This Day in History!

History can be a topic that bores many people.  However, I find it fascinating.  Not in the sense of knowing exactly what date and time something happened, but just knowing that it happened.  The dates and times is most likely what becomes tedious for many. Really, you need to know the context of a historical event.  Every day history is made it is just a matter of how eventful or important it was.  From time to time I like to pick a day and learn what has happened on this date over time.  Today happens to be a somewhat “light” day in History, but there are still plenty of fascinating things that have happened.

On this date in 1904, the New York City subway was opened.  To think it is over 100 years old is quite the thought.  It is estimated that 4.5 million people use this system daily.  That is a staggering number of people.  The NYC subway was not the first in the United States, but it certainly became the largest when it was complete.  Imagine what life would be like for many New Yorkers if the subway was never built!  It clearly would have been built by now, but taking on that type of project over 100 years ago was an awesome vision and has held an immeasurable impact on the area.

I enjoy looking to see what famous people have been born on a certain day.  Today, October 27th, is the birth date of a few historical figures.  Theodore Roosevelt was born in New York City in 1858.  He is one of the more influential people ever to have lived in the eyes of many.  Some of his accomplishments include being a politician early in life and leading the “Rough Riders” in the Spanish American War.  That success led to a higher position in politics and eventually leading to becoming the youngest President of the United States.  As President, he was influential in Trust-Busting, building the Panama Canal, and being the first real champion of conservationism.  Roosevelt was also the first American to win a Nobel Prize.  He coined the term, “speak softly and swing a big stick”.  He was an awesome figure in our country’s history and his popularity led to him being immortalized on Mt. Rushmore.  Can you imagine if he was never born?

Here are some other influential figures that were born on this day.  Mob Boss, John Gotti, was born in 1940.  Gotti rose in power to become the “boss” of the Gambino crime family.    Influential and Trailblazing actress Ruby Dee was born in 1924.  The great poet, Sylvia Plath, was born in 1932.

Another moment that is historical for some was that the Boston Red Sox won the World Series on this day in 2004.  Normally, winning the World Series is not that big of a deal, but the Red Sox had not won in 86 years and many believed they were “cursed”.

As you can see History does not have to be boring or mundane.  History is made every day and it is in the eye of the beholder.  Not many can argue the importance of the birth of Teddy Roosevelt but many could care less about the Boston Red Sox winning.  That is what makes history great.  History is made every day and no matter how small or large the happening, just know that it happened and that makes it history!

 

—Victor Mandalawi

 

 

The Halfway Point!

A couple of months ago I wrote an article about College Football beginning.  I spoke of the game day experience differences between pro and college.  I also discussed some of the early favorites to win the National Championship.  I also discussed the preseason favorites for the Heisman Trophy.  Now that we are at about the mid season point for most teams it is a good time to take a look at the standings.  You also get a much clearer picture of the Heisman Trophy watch.

This weekend will feature a couple of ranked teams playing each other.  Michigan will be playing at Penn State on the nationally televised ABC game of the week.  USC will be visiting Notre Dame in another nationally televised night game.  Clearly, those games have the most appeal for this weekend.  If any of those teams lose, besides Penn State, they will most likely be out of the playoff hunt.  There are a few other match-ups that have meaning but only because of the name of the University.  Alabama vs. Tennessee and OK. State vs. Texas sound great on paper but I doubt either will be a game.

So far the very top of the standings have not changed that much, other than FLA St. dropping all of the way out and Clemson losing a game.  Alabama is still undefeated and rolling through their competition. They should win again this weekend and here is a pretty good article about their game and rivalry with Tennessee.  Penn State has climbed to the number 2 spot without any type of major win.  That can change that tomorrow night!  Georgia is undefeated and has been dominant.  They have beaten a solid Notre Dame and climbed to #3.  TCU is also undefeated while looking very good along the way.  Wisconsin is also undefeated but they have no real marquee wins either.  One thing is certain, all of these teams will not finish undefeated.  In another 2 months we can look back at this article and see the changes that have happened.

ESPN has their version of a Heisman Watch and it can be found here.  Clearly all of these players are really good and very valuable to their team. I often wonder if the media drives the voters in a certain direction.  They have Barkley in the lead, yet he is not even having as good of a season as he did last year.  He still has the meat of his schedule coming as well.  Love from Stanford is having a monster season and they have a few marquee games left for voters to watch.  The player in 3rd is Baker Mayfield from Oklahoma.   He is having a great year, he dominated in an early major matchup with Ohio State, and he has a game left against highly ranked TCU.  My vote would be for him.

In my opinion, it does not matter who is in the top 5 right now.  That will all change by the end of the season.  Teams need to keep on winning and control their destiny and let the chips fall where they may.  I would like to think the same holds true for the Heisman contenders.  Play as well as you can and hope it falls your way.  I do know that every week brings drama and great match-ups.  I can’t wait to see the landscape in another 2 months.

–Victor Mandalawi

 

 

Off with a Bang!

Last week I wrote about the baseball playoffs starting.  I did not have any intention of writing about them again so soon, but after the first round(division series) I felt compelled to.  The division series concluded last night and it was a game filled with drama.  There were four series that took place, two of them were fairly dramatic and two were not. I better mention that my choice to win it all has already lost to my favorite team, the Yankees. I better not pick against them again!

