Baseball is Coming! Baseball is Coming!

It seems winter is coming to an end quicker than how it arrived. It seems like just yesterday we were celebrating the Chicago Cubs winning the World Series for the first time in 100 years. But then the calendar turned and the new year arrived. And with Super Bowl LI just weeks away, that can only mean one thing: baseball season is near.

Photo by Carl Votti

Every season is different. Chances are the roster for not only your team, but all thirty teams have probably changed since last we saw them. I am excited to see the Houston Astros. The Astros will different this coming year considering all the postseason acquisitions and players electing free agency. However, they retained a good amount of young talent and added some experienced players as well. I can’t wait to see where this young group takes them this season.

Photo by Carl Votti

For the past couple of seasons, I have been trying to come up with one sentence to describe them. Last season I would say was the, “Year of the Batter”. At every turn someone somewhere was hitting a home run. Of course, there were also times where pitching overshadowed batting. For those of you looking for preseason predictions, sorry I don’t have one because I find preseason predictions often end up being wrong. Football season was fun, but I am so ready for baseball.

 

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On to the Super Bowl! 

And just like that, in a blink of our two eyes, the football season is officially drawing to a close. But wait, we’re not quite done. Yes, my friends Super Bowl LI has finally arrived. This season was loaded with surprises and now we are down to the final two.

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Once again the New England Patriots have flexed their muscles and shown why they are that good, despite having started the season without Tom Brady. The Atlanta Falcons, with a strong defense Matt Ryan and Julio Jones, will be the ones trying to topple the Brady dynasty. Will they succeed? The 44-21 drubbing of the Green Bay Packers could make the Falcons a credible threat to the Patriots game plan.

It’s hard for me to say what kind of Super Bowl we will be getting. In my view, football really comes down to two key elements: ball movement and clock management, with clock management being especially important in the fourth quarter. Whoever can accomplish those two things will win. I think most people are favoring the Patriots in this game. However, we all remember Super Bowl XLVIII where essentially the game was over after the first play. Whether you are a dedicated football fan, or just tuning in for the commercials it will definitely be exciting to watch.

 

 

 

 

All Good Things Must End

It is somewhat cliché to say that, “All good things must end”, but for some NFL fans this past weekend, it did. Their hopes and dreams of winning Super Bowl LI, dashed. As I have said in previous posts, the playoffs, in any sport, are different from that of the regular season. It truly is a showcase of the best teams going head to head. 

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One of the teams to have their season end this past weekend was the Dallas Cowboys.  I too thought the Cowboys might go all the way to the Super Bowl, but considering some of the matchups they had to go through to get there, it was definitely going to be an uphill battle. And I too was amazed at how well they performed throughout the regular season. However, in the end it was too much for the Cowboys to handle as they were defeated by Aaron Rodgers and the Green Bay Packers.

That being said, Cowboys fans have so much to look forward to next season and the years to come. I firmly believe that the Dallas Cowboys have cemented themselves as a powerhouse in their respective conference and the NFL. The only question yet to be answered is what to do with Tony Romo? He of course spent the majority of the season on the sideline while Dak Prescott took over and showed us all why he is so valuable. While he is a fabulous quarterback he is injury prone and getting older. We will have to wait and see what happens.

 

The NFL Playoffs are here! 

Well, if the AFC/NFC Wild Card games are any indication of how the NFL playoff season will go, then we are in for a wild ride. This past weekend the NFL wild card games were played and they came with no shortage of surprises. The Houston Texans played the Oakland Raiders and the Texans came away victorious. This was rather shocking to me knowing how the Texans offense struggled for most of the regular season, I did not expect that much from them. However, Oakland also had their share of setbacks by having to start the rookie Connor Cook because of injuries to Derek Carr and Matt McGloin. 

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The NFC wild card was just as exciting as the Seattle Seahawks crushed the Detroit Lions, 26-6. The inability to stop the Seahawks running game was the downfall of the Lions, a team who had a rather impressive regular season. However, most fans of any sport will say that the playoffs are different from regular season play. In the playoff rounds everything that you think should has a real possibility to be wrong. In this instance the Seahawks and Russell Wilson proved that they were the better team. It hard to say who will end up playing in Super Bowl LI, but right now I am leaning towards the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, sorry Cowboys fans.

We are still a long way off from Super Bowl LI and there are still many more games to be played. Without a doubt there will be many more predictions, breakdowns and analysis leading up to every game. Every game will come with its own surprises. Eventually, we will reach the final two teams, sit down in front of our television screens, consume mass amounts of chips, beer and salsa watching the two teams compete for the title of Super Bowl LI champions…along with commercials that I’m sure will be very creative.

A New Year for Sports 

Let me start this post by saying I hope everyone had a restful and enjoyable holiday. Now that I have that out of the way, there were many events in the sports world that happened over the break. I cannot hope to discuss them all in one post, but I will hit on some of the highlights. 

Photo by Pixabay.com

 

Let me start with the most recent: Ronda Rousey’s shocking loss to Amanda Nuñez. There was a lot of hype surrounding this fight mainly because we had not seen the likes of Rousey since her loss to Holly Holm in 2015. Yet again fans were disappointed as Nuñez defeated Rousey in mere seconds. Some believe that this loss, maybe even the loss to Holm, signaled the beginning of the end for Rousey’s career. I do not believe Rousey will retire, but we may not see her fight again for a while. 

The MLB Winter Meetings also occurred while I was away. I was rather surprised to see how many players opted out of contract extensions and elected free agency. Some of those players had become what I would call, “Face of the Franchise” players. Changes were made in regards to the MLB All-Star Game as well. The biggest change: home-field advantage in the World Series is no longer at stake. I doubt this change will take away any of the excitement of the All-Star game, but for some it might. I remember one reason I loved watching the game was because World Series home-field advantage was at stake. Even with that I still plan on tuning in when mid-July rolls around.