On Sunday, the National Baseball Hall of Fame will induct 6 more players to their fraternity. Anyone that follows baseball knows that getting into the Hall of Fame is a great honor. It could be argued that it the hardest Hall of Fame to get into of all the major sports. However, that argument is for another day. There are two players Alan Trammell and Jack Morris that were elected by the Modern Era Baseball Committee. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America elected four other players including Vlad Guerrero, Trevor Hoffman, Chipper Jones, and Jim Thome. Let’s take a brief look at their careers and who has a chance to get elected next year.
Here is a great article that gives reasoning why each of these inductees should be in the Hall of Fame. I was able to see all of these players at some point of their careers and I wanted to share a few reasons that stick in my mind as to why they are deserving inductees. Starting with Alan Trammell, he was the type of player that was more than capable but was never flashy. He was just one of those guys that always seemed to get the job done. Trammell made it to the Majors at the age of 19, so clearly he had something special. One statistic that I recently read about him puts him in elite company. It is this: he was the first player to ever hit at least .340, 28 homers, 100 rbi while playing more than half of his games at SS. It has only been done one other time and that was by A-Rod. Jack Morris was a teammate of Alan Trammell and was also a modern era selection. In looking at Morris’s raw statistics, many would not think he is worthy of the Hall of Fame. Morris really made his case with postseason performances. He won 2 games for the Tigers in 1984 in winning the World Series. He also won 2 games for the Twins in winning the 1991 World Series. Morris also quite possibly won the most famous game in World Series history, pitching a 10 inning shutout.
The next 4 guys earned over 75% of the vote from the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. Chipper Jones is one of the best 3rd basemen to ever play the game. He played a huge role for the Braves during their awesome streak of playoff appearances. He was able to compile massive numbers in the process and was a no doubt first ballot selection. Vlad Guerrero made it in on his 2nd try. His numbers are great but many argue they are not great enough. He retired earlier than most great players do, so his numbers were not so large. I think it is pretty simple with Vladdy, when you watched him you knew he was special and a certain Hall of Famer. Jim Thome was also a first ballot player. He is more typical of the modern day players with plenty of homers, walks, and strikeouts. Thome ended up with massive numbers and even though he was basically a DH the numbers are just too massive to overlook. Trevor Hoffman was able to get into the Hall of Fame on the strength of one of the better change-ups in the history of the game. He was able to compile over 600 saves. Look at the consistency there! You would have to average 40 saves for 15 straight seasons to get there. That is an awesome number that is certainly worthy of the Hall of Fame.
In my opinion, all of these players are more than deserving of the recognition they are receiving this weekend. I personally was able to see all of them play and some of them are fixtures in some of my great baseball memories. Who will get inducted next year? Mariano Rivera will be a no doubt selection, but it will get cloudy after that. Andy Pettitte has a shot as does the late Roy Halladay. Before I get ahead of myself thinking of next year, I want to enjoy this year’s celebration of all-time greats!
The MLB All-Star game will take place on Tuesday in Washington DC. MLB has really turned the All-Star break into quite the event. Obviously the game is played, but you also have the always fun Home Run Derby on Monday. On Sunday they play the futures game, which showcases the great young talent spread throughout the minor leagues. I wanted to touch on the game itself along with the participants of the Home Run derby. Who is the favorite to win the derby? Who is playing in the futures game and how many will turn into future stars in the majors?
The Futures game will take place Sunday evening and it includes top prospects from all 30 Major League teams. The format is pretty neat as the teams are split up as Team USA and Team World. Here is a great article covering many of the prospects and their predicted arrival date in MLB will be. Normally, I would spend most of the time discussing the Yankees prospects. Unfortunately, I can’t really do that because only one is listed. The article feels as if Justus Sheffield will be called up within the next month to help bolster the starting rotation. Nothing like getting thrown into the fire! I also noticed that names like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Bo Bichette are listed. They sound familiar because they are children of former players. I also know that the Blue Jays have Vlad Guerrero Jr, the son of the great Vlad Guerrero. It is not entirely foreign to see the children of players make it to the Majors, but here are three that seemingly have a chance to be great.
