December 17, 2012

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The Week in Sports

By: Anson Whaley

Josh Hamilton joins Los Angeles Angels: The balance of power could be shifting in the AL West as the Los Angeles Angels have signed Josh Hamilton, formerly of the Texas Rangers. Hamilton’s deal is a reportedly $125 million over five years. Give the Angels credit for making such a splash yet again in the offseason. Over the past two winters, they’ve had the biggest signings in baseball with Hamilton this year and slugger Albert Pujols last year. One thing’s for certain, though – if L.A. somehow misses the playoffs again, ownership won’t be happy after investing a boatload of money for the next several seasons.

Josh Hamilton going to the Angels was the biggest story of the week.

Andrea Bargnani bashes team: Toronto Raptors forward/center Andrea Bargnani recently spoke to an Italian newspaper, reportedly calling his team ‘pretty much the worst team in the NBA.’ Few would dispute that with the Raptors and Washington Wizards battling it out for rights to shack up in the league’s basement. Bargnani’s honesty should be lauded as far too often, players dance around questions. Unfortunately for him, though, making the comments while he collects dusts on the bench recovering from an injury looks bad. The franchise needs him healthy to even have a chance at respectability and calling the team he’s not able to help right now among the worst in the league implies that his teammates aren’t all that good.

High school girls’ basketball team wins 107-2: No, 107-2 isn’t a team’s record over several seasons. Rather, 107-2 was the score of an actual, singular game. Indiana’s Bloomington South High School defeated Arlington by that ginormous amount, drawing the criticism of many. There are two sides to the argument, of course. If you’re Bloomington, do you continue to play as hard as you can or take your foot off the pedal a bit? I don’t necessarily have a problem with either approach in college or the pros, but in a high school contest, that’s probably a bit ridiculous. To his credit, the Bloomington coach played all nine of his players. Hopefully, the reserves logged a ton of minutes in the game.

NHL lockout gets uglier: If you were hoping for a timely end to the NHL lockout as an early Christmas gift, you’re probably out of luck. Word broke last week that the players could break up their own union and things could go downhill from there. According to ESPN, by voting to disband the group, players could be protected by antitrust laws, which prohibit companies from locking out employees not a part of the union. If they are locked out, laws require said companies to pay triple the amount of wages owed to employees … er, players in this case. The NHL quickly reacted, filing a class-action complaint in federal court and an Unfair Labor Practice Charge with the National Labor Relations Board. Eventually, things will still end up with Sidney Crosby scoring goals and owners entertaining clients in their private suites since there’s simply too much money to be made. But when that happens remains a big question mark.

Enter … Pokertox: Okay, so we could debate for hours if poker is really a sport, but just go with it for now – I promise, it’ll be fun. Dr. Jack Berdy in New York is introducing Pokertox to the world. Pokertox, essentially is Botox for poker players. The procedure would ideally reduce telltale facial reaction players might make in certain situations while playing the game to give them a better poker face. Sounds a bit strange, but when you think about it, it would have to help, right?

Non-FBS Schools reportedly leaving Big East: For years, the Big East has endured a bit of a power struggle. The schools that played football have wanted to improve that side of the conference, but there were many members that either didn’t play football or didn’t participate in the FBS. With the recent defections from the conference, reports are now that the Big East’s non-FBS football members (that’s Georgetown, DePaul, Villanova, Marquette, Seton Hall, St. John’s, and Providence if you’re scoring at home) plan to leave. Reports have the seven potentially ending up in the Atlantic 10 to create a new basketball super-conference. Others say that the seven schools could join forces with other Catholic basketball-focused colleges and create a new league. Either move really makes significantly more sense than remaining in the Big East since each member would have the same goals. They would also be less prone to being affected by the recent realignment nightmare since the other conferences are heavily football-focused and wouldn’t be as interested in adding a non-FBS football member.

July 10, 2012

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MLB Second Half Predictions

By: Joe Williams

Good news baseball fans…now that we’ve reached the MLB All-Star break, baseball business is about to pick up. Every team has at least 75 games to play (more than the NBA season that just finished) and with the expanded playoffs beginning this year, we will see a lot more meaningful games in the last few weeks of the season. It’s going to be a wild ride. Here’s what I see going down:

Josh Hamilton and the Texas Rangers are favorites to do a lot of winning in the second half of the MLB season

The Texas Rangers will finish with the best record in baseball and be the only team to win 100 games.

Even though there isn’t a team under .500 in the A.L. East, the New York Yankees will win the division comfortably.

The Boston Red Sox will get healthy and make a run but fall short of reaching the playoffs.

The Detroit Tigers will right the ship and overtake the White Sox to win the A.L. Central.

The Washington Nationals will be the surprise team of the season and win the N.L. East.

Speaking of surprise teams, the Pittsburgh Pirates will stay in the race all the way to the end, but the Cincinnati Reds will be N.L. Central champs.

The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers will stay neck and neck all season and the Dodgers will edge the Giants out of the N.L. West crown.

There will be a lot on the line heading into the final series of the season. Pittsburgh vs Atlanta, Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Francisco, St. Louis vs Cincinnati, Cleveland vs Chicago White Sox, New York Yankees vs Boston and Tampa Bay vs Baltimore will all determine the playoff fates of both teams.

Also, the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros will face off as they both try to avoid losing 100 games.

Josh Hamilton wins the A.L. MVP award.

Andrew McCutchen wins the N.L. MVP award.

Jered Weaver wins the A.L. Cy Young award.

R.A. Dickey wins the N.L. Cy Young award.

Everyone knows the Cubs will be making changes as we get close to the trade deadline. So will the Phillies as they become sellers and look to 2013.

Carlos Quentin and Zack Greinke are two of the most talked about names in trade rumors. Neither one is going anywhere.

The Cincinnati Reds will make it to the World Series, but come home empty handed after losing to the Texas Rangers.

And of course, all the players on my fantasy team will stop striking out, start hitting home runs, and I will enjoy the glory of a fantasy championship.