bthomps87

Archive for the ‘Random Rants’ Category

New Era In Both TT

In Random Rants on August 9, 2010 at 8:58 pm

This is a new era in Texas Tech Football as there will be a new head coach leading the Red Raiders out onto the field. Former Auburn coach, Tommy Tuberville will be now controlling the reigns of Tech as his new image and character has seem to make significant changes already. After the Mike Leach debacle, everyone was on edge to find out who would be taking over as names were being thrown out in the wind. Finally once news broke on who would be in charge, everyone become optimistic of the future. As the months soon passed, people started seeing positive change as better recruits were making commitments. More convincing to prove that Tech will become a powerhouse seem to seep into people’s minds and the new East Side Expansion progression has increased anticipation.

The season begins 28 days from now as the Red Raiders will be facing the SMU Mustangs on September 5th. The game  is on a Sunday which is very different as most collegiate football games are held on a Saturday. Tech is 30-16 vs SMU and look to extend their current 12 game winning streak. As of now no one really knows who the starting QB will be but I think either Taylor Potts or Steven Sheffield will be prepared to lead the Red Raiders to victory. This will be the first game as head coach of the Red Raiders for Tommy Tuberville and everyone will be intrigued to see if the offense changes a lot and how much better the defense will be. Tech also has a new offensive coordinator in Neal Brown who came over from Troy. While at Troy, Brown also lead a pass happy offense which actually racked up more yards than Tech did last season. We all have been told that the offense will remain the same but try to utilize the backs more. I am honestly fine with this as long as we can still score at will. The main concern that all Tech fans have is the mediocre defense. While yes Tech can score on majority of teams, being able to hold those teams have been disheartening. Now that new defensive coordinated has been put in place, James Willis. Willis was the linebacker coach last year at Alabama who are coming off a National Championship win. This has brought a lot of new optimism as now Tech has put in place two defensive minded coaches.

I honestly think Tech can have a decent season once again reaching a bowl game. Ideally I think Tech should win 9 games. Tech’s schedule follows as

The first two games will be a good test for both team and coaching staff to see how prepared and ready this team will be going into the rest of the season. I believe that both of these games against SMU & @ New Mexico should be wins, they will not be blow outs. Then September 18, the game that everyone all season will be anticipating brings the Texas Longhorns back to Lubbock, TX. As many of us remember, the last the UT played at Jones AT&T stadium, they walked away being upset as Michael Crabtree scored the game winning touchdown with a second left on the clock. Now both teams are basically have a new looking arsenal, this will stay make for an exciting game. I think Tech has a very good chance to pull out of this game with a W and with an always rowdy Tech crowd, this should help the Red Raiders come out victorious. If Tech does win, the next three games should also be victories. The Red Raiders will be facing Baylor in Dallas again but not at Cowboys Stadium. They both will be playing at the Cotton Bowl stadium and the last time Tech played there, they lost to Ole Miss in the 2008 Cotton Bowl game. Baylor has yet to be the Red Raiders since the birth of the Big 12 but have been playing Tech a lot closer. A 6-0 start will be outstanding but after their match up against the Ok. State Cowboys, Tech will have to travel to Boulder,  Colorado. Despite how bad the Buffaloes are, the Red Raiders always have trouble in Boulder. For some reason, winning at Folsom Field seems impossible. I think Tech will lose this game to notch their first L of the season. Last year the Aggies came stumbling into Lubbock after being dismantled by the Kansas Jayhawks. Well they seem to take out their aggressions as they rolled over Tech, 52-30. Tech does have a chance to win this game but it is always difficult to win in Kyle Field. I just have a gut feeling that Tech will walk away with a loss.  Despite A&M having a terrible defense, their offense will be quite good. The game will be close and exciting like most are but I see A&M winning by 10. Missouri will be the next opponent and just like Colorado, Tech has trouble beating this team that they should notch Ws against. Missouri is on a three game winning streak against the Red Raiders but I think their winning streak ends this year. By now Tuberville will have the Red Raiders extremely ready, especially if Tech does lose to A&M. The game at Norman vs the Sooners will be a loss. The Sooners are loaded at almost every position and looking to once again redeem themselves as Tech ran Landry Jones and his crew out of town. This game could be ugly once again just like 2008. The next two games should be winnable, especially the game against Weber State. Houston will finish off the regular season and will be a huge game for Tech as they want to revenge their loss last year to the Cougars. While Houston will be tough, I think Houston’s weaknesses will be easily exposed by the time this game arrives.

As I mention, a nine game winning season would be optimal and very possible. Anything more would be outstanding and anything less especially under 8 will be a disappointment. I am just reading for tailgating and spending some more great moments will my fellow Red Raiders.

Advertisements

Top Ten Power Rankings 6/28/2010

In Random Rants on June 28, 2010 at 3:22 pm

There has been some movement amongst teams the past few weeks and some clubs separating themselves from the pack even more. The Texas Rangers have made the most positive strides the past three weeks which has propelled them extremely high in my rankings while some clubs have been able to maintain consistency throughout their division leading up to the All-Star game.

1.) New York Yankees (47-28) – The A.L. East looks like it will be a tight battle leading up to the All-Star game in Anaheim. The Yankees have been battling with some of the more premier teams throughout baseball and have come out basically unscathed and still atop of the East. They will finish out the month of June against the Mariners and then will face the Blue Jays, Athletics and then complete the first half against the Mariners. Robinson Cano has been the All-star for this club and should be making a trip out west as he leads the Yankees in home-runs, batting average and hits. Alex Rodriguez is still putting up his typical stats as he leads team in RBIs. Their starting rotation is still as dominate as ever with the exception of A.J Burnett who has struggled as he has gone 0-5 since his last victory May 30th against the Indians.

2.) Texas Rangers (46-29)- Definitely the hottest team in baseball in the month of June, it looks like the Rangers have finally figured out how to put a strong winning streak together without a losing streak to follow. Texas has gone 20-5 in the month of June and put an eleven game winning streak together before losing to Houston. With their recent series win over the Astros, the Rangers have once again claimed the Silver boot for the fourth year straight. Also they are tied with the Padres with the biggest lead margin in their division at 4.5 games. Josh Hamilton has probably been the hottest player throughout baseball this month as he has been able to bring his batting average from .289 to .346. Also he is currently riding a 21 game hitting streak. The Rangers also lead the majors in total batting average at .283.

