Posted on: April 5, 2009 11:47 am
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WrestleMania Write up

 

 Tonight, the 25th anniversary of Wrestlemania will commence from Reliant Stadium in Houston, Texas.  This is always my favorite time of the year as a sports fan.  The baseball season is about to get under way, the NCAA championship game is Monday, the NFL Draft is later in the month and WrestleMania caps the "wrestling season".  There are 9 matches set for tonight.  Lets take a look at the card.

 

Carlito and Primo Colon vs. Miz and Morrison in a lumberjack match to unify the Tag Team Championship- Lets face it, the days of solid tag team wrestling have been gone for quite a while now.  Legion of Doom, Demolition, Hart Foundation, British Bulldogs and The Rockers are 20 years past their glory.  It will be nice to unify the Tag Titles- I never really got why there was two sets of champions to begin with.  Miz and Morrison are pretty entertaining, have meshed well as a team and have generated a decent fan base.  The Colon brothers are a decent team, but I feel that they need to remain a tag team.  On his own, Carlito has failed multiple times and he is more entertaining that Primo is.  Morrison might be set to eventually move onto bigger and better things. For that reason I think the Colon brothers will become the unified Tag Team Champions.

 

JBL vs. Rey Mysterio for the Intercontinental Championship- JBL won the Intercontinental title not too long ago from CM Punk.  He then said he was going to do something historic at Wrestlemania.  Rey Mysterio then challenged him for the title.  JBL has been suffering from injuries for quite some time now.  Texas is his home state. There have been talks of Mysterio moving back to Smackdown at the upcoming draft to help kick start the Latin viewership that Smackdown has lost since he left.  Being that JBL has stated he is going to do something historic I predict that JBL will win the match and retire from active wrestling as the champion.  This can then set up a tournament for the IC title which will hopefully bring more prestige to the once great belt. 

25 Diva Battle Royal to crown Miss Wrestlemania- This will feature Diva's from the present and  the past to crown a Miss Wrestlemania.  This match is kind of hard to predict because not all of the Diva's have been announced.  Some of the confirmed ladies from the past include Torrie Wilson (my personal favorite), Molly Holly, Sunny and recently retired Victoria.  Trish Stratus hasn't been confirmed as in the match so it will be tough to pick her to win.  Gail Kim makes her return to the WWE in this match, which could set up a victory for her to strengthen her comeback.  The only former Diva that I could see winning is Stratus, who is unconfirmed, so I predict that Beth Phoenix wins the match.  She is able to do things in the ring that only Chyna could do before her.  

Chris Jericho vs. Legends (Rowdy Roddy Piper, Jimmy Superfly Snuka and Ricky the Dragon Steamboat, managed by Ric Flair) in a handicapped match- I feel sorry for Jericho.  When this story line started out, Jericho was bashing the movie "The Wrestler" which had just been nominated for Best Picture at the Oscar awards.  Mickey Rourke portrayed Randy the Ram, an aging wrestler who keeps fighting for one more chance to shine.  Jericho then bashed all of the "legends" who stay around the wrestling business far too long after their prime.  Each week a new legend would come out and cut a promo with Jericho.  We saw good promo's from Flair, Piper, Snuka and of course Jericho himself.  I thought that this would lead up to an eventual match of Jericho vs. Hulk Hogan.  Hogan was in negotiations to appear but then got back surgery taking him out of a potential match.  Then I thought maybe it would set up Jericho vs. Stone Cold Steve Austin who was inducted into the Hall of Fame last evening.  That didn't happen either.  Instead we get left with Jericho vs. Piper, Snuka and Steamboat.  Personally, I would have rather just had Jericho vs. Steamboat.  The Legends will win this match with help from Mickey Rourke or other Legends that are stated to be at ringside.  This could have been a historic bout, but instead we get this.  I feel cheated.

 

Matt Hardy vs. Jeff Hardy in an extreme rules match- This match has potential to be a good one.  The Hardy's are both pretty exciting risk takers which will lead to a lot of big "spots" in this extreme rules match.  The problem is I don't really buy into Matt Hardy as the heel.  I think it would have been more successful of a match if Jeff was the one who turned on Matt and not vice versa.  Jeff is the bigger star of the two, so I think Jeff Hardy will win the match.  Matt will probably make up with his brother before Summer Slam because he isn't a believable heel.  

 

Money in the Bank Ladder Match- the winner gets a contract to fight for any title at anytime. (CM Punk, Shelton Benjamin, Kane, Mark Henry, Finlay, Kofi Kingston, Christian and MVP)- The Money in the Bank is always an exciting match and has become a staple of WrestleMania.  Every past winner has eventually went on to cash in the contract and win the title (except for Kennedy who lost the briefcase back to Edge who cashed it in).  The winner of this match is usually a young guy that is looking to break into the Main Event scene.  CM Punk was last years winner and went on to become champion after beating Edge.  This years lineup, however, is different than usual.  In my opinion the only three guys who have a realistic chance at winning are Punk, Christian and MVP.  Christian's re-debut in WWE has been not too impressive and this may jump start it.  Punk is the best all around worker of all of them.  MVP had a monumental losing streak for most of 2008 and this could be used to gain him back some momentum he lost.  I think Christian will win the match and use it to catapult his comeback.

 

Shawn Michaels Vs. The Undertaker- These two are both true legends of WrestleMania.  The Undertaker has never lost in his 16 WrestleMania matches and Shawn Michaels has wrestled in some of WrestleMania's greatest matches.  The build up for this match, in my opinion, has been outstanding.  Shawn Michaels has gotten the best of the Undertaker for weeks now and seems to be in the head of the Deadman.  This is the match I am looking most forward to.  Micheals and the Taker always bring their A game to big events and put on a wonderful show.  This will be no different and will probably steal the show.  I predict the Undertaker will win and continue his undefeated streak in an amazing match.

