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Baseball Playoff Predictions

I need to get this post in before the games start tonight so no one can accuse me of doing hindsight predictions, once all of these come out perfectly.  In actuality, I find the baseball playoffs harder to predict than the NFL, which of course you can read my perfect NFL picks from this season that I’m looking good on thus far.  With baseball, I want to pick with my heart and not my head.  I love seeing the D-Backs and Rays get in, because they aren’t supposed to be there.  Baseball is such an uneven playing field with payrolls of $42 million (Rays) going against payrolls of $197 million (Yankees), so I want to make predictions with my heart and not my head, because the small-market underdogs are the teams I want to root for.  Whereas in the NFL, I of course am only making predictions with my head and my heart has nothing to do with it.  That Eagles Super Bowl pick is 100% based on logic and 0% to do with the fact that I pick them every season and genuinely believe it to be a fact.  So here goes, an attempt to make baseball playoff picks using my head (Sorry D-Backs, like my beloved Reds from last season, you are going to get crushed…)

Round 1:

Tigers over Yankees – Because C.C. Sabathia can’t pitch every game.  It’s shocking how terrible the rest of the Yankees rotation is.  Plus Verlander is better than C.C. anyway.

Rangers over Rays – Really tough game to predict.  Coin flip.  I’ll be rooting for the Rays, but I think their starting pitching is too inconsistent and their lineup has too many holes.  While the Rays have been an amazing story, Dan Johnson isn’t going to hit a HR every time!

Phillies over Cardinals – Pretty hard to pick against the Phillies at this point.  I don’t care about the Phillies’ recent 8 game skid, they weren’t playing for anything, and now they are.  And seeing ex-Red Kyle Lohse as the Cards’ Game 1 starter induces my gag reflex…

Brewers over Diamondbacks – After smacking around my Reds all season, the upstart D-Backs are next on the Brewers’ chopping block.  Brewers 1-2 punch of Fielder and Braun is the best in baseball and the rest of their team is solid.

Round 2:

Tigers over Rangers – If Fister can keep up his level of play, there’s no reason the Verlander-Fister combo can’t take the Tigers to the World Series.  Rangers have a great lineup, but lack the top-tier Ace they had last year in Cliff Lee.

Phillies over Brewers – Speaking of Cliff Lee, the Phillies’ pitching is unreal.  While their hitters can disappear at times, this rotation seems unbeatable.

World Series:

Phillies over Tigers – Speaking of unbeatable… Yes Verlander is amazing, but the Phillies have Lee, Halladay, and Hamels, and Verlander can’t pitch every day, while this 3-headed monster can.  As long as Utley, Rollins, Howard, Pence, Polanco, and Victorino don’t completely fall asleep, there is no stopping this Phillie freight train.

And speaking of predictions made with my head, the 2012 World Series Champion will be: The Cincinnati Reds!!!

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Posted by on September 30, 2011 in Sports

 

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Half Marathon yesterday. Pain today.

Everything hurts.  I ran the Capital City River Run 1/2 Marathon yesterday morning and my prize today is pain in every joint of my body.  Running is a funny thing because I make fun of it often, and I feel truly entitled to this since I ran track and cross country in college, yet I am the person I am making fun of.  Why run?  Running should be reserved for the reason of chasing after a ball — you take the ball away and you’re still running…I don’t get it.  Track is even worse: you’re running in circles!  Running just brings pain – both during and after!  Yet I run to this day.  Please help me.

I ran in Lansing’s half marathon yesterday on somewhat of a whim.  Prior to this, I’ve never ran more than 10 miles (I was an 800m runner in track).  If the 1/2 marathon didn’t pass directly by my house, I likely would not have done it, but it lured me in.  I was bracing for the worst.  To my pleasant surprise, I had a great time (yes I make fun of myself, even in saying this… how can pain for hours be ‘a great time’???  I have issues).

I discovered that the biggest difference of running for distance is that I’m forced to run slow so it’s a lot easier on my cardio — the downside of it is that it burns my feet and knees like the dickens, but the upside is my lungs and brain feel great and so I can focus on breathing fresh air and enjoying a beautiful day.  I can block out joint pain, but can’t block out cardio pain–which I experience through the entire duration of a 5K or under.