3.) Boston Red Sox ( 46-31) – It looks likes the Red Sox have finally found their stride as they are now in second place in the East. A team that looked too old at the beginning of season to compete has now become the third best team in baseball. Outside of the Blue Jays, Boston have become the new Bronx Bombers as they currently sit second in home-runs at 103. They also have scored the most runs in baseball with 423 and have the most the most doubles at 185. David Ortiz who has been pretty irrelevant all season looks like he has saved himself from being traded as he been a big bat as of lately belting 3 home-runs over a course of nine games. With those three dingers, he now leads the team in home-runs with 16. Clay Buchholz is tied for second in the majors with ten wins while his teammate Jon Lester sits with nine.

4.) San Diego Padres ( 45-30)- I am surprised that the Padres haven’t hit a wall yet and surrender their lead that they have been able to maintain all season. They are the only team in the N.L to have a winning percentage that clips the .600 marks. Like the Texas Rangers, they hold a 4.5 game lead over their division foe. What still shocks me is that the Padres are still not a very good hitting ball club as they sit 26 overall in hitting. They do not score many runs, hardly any home-runs and they have one of the lowest batting average. The one they do prove throughout baseball is with a strong pitching staff, mediocre hitting is enough as of now to carry them to the promise land. They do have a second half to play and with a pitching staff that isn’t filled with an all-star roster, will they be able to maintain this consistency?Their starters by just wins only have two pitchers with eight wins but each with four or more losses. Their not a big strikeout team but somehow can get the important outs.

5.) Atlanta Braves ( 44-32) – The National League East is definitely tighter than I thought it would be with the Braves leading. With three teams within 3.5 games it does make it one of the most exciting divisions to watch. Out of all the teams leading their division the Braves do post the worst road record at 18-24 but have been absolutely dominant at home with a 26-8 record. They are the only club to have less than ten losses at home. They will have two more home series against the Nationals and Marlins before they head on the road to face the Phillies and Mets to close out of the first half. Their series against the Nationals will match up Tim Hudson vs rookie sensation Stephen Strasburg. This team is getting solid production throughout the lineup with no real stud leading the team in stats. Martin Prado does have 108 hits which correlates to his high batting average. Troy Glaus leads the team in home-runs and RBIs.

6.) Tampa Bay Rays (44-31)- Despite reeling the second half of June, the Rays are still one of the better teams in the league. With their recent club house disagreements between Longoria and Upton being squashed, the Rays look to regain their lead in the East. Since their series at the Atlanta Braves, they Rays have only won four games while losing eight. Their bats have gone cold as they have been able to score only 2 or 3 runs a game which is unusual since they are one of the highest scoring teams in the league. David Price has been the best pitcher in the rotation with now 11 wins and only three losses. His 2.44 ERA is the second lowest in the A.L. behind Cliff Lee. Closer Rafael Soriano has eighteen saves and only blown one. Carl Crawford leads the team in batting average and is second overall in the league with 26 steals. Evan Longoria and Ben Zobrist have been the other big bats in the lineup and despite Carlos Pena low batting average, he does manage to hit home-runs.

7.) Cincinnati Reds ( 42-34) – The Reds have played typical Reds baseball beating teams they are supposed to and losing to the stronger clubs. They still some how manage to keep playing into extra innings as they boast a 6-2 record. They hold a half a game lead over the Cardinals but are sepereating themselves over the rest of the N.L. Central. Their pitching staff has the highest ERA for teams leading their division which doesn’t bold well for the future. If they make it to the playoffs, they will need to upgrade otherwise they will see an early exit. Much like the Atlanta Braves, there isn’t a stallion that carries the club. Phillips, Votto, Rolen, Gomes and Bruce are all batting above .280 which does make this lineup dangerous. Their starting pitching numbers on paper are not impressive but they are reliable especially in the weak Central. They do have one of the best closers in the league with Francisco Cordero at 20 saves.

8.) Minnesota Twins ( 41-34) – The Twins should be better than their numbers show. They still do lead their division but their lead has slimmed down quite significantly. They are a very hot and cold team and but when the go cold, they basically are stagnant. They do have a pretty high batting average but have hit in the most double plays with 85. Also with a 1015 ground ball outs, they sit with some of the worst teams in the league. Pitching could be better as three of five starters have an ERA over 4.00. Their bullpen is what is really been their backbone as of now. It has been the Justin Morneau show as he has been the team leader for the majority of the season. Joe Mauer and Delmon Young have been pretty solid too but the rest of the team goes on too many hot and cold streaks to maintain any consistency.

9.) New York Mets ( 43-32) – After a terrible May, the Mets have turned in around and have had one of the best months so far this season in June. Only losing six games, the Mets went on an eight game winning streak and did quite well against the A.L. during interleague play. They will face two division leaders before the break, one of them being their division leaders the Atlanta Braves. If they can maintain their winning ways up to the Braves series, they could be leading this division come All-Star week. Despite the Braves having the best home winning percentage, the Mets are the only club to win 28 games at home in the N.L. After a mediocre 2009 season, David Wright looks to be right back on track has he already has surpassed his home-run total from 09 and is only 11 RBIs from tying last year. They are a great base running team as they avoid getting into bad situations. Jose Reyes has 19 stolen bases which places him in the top twenty but has the best ratio in SB/CS. Fielding, the Mets only have committed 36 errors which places them six overall.

10.) Los Angeles Angels ( 43-35) – With the Athletics falling apart, Angels have been able to capitalize and jump into second place in the West. They started off the month of June extremely hot winning seven of ten but have slowed down a bit towards the end. Like most teams in the top ten, the Angels are one of the better hitting clubs. They do not have a great overall batting average but are clutch when they need to be. Pitching  they do not post a very pleasing ERA but due to their key hits, their starting pitchers do manage to notch a good amount of wins. Weaver, Pineiro and Santana all have seven wins or more. Weaver leads the majors in strikeouts at 118 and doesn’t surrender many walks. The line up when clicking can be dangerous and they strike hard too when they do. Any of their players can hit home-runs and they score in bunches. Their upcoming series with the Texas Rangers will be important if they want to try to gain any ground before hosting the All-Star game.

