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The 2010 Season in Review [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Oct 6th, 2010 by Dan

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Chicago Cubs 19 June 2010 Wrigley Field

Time to check out my prediction score

Another season is now behind us and the playoffs begin this afternoon at 1330 EST in Tampa Bay. How did I do in my projections? Who do I predict for the World Series? Let’s check it out!

AL East

My guess:

Yankees
Rays
Red Sox
Orioles
Blue Jays

Actual Results:

Rays
Yankees
Red Sox
Blue Jays
Orioles

Way off on Baltimore, perfect with Boston, and I got the top two mixed up.

After a (glorious) season where the Yankees didn’t make it to the playoffs for once, the Bronx Bombers came back with a vengeance and took it all. The Yanks may have lost Damon and Matsui, but they’re still in a strong position in the AL East and look poised to make the playoffs in the division. Players are getting older on that team and the pitching isn’t as strong as they’d like, but, barring some kind of major injury, I stand by that prediction.

The Red Sox also made a few big moves, getting rid of Jason Bay and adding in Adrián Beltré, and they’re projected to have a solid season with strong defense and slightly weakened bat strength. I think a lot of how well they do this year depends on whether or not they’re able to produce runs at the plate with David Ortiz, who did not perform to standards last year.

My favorite in the East, the Tampa Bay Rays, have had a super strong spring. With the best spring record of the AL, they could upset the Yankees or Red Sox if and only if their rotation and bullpen return to 2008 form. The offense is there, the defense on the field is there, it’s just a matter of making outs. Will Rafael Soriano be enough to solve their closer woes? That alone will tell you what this team will do this year.

I’m excited to see what the Orioles put together this year. Their investment in youth is starting to bear fruit as prospects make their way onto the field, but this young, inexperienced team is up against juggernauts in the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays. I’m going to call this a building year for the Orioles, even if that’s selling them a bit short. They would have a good chance in any other division, but not the East.

There are few teams in baseball that bore me more than the Blue Jays (:cough: Royals, Pirates, and Padres :cough:). This is a team that acknowledged that they have no chance to make a run of it by trading Roy Halladay to the Phillies.

When I try and underestimate my team for the sake of avoiding bias all I end up doing is getting their position in the standings wrong. As predicted, the ascent of Rafael Soriano was a real blessing to the team, allowing the bullpen to focus on being awesome and the rotation on turning in a fine season. David Price was Cy Young caliber all season, Matt Garza threw a no-hitter, and the rookies Wade Davis and Jeff Niemann made a solid statement in the rotation. Add in Jeremy “Hellboy” Hellickson to the bullpen and Tampa had great numbers off the mound. On the field, defense and small ball continued to be key. Carlos Peña had a rough season at the plate, but the rest of the team was able to pick him up. Jettisoning Pat Burrell was also a fantastic idea. Longoria continued to be amazing.

Seems I was right on the perennial favorite Yankees. Their squad got it done all year long behind a Cy Young caliber season by C.C. Sabathia. Unfortunately for the Yanks, it seems I was also right about their aging lineup. Pettitte started ten fewer games than the rest of the rotation due to injury and his ability to pitch in this postseason remains a question mark. The rest of the rotation has been pretty shaky too with Javier Vasquez putting in a poor performance and AJ Burnett getting progressively worse, but Phil Hughes looks okay while the rookie Ivan Nova was pretty good in the opening innings. Jeter and Posada have started to show their age, but, overall, this is a top tier team that has feasted on its opponents all year long.

I was way off about David Ortiz, who put in a solid season, but there’s no way I could have predicted the injury-fest that was the 2010 season for Boston. They were remarkably able to stay somewhat competitive to the end, but they just couldn’t overcome Tampa or New York.

Maybe Toronto would have put together a third place finish had they kept Halladay, but his loss did not prevent the Jays from looking mighty dangerous in the East. Their 85 wins would be hyper-competitive in plenty of other divisions and the ascent of Jose Bautista as the only 50 HR hitter this season was remarkable.

The funny thing about the Orioles is that they’ve played their best baseball when it mattered least. Replacing their manager with Buck Showalter seems to have done the trick, but it remains to be seen if they can win in situations where they play meaningful games.

AL Central

My Guess:

Twins
White Sox
Tigers
Indians
Royals

Actual Results:

Twins
White Sox
Tigers
Indians
Royals

Whoa, I was scarily on the money with this one.

For a while there, this division was the Twins’ to lose. Then the second best closer in the game, Joe Nathan, went down for the season, muddying up the waters. Add in that the team is moving to a brand new ballpark and things could get interesting. Gone are the super-competitive advantages of the Metrodome, replaced by what will be a SUPER frigid open-air ballpark that will take some getting used to. When it comes to Joe Mauer, I’m reminded of the fictional words of Michael Bluth, “You gotta lock that down.” Lucky for the Twins, they managed to get that done with an eight-year, 184 M$ contract. It should help.

I hear a lot about Chicago’s rotation being so vastly improved, but it’s almost always followed by the caveat that Peavy needs to pitch well. It’s been a long while since his 2007 Cy Young campaign and he hasn’t been able to remain healthy. Despite how much Obama loves this team, I can’t stand A. J. Pierzynski and, by extension, the team.

Detroit has a team that I want to love. Those poor guys live in a third world city that is on the verge of absolute collapse. They keep giving Dontrelle Willis chances to succeed (and he might be in the rotation this year), but I’m not sure that they will be able to keep up with the Twins this year thanks to weak pitching. I’ll be keeping an eye on these guys.

The Indians may be on the upswing and ready to bounce back, but I’m not ready to believe that yet. I don’t see much happening for this team.

Kansas City has an awful team aside from Zack Greinke.

Well, Minnesota went and won this division, like I thought. They didn’t have to worry too much about closers and they picked up Matt Capps just to make sure that they’d be fine in the stretch. Target Field seems solid and the team just played well.

Chicago had a chance to make this division closer, but they just couldn’t lock it down. Jake Peavy barely pitched and the team was just middling almost all season long. They’ll be remembered best this year for Mark Buehrle’s amazing play to first in the first game of the season.

Detroit was so close to doing something with the division! Miguel Cabrera was playing MVP-caliber baseball, but the rest of the team just wasn’t on board. Sidenote: Willis was traded to Arizona.

Cleveland still doesn’t have it. I’m skeptical that they’ll have it next year either.