 

Edge vs. Big Show vs. John Cena for the World Heavyweight Title in a Triple Threat Match- This match is a little odd for me.  It was put together strangely with Cena first not being included, and then he was because of a love triangle between Edge, Big Show and Edge's wife Vicki Guerrero.  I don't think the Big Show has any chance to win this match, but he will provide a few high impact moves to get crowd reactions. This will come down to Edge vs. Cena.  I am pretty sure the only reason the Show is included in this match because we have all seen Edge vs. Cena more times than your favorite Seinfeld episode.  My previous prediction of the Money in the Bank match will influence my decision here as I think Edge will retain and set up an eventual feud with his former tag team partner Christian.

 

HHH vs. Randy Orton for the WWE Championship- This match has had some exciting buildup to it.  From Orton punting Vince McMahon, Shane McMahon and DDT'ing and kissing a knocked out Stephanie McMahon (HHH's wife in real life), to HHH breaking into Orton's house and sending him flying through the bay window of his living room.  I think this is going to be an exciting match. Expect outside interference from Ted Dibiase, Cody Rhodes, Vince and Shane McMahon.  The match could go either way, but I think Randy Orton will come out victorious at the end of the night.  To go a little farther in my predictions I predict that it will be Shane McMahon that turns on his brother in law HHH and will join the Legacy.  It would be very unusual for two heels to win the Main Event at Mania, but I think it makes the most sense going forward.

 

 

There we have it.  This is not one of the most exciting WrestleMania cards ever, which is a shame since it is the 25th anniversary.  However, it is still Wrestlemania.  The performers will bring their A game and I am sure that it will be an entertaining show.  Look for Michaels vs. Undertaker to be the match as the night as both of these guys always show up big.  Enjoy the show!

 

KenWo

 

Posted on: April 4, 2009 12:35 pm
 

Coach Ken's 2009 MLB Predictions

 

 It's that time of the year again!  Time for Coach Ken's 2009 MLB predictions!  Last season we had some success.... and some big failures (Mariners 90 wins? Really?)!  But here at KenWo headquarters, we don't let setbacks like that stop us from getting back in the box and taking another swing.

 

 

AL East: 

Boston Red Sox 101-61: Yes, the Yankees made the big splash in the offseason.  Yes the Yankees are opening their new ballpark.  Yes the Yankees will lose the division to the Boston Red Sox.  In my opinion, the Red Sox have a much deeper pitching staff from front to back.  With an offense that still includes MVP Dustin Pedroia, David Ortiz, Jason Bay, Jacoby Ellsbury and JD Drew, the Red Sox seem primed to keep the Yankees out of first place once again in 2009.

 

Tampa Bay DEVIL Rays 96-66: It will be the Devil Rays that will finish in second in the AL East.  They have a solid young staff with Scott Kazmir and James Shields leading the way.  The bullpen is strong with Troy Percival, Dan Wheeler, Grant Balfour and Joe Nelson.  The offense is strong with Evan Longoria, Carl Crawford, Carlos Pena, BJ Upton (who is starting the year on the DL) and Akinori Iwamura.  They have minor league pitching depth with future star David Price starting the season in the minor leagues.  All of those early picks are finally paying off for the Rays.  They have a core that should contend for the next 3-5 years.  

 

New York Yankees 89-73:  They made a few huge splashes in the offseason with the CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Mark Teixeira signings. The rotation looks to be in good shape with Sabathia, Burnett, Pettitte, Wang and Chamberlain, but Pettitte is old, Wang is coming back from an injury and Burnett is, in my opinion, highly over rated.  He has only started 30 games 2 times in his career, and not surprisingly, both times were in free agent years.  Now that he has signed that big contract, I have to question whether or not he will have 2 good seasons in a row for the first time in his career.  The bullpen has the best closer in the history of the game in Mariano Rivera, but with Chamberlain in the rotation, Damaso Marte is the only other proven commodity.  The offense already has lost ARod for at least a month.  Jorge Posada, Derek Jeter, Johnny Damon and Hideki Matsui are all nearing the end of the line.  Teixeira is a great pickup, but the offense is far from the offense of years gone by.  Disappointing year with a third place finish for the Bronx Bombers.

 

Baltimore Orioles 76-86:  The Orioles offense is a big force.  Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis, Aubrey Huff, Melvin Mora and Adam Jones are a great core.  Markakis is one of the best young players in all of baseball and I feel this will be an MVP-like season for the lefty.  They have a hole at SS (Cesar Izturis) and LF (Felix Pie) but the rest of the line up will make up for them.  The trouble with the Orioles still remains the pitching.  Jeremy Guthrie is a solid guy, but the rest of the staff is full of has beens and never will be's.  There will be a lot of 9-5 wins and a lot of 10-7 losses at Camden this year.  

 

Toronto Blue Jays 73-89: The Blue Jays will bring up the rear of the AL East this year.  It was only last year where the Jays had one of the best rotations in the league with Roy Halladay, Dustin McGowan, Shaun Marcum, AJ Burnett and Jesse Litsch.  Burnett is off to NY and Marcum and McGowan are out for most (if not all) of the year.  Halladay is the prototypical ace and Litsch is very solid, but the rest of the rotation is terribly young.  On offense, the Jays have Alex Rios who is primed for a stellar year leading the way.  Vernon Wells, Scott Rolen and Aaron Hill have all had success in the past but each have a history of injury problems.  The bullpen may put them over the Orioles in the end with BJ Ryan, Scott Downs and Brandon League but in my opinion the Jays will be in the basement this year.

 

AL CENTRAL

 

Chicago White Sox: 86-76: The White Sox will repeat in the central this year.  With the rotation of Mark Buehrle, Gavin Floyd, John Danks, Jose Contreras and Bartolo Colon they have the clear strongest in the division.  The bullpen with Bobby Jenks, Scott Linebrink, Octavio Dotel and Matt Thornton is also strong.  The middle of the line up still has a lot of pop with Carlos Quentin, Alexei Ramirez, Jim Thome, Jermaine Dye, Paul Konerko and AJ Pierzynski.  They have a hole in center field and the leadoff spot of the order which they are hoping Dewayne Wise fills.  If they fail, it will be the defense that costs them.  However, I think the pitching and power will lead to another White Sox division title in 2009.

