Saturday, July 5, 2014

Sports this 'n' that

Major League Baseball will announce their All-Star teams in a few days. Since the voting is slanted toward name recognition and reputation, and not how some players are faring this season, we're likely to see the usual suspects in the usual places.

Though I haven't seen every team on TV this season, I can offer a non-scientific, unbiased projection. To wit:

American League:

1st base: Miguel Cabrera (Detroit).

Likely backups: Joe Mauer (Minnesota), Edwin Encarnacion (Toronto)

2nd base: Dustin Pedroia (Boston).

Likely backups: Robinson Cano (Seattle), Omar Infante (Kansas City).

Shortstop: Derek Jeter (Yankees) will make one final start.

Likely backups: Jose Reyes (Toronto), Elvis Andrus (Texas).

3rd base: Manny Machado (Baltimore).

Likely backups: Lonnie Chisenhall (Cleveland), Adrian Beltre (Texas).

DH: David Ortiz (Boston), Chris Carter (Houston).

Outfield: Adam Jones (Baltimore), Carlos Beltran (Yankees), Jose Bautista (Toronto), Alex Gordon (Kansas City), Josh Hamilton (Los Angeles), Nelson Cruz (Baltimore).

Catcher: Matt Wieters (Baltimore).

Likely backups: Brian McCann (Yankees), Alex Avila (Detroit).

Pitchers: Masahiro Tanaka (Yankees), Chris Sale (Chicago), Mark Buehrle (Toronto), Phil Hughes (Minnesota), Koji Uehara (Boston), Justin Verlander, Rick Porcello, & Joe Nathan (Detroit).

You can tell I haven't watched much AL ball this season.

National League:

1st base: Freddie Freeman (Atlanta)

Likely backups: Ryan Howard (Philadelphia), Paul Goldschmidt (Arizona), Lucas Duda (Mets)(longshot)

2nd base: Dee Gordon (Los Angeles)

Likely backups: Daniel Murphy (Mets), Chase Utley (Philadelphia).

Shortstop: Troy Tulowitzki (Colorado).

Likely backups: Hanley Ramirez (Los Angeles), Andrelton Simmons (Atlanta).

3rd base: Nolan Aronado (Colorado).

Likely backups: David Wright (Mets), Pedro Alvarez (Pittsburgh).

Catcher: Yadier Molina (St. Louis).

Likely backups: Russell Martin (Pittsburgh), Buster Posey (San Francisco).

Outfield: Jason Heyward (Atlanta), Andrew McCutcheon (Pittsburgh), Curtis Granderson (Mets), Carlos Gomez (Milwaukee), Jay Bruce (Cincinnati), Giancarlo Stanton (Miami).

Pitchers: Alfredo Simon (Cincinnati), Tim Lincecum (San Francisco), Bartolo Colon (Mets), Adam Wainwright & Trevor Rosenthal (St. Louis), Stephen Strasburg & Rafael Soriano (Washington), Eric Stults (San Diego), Craig Kimbrel (Atlanta).

Of course, I could be wrong (and will be).

I've said my piece about this in a couple other places, but now I can get around to it here. Jason Kidd decided to be a diva and over-reached for more leverage and power in Brooklyn with the Nets, got turned down, then got shipped off to Milwaukee for two future draft picks. Now, he's the Bucks' headache. He never matured off the court as a player, and that hasn't changed. His lame power play earned him a set of Weasel ears.

And you thought his career had reached what some would think was a low point 11 years ago when he took part in a Cartoon Network special and channeled his inner toon geek by palling around with a certain Wonder Twin............!

The NFL is often derisively referred to as the "No Fun League". One more reason came to light with the league's lame decision to ban facemasks that have a few extra bars on them. Former Giants Chris Canty (now with Baltimore) & Justin Tuck (Oakland) wear them for safety reasons, and have been given medical exemptions in the past. reports that they will likely get the exemptions again this season, but Canty says that if he isn't allowed to wear his special mask, he's done.

It's rulings like this that make me think the NFL doesn't do enough research before making judgment calls like this. They claim that these particular masks have a damaging effect on the neck. Tuck's argument is the exact opposite. He's claiming his mask protects his neck. Canty uses it, and says he invented it, to protect himself from accidental eye gouging. The NFL relies on a few faceless nerds to come up with silly ideas like these. The funny part is that the directive came from former player turned league executive Troy Vincent, who played for New England, Philadelphia, & Miami during his career, and as a defensive back, didn't need this particular mask.

Ever notice how quickly the hype over the World Cup stopped after the US was eliminated earlier this week? The media is making last week's Dunce Cap winner, Ann Coulter, look like she knows what she's talking about, but in truth, they're reinforcing the stereotype that soccer is not, and seemingly never will be a premier sport here. I beg to differ.


magicdog said...

Hooray for Ann to have been proven correct!

As someone who works in media, I can attest, that no one in the US cares about FIFA except the foreign born. The media has been trying to foist it upon everyone else as if this were the World series and the Superbowl combined. Once the team floundered, it was quietly dropped.

hobbyfan said...

Back in the 70's, when Pele came over here from Brazil, the hype machine first started rolling. I honestly wish the tabloid media wouldn't be whipping us into such a frenzy when the World Cup comes around. Like, when was the last time an American team won it? Never?