2018 In Review

Just in case you have been living in a cave or jungle without a calendar, this is a reminder that 2018 is officially over. Usually, a year seems to pass by in the blink of an eye. However, when you actually sit down and take a look at the events of the year it can really sharpen your focus. Within the United States alone there are countless news stories and events that have shaped the year. Your location within our country will most likely change your views and memories of news events. I wanted to take a look at some of the biggest weather events and sports stories that have shaped our year.

Every year and season the weather plays a huge factor on our lives. Our country has very diverse weather conditions and disasters seem to strike every year. If you live in the Northeast you most likely remember the barrage of Nor’easters throughout late winter. If you live in California you may remember the record setting heat and drought throughout the year. You would also remember the wildfires that devastated life and property. How could anyone not remember the absolute devastation caused by Hurricane Florence? If you lived anywhere in the southeast it is very likely you or someone you know was effected by this event. The hurricane itself was terrible, but the inland flooding was just as catastrophic. Hurricane Micheal was another devastating event for the southeast and more specifically the Florida Panhandle. Michael was very powerful and it set many records. Hurricanes and records being associated is not a good thing!

In the world of sports you can bet there were plenty of newsworthy events and not all of them are good. The Eagles won the Super Bowl and Alabama won the National Championship in football. In college basketball Villanova won the men’s title and Notre Dame won the women’s title in thrilling fashion. The Warriors won the NBA finals for the 3rd time in 4 years. The Boston Red Sox won the World Series and the world was introduced to Big Al in the Little League World Series. Did you know he hits dingers? The Washington Capitals were able to break through and finally win the Stanley Cup. Early in the year the 2018 Winter Olympics took place in South Korea. Tiger Woods not only returned to golf, but he returned to golf in a big way. He won the Tour Championship and his walk down the 18th fairway was surreal to say the least. In a despicable story, the sports world was rocked with the Larry Nassar scandal. It has altered many lives to date and will continue to for some time. Hopefully, changes can be made so this can’t happen again.

I discussed two topics and barely grazed over them at that. However, just mentioning those sports and weather stories brought back some memories from throughout the year. You begin to remember more stories that have occurred throughout the year and you realize that 365 days can sure pack a punch. It seems to be a blur, but when you really dig in the volume appears. Hopefully you had a great 2018 and I can only wish that 2019 will be even better!

Holiday Movies

Every year as the Holidays approach, television stations flood the air with Holiday themed programming.  It could be a risky decision as not everyone wants to watch Holiday shows for a month straight.  However, I think there are plenty of people that do want to watch this type of programming.  For many, it is a great way to spend time with family and friends.  It can also help people get into the “Holiday Spirit”.  Many movies have been made that are Holiday themed. I wanted to take a look at some of the most popular movies from over the years. Which movies are considered the best Holiday Movies? Does the movie need to have a Holiday scene? Does it need to be about presents?  I think this can be a very vague topic because the Holidays could have such a drastically different meaning for people.  Is Die Hard a Christmas movie? Some would say it is because the events of the movie fall during a work Christmas party.  I am going to take a look at the more traditional types of movies that focus on a Holiday theme.

My personal favorite types of Christmas movies are real similar.  I would imagine it is because of my age and what seemed to be shown when I was an impressionable child.  I am very fond of Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer, A Charlie Brown Christmas, and How the Grinch Stole Christmas.  As you can see I am into the traditional animated films that many other people enjoy.  Just because I like them does not make them the best.  

The 1940’s has a very large amount of classic Christmas themed movies that have withstood the test of time. When you look at lists of the greatest  Christmas movies of all time like this one and this one they are flooded with movies from the 40’s.  The top 5 movies of all time are from the 40’s according to Rotten Tomatoes.  I am sure there is a reason for this, but I am not a film historian and it is not that important to me to figure out why.  I can say that I have seen Miracle on 34th Street and It’s a Wonderful Life.  Both of these are very fine films and I usually catch pieces of each every year around this time.  

Here are a few more films that are extremely popular this time of year.  A Christmas Story, Home Alone, Elf, and The Santa Clause seem to dominate the landscape and for good reason.  They are good, clean, family friendly movies that appeal to a wide audience.  You can not forget about The Polar Express.  That movie has gone on to have great success in more areas than one.  Every year small railroads around the country use The Polar Express as a theme.  It has become quite popular and in many cases you have to buy your seats months in advance.  Here is one of the places for the themed ride.  As you can see they have turned the movie into a marketing machine by selling all kinds of merchandise based around the movie.

