Craving Sports? Me too: Part 2

Sports will be gone from our lives for the foreseeable future, so I will continue to put out some memorable highlights to help bring some joy in this shitty time.

Tracy McGrady scores 13 points in 35 seconds vs. Spurs

T Mac! 13 points in 35 seconds against the Spurs. Tracy McGrady was one of the best scorers of all time and imagine what he might have done in an offensive heavy era like we have right now (no hand checking!!).

 

2007 Eastern Conference Finals Game 5: Cavs @ Pistons

Lebron James coming out party. We all knew Lebron was going to be great, but this confirmed it. Basically a one man machine taking down one of the best defensive teams and one of the toughest teams in NBA history. Don’t say I never said anything nice about Lebron.

 

1986 Eastern Conference 1st Round Game 2: Bulls @ Celtics

MJ dropping a playoff career high of 63 against Larry Bird and the 86 Celtics. MJ may not have assumed his throne yet, but he was coming.

 

1993 Western Conference Finals Game 5: Sonics @ Suns

The round mound of rebound! The Chuckster with a triple double and the win! I know everyone always jokes about how he doesn’t have a ring (including me), but my god… Charles Barkley was a god damn animal and seems like he would be the perfect “small ball five” in the modern era.

 

1979 NCAA Basketball National Championship Game: Michigan State vs Indiana State

The OG Bird- Magic matchup. The two most iconic basketball players of the 80s facing off for the first time. What a treat!

Full Game:

 

Hope this helps ease the pain of Sports being gone. (Yes I know their are much bigger problems going on)

Love you guys

— Brob

 

GGoat Project: Pokémon Sword/Shield Review

Loved it as much as I hated it

Playtime: 190 hours

Greatness: 61.8

  • Fun: 17/20
  • Stimulation/Engagement: 12/15
  • Innovation/Ingenuity: 6/15
  • Storytelling/Writing: 2/10
  • Immersion/World Building: 7/10
  • Control/Systems: 9/10
  • Graphics/Presentation: 3/5
  • Art Style: 2/5
  • Sound Design: 3/5
  • Score: 2/5
  • Online Capabilities/Multiplayer: 5/10

Few other things in the peculiar and confusing world of gaming are as peculiar and confusing as the way Pokémon games are published. Every mainline Pokémon game since the IP’s launch in 1996 has been released as two games. The two games, such as Pokémon Red/Blue or Sword/Shield, are always 99% identical but are sold separately. For some reason, Nintendo decided that Pokémon games would always be split into two different versions—typically the main difference between the two is a very small amount of Pokémon that are exclusive to each—and published as two games essentially independent of each other. For some reason, the public decided that this is acceptable, and this has gone on for almost 30 years.

I think the main reason we decide to be okay with this publishing style is that the games are so incredibly fun. For many Pokémon fans, our obsession with the franchise began with the anime TV series, which introduced us to the extremely alluring fantasy world of Pokémon. The Pokémon anime follows Ash, a young teenager from Kanto (a fictional continent/country largely based on Japan) who sets out on a daring journey to become the region’s champion pokémon trainer. Pokémon, short for pocket monsters, were mystical creatures with magical powers that were both adorable and dangerous and essentially substituted wild animals in this universe. The show launched one year after Pokémon games were first released in Japan, and paired well with the youthful desire for both adventure and cute pets held by its fans. The video games became a way for us to live that life of adventure and mastery within our Gameboys.

24 years later Pokémon has become the highest-grossing media franchise of all time, and Nintendo released its latest installment Pokémon Sword and Pokémon Shield in November 2019 for the Nintendo Switch. This time around, I went with Pokémon Sword. The game…these games—for the sake of brevity and consistency I will refer to the Pokémon Sword/Shield pair as one game—the game was released to a great deal of controversy. Many fans complained about the loss of hundreds of pokémon that were not included in this edition, about the lackluster art style, and about the lack of graphical improvement and innovation in general. And yet, Nintendo has sold close to 20 million copies to date. I personally agree with the many criticisms of this game—many of which were voiced before this game was even released—and yet I bought the game, loved it as much as I hated it, and played it 200 hours and counting. Why? Let’s find out:

