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2018 MLB Predictions

Saturday, February 10, 2018

I'll do two edits of this, at the top of March and right before opening day.

A year ago I had Dodgers/Astros as my World Series pick and two years ago I had the Cubs winning the NL pennant.


AL East
1. NYY
2. Boston WC1
3. Toronto
4. Tampa
5. Baltimore

AL Central
1. Cleveland
2. Minnesota WC2
3. CWS
4. Detroit
5. KC

AL West
1. Houston
2. Sea
3. Tex
4. LAA
5. Oak

AL Champs: Indians

NL East
1. Wash
2. NYM
3. Phil
4. Atl
5. Mia

NL Central
1. Chi
2. Mil WC2
3. StL
4. Pitt
5. Cincinnati

NL West
1. LAD
2. Ariz WC1
3. Colo
4. SFG
5. SD

NL Champs: Dodgers

Top 25 Baseball Teams Post 1960

Monday, January 29, 2018

MLB Network did a list of the 25 best MLB teams from 1961 forward. 

Here's my list with accompanying MLB Network ranking.



1. 1998 Yankees (MLB#1)
2. 2016 Cubs (MLB#6)
3. 1975 Reds (MLB#2)
4. 1970 Orioles (MLB#4)
5. 1976 Reds (MLB#9)
6. 1968 Tigers (MLB#8)
7. 1986 Mets (MLB#5)
8. 1961 Yankees (MLB#3)
9. 1971 Pirates
10. 2013 Cardinals
11. 2002 Angels
12. 2007 Red Sox (MLB #19)
13. 1972 A's (MLB#18)
14. 1977 Yankees
15. 1978 Yankees (MLB#17)
16. 2017 Astros
17. 1984 Tigers (MLB#7)
18. 1981 Dodgers
19. 1974 A's
20. 1967 Cardinals (MLB#10)
21. 1989 A's (MLB#16)
22. 2004 Red Sox (MLB#12)
23. 1999 Yankees (MLB#15)
24. 1966 Orioles
25. 1983 Orioles

MLB has the '63 Dodgers at 25 (I have them 37) the '79 Pirates at 24 (I'd have them 27) the '01 Diamondbacks at 23 I'd have them 29) the '93 Jays at 22 (I have them 42), the 62 Yankees at 21 (I have them 30) the 01 Mariners at 20 (I'm only considering WS winners), the '09 Yankees at 14 (I have them 28) the '69 Mets at 13 (I have them 38) the '95 Braves at 11 (I have them 33)

Super Bowl 52 Pick

Friday, January 26, 2018

My first Super Bowl was 12; I think I remember 11 but that could just be highlights.  I definitely recall 12, however, so I've seen 40 of these things in real time and been making picks nearly as long.

Patriots outright
Eagles +5

By most measures these were very evenly matched teams over the course of the regular season; the Eagles have the best offensive line in football and, in Cox/Graham, the two best front seven defenders in this game.  If the Eagles controlled both lines of scrimmage in this game it wouldn't surprise.

And yet - you can't pick them to win; the difference is the quarterback, which is the most basic of analysis - Brady is still, age age 53, the best player in football, and Nick Foles, while coming off a great NFC Championship, had as many bad games as good ones replacing Carson Wentz, and the level of variance with him is just too high to say he's more likely to beat you than Brady.

I don't love the game, as is evidenced by my splitting the difference and taking the Eagles +5, the Patriots were dead and buried just a week ago at home against the Jags, there's at least some possibility of a Gronkowski concussion issue that might manifest itself in this game, and the Eagle team that blitzed through the Vikings was the best team in football this year.

And of course, like all right thinking people, I'm rooting against the Patriots so it's more fun to be on that side of this wager.

However - if you're picking, and I am, I'll take the guy who most now say is the greatest quarterback who ever lived over Nick Foles.