Kansas City has an awful team aside from Zack Greinke (and even he was mediocre).

AL West

My Guess:

Mariners
Angels
Rangers
Athletics

Actual Results:

Rangers
Athletics
Angels
Mariners

So very wrong here. Wow…

Despite their stupid long name, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have had one of the most consistent teams of the century. They contend every year and make it to the playoffs almost every year. It’s hard to ignore how solid this team is. Unfortunately, they’ve been fighting a war of attrition these past two years with Texas and Seattle getting closer and closer to robbing AL West dominance away from them. They gained Matsui, but lost vital starter Lackey. Will it be enough?

Seattle wants it this year. They went and signed Cliff Lee and even took the risk of signing the volatile Milton Bradley to bolster their bats. Things were looking great for Seattle until Cliff Lee ended up on the DL and Milton Bradley got himself ejected from two straight spring training games. Will they be able to keep it all together and make a real run for the West?

The Rangers are solid, but they have a lot of reliance on players like Josh Hamilton who are very injury prone. They’ve been just short of the playoffs for several years now and they’re real hungry for it.

I have so much apathy for the Athletics. I’m sure their team is pretty good and has a chance this year, but it never seems to pan out for Oakland.

Texas is looking the best they have in a long time. Josh Hamilton is looking like the favorite for MVP and the boys from Arlington have a phenom on their hands with Neftali Feliz. Will they finally make it to the World Series?

Where did Oakland come from this year? Maybe it’s the east coast bias, but I had no idea these guys were doing better than the other two teams in the division. Maybe the dynasty is reemerging.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. What did you do this year? At least you made the Rays look brilliant thanks to Scott Kazmir sucking it up all year long.

Seatlle. I drank your kool-aid. All I got in return was the most anemic offense since the introduction of the Designated Hitter. Your season was historically bad. At least Ichiro continues to dominate and I got to see Griffey before he retired.

NL East:

My Guess:

Phillies
Marlins
Braves
Mets
Nationals

Actual Results:

Phillies
Braves
Marlins
Mets
Nationals

If I hadn’t let bias toward the Marlins blind me I would have had another perfect pick.

My favorite division also contains two of my least favorite teams in baseball, both of which are set to have great seasons. Last year’s NL Champions, the Philadelphia Phillies, are still just as good with Roy Halladay instead of Cliff Lee. They’ve still got a great lineup with good pitching and, even without their closer, they should still have a solid season. They are The Team To Beat (TM) in the East.

Atlanta, my least favorite team, has got stars in their eyes for Jason Heyward, a top-prospect who made the team this spring. Heyward’s bat, combined with Hanson and Kawakami’s arms, could be very formidable in the East. This is a team that worries me.

The Mets have had such terrible luck recently that it’s almost bound to start swinging back in the other direction…right? With an adjusted outfield to help home runs, their offense might perform a little better, but that injury-riddled team is not looking all that much better this year. If they outperform the Marlins, I’ll be surprised.

Speaking of teams that won’t outperform the Marlins, Washington is almost guaranteed to make marginal improvements this year. Their rotation is still a mess, but veterans like Chien-Ming Wang and Liván Hernández can combine with the brilliance of Stephen Strasburg and the promising performance of Drew Storen and produce what might actually be a major league rotation. The lineup needs some work to score runs, but pitching is infinitely more important for a team that wants to win.

Speaking of a team that emphasizes pitching, we’ve finally arrived at my favorite team, the Florida Marlins. Over the off-season they finalized a strong contract for Josh Johnson and kept Dan Uggla, keeping the rotation and lineups strong. Combined with Hanley Ramirez and Chris Coghlan destroying NL pitching and Ricky Nolasco’s brilliant performance on the mound, this is a solid team with only a few holes that need filling. If Cameron Maybin and Gaby Sanchez live up to their potential, I don’t see much standing in this team’s way. There’s always a question of pitching with the back end of the rotation, but Chris Volstad has been looking good of late and Anibal Sanchez fluctuates, but trends on the better side most times. The real question is in the bullpen where the Fish will be relying on Leo Núñez to close games. I’m not confident in Núñez yet.

The Phils were the best. Blah blah blah. They made it to the postseason as the national favorite to win it all, despite stupidly trading Cliff Lee away. Their starting three, Halladay, Oswalt, and Hamels were solid all year long, Halladay should win the Cy Young, and…I hate this team. If the Rays don’t make it in the East, I’d love to see Texas get there and stomp on the Phils thanks to the amazing leadership of Cliff Lee

Atlanta barely scraped by to take the NL Wild Card. They came this close to making me happy and not making it to the playoffs. Despite losing Chipper Jones, they were able to hold on to their spot in the final eight thanks to fantastic performances by Jason Heyward and Tim Hudson. Bobby Cox should be proud of this team in his final year. Sidenote: Kenshin Kawakami was terrible this year.

I really thought that Florida could be a second place team this year. JJ pitched fantastically for most of the season as did Nolasco and Sanchez, but they just couldn’t hold it together long enough for the bullpen to not screw it up. That’s where the most offseason work should be focused, IMHO. Nuñez did his best as the closer, but they might need someone new next season. Losing Cogz to a season-ending knee injury on a shaving cream pie was also super ridiculous.

Everyone’s favorite Metropolitans continued to be the worst run team in the league. Thankfully for all of us, ownership has fired the GM and manager so hopefully the team can go in a new direction next year, assuming its contracts don’t weigh it down too much to make many changes.

The Nats were looking primed to be reasonably competitive this year from the getgo. Their record was solid, Strasburg was coming up, things were optimistic. Then the bottom fell out. Starting pitching failed completely before June, Strasburg got injured in August (sidelining him until 2012), and everyone’s hopes and dreams died. The simple fact is that the Nats have no starting pitching. You can’t run a team without starting pitching.

NL Central:

My Guess:

Cardinals
Cubs
Reds
Brewers
Astros
Pirates

Actual Results:

Reds
Cardinals
Brewers
Astros
Cubs
Pirates

Wrong, wrong, wrong. All I placed accurately were 4th and 5th

The Central has a chance to be interesting this year with strong squads being fielded by St. Louis, Cincinnati, and “this is our last chance for a while” Chicago. St. Louis has the best chance here thanks to strong pitchers Carpenter and Wainwright and their strong offense in Pujols and Holliday. Cincinnati has been a dark horse so many years in a row now that they’d better start performing. The promise of Aroldis Chapman could push them ahead if the offense follows, but otherwise the team has a strong uphill climb. The Cubbies don’t have much time left before they have to start “rebuilding”. If they don’t put together a playoff season this year, it might be a while before we see one happen again. I still love Fukudome, even if the Cubs don’t. He’s a consistent and solid player.