 

Kansas City Royals: 83-79: The Royals, in my opinion, have improved the most in the Central this year.  However, they had the longest way to go.  I don't think they improved enough to overtake the White Sox.  Gil Meche and Zack Greinke are a very solid 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation.  The bullpen is in good hands with Jokim Soria, Juan Cruz and Ron Mahay.  The offense has potential to be very good with Coco Crisp, Jose Guillen, Alex Gordon, David DeJesus, and Mike Avilles.  They have acquired power hitting Mike Jacobs for first base.  The problems for the Royals will be the back end of the rotation which includes Sidney Ponson and Horatio Ramirez (YIKES!) and Kyle Farnsworth out of the bullpen.  Much improved over the last few years, but only good enough for 2nd.

 

Cleveland Indians: 80-82: The Indians are the choice for most of the prognosticators. I don't see it.  Yes, they added Mark DeRosa and Kerry Wood to much needed areas of the club.  Yes, they have Grady Sizemore who is another possible MVP this year.  They have the reigning Cy Young winner in Cliff Lee. When you look more closely to this club though, there are serious concerns.  Travis Haffner and Victor Martinez had serious power outages last year.  Will they regain their form of a few years ago? I don't think so.  Ben Fransisco and Shin Soo Choo are being heavily counted on.  Seriously, would you count on Ben Fransisco and Shin Soo Choo to take you back to the playoffs?  Me either.  The rest of the rotation consists of Fausto Carmona, Carl Pavano, Scott Lewis and Anthony Reyes.  In my opinion they are not very intimidating.  Cliff Lee went 22-3(!) last season and the Indians finished .500 last year.  He will have to have the same type season for the Indians to overtake the White Sox.  I don't see it.  Third place for the Tribe.

 

Minnesota Twins: 78-83: In my rough draft I had the Twins winning 83 games this year.  Since that time though, Joe Mauer has been placed on the DL and has no timetable for his return and top of the rotation starter Scott Baker has also been DL'd.  Without Mauer, the Twins take a serious hit.  The offense isn't good enough to last without him or Justin Morneau for any significant amount of time.  They still have an outstanding defense and a good rotation which will keep them close in games, but I can't look past that huge hole in the offense that Mauer's aching back leaves.  Disappointing final year in the dome for the Twinkies.

 

Detroit Tigers: 74-88:  The Motor City Kitty's will have another rough year in 2009.  Magglio Ordonez and Miguel Cabrera are as strong as most any 3-4 combination in the Majors.  Curtis Granderson is a great player.  Justin Verlander looks to get back on track after a rough 2008.  The rest of this team is a hoge poge of crap.  From the struggles in the bullpen where Fernando Rodney is the closer after posting a near 5.00 ERA last year, to the starting rotation when your most solid guy lost 17 games last year, this team is in dire straits.  They paid Gary Sheffield 14 million to go away, Dontrelle Willis is being paid a nice sum of money to ruin their minor league pitching staff and the tough economy has cost the Tigers a good portion of their season ticket sales.  Expect this team to dump a lot of salary come July.   74 wins may be too many.

 

AL West

California Angels 93-69 : I am done with the name Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim or whatever they want to be called.  I am going back to California Angels. They shouldn't have changed the name in the first place.  That being said, I think the Angels will have enough to win an improved West this year.  They lost Fransisco Rodriguez, but the bullpen is still strong with Brian Fuentes, Jose Arredondo, Darren Oliver and Scot Shields.  The rotation is a bit shaken up to start the year with injuries to John Lackey and Ervin Santana, but they have enough good pitchers to ride those injuries out assuming they are short term.  Jared Weaver, Joe Saunders become the top of the rotation, which is still good.  The outfield is aging but still strong with Vladamir Guerrero, Torii Hunter and Bobby Abreu.  Mike Napoli serves as a good backstop and if Chone Figgins and Howie Kendrick can remain healthy the offense will be very formidable.  They will not dominate the division like years past, but they still have enough for one or two more AL West titles.

 

Oakland A's  88-74: The A's offense looks to be much improved.  Matt Holliday, Orlando Cabrera and the return of Jason Giambi give this team much needed pop.  Jack Cust is a real bruiser in the middle of the order who is capable of hitting 40 homers this season. Eric Chavez is giving it another go at 3rd base. If he could give them 120 games that would be huge.  Kurt Suzuki is a workhorse behind the plate and has become a good hitter.  The pitching staff is young but a little more advanced that the Rangers, which will give Oakland a 2nd place finish.

 

Texas Rangers  84-78: The Rangers are real boppers that is for sure.  Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, Chris Davis, Nelson Cruz and Hank Blalock can put up numbers with any offense in the league.  The bullpen is improved with Frankie Fransisco taking over the closer duties.  The starting rotation is still a mockery.  Kevin Millwood, Vincente Padilla, Brandon McCarthy and Kris Benson are the top 4.  The offense will destroy the opposition a lot of times this year, but the pitching staff will get destroyed almost as many times.  The Rangers STILL need pitching.

 

Seattle Mariners  65-97: This is the worst team in the American League.  Ken Griffey Jr returns, and that will provide some excitement at first. Then the Mariner fans will realize that Russell Branyon, Franklin Guttierez, Wladamir Balentien and Endy Chavez (until Ichiro gets back from a bleeding ulser) are also in the lineup.  Jose Lopez and Adrian Beltre will have solid seasons.  The rest of the offense is awful.  The sad part is the pitching is not any better.  Felix Hernandez is good at the top of the rotation and Erik Bedard is one of the best pitchers in the game when healthy (when is he healthy though?). Brandon Morrow has outstanding talent out of the bullpen but Carlos Silva, Jerrod Washburn, Miguel Batista and the rest of the staff are not very good.. they are not very average... hell, they are bad.  The only excitement other than Griffey will be if the team can keep the losses under 100.  No wonder Ichiro has an ulcer.

