Archive for April 9th, 2010

MLB Preview Bonanza: NL Central

Ugh…whenever I find myself waiting in a line or at an airport and I need something to do to keep my mind occupied for a little while, I try to name all the sports teams. This isn’t all that difficult for me at this point; I usually get them all. But my strategy is always to go division by division. And the NL Central always screws me up. Six teams? Every other division in major professional sports now contains five teams or fewer…except the NL Central. And so I always end up taking longer than usual to run through them: Let’s see…Cardinals, Cubs, umm, ugh, Pirates, who else? Having six teams in the NL Central throws off the whole attempt at scheduling in the NL. I know the Mets play their division foes 18 times, but how many times do Central teams play other Central teams? It’s not still 18, right? Is it only 12? Twelve seems too few, doesn’t it? Well, you know how many it is? There’s no standard. The Cubs, for instance, play the Cardinals, Brewers, and Pirates 15 times, the Reds 16 times, and the Astros 18 times. This is the worst division in sports.

It wasn’t the worst division in the National League until recently, though. The Central had more representatives in the NLCS (eight) than the East or West in the Aughts. But only one of those teams–and ironically, the worst of them, the 2006 Cardinals–went on to win the World Series, and the Central hasn’t gotten a team out of the Division Series in the last three years. St. Louis is the favorite to repeat in 2010, but I’ve got other ideas. Continue reading

MLB Preview Bonanza: AL Central

This was probably the most exciting division last year, if only because it gave us that thrilling Wild Card Playoff (you may remember it as Game 163, because Chip Caray called it that approximately 162,886 times during the game) that cracked Tim’s top five games of the decade. A lot of that was due to Detroit falling off dramatically as the season went on, and the Tigers are still trending downwards. They lost Placido Polanco and Curtis Granderson in the off-season, and Magglio Ordonez got another year older. The big news out of this division, though, is that the Twins just signed Joe Mauer to an eight-year extension, meaning that, at the very least, they have the MVP front-runner for the next nine years. Continue reading

Survivor Survival Guide: “Expectations”

Coach: “I just want once to hear Courtney say, ‘I want to play. I can beat this guy.’”

Courtney: “Thanks, Dad!”

Danielle: “Well he is a coach.”

One week after Russell ousted Boston Rob in one of the most memorable episodes of Survivor in years, the show couldn’t help but take a step back last night. The rising conflict between Rob and Russell had driven the previous two episodes, so now it was back to expositing the next crises in each camp and creating new drama.

It didn’t take long for Jeff Probst and the producers to tip their hand, as the episode began with what could only be described as a kind of tribute to Boston Rob that was surprisingly editorial in showing the instant remorse exhibited by Jerri and Coach in siding with Russell. The new conflict was set: Russell’s axing of Rob splintered the Villains tribe, which was now far more dysfunctional than the Heroes. In fact, the Heroes gained another feather in their cap when JT found the hidden immunity idol they received a clue for last week. Now, JT had said they should all look for it as a tribe and he did find it on his own, but for the second time this season, Amanda happened to spot someone find the hidden idol, and JT was forced to come clean and pretend like he was getting it for the tribe all along.

Continue reading