I don’t know much about Milwaukee’s squad this year, but they’re usually a solid team, but I didn’t hear much in the offseason that would convince me they were ready to push ahead of last year’s performance.

The rest of the Central, the Pirates and the Astros, really don’t make an impact in baseball nowadays. Pittsburgh is really a AAAA team and Houston has failed to make any kind of splash in a long while.

Cincinnati was the surprise here for me as they put together their best performance in something like 15 years or so. Votto might be NL MVP. Their success can be mostly attributed to Votto and the late-season call-up Aroldis Chapman’s stellar stuff in the home stretch. They get to face Philadelphia right off the bat and if they can’t hit Halladay and Oswalt right away, they could have problems.

St. Louis just gave this division away. It was theirs to win at one point in August, but they just squandered their lead proving that Pujols, Carpenter, and Wainwright a complete team does not make. Will they fire La Russa now?

What’s there to say about Milwaukee? Just not enough there at all to win. Maybe next year guys. Braun can’t carry a whole team.

Houston and Pittsburgh. You guys are terrible. The ‘Stros picked it up later in the season, but it was far too late for that to matter.

NL West:

My Guess:

Rockies
Giants
Dodgers
Padres

Actual Results:

Giants
Padres
Rockies
Dodgers
Diamondbacks

Arizona was so forgettable to me that I left them off of the list completely. The Rockies looked like they might make a run, but it fell apart and I was way off on LA and San Diego.

Colorado made the biggest turnaround I’ve seen since the last time they did it in 2007 to win the wild card last year and make the playoffs. After that strong finish and with LA’s messy divorce keeping them from making significant progress on their team, I see Colorado as the frontrunners in this division.

A messy divorce has been draining Dodger ownership of cash and the ability to run their team. At best, the Dodgers remain as good as they were last year. Realistically, they fall behind the Rockies and maybe even the Giants too.

Solid pitching, but not much offense. It’s been the same story for years now. A strong team only because it keeps the run count down on the opposing team.

What about the Padres?

San Francisco is my favorite team in the playoffs right now. Solid starting pitching (Lincecum, Cain, Sanchez) make for a potent postseason combo as well as great anchors for the 5-man rotation. Somehow this team managed to score runs despite Pablo Sandoval’s season-wide slump. I guess that the solid pitching was enough to hold off the West competition.

The Friars (Padres) had a real chance of turning this into the NL West Wild Card, but they squandered it in the last few weeks and couldn’t complete. If this team can be this good next year they’re bound to win the West.

Colorado really fell off from last season. For a while in September Tulowitzki made it look like the Rockies would repeat their ridiculous last minute run for the third year in a row making me look like a genius. Ah well…maybe next year.

The McCourt divorce really sapped this team a lot more than I thought it would. Manny didn’t hit and the pitching wasn’t there. Torre will probably leave this year and I predict this team will not perform much better next year.

Oh god the Diamondbacks are awful. They need a lot of work.

Marlins at Orioles: Yesterday’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Jun 23rd, 2010 by Dan

Hanley Ramirez Warming Up

Action shot!

I just can’t miss seeing the Fish when they’re in town. I let nothing stand in my way, even the dental surgery I had last night. It was with a sore jaw that I saw them rock Baltimore last night. New York got its chance to beat up on the Orioles and the Indians to improve their record. Now it’s time for Florida.

22 June

NPB
Hanshin Tigers (13) at Hiroshima Carp (7). A real brutal game for the pitchers. Kan Otake has a bad night, but my boy Higashide manages two RBIs. The Carp still hold on to fourth, but their record drops to 26-35-2.

Saitama Seibu Lions (5) at Rakuten Eagles (3). Could moving Ma-kun’s starts around have affected his rhythm? It’s odd for Tanaka to give up five. We’ll see if he’s this bad next week too. The Golden Eagles are now 30-34-1 in fifth.

MLB
Florida Marlins (10) at Baltimore Orioles (4). Not Anibal Sanchez’ best pitched game, but not a total wash either. I think I see Wieters homer most games I go to. The kid’s got some pop. Florida’s record improves to 34-36 in fourth while Baltimore drops to 19-51 in a historically bad last.

Kansas City Royals (3) at Washington Nationals (4). Atilano managed a decent start after a few miscues the last few times up. Facing the Royals can only be good for Washington and tonight’s matchup is bound to be yet another impressive Strasburg start. Washington is still in fifth with their 33-39 record.

San Diego Padres (2) at Tampa Bay Rays (1). This is as hard-luck as they get. Wade Davis has really been struggling, but this could have been turned around with a little more offense. The Rays retain their tie with Boston for second, 1.5 games back with a 42-28 record.

Swept By the Mets: The Weekend’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Jun 7th, 2010 by Dan

Shea Home Run Apple

The old Shea home run apple. I hate this thing.

My friend Lee has somehow got his girlfriend into baseball, probably by pure force of will. This would be great, except she’s a Mets fan now and she loves to trash talk each time the Mets beat the Marlins. Thanks, Lee.

4 June

NPB
Softbank Hawks (4) at Hiroshima Carp (5). A huge fourth inning, including two RBIs by Eric Stults, puts Hiroshima just far enough ahead to win the game.

Rakuten Eagles (12) at Yokohama BayStars (0). Rakuten’s bats awoke in a BIG way, with four home runs, three of which were solo shots, off of Yokohama.

MLB
Boston Red Sox (11) at Baltimore Orioles (0). Didn’t I already recap this game? Oh yeah, this is an MLB game. Juan Samuel’s managerial debut didn’t seem to go very well at all.

Cincinnati Reds (2) at Washington Nationals (4). Liván Hernández pitches what should have been a win, but the offense doesn’t pick up the pace until the 7th.

Florida Marlins (3) at New York Mets (4). Anibal gives up one too many and that was all the Mets needed.

Tampa Bay Rays (6) at Texas Rangers (9). Seems like every time Wade Davis gets above 0.500 with his record, he’s gotta lose one to make up for it. It’s not all that bad, though. Longo homered.