 

National League

NL East

 

Philadelphia Phillies 97-65:  The 2008 World Champs will repeat this year.  Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Raul Ibanez and Shane Victorino make for a prolific offense.  They have a good bullpen with Brad Lidge and Ryan Madson leading the way.  The rotation brings up some question marks.  Cole Hammels threw 260+ innings last year including the playoffs which could take a toll on the youngster.  Jamie Moyer is back and another year older, though at this point I am not sure if it matters that he is almost 50.  Brett Myers and Joe Blanton are solid.  Chan Ho Park is their 5th starter though and I am not sure he could start for many of the Philadelphia high school teams at this point in his career. Sure there are some questions, but the biggest question will be if they win 100 games or not.  First place in the East for the Phills.

 

Atlanta Braves 89-73: The Braves have improved their starting rotation with the additions of Derek Lowe and Javy Vazquez.  Jair Jurrjens is a solid top of the rotation pitcher to go with the 2 new acquisitions.  Through in Japanese import Kenshin Kawakami and the Braves rotation has potential to be a top 5 in the NL.  Garrett Anderson will be a steady stick to go along with Chipper Jones, Brian McCann and Jeff Francoeur. Yunel Escobar, Casey Kotchman and Kelly Johnson can also be productive.  Justin Schafer could challenge for Rookie of the Year out in center field.  The Braves have a nice team.  Nice enough to finish 11 games behind the front running Phillies.

 

New York Mets  85-77: Another New York team, another team I am not buying in 2009.  David Wright and Jose Reyes could be the best left side of any infield in baseball.  Carlos Beltran is capable of being one of the best players in the game.  Carlos Delgado is full of power and Johan Santana is an annual Cy Young contender on any team.  They brought in Fransisco Rodriguez and JJ Putz to solidify the bullpen.  In my opinion, something is still missing from this team.   Gary Sheffield has just been signed to a contract which just adds another question in my opinion.  They have a lot of star players, but their role players just aren't very good.  The rotation has Mike Pelfrey, Oliver Perez, John Maine and Livan Hernandez filling it out. Decent, not spectacular.  I have projected big things for the Mets for 10 years in a row now.... I finally jumped off the bandwagon.  The only thing they will win is the battle for third place with the Marlins.

 

Florida Marlins  82-80:  The Marlins are full of raw talent.  Hanley Ramirez is one of the best offensive players in the Major Leagues. Dan Uggla provided a lot of power last year.  Jorge Cantu reemerged as a force.  Cameron Maybin could challenge for Rookie of the Year.  Ricky Nolasco is developing into a strike out king.  Matt Lindstrom throws lasers and will close out a lot of games.  They will be an exciting team to watch, but the Marlins are still a few years away from competing with the Phillies.

 

Washington Nationals 66-96:  The Nationals signed Adam Dunn which should provide some moon shot homers to the DC faithful, but that is about all that the Nationals will provide other than a last place finish this year.  Lastings Milledge has been touted for years as a future star.  I think it is about time he shows up or ships out.  The rotation got a little better with Scott Olsen and Daniel Cabrera joining the team, but when Scott Olsen and Daniel Cabrera improve your rotation, you are in trouble.  They will battle the Mariners, Padres and Pirates for the title of worst team in baseball.

 

NL Central

 

Chicago Cubs 96-66: The Cubs are by far the most talented team in the NL Central.  It would be a huge upset if any team knocks them out of first this year.  Alfonso Soriano, Aramis Ramirez, Derek Lee and Milton Bradley will put a lot of homers onto Waveland this summer.  Geovany Soto is looking to build on his spectacular 2008 ROY season.  The starting rotation is very solid with Carlos Zambrano, Ted Lilly, Ryan Dempster and Rich Harden. The addition of Kevin Gregg to the bullpen to go along with Carlos Marmol softens the blow of losing Kerry Wood.  They lost a little bit when Mark DeRosa and Wood joined the Tribe, but they still have more than enough to win this division by 10 games.  

 

Houston Astros 83-79:  Other than the Cubs the rest of the NL Central is a mess.  I think the Astros will emerge to the top of the mess to finish a distant second to the Cubbies.  The offense is pretty solid with Carlos Lee, Lance Berkman, Miguel Tejada and Hunter Pence.  Ivan Rodriguez has looked good this spring and may be a quality signing.  Roy Oswalt is an ace on most teams in the majors.  Jose Valverde is a formidable closer.  Wandy Rodriguez has looked good at times and Mike Hampton is hoping to turn back the clock to 1999 when he was 22-4 for the Astros (good luck with that).  The offense and Oswalt will carry them to an above .500 record, good enough for 2nd in the Central.

 

St. Louis Cardinals  81-81: Albert Pujols is an offensive machine.  He is the best pure hitter in the league hands down.  He is surrounded by Ryan Ludwick, Rick Ankiel and Chris Duncan who are all capable of 25 home runs.  Troy Glaus is out until the all star break which hurts.  Chris Carpenter is being counted on to solidify a rotation led by Adam Wainwright, Todd Wellemeyer, Kyle Lohse and Joel Pinero.  Jason Motte has been named the closer and is joined in the bullpen by Ryan Franklin.  I think their pitching is a tad better than the Astros but the Astros lineup is a tad better than the Cardinals.  3rd place and .500 finish for the Redbirds. 

 

Milwaukee Brewers 81-81: The Brew Crew lost CC Sabathia and Ben Sheets which is a fatal blow to their playoff chances.  Ryan Braun, Corey Hart and Prince Fielder still give the Brewers a lot of punch in the middle of the order.  Mike Cameron, Bill Hall and Rickie Weeks will hit for low averages but provide power and speed, but I can't look past the pitching problems.  Jeff Suppan is the ace followed by young and talented Yovani Gallardo and Manny Parra. If Sabathia and Sheets rounded out that rotation they may have challenged the Cubs.....instead it is Braden Looper and Dave Bush which will have them challenging the Astros and Cardinals for a distant 2nd. The Brewers may have missed their window. .500 and tied with the Cardinals for 3rd. 

 

Cincinatti Reds  77-85:  They probably have the 2nd best pitching in the division to the Cubs. Aaron Harrang, Johnny Cueto, Edinson Volquez, Bronson Arroyo are 4 solid starters.  Jay Bruce and Joey Votto are very good young hitters.  Willy Tavares has been signed to lead off. Brandon Phillips a good offensive 2nd baseman and Ramon Hernandez has pop as catcher.  The Reds may bloom early and finish as high as 2nd this season. I think it will take another year or two, but this may be the team that eventually challenges the Cubs- not this year though.  