Fun: 17/20

It’s Pokémon! Pokémon games are very fun, and this game does very little to take away from the tried and true Pokémon formula: you are a young, up-start pokémon trainer who has just been given their first pokémon by Professor So-And-So and set on an adventurous and mystical journey to become the champion. There is very little grind in this game, what with party exp-share, exp-candies (which are earned from sufficiently entertaining max-raid battles), and the champion tournament. But the ease of the single player experience, as well as other minuses that come from other categories in this review, sometimes make this game boring and even frustrating. Battling other players online is very enticing and can be great fun, but once you realize how terribly unbalanced it is—and how wrought it is with Nintendo’s never-ending inability to “do online right”—that luster fades.

Stimulation/Engagement: 12/15

There is SO MUCH to do in this game. Sure, the main campaign is very easy and can be downright boring, but once you beat that first part of the game, you realize you’ve barely scratched the surface of this game. Once you become the champion you unlock the Battle Tower, where the game throws intensely difficult single player battles at you that make you realize just how much better you can make your pokémon team, and the game gives you a nice variety of ways to improve your pokémon and does fairly well to streamline them this time around. Breeding is simple enough to get into and complex enough to keep the player engaged. Max raid battles are a cool addition and offer a plethora of useful rewards. The Hammerlocke University is a clever innovation that allows you to improve your pokémon even while you are away from your Switch. The one major flaw with all this engaging content is that once you take your meticulously crafted pokémon team online to battle other trainers, you may often find the online scene to be flooded with certain pokémon that are simply over-powered: the meta. What is the point of having so many pokémon in this game when there’s only maybe 20-30 that are viable competitively?? Knowing how terribly balanced online play is detracts a lot from the stimulation and engagement of the game’s content.

Innovation/Ingenuity: 6/15

It’s really quite amazing how little each mainline installment of the hardcore Pokémon RPG innovates upon the last, and Pokémon Sword/Shield is no exception. The player catches pokémon, trains them, becomes the pokémon champion. The graphical improvements are really as minimal as possible when moving to a newer system. This is the first mainline Pokémon game on a home console, and it does not show. Pokémon models, now in HD and fully 3-D, for whatever reason still make tiny, stiff movements to represent attacks or special moves. Minute information text bubbles—such as “Blah-Blah is buffeted by hail”—still annoyingly take up way too much time as they are announced EVERY. FUCKING. TURN. There is plenty about the Pokémon formula that is the same as always in this game and absolutely should be the same because it’s what makes Pokémon fun, but that still doesn’t mean I’m going to be easy on it in this section of the greatness score.

There are however, a few very welcome improvements. The wild area is a wondrous place and something pokémon fans have wanted since the IP was launched: pokémon and the player roam a wilderness freely, with a full range of motion and 3600 camera control available to the player. It’s a great leap forward in the direction of what I and most fans believe to be the original dream for Pokémon video games. Mid-battle access to important information like pokémon types, and super-effects/weaknesses is a fantastic addition and very well-integrated. Dynamaxing is also pretty cool, but after a while it becomes rather washed and feels pretty gimmicky.

Storytelling/Writing: 2/10

The story gets pretty good with a cool twist towards the end, and there’s a good amount of interesting characters, and…um, that’s it. The story and writing in this game are otherwise terrible. I mean down right awful, even for a game geared for kids. The dialogue is unbelievably basic and the story is extremely linear and cliché. Aside from the first few games, I have not come to expect much from storytelling in Pokémon games, but Pokémon SS brings it down to a whole new low. When I realized there was more story to play through after the main campaign, I shit you not I was actually disappointed, I just wanted it to end. They got two points for a dramatic climax and some really good characters, but yeah, beyond that: superbly boring and half-assed.