5 June

NPB
Hawks (9) at Carp (3). Takahiro Aoki had a tough day, giving up five in 3.2, dooming the Carp.

Eagles (5) at BayStars (4). A much more respectable effort by Yokohama. Also a surprisingly weak start by Iwakuma that is won thanks to a Randy Ruiz blast in the 9th.

MLB
Marlins (1) at Mets (6). The less said about this start the better. I wish Nate Robertson could only pitch against the Phillies.

Rays (1) at Rangers (6). The Rays slide continues. Lucky them that New York is having some difficulties too, but Boston is playing Baltimore. They need to step it up.

Red Sox (8) at Orioles (2). I’m only upset about this because it helps the Sox look respectable against the Rays.

Reds (5) at Nationals (1). Man, everyone had trouble today, didn’t they. It’s just a guess, but I think Atilano isn’t long for this rotation starting Tuesday when Strasburg comes up.

6 June

NPB
Eagles (10) at Yomiuri Giants (4). I always take great pleasure in seeing the Giants stomped, even if Ma-kun gave up an unprecedented three runs. This win streak is also great for a team that needs to start winning if it doesn’t want the NPB to fire all of its American coaches. Their record improves to 25-29-1. I can almost smell 0.500!

Orix Buffaloes (6) at Carp (1). So much for capitalizing on opportunities when the Giants lose. This disappointing loss puts their record at 21-31-1. 0.500 baseball is a long way off.

MLB
Marlins (6) at Mets (7). The Fish manage to screw up yet another Ricky Nolasco start and give the Mets a sweep and Yin something to goad about to me. Nice work, Marlins. You are now 28-30 in fourth.

Red Sox (3) at Orioles (4). Nick Markakis gets the walk-off win to salvage this series for Baltimore whose abysmal record improves to 16-41.

Reds (5) at Nationals (4). An extra innings loss. The Nats normally get much better relief work from Capps, but he’s been human the past few starts. They are in last with a 27-31 record.

Rays (9) at Rangers (5). Not Garza’s best stuff, but it gets the job done. Their record improves to 37-20, but New York and Boston are knocking on their door if they can’t hold it together.

Memorial Day: The Holiday Weekend’s Scores That Matter [WMQ]
Jun 1st, 2010 by Dan

leave the BBQing to the Aussies

I’m gonna blame Memorial Day weekend for making me forget that I was supposed to do this yesterday. All those barbecues were so good!

28 May

NPB
No games (with the Carp or Eagles)

MLB
Baltimore Orioles (0) at Toronto Blue Jays (5). Division rival mega match! Ok, I can’t keep a straight face on that one. The AL East’s two least interesting teams (to me) start a series that will inevitably bore me to death.

Philadelphia Phillies (3) at Florida Marlins (2). A close one that could have gone either way, really. Volstad gets the hard-luck loss.

Chicago White Sox (4) at Tampa Bay Rays (2). I’m so used to David Price being so amazing that it catches me by surprise when he loses. After the Alex Rios home run in the fourth the Rays couldn’t quite catch up.

Washington Nationals (5) at San Diego Padres (3). What should have been an unimportant series suddenly becomes an interesting one about two teams far outperforming expectations. Lannan notches the win and Capps notches another save.

29 May

NPB
Hiroshima Carp (2) at Rakuten Eagles (3). My teams face off yet again. Katsuhiro Nagakawa, fresh off the DL, gets the loss in a walk-off in the 10th. Hiroshima should still be proud after scoring two on Iwakuma.

MLB
Orioles (2) at Blue Jays (5). You know, the Jays are actually a really good team this year. It’s too bad that there are already three other good teams in the AL East.

Phillies (1) at Marlins (0). Oh my god, how did I miss this? Roy Halladay threw a perfect game and Josh Johnson served up a magnificent effort himself allowing only one unearned run. Why are Florida teams surrendering so many perfect games?!

White Sox (5) at Rays (8). Wade Davis finally gets himself another win. Way to go, rookie. PS: I hate the White Sox.

Nationals (2) at Padres (4). J.D. Martin takes the loss to a Padres team that’s hitting pretty well.

30 May

NPB
Carp (2) at Eagles (4). I love Ma-kun (Masahiro Tanaka) as much as the next guy, just not when he’s beating my team. Oh well. Hiroshima’s record is now 20-31-0 in fifth while Rakuten sports a 24-28-1 mark.

MLB
Orioles (1) at Blue Jays (6). The battle of the birds comes to a close with the Orioles (predictably) getting the series loss. The Orange Birds end the weekend at 15-36, but get a breather before moving on to the Yankees.

Phillies (0) at Marlins (1). After the Phillies blank the Fish, Florida comes back and blanks the Phils, but not with a perfect game like the night before. Anibal Sanchez was in his dominant form and the Fish struggled to put just one on the board against Jamie Moyer, as usual.

White Sox (8) at Rays (5). The Sox return the favor against Shields. Sad.

Nationals (2) at Padres (3). 11th inning walk-off loss. They can go either way at that point. Tough break for Washington.

31 May – Memorial Day

NPB
Nada.

MLB
Milwaukee Brewers (5) at Marlins (13). The Fish return to their hitting ways, and how! Cody Ross and Cameron Maybin both knock in some mashers and plenty of RBIs are scored. The Fish record sits at 26-26 in a three-way tie for third with the Mets and Nats.

Nationals (14) at Houston Astros (4). The Nats also got in a hitting mood. What a showing! As stated before, their record is 26-26.

Rays (2) at Blue Jays (3). Garza just couldn’t keep the Jays low enough to keep the win. The Rays are still in first with their 34-18 record, 4.5 up on the Yanks.

MLB 2010 Season Projections [Wednesday Morning Quarterback]
Mar 31st, 2010 by Dan

Another year, another season! 2010 looks to be another good one. The Marlins don’t look like they’re about to run away with their division, but the Rays have a fighting chance this year. I’m getting ahead of myself, so let’s back up and go through this division by division like we do every year.

AL East

After a (glorious) season where the Yankees didn’t make it to the playoffs for once, the Bronx Bombers came back with a vengeance and took it all. The Yanks may have lost Damon and Matsui, but they’re still in a strong position in the AL East and look poised to make the playoffs in the division. Players are getting older on that team and the pitching isn’t as strong as they’d like, but, barring some kind of major injury, I stand by that prediction.