The Home Run Derby will be on Monday evening. Here is a pretty neat article and graphic that will help you with the participants. There are a few big time names in this list and a few names that you would not necessarily think should be in here. The hometown favorite will be Bryce Harper. He is having a down year, but he still has the potential to create alot of memories. Another interesting name in the derby is Javy Baez. He is very fun to watch and it would not surprise me if he put on a show. Another Cub that is intriguing would be Kyle Schwarber. He has a chance to be the guy that hits the 500 foot homers we all love to see.
The actual All-Star game will be played Tuesday evening. The outcome of the game really does not matter anymore, but the game still has plenty of meaning to the fans. Here are the rosters for each team. This article claims that the AL has plenty more high end stars. Not so fast though! The NL is winning interleague games so far this season, so who knows which league is better. There are always players that get “snubbed” and here is a list with this years snubs. Blake Snell was the hot name when it came to being snubbed but the article points out the rules of the voting and it makes the snub easier to understand.
So with all of that information, who will win the game? To be honest, it does not really matter. What I do know is that the All-Star break is great for your favorite team, allowing most of the players a well deserved break. It showcases the great players around the league that we sometimes do not have a chance to regularly see play. We also get to see mammoth homers in the Home Run Derby. Who does not like watching great players hit homer after homer? We also get to see the future of the game on Sunday evening with the Futures Game. All of these events shine a bright light on the game and I will be watching!
There is no denying LeBron James is on the list of greatest basketball players of all time. Where he is on the list is debatable. He may end up as the greatest of all time and he may just enter the top ten and that will have to be enough. His statistics will end up placing him near the top of the argument, but sometimes people use winning as part of the argument. This article has him listed as the 2nd best and his career is not over. What if people talk more about LeBron leaving his team for another so frequently? Would it hurt his legacy any? Let’s take a look at what might be in store for LeBron next stint.
Unless you are living in a cave, you most likely know that LeBron is now a member of the storied Los Angeles Lakers. What does that mean to the other teams in the NBA? The team most effected would be the Cavs. Here is a nice article talking about a plan B for the Cavs. The oddsmakers changes were very dramatic. Clearly, they do not think much of the team without LeBron and that makes sense. However, I do not think they will be that bad. I think they will struggle at first and then they will find a groove and end up being decent with a shot of making the playoffs.
What does LeBron being a Laker mean? The first thing is will he be a bigger presence for the franchise than the legend, Magic Johnson? Will LeBron try to run the team as he reportedly did in Cleveland? I do not see LeBron being able to bully Magic. Will he be able to push around Luke Walton, his young coach? I do not think it will be the same as Cleveland and Miami, but I would not be shocked if that is what happened. First, let’s mention that the Lakers are now a playoff team with the arrival of James. Is the team good enough to compete for a title? I do not think so. The supporting cast is actually pretty decent, but they are not named Durant, Curry, Thompson, Cousins, and Green. The Lakers did sign a few decent players to one year deals. I think they will be competitive this year, but they are also building for the future. They will have a ton of cap room for players next summer(Leonard?) and their young players will have another year of seasoning under their belts. There are plenty of questions this move brings and here is a nice article covering it.
Can LeBron end up as an all time Laker great? I do not see it being possible because he only has 3-5 years left in the tank. If he managed to win a couple of titles in that span it is possible, but I do not think that will happen because of the gauntlet known as the Western Conference. The bigger thing to me is I wonder if LeBron is tarnishing his legacy by moving around so many times? I personally think he is. He will end up in LA for 4 years, Miami for 4 years, and will end up with 11 seasons as a Cav. I typically see the all time greats and also associate them with their team. Clearly, LeBron will always be a Cav in the eyes of most, but it does hurt him a little.
LeBron could end up being the greatest of all time and he certainly is in the discussion. He has won plenty of games and has been in countless Finals Series. He will end up leaving a massive legacy but how will he be viewed? He may be viewed as a trailblazer, changing teams is well within his right as a free agent. Many players fought for those rights and he is exercising the option to do so. He may also be viewed as a mercenary of sorts. Changing teams when it is best for him. I am not sure the story is complete as he has a few more great years left in the tank and I can’t wait to see what is in store for him in LA!
After this weekend just about every team in the league will have played around 80 games. Baseball teams are scheduled for 162 games, so clearly 81 is the exact halfway point. Teams just hit that number at a slightly different pace. I think this weekend is a great time to stop and take a look at how the season has progressed as a whole. What teams are playing well, what players are playing well, and how the Yankees are looking are a few of the things I want to cover.