Immersion/World Building: 7/10

Again, the wild area is a fantastic innovation for Pokémon and it brings a great deal of immersion to the game. The region of Galar is based on the United Kingdom and the British-ness of the region and its inhabitants is very well done: people say things like “Av a spot-uh-tea” or “had a great row about it”. The world’s culture and society feel pretty well-built and fleshed out: characters constantly reference the pop-culture pokémon gym challenge and various characters around the world often talk about characters from other towns that they know. In one town you are able to go into an old lady’s house and she’ll give you a letter to give to her long-lost pal who you may randomly find in a late-game town. There are pokémon visible and active all over the overworld, and towns and shops are lively and unique. These things are small but go a long way to building the world of this game and making it immersive. There are however, too many seams in the open world (areas that are right next to each other on the map but separated by arbitrary restrictions or loading screens). Many areas are too small and seem rushed, thus taking away a lot from player immersion. The many different areas of the game, while unique, often seem out of place and pasted together.

Control/Systems: 9/10

The controls are very simple but very well developed. The menus are mostly great, with a very few hiccups and headaches. Controls while biking are surprisingly irritating; if you fast travel somewhere while on the bike and intend to immediately turn around go inside the building, do yourself a favor and get off the bike first. It’s like they wanted to piss people off with the way they made bikes turn around. Controls for a Pokémon game are pretty easy to get right so thankfully that’s my only real complaint.

Graphics/Presentation: 3/5

It’s definitely the best looking pokémon game ever, but it’s definitely not as good as it could look on the Switch. Some attacks are incredibly awesome graphically (like some higher-level moves and dynamax moves), but most are totally copy-and-pasted from older games and boring as hell. It’s almost like they wanted most moves to look bad. Pokémon Coliseum from 2003 had an overall cooler set of animations. Dynamaxing is definitely the graphical gem of this game: explosions, dramatic weather effects; just an overall awesome presentation every time. Cut-scenes are laughably bad. At one point, in the climax of the game’s story, something—I’m avoiding spoilers, even for this terribly lame story line—something really crazy happens, something that would have made for a really cool cut-scene. But instead of showing it to the player, the game instead shows you other characters just standing there looking at it, pointing at it, and reacting to it: “Look at what’s happening over there! Wow, I can’t believe it!”, Why, just why…

Art Style: 2/5

The Pokémon are really beautifully drawn, as they always are, but the game overall really lacks a lot of creativity and beauty in its art style. I find most scenes and menus overall pleasing, but there’s very little detail and work in the art style. Many areas are cool, well drawn, others seem rushed and half-assed, especially the wild area, which is just a mess of ugly trees, ugly rocks, and ugly everything. Sometimes it truly just hurts to look at.

Sound Design: 3/5

I love the sounds in this game but most are lazily copied from previous games. Attacks sound good, and I love the sound the game makes when I run into a wall on my bike. But why don’t I hear rain when it is raining in a battle. There’s no howling wind in a hail storm, and no thunder when there’s lightning. The menus are where this game really picks up a couple points here, where the sounds are crisp, responsive, and very pleasing. I love pulling up the main menu or the pokédex or just flipping around the pokémon boxes.

Score: 2/5

Out of all the great music the British have given us throughout history, the game developers decided to have this game’s score revolve around the British affinity for EDM. WHY?!? There are a couple nice tunes, but most are god awful. The score is also played too loud and is way too distracting in most situations, and actually works to hurt immersion. The Pokémon center music once again saves the day.

Online Capabilities/Multiplayer: 5/10

Trading is a mess, communication is terrible, balancing is laughable, menus and systems are a headache… and yet, the ability to play Pokémon online at all is quite a blessing. Even while I’m getting destroyed by some asshole’s incredibly well-trained shiny legendary from Gen 4 or whatever, I really enjoy the ability to sit on my couch and battle other Pokémon players from around the world.

Total: 68/110

Greatness: 61.8

Pokémon Sword will likely go down as one of my worst reviews ever, and is yet a shining example of one of the most incredible qualities about video games: games can have poor graphics, half-assed writing, and even induce severe headaches; all the while keeping us engaged in fun for hundreds of hours. I mean, how is it even possible that I played a game that I gave a 61 for almost 200 hours in only 3 months? Because Pokémon is amazing, gamers are amazing, and VIDEO GAMES WILL NEVER DIE.

