Friday, October 12th, 2012

What We Learned Last Night…it Was Completely Werth it.

I’ll admit, when I first learned of Jayson Werth’s $126 Million dollar, 7-year contract with the Nationals back in 2010 I wasn’t happy. To pay that kind of money for the 3rd best hitter in Philly, to expect a role player to suddenly be the leader of this franchise, it flummoxed me. I thought we could have spent that type of money and gotten at least two quality arms to put on the hill. He seemed sullen, spaced out, and I hadn’t actually heard him speak a word ever. Plus his hair….good lord that hair. Jayson Werth? No thank you…

My transformation of feelings did not begin last night, but when I watched him fall to the grass in agony holding his wrist in a game against the Phillies back in May. I realized that we needed this guy, needed his bat, needed his glove, needed his sullen calmness that never wavered. Just because he looks like the Geico Cave Man doesn’t mean he’s not valuable. And coincidentally, that injury gave us all Bryce Harper sooner than we thought. I’m not thanking Werth for getting hurt so we could see the kid play, just an awesome coincidence.

When Werth came back from his injury we witnessed a Jayson Werth Nats fans had never seen before. Suddenly instead of the number five in the lineup power hitter we all wanted him to be he was our leadoff guy: the spot the Nationals had tooled with more than an old Chevy. He could see a lot of pitches (2nd most in the MLB), he had plenty of speed, and could ramp up the power when needed. The perfect table-setter for Harper, Zimm, LaRoche, and Morse. And boy did he catch fire, making up for lost time. The Nats lineup suddenly resembled a formidable foe, it looked the way I had dreamed it would when the Nats first drafted Bryce Harper.

Last night’s at-bat epitomized not only Jayson Werth but the entire Washington Nationals this season: Just.Keep.Fighting. 13 pitches, 1 mistake, Nats win. Even if Washington is unable to close out the series tonight in Game 5, Werth gave the fans something not seen around here in decades: a memorable playoff moment. So from caveman to hero, Werth proved that yes…he is the $126 million dollar man.


Thursday, October 11th, 2012

NBA Preview Spotlight: The Brooklyn Nets

Okay, so I lied…these preview posts won’t be released every single day. But we will try our hardest to get them to you on a regular basis. Let’s stick with the Atlantic Division and talk about the Brooklyn Jay-Z’s! Whoops I mean the Brooklyn Nets…

Where They Stand

The days of J-Kidd, Kenyon Martin, and Vince Carter are long gone. The new era of the Nets began when they traded for Deron Williams from the Jazz a few years ago. Williams gave them a relentless scorer, a player who (when playing to his potential) morphs into one of the best guards in the league. Honestly, an on-fire D-Will is right up there with the Roses, Pauls, and Nashs of the world. The only problem was the lack of talent surrounding him. The potential was there: Brooke Lopez, Kris Humphries, MarShon Brooks just to name a few, but they weren’t able to put anything together last year.

The scene has changed quite a bit now, literally. The transition to the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, the input and redesign by part-owner Jay-Z, and the acquisition of plenty of fresh faces has turned Brooklyn into a team to watch this season. Let’s be honest, with all the player-movement around the league the Lakers will be followed ferociously by everyone, but it is in Brooklyn where a sleeping giant lies.

 Roster Thoughts

Let’s first recap the player movement with the Nets this summer. Players added: Joe Johnson, Reggie Evans, Mirza Teletovic, CJ Watson, Andray Blatche, and Josh Childress. Players gone: Gerald Green, Johan Petro, DeShawn Stevenson, Jordan Farmar, and Anthony Morrow. The Johnson deal with Atlanta obviously made the most noise, giving Brooklyn a solid option at shooting guard. A proven talent, this gives Williams a great option to kick out to. The two trees down low include a healthy Brook Lopez and a rebounding machine in Kris Humphries (maybe now we can finally stop talking about him and Kim Kardashian’s split-up??….please??). Lopez had a rough time last year, missing half the season with a broken ankle, but the guy can flat out score. He averaged 20 ppg in his ’10-’11 campaign, with his other years full of similar averages. And lastly: Gerald Wallace. I’m still not entirely sure how the veteran forward fits in with this team. Wallace doesn’t shoot all that well, but is a pure scorer. This might actually work well to balance out the outside shooting of Johnson, and gives Williams a slashing option to pass to.

