SPORTS — The Gift That Keeps On Giving

tom-brady-happy-face

Don’t be a sheep. Sheep blend in with the herd and follow what everyone else is doing. I will never be a sheep. I will always be a fox. A leader, who walks his own path. A path covered in clean, white snow, sans footprints. See, I keep hearing the same thing from seemingly everyone, “It’s August. We have nothing to talk about!!” Yes, you do, you’re just lazy. There’s always something to talk about it in the world of sports. Now use that real estate between your ears to find the gifts August 3rd has brought us this year.

Tom Brady

What do you get the man who has everything?? I have no clue!! But according to Rob Gronkowski, you get him ‘Touchdowns’. Tom Brady’s 40th birthday is today. And “The Gronk” said, “I’m going to catch that man some touchdowns.” Wow. So profound Gronk. Thank you so much!!

Tom Brady continues to play at an extremely high level. For now, Father Time has taken a back seat in Tom Brady’s SUV. I’m sure Brady wouldn’t mind the fountain of youth for his birthday though, for Father Time is undefeated for a reason. Today is going to be SUPER annoying. Sports networks are going to jam Tom Brady’s accomplishments down our throats. Enjoy throwing up everybody!!

Wladimir Klitschko 

His name may start with an inexplicable W, but his career did not end with a W. After an 11th round knockout by Anthony Joshua back in April, Klitcschko has decided to hang up his boxing gloves for good. While his last fight was competitive, it ultimately led to the decision for the 41 year old to retire. Klitschko enjoyed a very successful career, going 64-5 and in his 69 professional fights. This news leaves the heavyweight division even thinner than it already was. Good luck boxing….

Neymar Jr.

Hey, you got $222 Million Euro ($262 Million Dollars) sittin’ around?? You do?? Oh great! Let’s spend that on Neymar Jr. I can’t actually think of a better way to spend money. This is the current state of affairs in soccer. Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) will pay the largest transfer fee EVER to Barcelona to attain the rights to Neymar Jr. This is insane!!

Shutout City

Yesterday was an odd day in Major League Baseball. Of the 14 games that were played, 6 were shutouts. This is the 2nd most shutouts in one day in the past 11 years. The even crazier part is 4 of the 6 starting pitchers have E.R.A.s of 5.00 or more. And the CRAZIEST part is the teams these crappy pitchers blanked:

  • Washington Nationals
  • Houston Astros
  • New York Yankees
  • Chicago Cubs
  • Kansas City Royals
  • Philadelphia Phillies

Outside of the Phillies, those are REALLY GOOD hitting teams. For all of them to put up goose eggs on the same day, there must be some weird, cosmic energy floating around the universe.

 

What was the most exciting part of Wednesday for you?? Tell me all about it in the comment section below.

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel called DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

 

2017 MLB Hall of Fame Inductees

hall of fame

A small class of distinguished gentlemen will take their place amongst the all-time greats. The 2017 MLB Hall of Fame Inductees represent the wealth of talent that rounded the bases in the 1980’s and 1990’s. This year’s Inductees include:

  • Ivan Rodriguez (1st Ballot)
  • Jeff Bagwell (7th Ballot)
  • Tim Raines (10th Ballot)

Let’s start with “Pudge”. Ivan Rodriguez is regarded as one of the best defensive catchers of all-time. He was an absolute wizard behind the plate, winning 13 Gold Gloves over a 21-year playing career. Playing the majority of his career for the Texas Rangers, he also made stops with the Marlins, Tigers, Yankees, Astros, and Nationals. “Pudge” was voted in on his 1st ballot (76%), becoming just the 2nd catcher to share that honor (Johnny Bench). I was a fan of “Pudge”, especially when he jumped on the special sauce and decided to hit 35 Home Runs with 113 RBI’s and 25 SB’s in 1999. Oh, he also hit .332 while winning his only MVP. And now, his nickname makes more sense than ever. Anyway..Congratulations!!

Pudge’s Stats: 2,844 Hits, 311 Home Runs, 1,332 RBI’s, 127 SB’s, .296 AVG.

Jeff Bagwell made a name for himself in the 1990’s, as the most powerful member of the “Killer B’s”. Bagwell now joins his former teammate, Craig Biggio, in the Hall of Fame. Bagwell graced the staged at Cooperstown on his 7th Ballot, garnering 86.2% of the vote. Bagwell’s career is absolutely Hall of Fame worthy. He won Rookie of the Year in 1991, MVP in 1994, and played all 15 of his MLB seasons with the Houston Astros. It’s a shame he had to wait 7 years to get in, but good things come to those who wait, right?? We can ask our next guest about that….