Long live games, long live gamers, and long live the GGoat Project,

-Tim

Craving Sports? Me too

Corona virus came for the sports world and went for the head. The NBA, NHL, MLB and college tournaments have all been cancelled. March Madness has been taken away from us for the first time since 1939. This sucks. So, to help everyone out as we try to make the time go by until sports return, here are some classic moments across sports guaranteed to make today a little better.

Klay Thompson’s 41 points in Game 6 vs OKC

Remember when Klay Thompson ended the Oklahoma City Thunder as a franchise. Good times.

 

Butler vs Duke 2010 National Championship Game

One of the best games of basketball I can remember. The origin of Brad Stevens and many more! God damn I still wish that Hayward shot went in.

2004 ALCS Game 4: Yankees vs Red Sox

Big Papi… that is all.

 

2000 Western Conference Finals Game 7: Lakers vs Blazers

Kobe to Shaq. The greatest alley oop we will ever see. Miss you Kobe

 

2011 NBA Finals: Mavericks vs Heat

I was going to lie and say the reason I included this video was because of how great Dirk played, but we know that’s not true. MJ> Lebron

 

2015 ALDS Game 5: Blue Jays vs Rangers

Jose Bautista with a HOF bat flip. God damn sports are the greatest.

2009 NBA Playoffs: Celtics vs Bulls Game 6

Rondo fights with Kirk Heinrich and Brad Miller! Ray Allen goes off! Rookie Derrick Rose! 3 overtimes!!!! FUCK I am going to miss basketball.

That concludes tonight’s journey. Hope you join me next time. Stay safe. Love you guys.

— Brob

Brob’s Best Bets March 11th

Welcome back. We have a great slate of college basketball today/tonight as well as some big regular season NBA matchups.

brobs best bets

This weeks record: 4-5

Yesterday’s wins:

UNC -4

Hofstra -3

Yesterday’s losses:

St Johns +9

Mavericks -3.5

Grizzlies -2.5

Today’s Best Bets:

College Basketball:

  • UNC -3 vs Syracuse
    • I like the Tar Heels to take out Syracuse here for a few reasons. I think Cole Anthony will have a great day shooting the ball against Syracuse’s 2-3 Zone and I also like the UNC big men to win the rebounding battle. UNC has won 9 consecutive games against Syracuse and I look for that to continue tonight.
  • TCU -2 vs Kansas State
    • Kansas State has lost 10 of its last 11 games and I don’t think today’s game against TCU will be any different. TCU handled K St in their last matchup and is 11-5 on the year when favored.
  • Arkansas -9.5 vs Vanderbilt
    • Vanderbilt SUCKS. Arkansas has beat them 9 out of the last 10 times they played including a 20 point victory this season. Join me on the Muss Buss (Eric Musselman coaches Arkansas) tonight and take Arkansas -9.5.
  • Washington +6 vs Arizona
    • Washington started the season HOT with a win over Baylor, but then really struggled throughout the season. In typical Pac 12 fashion, they have been feisty down the stretch handing both Arizona and Arizona State conference losses. For this reason, I like Washington to keep it close and potentially beat Arizona.

 

NBA:

  • OKC Thunder -3.5 vs Utah Jazz
    • I like the Thunder to protect home court here against their western conference rival. The Jazz are coming into this game winning 5 of their last 6 and the Thunder have won 17 of their last 22. If the playoffs started today, these two teams would face in the first round. The Jazz have a game lead over the Thunder and I think the Thunder will tie up that playoff race tonight especially because Shai Gilgeous Alexander is back in the line up.
  • Lakers -7.5 vs Rockets
    • The Lakers had a suprising loss last night against the Nets after their dominant weekend, so I look for the Lakers to bounce back here. The Lakers have already season this “super small ball” version of this Rockets team and I think they will be much more prepared this time around. Look for Anthony Davis to have a HUGE game.

