Friday, October 31, 2014

2014 World Series

While it was fun to have a true underdog to pull for in the KC Royals, and you had a fabulous and historic pitcher performance by Madison Bumgarner (I mean truly historic in an era of never-ending hyperbole), did you really think you were watching good baseball?  Did you not feel a little cheated, as I did, to not be watching the best teams compete for a championship?  Yeah, yeah, to the winner go the spoils but don't kid yourself that the best team won.
We're in an era where getting hot at the right time is paramount, because all of these teams are mediocre, even the ones that I would say were the best teams this year.  But at least you wouldn't be watching hitters who don't know the strike zone make it unbelievably easy for a very good pitcher to dominate like never before.  Side note:  I heard today that KC isn't planning on resigning four or five of the most integral players in this playoff run.  So how good are they then? 
My own beloved Red Sox won the World Series last year with a team as flawed as they come.  Were it not for a shutdown closer, the greatest clutch hitter of all time and an ace pitcher, we would've lost to arguably a better team.  And my Red Sox seem to be content to keep building teams that way because we're seeing you can win it all with the best mediocre team.
Don't get me wrong, I like the kind of players that both the Giants and Royals displayed in this series, mostly hard-playing grinders (and I'd rather have a team full of those than a team full of Puigs) but where was even a modicum of star power?  Where were the five-tool players?  San Francisco's leader and best player was basically a no-show in this series and they still won.
And remember, this is the third time in five years the Giants have won this way -- with a team no one thought could go all the way (and again, kudos to them) -- add to that last year's Sox win and it's getting to be a real bad habit.
So while I understand that having more teams in the playoffs is good for those markets that seemingly can't get there without a crutch, I disagree that it's good for the game overall.  What's good for the game is being able to watch a World Series where it at least kinda feels like you're watching the best baseball possible.
This never happened when there were no divisions and the best record (best team) in each league played each other in the World Series; this never happened when there were two divisions in each league, so you had League Championship series to determine who went to the Series -- and remember how great those series were through the years -- and I don't remember it really happening when they added the wild card to the mix.  But it seems to be happening every year now that we have two wild card teams.
I dunno, maybe something else is to blame but the end result is that we're watching World Series that are well below par, well below what we deserve as diehard fans.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

2014 College Football Odds Picks - Week 10

The college football world is buzzing about the inaugural 4 teams that a selection committee spit out on Tuesday. All that I am going to say that it just affirms the SEC bias that people have. LSU has lost two games and all we hear is how tough the Tigers are. Bull(cough). And Arkansas is always a tough game. They haven't won an SEC game within the past 2 years. But there is lots of time for the committee to fix their bias.

As for my picks, let's rock them this week and get to over 40% wins this season. After a 6-1 week, I know that I can achieve that goal. And at least one of the Selection Committee's Top 4 will fall this week. And for me looking at this, it is another week of underdogs primarily.

Monday, October 27, 2014

They’re At It Again

My alma mater’s baseball team had their annual Halloween Costume game. Enjoy!

Sunday, October 26, 2014

Found On Twitter: Leafs Game Summary

You get one guess who won the Bruins-Leafs game last night… and who escaped the CBC censors at the end of the game too!

2014 College Football Odds Picks Results - Week 9

I have finally broke through with a winning week. 6-1-0 for this week. Picked the LSU upset, and was on the right side of those 1 point lines. Kentucky was a 14.5 point dog. Lost by 14. Oregon was a 17 favorite. Won by 18. It does feel nice to actually feel like I know what I am talking about. You couldn't tell that from the first 8 week of picks.

The stupidest thing this week that I saw was a Michigan Wolverine bringing a stake out to Michigan State's stadium and planting in the field pre-game. Why would you do that? You bring ridicule onto your team, you really pissed off the Spartans, just listen to coach D'Antonio in the post-game press conference, and it looks like you can't visualize what it is like to win on a rivals stadium. Hey Big Brother, little brother just kicked your ass again. And no, Mike Hart isn't there to eat those words.