The Red Sox also made a few big moves, getting rid of Jason Bay and adding in Adrián Beltré, and they’re projected to have a solid season with strong defense and slightly weakened bat strength. I think a lot of how well they do this year depends on whether or not they’re able to produce runs at the plate with David Ortiz, who did not perform to standards last year.

My favorite in the East, the Tampa Bay Rays, have had a super strong spring. With the best spring record of the AL, they could upset the Yankees or Red Sox if and only if their rotation and bullpen return to 2008 form. The offense is there, the defense on the field is there, it’s just a matter of making outs. Will Rafael Soriano be enough to solve their closer woes? That alone will tell you what this team will do this year.

I’m excited to see what the Orioles put together this year. Their investment in youth is starting to bear fruit as prospects make their way onto the field, but this young, inexperienced team is up against juggernauts in the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays. I’m going to call this a building year for the Orioles, even if that’s selling them a bit short. They would have a good chance in any other division, but not the East.

There are few teams in baseball that bore me more than the Blue Jays (:cough: Royals, Pirates, and Padres :cough:). This is a team that acknowledged that they have no chance to make a run of it by trading Roy Halladay to the Phillies.

Projected Standings:
Yankees
Rays
Red Sox
Orioles
Blue Jays

Remember that I’m a Rays fanboy and my positioning makes sense. I think the Rays have a strong chance to take the AL wild card this year.

AL Central

For a while there, this division was the Twins’ to lose. Then the second best closer in the game, Joe Nathan, went down for the season, muddying up the waters. Add in that the team is moving to a brand new ballpark and things could get interesting. Gone are the super-competitive advantages of the Metrodome, replaced by what will be a SUPER frigid open-air ballpark that will take some getting used to. When it comes to Joe Mauer, I’m reminded of the fictional words of Michael Bluth, “You gotta lock that down.” Lucky for the Twins, they managed to get that done with an eight-year, 184 M$ contract. It should help.

I hear a lot about Chicago’s rotation being so vastly improved, but it’s almost always followed by the caveat that Peavy needs to pitch well. It’s been a long while since his 2007 Cy Young campaign and he hasn’t been able to remain healthy. Despite how much Obama loves this team, I can’t stand A. J. Pierzynski and, by extension, the team.

Detroit has a team that I want to love. Those poor guys live in a third world city that is on the verge of absolute collapse. They keep giving Dontrelle Willis chances to succeed (and he might be in the rotation this year), but I’m not sure that they will be able to keep up with the Twins this year thanks to weak pitching. I’ll be keeping an eye on these guys.

The Indians may be on the upswing and ready to bounce back, but I’m not ready to believe that yet. I don’t see much happening for this team.

Kansas City has an awful team aside from Zack Greinke.

Projected Standings:
Twins
White Sox
Tigers
Indians
Royals

AL West

Despite their stupid long name, the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim have had one of the most consistent teams of the century. They contend every year and make it to the playoffs almost every year. It’s hard to ignore how solid this team is. Unfortunately, they’ve been fighting a war of attrition these past two years with Texas and Seattle getting closer and closer to robbing AL West dominance away from them. They gained Matsui, but lost vital starter Lackey. Will it be enough?

Seattle wants it this year. They went and signed Cliff Lee and even took the risk of signing the volatile Milton Bradley to bolster their bats. Things were looking great for Seattle until Cliff Lee ended up on the DL and Milton Bradley got himself ejected from two straight spring training games. Will they be able to keep it all together and make a real run for the West?

The Rangers are solid, but they have a lot of reliance on players like Josh Hamilton who are very injury prone. They’ve been just short of the playoffs for several years now and they’re real hungry for it.

I have so much apathy for the Athletics. I’m sure their team is pretty good and has a chance this year, but it never seems to pan out for Oakland.

Projected Standings
Mariners
Angels
Rangers
Athletics

I’m going out on a major limb there. I could be dead wrong.

NL East

My favorite division also contains two of my least favorite teams in baseball, both of which are set to have great seasons. Last year’s NL Champions, the Philadelphia Phillies, are still just as good with Roy Halladay instead of Cliff Lee. They’ve still got a great lineup with good pitching and, even without their closer, they should still have a solid season. They are The Team To Beat (TM) in the East.

Atlanta, my least favorite team, has got stars in their eyes for Jason Heyward, a top-prospect who made the team this spring. Heyward’s bat, combined with Hanson and Kawakami’s arms, could be very formidable in the East. This is a team that worries me.

The Mets have had such terrible luck recently that it’s almost bound to start swinging back in the other direction…right? With an adjusted outfield to help home runs, their offense might perform a little better, but that injury-riddled team is not looking all that much better this year. If they outperform the Marlins, I’ll be surprised.

Speaking of teams that won’t outperform the Marlins, Washington is almost guaranteed to make marginal improvements this year. Their rotation is still a mess, but veterans like Chien-Ming Wang and Liván Hernández can combine with the brilliance of Stephen Strasburg and the promising performance of Drew Storen and produce what might actually be a major league rotation. The lineup needs some work to score runs, but pitching is infinitely more important for a team that wants to win.

Speaking of a team that emphasizes pitching, we’ve finally arrived at my favorite team, the Florida Marlins. Over the off-season they finalized a strong contract for Josh Johnson and kept Dan Uggla, keeping the rotation and lineups strong. Combined with Hanley Ramirez and Chris Coghlan destroying NL pitching and Ricky Nolasco’s brilliant performance on the mound, this is a solid team with only a few holes that need filling. If Cameron Maybin and Gaby Sanchez live up to their potential, I don’t see much standing in this team’s way. There’s always a question of pitching with the back end of the rotation, but Chris Volstad has been looking good of late and Anibal Sanchez fluctuates, but trends on the better side most times. The real question is in the bullpen where the Fish will be relying on Leo Núñez to close games. I’m not confident in Núñez yet.

Projected Standings:
Phillies
Marlins
Braves
Mets
Nationals

NL Central

The Central has a chance to be interesting this year with strong squads being fielded by St. Louis, Cincinnati, and “this is our last chance for a while” Chicago. St. Louis has the best chance here thanks to strong pitchers Carpenter and Wainwright and their strong offense in Pujols and Holliday. Cincinnati has been a dark horse so many years in a row now that they’d better start performing. The promise of Aroldis Chapman could push them ahead if the offense follows, but otherwise the team has a strong uphill climb. The Cubbies don’t have much time left before they have to start “rebuilding”. If they don’t put together a playoff season this year, it might be a while before we see one happen again. I still love Fukudome, even if the Cubs don’t. He’s a consistent and solid player.