Another group of movies that have quite the following are Christmas comedies.  My personal favorites are Scrooged, Bad Santa, and Christmas Vacation.  These movies are not necessarily family oriented because of adult material throughout.  However, when watching them as an adult, they are much funnier than I previously thought upon my initial viewing.  I think that everyone has different taste in movies.  I also think that the selection of Holiday movies is so great that people can find whatever they are into.  The best part about watching the movies is the company you are watching them with. Cherish your family and friends and I hope you have a Happy Holidays! 

Bowl Season is Upon Us!

The College Football regular season and conference championship games are in the rear view mirror.  This means it is time for bowl season!  Bowl season has always been my favorite time of the season, but it has lost its appeal over the years.  There are so many games now that the postseason seems watered down.  Now that a 4 team playoff decides the National Champion there are only three games that really matter.  I am sure the players, coaches, and fans of any particular team do not agree with me but 40+ games does not seem like much of a postseason. Regardless of my thoughts the games will be played so I wanted to take a  look at some of the more intriguing games and match ups.  I also wanted to look at the 2 semifinal games.

As mentioned previously, there will be over 40 games.  It will be impossible for us to watch them all, but here are a few that I think will be fun to watch.  The Music City Bowl should be entertaining.  The game will feature Purdue vs. Auburn.  These teams are both better than their record shows and they have the capability of beating just about any team in football.  The Camping World game will feature West VA vs. Syracuse.  This game features two teams that are high octane.  This could end up being one of the most prolific offensive games of the entire bowl season.  The Rose Bowl will feature Washington vs Ohio State.  Ohio State narrowly missed making the playoffs and they have plenty of talent.  If they play well, they should handle Washington easily.  What makes this game interesting is that it will be Urban Meyer’s last game as the head coach of Ohio State.  Another game I am looking forward to will be LSU vs. UCF.  UCF has not lost in two years and has been held out of the playoffs both years.  LSU will be a formidable opponent.  If UCF can handle them easily, they will certainly be making a case for themselves.

The semifinal games have the potential for great entertainment.  At the same time, I would not be surprised if they were both blowouts.  The games will be played on Dec 29.  Notre Dame will be playing Clemson in the Cotton Bowl.  Both teams have made quarterback changes during the season and seem to be better for doing that.  The Clemson DL is dominant, will the Notre Dame offensive line hold up?  These two teams have not played all that much, the last time they met was in 2015.  The game was played in hurricane conditions with Clemson holding on at the end.  In the other semifinal, two storied programs will meet.  Alabama vs Oklahoma is sure to be a shootout.  The teams will feature the most likely Heisman winner and runner-up as their QB’s lead their respective teams.  I think the Alabama defense will be able to get a few stops, but will Oklahoma be able to play good enough defense to have a shot?

I believe that Clemson and Alabama will win their semifinal games and end up squaring off again in the National Championship.  Here is a pretty good article that has the same prediction as mine.  The article also offers predictions for every bowl game so it is worth a view.  I am looking forward to less than 10 of these games and I am sure I am not alone.  It is impossible to watch and follow this many games and quite frankly some of the games are not worth watching for the general public.  However, these games are not necessarily meant for me or the general public.  The games are a nice reward for the team and fan base.

—Victor Mandalawi

 

Thanksgiving 2018!

On Thursday, November 22nd, we will celebrate Thanksgiving!  Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States and has been celebrated that way for over 150 years.  Obviously, the roots of Thanksgiving go back much further in time about 400 years ago.  Thanksgiving day and the long weekend is a great time for family and friends to get together and celebrate each other. What does the day and weekend mean to you?  I wanted to take a look at some of the statistics surrounding Thanksgiving, the travel surrounding Thanksgiving, the cost of your Thanksgiving meal, and of course NFL football!

On Thursday, the NFL takes center stage and plays 3 games.  Ever since I was young I can remember the Lions hosting a game and the Cowboys hosting a game.  I have plenty of great memories sitting around with family members watching games or even sleeping on the couch during a game.  This year might not be any different.  The Lions host the upstart Bears in the first game of the day.  The next game will be longtime rivals with the Redskins visiting the Cowboys.  In the final game of the day, we might be treated to a shootout with the Falcons visiting the Saints.  If you can hang in there for all 3 games you should be some pretty decent football.  Good luck!!

