Posts Tagged ‘West’

Predicting Baseball’s Division and Wild Card Winners

February 17th, 2010
There will always be people who disagree with your opinion, especially when you do not pick their team to make the playoffs. This year and these predictions will be no different, and these are the teams that I truly feel will make the playoffs in 2010. There are teams that have upgraded and teams that have downgraded, and teams that may be better without making many moves at all. The Rays come to mind when I speak of a team like this, the 2008 wonder team has a great chance to rebound and make the playoffs in 2010 as they did two seasons ago. The Dodgers made very little moves and may have regressed, at least compared to their competition in the NL West. The buzz around every baseball team is intense. Every fan feels their team has a good shot to play in October and as pitchers and catchers report this week the energy around the baseball blogosphere will be great. Each season injuries occur that completely change not only one team's season but many team's. The x-factor for nearly every team is health, and it is nearly impossible to predict which teams are able to keep their players on the field. With that said, there is a good chance that none of these predictions are correct, but these are the teams that I feel have built there rosters correctly and have the depth to make post-season play in 2010.

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Spring Is Upon Us: A 2010 NL West Preview

February 16th, 2010

The National League West was the laughing stock of the league in 2008. The Los Angeles Dodgers won the division with just 86 wins. In 2009, they went from worst to first.

The Dodgers took the division, winning 95 games. The Rockies were right behind them, forcing a nail-biting three game series to end the season in LA.
What was fun about the NL West race was that it wasn't simply a two-horse race. The Giants finished in third place, winning 88 games. The Giants and Rockies were neck-and-neck from late July until the final week of the season. Both teams delivered blows to each other down the stretch, with an end result of phenomenal nail-biting baseball games.
How will 2010 shake out?
The NL West should once again be the division to watch, despite what John Kruk might say on Baseball Tonight . Here is a team by team evaluation of the offseason and what to expect, in order of '09 standings.

Los Angeles Dodgers
The last thing a team in the playoffs needs is distraction. That was exactly what the Dodgers got in the NLCS when the team owners, Frank and Jamie McCourt, announced that they would be getting a divorce. As they distracted the team with the news, they vowed that it would not be a distraction.
In the next few days, there were reports of Frank firing his ex-wife and having her escorted out by security. This was a preview of what the offseason would hold for the division champs.
The famous divorced forced the team to put everything on hold. That meant that All-Star Orlando Hudson was not offered arbitration, therefore the team did not even get a draft pick when the Minnesota Twins ended up signing him.
The other major casualty of the divorce was 11-game winner Randy Wolf. Wolf was the most consistent pitcher for the Dodgers and helped solidify a rotation with several questions.
Juan Pierre was also dealt to the White Sox in an effort to reduce costs. Pierre may not have been an everyday starter, but fans should not forget his contributions during Manny Ramirez's 50-game suspension.
The Dodgers will still be good. Clayton Kershaw and Chad Billingsley are extremely talented pitchers. If those two can stay healthy there is no reason to think that the Dodgers will not be in contention come September.
Keep an eye on Ramirez. Suddenly the 38-year-old is looking like a 38-year-old. Does that have anything to do with Ramirez being off the steroids that he tested positive for in May of 2009? If Ramirez does not show up at the plate, the Dodgers are in big trouble.

Colorado Rockies
The Rockies did their best to cram a six-month season into four months. After falling 15 games under .500 in early June, the team raced to the best record in the National League from June 5 on.
The Rockies say goodbye to fiery clubhouse leader Yorvit Torrealba, who was done in by a misguided agent. They also lost 15-game winner Jason Marquis. Despite some who say that neither will be missed, the Rockies will have a tough time replacing what both players brought to the team. Without Marquis, the Rockies simply do not play in October. Torrealba was the most clutch player in baseball in September.
Despite the loses, the Rockies strengthened their team. After Torrealba spurned their offer, the Rox quickly moved on and signed Miguel Olivo, a power-hitting catcher who was behind the plate for every single start the AL Cy Young winner Zach Grienke made in '09.
They also strengthened their bench by re-signing Jason Giambi and landed third baseman Melvin Mora from the Orioles. Mora should push Clint Barmes at second base and spell Ian Stewart at third if the lefty struggles with his swing.
Rockies fans also saw the team reward success by signing Huston Street to a three-year deal, keeping him in purple pinstripes for longer than most experts ever thought he would be.
Perhaps the best acquisition the Rockies made in the offseason was getting their own lefty ace back. Jeff Francis, who missed all of 2009 after undergoing shoulder surgery, is getting rave reviews from medical personnel and scouts who have been watching him throw.