GOAL!

In Random Rants on June 23, 2010 at 7:04 pm

UnStoppAble

What could go down as one of the greatest games in United States soccer history, the Yanks are heading to the round of 16. All the Americans had to do is win and they would be through. It took more than just 90 minutes to accomplish this feat but with Landon Donovan’s goal in the 91st minute, the dream is still alive. A nation full of hope surrounding its locals bars and tvs’ to root on their country as this could change the view of soccer throughout the United States. An early exit could spell disaster for this U.S. squad as question will be asked about players and coaches. Also thousands and even millions of fans could lose hope in the sport they fell in love with the past three weeks.

A win is all that was needed but a tie could work if England and Slovenia tied. Against a squad that just previously tied England, the Americans knew this wasn’t going to be easy. The game started off like most U.S. matches and that was with an early chance for the opposing team to score. Luckily this time, the ball glanced off the top of the goal and all was saved. The United States had opportunity throughout the whole match to put one in the back of the net. Dempsey, Altidore, Gomez, Bradley, Buddle and Bornstein all had chances but couldn’t come through. Than when news came that England had gone up 1-0 on Slovenia, the pressure was really put on. Even a tie wouldn’t put the US through but a victory was needed. Coach Bob Bradley had to take a chance and just load up with strikers leaving the defense vunerable and the coverage wide open. Algeria made they march down the field in stoppage time where they had a great opporutnity to put on in but Tim Howard was in the right spot to stop it. Than just like that with Howard tossing the ball downfield, Landon Donovan took off with the ball. As he reached the box, he passed the ball off to Altidore where then he passed the ball in the middle to Dempsey. Dempsey shot blocked once again but the keeper couldn’t hold onto the ball and it  deflected back into the middle. Than Donovan comes racing through to put the ball back into the net and seal the victory for the Yanks. U.S. fans and supporters all over the world exploded into pandemonium as hugs, high five and cheering spread amongst the world. All the U.S. had to do was hold on. With about 2 min left in stoppage time, Algeria was showing frustrations as Antar Yahia was given a red card after a corner kick and than the celebrations commenced.

The United States has made it through and was waiting to see who their next foe would be from group D. Ghana and Germany were atop of the group and they both faced each other in the last match of their pool play. Also Australia and Serbia faced off and could have an impact if the right team won and enough goals were scored. At the end of the day though, Germany beat Ghana and took first but since Australia didn’t score enough goals over Serbia, Ghana came second. This relieving a lot of Americans as they avoid playing Germany and get to rematch against their 2006 nemesis Ghana. So the stage is set. June 26 at 1:30 PM CT, the United States vs Ghana will become the next biggest match in U.S. history. A win would be epic and could solidify soccer as a serious sport. A loss would but disappointing but soccer would still be alive. Whatever happens, the United States is now on the soccer map.

A Nation Filled With Hidden Passion

In Random Rants on June 22, 2010 at 1:46 pm

Sports fans all over the world recognize how big the World Cup event is. You can be a fan of any other sport but when majority of the world stops to watch their country compete in historic events, than right there you know that the game of soccer is on another level. For the Americans, the game of soccer “futbol” is on the verge of finally breaking through. Many people in this country do not like to admit their admiration for the game because they feel like it isn’t “good” enough for them. We live in a country where baseball is the past time sport but where football is the most popular. Then you have basketball, racing and hockey. There are so many options to choose from and majority of these options when turning pro pay a lot better than the MLS. But with time, the sport of soccer has been growing and at a pretty rapid pace. It seems now where ever you walk you will run into a soccer fanatic and even one that is rooting for the U.S.

Does the world view the Yanks as an everyday threat? Yes, I believe this country has proven itself numerous times that it can compete with the big boys of the world. Does the world view the Yanks as a nation of true soccer supporters? I don’t believe so and this is supported by the the simple fact when it comes to our true compassion, it lies somewhere else. Americans were behind the U.S. hockey national team come the Olympics and the NHL hoped that this would boost interest in the sport. Well ESPN, Fox, ABC and so on couldn’t have been more wrong and disappointed. Would I like to see the sport of hockey grow? Sure, why not? There is nothing wrong with having multiple sports where its popularity and support rises comes when it is time to strap up. You hear people say that soccer isn’t a tough enough sport and that is why they do not root for it. Than why not root for hockey? I mean, the NHL basically promotes itself as the toughest sport out there. That is pretty much proven when about 90% players are missing teeth and have bruised eyes when the game is done.

So than what is the answer for soccer? What needs to be done to make sure this sport doesn’t like dormant for years to come. One huge factor is the success of the United States men team. They are one win away from advancing to the round of 16. A win versus Algeria could do much more than just send them on but help create a solid following around the nation. If people can see that this country has supporters and can compete, than those people will develop a passion for the sport, not matter how small it is. All you need is that one moment in life that can change the way you view things. Soccer is a game of beauty, something that most sports do not have. Yes, we all over high scoring games and people being leveled. It is in our blood, we are American. What soccer brings is those gorgeous passes and fluid movement that can capture our eyes like we have never seen before. Those passes that some how make it through three defenders and create opportunity for that one gracious goal. When we see that ball sneak by the keeper and land in the back of the net, we get a feeling that like no other. It can come in the first five minute or the 89th. The emotion is the same.

We all are not fans of every sport that is played. We all acknowledge though that there is a strong following within this country for that sport. So those that cannot and will not ever enjoy the sport of soccer. That is fine, just realize that it is the worlds most popular sport for a reason. If you can just get by your reasons why you do not like it, just take ten minutes to watch the game, especially if you can watch your country compete. Just be supportive of your nation because they are not just playing for themselves but they are playing for you. They are going out there to try to show not just us but the world that the United States is a legit soccer country.

