut once in awhile right?

-Michigan State Junior Quarterback Connor Cook Stated yesterday that he will be returning to East Lansing for his senior season. Cook has been considered one of the top junior QBs in the country since his rise last season in leading the Spartans to the Rose Bowl. In my opinion, I think this is the right move for him.

-I’m old enough to know that everyone has different tastes and likes and dislikes but I don’t know how anyone can watch ESPN’s First Take. Stephen A. Smith and Skip Bayless are like nails on a chalkboard to me.

MLB Winter Meetings Shake Up World Series Futures

While college football takes a breather and NFL football is winding its way toward the postseason, the MLB winter meeting took center stage this week.

With all the shake up amongst teams, the futures board for the 2015 World Series on Bovada and topbet saw a great deal of movement.

Several teams made big alterations to their playing rosters in what was one of the busiest winter meetings of MLB in quite some time.

Sites such as betonline and sportsbook.com were trying to stay abreast of all the transactions taking place to adjust the rankings for each team on the futures board to determine odds and daily lines for the World Series.

Daily lines can be changed in due time, but the future wagers take place now  and very quickly as bettors begin investing on different teams that became very active in the winter meetings, while trying to exploit some kind of edge they find in the numbers if they believe a line was not adjusted enough by a book maker.

The team that has been the most popular for bettors prior to and after the close of the winter meetings in San Diego is the Chicago Cubs.

One sportsbook said that over 18% of its overall handle for the World Series was on the Cubs and more than 15% of the overall tickets that were written.

The Cubs have become a popular bet after signing Jon Lester to a contract. Chicago had opened at 50 to 1 in October following the World Series and was bet down prior to the meetings to 30 to 1, now after the meetings the Cubs are at 16 to 1.

Another sports book has the Cubs as low as 5 to 1 and calls them their biggest liability on the board by far.

It is not strange to have large handles on the Cubs. They are typically the team that is most wagered on regardless of what prospects they have of winning or not.

Chicago has not won the World Series since 1908. However, with Theo Epstein in charge they have someone who brought Boston the World Series. Bettors feel that the Cubs president can do the same for them as he did for the Red Sox who had not won a title since 1918.

Besides signing Lester, Chicago added Miguel Montero a catcher and Joe Maddon as manager.

Los Angeles was busy at the meeting and remained on top at 5 to 1. The Red Sox were very active and went from 25 to 1 to 15 to 1.

It’s Time to Give Thanks for Some Great and Maybe Not-So-Great Moments in Sports

Jeter
Jeter
Although I'm not a Yankees' fan, I'm thankful for the career of Derek Jeter.

I have an extensive list as to why Thanksgiving Day is the best holiday of them all but I’m not going in to that. I’ll boil it down this way for you; food and football. Does there really need to be anything other than those two things when we really get right down to it?

Today is a good day for me to give thanks to many things from the world of sports in the last calendar year so let’s not wait any longer.

I’m thankful for…

Derek Jeter. No one did it as professionally and as respectfully as the captain for 20 straight years.

The San Antonio Spurs who proved that winning basketball titles is still about how well you play as a team, not as a group of individuals.

The people at North Carolina who finally had the courage to come out with the news of the academic fraud that had been happening for years.

Ed O’Bannon and the other players who put a stop to the NCAA and EA Sports using their likenesses without compensation in video games. The time I have saved this year not playing the newest version of NCAA Football on Xbox 360 is immeasurable.

Playoff hockey which no matter who is playing it’s still the most thrilling playoff in sports.

The Tallahassee Police Department who continue to make the Keystone Cops look like CIA agents.

The people who bought Devon Still jerseys even if they weren’t Bengals’ fans.

College Football finally getting rid of the BCS.

Brady Hoke, Bo Pelini and Will Muschamp for giving me so much to write about this fall.

The Kansas City Royals who once again showed how great sports can really be.

Roger Goodell who as long as he is running the NFL will give me plenty to rant about.

J.J. Watt who proves that great players can be great people too.

O’Dell Beckham’s amazing catch which took attention away from talking about the Cowboys.

Upton
Why shouldn't we be thankful to Justin Verlander for giving us more opportunities to see Kate Upton?

Justin Verlander who keeps giving us more opportunities to see Kate Upton.