A few months ago I wrote about the Yankees quest for 28. I mentioned that the Red Sox, Yanks, Astros, Indians, and a surprise team should be the front runners for the playoffs. These predictions seem to be holding true and the surprise team emerging is the Mariners. I felt the Cubs, Dodgers, and Nationals would be the class of the NL and so far I am incorrect on all 3 of those teams. However, I do think that by the end of the year the cream will rise to the top and those teams will make the playoffs. You can look at the current standings here.
Player statistics can vary all year long. Players are prone to slumps and hot streaks, but usually by the end of the year the law of averages takes hold. Many times players that look great now, end with a major slump and on the other side certain players are “second half” players. Many of the typical stars like Trout, Altuve, Ramirez, and Lindor are performing well. I think that Judge and Stanton are going to get heated up and have a monster second half. The NL has some players that are having real breakout seasons. Guys like Javy Baez, Scooter Gennett, and Brandon Crawford are playing above any predictions made about them before the season started.
Being at the halfway point and having a weekend series with the Yankees and Red Sox seems to be fitting. Check out this great article to see some amazing numbers about the teams. Both teams have not won 100 games in the same season, they both have first year managers, and they both have 17-1 runs this year. Clearly this will be a fun series to follow. Check out this article claiming the Yankees will win the division. Winning the division is very important, no team wants to play the one game play-in battle between wild cards. The Yankees do have a few things in their favor like strength of schedule and an all-time great bullpen. I think that bullpen can win them plenty of playoff games if their starters can hold up!
The halfway mark is not really celebrated or marked as much as it should. The All-Star game is usually reserved for that even though it is a little past the technical games played number. Spending this weekend and the next couple of weeks leading up to the break is a fun time for me. The season has really started to take shape and the major players will be shuffling for playoff position. Of course my eye will mostly be on the Yanks as they compete for 28!
Last week I wrote about the season being over, but not all of the way. That is because the draft and free agency will play a huge role in the following season. The draft was last night and there were plenty surprises, steals, and trades. A draftee’s mother even made news last night, but not for something she said just the way she looked. Let’s take a look at the draft results, some of the trades, and any other news that may have surfaced during the evening.
The Phoenix Suns had the first pick in the draft and they selected Deandre Ayton. That was not a surprise pick at all. Marvin Bagley from Duke went number 2 to the Kings. The next pick was Luka Doncic, he played professionally in Europe last year. Jaren Jackson went at number 4 and the top five was rounded out by Trae Young. The Young pick might have been the first pick deemed as somewhat controversial. Many pundits did not have him slotted that high. The next five picks were Bamba, Carter, Sexton, Knox, and Bridges. All of these players seem to have plenty of talent and upside. The issue is figuring out which one will end up being a star. Teams that get lucky and find a true star player get a huge advantage, they then do not have to spend so much in free agency to get a similar caliber player. Many of the players will become solid role players in the league and that will be a bonus. However, when players are busts, it can really set a team back.
The NBA draft is always full of trades. So many in fact that they are extremely difficult to keep up with. You see trades this year between teams that involve other teams picks from years ago. Lets take a look at some of the bigger trades in this years draft. The Mavs traded up to get Luka Doncic. Their trade partner was the Hawks, they received Trae Young and a future first round pick. Seems like that could end up being a huge deal for either team, just depends on who picked correctly! Mikal Bridges was selected by his hometown 76ers but was traded to the Suns a little later for a player and a future 2021 first round pick of the Miami Heat(I told you this can get crazy). There were plenty more trades if you can keep up!
According to a few experts, here are the winners of the draft. They seem to think the Mavs moving up to get Doncic was a real bargain for them. The Nuggets were able to grab Michael Porter Jr in the middle of the first round. Many believe he was a top 3 talent, but people are worried that his back issues will derail his career. The Celtics were able to grab another top tier talent late in the first round because of heart and hustle questions. In other news, Luka Doncic’s mother seems to be a real beautiful women. She may have been the surprise of the draft and even a current player felt the need to comment about her.