I don’t know much about Milwaukee’s squad this year, but they’re usually a solid team, but I didn’t hear much in the offseason that would convince me they were ready to push ahead of last year’s performance.

The rest of the Central, the Pirates and the Astros, really don’t make an impact in baseball nowadays. Pittsburgh is really a AAAA team and Houston has failed to make any kind of splash in a long while.

Projected Standings:
Cardinals
Cubs
Reds
Brewers
Astros
Pirates

NL West

Colorado made the biggest turnaround I’ve seen since the last time they did it in 2007 to win the wild card last year and make the playoffs. After that strong finish and with LA’s messy divorce keeping them from making significant progress on their team, I see Colorado as the frontrunners in this division.

A messy divorce has been draining Dodger ownership of cash and the ability to run their team. At best, the Dodgers remain as good as they were last year. Realistically, they fall behind the Rockies and maybe even the Giants too.

Solid pitching, but not much offense. It’s been the same story for years now. A strong team only because it keeps the run count down on the opposing team.

What about the Padres?

Projected Standings
Rockies
Giants
Dodgers
Padres

I’m bound to be dead wrong, per usual, but we’ll see how I’m doing in July and again in September. I can’t wait for Sunday/Monday!

Wednesday Morning Quarterback: State of the League – A Look at My Predictions and the Necessary Adjustments
Jul 16th, 2008 by Dan

You’ve probably heard the saying that hindsight is 20/20 on Monday morning, so just imagine how well I can call ‘em two days later on Wednesday. That’s right, it’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.

Way back on the 7th of May I published a blog post with my predictions on the way the MLB season would unfold (along with a recap of my mechanical bull and bowling experiences). How well did I do? Were the predictions spot on? Let’s take a look at the state of the league and compare it with what I thought.

AL East

Not even I could have predicted how amazingly awesome the Rays have been this season. A month in and I thought the major competition for the Rays would be the relatively unimportant Orioles. Little did I know their main competition would actually be the defending champs, the Boston Red Sox. Despite having dropped seven in a row coming into the All-Star break and losing their hold on first place, I’m fully confident that the Rays will continue to play dominant baseball all the way to the playoffs. If they don’t make it in the division due to the Red Sox, I see at least strong contention for a wild card berth.

The Red Sox are a very strong team and they will either place first or second in the AL East, based on whether or not the young Tampa team can manage to keep it together in the second half. The real wild card in the AL East is, surprisingly, the Yankees. At six games back, they’re certainly doing much worse than anticipated. For quite some time now they’ve been a second half team, so we’ll have to see what happens after the break. Can they remedy that large deficit and be competitive in the division?

Forget about the Orioles and Blue Jays. There is no way they can properly compete with three ridiculous powerhouses in the AL East.

Projected standings at the end of the year:

Rays (I really want them to win this year)
Red Sox
Yankees
Orioles
Blue Jays

AL Central

Here’s one where I was part right, but for the wrong reasons. The Twins, a team which I made almost no mention of, are especially close to first in the division, sitting only a game and a half back from the White Sox. The Tigers are further away than I thought too, sitting a whole seven games back. This division still will get more exciting and heat up, but not at all like I thought it would. The Royals and Indians are a pathetic twelve and thirteen games back, respectively, with almost no chance of actually winning. Even the Indians know that they’re a lost cause this year, after being World Series contenders last season, they’ve traded away C.C. Sabathia to the Brewers for prospects to cut their losses in the future.

The White Sox are the real story in the AL Central. They’re doing quite well and caused some to predict a Cubs vs. White Sox World Series. I’m not so sure, but they will continue to do well in their division.

Projected standings at the end of the year:

White Sox
Tigers
Twins
Royals
Indians

AL West

What a pathetically one-sided division. The Angels are a ridiculous six games up on the nearest team, the Athletics. The A’s must sense that their post-season chances have dwindled away to nothing, because they’ve just dealt away Rich Harden to the Chicago Cubs. Still, they have strong pitching and will hold on to second place in the AL West.

The Mariners are an absolute mess this season. They’ve been forced to fire management, release players, and are still TWENTY games back in the AL West. At this rate, they’ll be lucky to break a .400 win percentage. They are, without a doubt, this year’s biggest waste of money team.

Texas may have a chance to compete in the division, but it’ll take much better playing to catch up to the Angels. The release of Harden might propel them past the Athletics, but certainly not beyond Anaheim.

This is at least one division that I’ve gotten mostly right and I’m proud of that.

Projected standings at the end of the year:

Angels
Athletics
Rangers
Mariners

NL East

My favorite division, NL East, is actually shaping up to be as close and competitive as I thought it would be. After closing the gap to half a game, the Marlins fell to 1.5 games back and are now in third place behind the Mets (half a game back) and the Phillies (first place). Can it be any more tight at this point? I think not. Let’s get down to it then, after a celebratory self-pat-on-the-back about being right about two divisions so far.

I don’t think the Phils will be able to hold on for too much longer. After firing Willie Randolph as the GM, the Mets have catapulted back into a competitive position in the NL East. It may be to early to say it, but I think the Mets are back in contention in NL East this year. Can they stay above the marlins and the Phils? This I’m not so sure about.

The Marlins have gotten major pitching boosts with the return of Josh Johnson, the major league debut of Chris Volstad, and the eventual return of Anibal Sanchez after the break. As a team with remarkably weak pitching, despite its win-loss record, the Marlins are set to do much better in the second half so long as their amazing offense continues to produce runs at an AL team’s rate. Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez, Jeremy Hermida, Jorge Cantú and more have combined to give the Marlins a Major League leading 135 home runs this season. You can bet they’ll continue to do well in the second half. Many a sportscaster has lamented youth’s ability to do well in the post-season, but I say again and again, look at the 2003 Marlins World Series victory.

Oh yeah, the Braves and Nationals are also in the NL East. At sixteen games back, I think we can mostly rule out the Nationals. Despite having a strong April, they’ve continued to slip and slip this season. Miracles wouldn’t be enough to bring them a post-season berth. I can’t let my intense hatred of the Braves let me give them a fair shake either, I think they won’t really be able to make a dent in the crowded NL East.