Not having to hear the name “Richie Incognito” this season.

Every player that scores in the waning moments just to make my betting pick look good.

College Gameday Signs which never stop making me laugh and cry for our nation at the same time.

Jon Gruden who makes watching Monday Night Football interesting from either a football standpoint or a “What the hell did he just say?” standpoint.

Officials in all sports and at all levels. It’s the most thankless job in all of sports.

Penn State who continues to wear the same uniform week in and week out rather than something new and flashy every week in an effort to sell jerseys.

California Chrome who gave us another amazing shot at the Triple Crown.

Batters who don’t need to re-adjust their batting gloves, body armor or cup between every single pitch.

Coaches who actually answer questions in their press conferences rather than give the same, tired responses each week.

An A-Rod free baseball season.

For Twitter which reminds me how great and horrible sports’ fans can be in just two tweets.

Jerry Jones who reminds all of us of the dangers of too much plastic surgery.

Jim Harbaugh who makes it OK for us guys to wear Wal-Mart pants. On second thought…

Two more months of NFL football.

Isn’t it nice to be thankful?

 

 

 

 

Alphabet Soup Today as I Hit on the NFL, MLB and the NCAA.

Beckham
Beckham
Was Odell Beckham's catch Sunday night the greatest ever? I'll leave that to you.

I can’t remember a time when one individual play, in a losing effort, garnered so much attention. But that was the case Sunday night when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the New York Giants in Sunday Night Football.

The Cowboys winning should have been the story but instead it was the one-headed, falling backwards into the end zone grab by Giants’ rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham, Jr.

I’m going to spare all of you as to whether or not I believe it was the greatest football catch of all time but I will tell you it has to rank right up there among the top five. I leave the debating to you.

The one question I have for you is this; does Beckham make that catch without the use of gloves?

Panda
Pablo Sandoval looks to be headed to the Boston Red Sox.

MLB

Clearly the Boston Red Sox were not thrilled with their last place finish in the American League East this past baseball season. The BoSox appear to have infielder Hanley Ramirez ready to sign for five years and $90 million and now it seems they will lock up third baseman Pablo Sandoval.

Sandoval is fresh off of another World Series Title with the San Francisco Giants and reportedly turned down offers from the Giants and San Diego that were very similar to what Ramirez is getting from Boston.

The Red Sox are also reportedly interested in bringing back lefty Jon Lester who went to the Oakland A’s in a mid-season trade this past season.

Should all three, or at least the first two happen, Boston is making it clear they are all-in for 2015.

NCAA Football

Because of his connections with the University of Florida going back decades, former Denver Broncos and Washington Redskins’ Head Coach Mike Shanahan has been rumored to be a favorite of Athletic Director Jeremy Foley. My gut feeling tells me there is nothing here more than conjecture.

At 62 years old, I can’t see a major program like Florida starting over with Shanahan. If the program is much more damaged than we have been led to believe then I can see the hiring of Shanahan as a “stabilizing force” type of hire who cleans things up and then moves on. Still, I find his hiring difficult to believe.

The college football playoff committee will announce their latest rankings this evening and at this current point, the teams ranking five through eight might be more important. The top four should be Alabama, Oregon, Florida State and Mississippi State. The Seminoles and Ducks have already established spots in their respective conference title games and the Crimson Tide can punch their ticket with a win on Saturday over Auburn.

The teams that will be watching closely are Ohio State, TCU and Baylor among the one-loss teams. Of these teams, only Ohio State will have to play a conference title game. The real controversy of course is between Baylor and TCU. The Bears own the head-to-head win but the committee is more impressed by TCU’s level of competition and of late has had them ranked higher.

The Buckeyes continue to be the most intriguing one-loss team looking up in the rankings. Their level of competition is pretty weak compared to other teams and their lone loss (to 5-6 Virginia Tech) looks worse and worse every week. Ultimately it could keep them out of the four-team playoff.

Of the tw0-loss teams still holding out hope, Michigan State, Wisconsin, Georgia, Arizona, Arizona State and UCLA would seem to be the front-runners. Each of those teams is going to require a lot of help however.

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.

 

 

Saturday Sports’ Bullets for You to Ponder

Bumgarner
Bumgarner
Madison Bumgarner and the Giants have achieved dynasty status in my opinion.