2010 World Cup Teams

In Random Rants on May 28, 2010 at 8:49 pm

For the past few weeks my anticipation toward the 2010 World Cup has been growing. Outside of the Olympics, the World Cup is the biggest sporting event in the world. After months of qualifying, the thirty-two teams have been set as they all get ready to travel to South Africa. Throughout the years, FIFA ( International Federation of Association Football ) keeps a running tab on international matches and adjust world rankings. Going into this W.C, Brazil will be entering as the perennial favorite with Spain in second. Portugal, Netherlands, and 2006 champions Italy will finish out the top five. From FIFA top 32 rankings, seven teams will not be making a trip to South Africa; Russia, Norway, Egypt, Ukraine, Israel, Romania, Turkey. The seven clubs replacing these teams are Denmark, South Korea, North Korea, Japan, Honduras, South Africa & Slovakia.

I mentioned in one of my earlier articles that I really do not know too much about the powerhouse teams in soccer outside of Brazil. I couldn’t look at teams lineups and predict who might beat who and who could be the Cinderella team this year. Honestly the only team I will be rooting for is the United States. Going into the tournament as fourteenth best team in the nation, I expect the U.S. to get out of group play as the second club. They would go play the winner out of Group D who I believe will be Germany. The Germans are ranked sixth in the world but being ranked higher doesn’t always guarantee victory. The Americans proved they can beat top-tier teams when they proved this in 2009. They beat number two Spain and almost beat number one Brazil but fell apart in the second half. I will be extremely pleased if they can get by Germany where they will probably play France or Argentina. At this point, I do not think it matters who they face as I see an exit in the Elite 8. This team to me relies on its star players rather than its bench. If the main players do not show up, the bench isn’t deep enough to keep this team dreams alive.

World Cup play starts June 11 when host country South Africa kicks off versus Mexico at 10:00 a.m. ET. Than the second game of the day will be Uruguay vs France at 2:30 p.m. ET. The United States begins their run June 12 vs England @ 2:30 p.m. ET.

FIFA World Cup Rankings (Top 32)


Group A

France

Mexico

South Africa

Uruguay

Group B

Argentina

Greece

Nigeria

South Korea

Group C

Algeria

England

United States

Slovenia

Group D

Australia

Germany

Ghana

Serbia

Group E

Cameroon

Denmark

Japan

Netherlands

Group F

Italy

New Zealand

Paraguay

Slovakia

Group G

Portugal

Ivory Coast

North Korea

Brazil

Group H

Chile

Honduras

Spain

Switzerland

The World Cup, less than insightful.

In Random Rants on April 28, 2010 at 2:24 pm

The 2010 World Cup is only a couple of months away and fans from every nation will been seen all over your neighborhood. With a total of eight groups, each one has its powerhouse team all the way to the underdog. I am going to admit, I do not much watch soccer and I am just a fan of stats when it comes down to my predictions. I will probably end up being way wrong but that is the fun of creating brackets to judge your knowledge on that sport.

This being said, the toughest group to my eye would be Group A. This loaded group compromises the host country South Africa, France, Uruguay and Mexico. Outside of the host country, the rest of the teams rank in the top 20 according FIFA rankings with France being in the top ten. Group D seems to be the most balanced group with Germany leading the pack. It should be pretty good group to follow to see who may be the 1 and 2 coming out. Maybe the easiest group to be in for a team hoping to advance would be F. Italy who is currently ranked number 3 should walk out unscathed. Obviously the team will be watch is the United States. Paired with England, Algeria, and Slovenia, the U.S. should being able to advance with the second spot.

Also this group may present the best opening day matchup when the U.S and England face off. Right now Wayne Rooney, who is one of England’s main stars, is out with an groin injury but recent news claims he to be ready by the World Cup. I think the U.S. has a good shot to win this matchup, Rooney playing or not. They showed they can compete with the better teams when they knocked off Spain and almost beat but choked to Brazil. If the U.S does make it out, they would most likely face Germany which could end their dreams of making it to the finals. As much as I hate to see this happen, the U.S seems very inconsistent at times and never seems to really perform well on the big stage. But times are changing and the team is getting better. I think the world does know that this ball club isn’t a walk in the park anymore and needs to take them seriously. Offensively this club isn’t bad at all but I am not sure if they could withstand a shootout. Landon Donovan will be the go to guy again but he does have a better corp around him. Defensively, this squad will have to rely on Tim Howard. The defenders are good but not great. They tend to let a lot of deep balls get by them but do have good recovering speed. Overall I am still excited to watch this club. I will be cheering like crazy but won’t be devastated when they lose.

Side note, I love the United States’ uniforms.

Final Fantasy Draft Results

In Random Rants on March 29, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Yesterday was my MLB draft and I was slotted with the six pick. Overall I am very pleased with my selections though there are things I wish I gained more of but still should be contender to win the league.

Batting

C- Kurt Suzuki

(OAK)

74 R      –     15 HR     –     88 RBI      –       8 SB       –     .274 avg

1B- Ryan Howard

( PHI)

105 R    –    45 HR      –    141 RBI      –       8 SB      –      .279 avg

2B,SS, OF- Ben Zobrist

(TBR)

91 R     –      27 HR     –     91 RBI       –      17 SB      –      .297 avg

3B- Chone Figgins

( SEA)

114 R    –     5 HR     –       54 RBI       –      42 SB     –     .298 avg

SS- Elvis Andrus

(TEX)

72 R    –      6 HR     –      40 RBI       –       33 SB      –     .267 avg

OF- Jacoby Ellsbury

(BOS)


94 R     –      8 HR      –     60 RBI       –       70 SB      –     .301 avg

OF- Jason Bay

( NYM)


103 R    –    36 HR     –     119 RBI      –      3 SB      –     .267 avg

OF- Brad Hawpe

( COL)


82 R     –     23 HR     –     86 RBI       –       1 SB     –     .285 avg

Util/2B- Dan Uggla

( FLA)



84 R    –     31 HR     –      90 RBI       –       2 SB       –     .243 avg

Util/ 1B/OF- Michael Cuddyer

(MIN)


93 R     –     32 HR      –     94 RBI       –       6 SB       –       .276 avg

BN/ OF- Nyjer Morgan

(WAS)

74 R     –     3 HR      –       39 RBI      –        42 SB       –      .307 avg.

BN/ OF/ 1B- Nick Swisher

( NYY)

84 R     –     29 HR     –      82 RBI      –        0 SB       –       .248 avg

OF- Juan Pierre

(CWS)

