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It’s Baseball Time Once Again

The lawn mowers are being dusted off, the sprinkler systems are coming on, and baseball is back in full-swing. Even in the Northeast, where the weather has been more up-and-down more than a rollercoaster, the baseball season kicks-off in the Bronx this Thursday at 1:05 p.m. EST.

With spring training in the rear-view mirror, we will get a first glance at all of the teams at full strength, and how much the offseason arrivals and departures that will help, or hurt, teams.

After free-agency settled down, the Philadelphia Phillies and the Boston Red Sox appeared to be the real winners this offseason.

The Phillies were able to land the biggest free-agent, in Cliff Lee. Lee turned down a more lucrative offer from the New York Yankees, and signed in Philly, where he last pitched in 2009. He joins the starting rotation that already had Roy Halladay, Cole Hamels, Roy Oswalt, and Joe Blanton. With that pitching, and their always solid offense centered around Ryan Howard, the Phillies are, on paper, the favorites to represent the National League in the World Series.

The Boston Red Sox went the opposite route of the Phillies. They focused on their offense in the offseason. In a matter of days, they were able to sign Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford. Crawford was a cornerstone of the Tampa Bay Rays in years prior, having both power and speed on the base paths. Gonzalez, who is coming off of shoulder surgery, adds even more power. And with their always strong rotation, and improved offense, the Sox look like the class of the American League, and are looking at a World Series run.

These are just predictions. Sure, they are the favorites on paper, but that doesn’t mean you are a World Series lock. Take a look at the Yankees three years ago (Sorry, had to get that jab in).

There are other teams looking to make a run. The San Francisco Giants, last year’s champs, were quiet this offseason, keeping their team intact. The Yankees always have a powerful team, and, will once again, fight with the Sox for the top spot in the AL East. The Colorado Rockies is my sleeper team this season. They have been building a solid team with a lot of talent, but not a lot of stars. They are looking to knock off the Giants in the NL West.

Now, on to my predictions.

In the World Series, I have the Philadelphia Phillies beating the Red Sox in six-games. Now, this kills me to say this, because I am a Red Sox fan, but I think the Phillies pitching will prevail over Boston’s pitching, and the Phillies offense is just slightly better. It will be a heavyweight fight, with the Phillies giving to knockout in Game 6.

Enjoy the season, and hope that the start of baseball brings spring weather along with it.

Agree? Disagree? Want your voice to be heard? Leave a comment below, or e-mail me at: jeff.langan.jr@gmail.com with your thoughts, suggestions of topics, or just want to talk sports. Follow me on Twitter @jefflangan, or subscribe to this blog.

I would love to hear your feedback.

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Posted by on March 29, 2011 in Campus Lantern Articles, MLB

 

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Quick Hits

So, it has been a while since I have written here. With having three midterms and a project due the two days before break, and not having internet on Spring Break, it has been hard to find time to write. And boy, has there been a lot of stuff going on in the sports-world that I have wanted to write about.

Instead writing a bunch of full blogs, which would take a day and a half, I figure I would just write about a bunch of short blurbs.

1. There have been two rule-changed in the NFL that will take place this season (hopefully). One change was they would review all scoring plays, taking the stress off of NFL coaches. This is one that was overdue. As a head coach, you have worry about players, plays, a wide variety of other things. They are 30 yards away from scoring plays, having to rely on the big screens and other assistant coaches to tell him to challenge it. With this, it will take more stress off the head coach, and automatically replay every questionable scoring play.

The other rule passed was they moved the kickoff spot forward five-yards, to the 35-yard line. Kick off specialists Devin Hester and Joshua Cribbs have both publically lashed out against the new rule. They have a point. It will severely dimish their skilled position as a kick returner (although both play crucial parts in their teams offenses). But, if you think about it, strategy can come into play. You might be able to catch some teams off-guard who are expecting a touchback.

1a. The NFLPA wants the rookies to boycott the draft. They don’t want the draft class to show up to Radio City Music Hall, not to walk across the stage infront of the entire country, not to hug Roger Goodall and receive the ceremonial jersey, and to not take pictures that will last a lifetime.

Really?

As a kid, you dream about that. Hoping one day you can strut across that stage. It is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and the NFLA want them to miss it. How selfish.

And P.S.- it is the same NFLPA who wants to implement a rookie pay scale. Which means the rookies, who they are asking to boycott, will lose out on millions.

[Insert witty comment here]

1b. Still no word on the labor front. April 6th seems to be the day. Keep your fingers crossed.

2. March Madness! Like everyone else in the country, my bracket was done after the third-round, with both Pittsburgh and Notre Dame losing early. This has been the most exciting tournament in a while. There have been buzzer-beaters, multiple Cinderellas, and controversial endings. All play into an exciting four days of college basketball.

3. But, there is a downside to the tournament. The length. In the first four days, 48 games were played. Then, there was a three-day break, then eight games in two days, and so on and so-forth. It slows down. The pace of the tournament screeches to a halt after the third round, and limps to the finish. Yes, I understand the kids do have school. But between rounds, they don’t go back to school. They hang around the beach, and relax. March Madness could add more excitement by shortening the tournament (It is called March Madness, but ends in April; does anyone else see the problem?)

4. The big thing in the NBA still focuses around the Carmelo Anthony trade, but not the focus the Knicks wanted. They are under .500 since getting ‘Melo, while the Nuggets are 11-4 since they traded away ‘Melo and Billups, getting most of the Knicks. The Knicks have also fallen two spots in the playoff standings, and are looking at a first-round matchup against the Celtics.

Guess the Knicks were better BEFORE they got ‘Melo. Walsh and D’Antoni got this one wrong (so far).

Interesting.

5. Alex Ovechkin is out 7-10 games. He doesn’t elaborate on the injury. The Capitals are saying he ‘needs the rest for a playoff push.’ They have clinched a playoff spot, and look to have one of the top-two seeds in the Eastern Conference. If I was on the Capitals, and a player was ‘resting’ 7-10 games, while I was busting-my-butt on the ice every night, I would not be a happy skater.

6. Kyle Busch won the Jeff Byrd 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway last Sunday. He swept both the Nationwide Series and Sprint Cup Series races. Week after week, he is the ‘man-to-beat,’ always a favorite to win the race. Jimmie Johnson, on the other hand, never expects to win, but always flies under the radar into the Top-five by the end of the race. JJ is one of the most under-rated drivers in NASCAR. Yet, Jimmie has won five straight series championships, Kyle was won none. Doesn’t sound right.

7. One week until Opening Day. So excited to see Boston’s revamped lineup and rotation. They look good so far. But spring games don’t count towards a World Series. If everyone stays healthy, the Red Sox look like the favorite to win the American League.

A lot has happened in the sports world, with a lot more left to come.

Agree? Disagree? Want your voice to be heard? Leave a comment below, or e-mail me at: jeff.langan.jr@gmail.com with your thoughts, suggestions of topics, or just want to talk sports. Follow me on Twitter @jefflangan, or subscribe to this blog.

I would love to hear your feedback.

 

 
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Posted by on March 24, 2011 in College Sports, MLB, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHL

 

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