San Francisco Giants
The Giants, despite scoring the second fewest runs in the National League, was the best team in the National League not to make the postseason. Most expected the team to try and improve their lineup, but that did not really happen.
The Giants signed Orioles and Tigers castoff Aubrey Huff, who should make a slight impact, but after a season in which he posted a .310 OBP, to go along with just 15 home runs, fans by the bay should not expect much.
After the team had said that the boat had sailed, catcher Bengie Molina must have steered his boat back to the bay, because the Giants re-signed him to be their cleanup hitter for another season.
Needless to say, the Giants will be heavily dependent on their two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, and Barry Zito. The first two are a legitimate threat, the third will be remembered for being the worst free agent signing of the decade. The Giants will be right in it again, but fans better like defense.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Watch out for these guys. This team has been on a free fall since April of 2008. While they may have been forgotten about, they will make noise in 2010. Especially if Brandon Webb returns to form after an injury forced him to the 60 day DL early in the year. All indications suggest that he will be ready to go, which should scare the rest of the NL West.
The D-Backs get Webb back, and also acquired Edwin Jackson and Ian Kennedy, which will go a long way to help their starting rotation.
Arizona has a lineup that is very talented. Stephen Drew seems to know how to inflict damage when it matters, Mark Reynolds is a constant long ball threat, and if Justin Upton and Chris Young would come anywhere close to their potential, this lineup will be as good as any.
The Diamondbacks could easily be the sleeper of the west.

San Diego Padres
They made a few small moves in the offseason, including dealing starting third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff to the A's and acquiring Yorvit Torrealba, but the reality is, they made news more for what they did not do.
Everyone expected slugging first baseman Adrian Gonzalez to someone who can afford him in the future. The move never happened, but from all indications it will happen long before the trade deadline at the end of July.
If the Padres finish with a .500 record it will be the biggest surprise in Major League Baseball.
With four legitimate contenders in the National League West it should be a fun race to watch.

For more on the Rockies and the National League West visit

Five Players That Need to Step Up for the San Diego Padres in 2010

February 16th, 2010
The San Diego Padres come in to the 2010 season with a few new faces but a lot more familiar ones that have returned to the team for this upcoming season. The biggest question just days before the team reports to their spring complex in Peoria, AZ is, who the Padres need big seasons from in order to contend in the NL West. With Jake Peavy no longer a member of the San Diego Padres after being traded to the White Sox prior to July's trade deadline, a new ace will need to emerge to lead this team. Kevin Kouzmanoff is also no longer a Padre having been traded to the bay area as a new member of the Oakland A's. It means there will be a new fixture at third base when the season opens in just a few short months. What else do the Padres need to contend? These are the five biggest names that need to have big years for San Diego to keep them in the race all season long.

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Is NBC Giving the West Coast the Olympic Shaft with Tape Delays?

February 16th, 2010

Imagine the joy that those living on the West Coast felt when Vancouver won the 2010 Winter Olympic Games. Vancouver, B.C., is in the same time zone as the entire US West Coast is.

Finally, the West Coast would see something live other than the Academy Awards.

After the delayed coverage of the Summer Olympics in Beijing, all Americans, for the most part, were thrilled that our neighbors to the north had these games in the bag.

But for those living in the West, having Vancouver host the games was a bonus. We would have up-to-the-minute updates on all of the sports and not have to read about the results in newspapers or on online web sites with spoiler alerts dotting the pages.

No more having to stay up til midnight, no more shutting our eyes and ears, or leaving the room when TV announcers warned us in advance they were letting us know who won the ladies figure skating long program.

It's all good now, right?


NBC has delayed all live coverage to the West Coast. Why?

In 2008, Dick Ebersol answered that very question:

"It's live on the East Coast and in the Central time zone, which is roughly 81 to 82 percent of all the households in the United States. Historically, we have always shown the Olympics on tape on the west coast. We have repeatedly done significant testing or polling, if you want to call it that, on the west coast. And they have told us - the viewers have repeatedly told us that the vast majority of them, well in excess of 80 percent, want to see the Olympics when they're available to see the Olympics.

They don't want to see the key events of the day happening at 4 or 5 o'clock their time. They want to get home and watch them, and that's why there's a delay on the west coast. And you know what? Strangely enough, in every Olympics that I have done, going back to 1992, every Olympics, the audience on the west coast over-indexes against all the other regions in the United States. They love sports so much, and they know when they want to watch it, and that's in prime time." (via )

Well, Ebersol makes some decent points except for one small problem—technology has changed everything in the last two years.

With Twitter and other social media updating world events within minutes of the actual event's occurrence, we now know the results of anything having to do with political elections or sports' scores within seconds.

So why tape delay the Olympics to the west coast? It makes no sense.

California had to stay up to midnight to watch an Opening Ceremony that was over around 10:30 local time. We all heard via the Internet that one of the cauldrons malfunctioned and that Gretzky was a torch bearer.

