Posted on: March 8, 2010 2:37 pm

Preseason Power Rankings


1.  Yankees

The best got better this off season, upgrading CF with the acquisition of Curtis Granderson and adding another solid pitcher to their rotation with Javier Vasquez.  The World Series is theirs to lose.


2.  Angels

The Angels have quietly been one of the best teams in all of baseball in recent years and this year should be no different with their core players returning along with new additions Joel Pineiro and Hideki Matsui.


3.  Phillies

The NL champs return largely in tact with a new ace Roy Halladay at the top of their rotation.  They should be one of the best offensive teams in 2010.


4.  Red Sox

The Red Sox upgrade at SS with Marco Scutaro and strengthen their rotation with John Lackey.  They are doing their best to keep up with the Yankees but it may not be enough.


5.  Dodgers

The Dodgers retained all of their arbitration eligible players keeping together a group of emerging stars that has gelled well since the 2007 season.  If Manny Ramirez can find his 2008 form the Dodgers should contend for the NL pennant.


6.  Cardinals

The Red Birds resigned the top free agent position player Matt Holliday, keeping protection in the lineup for Albert Pujols. 


7.  Mets

The Mets were one of the most disappointing teams in baseball last year, however with key players returning from injury and off season additions Jason Bay and Kelvim Escobar the Mets look like they should be back in good form. 


8. Rockies

The Rockies have been the little team that could over the past few seasons.  They have done more with less than most other teams.  They have one baseball’s best short stops in Troy Tulowitzki and a very consistent pitching staff.



9. Mariners

The Mariners enter the 2010 season with arguably the best pitching 1-2 punch in all of baseball with Felix Hernandez and Cliff Lee, and off season free agent acquisition Chone Figgins, along with the incomparable Ichiro gives them a very speedy top of the lineup.  The Mariners could surprise a lot of people this season.


10. Rays

While the Rays feature some of the league’s best young talent with players such as Ben Zobrist, Evan Longoria, and Jason Bartlett, they will need their pitching to be stronger this season if they hope to compete.


11.  Twins

The Twins have one of the top three players in the game at a position that is the thinnest of any in the game.  They have five other batters that will hit above .280 and the amount of left handers in their lineup will give most team fits.  But none of that will matter if the pitching rotation cannot hold up their end of the bargain. 


12.  Braves

The Braves will again be relying on their pitchers to keep them competitive, as they don’t quite have the bats that their fellow NL East teams have.  Like the Rockies, the Braves don’t have a lot of household names in their rotation but they produce consistent outings and give the team a chance to win.


13.  Giants

Another team with a very strong 1-2 punch in their rotation, the 2009 wild card runner up has improved offensively with 1B Aubrey Huff and OF Mark DeRosa.


14.  Tigers

The Yankees got Curtis Granderson and the Tigers ended up spending $13 million on Johnny Damon for the last leg of his career.  That’s why the Yankees are the Yankees and the Tigers are the Tigers.


15.  White Sox

The South Siders lost a little power by letting Jermaine Dye go, but Juan Pierre should be a suitable replacement.  If Jake Peavy can stay healthy they should contend for the AL Central.


16. Rangers

A young team with a lot of talent the Rangers could find themselves contending for the AL West.


17.  Cubs

The Cubs suffered from a lot of injuries and underwhelming performances from key players.  With Aramis Ramirez and Alfonso Soriano healthy again the Cubs have reason for optimism.  But then again, Cubs fans are optimistic every year.


18.  Diamondbacks

The Diamondbacks will need Brandon Webb to resemble his old self if they are to compete, but a few off season moves should help their offense.


19.  Marlins

The Marlins are unimpressive on paper, outside of a few players, but the perennial team of prospects always seems to keep themselves in the playoff hunt deep into the season even with one of baseball’s lowest payroll. 


20.  Brewers

The Brewers lost Ben Sheets but added a few reliable leftys with Doug Davis and Randy Wolf. Combined with the offensive upside of a lot of their young players the Brew Crew has the potential to make a run in 2010.


21.  Reds

The Reds probably won’t be winning the World Series this year, but with young players like Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, and Johnny Cueto they should at least be fun to watch.


22. Indians

Grady Sizemore and Shin-Soo Choo will be the highlights on this team with low expectations.


23.  Blue Jays

The Blue Jays enter the 2010 season with Shaun Marcum as their ace, a far cry from Roy Halladay, who at least gave them a chance every fifth day.  The Jays are nothing more than a sparring partner for the Yankees and Red Sox.


24.  Orioles

Miguel Tejada will be one of the few veterans on a team that features youngsters Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis.  The Orioles should finish considerably better than the 64 wins they had in 2009.