In the A.L. the Red Sox vs Astros series was not nearly as dramatic as the the other A.L. series.  The Astros jumped out to a 2 games to 0 advantage by slugging their way to 8-2 victories in each game.  Boston returned home for game three and was able to win the game easily 10-3.  Game 4 was also in Boston and it was a closer contest with the Astros pulling it out 5-4.  In the end the red hot Astros bats were too much for the Red Sox, such a shame!  The Red Sox have a ton of talent and many feel they have under performed.  The Red Sox must have felt that way as they have already relieved their manager of his duties for next year.

The other series in the A.L included the Yankees and my pick to win it all, the Indians.  The Indians stormed out of the gate and took the first two games.  The second game was a pretty great comeback and had some serious drama.  Many would have figured the Yankees would be done at that point but they showed true heart and fought back to tie the series and then win it on Wednesday.  The Yankees were able to beat the Indians great pitcher, Corey Kluber, twice. The Yankees were able to win the series with their star, Aaron Judge, being historically awful in the series.  This sets up an Astros vs. Yankees match-up for the chance of playing in the World Series.

In the N.L. the Dodgers were able to jump out to a 2 game to 0 advantage while at home.  The series then shifted to Arizona and again the Dodgers had no issue with the D-Backs. They closed out the series with a sweep.  The Dodgers look like they have returned to their dominant form from the regular season before their slump near the end of the year.

The final N.L. match-up was the Cubs vs. the Nationals.  The series did not disappoint!  Each game seemed to have drama and heroics.  The Cubs took the first game while the Nationals took the second in our Nation’s Capital.  As the series shifted to Chicago the Cubs took the third game and game four was rained out.  This caused some drama as it would have allowed the Nationals to make some pitching changes that they chose not to.  The game was played the following day and after plenty of scrutiny in the media the Nationals did start one of their stars, Stephen Strasburg.  He was dominant and proved to be worthy of the start.  Game 5 would be back in D.C. and it was a classic!  It was not necessarily a well played game, but it had tons of drama from beginning to end. In the end the Cubs pulled it out and will face the Dodgers in the N.L.C.S.

The Yankees start their series tonight with Houston, hopefully they can jump out to an early series lead by stealing a game in Houston.  The series could end up being a classic but it could also be a dud.  I just can’t pick against the Yankees again, I made that mistake once already.  The Cubs had a long trip to Los Angeles overnight and start tomorrow night.  I am looking forward to this series since it is a re-match of last years NLCS.  The Dodgers have a better team this year and should win the series, but I do not like to pick against defending champs.  Regardless of the outcome, I am sure the baseball will be great to watch.

—Victor Mandalawi

 

Postseason Baseball has Started!

This time of year is great for many reasons.  Football is in full swing, the NHL is back, and the NBA preseason has begun.  Those reasons are enough to be excited, but the postseason has started for MLB.  As always, there are going to be plenty of storylines.  Can the Cubs repeat?  Can the Indians break their long streak of futility?  Will the Nationals break through?  I could go on and on about each team.  I would like to look at the match-ups and see who the experts are picking.

In recent years, MLB has added a wild card team to each league.  This creates a one game, winner take all scenario between the 2 wild card teams. The drama of these type of games is awesome. The managers have to manage as if there is no tomorrow.  This year the match-ups were the Yankees vs. Twins and the D-Backs vs. Rockies.  In the A.L. the Yankees won their game even though their starting pitcher did not get out of the first inning.  The bullpen turned in a masterpiece as well as the managing moves by Joe Girardi.  He did not hesitate to make early moves that some would see as unconventional. In the N.L. the Diamondbacks won a slug-fest against the Rockies.

The A.L. has two match-ups, Yankees/Indians and Red Sox/Astros.  Both series will be fun to watch.  The Yankees have a very tough assignment in Cleveland.  Their starting pitching is very, very good and their bullpen is very good as well.  The Yankees will have to grind this out as Cleveland might be the best team in the league.  The other series figures to be a great match-up.  Both teams are very good and have plenty of weapons at their disposal.  I would think Houston has the upper hand based on having better starting pitching.

In the N.L, the series match-ups are as follows: Cubs/Nationals and Diamondbacks/Dodgers.  On paper the Nationals have had the better season but the Cubs won it last year and have the same players on their team for the most part.  They had a slow start to the season, but turned it around.  I would not count out the defending champs.  The Nationals have a great all-around team.  Their pitching can be dominant and their hitting is also really good.  It should be a great series.  The other series featuring the Dodgers and Diamondbacks will also be really good.  The issue will be staying up late enough to watch any of it.  Both teams are out west, so the games will most likely always be late.  Regardless, the Dodgers had the best record in the game this year and figure to be a powerhouse.

The postseason will last roughly a month.  Teams have to win the division series, the championship series, and then the World Series.  I am predicting that the Cubs will face the Indians in the World Series.  That would be a re-match of last year’s World Series.  I think the Indians have just enough to win it all this year.  Here is an awesome primer from ESPN.  It shows you just about all of the information you could possibly want for each team.  Here is another article they have showing what all of their experts think will happen during the playoffs.

As mentioned, there are so many different ways a series can play out.  The thought of winning three series against the top competition should be daunting.  After all, there is only one team that wins it all.  I am pulling for the Yankees, but I am not sure it is a legitimate pick.  The experts seem to like the Indians to win it all.  The postseason lasts a long time.  I am sure I will be checking back in on this topic.  Go Yankees!!

 

–Victor Mandalawi