Sunday, June 30, 2013

Major League Baseball - Halfway Home

Here we are on the last day of June and most of the teams in Major League Baseball have played at least 81 games this season, which is the official halfway point of the season.
So far (as in ALL baseball seasons) there have been surprises and expectations as the season unfolds. Perhaps the biggest surprise is the Boston Red Sox leading the American League Eastern division at this point in the season.
The Bosox were a mess last year, losing 93 games and finishing in the basement of baseball's best division.
Currently, they own the best record in the AL and have a 2 1/2 game lead over the second place Baltimore Orioles.
On the other end in the American League, the Los Angeles Angels have been perhaps the biggest disappointment in baseball, floundering around in third place in the AL West and being closer to the basement than first place.
In the National League, the Atlanta Braves lead the Eastern division with a 6 1/2 game cushion over the disappointing Washington Nationals, who are at .500 (40-40) and hoping to reignite the fire from a year ago when they rolled to the division title.
Perhaps the biggest surprise in all of baseball is the Pittsburgh Pirates, who are atop the NL Central and have baseball's best record to this point at 50-30 and a one-game lead over the mighty St. Louis Cardinals.
Pittsburgh was considered a dark horse playoff contender coming out of spring training after showing promise last season before a late season fold. The Bucs are currently the hottest team in baseball and have an eight game winning streak going.
Individually, Detroit's Miguel Cabrera (last season's MVP and triple crown winner) has been torrid once again, slugging 24 home runs and 81 RBI with a league best .375 batting average.
However, Baltimore's Chris Davis has been every bit as good as Cabrera halfway through the season, slugging out a MLB best 30 home runs to this point with 79 RBI and batting at a .333 clip.
On the pitcher's mound, nobody has been better than Detroit hurler Max Scherzer, who is 12-0 as well as being second in the American League with 131 strikeouts. In the NL, St. Louis has two 11-game winners so far with Adam Wainwright and Lance Lynn doing their duty along with Jordan Zimmerman of Washington, who also has won eleven games.

Here is a capsule breakdown of the league at the midway point of the season . . .


Boston (49-34) - The biggest surprise in the American League without a doubt.
Baltimore (46-36) - The Orioles are working their magic once again this summer. Chris Davis dominating.
NY Yankees (42-38) - This team is old and injury riddled. Not looking good in the Bronx.
Tampa Bay (42-39) - The Rays have been treading water with a rash of injuries this summer.
Toronto (40-40) - Finding out that money may not buy a division title.


Detroit (43-36) - Cabrera and company in a struggle in division race so far. Max Schurzer dominating.
Cleveland (43-38) - Who are these guys? Hot and cold so far this summer, but in contention.
Kansas City (37-41) - About where they were expected to be at this point of season.
Minnesota (36-41) - See above comment.
Chicago White Sox (32-46) - One of the worst teams in baseball to this point.


Texas (47-34) - The Rangers just keep humming along.
Oakland (47-35) - Like the Orioles, the Athletics are weaving their own magic once again.
LA Angels (38-43) - Ouch!
Seattle (35-46) - This team should be doing better than they have been so far.
Houston (30-51) - Maybe, just maybe, the Astros can avoid 100 losses this year.


Atlanta (47-34) - The Braves are looking good so far.
Washington (40-40) - Hoping injuries to stars Harper and Strasburg are over with.
Philadelphia (39-43) - The Phillies are just happy to be where they are at this point.
NY Mets (33-44) - Right where they were expected to be.
Miami (28-51) - Baseball's worst team, but they are showing improvement.


Pittsburgh (50-30) - Baseball's BIGGEST surprise no doubt... The Bucs look like the real deal.
St. Louis (49-31) - The Cardinals will be right there come October.
Cincinnati (46-35) - Will the real Cincinnati Reds please stand up?
Chicago Cubs (34-45) - The Cubs are playing decent and may avoid the basement this year.
Milwaukee (32-47) - Scrap this season and just hope Ryan Braun can rebound next year.


Arizona (42-38) - The Diamondbacks lead baseball's most exciting division race at the halfway point.
Colorado (41-41) - Can the Rockies keep it going in the second half?
San Diego (40-41) - Looking like the team was expected to be so far.
San Francisco (38-42) - The 2012 World Series title is a distant memory, but team still in it.
LA Dodgers (37-43) - Can get hot in second half and win this crazy division.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

It's A Republican Crazy Train

Based on the republican charged "Big Five" Supreme Court justices of Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy,
Clarence Thomas, Samuel Alito and John Roberts, the republican crazy train is off the rails and out of control.
Throw in Texas governor Rick Perry and his BIG GOVERNMENT policies regarding women's rights and the monsters who call themselves state legislatures in states such as Wisconsin, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Florida (ALL GOP CONTROLLED) among others in the deep South applauding the SCOTUS decision on the Voting Rights Act of 1965 and it's obvious these people do not give a shit about the United States of America.
It's their way or the highway and that is NOT how it is.
They don't seem to realize that BUT there is hope people ... VOTE these morons out of office at the soonest opportunity, provided they and their draconian law proposals even allow you to get to the polling place next election.
These republicans are OUT OF CONTROL and must be stopped in their efforts to take the USA back to the 1850's with all of the bullshit they are attempting to ram down people's throats.
CALL your local congressional person if you live in one of these GOP controlled states and give 'em hell!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Blackhawks Win Stanley Cup Title