 

American League Preview 2020

We are 15 days away from having baseball on nearly everyday until the end of October.  This has been one of the crazier off-season’s MLB has had in recent memory.  The past few months MLB has gotten more attention than it is used to with the Astros sign stealing scandal, Mookie Betts & David Price traded to the Dodgers, Anthony Rendon joining forces with Mike Trout, and more.  It’s hard to keep up with more than one team over the course of 6 months but take a deep breath that’s why I (Bigdawg) am here.  I am going to recap the good, the bad, and the angry from MLB each week.  Today we are breaking down the American League.  We are going over power rankings and awards.  LETS GO:

AL Power Rankings:

1. New York Yankees: The Yankees won a 103 games last year while having the most players land on the Injured List (IL).  Already, there are questions whether or not Stanton and Judge will be ready for Opening Day. Their pitching staff is depleted with Severino out for the year. Paxton will miss two months recovering from back surgery and Domingo German is suspended until mid season. All of that being said the Yankees will still be the team to beat once their horses get back in the lineup. Oh yeah, they added Gerrit Cole too.

2. Oakland A’s: Yeah you read that right.  This is the year the Oakland A’s not only win the West but go to the ALCS.  The A’s are overlooked all the time and once again coming off back-to-back 97 wins seasons, this team is projected to win around 83ish games.  A lot of people are focusing on how the Astros screwed the Yankees and Dodgers… what about the team that plays them 19 times per year?  They’re pissed and sneaky good.  Matt Chapman is an MVP candidate. Marcus Semien is in a contract year plus his WAR was 4th best in MLB last year at 8.1 trailing only Bellinger, Bregman, and Trout.  Matt Olson is an undervalued 1B and the pitching staff is loaded.  Jesus Luzardo and AJ Puk are highly touted pitching prospects and check out Sean Manaea’s hair.  Oakland seems to find a way with what they have, but have true starpower to go with their complimentary players in 2020. 

3. Houston Astros: What a time to be an Astros fan.  This will be one of the most interesting seasons in MLB seeing how each stadium and player reacts in game to the Astros.  They should have a hired a better Public Relations person to tell Carlos Correa and Jose Altuve to shut up.  They dug the hole much deeper and pissed off a lot of players/fans in the process.  I am curious on how they will respond to 6 months of being heckled and whether or not they breakdown or use it as motivation.  I had to put them as the third best team because they have won 101 games or more the past three years.  I see them finishing at 91-71.  They have an incredible lineup… I think.  I am not as high on Verlander this year and he is starting spring with some arm issues. Losing Gerrit Cole hurts as the Astros starters need to eat innings. I see every team playing the Astros as if it was a playoff game and I think a 16 game drop off from last year is reasonable.  Still a loaded team. 

Image result for tyler glasnow and blake snell

4. Tampa Bay Rays: I love the Rays other than their God-awful stadium.  Like the A’s, they are better at playing moneyball than the rest of the league.  They flipped a washed Chris Archer for pitcher Tyler Glasnow and stud outfielder Austin Meadows two years ago.  Pittsburgh is scratching their head.  I think this team goes as far as two pictured above.  Blake Snell won the Cy Young in 2018 and had a disappointing start to the 2019 campaign.  He’s going to bounce back and get into Cy Young form while his teammate Tyler Glasnow is going to (spoiler) win the Cy Young this year.  Glasnow before getting hurt had an incredible 1.78 ERA in 60.2 innings to go along with 76 strikeouts.  If he is able to start at least 25 games, the Rays have a legit 1-2 punch that can compete against anyone.  Don’t forget about Mr. Charlie Morton as their number 3. This team is deadly.

5. Minnesota Twins: The Twins quietly won 101 games last year.  They only got better with additions of Rich Hill, Kenta Maeda, Homer Bailey, and gave one year deals to Micheal Pineda and Jake Odorizzi.  Jose Berrios had a decent year but I expect he takes a leap this season.  Last year the Twins led the MLB in homeruns and they added a former MVP in Josh Donaldson.  Donaldson has gone under the radar but still produced a stellar 37 HR, 94 RBI, and 96 runs to a team that already scores a ton. We should see 2017’s number 1 pick Royce Lewis get some action as well. Minnesota is in great position to secure the Central yet again.     