Time to talk about the bench, another group of players that have been upgraded. If the starting five looks like I just discussed, the backup group should include CJ Watson at point, MarShon Brooks at shooting guard, Josh Childress at small forward, Teletovic at forward, and Blatche at backup center. This is all still speculation, mostly from blogs on Bleacher Report and Yahoo, but this seems about right. This is not a bad backup group by any means, with Brooks happily able to come off the bench and do what he does best: shoot. Watson is a strong ball handler, and completely used to backing up a star like he did in Chicago. Teletovic averaged over 20 ppg playing over in Europe, and will be a 27 year old NBA Rookie this year. That down-low tandem of him and Andray Blatche is my only concern, but maybe Brooklyn will be able to figure out how to get the best out of that enigma. Besides them, Tyshawn Taylor, Keith Bogans, Jerry Stackhouse (you dirty ring-hunter you), and Reggie Evans rounds out the rest of the squad.


Time to unwrap the crystal ball and make some probably way off predictions about the Nets this year:

Deron Williams gets back to his Utah days, averages a double-doubleIt is strange to realize that since D-Will arrived on the Nets, his passing stats have decreased, mostly due to his “If i’m not going to score than no one is” attitude he had to bring last year. The weapons weren’t there, he had to press a little bit and put up a high volume of shots (he took more threes last season than he had ever before). Now with Johnson and Wallace on the perimeter, Williams gets back to his passing game.

-Joe Johnson will hit a game-winner. Along the same lines as the first prediction, Johnson gives another great option on a final play. With all the attention probably focused towards Williams at the end, Johnson is coming off a season in which he hit 4 of 9 last-second shots to win the game for the Hawks. The number of last second shots will clearly decrease, but he will hit them when it counts.

Drama will continue to follow Andray Blatche. I’m not just saying this as a scorned Wizards fan, the guy is messed up in the head. This is from years of watching The Andray Blatche Show in Washington, he might be the dumbest player in the league. Blatche believes he is a point guard trapped in a forward’s body. He has no muscle definition, not great handles, and a below average mid-range jumper (which he takes constantly). Something will come up about his work ethic, his complaints about lack of PT, or he may just retire in disgrace. If Brooklyn turns Andray in a prime-time player I will eat my Wizards jersey.

-Kris Humphries becomes the next Kevin Love. Don’t shoot me, please. I love Love (that’s fun to say), and I am not the biggest Humphries fan but the guy can flat-out rebound. Now, let’s say he worked on his outside game over the summer. Let’s say he starts growing an awesome beard, let’s say he starts doing commercials…..Kevin Love 2.0????

-Brooklyn challenges New York and Boston for best team in the Atlantic, wins. I can’t just discount the Knicks and the Celtics and their playmakers, but again Brooklyn is so darn intriguing. This is just a prediction, don’t freak out on me. But wouldn’t it be sick to see Brooklyn take on a team like Miami or Indiana in the playoffs?


Thursday, October 11th, 2012

Disrespect to a Legend


5 NBA championships, 7 Finals appearances, 2 NBA Finals MVPs, 1 NBA MVP, 14 NBA All Star selections, 4 All-Star MVPs, 2 NBA scoring titles, 10 All-NBA First team selections, 2 All-NBA Second team selections, 2 All-NBA Third team selections, 9 All-NBA First team defense selections, 3 All-NBA defensive second team. All of these impressive achievements were not compiled by a team but instead from a single player, a legendary figure by the name of Kobe Bean Bryant, also known as the 6th best player in the NBA by ESPN…….yes thats not a typo, it says 6th. ESPN has the audacity to rank Bryant outside of the top 5 for the second consecutive season (7th in 2011). Now all the Kobe haters out there will be quick to point out that these stats reflect the younger Kobe Bryant, these people are idiots. The so-called old man averaged 27.9 pts/game good for second in the NBA, led all NBA players in All-star game voting, won an Olympic gold medal, and carried a mediocre Lakers team all season all in the past 12 months.

Not only does Bryant possess the physical tools and career accomplishments to place him in the top 5 but he also possesses a competitive drive that is matched by no other athlete in any major sport. Kobe Bryant simply does not accept average play, anything below a championship is seen as defeat by Bryant which is what separates him from many other athletes on this planet. Now I’m not saying Kobe Bryant is currently the best player in the league, that honor clearly goes to Lebron James and even 2nd place would have to go to Kevin Durant, however I see no reasonable explanation for why Bryant slipped out of the top 3, yet alone the top 5 altogether. I may be a Lakers fan but make no mistake, there are many Non-Lakers fans out there that share this view. It is clear that Bryant is clearly one of the most decorated and accomplished players to ever step foot on the hardwood and clearly still posses world-class talent, unfortunately the boneheads at ESPN don’t understand that.