The Chicago Blackhawks capped off a miraculous finish by scoring twice in the final 1:16 of regulation time
Playoffs MVP Patrick Kane hoists the Stanley Cup.
(actually the goals were scored 17 seconds apart) and beat down the Boston Bruins, 3-2 to win their second Stanley Cup title in four years with a four games to two triumph.
Patrick Kane was named the Conn Smythe Trophy winner as the Most Valuable Player for the NHL Playoffs.

Congratulations to the CHICAGO BLACKHAWKS 


Sunday, June 23, 2013

What A Week

The week that just passed was indeed full of activities both politically speaking and in the sports world.

The Chicago Blackhawks are now just one win away from a second Stanley Cup title in the last four years
after beating the Boston Bruins, 3-1 in Game Five of the finals series.
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Meanwhile, the San Antonio Spurs blew a chance to wrap up the NBA Finals in Game Six when their Head Coach Gregg Popovich (for whatever reasons) took Tim Duncan out of the game TWICE in the closing moments and his team ahead by five points. Go figure.
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As it turned out, the Miami Heat lucked out and won that game in overtime and then was able to pull off another stunning finish in Game Seven to win the championship... rather the Spurs' coach helped to gift wrap it for them ... maybe Heat GM Pat Riley should consider sizing Popovich up for a team championship ring as a thank you for the gift his team was given.

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Politically speaking, the NSA spying scandal continues to churn along as "leaker" Edward Snowden continues to hide in exile in Hong Kong. This should get real interesting as time goes by.

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The murder trial of George Zimmerman (remember him?) in Florida began this week and should be intense as time goes by. Zimmerman claimed self defense under the bogus "stand your ground" law in Florida when he shot teenager Trayvon Martin to death in February of 2012. Zimmerman was a neighborhood watch activist and claimed Martin attacked him with a bag of candy and a bottle of iced tea. This one should be interesting.

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How about that Paula Deen? WOW!

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The United States Supreme Court started to roll out the decisions on cases they took on and will wrap things up this coming week ... stay tuned on this one.

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U.S. House Speaker John Boehner (Republican) continues to face a mounting mutiny of sorts from fellow Republicans in Congress, most of them "teabaggers" as the Farm Bill failed to pass out of the House and Immigration Reform appears to be DOA in the House as well.

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Gas prices actually started to come down (even in Chicago where they have been the nation's highest) as refineries around the Midwest finish up their turnarounds and maintenance work that has been ongoing for quite some time... Whew!

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And finally, Summer is officially here.   Enjoy!


Friday, June 21, 2013

Miami Heat Manages To Win NBA Championship

After playing giveaway with questionable substitutions of superstars Tim Duncan and Tony Parker in Tuesday night's Game Six, San Antonio Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich was at it again late in Game Seven as the Miami Heat drew away late to win 95-88 and capture their second consecutive NBA title.
Series MVP LeBron James led the way for Miami with 37 points to offset a big game from Duncan, who scored 24 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in the decisive game.
Popovich sat Parker in the final 28 seconds with the Spurs trailing by just four points (92-88) and the offense could not convert in two possessions.
The way the final two games played out, particularly the final 20 seconds of regulation of Game Six (Heat won 103-100 in OT) will be discussed for a long time to come as Popovich inexplicably took Duncan (30 points and 17 rebounds) out TWICE as the Miami Heat was able to get second chance shots at three-point attempts on offensive rebounds  which they converted. Ray Allen's trey tied the game at 95 with just five seconds left to play.
All in all, it was a classic NBA Finals and the Heat managed to win their second consecutive championship in the full seven games.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