57 R    –      0 HR      –       31 RBI       –        30 SB      –      .308 avg

My main focus going into this draft was consistency throughout my whole lineup. I wanted guys that either had high power numbers along with tons of runs or rbis and guys that stole a lot of bases. I was able to accomplish both despite majority of the guys do not having the highest batting avg. That was okay with me considering I have five guys that stole over 30 bases and 6 guys that hit over 20 HR. Both my RBI and Run range between all the players panned out to average around 80. My favorite draftee was Jacoby Ellsbury due to the batting avg. above. 300 and the 70 SB. One person that people may notice that seems to have low numbers is Juan Pierre. Remember that he replaced Manny Ramirez mid way through last season and then when Manny return, Juan was placed on the bench. I really love his numbers  for the amount of playing time he received and I expect this runs to increase by 30 and RBIs to go up by at least 20. Maybe a HR or two would be nice but I would really be pleased if that batting avg. hovered around .310 all season. One player that I will be watching closely is Kurt Suzuki. He had really good numbers for a catcher but I am not sure if this trend will translate into the 2010 season. I was able to pick up Cuddyer pretty late into the draft which was kind of shocking. He doesn’t have the highest batting avg but his numbers are good. By the point I drafted Cuddyer, I already had speed and adding him just added more power. Overall, I think i have a very solid team top to bottom. It isn’t heavy in one category which I think is great, because consistency  is one of the main keys to win ball games.

Pitching

SP- Justin Verlander

(DET)

19 W          –          269 K         –         3.45 ERA         –        0 SV

SP- Cole Hamels

(PHI)

10 W         –          168 K        –          4.32 ERA       –           0 SV

RP/CL- Carlos Marmol

( CHC)

2 W          –            93 K          –          3.42 ERA        –          15 SV

RP- J.A Happ

( PHI)

12 W          –           119 K         –         2.93 ERA         –          0 SV

P- A.J. Burnett

( NYY)

13 W          –           195 K         –         4.04 ERA          –         0 SV

P/CL- David Aardsma

(SEA)

3 W          –            80 K        –          2.52 ERA         –          38 SV

P- Roy Oswalt

(HOU)

8 W           –           138 K          –        4.12 ERA         –          0 SV

P- Daisuke Matsuzaka

(BOS)

4 W            –           54K         –           5.76 ERA         –          0 SV

BN- Phil Hughes

( NYY)

8 W            –           96 K          –          3.03 ERA          –         8 SV

BN- Scott Feldman

(TEX)

17 W          –            113 K         –          4.08 ERA        –          0 SV

I started on my pitchers later than I would have liked in the draft but I was able to acquire Justin Verlander. He will basically become my go to guy in my pitching staff. I have a few pitchers who I think will have a better season than people predict; Oswalt, Burnett, Hamels, and Feldman. The Yankees are a lot better this year and I do expect A.J to have more than 13 W and for his ERA to drop to around 3.85. Oswalt has pitched a great spring and seems to be back to his usual self. ESPN and most websites have Roy around 13 wins, but I think he can reach between 15-17. Feldman is an interesting and risky pickup for me. 17 win season was very impressive but I am not sure if he can produce those numbers again. The AL West is tougher but Feldman is just another year experience. I see a rise in strikeouts but only around 14-15 wins. Dice-K most people have written off. Though in my MLB preview for Boston, I do mention Dice-K seems to be figured out. I do believe that he can still win around 12 games along with 170 K. I have two closers in Marmol and Aardsma. Marmol is projected to have a huge season this year and people seem to over look drafting him due to his low 2009 numbers. I expect the same results from Aardsma which is all I ask for. Overall this staff is decent but not great. I think my hitting will carry this staff and my team majority of the season though people might be surprised how well they end up producing.

Fantasy Baseball

In Random Rants on March 28, 2010 at 4:13 pm

This year I will be again doing fantasy baseball with a group of friends from all over the state of Texas. Though it is one of the harder fantasy sports to keep up with, head to head match up will be a lot more convenient. The official draft is March 28, 2010 at 8:00 PM Central and I will post my draft results once the draft has been completed. I have been able to do two mock drafts and both times I have been the first pick.

1st Mock Draft Results:

1.) Albert Pujols (StL- 1B)

2.) Victor Martinez (Bos-C/1B)

3.) Ben Zobrist (TB-2B, SS, OF)

4.) Jason Bay (NYM-OF)

5.) Chris Carpenter ( StL-SP)

6.) Marco Scutaro (BOS-SS)

7.) Hunter Pence (Hou-OF)

8.) Jorge Cantu (Fla- 1B, 3B)

9.) Matt Cain (SF- SP)

10.) A.J. Burnett ( NYY- SP)

11.) Francisco Rodriguez ( NYM-RP)

12.) Brad Hawpe ( Col- OF)

13.) Juan Pierre (CWS-OF)

14.) Brian Fuentes ( LAA- RP)

15.) Frank Francisco ( Tex- RP)

16.) Nick Swisher ( NYY-1B/OF)

17.) Scott Kazmir ( LAA- SP)

18.) Placido Polanco ( Phi-2B)

19.) Ervin Santana ( LAA- SP)

20.) David DeJesus ( KC-OF)

21.) Mark Teahen ( CWS- 1B, 3B, OF)

22.) J.J. Hardy ( Min-SS)

23.) Lyle Overbay (Tor-1B)

2nd Mock Draft Results:

1.) Albert Pujols ( StL-1B)

2.) Victor Martinez (Bos- C, 1B)

3.) C.C. Sabathia ( NYY-SP)

4.) Jason Bay (NYM- OF)

5.) Adam Wainwright ( StL-SP)

6.) Jason Bartlett ( TB-SS)

7.) Skip Schumaker (StL-2B, OF)

8.) Jorge Cantu (Fla-1B,3B)

9.) Alfonso Soriano ( ChC-OF)

10.) Brad Hawpe (Col-OF)

11.) Francisco Rodriguez (NYM- RP)

12.) Roy Oswalt ( Hou-SP)

13.) Carlos Beltran ( NYM-OF)

14.) J.D. Drew ( Bos-OF)

15.) Carlos Zambrano- (ChC-SP)

16.) David Price (TB-SP)