After this week, my Top 10:
1. Mississippi State
2. Florida State
3. Oregon
4. Michigan State
5. Alabama
6. Auburn
7. Georgia
8. Ohio State
9. Notre Dame
10. TCU

Friday, October 24, 2014

2014 College Football Odds Picks - Week 9

After this week, we are going to be 3/4 of the way through the regular season. I am hoping that I can have a great last 3 weeks and get close to the .500 mark for the season. Who could have guessed that both Mississippi schools would be in the Top 3 of the polls right now and it is funny that the politicing has already begun. Marshall has hired a PR firm to try and get into the playoffs because they believe that they will go undefeated this year. Of course if you look at their schedule, there is not very tough teams there. So I don't think that Marshall has a snowballs chance in hell of making it, but it is an example of how crazy this year has been.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

2014 College Football Odds Picks Results - Week 8

This year has been a disaster in doing this. I am struggling along at a 33% Winning Percentage. The problem is that most people have no idea which team will show up on a Saturday. Either the world beaters, or the one that just does enough to get by. Alabama scoring 59 points? OK, but Texas A&M scoring 0? You think that cannot happen.

And I am going to argue that the SEC gets a pro-bias from the media and coaches. And I am not going to argue it by looking at the top teams in the conference this year, but at the last SEC ranked in both polls, the LSU Tigers. You are telling me that the LSU Tigers are near the 20th best team in the nation? Have you watched them? They haven't impressed anybody, but yet they are put into the Top 25. Ugh. I hope that the selection committee quashes this nonsense.

Saturday, October 18, 2014

2014 College Football Odds Picks - Week 8

With #1 Mississippi State and #6 Auburn off this week, I figured that I would lick my wounds from last week and only pick the 7 games that feature Top 10 teams. Last week was mostly favorites, this week has only 2 favorites that I am picking. With my record this year, every favorite will win. That is just my luck.

If things play out according to Vegas, then the only game that will have an effect on the playoff race is the Notre Dame/Florida State game. And if it goes according to plan, then Notre Dame's playoff chances will be practically nil after the game. If I were to pick a true upset (besides Arkansas over Georgia), I would pick Texas A&M over Alabama. Alabama is showing lots of chinks in their armor. I believe that they will have another loss before the season is over.

2014 College Football Odds Picks Results - Week 7

Well, another week, another flop. I had most of the winners, just not the right spread. So I need a couple of big weeks to come back and possibly get to even for the year.  This season has been a topsy-turvy one and the unexpected has happened. There is parity in the college ranks. If you ask me, the class of college football is Florida State, but they don't show it most of the time.

To all of those people writing off the Big 10 after week two when some MAC teams beat the Big 10, you might want to look again. The vaunted PAC-12 isn't looking elite. They all have at least 1 loss and most of the losses have looked bad. The ACC is Florida State and the little 13. The Big 12 is looking better than what the experts said that it would be. And the SEC is the SEC. The best conference in the land. However, look at the Big 10. 6 teams with only one loss. and you can make the argument that it is the most competitive conference behind the SEC.

My Final Four at the current time: Mississippi State, Florida State, Baylor, Mississippi
On The Outside Looking In: Notre Dame, Michigan State, Alabama, Oregon

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Found On Twitter: Throwback Thursday

On that note, enjoy tonight’s game!

Monday, October 13, 2014

14 Games Is Way Too Little For Trevor Gillies

Trevor Gillies Acting Like A Goon!
The AHL had a chance to make a statement for player safety with Trevor Gillies here. And the AHL has failed. You have concussion research that shows that hockey players face the same problems that football players have in later life and yet you let this Gorilla slam a kid's head into the ice after the kid has no desire to fight. I am sure that since this is the first game for the kid as a pro, that it is an attention getter, but it isn't the attention that hockey wants or needs. And if you look at Gillies history, this is a minor goon move for a person of his stature.