 

Pittsburgh Pirates 67-95: This once proud organization has become a laughing stock of the MLB.  People will continue to laugh at them in 2009.  Nate McClouth is a very talented player, Ryan Doumitt and Adam Laroche can hit a little bit and Matt Capps has proven to be a capable closer.  The rest of the team is a disgrace to the Pirate logo.  They will finish in last with plenty of room to spare.  Roberto Clemente and Pops Stargell will roll over in their graves if they haven't already done so.  

 

 

NL West

 

Los Angeles Dodgers 98-64: The Dodgers have a ton of talent on offense and on the pitching staff.  Manny Ramirez will lead the Dodgers to the West championship, but he is not alone.  Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, James Loney, Russell Martin, Orlando Hudson, Rafael Furcal and Casey Blake give the Dodgers the best offense in the N.L.  Hiroki Kuroda, Chad Billingsley, Randy Wolf and Clayton Kershaw will get plenty of run support... a lot more than they actually need.  Jonathan Broxton has a rocket for an arm and will be as good as any closer in baseball.  The rest of the bullpen with Hong Chih Kuo, Cory Wade and Gulliermo Mota is deep and good.  First place in the much improved NL West.

 

San Fransisco Giants 93-69:  The Giants have recovered from the Barry Bonds era nicely.  Their pitching rotation is spectacular with NL Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum leading the way.  Randy Johnson, Matt Cain, Johnathan Sanchez and Barry Zito round out what might be the best rotation in the majors.  There will be a lot of strikeouts for opposing teams when the Giants come to town.  If they could get any offense whatsoever they would challenge 100 wins.  I think they will get enough offense to improve to 93 wins with Pablo Sandavol and Edgar Renteria moving into the left side of the infield.  The bullpen shouldn't blow too many games with Brian Wilson closing games.  Jeremy Affeldt and Bobby Howry are decent set up men.  The question will be the offense but I think the Giants will win the Wild Card.  

 

Arizona Diamondbacks 86-76:  The Diamondbacks also have a good pitching staff.  With Brandon Webb, Dan Haren, Jon Garland, Doug Davis and youngster Max Scherzer they are more than formidable.  The bullpen has Chad Qualls closing games with Jon Rauch  and Tony Pena setting up.  The offense is led by Stephen Drew, Chris Young, Mark Reynolds and Justin Upton. The Diamondbacks have the talent to contend with the Giants but I think they will fall short.  Third place for Arizona.

 

Colorado Rockies 79-83: The Rockies dealt Matt Holliday to Oakland early in the offseason, which is a huge blow to the offense.  They still have Garrett Atkins, Troy Tulowitzki, Todd Helton and Brad Hawpe to bring home some runs.  On the mound, Aaron Cook and Ubaldo Jimenez are very talented but Jason Marquis and Jorge De La Rosa cannot compete with the top 3 pitching staffs in the division.  Houston Street and Manny Corpas both are talented but both have had their struggles out of the pen.  The Rockies were so promising after their amazing World Series run in 2007- two years later and they are an afterthought in the NL West.

 

San Diego Padres  70-92:  Adrian Gonzalez and Jake Peavy are outstanding players.  Brian Giles and Chris Young have been solid in the past.  If you look at the rest of the Padres, however, they are filled with a bunch of castoffs from other teams.  They don't even have mainstay Trevor Hoffman in the bullpen anymore.  Gonzalez and Peavy will keep them from being the worst team in baseball, but they will finish at least 25 games behind the Dodgers.

 

 

PLAYOFFS

ALDS

Boston Red Sox vs. Chicago White Sox: White Sox are good enough to make the playoffs but not good enough to win in them yet.  Red Sox in 4.

 

California Angels vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays: The Rays will prevail over the slowly fading Angels.  Devil Rays in 3.

 

NLDS

Los Angeles Dodgers Vs. Chicago Cubs: Cubs cannot match the Dodgers on either side of the field. Dodgers in 3.

Philadelphia Phillies vs. San Fransisco Giants: Giants pitching bests Phillies bats.  Giants in 5.

 

ALCS

Boston Red Sox Vs. Tampa Bay Devil Rays: Boston gets the better of them this time.  Red Sox in 6.

 

NLCS 

Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Fransisco Giants: Classic Giants vs. Dodgers matchup ends with LA going to the series. Dodgers in 7

 

World Series

Boston Red Sox vs. Los Angeles Dodgers: Manny gets the best of his former team, Dodgers win World Series in 6.

 

Awards:

World Series MVP: Manny Ramirez

AL MVP: Evan Longoria

NL MVP: Manny Ramirez

AL Cy Young: CC Sabathia

NL Cy Young: Tim Lincecum

AL ROY: Chris Getz

NL ROY: Cameron Maybin

 

 

 

 

 

Posted on: March 28, 2008 2:59 pm
 

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

In my opinion late March and early April is quite possibly the best time of year in the sporting world. You have the NBA and NHL seasons coming down to the wire, you have the NFL draft and offseason in full swing, you have the NCAA tournament in full force, you have spring hopes for 30 franchises as the baseball season gets underway, and last but not least, you have the Grandaddy of them all Wrestlemania! This is one of the only times of the year that fans of every sport have something going on. Last year I attended Wrestlemania in Detroit and took a plane back the next morning to go see the White Sox open their season against the Indians. I was on cloud 9...well at least until Jose Contreras got hit hard and that opening day set the tone for the entire season. Nonetheless, that was one of the greatest 24 hour periods in sports I have ever had. The greatest being when I attended the Bulls championship rally followed by the first ever White Sox vs. Cubs regular season game (that didn't go well either....damn Jaime Navarro!), and then after the game I made the journey complete with a trip to the United Center to see World Championship Wrestling's Monday Nitro. The nWo was in full force back then and Dennis Rodman was on hand with Hulk Hogan for a great night of wrestling.