In 1863, President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to be a National Holiday.  Since that date many traditions have formed like a turkey getting a Presidential Pardon.  This infographic is great and shows some real fun facts. President Bush started pardoning turkeys in 1989.  As you can see, 2 turkeys are sent to the White House with one being pardoned.  I wonder what happens to the other?  It is estimated that 45 million turkeys will meet their end this Thanksgiving.  Over 100,000 questions are answered on the Butterball turkey hotline during the holiday period.  Wait, their is a turkey hotline?  The best statistic is that 96% of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving in some fashion, what are the other 4% doing?

Thanksgiving also brings cost to families that are hosting.  Check out this great article showing the cost of Thanksgiving each year since 1947.  Obviously the cost will go up every year or almost every year.  Check out the inflation adjusted cost to get a real good idea.  It is pretty easy to say that the meal was $14 when you were born and the cost has gone way up, but inflation is what matters in this instance.  One other thing that is nice to see, the cost has started a downward trend over the last 8 years.

Finally, we have to talk about Thanksgiving travel. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving will be one of the busiest travel days of the year.  It is estimated that 54 million Americans will be traveling at least 50 miles from home this year.  This year is predicted to be the busiest in 13 years. Air travel is also predicted to be busier as well.  Whether you will be driving or flying, please take your time and have patience.

Every November my family celebrates Thanksgiving and I hope your does as well.  The day can have plenty of meaning for you and your family.  I have great memories dating all the way back to my youth that surround the Thanksgiving weekend.  The memories include football, food, traveling, and family.  I hope you are able to say the same and I wish for the memories to continue building regardless of what your family traditions may be.

—Victor Mandalawi

 

Mid-Point of the Season!

The NFL is in week 10! This means that every team in the league has played at least 8 games with many playing 9.  The significance of this is that the season is halfway over.  A few months ago I wrote about the season here.  As you can see, there is a reason the games are played.  We can make predictions, but they are only going to be partly correct.  I wanted to take a look at how the season has played out for the teams to this point.  I also want to look at some of the individual performances that have made their mark on the season so far.

In the AFC, is it a surprise that the Patriots are 7-2 and on top of the AFC East?  The Patriots started slow at 1-2, but have won 6 in a row to show everyone they are still the class of the division.  In my opinion, as long as Brady and Belicheck are around they will be in contention.  The Steelers and Texans are on top of their divisions.  That is probably not a surprise in the eyes of many.  The Chiefs being in the lead may not be a surprise either, but it is a surprise that their young QB has led their offense to dominance.  The Wild Card teams would be the Chargers and Bengals as of now, but I am sure there will be some changes in the next two months when the season is wrapping up.

In the NFC, there are a few surprises that many might not have seen coming. The Redskins are leading the NFC East and the Bears are leading the NFC North.  The Redskins might start trending down the rest of the season because they have had staggering injuries on their OL.  The Bears are intriguing in the North.  They still have 5 divisional games left on their schedule and if they can win the majority of those games they will have a leg up in the division race.  The Rams and Saints are the leaders in their divisions and that is not a surprise to anyone.  The Wild Card slots could end up being filled by the Panthers, Vikings, Eagles, and a few others.

Quarterback play is usually what propels teams to greatness.  It seems to be no different this year.  Pat Mahomes has been phenomenal while Brees and Brady have been their typical steady hands.  When a QB plays great and their team is very successful, that is a recipe for MVP votes.  Some other players that are in the running for MVP would be Todd Gurley of the Rams.  He is having a monster season with 16 total td’s in only 9 games as their running back.  Philip Rivers is also having a nice year while pulling the Chargers to playoff contention.  Saquon Barkley should run away with the Rookie of the Year award even though the Giants have been very underwhelming.

As usual, the NFL has delivered major entertainment halfway through the season.  Teams that were expected to play well have while other teams have surprised.  You also have players that always perform to a high level doing their thing, while some young guns have stepped up and are displaying their talent.  As mentioned earlier, you can’t give awards and win games without playing them.  I know the first half has delivered and I can’t wait for the second half to start.

—Victor Mandalawi

 

Interesting Facts About and the Business of Halloween!

