Monday, April 25, 2011

A Kiss From A Rose!!!

From the first time I saw Derrick Rose play at Memphis in 2008, I could tell he was a man playing among boys. Just looking at his stautcher and the way his body looked at age 20 was ridiculous. He didnt take long to prove it on the college hardwood earning third team All-American Honers, The Bob Cousy Award, which is given to the nations best point guard, and the John R. Wooden Award, which is given to the nation's best player. He didn't just earn awards, but also took his team to the National Championship Game where they eventually fell to the Kansas Jayhawks in overtime.
After his first year at college, Rose decide to go pro and was the first pick in the draft by the Chicago Bulls. Rose, in his first year, came out with a bang, earning Rookie of the Month in November, December and in March, before eventually taking home Rookie of the Year honors and leading his Bulls to a 7th seed in the playoffs. Waiting in the playoffs were the defending conference champs Boston Celtics, but Rose didn't seem overwhelmed at all, taking the series to a seventh game before finally bowing out. It was a tough loss but also a good look into the future of what the Bulls now have.
Whenever the MVP for a season is handed out I like to look back and compare numbers and stats to former MVPs and see how the player stacks up. With Rose, it wasn't really with the numbers, but more with his play. He reminds me of three different MVPs in the decade. Rose reminds me of Steve Nash in terms of his great court vision and his ability to finish around the rim, Nash was a two time MVP. Lebron James is also a two time MVP, his pure power and dominating style of basketball is what I see in Rose with his thunderous dunks and blocking skills. With five seconds left on the clock, who would you want the ball to go to? There is only one answer to that question and thats Kobe Bryant, but Rose is slowly making a case for himself as a clutch player, having five career game winning shots.
I usually don't like the MVP to be given out before the playoffs are over because what better place to find your Most Valuable Player than in the most valuable time, but Derrick Rose deserves it more than anyone. He lead his team to the overall best record in the NBA and the number 1 seed in the Eastern Conference. With injuries to Jokim Noah and Carlos Bozzer all season long, Rose kept on rolling, putting up 25 ppg and dishing out 8 assists a game and scoring just as much on the road as he did at home. Scoring 1002 points and 25.1 ppg at home and 1009 points and 25.2 on the road.
Now there is only one legend in Chicago and it will take a monster career to fill the shoes of Micheal Jordan. I believe Rose is slowly growing and one day will be in the same conversation as Jordan as the best in Chicago.

D-Rose for MVP!

Friday, April 8, 2011

"Take me out to the ballgame"

As Terrell Owens would say, "Get your popcorn ready."

It's baseball season once again, where everyone is in first place and the dream of lifting that World Series trophy high over head while being showered in champagne is still fresh. This is a very exciting time for me.  I was first introduced to the game when I was about 4 or 5, with my dad teaching me how to field grounders with a tennis ball and a little plastic glove. Now, at 22,  I live, sleep, eat, and drink baseball.  My cable provider just added the MLB Network and my T.V. stays there. My dream was to always play in the majors, but my lack of athleticism was the end of that. Now, my dream is to work in baseball in any way possible.  I heard a story of a young fellow in southern California who won an online raffle to sit in front of 8 televisions and watch every MLB game this year, from opening day to the last out of the world series. THAT'S OVER 2,500 GAMES!!!  You wouldn't have to pay me at all to do that.  A nice comfortable chair with all the food I can eat and I'm good. This blog is going to be about the 2011 season, what I have seen so far and my predictions as to what the season will be like.

With the aquisitions of 1B Adrian Gonzalez and LF Carl Crawford, everyone was ready to hand the Boston Red Sox the trophy in March.  A good saying I once heard was,"You can celebrate in April, but we will be dancing in October." This is why we play the games, because nothing is won in spring training.  I have never been a big fan of big money spending in the off season; I believe the off season is where you build up your farm system and bullpen. Want an example? I'll give you one.  New York Yankees love to show their wallets and just how deep they go. They have the highest payroll in baseball and how many rings do they have to show for it?  None. One big goose egg.  Now the oppisite, Texas Rangers (besides the Cliff Lee deal) they made it all the way to the World Series with a bunch of system kids that have played and came up through the minors together.  But hey, to each his own.  In my opinion, the Yankees will not win a championship with this group.  I just don't see it happening.  Back to the Red Sox who have started 0-6..  It is early, but not the start everyone expected. Oh well, 154-6 isn't too shabby... except to the NATION!

My team is, yes, the loveable losers from the north side of Chicago. 102 years of pain and misery and coming so close in 2003 to see it all just fall apart.  However, the NL Central may look a little different this year. The Pittsburgh Pirates finally look relevant and atleast willing to put up a fight. I believe this is the changing of the guard in the Central. Those bottom feeders from the past years are going to push their way to the top and the champs of past years, such as the Cards and Stros, will be looking up.  It was bound to happen sooner or later with all the last place finishes of the Reds and Pirates.  It gave them time to build the farm system and it is showing.  Meanwhile, my Cubbies will be a middle of the pack team again and that's okay, looking at last season, because it can only go up from here.  I think the Brewers will be right there with us.  Now the Cardinals are an interesting story. With the nest player in the game, you always expect them to contend, but this being his contract year and so much speculation as to whether St. Louis will pony up the money is still to be seen. Since 2005, when the Astros made their World Series run, it has been a rough, slow uphill walk.. especially after trading their ace Roy Oswalt and All-Star Lance Berkman in 2010.  It is time the Astros started rebuilding.

There are some pretty big milestones to be reached this year.
1) Mariano Rivera needs 43 saves to take the top save spot from Trevor Hoffman.
2) Jim Thome is closing in on 600 homeruns for his career and there is an outside chance the Manny Ramirez could join him with only being 45 dingers for 600.
3) Mark Teixeira and Paul Konerko are going to hit their 300 homeruns this season if they stay healthy.
4) Ichiro has 7 batting titles, that has him tied with Ty Cobb and Pete Rose.. pretty good company.
5) Derek Jeter needs 74 hits to get to 3000.  Experts say he will get it sometime during the middle of the season, and the Yankees do play in Wrigley field in June!!!

A few rookies I'm looking at to have a big season:
1)Michael Pineda- Seattle Mariners. A big tall flame throwing right hander to compliment King Felix.
2)Zach Britton- Baltimore Orioles. A south paw that will start the engine again in Baltimore.
3) Kyle Drabek- Toronto Blue Jays. Part of the Roy Halladay trade, he will lead a young rotation in Toronto.
4)Freddie Freemen- Atlanta Braves. Another good looking rookie coming out of that farm system; big, tall First Baseman.
5) Brandon Belt- San Francisco Giants. A big First Baseman that will help for a repeat.

My predictions:
This will be a really fun season.  It seems like a lot of teams we haven't seen in a long time will be pushing for a playoff spot. In the NL west, I like the San Francisco Giants. They have just too much fire power in the rotation for anyone to keep up.  I like the Cinncinati Reds in the Central.. A really good lineup. The Philadelphia Phillies will come out of the East with the 4 Aces, and the Rockies will win the Wild card.

In the American League is where alot of teams will start to show how they have just rebuilt. The Orioles, Blue Jays, Royals and A's will all be around come September. In the West, I like the Rangers and their deep loaded line up. The White Sox will take to Central behind the big bats in the middle of that line up and the Boston Red Sox in the East behind all their money. With the Wild cards going to the Yankees.

World Series: San Francisco over Boston and 7 games.