Proposed standings at the end of the year:

Marlins
Mets
Phillies
Braves
Nationals

NL Central

Here’s another division where I didn’t do too terribly predicting. The Cubs and Cards certainly do sit at the top of the division, but the Cards are an alarming 4.5 games back with the Brewers half a game further behind at five.

I pretty much think the Cubs will be able to hold strong in this division. Their team is doing amazingly well against just about anyone in the majors, but will it be enough to end the curse? God, I hope not. I love seeing the Cubs lose every year and a World Series win would just ruin that.

The Cardinals have more or less reached their limit, so they won’t do much against the Cubs, but the Brewers could stand a chance now that they’ve added Sabathia to their starting rotation. We’ll see what happens between these three teams, but I’d more or less rule out the Pirates, Reds, and Astros. None of those three teams are closer than eleven games back on the Cubs and I don’t see them doing any better.

Proposed standings at the end of the year:

Cubs
Brewers
Cardinals
Reds
Pirates
Astros

NL West

We now come to the last division in baseball and one of my more incorrect predictions. The Diamondbacks are not, as I predicted, the best team in baseball. With a full ten wins less than both the Red Sox and the Cubs, they’re still managing to stand strong at the top of the NL West, but not with as much dominance as the earlier parts of the season. The undefeatable Brandon Webb was dealt his first loss by everyone’s favorite Marlins and hasn’t really pulled together many wins since then. That being said, they’re still a strong team, but they’ll have to work hard to stay ahead of the Dodgers who are currently one game back.

L.A. can definitely be strong this season, but I’m not sure they can knock out the Diamondbacks. Those are really the only two teams that can possibly compete in the West though, since the Rockies, Padres, and Giants will never be able to mount a proper offensive unless they have one of those amazing streaks that the Rockies had last year. I’m pretty sure the Diamondbacks will be the team to watch in this division.

Proposed standings at the end of the year:

Diamondbacks
Dodgers
Rockies
Giants
Padres

So that’s that, let’s see how my well predictions have done come October. I’m gonna hold off on World Series team predictions until, at the very earliest, the playoffs, since at this point it would just be a wild guess.

Now let’s see the All-Star game recap in the next post.

Wednesday Morning Quarterback: 2nd =[ and the MLB All-Star Game
Jun 4th, 2008 by Dan

You’ve probably heard the saying that hindsight is 20/20 on Monday morning, so just imagine how well I can call ‘em two days later on Wednesday. That’s right, it’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.

As I write this, something terrible has occurred: The Marlins are sitting in second place in their division, 1.5 games behind the :shudder: Philadelphia Phillies. “How could such a tragedy happen?” I can hear you all ask. The answer is pretty simple, the Fish have gone two for five in the last seven games they’ve been on the road. As I said before, this road trip would be a true test, and we’re not really passing it. We dropped two to the Mets, two to those dastardly Phillies, and this most recent game on Monday to Atlanta (remember, I’m writing this on Tuesday). Really, our only strong hope is to pick up these next three games against Atlanta and hope the Phillies cool off a bit on their homerun nonsense.

There are a couple of other big reasons why we haven’t been winning, but they all ultimately boil down to defensive mistakes on both the mound and the field. The Marlins are tied for first with the Pittsburgh Pirates for the most errors committed on-field (49) and are 22nd (of 30) with an Earned Run Average of 4.46 compared to the league high of 3.32 held by the Blue Jays (really?). In at least two of these last seven games, I distinctly remember watching the Marlins either come from behind or have a lead and lose it near the end of the game to end up with another loss. I think I’ve also seen another stat around somewhere that the Marlins have one of the lowest run differentials (scored vs. scored against) in the MLB and certainly the lowest among top teams in each of the divisions.

With all that thrown out there, I don’t think the Marlins are headed for a losing season all of a sudden. They’re still playing with one of the strongest offenses in the game after all, they’ve just got to turn the defense up a notch. Hopefully we’ll see some help with the starting pitching soon when Anibal Sanchez gets off of the DL and starts pitching again.

At any rate, it’s still cool to see the Marlins in a decently secure (if they don’t choke against the Braves) second place and to still have the Tampa Bay Rays standing proud atop the AL East a whole 1.5 games ahead.

I hope you’re all excited about the All-Star game coming up in just under five weeks. So far it seems that the Marlin’s own Hanley Ramirez might technically be the first Marlin to be selected to play for the NL All-Star team. The only other Marlin to ever play for the team was Gary Sheffield, who was traded to the Marlins rather close to the deadline in 1993 and received most of his votes while playing for the San Diego Padres. This would be a huge honor for the shortstop considering that Marlins fans probably contribute the least votes to the All-Star ballot (with their MLB-leading lowest attendance), yet he’s still in the lead (by only 8000 votes, but still in the lead). Now if only we could get Chase Utley to stop being so awesome, we might get Dan Uggla in as the NL second baseman…

EDIT: The Marlins finally snapped their losing streak with a 6-4 win against the Braves this afternoon. We love you Hanley!

Wednesday Morning Quarterback: Bowling, Mechanical Bulls, Standings and Predictions
May 7th, 2008 by Dan

You’ve probably heard the saying that hindsight is 20/20 on Monday morning, so just imagine how well I can call ‘em two days later on Wednesday. That’s right, it’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.

Free bowling last night at the lanes in Helen Newman. I’ll be the first guy to say that I’m not a great bowler at all. I oftentimes don’t even break 100 in my score and last night was no different. It took me a while to find my bowling groove as I threw countless gutter balls in my 81 point first game, but once I figured out the best way for me to throw the ball (cannon it down the lane to give it less time to veer), I started doing a little better, finishing off the night with 96. The highlight of the night had to be Steph’s tenth frame turkey. She’s a little better than I am…

Another little quickie, the crew at Noyes brought some Moe’s food and a mechanical bull to the outdoor basketball courts this past Monday. My sore thighs will tell you that I got on that sucker three times, with a top time of 32 seconds before being bucked off. The highlight was, without a doubt, Nolan’s bull ride where he almost fell off and held on to the bull for at least ten seconds at about a 90 degree angle to the saddle. If you want to see some great pics of the bull, check out Facebook, there are a bunch up of us.