25. A’s

The bright side for A’s fans is there are not a lot of players left that Billy Beane can trade away.  On the other hand, Rajai Davis better hope that he’s renting.


26. Astros

The Astros will need Roy Oswalt to pitch like he used to if they hope to compete.


27.  Padres

Look for Adrian Gonzalez to be wearing a Red Sox uniform by August.


28.  Nationals

This probably won’t be the year that the Nationals climb out of the NL East basement, and unfortunately like the AL East there are a few teams in the division that can spend far beyond the Nationals’ means, but with Ryan Zimmerman developing into one of the better third baseman in the game, Stephen Strasburg in the pipeline, and a few reliable veterans on the team don’t be surprised if the Nats make a run in the not too distant future.


29.  Royals

The Royals have Zack Greinke and uh...and uh…and uh…another long season ahead of them.


30.  Pirates

The Pirates have been one of the worst teams in baseball for nearly two decades.  They have not had a winning season in 17 years, the longest losing season streak of any team in the four major sports.  They have finished last in their division 10 times.  They trade away any and all of their top players and prospects at every trading deadline.  This year should be more of the same.  But Pittsburgh has won two Super Bowls and a Stanley Cup within the last five years so I guess there has to be some cosmic balance.

Posted on: August 10, 2009 4:44 pm

2009 NFC West Preview


The Cardinals offense remains poised to pick up where they left off in 2008, with the only notable loss being running backs Edgerrin James and JJ Arrington.  The Cardinals filled the void at running back by drafting Chris Beanie Wells in the first round with the hopes that he can improve their running game, which ranked 32 last year.

The passing game is still in tact with both Larry Fitzgerald and Anquan Boldin returning to provide Kurt Warner with same viable targets that led to the Cardinals potent passing game in 2008.  In addition, Steve Breaston gives them a strong back up or third receiver when the need arises.

The defense lost corner back Eric Green and defensive end Antonio Smith but gained cornerback Bryant McFadden, who has been making a name for himself in Cardinals camp in Flagstaff.  The trio of Darnell Docket, Karlos Dansby, and Adrian Wilson provide the Cardinals with potent players at the line, linebacker, and secondary.  Rookie standout cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie enters his second season looking to build on the progress he made in 2008 and become one of the better players at his position in the league.

Prediction 10-6


If quarterback Matt Hasselbeck can stay healthy this season the Seahawks should show a marked improvement on last years 4-12 record and a passing game that ranked 29 in the league.  Hasselbeck gets some much needed help with the addition of WR TJ Houshmandzadeh and a healthy Nate Burleson and Deion Branch.  Running back Julius Jones will need to improve for the Seahawks to have a successful ground game.

The Seahawks defense got a boost with first round draft pick LB Aaron Curry.  Curry will join current defensive stand outs Patrick Kerney and Lofa Tatupu as Seattle tries to improve on their 2008 ranking of thirtieth in yards per game allowed.

Prediction 7-9


The 49ers offense enters the 2009 season with question marks.  The starting quarterback job is up for grabs and it looks like former first overall draft pick Alex Smith may end up as the backup to Shaun Hill.  Frank Gore has established himself as a dominant runner in the league, and if the 49ers offense is to have success it will be on his back. 

2009 first round draft choice WR Michael Crabtree is threatening to sit out the season and reenter the draft in 2010, leaving the team thin at the receiver position, something that was an area of weakness last year.  If tight end Vernon Davis can build on a disappointing 2008 season, where he had only 358 receiving yards and 2 touchdowns, it will fill some of the need with the passing game.

 The 49ers and coach Mike Singletary will certainly look to improve on a mediocre defense that ranked 23 in points per game.  The team got corner back Dre Bly to add depth in the secondary and Demetric Evans to add strength to the line. 

Prediction 6-10


New coach Steve Spagnuolo looks to return the Rams to some form of respectability after a dismal 2-14 record in 2008.  That will be no easy task with the loss of WR Torry Holt and offensive tackle Orlando Pace.  Quarterback Marc Bulger’s options are limited as it appears the teams number one receiver will be Donnie Avery, so the team will be heavily reliant on RB Steven Jackson to have a big year.

The defense, which ranked 30 in 2008, will need to get results from newly aquired safety James Butler and Adam Carriker. Unfortunately it looks to be another long year for Rams fans. 