In this edition of the Extravaganza I will make my Wrestlemania predictions. The show takes place on Sunday March 30th in Orlando Florida. The show is shaping up to be a pretty good card with the highlights being the Undertaker vs. Edge, John Cena vs. Randy Orton vs. Triple H in a three way dance for the WWE title, the possible retirement match of Ric Flair and the mainstream media match between Floyd Mayweather and The Big Show.

Money in the Bank Ladder Match- The MITB match has become a staple of Wrestlemania and allows younger guys the opportunity to jump from the mid card to the main event level. Edge and Rob Van Damn have both accomplished this. This year you have MVP, Ken Kennedy, CM Punk, Chris Jericho, John Morrison, Shelton Benjamin and Carlito vying for the chance to win the contract for a match versus any champion. There are a couple of ways the WWE could go in this one. Kennedy won the event last year before losing the contract to Edge and he seems primed to win it again. Kennedy has been on the cusp of main event status and a good showing here might just get him there. Chris Jericho might be the one to win it because he made a come back that wasn't so great of a come back and this may be what he needs to get him to where he should have been a couple of months ago. Jericho is one of the most talented wrestlers on the roster and is also one of the most charismatic superstars the industry has to offer. He has recently won the Intercontinental Championship and seems to be getting on a role. My pick to win is MVP. I think he has the opportunity to jump up to main event status and become the next major star the company has. MVP has been a great worker, a U.S. champion and very entertaining for over a year now. To me MVP just seems poised to make the jump. While Jericho is the safe pick I think the WWE needs to go with MVP.

Umaga Vs. Batista in battle for brand superiority- The background of this match is Smackdown's general manager Vicki Guerrero and Raw's general manager William Regal picked a wrestler off of their roster to see who has the best brand. I think Batista will win this match and it will be a very good match with a lot of hard hitting. Umaga has become a real nice wrestler who plays his roll as a monster perfectly. Umaga got the best of Batista on a recent Smackdown but I find it hard to believe that he will be victorious over Batista at Wrestlemania. Smackdown wins this battle.

JBL vs. Finlay in a Belfast Brawl- This match kind of got thrown together to end the story line of Hornswaggle as Vince McMahons midget bastard son. JBL came out and said he discovered that Hornswaggle is really Finlay's son and he is going to make him pay for deceiving McMahon. It will probably be a bloody match with the use of a lot of weapons and the winner, in my opinion, will be Finlay.

24 man battle royal- The winner of the 24 man over the top rope battle royal will go on to challenge ECW champion Chavo Guerrero for his title in the same night. This will probably be a very fast paced match with a lot of eliminations early. I can't see too much time being devoted to this match up. Barring any surprise entrants into the match I think your winner will be the Big Red Machine Kane. Kane has the most recognition, the coolest entrance and is the most logical choice to end up being the last man in the ring come Mania night.

Kane vs. Chavo Guerrero ECW championship- I think Chavo will win this match since Kane has gone through a battle royal. Chavo will probably cheat to win which will then set up a nice feud between the two for a couple of months.

Bunnymania match between Beth Phoenix and Melina vs. playboy cover girls Ashley and Maria- Snoop Dogg will be on hand during this match as this match will be a filler between a couple of big matches on the card. If this was any other time of the year the much more talented team of Melina and Beth Phoenix would dominate, but since Maria's playboy is currently on the shelf I think there is no doubt that somehow Maria and Ashley will wind up victorious. Hopefully they are wearing revealing outfits at least.

Shawn Michaels vs. Ric Flair- If Flair loses he is forced to retire. Vince Mcmahon told Flair a few months ago that the next match you lose will be your last. Since then Flair has defeated all challengers including MVP, Kennedy and McMahon himself. Everyone is expecting Flair to lose this match and retire on the biggest stage of them all. I am not so sure, however. I think that Flair will wind up victorious in his final Wrestlemania which would come as a huge surprise to everyone. Flair will then go on to lose at the next pay per view but it will give him one last giant moment in the sun at Mania.

Floyd Mayweather vs. Big Show- This match has the chance to be a disaster. Usually celebrities win when they make guest appearances and I don't think this will be any different. Somehow Mayweather will come out on top. Considering the size difference between the two-300 lbs and 1 1/2 ft- it could be awful for the career of Big Show when he loses. How can he compete against the likes of Undertaker, Batista, HHH, Cena and Orton if he can't even beat a 155 lb boxer. This match really needs to be creatively booked in order to not make him look absolutely pathetic. It has served its purpose at getting main stream attention put on Wrestlemania however. I just feel bad for the Show if he loses.

Edge vs. Undertaker for the World Championship- I think this has the ability to be the match of the night. Undertaker has never lost at Wrestlemania and usually puts on a wonderful match. I predict that both of those trends will continue. Undertaker will extend his winning streak to 16-0 and will take the championship for the second straight year. Edge has also become just an outstanding wrestler over the past few years and will undoubtedly put on a quality match. I absolutely see Edge winning the championship back before SummerSlam but at mania that title will be taken back to the darkside.

Randy Orton vs. John Cena vs. HHH for the WWE title- I am kind of disappointed in this being a three way match but there really wasn't any other option. Orton has earned his main event status and has been, in my opinion, an excellent champion. Cena's return from his injury at the Royal Rumble meant that he was to be included in the main event at Mania and HHH coming off of his missing Wrestlemania last year was also going to be in the match. Orton has done a wonderful job as champ as I stated earlier but I think his run ends here. Cena was champion for a long time before Orton was. I think it is time for another run of HHH as champion, like it or not. HHH is victorious here and will enjoy a long run as WWE champion. I am sure this match will be well put together and will be very entertaining.

I think this Wrestlemania on paper looks pretty good but once the event starts I think it will be outstanding. The whole company seems to get up for Wrestlemania more than any other event and in that venue with 70,000 in attendance I think it will be an outstanding show.

Then on Monday the White Sox will repay the Indians for last years beat down and everything in the world of Coach Ken will be outstanding!

Just remember, when you are nWo- it's 4 LIFE!

Category: General
Posted on: February 20, 2008 12:48 pm
Edited on: February 20, 2008 3:20 pm
 

Coach Ken's 2008 predictions

AL West-

Angels 100-62- The Angels are well coached, have good balance on offense and have lights out pitching.