The Draft is a great event because almost every team is able to make selections that offer hope for the future of the franchise. I also enjoy it because some of these picks will be the stars of the game down the line. The seeds of a team are planted during the draft so hopefully your favorite team was able to grab players that will develop into the future of your franchise.
I last wrote about the NBA here. Since that time, two more rounds have been completed and a champ has been crowned. Let’s take a look at both of the Conference Championship Series and the Finals Championship Series. The last 4 teams in were not a surprise and the winner of each series is not a surprise. Is it possible to call Golden State a dynasty? Is LeBron a failure for not winning more championships? We might not see any more games, but does that mean the season is over?
In the Western Conference it was no surprise that the Warriors were playing the Rockets. Many would have argued that the winner of this series would almost certainly have ultimately won it all. Winning this series would have been the toughest battle for either team. It ended up being a great series lasting 7 games. The Warriors were able to win on the road behind the strength of a great 3rd quarter. The Cavs played the Celtics which might have been a surprise considering the injuries incurred by the Celtics. It is also a surprise that the Cavs needed all 7 games to finish of the Celtics, but they won in 7 on the road behind the strength of a great second half defensive effort setting up the 4th time in a row the Cavs will have played the Warriors in the Finals.
In the Finals, game one was a thriller. Cleveland was on the road and had a chance to “steal” the game at the end. The Cavs had a free throw attempt to take a lead with a little over 4 seconds remaining. The free throw was missed, but JR Smith from the Cavs got the offensive rebound. Instead of putting the ball back up for the possible win, he essentially dribbled out the clock sending the game into OT. I knew immediately that they had no chance of winning in OT and essentially the series was over. Losing in that fashion has to be deflating, especially for a team that is not in the same class as the Warriors. The Warriors ended up sweeping the series with relative ease winning their third title in a four year span.
Winning three titles in four years has to qualify you as a dynasty, especially in this era of free agency. This particular season does not rank highly on the list of greatest teams, but 3 of these recent seasons have ranked in the top 19. Of course these lists can be displayed in a number of different ways to propel one team or another to the top. All I need to know is winning 3 out of 4 is an awesome feat. The year they lost was the year they set the all-time record for wins in a regular season. It took a herculean effort by LeBron to steal that series. That leads me to Lebron, he has been to 8 straight Finals, which is an awesome accomplishment. However, he has only won 3 of those 8 so he will have a few people claiming he is not the greatest. I think it shows his level of greatness by just getting there. His teams in Cleveland have not been that good as he has carried the load. Regardless of his winning percentage he will finish as one of the greatest, if not the greatest of all-time!
The season is officially over now that the Finals are over. Does that mean the season is over? Of course not! The draft is around the corner and free agency will begin soon. Teams can re-shape their roster in a hurry during this period. It will also be a spectacle just to see where LeBron ends up playing next year. In the end, the season was a success as it offered plenty of entertainment and drama.
Just in case you have not been watching, the Stanley Cup Finals are just around the corner. Game 1 will be played on Monday in Las Vegas. Wait, Las Vegas? That’s right, the expansion Las Vegas Knights will be playing for the Cup. They will be playing against the Washington Capitals, who are in their own right a great story. I wanted to give a rundown of the playoffs to this point and take a look at the match-up in the Finals.
The Las Vegas Knights have been a surprise team all year and they were able to secure the number one seed in the Western Conference. They were able to make history and sweep the Kings in 4 games. The Sharks were able to sweep the Ducks as well. The Winnipeg Jets beat the Wild in 5 games and Nashville knocked off the Avalanche in 6 games. The Knights then had a tougher match-up with the Sharks, winning in 6 games. Regardless, every game they win is making history. The Jets were able to knock off the Preds in 7 hard fought games. This set up the Western Conference Finals match-up of the Knights vs. the Jets. After losing the first game, the Knights were able to go on a run and win the next four games to advance to the Finals.
The Eastern Conference played out in a different manner. The defending champ Penguins needed six games to knock off the Flyers. The Capitals lost their first two games at home before digging out of a major hole and knocking off the Blue Jackets in 6 games. The Boston Bruins beat the Maple Leafs in 7 games while the Lightning took care of the Devils in 5 games. The Capitals were then matched up with the Penguins and they were finally able to get over the hump and advance to the Conference Finals. The Lightning took care of the Bruins in 5 games to set up a great series with the Caps. The Capitals were able to win a back and forth series in 7 games and advance to the Cup Finals vs. the Knights.