17.) Scott Kazmir ( LAA- SP)

18.) Tyler Clippard ( Was- RP)

19.) Nick Swisher( NYY- 1B,OF)

20.) Juan Pierre ( CWS- OF)

21.) Scott Rolen (CIN-3B)

22.) John Maine- (NYM- SP)

23.) J.A Happ (Phi- SP, RP)

Lake House 2010

In Random Rants on March 26, 2010 at 10:12 am

“The Journey”

Potentially the greatest four days of my life ended up better than watching the Aggies lose at everything. Spring Break at Kerri’s lake house off Lake Leon began Saturday afternoon. A convoy of four vehicles exited Lubbock around 12:30 pm with Kerri leading the charge. Prior to the expedition, all of us were told by Kerri that she would not exceed 75 mphs. This was obviously a lie when Bawo was left miles behind the lead car and Pace called to confirm Ben’s speed limit (85mph). Another disadvantage of having a woman leading the pack was the lack of warning prior to exiting. Kerri chose to exit off the freeway doing 80 mph in front of an 18-wheeler while we all had to dodge the behemoth vehicle  just to squeak onto the feeder.

Day 1 – “The Arrival”

After driving 3 1/2 hours, we finally arrived at our destination and headed right to the coolers full of beer. After unloading everything, we were greeted by the parentals and a ladder that led up to the second floor. Repeat, a ladder not stairs on a spring break trip that involved numerous amount of alcoholic beverages. We all went out to the back to explore the lake and to wait on Will Knox & Derek Cox to arrive. After hitting a few golf balls into the lake, the rest of the crew arrived fully prepared for an exponential time. At least that is what one of them thought.

” Trail of Tears “

The first night Coach Watson cooked burgers and hot dogs which seemed to satisfy all the participants. The rest of the night was spent around the bonfire near the lake sharing stories, completely epic burns and the beginning of the Derek heckling. It just started off simple, typical collegiate banter. Everyone that came attends Texas Tech or graduated from TTU. Derek was the one lone wolf and should have worn Kerri’s wolf shirt or came up with a speech like Alan’s from the Hangover. Regardless, Derek was the one person that didn’t attend Tech and thus the insulting commenced. Soon it started to become worse when the negativity of smoking was brought upon and then driving of a Porsche. Coach Watson even got into the game by bluntly calling Derek gay, especially with the sly comments of  wearing a scarf and sipping wine. Derek further dug a deeper hole into hell when he than try to correct the pronunciation of Porsche to PorschA. I am not sure if this was him trying to defend himself with some class but being in Ranger, class doesn’t win you any style points. Of course we couldn’t bring Derek to tears too early. With the help of Will’s lackluster burn and Bawo falling out of the chair, the burning changed direction. Close to mid-night Will try to make a sly comment to Coach Watson by subtly hinting that Kerri, Coach Watson’s daughter, was a ho. The place went silent as we watch Will quiver in fear when C. Watson sternly responded ” Yeah, that was pretty damn funny!” Will turned white, they crowd gasp but as a true champ Will went back to his comfort zone and asked C. Watson, “I heard you coach football.” Burn complete, recover  epic, first night in already edged into our memories. We headed back into the house to get settled for the rest of the night. Some of the girls were already passed out up stairs leaving three unoccupied mattresses on the first floor. Ben and I quickly called our mattresses and then proceeding to giggle for twenty plus minutes about random things. We tormented Pace about his ability not to turn off lights and laughed at him even more as he failed miserably in catching the she devil dog named Lexi. As Pace, Ben and I were trying to fall asleep, we were interrupted by a loud snore. At first I thought it was Pace and Pace believed it was me. Than once we confirmed it was neither of us three, we assumed it was Will. Come to find out, it was the “gay-boy” Derek.

Day 2- ” Unlawful Beatings”

We all eventually woke up Sunday morning and were  greeted with a delicious breakfast provided by Mrs. Watson. Of course as we all were sitting there conversing, Kerri jumps into the shower and then the girls follow in line. Soon as it gets to the guys, there is inadequate amount of hot water and a shower full of female products. Once we all get dressed, we wander out to the back to further our binge drinking until C. Watson was prepared to take us out towards their deer lease. During the time down by the lake we watched Lexi and Quincy attempt to make a bastard puppy and continued our prolific rant on Derek. Then we had to make a trip to Wal-Mart because Ben’s IPhone died and he had to buy a cheap replacement. With minimal choices, Ben chose a phone that would be popular back in the 80’s. Despite being small and handy, the ringtone sounded like an SOS call with a mix of Rumba. We return back to camp and after a little while we all packed into two vehicles and headed out toward the lease. On the way there we stopped at a drive through liquor store, where we all order numerous amounts of beer, along with plethora amount of bags of ice. Roughly twenty minutes later we arrived at the lease and was given a quick over view. The place had around 10 beds and multiple vintage posters. Then we went out back to take a quick snap shot of our journey there and headed towards the pond. At the pond, we were given a rock skipping show by Will. Next we all went to gather fire wood throughout the woods and eventually filled up the truck. Once we got back, this is when the hell gates opened up for Derek. We were told that we were having ribs for dinner. I was especially stoked by this choice and everyone else was too. But we were wrong. Along comes dinner and we scrambled toward the counter to fill up our plates with a very popular American Cuisine. As we all were munching our way through, we all hear that Derek doesn’t like nor eat ribs. All shocked by this, we question Derek’s distaste for the food and then heckle him for the next 48 hours. Coach Watson mentions creating a salad bar and then request some wine to be bought for the non american rib eater. It is known by majority of us that the Texas State kid likes to dish out the fire but can’t handle being served. Derek tries some witty comebacks further in the night but like always just digs himself a bigger hole. We all go back toward the newly rebuilt camp fire and all became very alcohol induced. So much that Derek believed walking through a fire would be a brilliant move. Students that attend A.C.C. wouldn’t be this delusional. Derek was having such a bad run at this time, that he believed talking about trees with C. Watson was idealistic. I brought up in my preview of the trip that I might go “Burt” or not. I became “Burt” and was even recording by Will mentioning my dominance of Pearl Harbor. We were presented with unfortunate news that Michelle was struck down by the gods with an illness. As the fire simmered so did the drinking. Once again we stumbled back up to the house but this time the bottom mattresses were occupied by Michelle and Derek. I in my horrible state, was forced to climb the ladder with Will spotting me. We all got to our sleeping quarters and didn’t take too long to pass out.