2018 Royal Rumble Preview/Every Match in Royal Rumble History Ranked

Thursday, January 25, 2018



The 31st Royal Rumble is Sunday from Philadelphia; your interest in this particular card probably rests on personal investment in the idea of the first ever women's Rumble match.  I'm nestling comfortably into a middle aged white guy aversion to much of the current identity politics talk; there's a layer of WWE fandom less interested in bell to bell than they are in optics, but workrate remains more important to me than wokerate, and so much of the WWE women's revolution leaves me disinterested.

Here's the card.

Universal Title Brock Lesnar (c) (with Paul Heyman) vs. Braun Strowman vs. Kane
-This is the RAW title; Brock took from Goldberg at Mania and rolls on. He's going to keep it here in what will need to be a fairly short, fast paced, garbage match in order to be good.  Brock's the monster babyface champ, he's going to keep this belt into a main event match at WM34.  Strowman is also a monster babyface, booked to do ridiculous, superhuman things - similar to my thought about the women, Strowman isnt really what I do either. He's fine for this archetype, but there are big guys like Keith Lee or Jeff Cobb out there in the world who could also be in this spot and be good workers.  Kane's here to get pinned unless Strowman gets pinned because of some type of HHH interference to set up a Mania match.  Either way - it's probably not great and Brock keeps.

Brock kept in a short match no better than expected.

WWE Title: AJ Styles (c) vs. Kevin Owens and Sami Zayn
-This is the lineal WWF Champ, AJ is the 133rd WWF Champion, having taken from Jinder Mahal (who may have been the very worst wrestler ever to hold the belt...maybe Hogan's last run in 2002, he was worse, Vince had the belt for a week in '99, he was worse, if we recognize Andre in '88, he was a worse wrestler at the time than Jinder, and your mileage may vary on Stan Stasiak, but you can say Jinder's a bottom 5 all time wrestler to hold the WWF title...) back in May. He's the babyface, fighting a handicap match against heels Owens/Zayn; they are all part of a Daniel Bryan vs. Shane McMahon rival authority figure program on Smackdown. They have the ability to turn either Bryan or Shane heel in this match and switch the belts to make Owens/Zayn "co-champs" - or turn either heel in a failed attempt to screw AJ.  It's a good story, albeit limited by what still looks like WWE aversion to clear Danielson to wrestle again and by the years of WWE authority figure storylines that have just burned that trope to the ground. These are 3 of the best wrestlers in the promotion, and I am looking forward to the match, but if feels more like a set up for the angle than like a match of the year candidate.

Edit - 3 1/2 stars, 16 minutes, this was well worked given the handicap gimmick, AJ kept.

RAW Tag Titles: Seth Rollins and Jason Jordan (c) vs. Cesaro and Sheamus
Smackdown Tag Titles: Usos (Jey and Jimmy Uso) (c) vs. Chad Gable and Shelton Benjamin

-I mention this sort of incredulously every quarter when I do a preview of one of the big 4 PPVs, neither of these belts is the lineal WWF tag titles, they let that lineage die.  The RAW titles began in '02, Rollins and Jordan were thrown together when Dean Ambrose went down with a serious injury, and they took from Cesaro/Sheamus a month ago.  Jordan is Kurt Angle's son in storyline; that's fueled his heel turn as he's just not believable in that role (and maybe the role itself is just too ridiculous to believe) - Rollins remains a babyface, but it's Cesaro/Sheamus, who have been heels, who get the cheers in this program.  This should be a very good match; Rollins/Jordan dropping the titles with some sort of issue between them to start gearing toward a WM34 match would make sense.

-Jordan's previous tag partner was Gable; he's now with the returning Shelton Benjamin, challenging the Usos for the belts in what should also be a good match. The Smackdown belts are even newer than the RAW belts, they were launched in 2016 - the Usos have held them since October and there doesn't seem to be a ton of momentum for a Gable/Benjamin run.

Sheamus/Cesaro took the titles in a disappointing match; the Usos kept in a 3 1/4 match.

That's the show other than the 2 Rumble matches; my strong rooting interest is for a Nakamura win to set up Nakamura/AJ at WM, but I don't have any level of confidence it will turn out that way.  Like most Royal Rumbles, the spectacle of the Rumble match itself is enough to earn a buy.

