Monthly Archives: February 2012

2012 MLB Preview

With all the Lin-sanity going on in the NBA people might forget that Spring Training has officially begun. Yes, the start of the 2012 MLB season is upon us and as the rest of the players make their way down to the sun-drenched skies of Florida and Arizona, it’s refreshing to know that each team is beginning their season anew. And, with the unforgettable pennant races and a 2011 World Series, it is going to be interesting to see if – and how – Major League Baseball tops itself this year.

With a very active offseason, it’s shaping up to be a very exciting year in baseball. Powerhouse free agents changed teams this year. Albert Pujols went to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and the Detroit Tigers signed Prince Fielder. Because of these offseason mega moves, the balance of power in Major League Baseball has appeared to shift to the American League and with three of the last four World Series winners coming from the NL, the impact of these signings are sure to be followed closely. It’s hard to determine how these offseason victories will translate to the diamond but on the surface, they sure do seem like game changers.

Countless other teams look to make their mark on the 2012 Major League Baseball season as well. The recently revamped Miami Marlins are setting up shop in a new stadium this year and they have an equally fresh roster to go with their new digs. New players to the team include shortstop Jose Reyes, left-handed starting pitcher Mark Buehrle and right-hander Carlos Zambrano. All eyes will undoubtedly be on them to see if they can help the Marlins to the playoffs or at the very least, help them from calling the NL East basement home again this season.

Look for the Boston Red Sox and Atlanta Braves to try to rectify their epic September collapses with winning records and while the Pittsburgh Pirates have been at the bottom of baseball’s barrel for nearly two decades, this could be the year they finish above .500 for a change. With solid team players like All-Star Andrew McCutchen and Joel Hanrahan, it is entirely possible for the Bucs to shed their 19-year losing streak and perhaps even sell out a game or two at PNC Park.

Predicting the outcome of the 2012 baseball season is hard but one thing is certain, Spring Training is a clean start for all teams and in essence—a blank canvas. There is no first place or last, no embarrassing error stats, ERAs or batting averages to hide from. Instead, the start of Spring Training has a redemptive quality that all 30 teams can embrace. Now’s the time for ball clubs to use their clean slates to their advantage, write their own history and knock it out of the park this season because after all, the quest for October baseball begins now.

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A Preview of the Big Game

It’s that magical time of year when beer, wings, pizza and football all come together for one of the biggest sporting events in the world–the Super Bowl, a time when fans can put rivalries aside and enjoy an event that caps off an exciting season. From the halftime show to the anticipation of the iconic and over the top commercials, there is no shortage of entertainment on Super Bowl Sunday but nothing overshadows the two teams ready to put their seasons on the line for the coveted Vince Lombardi Trophy. This year’s contest has the New England Patriots vs. the New York Giants in an epic rematch that’s expected to be the most watched Super Bowl game ever.

If I had told you at the beginning of the NFL season that Victor Cruz would be one of the NFL’s leading receivers or that Mario Manningham would end up with less receiving yards than Darren Sproles, you would have called me crazy. But therein lies the beauty of the NFL; you never really know how the teams or players will fare. Sure, another Super Bowl with the Patriots playing is no surprise to anyone who follows football but nonetheless, the path they took was less than expected. It’s hard to imagine that anyone predicted the 2 New England tight ends putting up a combined 2,237 yards and 24 touchdowns in one season.

Patriots Breakdown:

For the past 10 years, the Patriots have been a poster child for dominance and there is one person at the heart of that, Tom Brady. The Patriots defense is suspect at best so most games rest on Brady’s shoulders and he has the ability to make anyone a star. Rob Gronkowski stepped up this year as well and his performance this season is unheard of for a tight end. There is no denying that the Pats have one of the most potent offenses in the league, which was evident in the first game of the season when Brady connected with Wes Welker for a record 99-yard touchdown. Unfortunately, it’s the defense that losses games for the Patriots; ranked dead last in yards allowed, this unit has struggled all year.

Giants Breakdown:

The Giants have been up and down all season. Some games they look like champions but others, like the 49-24 beating from New Orleans Saints in week 12, make them look weak. Beyond a doubt, the Giants’ MVP this season is Victor Cruz. After Mario Manningham went down with an injury, Cruz got a shot at playing time and he never looked back. Surpassing even the solid numbers of Hakeem Nicks who finished with 1,192 yards and 7 touchdowns, Cruz has made a name for himself as a top receiver in the NFL. Obviously, Eli Manning’s performance is a big factor in this game and although he had a great season (4,933 yards and 29 touchdowns) he at times looked lost. Cruz’s circus catches definitely helped Eli out of some jams but the Giants can’t rely on that to win games.

Prediction:

When all is said and done, I think the Patriots are the better team, but then again I thought the same thing four years ago. It’s going to come down to whether the Giants can stop the TE tandem on the Patriots and whether the Pats can put pressure on Eli so he doesn’t have time to find Cruz or Nicks. I don’t see Belichek losing another one to the Giants. After they ruined his perfect season, he has a bone to pick with New York and you had better believe he isn’t letting the Giants steal another one from him.

Final Score: Patriots 24 Giants 17