Day 3 ” Loneliness”

Waking up again roughly around the same hour, we were once again fed a great breakfast but unfortunately the skies were not near as pleasant and we had to see the exit of Michelle. This time, the guys were able to hit the showers first, with Pace leading the charge. After the showers, we took what seemed two hours to decide what board/card game we wanted to play. One of the groups favorite boards game to play, Monopoly, was brought by Ben. We decided to play some “monops” and as usual the hating and arguing began amongst everyone. Unfair trades, cheating accusations and crying seemed to be the norm. Eventually in the end, Kerri was able to win out with Pace following in second. As the day went on, we furthered bashed Derek to a point where he would just walk outside to collect his tears. The next game that was chosen was a card game new to me, Phase 10. There are ten objectives in the game and the player is supposed to secure each phase to be able to move onto the next one. Situated perfectly at the table, to my right was Will. During the game, Will and I masterfully handed each other cards under the table that we needed to complete a phase. Numerous times we believed Derek noticed the cheating but I assumed he didn’t have great vision do to the water works in his eyes from the harassments. I was victorious with Will coming in a close third. Bawo then accused us of cheating and we responded by saying, cheaters do not end up in third. Then Bawo exclaimed that her and Kerri were cheating as well and both Will and I said, ” You cheat and still end up last, congratulations.” Majority of the time playing these games, Kristina some how passed out on the couch what seemed about four hours. Didn’t roll over or even make a sound. DEAD. Derek bashing pt. III soon evolved when once again C. Watson took his time out of his day to make us chicken wings. By this time, we knew Derek wasn’t fan of manly food,  so Mrs. Watson proceeded again to join in the burns and offered to make Mr. Cox a salad to go along with his baked potato and coleslaw. Laughter broke out once again and Derek proceeded to make an exit out the back door. After dinner, we drank some more and played trivial pursuit which turned into an epic failure. Bawo then lowered down on the basket, Outbust. Outbust is a game that consists of two groups where they are each given categories. Each group has to name things related toward that categories to gain points and to move up in the leader board. This game lasted  much of the night and the groups turned into battle of the sexes. Sadly to say for the females, they didn’t win very often and the men once again showed their dominance in the world. Some of the crew went to bed after the game but the real champs stayed up and played Presidents and Assholes. There were multiple times where Ben and Will were president but then immediately dropped to asshole. Everyone had their chance to be beer boy and to gain fame in their punishments. Soon bed was calling our names where Will and I slept upstairs again while Ben and Pace took the downstairs. While upstairs, there was plenty of chatter and video taping. Along with this ruckus, I threw a pen at Kerri and she kindly threw a shoe which plastered me in the face. She laughed and rolled all over the floor. Instead of normally retaliating to the shoe, I farted which turned into more laughter in the room.

Day 4- “Sad Goodbye”

The final day arrived and it is time to say goodbye. We all sat around the room going over our memories we just made and finished off the Derek heckling. After we packed and loaded everything up, we sat around for a good hour and half doing nothing. We could have left but it seemed that we didn’t want to due to the length of the drive some of us had to make or the shear fact that we loved the lake house. Eventually we all made a move toward our vehicles, gave each other hugs and called it epic. No matter what happened and went down, the overall enjoyment each of us had will be told for years to come.

2010 Lake House Crew

Kerri Watson

Michelle Mendez

Kristina Corella

Bawo Omamogho

Burt Thompson

Will Knox

Ben Veazey

Derek Cox

Jason Pace

Coach Watson

Mrs. Watson

Lexi

Quincy

Top Ten Favorite MLB Stadiums

In Random Rants on March 20, 2010 at 1:48 pm

I believe baseball parks are the greatest places to watch a sporting event. I might  catch a lot of heat from this but to me nothing beats sitting in a ballpark during summer afternoons. The moment you walk out from the tunnel to your seat to see the field, players, fans and all the amenities of the park, it just becomes breathtaking. I remember as a kid living in Houston, my first baseball game was at the Astrodome. I have never been in such awe when I walked from the concession stands to my seats. I felt at home. From the first pitch to the last, all the sights and sounds where incredible. No matter how many times I go to a game, regardless of where it is or who is playing, the one thing that just consumes me is aesthetic of the ball park. Every park has some type of signature that it is known for. Examples would be: Wrigley field since 1937 has been known for the ivy on the brick wall, Fenway obviously has the Green Monster, Miller Park for the home-run slide, AT&T Park has McCovey Cove and Minute Maid Park for Tal’s Hill.  This leads me to listing my top ten favorite modern ball parks.

1.) Busch Stadium ( St. Louis Cardinals) Despite my distaste for the Cardinals, Busch Stadium has the best backdrop in baseball. With the St. Louis skyline and the Arch, it is really something to see. I love the color red and when that stadium is full, it becomes mesmerizing. When you walk into the park, you just feel engulfed in the game. You just become baseball. Though the stadium doesn’t have some of goofy signature parts, the color of the stadium inside and out is just so stunning that you cannot enjoy yourself there.

Busch Stadium- St. Louis Cardinals

Capacity- 46, 861

Construction Cost – $365 Million

Opened – April 10, 2006

2.) PNC Park ( Pittsburgh Pirates) The city of Pittsburgh seems to have it all correct when it comes to the ultimate sports venues. Pittsburgh Steelers play in one of the most premier football stadiums in America, Heinz Field,  while the Penguins are about to have one of the top-notch hockey arenas, Consol Energy Center. Even though the Pirates have been struggling for past few years, their stadium rivals any other stadium to date. Just like Busch Stadium, PNC Park has a great back drop that includes a massive downtown skyline along with the Roberto Clemente Bridge that stretches over the Alleghney River. The stadium isn’t the prettiest from the outside but baseball games at night defines perfect.