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

Get ready to cry…

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

This is starting to get sad now….

Tuesday, October 9th, 2012

NBA Preview Spotlight: The Boston Celtics


With the NBA regular season rapidly approaching, no lockout this time to spoil our November, I figure it is time to unload our first NBA Preview post. Each day we will be picking a team to talk about, providing insight on where they stand heading into the season, random bits of news from Training Camp, and our prediction of where they will finish. Today we begin with the Eastern Conference, Atlantic Division, and the Boston Celtics.

Where they Stand

The Celtics come into this season in a strange place. They’ve lost their longtime clutch shooting guard in Ray Allen to the evil empire down in Miami, with the “Courtney Lee/Jason Terry/Keyon Dooling Era” underway. That trifecta will clearly not replace the hole left by Ray-Ray, but still should be productive. They took a big risk in drafting Jared Sullinger, one that could pay off immensely, or lead to him turning into the next Greg Oden. Sullinger, Fab Melo, and newly acquired Jason Collins will all have their shots to prove they can be the next man up when Garnett calls it quits. The age issue will continue to be discussed at great length this season, with this being probably the last shot for the Celtics to try and grab one more title. The original “Big Three” still exists just in a different way: (Rondo, Pierce, and Garnett). Can Boston stay healthy enough to sneak into the playoffs, an environment in which they thrive?

Roster Thoughts

Rajon Rondo will make or break this season for the Boston Celtics. If he does not get his “double’double” in points and assists they are doomed. Already count on Pierce and Garnett missing some time with injuries this year, that’s pretty much a given. But Rondo will need to keep himself healthy and a mainstay at the point. His backup Avery Bradley will be important as well. Bradley checking in to 64 of the 66 games last year averaging about 21 minutes. Bradley brings an intensity off the bench, one that is important when replacing a high motor guy like Rondo. I actually like the trifecta at shooting guard. Lee gives you a spot shooter who can pass, Terry is your lightning rod off the bench (a role he played in Dallas for years), and Dooling is your defensive master.

At small forward we will get to witness the comeback tour of Jeff Green. A big piece in the Perkins trade, Green missed the entire last season with aortic surgery. Boston spent money and got rid of a big piece in their title runs to acquire Green, who has looked great through training camp. Green and Pierce are a strong combo at the small forward position. At power forward Brandon Bass will start, bringing a mid-range jumper and a defensive presence. It is in his backup Sullinger where the Celtics find themselves excited. This year’s draft found many teams backing off certain players. Perry Jones for his motor, Royce White for his anxiety issues, and Sullinger for his injuries. The Celtics may have found a gold mine in their 6’9 rookie from Ohio State. All signs through training camp show Sully as the real deal. Also don’t forget about Darko, Milicic brings a 7 foot frame and rebounding ability that the Celtics desperately need. At center we could see Garnett bounce around with Milicic and Melo. Melo definitely gives them a better option than Chris Wilcox.



Time to unwrap the crystal ball and make some probably way off predictions about the Celtics for this year:

Sullinger will start over Bass by mid-season. Not a completely ridiculous idea, one that has bounced around various blogs and team sites.

Lee will not click with the other big three.  It is hard to replace the chemistry Allen had with those guys, Lee will struggle to replace him. I find Terry a better fit.

-Rondo averages 15 ppg, 12 assists, and 5 rebounds. With Allen gone, Rondo will need to increase his offensive production. We all know he is pass-first, but he will have to get some more looks.

-Green wins Most Improved Player of the Year. Jeff Green has worked his butt off to get back on the floor, don’t think for one second he won’t give his all.

-Celtics make playoffs….but lose to Heat. Sadly I don’t see the Celtics finding the success they are craving this season…wouldn’t it be so “Boston” to have Ray Allen hit the game winner to eliminate the Celtics?

Friday, October 5th, 2012

American League Playoff Preview


Wow, I’ve been sitting here for 10 minutes thinking of the best way to describe this season and that is the best way I could think to do it, just wow. Mike Trout had possibly the greatest rookie season in the history of baseball, Miguel Cabrera won the first triple crown since the great Carl Yastrzemski (spelled that right on the first try) we saw a record 3 perfect games and too many no-hitters for me to even remember and despite all of this we still have yet to be treated to the best part of the MLB season, the playoffs.