Edit: I went 4 on the men's match, the third best Rumble match of all time. Nakamura did go over.

Edit: The women's match was 3 1/2, the format really helped cover up the work weaknesses (which were significant) - the extended late match sequence worked a little better with the men, but the layout for both matches was similarly good.  

Currently there are no other matches, they maybe do something with the Cruiser belt as it is vacant with Enzo being released this week.

It's the Royal Rumble, of course you watch it. 

I've done it for Mania, SummerSlam, and Survivor Series.  Here is my ranking of every match in the history of the Royal Rumble.  Times are approximate, star ratings are for the 3 and up matches.  Apologies if I missed anything.


     1.         '03 WWF Title: Kurt Angle d. Chris Benoit 20 min 5

   2     '15 WWF Title: Brock Lesnar d. Seth Rollins/John Cena 23 min 4 1/2

   3.       ’00 WWF Title HHH d. Cactus Jack 27 min 4 ¼

   4  ’01 IC Ladder: Chris Jericho d. Chris Benoit 19 min 4 ¼

   5. '17 WWF Title: John Cena d. AJ Styles 24 min 4 1/4

   6. '16 IC Falls Count Anywhere: Dean Ambrose d. Kevin Owens 21:30 4 1/4

   7  ’04 Rumble Match: (Chris Benoit) 61:30 4

   8 ’92 WWF Title: Rumble Match (Ric Flair) 62 min 4

   9 '14 Bray Wyatt d. Daniel Bryan 22 min 4

   10. '17 RAW Title: Kevin Owens d. Roman Reigns 23 min 4

   11 ’91 Rockers d. Orient Express 19 min 4

   12 ’95 WWF Title: Diesel draw Bret Hart 27 min 4

 