PNC Park- Pittsburgh Pirates

Capacity- 38,496

Construction Cost- $216

Opened- March 31, 2001

3.) Citi Field ( New York Mets) One of two new parks introduced in 2009, Citi Field I believe one of the most underrated ballparks to come watch a game in. The stadium has one of the most unique entrances you will see. The front entrance of Citi Field features a rotunda named after Brooklyn Dodgers legend Jackie Robinson and honors his life and accomplishments. Engraved into the rotunda’s 160-foot diameter floor and etched into the archways are words and larger-than-life images that defined Robinson’s nine values: Courage, Excellence, Persistence, Justice, Teamwork, Commitment, Citizenship, Determination and Integrity. Another feature that transitioned over from Shea Stadium was the home-run apple. Located dead center, every time a Mets player homers the apple rises up.

Citi Field- New York Mets

Capacity – 41,800

Construction Cost- $900 Million

Opened- April 13, 2009


4.) Chase Field ( Arizona Diamondbacks) – Finished in 1998, Chase Field is one of five stadiums that has a retractable roof.  It is one of two stadiums that has a dirt strip that stretches from the pitchers mound to home. Though the stadium has a very typical style to it, the enormous advertising signs in the outfield makes the stadium feel very gigantic. What I really like about this stadium is how close the fans are to the field. The deep far right and left foul lines are not more than 10 feet from the stands. As fans we all enjoy being as close to the field as possible, especially baseball where we can try to snatch foul balls. The stadium has a swimming pool in right center field. If you have $6,500 to spend for a ball game, than you can rent out the pool for a whole game.

Chase Field- Arizona Diamondbacks

Capacity- 49,033

Construction Cost- $354 Million

Opened- March 31, 1998


5.) AT&T Park (San Francisco Giants) This park isn’t very big and for that very reason is why I love this park. The ability to watch players hit home-runs out of the park and into McCovey Cove is just mind-boggling. Being able to go watch a game in this ball park seems to have a very fresh feeling. Being located right next to San Francisco Bay, fans have the ability to enjoy the sun and the beauty of the bay. There is a massive coca cola bottle in left field that has a slide in it. Every time a home-run is hit, it lights up and blows bubbles. Right next to the bottle is an old fashion 1927 baseball glove.

AT&T Park- San Francisco Giants

Capacity- 41,053

Construction Cost- $357 Million

Opened- March 31, 2000


6.) Rangers Ballpark in Arlington ( Texas Rangers)- This might be one of the prettiest parks in America. When fans show up and deck out the Rangers Red, White and Blue colors, it just screams America. The design of this park has been taken from other stadiums such as Fenway Park, Oriole Park at Camden Yards and Comiskey Park. This stadium has a very old school feel to it, especially with the massive office buildings out behind centerfield. Rangers Ballpark has one of the best exterior structural designs. The Texas Sunset Granite on the outside makes it very attractive, especially when walking up to the stadium. The grass field with the big Rangers T logo is a nice asset and just adds that extra quality to the overall aesthetics.

Rangers Ballpark in Arlington- Texas Rangers

Capacity- 49,200

Construction Cost- $191 Million

Opened- April 1, 1994


7.) Yankee Stadium ( New York Yankees) What I really admire about the stadium is not that it is a year old but how they manage to keep the old Yankee style to it. Being able to transfer a lot of the same structural designs over from the old park to the new has really kept the tradition of playing in Yankee Stadium alive. Along with the old tradition, they did incorporate modern looks too. The massive scoreboard in centerfield is definitely a nice touch. Of course any stadium is going to look grand when you spend $1.5 billion on it. All the distances from home to walls are the same from the old field. Oddly my favorite feature is the entrance to gate 4 where in large letters, it reads Yankees Stadium. Something about the way it looks just proclaims greatness.

Yankees Stadium- New York Yankees

Yankee Stadium- New York Yankees

Capacity- 52,325

Construction Cost- $ 1.5 Billion

Opened – April 16, 2009


8.) Minute Maid Park ( Houston Astros) There is so much that could be said about my love for my team’s home field. There is a lot that I could say that I dislike too. I really like the fact that they decided to make the stadium roof retractable to help with the Texas heat during those long summer days. Most people do not like to sit way out in the outfield but the Crawford Boxes have to be one of my favorite sections in the park. The Crawford Boxes are so popular that they are actually the most expensive outfield seats in the major leagues. Tal’s Hill is a very unique feature and a lot of great catches have been made on this Hill. The one main thing that I dislike is the pole on top of the Hill. The idea was taken from numerous older baseball stadiums but I just don’t like the idea of an object that can hinders a player’s ability to make a play. Even if you are not an Astros fan, it is a very family oriented built park and a great place to take your kids.

Minute Maid Park- Houston Astros

Minute Maid Park- Houston Astros

Capacity- 40,950

Construction Cost- $250 Million

Opened- April 7, 2000

9.) Citizens Bank Park ( Philadelphia Phillies) This park to me carries a true home field advantage. I know all parks are designed to feel comfortable to home team and fans but Citizens Bank Park exploits the City of Philadelphia. The park has a replica of the Liberty Bell in center field that lights up when balls exit the park. There are numerous food stations where you can experience the famous Philadelphia cheese steak sandwich along with pizza, bbq, and pubs. The stadium has rooftop seating which give fans a great view of the field and the city. There are ton of historic venues to view while touring the stadium. For opposing fans, the one thing to be cautious is how rowdy Phillie fans can become. Notoriously known for being the rudest fans in the big leagues, it is almost best to not wear your teams gear.

Citizens Bank Park- Philadelphia Phillies

Capacity- 43,647

Construction Cost- $458 Million

Opened- April 3, 2004

10.) Fenway Park ( Boston Red Sox) Known for the Green Monster, Fenway Park is one of the most historic parks in all of baseball. Built in 1912, this ball park has seen it all. This park has been host to hockey games, football games, and even soccer games. There are ton of famous elements from Pesky Poll, The Lone Red Seat, The Triangle and Duffy Cliff. Red Sox fans are also the most committed in all of baseball. From good times to bad, they always seem to be behind their team. It is a place that you have to just go to even if you don’t like baseball. I really admire this stadium due to the great of an atmosphere it conveys throughout the year. Never a dull moment and the crowd is always energetic.

Fenway Park- Boston Red Sox

Capacity- 37,402

Construction Cost- $ 14.8 Million

Opened- April 20, 1912