Bagwell’s Stats: 2,314 Hits, 449 Home Runs, 1529 RBI’s, 202 SB’s, and .297 AVG.

And then there’s Tim Raines. The man who waited 10 whole years to receive his invitation to Cooperstown. After playing 23 years in MLB, what’s another 10 right?? Raines received 86.0% of the votes required to get in. While I’m happy for Raines, I’m not sold on his Hall of Fame status. I believe it is the Hall of Greatness, not the Hall of Very Good. Raines was a phenomenal base stealer, who hit for average, but is the perfect example of a player who didn’t know when to ‘hang ’em up’. While there is something to be said for longevity, he stuck around for 3/4 years too many.

Raines’ Stats: 2,605 Hits, 170 Home Runs, 980 RBI’s, 808 SB’s, .294 AVG.

MLB inducted 2 other individuals into the Hall of Fame on Sunday:

  • Bud Selig
  • John Schuerholz

Bud Selig was the Commissioner of MLB for 22 years. Over that span, he oversaw many changes to the game. He was vital in implementing the separation of each league into 3 divisions, interleague play, and revenue sharing. Despite heading up the league during the “Steroid Era”, Selig left MLB in better shape than he found it.

And last but not least, John Schuerholz. Schuerholz is regarded as one of the top General Manger’s baseball has ever seen. He spent 26 years working for the Atlanta Braves and Kansas City Royals. His resume speaks for itself: 16 Division Titles, 6 Pennants, and 2 World Series. Case closed.

And what’s a Hall of Fame Induction ceremony without a little Roger Clemens, Barry Bonds conversation?! As I’ve stated many times before, they should absolutely be voted into the Hall of Fame. Well, each year, both Clemens and Bonds’ votes continue to rise. This year, they each received approximately 54.0% of the vote (with 75% required to get in). This is up nearly 10% from last year. It is inevitable, so what are we waiting for?? Let them in, let them all in.

 

What do you think of the 2017 MLB Hall of Fame Class?? Are they all deserving??

You can now find me on the Radio too. Download the TuneIn Radio App and search OWWR. I’ll be on live every Wednesday from 6:00 P.M. – 8:00 P.M EST. I also broadcast every show on Facebook Live via my DaveTalksSports.com Facebook Page.

Since you enjoy my writing, follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like my page on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports. You can also Subscribe to my YouTube Channel called DaveTalksSports. Thanks for reading!! Now go tell all your friends!!

 

American League Central Predictions

Today, we will take a look at our first American League Division; the American League Central.  I will preview each team and give you my bold predictions for the upcoming season.  Here is a quick look at how each team finished last season:

2012 American League Central Final Standings:

                                                        W   L

Detriot Tigers:                                 88-74

Chicago White Sox:                        85-77

Kansas City Royals:                       72-90

Cleveland Indians:                         68-94

Minnesota Twins:                           66-96

Ah, the 2012 Minnesota Twins.  What a major disappointment they were huh?  No one was crowning them World Series champions prior to the 2012 season, but I think we all expected them to be above .500.  The Twins started out with a horrid record, and as the season continued it only got worse.  They finished dead last in the American League Central, a horrible 30 games under .500.  There is good news for 2013.  I don’t think it is physically possible to be as bad as they were last year.  That means there is only one way to go; up.  The Twins lost speedy outfielders Denard Span and Ben Revere, and they are hoping Darin Mastroianni can be their starting center fielder of the future, their leadoff hitter, and can blossom into a star.  I think he is a nice little player, but his strikeout rate is too high and his batting average is too low for me to say he’ll be a difference maker in Minnesota.  They also added Vance Worley and Mike Pelfrey to their starting rotation.  Mike Pelfrey after one solid year for the Mets in 2010, has underachieved beyond belief (if only I were 6’7″).  I don’t see the change of scenery being the difference for Pelfrey, and I see him struggling mightily this season.  As for Worley, after bursting on to the scene in 2011, his 2012 was very pedestrian (where he sported a 4.20 era and only won 6 games).  The Twins offense does have a chance to put up some runs, but that all depends on the health of their two former ‘superstars’; Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer.  Josh Willingham should have another nice season at the plate, but if Mauer and Morneau can stay healthy they could make a run at that elusive .500 record (hahaha).  That’s how good I think they will be this season, their ceiling is a .500 record.  When it’s all said and done I do think they improve upon their record from last season, but not by much.  They will be a stellar 70-92.