 ’ 13. '10 Rumble Match (Edge) 49:30 3 ¾

       14  ’00 Tables Hardys d. Dudleys 10:30 3 ¾

   15.  ’94 Tags: Quebecers d. Bret/Owen 16:30 3 ¾

   16. ’04 WWF Title: HHH draw HBK 22:30 3 ¾

   17   '11 World: Edge d. Dolph Ziggler 20:30 3 ½

   18  ’02 WWF Title: Chris Jericho d. Rock 19 min 3 1/2

   19 ’98 WWF Title: Casket Match: Shawn Michaels d. Undertaker 22 min 3 ½

   20 ’07 WWF Title: Last Man Standing: John Cena d. Umaga 22:30 3 ½

   21 ’99 WWF Title: I Quit Match: Rock d. Mankind 22 min 3 ½

   22 ’93 WWF Title: Bret Hart d. Razor Ramon 18 min 3 ½

   23 ’11 Rumble Match (Alberto del Rio) 69 min 3 1/2

   24 ’90 Rumble Match (Hulk Hogan) 59 min 3 ½

   25 ’97 Rumble Match(Steve Austin) 50:30 3 ½

   26. '17 Cruiser Title: Neville d. Rich Swann 13 min 3 1/2


   27 ’01 WWF Title: Kurt Angle d. HHH 24:30 3 ¼

   28 ’13 WWF Title: Rock d. CM Punk 23:30 3 ¼

   29 ’93 IC Shawn Michaels d. Marty Jannetty 14:30 3 ¼

   30 ’05 Edge d. Shawn Michaels 18:30 3 ¼

   31 ’09 WWF Title: Edge d. Jeff Hardy 19:30 3 ¼

   32  '16 WWF Title Rumble Match (HHH) 61:30 3 1/4

   33 ’12 Rumble Match (Sheamus) 55 min 3 ¼

   34 ’05 Rumble Match (Batista) 51:30 3 ¼

   35 ’03 Rumble Match(Brock Lesnar) 53:30 3 ¼

   36 ’00 Rumble Match(Rock) 52 min 3 ¼

   37 ’01 Rumble Match(Steve Austin) 62 min 3 ¼

   38 ’06 Rumble Match (Rey Mysterio) 62 min 3 ¼

   39 ’07 Rumble Match (Undertaker) 56:30 3 ¼   

   40 ’89 Rumble Match(John Studd) 64 min 3 ¼

   41 ’98 Rumble Match (Steve Austin) 55:30 3 ¼

   42 ’08 Rumble Match (John Cena) 51:30 3 ¼

   43 '14 WWF Title: Randy Orton d. John Cena 21 min 3 1/4

   44 ’10 World: Undertaker d. Rey Mysterio 11 min 3 ¼

   45 ’11 WWF: Miz d. Randy Orton 20 min 3 ¼

   46 ’05 World: HHH d. Randy Orton 21:30 3 ¼

   47 ’07 Hardys d. MNM 15:30 3 ¼



   48 ’12 WWF Title: CM Punk d. Dolph Ziggler 14 min 3

   49 ’01 Tags: Dudleys d. Edge/Christian 10 min 3

   50 ’08 WWF Title: Randy Orton d. Jeff Hardy 14 min 3

   51 ’92 Owen/Anvil d. Orient Express 17 min 3

   52 ’95 Tags: Bob Holly/123 Kid d. Tatanka/Bam Bam Bigelow 15:30 3

   53 ’02 Rumble Match(HHH) 69:30 3

   54 ’94 Rumble Match: (Bret/Lex) 55 min 3

   55 ’93 Rumble Match: (Yokozuna) 66:30 3

   56 ’91 Rumble Match (Hulk Hogan) 65 min 3

   57 ’96 Rumble Match(Shawn Michaels) 59 min 3

   58 ’99 Rumble Match (Vince McMahon) 56:30 3

   59 ’95 Rumble Match (Shawn Michaels) 39 min 3

   60 ’09 Rumble Match (Randy Orton) 58:30 3

   61 '14 Rumble Match (Batista) 55 min 3

   62 ’13 Rumble Match (John Cena) 55 min 3

   63 '15 Rumble Match (Reigns) 59 min 3

   64 '17 Rumble Match (Orton) 3

   65 ’88 Rumble Match (Jim Duggan) 33:30 3

   66 ’02 IC: William Regal d. Edge 10 min 3

   67 ’04 Eddy Guerrero d. Chavo Guerrero 8 min 3

   68 ’13 World: Last Man Standing: Alberto del Rio d. Big Show 17 min 3

   69 ’09 ECW: Jack Swagger d. Matt Hardy 10:30 3

   70 ’96 Tags: Smoking Gunns d. Bodydonnas 11 min 3

   71 ’03 Tags: Dudleys d. Regal/Storm 7:30 3

   72 '16 US: Kalisto d. Del Rio 11:30 3

   73. '17: Women's Title: Charlotte d. Bayley 13 min 3

   74 ’97 WWF Title: Shawn Michaels d. Sid 14 min 3

   75 ’89 Haku d. Harley Race 9 min 3

   76 ’97 IC: HHH d. Goldust 17 min 3

 