Halloween is right around the corner as it is celebrated on October 31st.  There will be plenty of Halloween parties this weekend, for both children and adults.  Many kids will walk their neighborhoods while dressed up and collect candy.  Halloween is a very popular “holiday” and it has turned into big business, very big business!  I wanted to take a look at the statistics of Halloween and some interesting facts about the Holiday.  I also wanted to look at the origins of Halloween to see how the traditions may have started.

Halloween can be traced back 6000 years to Celtic speaking countries.  It shares a date with Samhain, which was a Gaelic festival held on October 31st and November 1st marking the end of the harvest season.  There are plenty of other influences on Halloween, but when did it become mainstream in the US?  The modern Halloween as we know it started in small Irish and Scottish immigrant communities during the mid 19th century.  By the early 20th century it had spread coast to coast and was celebrated by people of all backgrounds.  Many people would wear homemade costumes and it was not until the 1930’s that mass produced costumes were introduced.  Trick or Treating was stopped for a few years during World War II, but as soon as the war was over it started again and has picked up popularity ever since.

Here is a great post sharing plenty of interesting facts about Halloween.  The first Jack o’ Lanterns were made from turnips.  I mentioned it earlier, but Samhainophobia is considered the fear of Halloween.  The most popular candy for trick or treaters is chocolate.  The great magician, Harry Houdini, died on Halloween.  It is estimated that 75% of Americans will hand out candy.  Not all countries are as obsessed with Halloween as Australia and France believe the day to be overly commercialized.

Is Halloween overly commercialized?  Of course it is!  The reason is because Halloween spending will hit 9 billion this year. Huge chunks of that come in the form of costumes, decorations, and candy.  The most popular costumes for adults are witches, zombies, vampires, and pirates.  Children also love being witches along with superheroes and Star Wars Characters.  It is estimated that 20% of pet owners will purchase a costume for their pet.  The most popular pet costumes are pumpkins, hot dogs, and bumble bees.  The previous article mentions that Halloween is seen as affordable and most of the time people will spend entertainment dollars if something is seen as affordable and entertaining.

In my opinion, Halloween is overly commercialized.  It is recognized as the 2nd highest selling holiday behind Christmas.  Being over commercialized is not necessarily a bad thing though.  If you can spend a few dollars and have a great time with family and friends then it is worth it.  In many neighborhoods it is a great reason to get out and meet your neighbors and make new friends.  I know I will be out, will you?

 

—Victor Mandalawi

 

 

The NBA Season has started!

 

This is a busy time of year for sports fans.  Major League Baseball is halfway through the playoffs while NFL Football and NCAA Football are well underway.  If you did not notice, the NBA season started on Tuesday.  There were two games and both were marquee match-ups.  The first game saw the Celtics and Sixers while the other featured the Warriors opening the season at home and they were presented with their Championship rings.  Now that the season has started I wanted to take a look at what teams will be contenders, what players will compete for the MVP award, and teams that have made significant changes to their rosters.

How will the season play out this year?  Check out this great article giving a preseason power ranking complete with variables for each team.  The article really gives best case and worst case scenarios for each team.  I think it is a very nice primer for the season.  If you can not read it all, certainly find your favorite team and give it a look.  On paper, the Western conference seems to be stronger than ever.  There will be a couple of pretty good teams that don’t make the playoffs.  The Eastern conference is not as deep.  I would think they are top heavy with 3-4 very strong teams and not much else after that.  Now that Lebron is a Laker, the Cavs will not be winning the Eastern conference.  That will at least provide viewers with a different finals match-up for the first time in years!

What player will win the MVP?  Last year James Harden won it while averaging 30 plus points and almost 9 assists a game.  Winning back to back MVP’s is difficult but not unprecedented.  Stephen Curry recently repeated as well as LeBron winning 4 out of 5 in a stretch.  With Durant and Curry on the same team, they will most likely “steal” votes from each other and even though LeBron should win it every year, voters get “tired” of voting for the same player every year.  I think Lebron can win the MVP, but he will have to be very special and lead the Lakers to a much higher finish than many people think.  One of the hot names is Giannis Antetokounmpo and this article gives a pretty good reason as to why he can win the MVP.  It is an interesting name and I can’t make an argument against him.