I ran next to the 8 minute mile pacer for the first 10 miles — he was dressed as a cowboy, holding a toy horse and everything.  At 10 miles, I figured I’d die, but as I got closer to it, I felt good and so figured I’d give it a shot and take off.  I ran my last two miles at 7 minutes each, which felt great passing everyone staggering to finish.  I finished 173rd out of 1600+ runners with a time of 1:40:58, which I felt really good about, and was a good thing because I had to get to Crossroads to preach by 11:00am!

I finished the race at 10:10am and that 50 minutes, which seemed like an eternity of time to eat/relax, shower, and get to church, when I budgeted my time out beforehand, seemed like only a few moments once I finished.  It was a bit of a downer to not be able to enjoy the post-race festivities, especially the free beer from Michigan Brewing Company, but the good news is with my burning feet and all, I was able to shower and get to Crossroads with 8 minutes to spare!

So for those trying to understand why people run, and to remind myself (trying to convince myself I’m not crazy)… I run for several reasons.  At times you get a rush.  I got two rushes in my half marathon–one was towards the end of the first mile, feeling a sense of accomplishment of being in the moment of thousands of runners doing this event that not many people do–and the second was when I ran my last three miles at a fast pace.  These are physiological rushes that almost move me tears, and that put a big smile on my face.  The last time I had a rush like that during a race was when I finished my first swim-leg of my first triathlon a few years ago.  Running brings satisfaction to people: I did this and everyone on their couch right now did not.  Related to this is competition–the main reason I ran track was for the competition–it is fun to be good at something, even if it as seemingly pointless as running in circles.  And it’s something you can compete with yourself in, like golf, it doesn’t matter how bad you are compared to others, you can always compete against your most recent score/time.  As an adult, the main reason I sign up for races is because it forces me to workout, because there’s a date on the calendar I’m training for–and I’ve simply found that running is the most convenient way of working out there is: I can leave from my house and be back in 30 minutes and have a decent workout, and be on with my day.

So call me crazy, I still will, but I will enjoy the experience.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Sports

 

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NFL Prophecy

Okay, if you want to know how the NFL season shapes up, here is exactly how it will unfold.  I want 1/2 your Vegas winnings though:

AFC North

  1. Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. Baltimore Ravens
  3. Cleveland Browns
  4. Cincinnati Bengals

AFC South

  1. Houston Texans
  2. Tennessee Titans
  3. Indianapolis Colts
  4. Jacksonville Jaguars

AFC East

  1. New England Patriots
  2. New York Jets
  3. Buffalo Bills
  4. Miami Dolphins

AFC West

  1. San Diego Chargers
  2. Kansas City Chiefs
  3. Oakland Raiders
  4. Denver Broncos

NFC North

  1. Green Bay Packers
  2. Detroit Lions
  3. Minnesota Vikings
  4. Chicago Bears

NFC South

  1. Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  2. Atlanta Falcons
  3. New Orleans Saints
  4. Carolina Panthers

NFC East

  1. Philadelphia Eagles
  2. New York Giants
  3. Dallas Cowgirls
  4. Washington Redskins

NFC West

  1. Arizona Cardinals
  2. St. Louis Rams
  3. San Francisco 49ers
  4. Seattle Seahawks

My two stone-cold locks: Eagles in 1st place; Bengals in last place.  My reach/change-up to the pundits: Tampa Bay in 1st.  Similar to filling out an NCAA basketball bracket, it’s hard to not just pick the trendy picks that the pundits are blabbing about all day — only in mid-season to realize they are just as dumb as the rest of us.  And now, for the grand finale’…the Playoffs:

NFC:

  1. Eagles
  2. Packers
  3. Tampa Bay
  4. Arizona
  5. Atlanta (Wild card)
  6. Deeeeetroit Lions (Wild card)

AFC:

  1. Steelers
  2. Texans
  3. Chargers
  4. Patriots
  5. Jets (Wild card)
  6. Ravens (Wild card)

ALL PENNSYLVANIA SUPER BOWL: Eagles 27; Steelers 23…. can’t wait to do this dance:

http://www.philadelphiaeagles.com/multimedia/videos/Eagles-Splash-Page-Cartoon-Week-01/0108bcf6-3906-4115-81b7-81b982daea13 “E-A-G-L-E-S EAGLES!!”