6. Cleveland Indians: I simply do not understand the Indians.  When you draft someone with Franciso Lindor’s talent, you pay and keep him there as long as humanly possible (Ask Red Sox about Mookie).  This team has a lot to like but their vibe just sucks. Probably because they are in Cleveland but they have a solid lineup with Lindor, Jose Ramirez, Carlos Santana, and the Franimal (Franmil Reyes).  The starting rotation is competitive with Shane Bieber, Zach Plesac, Carlos Carrasco and Mike Clevinger who is really good.  It is up to how the Indians start.  If they come out hot, they probably won’t trade Lindor.  And if they start off cold, we might see a total destruction of this team.  Cleveland has no clue what they want and that is their issue.  

7. Chicago White Sox: The White Sox are going to be fun and have and one of the more exciting offenses in the league.  They added Yasmani Grandal who is a top 2 offensive catcher and a good pitch framer.  Jose Abreu put up another solid year with .288 AVG, 33 HR, 123 RBI.  Tim Anderson won the batting title last year and Yoan Moncada seems to be figuring it out after batting .315 with 25 bombs.  He was rewarded with a 5yr/70mil extension this past week.  The outfield consists of former top prospect Eloy Jimenez, the current number 3 overall prospect Luis Robert, and former Ranger, Nomar Mazara, who has shown snippets of his potential.  They improved their rotation by adding Dallas Keuchel and Lucas Giolito finally showed up last year.  Micheal Kopech is the next young starter the Chisox are hoping to make his presence known. He throws 100 mph in his sleep. This team is young and fun.

8. Los Angeles Angels: The Angels did the most Angel thing after missing out on Gerrit Cole.  The past decade has been miserable for Halo fans as they keep whiffing on finding a consistent top of the rotation guy to help Mike Trout get into the playoffs.  So what do they do with their money?  Get Anthony Rendon, who is great, but true Angel fans are holding their breath for two reasons.  (1) They didn’t address pitching issues and (2) Josh Hamilton, Albert Pujols, and C.J. Wilson are all I need to say.  I think Rendon will be fine but the Angels have not done well with free agent signings as of late.  The other notable move was bringing back Joe Maddon.  Joe Maddon vibes are a real thing and is the only hope to one of the worst pitching rotations in all of MLB.  Arte Moreno singlehandedly revoked the trade between the Dodgers that would have sent Joc Pederson and Ross Stripling to the Angels, for a 3rd string 2b (Luis Rengifo).  It sure would be nice to have Stripling, especially, with Canning having arm issues.   Made zero sense to revoke the trade other than ignorance. Cheers Arte!

9. Boston Red Sox: Boston traded away a generational talent in Mookie Betts and their return was not what you would expect.  They got Alex Verdugo, prospect Jeter Downs, and a catching prospect.  The biggest problem I have with Boston is that many are projecting around 84 wins, which makes you wonder why they would trade Mookie if they were that competitive.  Chris Sale is having health issues again and the biggest problem with the Sox is pitching.  If you are going trade Mookie, fix the problem!  J.D. Martinez, Andrew Benintendi, Xander Bogaerts, Rafael Devers, and now Verdugo are good… But with Sale likely to miss time and trading away Price, the rotation is Eduardo Rodriguez, Nathan Eovaldi, and I won’t bore you with the rest.   My other concern is how the team is coming to fruition.  Many players were bummed to see Betts and Price go but what about Alex Cora being fired?  We still do not know what the Red Sox did during 2018 season and now the report might be pushed back for a third time due to the Coronavirus (that makes no sense either).  Red flags. 

10.  Toronto Blue Jays: Toronto might be the most exciting team to stream this year.  Three infield slots are sons of former MLB players.  How cool is that?  Guerrero Jr. is the only prospect to have a hit grade scale of 80/80 and we seem to forget he is going to turn only 21 on March 16th. Cavan Biggio did not wow with his batting average, however, to hit .234 and to have an on base of .365 is incredible.   To put in perspective, Acuna Jr., Josh Bell, and Charlie Blackmon all finished with a .365 OBP.   Bo Bichette is a great name and showed us a small sample size of how legit he can be.  In 46 games, he had a .311 AVG to go with 11 homeruns.   He is also 21 years old.  For the pitching staff, they added Hyun-Jin Ryu who is coming off his best season.  The Jays have a top prospect and flamethrower Nate Pearson who has turned several heads this Spring.   This is the beginning of something special for Canada.  

