Hey guys and gals, sorry for my hit and miss column posting over the last couple of weeks, as I believe I have stated before, I am a store manager for a retail music store, and gearing up for the holiday season has had me quite busy as of late, but I am here with all of you, bringing you that snaky flavor you’ve been jonesing for so much lately. And a lot has happened while I was away, so let’s get right into it, shall we?
The Big News: This week the BBWAA announced all of the winners of the big awards for Major League Baseball this week, with different awards being announced on different nights. The big guns, the league MVP awards, went to Buster Posey of the World Series winning Giants (who may be primed to have one of the greatest careers of any sports star ever, and wasn‘t just awarded the MVP, but also the Comeback Player of the Year and the recipient of the Hank Aaron Award) and Miguel Cabrera of the Tigers (although we’ll touch more on this in a second). The Cy Young winners were R.A. Dickey of the Mets and David Price of the Rays. Rookie of the Year went to Bryce Harper of the Nationals and Mike Trout of the Angels (this is going along with the Cabrera thing, just watch). Manager of the Year went to Davey Johnson of the Nationals and Bob Melvin of the Oakland A’s. There are a ton of other smaller awards, but I really want to use the rest of this space to talk about the debate that began heating up towards the end of the season, which was who was more deserving of the AL MVP; Miguel Cabrera or Mike Trout? Traditionalists favored Miguel Cabrera and his first Triple Crown win in decades, while stat guys called out numbers that casual fans know nothing about, and that is what the MVP needs to be decided on; the casual fan eye test. You can spout off all sorts of statistics that the average person has no clue about, and use that as some sort of crazy reasoning, but the fact of the matter is this year we saw something special; We saw a baseball player achieve a goal that is so rare, it hasn’t been accomplished in a very long time, and he was properly rewarded with the AL MVP. I have already read articles about how Mike Trout was more deserving, and his WAR (Wins Above Replacement) was higher than Miguel Cabrera’s, but I can tell you what the reality is; The Tigers got into the playoffs because of Miguel Cabrera. If you actually replaced him with a Triple-A farm guy, the Tigers aren’t in, hell, they might not even be a +.500 team! The Tigers needed Cabrera, and while Trout did help the Angels, his weird statistics that aren’t as obvious to see aren’t what the regular fan notices, and they do not an MVP make.
So now that what I feel on that matter has been put out in the open, feel free to let me know whether you agree with me or not, or if you think I am a huge idiot, or what have you.
Let’s get down to the meat and potatoes though.
Football: And Number 1 went down! I’ve mentioned before my love of College Football, but my hatred of how the game itself is handled, and how rankings and games and everything is figured out before the season actually begins due to the fact that the top teams never play each other. This past weekend perennial National Title contender Alabama was upset by No. 15 Texas A&M. This leaves Kansas State and Oregon atop the Top 25 and the BCS with just a few short weeks left in the College Football season, and I hope to all that is good in the sports universe that they remain as such, because I would really hate to see a 1-loss Alabama team play for yet another National Title. And when the BCS switches over to the 4-team mini-playoff format in order to decide a real champion, it will be a step in the right direction. Another good move? Not letting these teams be cowards about the teams that they have to play during the season. Don’t let Alabama play the Middle Tennessee Cosmetology University. Don’t allow USC to destroy the Oregon Accounting School football team. Those teams that get ranked in the Top 25 to begin the year? Make them play one another throughout the season. Games will mean so much more, and ratings will be higher, making everyone a lot more money. In the end, I think College Football, and even all of College Sports, are all about making money.
Basketball: The NBA season continues to get going, and already there are a few surprises. One of these is that the New York Knicks haven’t lost a game yet! Granted, they haven’t had as many games as everyone else yet, but they have pulled off a couple of big wins, notably yesterday when they defeated the San Antonio Spurs. The defending World Champion Miami Heat are back on the winning track after a couple of losses, both in games and with Dwyane Wade having a couple of nagging injuries, not being able to play to his full ability. The Wizards haven’t won a single game, and the Pistons have only won a single game. The L.A. Lakers are 3-5 and have already fired their head coach to make room for Mike D’Antoni, while the L.A. Clippers are at the top of their division. The rest of the league is all middling, and there is still an entire season of basketball to be played, so there really doesn’t need to be any sense of panic (or in the case of the Knicks, no need to get ahead of themselves, at the end of the day, they’re still the same Knicks).