The Adirondack Flames have a chance here to correct their mistake of signing Gillies. They should cut his ass after he serves his 14 game suspension. I know that won't happen. Hell, you will probably have Brian Burke promote his ass up to Calgary just because Burke likes tough guys. This guy has had suspensions all throughout his career and it doesn't deter him. And his apology isn't worth the breath wasted on it.

If I am the Senior VP of Player Safety, Stephane Quintal, I am calling Calgary and telling them that Trevor Gillies will not make it to Calgary to play for the Flames. I would have him suspended indefinitely from the league and have a show-cause hearing for any team that wants to bring him in to their roster.  And then if the team doesn't take the hint and actually goes through with the hearing, then ensure that if Gillies decides to go goon again, it isn't only his ass in a sling, but the Coach, GM, and owner. Suspensions and fines would be spelled out.

Hockey has evolved from the Blood and Guts days of the 70's and early 80's. Gillies is a throwback to those times and doesn't fit into what hockey needs to be today. The NHL needs to keep him out of the top league in North America and work with the AHL and the minor leagues to ensure that they understand what the NHL is looking for in on-ice conduct.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

2014 College Football Odds Picks - Week 7

Week 7 picks will have sort of an edge to them. Just got done reading the NY Times and Fox Sports reports on Jameis Winston and the way that the prosecutor's office in Tallahassee were stymied in their investigation of Winston allegedly raping another student. Right now, I wish that Seminole Nation would rise up against the Administrators of the school and the Athletic Department. Because they didn't protect the University, they brought it shame.

Back to the games. Georgia looked like they could be the savior of the SEC East. Well, that isn't going to happen with Todd Gurley sitting on the sidelines, suspended indefinitely. And as for the SEC lobbying for two teams in the playoffs right now. Just shut the pie hole and let the games play out. Y'all might have 2 losses for each and every team. Then come and say that you have the best teams. You can't.

Finally, I am picking more than 10 games this week. There are some games that I have strong thoughts about, so let's pick them.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Found On Twitter: Barry Trotz

I think Barry looks pretty badass with the wings placed where they are.

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Posted On Twitter

You could say I don’t have high expectations this season. The truculence era is officially over now that Colton Orr and Frazer McLaren are gone. In their place, we have fourth-liners that not only don’t fight, but we’re not sure whether or not they’re NHL-caliber players.

Realistically, I’ll be rooting for a team that will finish on the outside looking in when April rolls around. They Leafs just don’t have enough to get in the top eight. But if they stay away from major injuries, if King Joffrey Lupul regains his form, if Jake Gardiner and Morgan Rielly continue to improve, if Jonathan Bernier and James Reimer give us stellar goaltending… oh, who am I kidding?

Regardless, a new season awaits and game time is less than six hours away.

Sunday, October 05, 2014


This will be a relatively short post since I plan on writing a bigger one on All Things Zebster regarding my whole weekend trip to Dayton to see my daughter and her beau.
I had bought tickets to fly from Portland to Atlanta to Dayton but the fire at O'Hare pushed our departure from Portland back 45 minutes, which was the exact amount of my layover in Atlanta.  Shelly was able to reschedule a connector for her from Atlanta to Raleigh to see her daughter but I couldn't get another flight into Dayton.  Luckily I was able to get a flight into Cincy, and since we were planning on seeing a game there on Saturday anyway, I just got us a hotel room and problem solved.
I got into the Cincy airport on time, where my daughter was waiting for me.  We went back to the hotel, had a cocktail at the bar and then had pizza and beer in the room.  The next morning we drove across the Ohio to park in Newport, KY to then walk across the bridge to the ballpark and see the Reds take on the Pirates in the next to last game of the season.
Crossing from KY to Cincy looking NE up the Ohio.