This is the first year that MLB has instituted their two Wild Card system in each league which now allows for two teams to make the playoffs as Wild Card teams and then play each other in a one game playoff to move on to the next round and the first year result is the surprising playoff runs by the Oakland Athletics and the Baltimore Orioles. Many people have argued that adding another playoff team will take away from how difficult it is to make the playoffs in the MLB while in the NBA and the NHL over half of the teams make the playoffs, but I think that with winning your division means that you do not have to play in the one game wild card makes the division races much more competitive and is able to keep more teams in the race for the division and for the Wild Cards and have more teams playing meaningful September games, which everybody enjoys, and their also is the added bonus of getting 2 one game playoff games every year. If you may recall, last season we were treated to the best end to a regular season that I have ever had the good fortune to witness, with the added first round of the playoffs we will have the opportunity to see this every year and it starts tonight with the Orioles and Rangers playing later tonight.

The American League was a ton of fun to watch this year, going into this season who would have thought that not only would the Oakland Athletics win the division over two powerhouse teams like the Rangers and Angels? And even more surprising, how the hell did Baltimore Oriole’s manage to finish just one game behind the Yankees? Ahead of teams like the Red Sox and the Rays? Just mindblowing….

Tonight’s game will be the first one game wild card playoff in the history of baseball and it couldn’t be more exciting, the Oriole’s will send Joe Saunders to the mound to counter the Rangers who will send Rookie phenom Yu Darvish, the winner of which will move on to play the New York Yankees. This year has a great mix of powerhouse team’s like the Yankees, Tigers and Rangers, mixed in with a couple of surprise team’s the Oriole’s and Athletics and at this point in the season not a thing would surprise me, but I believe that this will be one of the most excited and drama filled postseasons we will ever see. And this is just the American League…

Every team in the playoffs has a legitimate chance to win the World Series this year but I’m going to take the team that has both the best pitcher and the best hitter on their team, the Detroit Tigers, to go to the World Series.
And to all of you who read my article I did at the beginning of the year, let’s just ignore the fact that I picked the Angels to win the pennant. Enjoy.

Thursday, October 4th, 2012

King For A Day

It’s official now. It’s done. It’s over. Felix Hernandez may be nicknamed the “King” but Miguel Cabrera now wears the crown. To finish off a season for Detroit that was more topsy-turvy than a white-water raft, to help propel his team into the playoffs and a second consecutive AL Central Division Title, all just a few years removed from the alcoholic incidents that almost cost him a career; Cabrera has plenty of reason to showcase those pearly whites.     The Tigers are not without faults, plenty of questions still remain about the cast that surrounds Miguel and Prince Fielder, but with a Triple Crown winner in your lineup, can you really be in trouble?

Many arguments surround this AL MVP race. Trout vs. Cabrera, New School vs. Old School, Power Numbers vs. W.A.R, all arguments should be invalid after what transpired on Wednesday night. To  be the first player in 45 years to lead the Major League in Home Runs, Batting Average, and RBI is something special. Something beyond Wins Above Replacement. Something that deserves recognition. Mike Trout has the capability of becoming a Miguel Cabrera, maybe someone even better. He has the AL Rookie of the Year award on lock, no questions asked. The kid will surely win an MVP race in his career, pending some threatening injury.

The question of “value” of a player is hard to judge, that’s why W.A.R. was invented in the first place. The point of Wins Above Replacement is to, “show how many more wins a player would give a team as opposed to a ‘replacement level’, or minor league/bench player at that position.” Trout is around three points higher in that category, it is understandable to see that side of the argument. But put aside your wacky new-school ideas and get down to the basics: without Cabrera the Tigers don’t make the playoffs. Without Cabrera the Tigers finish in the middle of the division, squandering a pitching staff of studs. Without Cabrera, Prince Fielder would not be in Detroit. Without Cabrera, Jim Leyland might be out of a job. Cabrera is the heart and soul of the Detroit Tigers, he is the Most Valuable Player.

By Ben Simpson


Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Why Am I Just Finding Out About This Now…?


Tuesday, October 2nd, 2012

Good for this guy

I’m over a foot taller than this guy and have half the skills…

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