11.  Texas Rangers: The Rangers are getting a new ballpark and new uniforms to kick off the decade.  They traded for former Cy Young winner Corey Kluber to build around Mike Minor and Lance Lynn.  Both Minor and Lynn had respectable seasons and if Kluber can put it together they can be a sleeper team.  When I think of Texas I think of the early 10’s teams where they had sluggers like Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Ian Kinsler, and Adrian Beltre.  Oddly enough, the Rangers lack offensive firepower besides a few notables like Joey Gallo and potentially Willie Calhoun.  Other than that Texas is banking on their pitching.  Weird. 

12. Kansas City Royals: The Royals have some fun players that include Whit Merrifield, Jorge Soler, Adalberto Mondesi, and the return of Salvador Perez.   They really did not make any splashes this offseason and my best advice would be to trade away Whit Merrifield to a contender for prospects.  He is under a friendly contract and is coming off a 206 hit season that can steal at least 20 bags.  Since winning the World Series, the Royals have quickly become irrelevant again and most likely that won’t change anytime soon. 

Automatic 10 year rebuild.

13. Seattle Mariners: The Mariners stink.  Jerry Dipoto their General Manager stinks.  For those who aren’t fond of Mr. Dipoto here is a breakdown of some the contracts he handed out last decade.  (1) 10yr/250 mil Albert Pujols.  (2) C.J. Wilson 5yr/75 mil (3) Josh Hamilton 5yr/125 mil (4) Robinson Cano 10yr/240mil.  Jerry loves rewarding 32 year olds clearly out of their prime with contracts that won’t live up to the hype.  The Mariners must have been drunk when they gave Dipoto an extension back in 2018.  Something to look forward to is that they have 5 top 100 prospects but most will not impact the 2020 Mariners.

14. Detroit Tigers: Detroit will not be making many headlines until the trade deadline as they have quality arms to negotiate trades.  Trade rumors circulated around Matthew Boyd and I think teams may be interested in Ivan Nova or Daniel Norris.  They brought in veteran Jonathan Schoop and have a top-pitching prospect in Casey Mize who is expected to contribute this year.  This will be another long six months for Detroit.  Get your paper bags ready.  But hey, they have a top 5-farm system.  Patience. 

15. Baltimore Orioles: Baltimore is the worst team in baseball.  The best player on their roster is probably Trey Mancini and he is out indefinitely for unknown reasons. They have to play AL East opponents 76 times.  There’s a legit shot this team goes 15-61 in their division.  I think I’m being a bit generous too.  The only thing this team has going for them is that they have 4 prospects in the top 100, good unis, and a cool stadium.  The most intriguing player is the number 4 overall prospect, catcher Adley Rutschman.  He is expected to come up next year but I have never been a fan of drafting catchers in the first round, let alone first overall pick.  The Angels took back-to-back first round catchers a few years ago and they are nowhere to be found.  I would just take the best talent over a catcher any-day and sign a veteran to short term deals. Most catchers are done by age 30-32 and have to switch to first base like Joe Mauer. Baltimore is at least five years from being somewhat competitive and by then, Rutschman, will be 28 years old. The Orioles are stuck with the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox, and now the upcoming Blue Jays.  I don’t see this team making the playoffs until the 2030’s.  Prove me wrong O’s!

AL AWARDS

MVP:  Mike TroutWith Mookie out of the AL, Judge having health issues, Bregman being an Astro and Rendon now protecting- makes this an easy lock. 

AL Cy Young: Tyler Glasnow-  I do not see Gerrit Cole replicating a similar season like last year because he is going to Yankee Stadium where the left field fence is 318ft and the short porch in right is just 314ft.  Glasnow was the most dominant pitcher when he was out there and I see him picking up where he left off despite coming off an injury-plagued season. 

