The World Series starts tonight. Back in Spring Training, folks could have imagined seeing the Royals appear here for a second year in a row. They were surprises last year but made it to the Series and showed well there; an encore performance was not out of the question. The Mets, on the other hand, were not considered seriously in any World Series discussions outside of Queens, Brooklyn and towns along the Long Island Expressway. Nevertheless, here they are. One of the wonderful things about the World Series is that teams that make it to the Series are not “flukes”. Grinding through a 162-game season followed by at least two elimination usually assures that the teams there are worthy of their status.
The Mets’ young pitching staff will face a challenge in the Royals – the team that struck out the fewest times last season. The Mets’ pitchers have averaged 10 strikeouts per game in the playoffs this year; the Royals as a team only struck out 15.5% of the time for the season. In a game with 40 plate appearances, that equates to only 6 strikeouts. Just watching that will be interesting.
When we left Las Vegas, the oddsmakers had the Series as a “pick ‘em” proposition. Here are two key questions:
Assuming the Daniel Murphy will revert to mild-mannered Clark Kent and become a newspaper reporter in place of a superhero, is there another Met who will assume the mantle of superhero?
With regard to Johnny Cueto, will Johnny be good or will Johnny be bad?
I have no particular rooting interest in this Series and did not make a wager on it last weekend. My prediction is that the Royals will win in the end.
Since the World Series will end the baseball season, let me insert a Quick Quiz here that relates to MLB. What is more inconsistently called?
A. The strike zone in MLB …
B. Pass interference in the NFL.
Fifty words or less…
The NBA regular season also starts tonight. Three games are on the schedule and TNT will air two of them. I do love to watch basketball, but the only moments of those games that I will watch will be when the World Series game is between innings or when a relief pitcher is responding to a summons – from the manager and not a judge. Here are some predictions regarding what we will see from the NBA next April when the interesting part of their season begins:
The Cleveland Cavaliers will dominate the Eastern Conference. They made it to the NBA Finals last year with two of their three best players on the injured list. Assuming they are back and uninjured, the Cavs will dominate again.
The only serious competition for the Cavaliers in the East will be the Chicago Bulls and the Miami Heat. The Bulls need Derrick Rose to play most of the year and not to be in street clothes when the playoffs come around. The Heat need to be “rested and ready” once the playoffs begin. Even if those things come to pass, the Cavaliers ought to prevail.
The Knicks will be significantly improved this year. They might even be on the fringe of making the playoffs.
The Orlando Magic and the Philadelphia 76ers will both stink.
The far superior Western Conference will not be dominated by anyone; there are too many good teams there. I like the San Antonio Spurs and the Oklahoma City Thunder to play for the championship of the West.
Las Vegas had the LA Lakers’ win total at 24.5 for the season. I do not think the Lakers are nearly a playoff team, but I think they will do better than that.
I think the New Orleans Pelicans with Anthony Davis may be the most fun team to watch this year.
The Minnesota Timberwolves and the Portland Trail Blazers will have the worst records in the West but will not be nearly as bad as the Magic or the Sixers. Their bad records will be more a function of the fact that they have to play a lot more games against the large number of very good teams in the West as opposed to the mediocre teams in the East.
So let it be written; so let it be done… [/ Pharaoh Yul Brynner]
After Clemson disemboweled Miami 58-0 last weekend, Miami Coach, Al Golden got the axe. Golden arrived at Miami just as the NCAA dropped the hammer on the program in the wake of the Nevin Shapiro “untidiness”. He lived under the punishments imposed because of the actions of others. Obviously, Miami’s football fortunes are not what they were in the 80s and 90s, but to say that Al Golden is the reason for that retreat is unfair and incorrect. Nevertheless, 57-0 is an embarrassment normally reserved for second-rate football programs and/or homecoming patsy opponents.
According to CBSSports.com this morning, Ed Reed says that he and other former Miami players would like to be involved in the search for Golden’s permanent replacement at Miami. That is not a bad idea except that Reed seems to think that getting someone from the “Miami family tree” is important. Getting a competent coach and a good recruiter – now that the scholarship limitations from the NCAA are over – is far more important than being part of the “Miami family tree”.
Finally, here is a comment from Greg Cote of the Miami Herald that is peripherally related to a competent college football coach:
“There is a new book out about Nick Saban by author Monte Burke. It is called Saban: The Making Of A Coach. Because, evidently, all of the even worse book titles already were taken.”
But don’t get me wrong, I love sports………