Baseball: I keep seeing people talk about how Trout was the more deserving MVP candidate and I want to dedicate this section to more ranting about how Cabrera was more valuable to his team than Trout was, but no, I need to focus on some other aspects of the game. There have been a couple of big offseason moves, which could lead to a couple of dangerous changes to the MLB landscape next season. The Tigers signed Torii Hunter, an aging outfielder who is coming off of his best offensive producing year, who still feels he has plenty to contribute. He will likely take over in right field, and the returning Victor Martinez will come back from his knee injury to be the Tigers DH. The return of V-Mart to the Tigers could very well be the unifying spark that sends the Tigers over the hump. Also, the Miami Marlins (who grossly under-performed and are basically selling off any halfway good parts of their team to other teams) are in the middle of a huge trade to the Toronto Blue Jays, which would see the Jays receive Josh Johnson, Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle, making their team look an awful lot like last years Marlins. These are just the first few big moves that are likely this offseason, and it’s already making me excited for next season, besides having the opportunity to wipe away the bad memories of the Tigers horrid performance in the World Series. Fingers crossed.
Hockey: Yes, the lockout is still a thing, and no, it doesn’t look any better. Honestly, the whole season is likely lost, because there doesn’t seem to be any sort of movement from either side, and really, since the Winter Classic has been cancelled, I don’t really want them to come back. But, with the lockout has come a ton of players going to Europe to play hockey, including Wayne Simmonds and Chris Stewart, who were both playing in the Czech Republic, but have both left the team, with some citing some racial issues as the catalyst for their leaving. The bulk of Czech fans have apologized to Simmonds, but the problem still happened, and even if it was just a few ignorant, unruly fans, it still happened. Both men have since left the team, citing other reasons for their departure (which while they may be real concerns, seem to be a front for the social issues both men have faced).
And one to go out on!
MMA: For years, Dana White, UFC President, stated that he didn’t see a future for Women’s MMA in the UFC, and considered it a niche interest in the sport, and nothing that could be viable long term. Well something has changed his mind, and I believe that something is the threat of Ronda Rousey breaking his arm in half with an armbar. The UFC signed Rousey and declared her to be the inaugural UFC Women’s 135-pound champion. Miesha Tate, a rival 135-pound fighter, announced the following day that she has also been signed to a UFC deal. This is coming off the rumors that Strikeforce will be closing their doors in the very near future. I am glad that there will be women’s bouts contested under the UFC banner, as I always felt is was ignorant of Dana White to try and say without question that there would never be women’s fights in the UFC. While the crop of top-level talent may not be as vast as the men’s divisions, the women’s fights are exciting and show a tremendous amount of skill, and usually don’t go to a decision, as opposed to some UFC men, and even champions, who feel content to be boring on their way to a decision. I am very much looking forward to seeing Ronda continue ripping arms off and dominating the UFC Women’s 135-pound division.
That is going to do it for this week’s edition of the Friday Five. Once things settle down in my working life, I’ll be sure to hit you right in the face with a ton of refreshed content, but I don’t want you cats to go without your fix anymore, so I am going to do this thing, and do it hard.
Speaking of which, yours truly will be celebrating his 26th Birthday this Sunday with my best friend at the Green Bay Packers @ Detroit Lions game, and as a test to our friendship, he is a diehard Lions fan, and of course I bleed Green & Gold. Hopefully my fellow Detroiters won’t hold it against me when the Pack rolls over the Lions, since it will be my birthday, but if there’s no Friday Five next week, you’ll know that the friendly football fans of Detroit shanked me.
See you next week, everybody!