Weekly Nickel 10-10-2011

Photo courtesy of throughthefencebaseball.com. Ryan Braun (left) and Prince Fielder (right) are doing all they can to lead Milwaukee to the World Series in what may be their last year as teammates.

By Josh Kramer

It is blatantly obvious to anyone not living under a rock that the sporting world is absolutely rocking right now.  The MLB Playoffs are in full swing.  The pigskin is getting tossed around at all levels.  NBA labor negotiations are finally heating up.  And even the NHL is back in action.

Here are the events you should keep an eye on this week.

5.  The NHL is back in full force.  It feels like it was just yesterday that we were witnessing Tim Thomas and the Bruins rip the Stanley Cup away from the heavily favored Canucks.  Sure the Bruins are the defending champions, but the journey to crown a new owner of Lord Stanley is under way.  Thursday features an astounding ten different matchups.  Barry Melrose, Matthew Barnaby, and the ESPN hockey gurus will be busy come Thursday evening.

4.  The players and the owners are doing all in their power to give everyone what they want.  An NBA season.  Sadly, both sides are struggling to see eye to eye on both revenue distribution and salary cap structure (hard or soft).  Hopefully a compromise will be reached, or we may be forced to start following the Euro Leagues.

3.  The first BCS Standings will be coming out next Sunday.  Week 6 in the College Football season just ended, and people are already beginning to ponder bowl season.  LSU, Alabama, and a handful of other teams still are clinging on to hopes of a trip to Bourbon Street on January 9th.  Plus for the first time since December 6, 1982, no Florida schools are ranked in the AP top 25.  At least one Florida school had been represented in the past 472 AP polls.  And even Ohio State showed some signs of life this weekend.

Here are the matchups to keep an eye on this week.

-Michigan at Michigan State (Who will own the state this year?)

-Baylor at Texas A&M (Big 12 showdown)

-Oklahoma State at Texas (Can Texas recover from the painful Red River Rivalry)

-Arizona State at Oregon (Big time Pac 12 matchup in Nikeville)

(All picks for the big games will be released in my weekly College Football picks)

2.  NFL Week 5 is nearly in the books outside of the hotly anticipated showdown at Ford Field tonight.  The Patriots claimed bragging rights in the AFC East, while the Colts continue their attempt to demonstrate all of the ways a team can possibly lose a game.  In addition, the Tim Tebow cries finally resonated with John Fox, resulting in another Denver loss.  And the “Dream Team’s” nightmare continues.

Here are the marquee matchups to keep an eye on Week 6.

-San Francisco at Detroit (Nobody had this as a big time matchup a couple of weeks ago)

-Buffalo at New York (Giants) (Two solid teams go to battle for in-state bragging rights)

-Houston at Baltimore (A potential playoff matchup)

-Dallas at New England (Two of the game’s most prolific passers go toe to toe)

-New Orleans at Tampa Bay (Battle for NFC South supremacy)

(All of the picks for Week 6 will be included in the weekly “TheSportsKraze Pick’em Challenge” on Friday)

1.  There are two highly common complaints when it comes to baseball.  Number one, it is boring and lacking in excitement.  Number two, it is lacking in parity due to teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies, who can go out and spend more money than everyone else.

Well both of these common complaints have been put to rest following a thrilling Divisional Round in the MLB playoffs.  Three of the four first round matchups went to a decisive Game 5.  In addition, all of the Game 5 matchups were determined by just one run.  Anybody who says baseball is lacking in excitement is crazy.  In addition, the two heavy favorites were eliminated.  I guess money could not buy the Yankees or the Phillies the championship this year.  And anybody who claims to have seen this coming is lying to themselves.

So now the stage is set in the National League as two teams from the Central who really do not like each other go at it.  And in the American League, two teams that were vastly overlooked for a good portion of the season, are duking it out for a chance to represent the AL in the Fall Classic.

My predictions (though each series is already a game in):

St. Louis Cardinals vs Milwaukee Brewers:  Brew Crew in 6

-The dynamic duo of Braun and Fielder will not be denied in what is probably their last year together.

Detroit Tigers vs Texas Rangers:  “Walker” Texas Rangers in 7

-Texas would love a redo after last year’s World Series failure.

Stay tuned for the next edition of TheSportsKraze.


3 responses to “Weekly Nickel 10-10-2011

  1. “…teams like the Yankees, Red Sox, and Phillies, who can go out and spend more money than everyone else.”

    Does anyone else notice none of those teams are in either Championship series? The “money is everything” argument in baseball is completely invaild. There were more sub-.500 teams in the top ten in payroll than there were in the playoffs.

    And it wasn’t that hard to see…everybody knew the Yankees and Phillies were not complete teams coming into the season. The Yankees pitching staff was incredibly suspect, and they relied on the big bats in the lineup to carry them. So, when the bats don’t produce (which tends to happen when you face a team with a deep pitching staff), it doesn’t take the FBI crime lab to see what happened.

    The Phillies were a photo negative of the Yankees. They could pitch Phillies, but couldn’t score. The Hunter Pence trade helped, but when Ryan Howard caught a case October-Disappear-itis, again it wasn’t hard to see that a team with a huge payroll still had a huge weakness.

    • JW,
      Good points sir. But do realize that both the Yankees and Phillies had the most wins in their respective leagues. So they had to be somewhat well rounded. But neither is left standing, so there were some obvious flaws.


  2. True…except:

    There is a big difference between building a team to win 100-games in a season, and building a team that can win a five or seven game series. Flaws that don’t matter that much during the course of 162 games get magnified during a playoff series.

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