Mariners 90-72- The Mariners are on the rise and with the addition of Bedard to an already solid rotation should continue their upswing.

A's 72-90- Got rid of their top pitcher (Haran) and their heart and soul (Swisher) but still will finish better than the Rangers

Rangers- 65-97- This is one of the worst franchises in sports right up there with the Clippers. They need pitching. They don't have any. No starter in their rotation will get 12 wins.

AL Central-

White Sox- 94-68- Yes this is my favorite team. But I am usually hard on them. I think they have made great improvements offensively and defensively. The one question mark is the starting pitching, but I think Jose Contreras will have a good season and Gavin Floyd will be suprisingly solid. The addition of Bartolo Colon gives them a veteran to plug in just in case. Jenks, Linebrink and Dotel make for a strong back end to the pen. The offense will be solid with Cabrerra, Swisher, Thome, Dye, Konerko and Pierzynski. Their young players ,Fields and Owens, will continue to build off of their 2nd half of 2007. Suprise team.

Tigers- 89-73- The Tigers made a big splash early with Edgar Renteria and Miguel Cabrerra which will give them a great offense. However, I think they will not overcome a lackluster starting rotation that has question marks with Rogers, Willis, Bonderman and Robertson. The bullpen also has its fair share of worries. Will Zumaya come back? If he does will he be his old self? Todd Jones? Fernando Rodney? I am not sold on the Tigers.

Indians 86-76- Sabathia's contract situation is going to hurt this team. I don't think the Indians will be able to match what they did last year. The bullpen with Borowski as the closer will not survive like it did somehow last year. After Sizemore and Martinez the hitting is a question mark. Indians will be good but not good enough. They needed to make a stronger offseason push and fell way short.

Twins- 76-86- The departure of Hunter and the trade of Santana will hurt the Twins this season. They did aquire Delmon Young, however, but their staff is in shambles with the loss of Garza, Silva and Santana. This will be a short lived bad run for the Twins, however, as they will vastly improve by 2010.

Royals- 72-90- The Royals remain a below average club. They spend money on the wrong people, they develop talent that doesn't materialize, and they belong with the Rangers as one of the worst franchises in sports.

AL East-

Red Sox 105-57-The Red Sox are the top dogs in baseball again. The rotation is strong, the offense is strong and the bullpen is strong. There are no holes on this team from top to bottom. They get huge hits when they need them. They are the Yankees of the 90s. And they make me sick, but it is what it is. Another east title for the BoSox.

Toronto Blue Jays- 91- 71- The Blue Jays are your A.L. wild card winners in 2008. Vernon Wells will come back to form. A good Wells teamed with Alex Rios, Frank Thomas, Aaron Hill and a healthy Scott Rolen give the Blue Jays a very formidable offense. The pitching is there as well with Roy Halladay, AJ Burnett and youngsters Shaun Marcum and Dustin McGowan. The bullpen is solid with BJ Ryan eyeing an early return, Jeremy Accardo and Casey Jansen.

NY Yankees- 85-77- The Yankees tough year is still a good year for most teams in the league with 85 wins. Joe Girardi will find it a tough go in his first season in the Bronx. The rotation is filled with question marks after Wang. The steroid scandal teamed with aging stars and big contracts will leave the Yankees out of the playoffs for the first time in a long time.

Tampa Bay Rays- 77-85- The Rays are improving. They have pretty decent, young starting pitching. They found themselves a closer in Percival, they have good young players at most positions. Their long relief and the lack of a solid veteran or two will leave the Rays under .500 again, but this isn't the same Rays team that had no shot against your local high school team like a few seasons ago.

Baltimore Orioles- 64-98- It is a shame how far the Orioles have fallen. By trading away Bedard they have lost their only consistant starter they have had in the last 10 years. The bullpen is a mess without Ray and Baez. They have noone to replace Tejada in the lineup. It is a miracle that they will not lose 100 games and the only reason they won't is because Nick Markakis is that good of a ballplayer. They will probably trade him too. Look for the Orioles to compete in the year 2015.

NL East-

N.Y. Mets 96-66- Despite that God awful collapse at the end of the year, the addition of Johan Santana will make people forget about that. Santana along with John Maine and El Duque give the Mets a solid rotation. Reyes, David Wright and Carlos Beltran will put up great numbers. They may win more games if Carlos Delgado proves he can hit on a more consistent basis in 08.

Philidelphia Phillies- 90-72- Not enough in the rotation to match the Mets. Still have a great offensive club, but the loss of Rowand will hurt. Brad Lidge will help the bullpen and 90 wins is nothing to be disappointed with, but the Phillies will be home in October.

Atlanta Braves- 80-82- Tom Glavine was a nice signing for the Braves, but the loss of Renteria and Andruw Jones will leave the Braves hurting for the first half of 2008. They will improve after the break but not enough to make it to .500.

Washington Nationals- 72- 90- Their solid bullpen will keep them out of last place in the NL East in 08. They also have some pretty solid outfielders in Elijah Dukes, Lastings Millege. They have a decent bench with Nick Johnson, Willie Harris, Aaron Boone and Rob Mackowiak (even though I can't stand him). Their starting pitching is awful though so 4th place is as high as the Nationals will rise. They will ,however, have a better record than their Beltway rival Orioles. Rough year for DC/Maryland baseball.

Florida Marlins- 69- 93- They will struggle finding their way without their leaders- Cabrerra and Willis, however the Marlins are at the beginning of another upswing they will result in at least a playoff run in the near future. Unlike the rest of the last place teams the Marlins have a bright future ahead of them with Maybin, Ramirez, Andrew Miller, Uggla and Willingham. Look for the Marlins to be contenders as early as 2010. In 08 however, it's a bottom of the barrel year for the young fighting fish.

NL Central-

Chicago Cubs- 93- 69- Unfortunately the Cubs are going to win the Central this year. This will be the first time in 700 years that both sides of Chicago will celebrate a playoff team. The pitching is good enough to pull through in the weak central with Zambrano, Hill, and Lilly. They have the best offense by far of any other team in the division with Ramirez, Soriano, Lee and Fukudome. The bullpen is decent enough too with Howry, Marmol and Kerry Wood. Good year for Chicago baseball in 08.