The Cup Finals will be a great series no matter who wins as it is quite historical. The expansion Knights are a fantastic story and if this were either of the other 3 major American sports the story would be even greater. Just think, a team that for the most part was put together with the scraps from other teams being able to make it this far in year one. It shows that effort and will can carry a team quite a long distance. Meanwhile, the Capitals have had one of the best teams in the league over the last ten years as well as one of the best players in the league in Alex Ovechkin. Unfortunately, players are measured by championships and if Ovechkin does not get one he may not go down as one of the best to ever play even though he is.
You can take a look at this page to get an idea of what the experts think of the series outcome. It looks like 8 out of the 14 experts believe the Caps will win it all. They may be the favorites, but not by much. I do not like either team but can make a case for either team to win. I think it would be great to see an all time great player finally break through and win it all. I also think it would be a story for the ages if the expansion Knights can win it all in their first year of existence. I have no idea who will win, but I do know that Stanley Cup Finals hockey is great viewing. I will be tuning in to watch the action.
If you did not already know, the NBA playoffs have began. I mentioned it a few weeks ago in the blog. To win the championship a team has to win 4 rounds and we have completed 2 rounds, meaning we are halfway to a champ. Let’s take a look at how each series has gone in each conference and discuss the potential matchup in the Finals.
In the Eastern Conference, round one saw the Raptors knock off the Wizards in 6 games. The series had each home team winning the first 5 games and then the Raptors were able to grab game 6 playing away from home to end the series. The Celtics were able to knock off the Bucks in 7 games with each team winning every home game showing the importance of home court advantage. The series was very entertaining to follow and the Celtics were able to win despite having so many injuries. The Sixers were able to beat the Heat in 5 games. The Sixers were able to win the games quite easily as the Heat just did not have enough. The last series was a match up of the Cavs and Pacers. This ended up being a very good series as well. The series went 7 games and the Cavs looked to be in trouble plenty of times during the series. It took a historic effort by Lebron to get to the next round.
The Western Conference was not as entertaining as the Eastern but it was still plenty entertaining enough to watch. The top seeded Rockets were able to knock off the T Wolves in 5 games. The Warriors were able to send the Spurs packing in 5 games as well. The Pelicans swept the TrailBlazers even though they were the lower seed. The Brow was just too much for the Blazers to handle. The Jazz sent the Thunder home in 6 games to complete the first round.
The semifinal match-ups in the East were the Cavs vs. Raptors and Celtics vs. Sixers. As mentioned before, the Cavs seemed to be out of gas against the Pacers. Clearly they were not, they steamrolled the Raptors and swept them out of the playoffs. I predicted this would be the end of the line for the Celtics, but I was wrong. The Sixers just did not have enough to beat the Celtics. This gives us a Celtics vs. Cavs match-up for the right to go to the Finals. I would have been very excited about this outcome earlier in the year, but the injuries the Celtics have suffered might have taken a little shine of the meeting. In the Western Conference, the Warriors beat the Pelicans easily to advance. The Rockets were able to beat the Jazz handily to set up the dream showdown of Rockets vs. Warriors.
Many would argue that the Western Conference finals would give us the eventual champ, but you have to play the games. I do think they will be highly favored even though LeBron could be standing in their way. If LeBron were to somehow pull off a Championship victory, it would have to go down as one of the greatest accomplishments of all-time. I may not know the outcome of the games, but I do know that I can not wait to watch them.
The 2018 NFL draft started yesterday evening. A few years ago the NFL was smart enough to put the first round in Primetime during the week. The remaining 6 rounds will be held on Friday and Saturday. As always, the draft was full of excitement. It did not disappoint a very highly watched event. Another great thing about the draft is being covered by three different networks. If you are not a fan of a network, you certainly have your choice. How did the draft play out last night? How many QB’s went in the first round? Were there any trades that changed the landscape of the draft? How many other stories emerged? Are there any big time prospects remaining for the second round?