AL Rookie of the Year:  Luis Robert– Robert is most likely going to be on the White Sox Opening Day roster, plus the guy is going to hit for a high average and possibly swipe 40 bags.  

AL Reliever of the Year:  Liam HendriksHendriks finished with a 1.63 ERA and 25 saves.  I see the ERA hovering in the same neighborhood while the save total to increase. 

AL Manager of the Year:  Bob MelvinIf you haven’t noticed a pattern, I am all in on Oakland this year.  The Oakland A’s will make it to the ALCS and win the West.  They will finish the year at 95-67 and manager Kevin Cash of the Rays will finish in 2nd.

No copyright infringement is intended with the photos used.

Brob’s Best Bets: March 10th

Welcome back to best bets w/ brob.

brobs best bets

Record this week: 2-2

Yesterday’s wins:

  • San Francisco +13
  • Hofstra -3

Yesterday’s losses:

  • Jazz -4.5
  • BYU -4

Alright, so I am definitely avoiding the state of Utah tonight (sorry Steve).

Today’s Slate:

College Basketball:

  • UNC -4.5 vs Virginia Tech
    • UNC is a dangerous 14th seed in the ACC tournament. Cole Anthony of UNC is a top ten pick and the Tar heels have been playing way better than they were earlier in the season. I like UNC -4.5
  • Hofstra -1.5 vs Northeastern
    • Hofstra rolled for us last night, so we are going to go back to the well one more time. Hofstra beat Northeastern both times this season and has a record of 24-8 against the spread this season. Take Hofstra
  • St Mary’s +9 vs Gonzaga
    • St Mary’s is the defending champion of the WCC tournament and I like them to keep it close against Gonzaga. St Mary’s took out a very good BYU team last night and I think Gonzaga is already looking ahead to the NCAA tournament. Take St Mary’s plus the points.

NBA:

  • Grizzlies -2.5 vs Magic
    • Memphis has been playing well as of late and has been successful thus far in holding off the Pelicans and Kings for the 8th seed in the west. Similarly, the Magic are holding onto the 8th seed in the east and have had the best offensive rating in the NBA in the last 11 games. I like Ja Morant and the Grizzlies to defend home court against a strangely hot Orlando team.
  • Mavericks -3.5 @ Spurs
    • The Spurs will not have Lamarcus Aldridge or Dejounte Murray for this matchup against the Mavs. I love the Mavs in this spot especially because of the way Kristaps Porzingis has been playing.

 

 

 

Jayson Tatum Is Here

Jayson Tatum is a superstar. His beard is filling in and he is no longer a player who could be this or could be that, he is here. It happened over night, he is no longer a player with just great potential, he is a superstar right now. Tatum is coming off his most impressive month as a pro, putting up over 30 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 assists a night. He did so while shooting 49% from the field and 48% from 3, earning his first player of the month award. Statistics aside, he is now operating as the de facto number 1 for the Celtics and thriving in doing so. But guys put up huge numbers all the time what’s the big deal you may ask? Tatum is not having a good stats bad team season which is truly setting him aside from other young guys like Devin Booker or Trae Young. The Celtics are a serious threat to win the East as they sit at 3rd in the standings. Last year and to an extent at the beginning of this year, the Celtics were lacking an identity to a degree, guys did not know their place in the offense and their status on the hierarchy. That has come to an end as guys like Jaylen Brown are coming to a realization that Tatum is that dude and adjusting to their roles. Brown is excelling himself and he and Tatum are one of the league’s best defensive wing tandems to go along with their offensive prowess. Jayson Tatum is not afraid of the moment, in case you needed a reminder this is the same guy who at 20 years old went head to head with Lebron James in game 7 of the Eastern conference finals.

Two years later and that dude is one of the best players in the NBA. That is a guy I want on my team when it is all on the line, fearless. He went at Lebron and the best team in the West this past month putting up 41 points while drawing double teams constantly throughout the night.

Tatum has superstar written all over him and could legitimately average 30 a game for the next 10 years. With the East wide open this year, Tatum has the capability of being the best player in any given series and makes the rest of the NBA have to take the Celtics seriously for years to come.

— John Robbins