   77 ’06 Jr.: Gregory Helms d. Kash, Funaki, Noble, Nunzio, London 7:30

   78 ’88 Jumping Bomb Angels d. Glamour Girls 14 min

   79 ’89 Hart Foundation/Duggan d. Dino Bravo/Rougeaus 16 min

   80 ’96 WWF Title: Undertaker d. Bret Hart 29 min

   81 ’08 World: Edge d. Rey Mysterio 12:30

   82 ’88 Ricky Steamboat d. Rick Rude 17 min

   83 ’00 Taz d. Kurt Angle 3 min

   84 ’02 Ric Flair d. Vince McMahon 15 min

   85 ’98 IC Rock d. Shamrock 11 min

   86 ’05 WWF Title: JBL d. Big Show/Kurt Angle 12 min

   87 ’06 WWF Title: John Cena d. Edge 14

   88 ’97 Vader d. Undertaker 13 min

   89 ’13 Tags: Hell No d. Rhodes Scholars 9:30

   90 ’93 Steiners d. Beverlys 10:30

   91 ’07 World: Batista d. Ken Kennedy 10:30

   92 ’90 Ronny Garvin d. Greg Valentine 17 min

   93 '16 Women: Charlotte d. Becky 11:30

   94 ’10 ECW: Christian d. Ezekial Jackson 12 min

   95 ’88 Islanders d. Young Stallions 14 min

   96 ’02 Tags: Taz/Spike Dudley d. Dudleys 5 min

   97  '16 Tags: New Day d. Usos 11 min

   98 ’12 World: Cage: Daniel Bryan d. Big Show/Mark Henry

   99 ’00 IC: Chris Jericho d. Chyna d. Bob Holly 7:30

   100 ’08 JBL d. Chris Jericho 9:30

   101 ’10 US: Miz d. MVP 7:30

   102 ’97 Garza/Aguayo/Canek d. Estrada/Metal/.Guerrera 11 min

   103 ’04 WWF Title: Brock Lesnar d. Bob Holly 6:30

   104 '15 Tags: Usos d. Miz/Mizdow 9:30

   105 ’03 Brock Lesnar d. Big Show 6 min

   106 Euro: '99 Sean Waltman d. Gangrel 6 min

   107 ’98 Vader d. Goldust 8 min

   108 ’95 IC Jeff Jarrett d. Razor Ramon 18 min

   109 ’99 IC: Ken Shamrock d. Billy Gunn 14:30

   110 ’04 Jr. Rey Mysterio d. Jamie Noble 3:30

   111  ’91 Boss Man d. Barbarian 14 min

   112 '14 Brock Lesnar d. Big Show 2 min

   113’92 IC: Roddy Piper d. Mountie 5:30

   114 ’08 Ric Flair d. MVP 8 min

   115 ’98 Mini/Mosaic/Nova d. Battalion/Torito/Tarantula 8 min

   116 ’97 Ahmed Johnson d. Farooq 9 min

   117 ’96 Ahmed Johnson d. Jeff Jarrett 6:30

   118 ’10 WWF: Sheamus d. Randy Orton 12:30

   119 ’07 ECW: Bobby Lashley d. Test 7:30

   120 ’04 Tags: Evolution d. Dudleys 4:30

   121 ’03 World Title: Scott Steiner d. HHH 18:30

   122 ’09 World John Cena d. JBL 15:30

   123 ’99 Boss Man d. Road Dogg 12 min

   124 ’90 Hacksaw Duggan d. Big Boss Man 10:30

   125  ’91 Ted DiBiase/Virgil d. Dusty/Dustin 10 min

   126 ’00 Tags: New Age Outlaws d. Acolytes 2:30

   127 ’94 Tatanka d. Bam Bam Bigelow 8

   128  ’94 IC: Razor Ramon d. IRS 11:30

   129 ’96 IC: Goldust d. Razor 14:30

   130 ’89 Rockin Robin d. Judy Martin 6:30

   131 ’11 Women: Eve d. Natalya/Layla/Michelle McCool 5 min

   132 '15 Bellas d. Page/Natty 8 min

   133 ’12 Bellas/Beth/Natalya d. Kelly/Eve/Alicia/Tamina 5:30

   134 ’02 Women: Trish d. Jazz 4 min

   135 ’09 Women: Melina d. Beth Phoenix 6:30

   136 ’92 Tags: Natural Disasters d. LOD 9:30

   137 ’98 Tags: LOD d. New Age Outlaws 8 min

   138 ’91 Mountie d. Koko 9

   139 ’05 Casket: Undertaker d. Heidenreich 13:30

   140 ’91 WWF Title: Sgt. Slaughter d. Ultimate Warrior 12:30

   141 ’06 World: Kurt Angle d. Mark Henry 9:30

   142  ’93 Bam Bam Bigelow d. Big Boss Man 10 min

   143 ’95 Undertaker d. IRS 12:30

   144 '15 Ascension d. New Age Outlaws 5:30

   145 ’01 Women: Ivory d. Chyna 3:30

   146 ’99 Women: Sable d. Luna 4:30

   147 ’12 Brodus Clay d. Drew McIntyre 1 min

   148  ’06 Boogeyman d. JBL 2 min

   149  ’90 Bushwackers d. Rougeaus 13:30

   150 ’12 John Cena draw Kane 11

   151  ’90 Brutus Beefcake draw Lanny Poffo 11 min

   152  ’92 Beverlys d. Bushwackers 15 min

   153  ’10 Women: Mickie James d. Michelle McCool :30

   154 ’03 Torrie Wilson d. Dawn Marie 3:30

   155 ’06 Women: Mickey James d. Ashley 7:30