It seems that every year quarterbacks rule the draft. This year was no different. There were certain publications that thought 4 could go in the top 6-7 picks and certainly 4 could go in the first round. There ended up being 5 taken in the first round and 4 in the top 10. The day before the draft news leaked that Josh Allen has made some poor choices on his social media accounts. That news did not seem to bother his status as he was drafted 7th overall. Another QB, Josh Rosen, is unhappy that he fell to the tenth pick. He will do his best to show the other 9 teams that they were wrong about him.
The Cleveland Browns selected Baker Mayfield with the first overall pick. This was somewhat surprising because his measurables may not have been the same as some of the other QB’s. The Browns must have really loved him during the interview process to take him over the other guys. Once he went, the Giants selected the ultra talented RB from Penn St, Barkley. The Jets were lucky to have the Sam Darnold fall in there lap at three. The last QB to be drafted was Lamar Jackson. The Ravens traded for the pick to get Jackson, so clearly they love what they see in him.
I do not think there were a ton of surprises in the first round, at least no more than any other draft. The Bills did make two trades along the way to get into the territory to grab Josh Allen. They must have really wanted him and felt that his social media errors are just a poor choice and not all that reflective of him as a person. Being drafted in the first round is quite an accomplishment. Can you imagine being a parent and having two sons drafted in the first round of the same draft? Now that is quite the accomplishment! Another great moment during the draft was watching Ryan Shazier walk out to make the selection for the Steelers. He was involved in a scary collision during the past season that left him temporarily unable to move his legs. It had to be emotional for his family and friends to see that moment. Based on this list, there should still be plenty of impact players left in the draft. There will also be some diamonds in the rough. It is just a matter of which team finds them!
As always the NFL draft delivered. I think it is so popular because fans can see the future of their favorite teams. The decisions made now will effect teams for many years down the road, so the draft is a very important tool for NFL teams. The QB’s ruled the draft and they most likely always will unless the game changes over time. The best part of the draft is seeing the players get drafted and realizing their dreams. They put in a ton of effort to go along with great ability and now they have a shot at playing in the NFL. That is a great lesson for people, if you put in the work, good things will happen for you.
The NFL always seems to be in the forefront. However, being in the news this week and next will almost certainly be true. Only the NFL is able to make a schedule release into an event. The league wide schedule was released last night and it was news worthy. Teams do not even have their teams set for next year, yet somehow fans and experts somehow have already made predictions on next year’s record. I would think they should hold off a little, at least wait until after the draft next week. The draft starts next Thursday and will take place Friday and Saturday as well. The draft is exciting because it gives fans a chance to see the building blocks of the team they root for. Let’s take a look at the schedule and how the first round of the draft is shaping up.
Here is a look at the schedule for the 2018 season. The season should start with a bang as the defending Super Bowl Champs will be on Thursday Night Football to kick off the season. The Sunday night game will be an old time rivalry game with the Bears and Packers. One of the Monday night games will have plenty of West Coast meaning with the Raiders vs. Rams. Here is an article that covers winner and losers of the schedule. The article is not just talking about teams being winners and losers, but also networks and fans.
As mentioned before, it is really difficult to predict a win total for the teams because the teams are not even set. That being said, someone has to do it and here is a nice article that offers up a little analysis and prediction for your favorite team. I really do not see any predictions that would “rock the boat” which makes sense for the reasons I have already mentioned. I would like to think that these predictions could all change in a little over one week when the draft is complete.
The first round of the draft will take place in a little over 6 days. The draft is always big news and rightfully so. If a team is successful with their picks it can change the future of the franchise. On the other hand, if your team misses on their draft picks it can really set a franchise back. My favorite thing to see is when fans boo the selection their respective teams. Like the fan knows better than the scouts and GM’s! The first round is shaping up to be all about the quarterback. I have seen some predictions that 4 qb’s could be selected in the first 6 picks. Look for Sam Darnold and Josh Rosen to be taken 1 and 2. It would not be surprising if something else happened since these NFL teams keep their intentions very quiet.
The NFL is great at making news and staying in the forefront year round. They have been able to turn the schedule release, draft, and countless other items into noteworthy coverage. No other sports have the same reaction to a schedule release. The NFL draft is also the most popular draft for fans to follow. There always seems to be great story lines to follow and this year is no different. The story of Shaq Griffin is outstanding and it should offer hope to anyone that suffers from a disability. I will be watching the draft and hopefully I am not one of the knuckleheads that is booing my team!