Last season the Cleveland Indians showed that they can compete in the American League Central.  They held a record of 44-41 at the All-Star break.  Then the Indians went on to have a disastrous 2nd half, going 24-53 to close out the season.  This forced the Indians owner to fire their manager Manny Acta.  Over the offseason, the Indians hired former Red Sox manager Terry Francona.  They believe that the combination of Francona and their new acquisitions this offseason gives them a chance to compete for the division title.  They added former Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher, home-run hitting Mark Reynolds, speedy centerfielder Michael Bourn, and the power/speed threat of Drew Stubbs (if only Stubbs didn’t strike out a million times he’d have the potential to be GREAT).  Between Reynolds and Stubbs their batting average will plummet while their strikeout rate soars through the roof, but they have the potential to be a very good team.  If Ubaldo Jimenez can return to All-Star form, watch out for the Cleveland Indians!  I think that they will be the most improved team from last season but will just miss out on the playoffs.  I believe they will finish with a record of 85-77.

The Kansas City Royals have been a model of inconsistency over the years, and that’s exactly what they were last season.  I do believe that they are heading in the right direction though and might actually surprise some folks this season.  The Royals have a good young team with a mountain of potential.  They also added James Shields, Ervin Santana, and Wade Davis to their starting rotation this offseason.  I believe this will vastly improve this team, and they will finish with a winning record for the first time since 2003.  The Royals have a lineup with a rare combination of speed and power.  Between Lorenzo Cain, Alcides Escobar, Jarrod Dyson, and Alex Gordon the Royals should swipe a lot of bases this season.  They also have a lot of pop in their bats, with Mike Moustakas, Eris Hosmer, and Billy Butler anchoring the lineup.  Expect the Royals to be improved from last year, finishing with a record of 82-80.

Outside of Chris Sale, the Chicago White Sox rotation hovered around .500 in terms of wins and losses last season.  I believe that is what we will see from this team in 2013.  They did not make much noise this past offseason.  The only real addition they made was bringing in Jeff Keppinger to play 3rd base.  He should help with their batting average but not much more.  They do have nice players in their lineup in Paul Konerko, Alexei Ramirez, and Alejandro De Aza, but that won’t be enough to compete in this division.  This will be the most improved division in baseball, and the White Sox will finish in 4th place in the division this season.  I don’t think their pitching is good enough and it will ultimately be their downfall.  I see the White Sox having a disappointing season, finishing with an 80-82 record.

This is the Detroit Tigers division to lose.  With Justin Verlander heading up a rotation that includes Max Scherzer and Doug Fister, the Tigers rotation should continue to mow batters down.  Add that to a lineup that features Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder, and I think it’s safe to say that the Tigers will win the American League Central again this season.  The Tigers do have a big question mark this season though, that could throw a big curveball into their plans.  They don’t have a closer right now.  They don’t seem to be interested in re-signing Jose Valverde.  Now, I dislike Valverde more than anyone in the world.  Watching him pitch makes me want to stab myself in the eyes with a pencil.  However, sometimes the scarcity at a position should dictate how you put your team together.  Valverde did implode in the postseason last year, but he is by far the best option at closer for the Detroit Tigers (at least right now).  Come playoff time, are you really going to feel comfortable handing the ball to a rookie in the 9th inning??  I highly doubt it.  I foresee the Tigers holding off the Indians to win the division, but I don’t think they’re going to make it look easy.  Their record should be similar to that of last year at 89-73.  They will narrowly win the American League Central.

2013 American League Central Projected Final Standings:

W   L

Detroit Tigers:                                  89-73

Cleveland Indians:                          85-77

Kansas CIty Royals:                        82-80

Chicago White Sox:                         80-82

Minnesota Twins:                            70-92

Projected American League Central Winner: Detroit Tigers

If you enjoy my writing, follow me over to intheneutralzone.com where I am a contributing author there as well.  Also you can follow me on twitter @DaveEttinger2 or like me on Facebook at http://www.Facebook.com/DaveTalksSports.  Thanks for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it!