Some Cincy skyline and Reds history banners outside the park

Directly across the ballpark
We planned to get something to eat outside the ballpark but I was surprised, being downtown, how few choices there were at the ballpark.  We ate at Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill, where the food was good and service bad.  It's now a corporate chain.  So despite the fact there was a big Hudepohl Beer sign hanging inside (just like you can see on the outfield wall of old Crosley Field, they didn't have any to offer.  They are definitely missing out on opportunity down there.
The Reds really had nothing to play for but the Pirates still had a chance to win the division.  Unfortunately the ballpark was half full and frankly rather lifeless.  I ordered tix that would give us a view of the game but also of the riverfront behind the ballpark.  I guess I should've consulted a sun chart because the bright sun that day was directly in our faces. 
Dad and daughter

And Wes using the '14 Reds team photo as a visor

From our seats, right above home plate

From the top of our section in the shade, which made for a better photo

So we watched a few innings from our seats but then retreated to the overhang and concourse to walk around, see the park and game from different angles.  In the end the Reds dashed the Pirates' hopes of a division title.

I did like the ballpark and how it was built in a steamboat motif, with smoke stacks in right center and the centerfield deck looking like the captain's deck of a steamboat.
We subsequently walked across the bridge, taking pictures of the Roebling Bridge and back at the skyline and stadiums lining the river.
Roebling Bridge

Statue of a fullsize paddle wheel in the park along the river behind the ballpark

The bridge we walked across with paddlewheel boats

Back at the skyline at from L to R football, baseball and arena

Roebling Bridge

Even better skyline shot and sporting venues

On the concourse of the arena was a statue of a pig wearing a hockey helmet and carrying a stick, despite the fact that the ECHL franchise that plays there is called the Cyclones.  RJ, do you know of an earlier franchise there that would explain the pig?
Once across the bridge went to the Hofbrauhaus, an authentic German bierhaus, where we had arguably the best time of the weekend.  The atmosphere, food and especially beer were outstanding.
I would like to go again sometime and spend more time downtown, including WKRP.

2014 College Football Spread Picks Results - Week 6

I thought that Texas would be the favorite team in New Mexico!
I should give myself a double win for calling out the Utah upset over #8 UCLA. Of course that is the lone upset that I chose on a weekend that was full of upsets. If Stanford could have made a play on a forth and 11 and if the Spartan defense would have played in the 4th Quarter, this prediction thing would have looked good for me this weekend. But alas, it did not happen.We still did improve on the yearly winning percentage.

Outside the Top 10 - The BYU crashing the playoff scene stopped after their loss to Utah State. Really? Utah State? Wisconsin shows that without a Quarterback, that a top tier Running Back isn't enough. Michigan falls again, this time to Rutgers. The Pirates of East Carolina continue to win. They are the best team in college football for the state of North Carolina. And the SEC Least continues to wallow in mediocrity except for possibly Georgia. South Carolina 3-3? A pre-season Top 10 ranking for the Gamecocks looks even more foolish now.

Thursday, October 02, 2014

Not Found On Twitter: Defense

I want to laugh at this picture, but I’ve seen this before. By my team. About sixty times a season.

2014 College Football Odds Picks - Week 6

This week is a great week to be an SEC West fan. The teams play each other and the rankings will certainly be shaken up after the fallout occurs. All 6 teams are ranked in the Top 15 of the nation. How far will Michigan continue to fall? And will the Administration at Michigan put Brady Hoke out to pasture before the end of the season if the Wolverines continue to lose?  Nebraska gets their shot at Michigan State this weekend. The Spartans look like one of the best teams in the nation. Oregon gets a chance at revenge against an Arizona team that blew them out last year. And finally, Stanford travels to Notre Dame and are favored to beat the Irish.

This is one of the weekends that you are thankful to be a college football fan. Big game after big game gets played and after the weekend is done, you have conversations about who you believe is better.

My four playoff teams right now: Alabama, Oklahoma, Florida State, and Oregon.
Knocking On The Door: Michigan State and Baylor