Milwaukee Brewers- 87-75- The Brew Crew have talent in Fielder, Braun, Hardy, Hall, Weeks and Hart. They have a veteran in the line up after the first month with Cameron. However, their pitching is going to leave the Brewers out of the playoffs again in 08. If they could get a decent starter for Hall or Weeks I would certainly do it. The loss of Cordero leaves them hoping Gagne or Turnbow can regain their past success and I don't see either one of them being able to do it which will leave David Riske as their only viable bullpen option. Good talent-Not enough to compete with the Cubbies this year though unfortunately.

Houston Astros- 80-82- The Astros will win 80 games with most of the wins coming off the bats of Berkman, Lee and Tejada. Michael Bourn and Kaz Matsui are solid pick ups- as is Darrin Erstad if he can be a force off the bench. Valverde gives them a good closer, however the rotation and middle relief is not what it was when they made the World Series in 2005. Wandy Rodriguez should have a good year, but two pitchers is not enough to compete, even in the weak NL Central.

Cincinatti Reds- 75-87- The Reds have some decent pop in their lineup with Griffey, Dunn, Phillips and Encarnacion, but it is the same old story for the Reds. They were not able to land a starter (if they get Blanton things may be a little different but not enough to put them at 85 wins). Cordero will greatly help out in the bullpen. Lack of pitching depth remains the Reds downfall though. Not even with Dusty we Trusty running the show will things be all that different.

Pittsburgh Pirates-73- 89- The Pirates will stay out of the cellar this season. They have a couple of solid pitchers in Snell and Gorzelanny. They have a veteran in Matt Morris. They have some good young hitters in Sanchez, Bay, LaRoache, Nady and Bautista. The bullpen is unspectacular with Marte and Capps being the headliners, but it is enough to beat out the struggling Cardinals in 08.

St. Louis Cardinals- 70- 92- Another tough season is on the horizon in St. Louis. With Pujols arm in question, Duncan and Ankiel being counted on in the outfield and hoping that Matt Clement and Juan Gonzalez can come back to the majors and be productive, I think the Cardinals are in need of a franchise turnover. The starting staff is in shambles, the bullpen has gotten worse than last year and they traded one hurt third baseman for another. Personally I think Rolen is better than Glaus so they even got taken there. Tough year for Tony and the Redbirds.

NL West-

Colorado Rockies- 94- 68- The Rockies will prove last year was no fluke in 2008. Holliday, Atkins, Hawpe, Helton are back agian in 08. The only key loss was Matsui and they are hopeful Nix can replace him. Troy Tulowitzki is an MVP candidate in 2008. The starting staff is solid with Francis, Cook and Jiminez. The bullpen is solid with Vizcaino, Fuentes and Manny Corpas who was outstanding in 07. Some may predict a fall from grace with the Rockies- not me. AL West title in Denver.

Arizona Diamondbacks- 91- 71- The DBacks will also remain strong in 2008. The rotation of Webb, Johnson, Haran, Davis and Owings leaves the DBacks with one of the strongest in the Majors if they all remain healthy. Young exciting players in Drew, Young, and Upton provide some quality hitting. The loss of Valverde will leave them out of first in the NL, but they still have a very formidable bullpen. Orlando Hudson and Eric Byrnes will be back to provide solid leadership. One problem the DBacks have is lack of a power hitter. Another fine season in the desert though.

San Diego Padres 88- 74- Good top of the rotation with Peavy, Young and Maddux. If Wolf and Prior are healthy they could be dangerous. Unfortunately they play in the toughest division of the NL. They have a good bullpen with Bell and Hoffman. Adrian Gonzalez gives them solid pop in the middle of the line up. The addition of Tadahito Iguchi will be a solid one for the Padres. However, relying on Edmonds, Giles, Prior and Hairston will all prove to be fatal for the 08 Padres playoff chances.

Los Angeles Dodgers- 82-80- Joe Torre worked magic when he had Rivera, Jeter and Georges deep pockets. He will not be able to turn around the Dodgers just year though. The Dodgers spend their money terribly. Loaiza, Penny, Schmidt all have had good years in the past but can you count on any of them for a full season? Russell Martin is a star behind the plate but the Dodgers are an odd mix. Pierre, Kemp, Jones, Kent, Loney, Nomar...its all just wierd. It's kind of like a flea market of former stars and failing prospects. My guess is the pitching will be good enough to get them to about .500 but to expect a playoff miracle out of Torre is asking way too much.

San Francisco Giants- 67-95- This team is in the downside of a transition period. The offense will suffer without even last years version of Bonds. They overpaid for Zito last year and Rowand this year. Their middle infield would be great if this was 1996 with Vizquel and Durham. The top power threat is Bengie Molina. Their starters are too young to make a serious impact. The rotation could be outstanding in a year or two with Linecum, Cain and Lowry if they hold on to them. The bullpen is inexperienced. They will be in a dogfight with the Orioles for the title as worst team in the league for 2008. I expect them to win that battle, but that will be all that is won. They will be wishing Bonds was there to take the heat come May.

Playoffs

Red Sox vs. White Sox- Strong comeback season for White Sox unfortunately ends here in 5 games.

Blue Jays vs. Angels- Angels pitching too tough for Blue Jays- Angels in 4.

Mets vs. Diamondbacks- Mets win in 5- Santana is too strong in a 5 game series.

Cubs Vs. Rockies- Rockies cruise to a 3 game sweep.

LCS

Red Sox vs. Angels- There will be a new champion as Angels rotation proves to be too good for even Boston. Angels in 7.

Mets Vs. Rockies- The Rockies are headed back to another World Series. Rockies in 6.

World Series

Angels vs. Rockies- A.L. proves dominant again as the Angels knock off Colorado in 5.

MVP- AL- Alex Rios Toronto

MVP-NL- Troy Tulowitzki Colorado

CY -AL- Josh Beckett- Boston

Cy- NL- Brandon Webb - Arizona

What do you think? Give feedback.

 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com