Prediction 3-13
Category: NFL
Posted on: July 15, 2009 11:31 am

25 Reasons Baseball is Better than Football

1. Baseball players who are not on the field are in the dugout leaving the fans with a view of the game.  Football players who are not on the field are standing on the sidelines leaving the fans with a view of their backsides.
2. Baseball on the radio is far more enjoyable than football on the radio. 
3. Baseball has a statistic to analyze every aspect of the game and determine the effectiveness of the players. 
4. Baseball players are required to play offense and defense.
5. Baseball parks are characters; football stadiums are clones.
6. There are only two ballparks that use artificial turf, next year there will be one, and none in the United States. 
7. Baseball requires the leading team to give the opposition a chance to comeback.  Football allows the team to sit on the ball and run the clock out.
8. The baseball season is broken into mostly three game series.  It’s like having a micro playoff series twice a week.
9. Baseball’s playoffs are decided by a series, ensuring the better team will always prevail. 
10. Baseball is built on accuracy; if a pitch is off by the slightest amount it can cost a team the game.  Football is built on force.
11. Baseball is a game of anticipation; football is a game of instant gratification. 
12. Vin Scully.  Anybody in football come close?
13. The baseball season has two distinct acts and a short intermission in between the two.  The football season just runs together.  
14. Baseball still uses wood bats. 
15. The oldest football stadium is 52 years old.  The oldest ballpark is 97 years old.
16. Baseball has a two seam fastball, four seam fastball, splitter, changeup, curveball, slider, sinker, and knuckleball; Football has a spiral. 
17. Baseball requires runners to be within a six foot base path.  Football requires them to be within 160 feet between the sidelines.
18. Football has TV timeouts.
19. You get to keep score in baseball.
20. A baseball game can be infinite.  A football game is limited to 60 minutes.
21. In baseball once a player goes out of the game they don’t get to come back in.
22. Baseball has Take Me Out to the Ball Game.  There is no song dedicated to football.
23. When a player signs a five year contract in baseball, they do not come back the next year and demand a new contract threatening that they will hold out of spring training.
24. Baseball’s records can be retrieved from memory; football’s records need to be retrieved from an almanac.  
25.  People actually watch baseball’s All Star game.

Posted on: February 13, 2009 5:41 pm

Small Market or Large Market

Yesterday Robert Sarver, owner of the Suns, was being interviewed on the radio.  He stated at one point that Phoenix was a small market, at which point I yelled at the radio.  This lead me to question if Phoenix, the fifth largest city in the US is a small market, what constitutes a large market.  Population of the city, attendance, what? 


Below I have compiled information on the 8 largest cities in the US, and also included Boston and San Francisco.  This includes the population of the city, and the % of overall (home and road) attendance the team draws.  So 100% would mean the team is selling out their home games, and all their road games average to sell outs as well.  95 would mean that for the total seats for all the games the team plays, 95% are sold. I used this to see how the team is followed on the road.  I realize this is not a perfect examination of a team’s national following, because teams such as the Red Sox, sell out every home game no matter who the opposing team is.  Although it’s not perfect, I felt it was a decent interpretation with out examining apparel sales, TV ratings, etc.


So, who are the largest markets?


By population it is New York, LA, and Chicago.


For basketball, it is LA, Boston, and Phoenix.  So the small market that Robert Sarver cited is somewhat of a misnomer.  Out of the eight largest cities, as well as Boston and San Francisco, Phoenix ranks 3<sup>rd</sup>. 


For baseball its, Boston, Chicago (Cubs), and New York (Yankees).  No real surprise there.  Unfortunately the Diamondbacks are next to last.  The Diamondbacks do, however, get very good TV ratings statewide.


For football, guess what, there is a reason that this years Super Bowl was the highest rated ever.  The Eagles, CARDINALS, and Giants, are the largest. 


For hockey, Chicago, New York (Rangers), and the Sharks have the largest markets.  This does not include Canadian markets, and Detroit was not included.  Coyotes, like the Diamondbacks, are second to last. 


Again, just the eight largest cities by population were included, and then I wanted to look at the other two markets.  So next time someone tries to tell you that Phoenix is a small market for football or basketball, you can call them a liar right to their face.


New York 8.2 million, Knicks 93.6,  Yankees 86.2, Giants 100.6, Rangers 102.2

LA 3.8 million, Lakers 99.8, Dodgers 80.3, NA, Kings 89.8

Chicago 2.8 million, Bulls 94.6, Cubs 90, Bears 96.3, Blackhawks 104.5

Houston 2.2 million, Rockets 93.2, Astros 78.3, Texans 99.8, NA

Phoenix 1.5 million, Suns 96.2, Diamondbacks 68.9, Cardinals101.4, Coyotes 90

Philadelphia 1.4 million, 76ers 79.7, Phillies 84.6, Eagles 102.3, Flyers 96.1

San Antonio 1.3 million Spurs 92.2, NA, NA, NA

San Diego 1.2 million, NA, Padres 73.7, Chargers 94.5, NA

Dallas 1.2 million, Mavericks 95.3, Rangers 57.6, Cowboys 99.9, Stars 92.8

San Francisco 764k, Warriors 91.6, Giants 77, 49ers 94.3, Sharks 96.5

Boston 599k, Celtics 99.1, Red Sox 92.9, Patriots 99.1, Bruins 93.9





Category: NBA
Posted on: February 6, 2009 11:38 am
Edited on: February 6, 2009 4:36 pm