There are s many things going on this time of year in the sports’ world that I just can’t find one to focus on so why not give you my thoughts and the latest news in the form we all appreciate? Let the bullets fly!

-One of the more hotly debated subjects this past summer was whether or not we should consider the San Antonio Spurs a dynasty. First of all, that term is thrown out way to often and while the Spurs under Gregg Popovich have been consistently good, I don’t view them as a dynasty.

-What does constitute a dynasty is the San Francisco Giants who have now won three World Series titles in the last five seasons. Some will make the argument that a dynastic team needs to at least have back-to-back titles somewhere in their championship run. I don’t see it that way. Bruce Bochy and company are a dynasty in my mind.

James
LeBron has to be glad to have that first home game out of the way.

-I really don’t blame LeBron James for that rock concert turned basketball game the other night in Cleveland. I mean, yes, he’s to blame for some of the craziness that has followed him from Cleveland to Miami and back to Cleveland but what about these fans? Aren’t these the same ones who burned his jersey and took to social media with hate-filled rants? Apparently everything is OK as long as we return home.

-It may have been a surprise to some on the outside but the resignation of Michigan Athletic Director Dave Brandon wasn’t that shocking at all to those in the know around Ann Arbor. The Michigan fan site www.MGoBlog.com came into the possession of emails between Brandon and disgruntled fans. For a savvy businessman like Brandon to even reply to these was bad enough but his communications were immature and unwarranted.

-As for Michigan going forward, look for a permanent AD to be in place in the next six weeks and a new head coach in place in time for the recruiting push in January.

-I have a feeling Ole Miss goes down for the second week in a row today. Their defense hasn’t given up more than 20 points yet this season but Auburn hasn’t scored less than 20 points since Gus Malzahn took over as head coach. Factor in the loss of linebacker Denzel Nkemdiche and the diverse and up tempo Tigers’ offense and I just have a feeling the Rebels go down.

-Tomorrow of course brings us Brady vs Manning XVI and with both players shining brightly right now with their play it will be very interesting to see who blinks first. My gut tells me that Manning will put up better numbers but look for the Patriots to get the running game going early which will keep Denver’s pass rushers on their heels. Tom Brady just doesn’t lose at home either.

-If Kobe Bryant isn’t suspended for his use of the ‘N-word’ directed at Dwight Howard then all of the goodwill that Commissioner Adam Silver has built up will have been for nothing. The argument will be made that black players use that word as a “term of endearment” with fellow black players. Let’s be clear; that was not Bryant’s intent when he caught on camera. Let also not forget that Bryant has been fined in the past for gay slurs as well. Silver simply can’t tolerate this behavior from any player let alone his stars.

College and Pro Football are on the Docket as Well as the World Series

CFB Trophy
CFB Trophy
The committee that decides who plays for this trophy unveils their first final four this week.

Saturday brings me to the blog and to the fact that I can’t believe we have less one week until we hit November. Didn’t college football just kick off? Do you believe the first week of the season was actually in August? I was always told that time goes faster the older we get but I didn’t exactly expect a supersonic jet ride.

Today I’m catching my breath with thoughts on college and pro football as well as the Fall Classic which may actually end before November gets here believe it or not.

College Football

This Tuesday the 13-person college football playoff committee meets and reveals their top four teams. The committee is now actually down to 12 as Archie Manning had to step aside due to health issues. I for one am about as excited for this as I am a root canal but it creates talking points though doesn’t it?

Let’s be real here; there is still a lot that can happen and perhaps some of that chaos will continue today with Ole Miss and Mississippi State both on the road in the SEC. One of the top people I lean on for college football insight is Stewart Mandel who now writes for Fox Sports after years with Sports Illustrated.

Mandel argued this week that it’s very possible that two of the five major power conferences will get shut out in the ‘final four’ and he isn’t wrong. But I question the politics that will be involved by the committee. Mandel believes the Big Ten and Pac-12 will be on the outside looking in even with a potential one-loss Ohio State or Michigan State or even Oregon.

No one argues the SEC and more specifically the SEC West is the most dominant conference in football but there are two questions that come from this. First is whether or not the teams will knock each other off so badly that no one is left with less than two losses and secondly will there be ‘SEC overkill’ in the eyes of the committee.