Every off-season NBA teams can drastically re-shape their roster and this off-season was no different for plenty of teams.  The Lakers added Lebron, Rajon Rondo, and a few other pieces.  They will certainly be a much better team.  I do not think they will compete for a ring but they will be a better team.  The Celtics did not really make any moves, but they will be getting Heyward and Irving back from injury.  When you add those two players to a team that made the conference finals it is a big deal.  The Raptors were able to pick up Kahwi Leonard, will he be enough to put them over the top?  The Warriors added Cousins to an already loaded roster.  Will there be enough basketballs and minutes to go around?

The beginning of any season is always a fun time for fans.  Some fans lose hope pretty quickly while others are treated to special seasons.  Hopefully your favorite team will provide you with plenty of entertainment.  However, if your team stinks you can always watch the rest of the league.  The players in the NBA are so talented that you can watch any game and you should be entertained.  When the marquee match-ups are on you can guarantee plenty of highlight type plays.  I am looking forward to the season and I am going on a limb predicting that the Warriors will win it all, again. OK, maybe it is not a limb…

 

—Victor Mandalawi

 

 

 

 

 

Big Weekend in College Football!

 

I could probably write an article about it being a huge weekend in college football every weekend.  However, this weekend seems different to me.  It might be because of a massive showdown in the Big Ten or another match up of top ten teams in South Bend.  The Big 12 and Pac 12 both have early season battles featuring top 25 teams.  Duke and Kentucky are both ranked in the polls, wait is this football or basketball?  Let’s take a look at the weekend ahead!

West Virginia is just outside of the top ten and they are playing Texas Tech at home this weekend.  The computers seem to think that Texas Tech will emerge victorious, but I am not sure of that.  Playing in West Virginia will not be an easy task, their offense will not be as seamless in a hostile environment, unless they jump on them early and quiet the crowd.

I mentioned that Duke and Kentucky are in the top 25. It is not too big of a surprise that one of them is ranked, however, for both of them to be ranked at the same time is quite the surprise.  That is for good reason, it has not happened since 1957, over 60 years ago! Check out this article for a little context.

On Saturday night in Happy Valley, the Big Ten East could possibly be decided.  This game could also decide playoff contenders.  It may be too early to discuss those benchmarks, but that is what makes college football so fun and entertaining, every week matters. The game I am discussing is Ohio State visiting Penn State in a “white-out” game.  Seeing that atmosphere makes me want to be there for Saturday’s game.  Both teams have great offenses and very capable defenses.  The game will surely be a shootout, but I have a feeling home field advantage will be hard to overcome for Ohio State.  I think Penn State will end up victorious in a very close game.

The #7 Stanford Cardinal will invade South Bend on Saturday night to take on the #8 Fighting Irish.  This is another huge game with National title game implications.  These teams are ranked highly, but they do not seem to be juggernauts like OSU or Penn State.  Stanford beat Oregon last weekend, but was flirting with disaster before a huge turnover and touchdown completely changed the game and Stanford came roaring back.  Notre Dame was able to handle Michigan early on, but they seemed to struggle at home vs. Ball State and Vanderbilt.  Which teams will show up on Saturday night?  I think it is tough to say, but I do know that winning in South Bend at night will be a difficult chore for Stanford.  The last game at Notre Dame featuring top ten teams was very memorable, the “Bush Push“.  Hopefully this game can live up to the hype.

Predicting the winners of these games is very difficult, there are many factors involved.  I think it is especially difficult considering the players are not professionals.  Here is an article with predictions for each of the four big games this week.  While I can not really predict the outcomes of the games, I can certainly enjoy them.  I believe these games all have playoff implications and will go a long way in helping decide who is left standing at the end of the year.

—Victor Mandalawi

 

 

 

Browns Win!

Normally, I would not really get too worked up over a football game in week three.  Especially when the winning team is not your favorite team.  However, the losing football team is my favorite so I was watching the game closely.  I wanted to briefly touch on the game from the Jets side, but mainly wanted to discuss the Browns getting a win for the first time in a long time.  We can also talk about the Browns having a rookie quarterback that came in and led them to a win. What does the future hold for these two teams?

The Jets won their first game of the year in convincing style, they lost their second game in a tough battle, and they just lost their third game to the Browns.  In fairness, this was a tough game for the Jets.  They were expected to travel into a hostile environment on a short week and win with a rookie quarterback.  That was a task that proved to be too tough for Sam Darnold!  Sam Darnold seems to be the type of quarterback that will end up making a difference for his team.  The question is, when will the Jets be good again?  Let’s check back in a few years.