Almost as if to keep me from looking bad in this column this week, the Marlins have regained the first place position they lost during their series against the L.A. Dodgers. Their 3-0 win against the Brew-Crew pushed them into a two-way tie for first with the Phillies who lost last night to the phenomenally good Arizona Diamondbacks. Any time that NL East guys go to play the D-Backs I cheer for the inevitable losses they will suffer, but I know that these losses will probably hit the Marlins at some point soon, which almost makes them not count. Let’s not bother with that for now though, I’m just happy to keep seeing the Marlins near the top.

The American League exploded a week ago, with an unprecedented three-way tie between the Orioles, Rays, and Red Sox. Far from being the uncompetitive, under 0.500 team they have been since their beginnings in 1998, the Tampa Bay Rays are a game up on the Yankees and 3.5 back on the Red Sox in second place in the AL East.

AL Central has a surprising first place team in the Minnesota Twins, topping both the White Sox and Indians. The good ‘ol Tigers are still 3.5 games back, but are actually approaching the 0.500 no thanks to their abysmal April. AL West has the Angels on top with the Athletics right behind, light years ahead of the Rangers and Mariners who are both a pathetic 7.5 games back.

The National League is looking a bit more like what you’d expect it to look like (aside from the Fish tied for first in NL East) with the Diamondbacks a whole three games up on the Dodgers in NL West and the Cardinals 2.5 above the Cubbies in NL Central.

My standings predictions based on my limited baseball knowledge:

– The Cards and Cubs will keep competing for top in NL Central with only moderate competition from the Brewers
– The NL East will stay in a state of flux, at least until the All-Star break. If the Marlins are still holding strong even halfway through the season (Anibal Sanchez will be back!), it could stay tight until the Fall
– AL East will proceed in a more predictable fashion. Even under different management, the Yankees won’t be content in third for too much longer and the Red Sox will remain as dominant as they typically are. Tampa Bay and Baltimore will have to work their butts off to fight for second, unless the Red Sox and Yankees knock each other down the standings. Of course, this is what happened to the O’s and Rays when they were tied for first. The Rays are very hot though, I’d put my money on them over the Orioles at least until the All-Star break.
– AL Central has the potential to be the most exciting division of them all. The Tigers have finally found their game, the White Sox will put up a good fight, Cleveland will continue to be a strong team this year, and the Royals are under new, stronger management. The worst standings in the division (Tigers) are only 3.5 games back. This will make for an interesting year for AL Central fans unless one of the teams awakens into a dominant force and starts to control the division.
– AL West has all but been decided. The Angels and A’s will battle it out, but the A’s haven’t been a post-season team in God knows how long. No matter how well their season finishes, they just always collapse in October. Still, it’s definitely an impressive team. Hope that the Mariners and Rangers put something together, for Christ’s sake, or this will be the most boring division in baseball…
– The Diamondbacks will continue to be the best team in baseball for the foreseeable future. NL West is theirs to rule over as they see fit. San Francisco’s team is garbage with a weak offense and bad pitching :cough: Barry Zito :cough:, San Diego’s not gonna put up a fight, and the Rockies were a flash in the pan last post-season. The Dodgers are the only competition for the D-Backs, making this truly a one-sided division.

EDIT: I just wanted to add in that Micah Owning’s (a Diamondback and starting pitcher against the Phillies tonight) pinch hit home run last Wednesday was pretty sweet. Before you say “big deal,” remember one thing: Micah Owning is a PITCHER. There are even rumblings of including him in this year’s Home Run Derby

Wednesday Morning Quarterback: Marlins, Red Sox, Tigers, and Intramural Softball
Apr 9th, 2008 by Dan

You’ve probably heard the saying that hindsight is 20/20 on Monday morning, so just imagine how well I can call ‘em two days later on Wednesday. That’s right, it’s time for Wednesday Morning Quarterback, your weekly sports round-up.

So the Marlins are off to a decent start this season, leading the NL East at the moment with 4 wins, 3 losses. They suffered two brutal losses to the Mets, but came back and slapped the Pirates around for two games. The Pirates fought back the third game with a large victory, but the Marlins have hit the road strong with a 10-7 victory over the Washington Nationals. Check the videos on the game recap to watch Dan Uggla, Hanley Ramirez, and Robert Andino’s 2nd home runs of the season, bringing the Marlins to 5 players with 2 home runs each.

This probably won’t be the Marlins’ season though for one great big reason: pitching. The Marlins just don’t have the men on the mound to keep the opposing offenses in check. With VandenHurk sent back down to the minors and Anibal Sanchez getting oh so close to healthy again, we should hopefully see decent arms on the mound very soon. The majority of the starters are very green though, so I expect needing a season or two to really hit their stride. If Jack McKeon is actually right and Andrew Miller is the next Beckett, he’d better start shaping up. He has yet to go more than 5 innings in a ball game. He hasn’t been dropped to the AAs like Vandenhurk though, so the Marlins must see something budding in Miller.

The Boston Red Sox were looking a bit bad after losing three straight to the Toronto Blue Jays, of all teams. What could they possibly do to bolster their confidence? Play their home season opener against the still winless Detroit Tigers. We’re all actually quite surprised that a team with as tremendous an offense as Detroit does have can still be 0-7. Most cite poor pitching and I’m inclined to agree. Even when the Tigers aren’t getting shut out 5-0 (!) by the reigning World Series Champs in Boston, they still can’t hold back any offense. When the Kansas City Royals are kicking your butt rather soundly, I think that you need to go back to the drawing board and come up with something. Anyway, as much as I love watching Detroit sit at the bottom of the standings, I do rather love Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera, two former Marlins who ended up on this squad, and my hatred for the Bo Sox wants them to snap out of it and bring the hurt to Boston.

In more local news, our coed intramural softball team, Walt’s Winners, managed to dominate the law school grad student team 11-4. This was completed even with two of female players (that’s half of them) HUNGOVER. Still, Lee was a monster out in CF, catching everything that came his way, Kristen was ruthless on the bags, advancing bases every chance she got and picking up something like four or five RBIs, and the other team just couldn’t mount an appropriate defense. Even I did pretty well, batting in at least one that I remember, but probably more. The standings (select Softball->Leagues->Co Rec->Sun 03:00PM) have yet to be updated, but with our team as strong as it is this year (especially compared to last year’s disaster) we’re looking to be very competitive this season.

This has been Wednesday Morning Quarterback. And now, back to Bob with the weather.

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