    156  '94 WWF Title: Yokozuna d. Undertaker 14:30

2018 NBA All Star Mock Draft

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Andre Drummond was a pretty significant snub this year; everything else is fine; I'd make a different choice here or there, but the one guy who definitely should be in this game who is not is Drummond.

LeBron picks first for the starters, when we get to the reserves Steph picks first.  It's a ping pong draft.

LeBron
1. Kevin Durant - I think this is an easy pick; LeBron always shows a level of respect for Durant above the rest of the Warriors and I think he'd like to break the GSW group up.

Steph
1. Anthony Davis - I think Steph goes front count here, Giannis is sort of an obvious choice with KD gone, but there's a non-zero chance that the Warriors are in play for a free agent Davis and my guess is Steph would like to get him in the fold; he can also gamble that Giannis is still available in the next round.

LeBron
2. James Harden - LeBron goes back court here as opposed to a duplicative Giannis pick.

Steph
2. Giannis Antetokounmpo - Giannis against Durant is really an appealing matchup; hopefully, Steph decides he can let Giannis slide a round before grabbing him.

LeBron
3. Kyrie Irving - my guess is LeBron doesn't want to deal with any "why didn't you pick Kyrie" questions given that Steph is unlikely to spend an early pick on a fellow PG, this will eliminate that.

Steph
3. Boogie Cousins - having Cousins/Davis on opposite sides would be more fun, but if the board falls this way, having guys who are familiar with you in the same frontcourt makes some sense.  Steph also will get the remaining guard in his next pick, so he can have his choice of front court players here.

LeBron
4. Joel Embiid - last guy on the board for LeBron in round one; young guys tend to play harder than vets

Steph
4. DeMar DeRozan - a sneaky MVP possibility as  the only starter from LA.

Steph
5. Klay Thompson - Steph's definitely going to take one of his guys here, I'll say he wants Klay.

LeBron
5. Draymond Green - so, Westbrook is the top player on the board among the reserves, but my bet is Steph doesn't really want to play with him and LeBron knows that, so LeBron further breaks up the Warriors by taking Draymond.  If he goes Westbrook instead, Steph takes Dray next.

Steph
6. Damian Lillard - Steph's the only PG on the roster, if he doesn't want Westbrook, he takes Lillard.

LeBron
6. Russell Westbrook - LeBron's gamble pays off, he breaks up the Warriors and unites Durant and Westbrook.

Steph
7. Karl-Anthony Towns - Steph's gone guard three straight picks, he goes to get some young size here

LeBron
7. Jimmy Butler - Butler's the best player available, but he has a balky knee

Steph
8. Bradley Beal - Steph grabs another shooter

LeBron
8. Kristaps Porzingis - from the young guys play hard school of thought

Steph
9. Kevin Love - another LA guy, Steph's got DeRozan, Klay and now adds Love, LeBron isn't sad to see him go

LeBron
9. Kyle Lowry - LeBron prevents Steph from getting the all Raptor backcourt.

Steph
10. Victor Oladipo - relishes the chance to go against Westbrook

LeBron
10. LaMarcus Aldridge - 3 picks left, I'll say LeBron takes the Spur

Steph
11. Al Horford - if for no other reason than to split up Beal and Wall, who very likely do not want to play together

LeBron
11. John Wall - last guy on the board.

Team LeBron
C Embiid
F James
F Durant
G Irving
G Harden

Team Steph
C Cousins
F Davis
F Giannis
G Curry
G DeRozan

Team LeBron
C Aldridge
F Green
F Porzingis
F Butler
G Westbrook
G Lowry
G Wall

Team Steph
C Towns
C Horford
F Love
F Oladipo
G Thompson
G Lillard
G Beal




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