Remember, good match-ups are great for the fans but they are even more important for the television networks. How would a final four of Ole Miss, Mississippi State, TCU and Florida State look versus let’s say a final four of Florida State, Notre Dame, Alabama and Auburn?

Don’t ever dismiss the politics in collegiate athletics my friends.

Yost
Ned Yost has leaned heavily on his bullpen and rightfully so.

The World Series

The Kansas City Royals took a 2-1 lead last night in the World Series with a 3-2 win over the Giants in San Francisco last night. For the second straight game the Royals’ bullpen shut down the Giants which has become a trend throughout the season and now into the playoffs. It’s a very common theme where the Royals get a lead and take that lead into the sixth inning.

In effect, Manager Ned Yost has shortened official nine-inning games to essentially games that are just six or seven innings. This isn’t new; the Yankees did it during the great run of five World Series titles when the bullpen would take over and then hand the ball to John Wetteland and then Mariano Rivera. If the Giants are going to stay in this series they must get out early or this thing will be over in five.

Pro Football

Remember my preseason picks? Ya, that selection of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers as a wild-card team isn’t looking so good now is it? The Bucs have been competitive in most of their games but for the most part it has been nothing like I thought it would under new coach Lovie Smith.

 

Royals, Tigers are Ships Passing in the Night

Butler
Butler
Billy Butler and the Royals are in the World Series and strangely enough they are similar to the team they lost the division too.

Sports brings out the best in people and while it can often bring out the worst too, it’s moments like Wednesday evening in Kansas City that make sports great. After 29 years the Kansas City Royals are returning to the World Series.

This is a team with no superstars which probably makes them even more enticing to the common fan and what I find most interesting about them is that they almost seem to be the very team they have pursued in the American League Central.

Brett
George Brett was a part of those great KC teams in the 70's and 80's and now gets to enjoy this as well.

What I mean is that eight years ago, the Detroit Tigers stumbled into the playoffs for the first time since 1987. They had the division wrapped up until these Royals came to Detroit and swept them forcing Detroit into the wild-card spot. While the Tigers had more “stars” then these current Royals do, the feeling around the Motor City in 2006 was total pandemonium.

The same craziness was on display in Kansas City Wednesday night as the Royals swept the Baltimore Orioles in four games. The Royals, who lost the division to Detroit by just one game, have now won eight straight playoff games. A dramatic, extra-inning win over Oakland in the play-in game, followed by a three-game sweep of the best team in the American League in the Angels.

While those 2006 Tigers didn’t sweep their first two opponents, they did defeat the New York Yankees three games to one and then beat the Oakland A’s four games to win the AL Pennant. Despite the two losses, the momentum never the left the Tigers much in the same way it hasn’t left the Royals.

Both organizations were very competitive throughout the 1980’s. The Tigers won the 1984 World Series while Kansas City won the ’85 Fall Classic over favored St. Louis. The Royals had actually advanced to the World Series in 1980 before losing to the Philadelphia Phillies. Ironically in ’84, the Tigers defeated the Royals to advance to the World Series.

The Tigers would also win the American League East in 1987 but lost to the Minnesota Twins in the ALCS. While the Royals playoff run ended in 1985 with the title. They did have great success in the 1970’s with division titles in ’76, ’77 and ’78. All three of those years the Royals lost the ALCS to the Yankees.

With both the Tigers and Royals having good success from the 1970’s through the ’80’s, the decade plus that followed was anything but successful. The Royals struggled to stay below 90 losses at times while the Tigers would actually reach total futility in losing more games than any American League team in history in 2003.

Today these two teams may in fact be two ships passing in the night. The Tigers are likely to lose Cy Young winning pitcher Max Scherer as well as Victor Martinez in free agency. Miguel Caberera looked mortal in 2014 as he dealt with injuries and while some of the youth was good, the Tigers overall took a step back.

The Royals may be peaking at the right time with a great blend of seasoned veterans and young players who are a great fit together. Kansas City also has tremendous bullpen strength which is a great foundation for the future. Look no further than the Yankees during late 1990’s and 2000’s.

For all I know, the Royals will do just as the 2006 Tigers did in the World Series which was completely tank but this team just seems different. Win or lose, I think we are starting to see the changing of the guard in the American League Central.