Change is in the Cards

Cardinals fans are dealt another blow today as it is rumored that Todd Haley is going to be the new coach of the Kansas City Chiefs.  He guided this offense to the Super Bowl, and made some brilliant calls at times.  He will be a huge loss no doubt, but this does not mean the Cardinals offense will suddenly be anemic.  Kurt Warner is most likely coming back, and he’ll have two years experience working with Larry Fitzgerald, and Anquan Boldin should he be back.  Knowing your receiver is a huge element of a QB’s success.  Steve Breaston has emerged as a great second receiver, which is the role he had for a considerable amount of games this season.


This is just the beginning Cards fans.  Karlos Dansby stated he thinks it would be exciting to play in New York.  Antrelle Rolle, who was a very poor CB his first handful of years for the Cards, has emerged as a decent safety and will most likely be gone as well.  And Anquan Boldin…who knows. 


He is a great player, and an intense player who gives his all every time he’s on the field. But do the Cards need to spend that money on him, or could it be spent better elsewhere.  He did not play the first two playoff games and was very limited in the NFC Championship, and he was out for part of the regular season.  He’ll be 29 years old and could have already had his pinnacle as a player. 


It’s not as bad as it seems.  The Cardinals were going to lose some key players.  The Steelers will lose some key players as well.  Every Super Bowl team loses key coaches and players.  I hope that this taste of success has wet Michael Bidwell’s beak, and he is motivated to spend some money. 


Have faith Cards fans, this team will be back in the playoffs with most of the key players in tact, and hopefully a couple of good free agents and solid draft picks.

Category: NFL
Posted on: February 4, 2009 5:28 pm

Arizona Cardinals experience

By far the most intense atmosphere with the most intense fans.  The feeling inside U of P Stadium is electric.  70,000 people all on their feet screaming their heads off to try and throw the opposing team’s offense off count.   It feels really good to be a part of that.  On the other hand, with intense fans, you get negative things too.  Fights, intoxication, swearing.  If you mind your own business and are rooting for the Cardinals you won’t have any problems.  If you like to run your mouth you may have issues.  If you are wearing another team’s jersey you will also draw some fire, even if you are not provoking it.  I’m not condoning that behavior, just saying I’ve seen it happen. 


The Cardinals also have the most expensive tickets in the valley.  Lower level tickets can go for almost $100, but the upper bowl tickets are more reasonable. 


The U of P Stadium also has the worst food, and the most limited food selection of any of the teams.  The beer selection is also limited, you have Budweiser products, one stand that sells Bass and a Hefenweisen, but that is it.  The large domestic beer goes for about $8.


The biggest downfall of the Cardinals games is the parking and traffic.  By far the worst.  The parking is atrocious, and the traffic is a mess.  You need to get there at least an hour or two early and plan on just hanging out for an hour afterward to avoid the masses.  Just relax in the parking lot and have a beer to avoid a lot of unneeded stress.

Category: NFL
Posted on: February 4, 2009 5:27 pm

Best Value in Phoenix Sports

The Phoenix area has all four major sports teams, all vying for the fans money.  Where is the best value, which venue provides the best experience for the money?  I’ll take a look at the ticket prices, fan atmosphere, parking, and stadium amenities to determine where you are most likely to have a good time.  This does not take into account the actual sport being played, just the atmosphere at the game.

I'll post this in four parts, one for each team. 

Category: MLB
Posted on: February 4, 2009 4:25 pm

A fool and his money are soon parted

Just like everyone bought into the housing boom because they thought that it was a sure fire get rich quick endeavor, the same fools bought into all the hype that the Cardinals were going to get destroyed in the Super Bowl.  They felt that seven points was a narrow spread for these lucky Cardinals who supposedly didn’t’ deserve to be there in the first place.  And just like their big house flip, their bet against the Cardinals came up short. 


Vegas cleaned up this year.  They should thank all the talking heads and sports writers around the country who most likely didn’t watch one Cardinals game all season until the playoffs, but they knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the Steelers would walk all over them in this game.


As we all know, that did not happen.  Nearly 100 million people tuned in to see the Cardinals narrowly defeated by the heavy favorites.  They saw their sure thing bet go down the drain as the Steelers pulled out a win with less than one minute to go and a miracle catch in the end zone.  The Cardinals, criticized the entire post season, proved that they absolutely deserved to be there.

Category: NFL
Tags: Cardinals
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com