 
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Posted by on September 8, 2011 in Sports

 

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Hail to the Victors: Big Ten Commentary

I love that God made it thunderstorm, securing Michigan’s victory today.  I think He knows how bad our defense is and wanted to make sure Western didn’t come back on us.  It is my prayer that the Lord brings thunderstorms every time Michigan gets a lead.  National Championship here we come!!  (let’s make sure we choose to receive when we win the coin toss, ok Brady?)

In all ‘seriousness’ (sports are not serious), I think Michigan defense looked a tiny bit better than last year, but a tiny bit better than horrific is still really bad.  Which is understandable… last year’s scrubs + freshman = what you saw today.  Yes they had some sweet turnovers today over a bad offense, but let’s keep our composure friends, it is Western, who is bound to wet themselves at times… and deliver a gift wrapped ball to Brandon Herron for both his birthday and Christmas.  Hey, I’m not complaining, but I’m also not envisioning Denard and Brady holding up the National Championship Trophy just yet.  My preseason prediction of 8-4 is still intact, and still feels a little optimistic…

A few other Big Ten notes:

  • Can we please stop calling Michigan State “defending Big Ten champions”?  They tied for first with two other teams.  They are not champions.  They are 1/3 champions.  Props to them, it is more than Michigan can say, but it is truth none the less.  They should not get rings, or a banner, or t-shirts, unless they say “1/3 champions” on them or are 1/3 of said item, and the other 2/3’s are in Wisconsin and Ohio State.  This is college sports, we should be past participation medals that make everyone feel good at this point.  A tie is not a championship.  You do not play to tie, do not celebrate it and do not say you were a champion.  Being better than Michigan and Northwestern does not make you a champion, being the best makes you a champion, and you were not the best.
  • Speaking of Ohio State, their new coach Luke Fickell looks crazy similar to Adam Sandler, which is awesome because it makes me hope #1.) He will suit up one game like Bobby Boucher, and #2.) Makes me hope he will sing the ‘Lonesome Kicker’ song sometime at a press conference:
  • Now before you MSU fans go getting all upset because I made fun of your 1/3 title that you keep calling a title (yes I know you beat Michigan, we have been very bad, we have had to watch Nick Sheridan as a QB, something no human should ever have to endure), it’s really not your fault.  It is just a small blip on the endless stream of the NCAA’s list of stupidity.  This stupidity pails in comparison to the BCS system of course (I’m looking forward to the day I can tell my grandkids about the BCS system and they will laugh and laugh and laugh and laugh…). But none of these compare to the ridiculous amount of scandal in college football over the last year and how I couldn’t help but watch the games this weekend with more than a hint of cynicism over the hypocrisy of those in charge and how they’ve let illegal payments of players go on forever, because it brings in big money to their pocketbooks, but then whenever a media outlet uncovers a story (isn’t the NCAA supposed to be discovering these stories, not Yahoo! and Sports Illustrated?), the NCAAers get on their high horses about how these are student athletes and their educations are of utmost importance, blah blah blah blah blah.  It was fun to watch them play football today, though I’m looking forward to the NFL starting next weekend, when I don’t have to feel so dirty as I view the product before me.
  • And yes I refer to my team as “we” and “us” though I have never played for them, or even attended the school.  But if I had to watch Nick Sheridan for an entire season, I get to pretend like I’ve invested enough in the program to call it my own.
 
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Posted by on September 4, 2011 in Sports, Wisecracks

 

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A Nascar Prayer

Need a good laugh?  Need to learn how not to pray… ever?  I figure our “Not By Might” sermon series has led us to a lot of conversation about prayer, so this would be appropriate.  Compliments of Pastor Joe Nelms of Family Baptist Church in Lebanon, TN.  I still can’t tell if this is reality or an SNL spoof… Oh Lord, please have mercy on us!!!

 

 

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