NHL - Stanley Cup Final Preview

The Chicago Blackhawks and the Boston Bruins will face off tonight in Chicago in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final opener.
Both of these teams are very fortunate to be there as they stormed back from big deficits in the playoffs to reach this point.
The Blackhawks overcame a 3-1 series games deficit in the Western Conference Semi-Finals against the Detroit Red Wings while the Bruins scored three times in nine minutes (including two goals in the final two minutes with their goalie pulled) to force overtime in Game Seven of the opening round of the playoffs against the Toronto Maple Leafs  before eventually winning, 5-4 in OT in what has to be considered one of the biggest collapses ever in NHL history.
Led by massive sized captain Zdeno Chara, a defenseman and goalie Tuukka
Rask, the Bruins have been the top defensive team in the post-season.
They just swept the mighty Pittsburgh Penguins in the Eastern Conference Finals, allowing just two goals in four games.
Boston has solid defense and Rask allows just 1.75 goals against average with a 94 percent saves percentage. Top scorers for Boston include David Krejci (nine goals and twelve assists to lead the league in post-season scoring), Nathan Horton (seven goals and ten assists), Brad Marchand (4,9) and Milan Lucic, who has scored three times to go with ten assists.
The Hawks counter with four scorers in the post-season Top Ten category with Patrick Sharp (eight goals and six assists), Marion Hossa (7,7), Patrick Kane (6,8) and Bryan Bickell, who has scored eight goals and five assists to this point.
Goaltender Corey Crawford has been stellar with a goals against average of 1.74 and boasts a 93 percent saves percentage. Duncan Keith anchors a solid defensive unit, which has been outstanding in the penalty killing area.
All in all, it should be a hard fought and exciting Finals between two of the Original Six teams as the Hawks seek their second Stanley Cup title in four seasons. The Bruins won it all two years ago and have been on fire with a 9-1 record after going to a Game Seven in Round One against Toronto.
The Blackhawks are rolling too, having beat the defending champion LA Kings in five games after the huge comeback series against Detroit. Overall, Chicago is 12-5 in the playoffs while Boston is 12-4 entering the Finals.
The outcome could come down to the "home ice" advantage (or not) with the series going at least six games and more likely the full seven games.


Saturday, June 8, 2013

Gotta Love The Social Networks

I have new followers on Twitter today . . . LOL

and followed you

This Is NOT What People Voted For

A simple and brief message to President Barack Obama regarding the NSA "Spying" program on phones and the internet ... Knock it off!
We The People voted for supposed change and all this is is a continuation of the insane policies of George
W. Bush stemming from the God forsaken anti-Constitution so called "Patriot Act" that was shoved down Americans' throats in 2001 following the events on September 11.
Those events could have and should have been prevented but Bush was too busy ignoring urgent memos while he vacationed for an entire month in Texas at his ranch.
Simply said, Mr. President ... do the things We The People voted for when we chose you over John (Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Bomb Bomb Iran) McCain and Mitt (I don't have to pay my fair share of taxes because I'm a rich bastard) Romney in the elections.
That means closing Guantanamo Bay and ending the ridiculousness of the "Patriot Act" which allows the NSA to do the things they do in the name of the "war on terror."
Do what's really right for America Mr. President and stop the insanity.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

NBA Finals Preview

The San Antonio Spurs will face the defending champion Miami Heat in the NBA Finals in what should be a great series that may very well go the full seven games.
The action gets started Thursday night (June 6th) in Miami in the best-of-seven series with the 2-3-2 format coming into play.

The Heat won their second championship last year in five games against Oklahoma City as LeBron  James was named the Most Valuable Player. Along with Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade, James forms the "Big Three" for the Heat while the Spurs, winners of four NBA titles over a 15-year span, have their version of the "Big Three" with Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili. The Spurs last title was in 2007 in a four-game sweep of  James and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
Both teams boast good defense and have deep benches as well as key role players to compliment the stars of their squads.
Miami went 66-16 in the regular season, including a 27-game winning streak while the Spurs finished 58-24 before rolling through the Western Conference playoffs, including two four-game sweeps. Miami had a struggle getting past the Indiana Pacers in the East Finals, winning in seven hard fought games.
There is no doubt James is the top player in the league, evidenced by his fourth MVP Award this past season. But the Spurs play a relentless team game on both ends of the floor and in spite of their top players' advanced playing ages, cannot be taken lightly by the mighty Heat.
Point guard Tony Parker plays a fast, slashing style on offense and lit up the Memphis Grizzlies in the four-game sweep by the Spurs in the West Finals. Add in Duncan and Ginobili as well as young role players such as Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and  Gary Neal and big man Tiago Splitter, and you know why the Spurs are a team to be reckoned with.
Oh yeah, Spurs Head Coach Gregg Popovich is no slouch either, regarded by many as perhaps the best coach in the entire league.
The Heat have James, Bosh and Wade and also can go to veteran three-point sharp shooter Ray Allen and Shane Battier. Udonis Haslem is another key role player for Miami while Chris Andersen (The "Birdman") is more well known for his freakish tattoos and spiked mohawk hair cut, but can get after the rebounds on both ends of the floor.
Heat Head Coach Erik Spoelstra doesn't get the respect he deserves coaching the talented Miami squad, but remember he had been in the shadow of coaching legend Pat Riley when he took over the duties.
The Miami Heat rate the edge overall based on their regular season record (they went 2-0 against San Antonio in regular season) and the fact they will have the home court advantage. It should be noted, however, that neither team was playing with their full rosters in either game this past season.
All in all, throw out the rest of what has happened leading up to this NBA Finals and just go with your gut feeling. With that being said, Heftyinfo picks the San Antonio Spurs to win the championship over the Miami Heat in seven games.
No matter what the outcome really is, it should be a fun and entertaining NBA Finals for the next two weeks.