NBC ruined the anticipation of the Opening Ceremonies for the most populated state in the country.

Bode Miller just won a bronze in downhill around 1 pm local time on Monday, so should I really wait for NBC to get its head out of the sand and show it at around 9 pm local time? Don't bother NBC—I'll watch it online.

Two hours prior to the airing of the Olympics' Sunday night coverage, we knew the Chinese figure skating duo had kicked everyone else's butts. The result?

We didn't watch your Sunday night show—we watched Big Love instead. And we watched the HBO-East version so we could see it at 6 pm—HBO gives viewers a choice of when they want to watch something. Why can't NBC?

Why can't we call Ebersol out for the real reason NBC tape delays the Olympics? NBC cares more about capturing prime-time ratings (7-11 pm) than it does in delivering a product that everyone can and should see live.

NBC, a dying network, chooses to punish those on the West Coast and right now, the masses are arising and protesting silently.

No one I know is watching the Olympics—they are going to YouTube or other sites to see the video of their favorite player or sport.

They aren't waiting for the outdated peacock to fan its feathers and show stuff hours old because this is an instant gratification society fueled by real-time technology that sates its patrons.

Just like the local 4, 5 and 6 pm newscasts on the verge of extinction due to the CNNs and FOX News 24 hour, non-stop, breaking updates, so will NBC's outdated practice of tape delaying the West Coast.

How absurd is it that a freestyle mogul competition is live at 5 pm local time, and Californians, Oregonians, and Washingtonians—some living just hours south of the event—have to wait three hours to watch it on NBC while New Yorkers watch it live?

Ebersol needs to get with the times and change the format immediately. His views are outdated and serve no purpose other than to use the west coast as a shill for prime time ratings.

Put all Olympic sports on live at 4 pm, then rerun it again at 7 pm. Or, do what HBO does for its more popular programs and do OnDemand Olympics.

Everybody wins, and the network might make even more money.

2010 NBA All-Star Game: Denver Nuggets Duo Represents Team Well

February 15th, 2010

Carmelo Anthony was challenged by the Denver Nuggets and Western Conference head coach George Karl to take the All Star game more seriously ala Kobe Bryant, LeBron James, and Dwayne Wade.

On Sunday night, it was clear that message reached the superstar as Anthony was on fire from the game's start.

Melo scored easily by driving the lane and grabbing offensive rebounds for put-backs. And during a scoring run in the first quarter, Anthony sank a three-pointer and finished the first quarter with 13 points, five rebounds, and two assists.

Melo didn’t get back into the game until there were five minutes left in the half, but he managed to put in two more buckets, two layups. At halftime Anthony was the leading scorer with 17 points, six more than James, to go along with with eight rebounds and two dimes.

At the half, Anthony was interviewed by TNT’s Craig Sager and told him, “It looks easy; it’s not easy. We put a lot of work into our craft. We’re out here having fun. We want to win, the West wants to win. I hate losing.”

In the second half, the West was down 76-69 to start, and Melo kept playing hard in the third quarter. He scored on another layup and another on an alley-oop dunk.

Melo got his double-double on a put-back dunk with three minutes to go in the game. He was at 27 points, 10 rebounds, and two assists at that point. But the East was still leading, and LeBron and Wade were both pushing for MVP honors as well.

As the game came down the stretch, Melo got the final shot to win the game, but it was a leaning three pointer that missed short off the front rim. With the made shot, Anthony would have definitely been the MVP of the All Star game, but it wasn’t to be. Still, Melo really performed well, and he was easily the best on the West.

The East won the game 141-139, and Dwayne Wade with his 28 points and 11 assists, won the MVP. And while the outcome was disappointing for Western fans, it was the best All Star game in recent memory without a doubt.

While Melo was the West’s MVP, Chauncey Billups performed up to an All Star level as well. He went five-for-eight from downtown, with five assists and a steal. Five of his 17 points were huge for the West as Mr. Big Shot lived up to his nickname once again. Billups hit a three from the wing to keep the Western Conference down only four points before hitting the game-tying bucket with only one minute to go in the game.

In all, the Nuggets duo attributed for 44 of the West’s 139 points, almost a third in total, certainly making a huge impact on the game.

Both George Karl and Nuggets fans should be bursting with pride over the two as Denver gets back into their regular season Thursday night against LeBron and the Cleveland Cavaliers.


All Star Game Notes: The crowd of 108,713 at Cowboys Stadium was the largest to ever view a basketball game in the world. But there was another World Record set during the weekend in Dallas as Dwight Howard made a miraculous shot. During the East’s practice on Friday, Howard sank an unbelievable three-quarter court shot, while sitting down! Guinness was in attendance, and the young center posed for a picture and accepted his award right on the court.


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