As mentioned before, the Browns got their first victory in 635 days last night.  That’s right, 635 days!  That is a long time between wins, but the Browns fanbase was able to make up for the lack of wins with a great celebration.  Bud Light had a genius promotion by placing locked refrigerators around the city.  The premise was that when the Browns finally got a win, the refrigerators would be opened and the fans would get a free beer.

The Browns started the season by taking the Steelers into overtime and eventually tying them in a tough game.  In the second game at New Orleans, the Browns were in control until very late when Drew Brees led the Saints to a late win.  The Browns had plenty of chances to win, but suffered a few special teams issues that eventually cost them the game.  The Browns were thoroughly outplayed in the first half of the game against the Jets.  However, their starting QB, Tyrod Taylor was pulled with a concussion.  This meant that their number 1 pick and Heisman Trophy winner, Baker Mayfield, was called into duty.  He led the Browns right down the field for a field goal.  Things continued to be bright for Mayfield as he led the Browns on 3 more scoring drives with the final one around the 2 minute mark being enough to win the game.  It looks like Mayfield will end up being named the starter next week.  I think Mayfield has enough talent to stay on the field the rest of the season and that should help the Browns get a few more wins this season.

Baker Mayfield seems to be a real talent and he may end up leading the Browns out of the gutter.  However, I believe this year’s version of the Browns is different.  They have plenty more talent and certainly seem to be headed in the right direction.  They would have earned a couple of wins this year even without Mayfield at QB.  They could be sitting at 3-0 if they would have made a few kicks in other games.  Is it out of the question that the Browns end up in the playoffs this year?  Can you imagine that story, winless last year and in the playoffs the next?  I know I will be watching, how about you?

—Victor Mandalawi

 

 

The Season is Coming to a Close!

The baseball regular season has roughly 2 weeks remaining and it will produce plenty of drama down to the wire.  Baseball is a marathon season that is full of ups and downs.  Many times you can predict the winners of a division, but you can also bet that there is always a surprise team.  A few months ago I wrote a mid-season article and not a lot has changed since it was written except for one surprise team!  I wanted to touch on the division races as well as the wildcard races.  Who will end up in the playoffs and who will be sent home?

Let’s take a look at the American League races.  In the AL East, the Boston Red Sox have ran away with the division and they are on their way to winning 110 games or more.  If they manage that feat, they will end up in pretty strong company.  They will join an elite group of teams and end up having one of the most wins for a season in history.  The Indians have a stranglehold on the AL Central.  They have had a nice season, but the division is not very good and they have been able to sleep walk through the regular season.  The AL West is very competitive this season.  The Astros are currently in the lead by 3.5 games and they should end up winning the division.  The team in second place currently is a surprise team, the Oakland A’s. Very few, if any, people would have predicted they have such a strong season.  The three division winners will await the winner of a one game playoff.  Barring something miraculous, the game will feature the A’s and the Yankees.  It is a very scary game as anything can happen in a one game play in scenario.

The National League is not quite as concrete as the AL.  It looks as if the NL East should be wrapped up by the Braves because the Phillies have really faded down the stretch.  The NL Central is not wrapped up at all, just ask the Cubs!  The Cubs have held the division for some time now, but the Brewers have been chipping away while the Cubs have struggled down the stretch.  The Cubs currently lead by 1.5 games over the Brewers.  You can also make an argument for the Cardinals.  They are in 3rd place, but they are within striking distance, being 4.5 games out of the lead. The NL West is also a 3 team race.  The Rockies have a 1.5 game lead on the Dodgers and a 4.5 game led on the Diamondbacks.  Sorting out the divisions will be dramatic enough, but remember that two of those teams will end up in a wildcard slot.  There are 4 teams with a legitimate chance of getting the wildcard, but only 2 slots!

As mentioned before, the season is an absolute grind.  There are always ups and down for every team.  The Yankees have a chance to win 100 games and many would have thought their season was a roller coaster ride.  The American League does not have that much drama compared to the National League.  You can see many of the scenarios in this fantastic article.  Normally with a season that is this long you do not feel the intensity of the game.  I think that will change starting this weekend and all through the playoffs.  I am not sure who will eventually win the races, but it sure will be fun watching!

—Victor Mandalawi