The baseball season is only a couple of weeks old and while it’s my favorite sport there are a couple of trends that have bothered me even this early in the season. The first one is hitting a power type of guy in the 2nd spot in the batting order. I understand that in the new sabermetric era of baseball the stolen base doesn’t mean as much and strike outs don’t mean anything at all. Now I’m not saying you need a 100 stolen base a year guy at the top of your batting order like Lou Brock, Rickey Henderson and Maury Wills were, but you at least need a little bit of a speed threat at the top. Now it’s tough to get your running game going when the guy behind him in the batting order is a low contact high strikeout guy. You also wouldn’t want to get a guy thrown out at 2nd base when the guy in the batters box could get you 2 runs with one swing of the bat. Growing up watching baseball the 2nd hitter in your line up was always a guy who could handle the bat. He could hit with 2 strikes on him and would take pitches to see if the runner in front of him could steal a base. If a bunt was needed to move the runner over he could do that or he could hit behind the base runner if needed. Not to mention that he would be one of if not the best defensive player on your team. Do these type of baseball players still exist? and could they help a team win games? I can understand a team like the Cincinnati Reds putting Joey Votto in the two-hole. While he’ll hit his share of home runs, he’ll take pitches, he makes contact and doesn’t strikeout a lot. Now teams like the Houston Astros and Chicago Cubs are going with higher strikeout guys in the 2nd spot of their batting order. With Jose Altuve coming off of a career year in 2014 you’d think the Astros would like a guy hitting behind him who could give him a chance to steal a base or get himself in scoring position another way. It’s George Springer who’s hitting 2nd in the Astros batting order. In 10 games this season Springer is hitting .135 with 16 strikeouts and is tied for the most strikeouts. The Cubs have Dexter Fowler in the lead off spot and while he’s not a big stolen base guy he can easily get to 30 steals a season. Jorge Soler has been hitting behind Fowler quite a bit early in the season and while his batting average is good (.294) he’s struck out 11 time in 9 games. I’ve heard the reasoning of getting the guy a few extra at bats, but wouldn’t it be more important to score runs and win games over getting extra at bats for a guy. The other trend that is driving me crazy this season is hitting the pitcher in the 8th spot. There are pretty much only two reason this happens. The first one is because your manager has no confidence at all in your starting pitcher and he wants him a spot up in the batting order so he can get him out of the game an inning earlier. The second reason would be because your manager is looking for cheap attention from the media. There are always questions for a manager when the pitcher isn’t hitting 9th and the only one who can answer them is the manager; so he gets the media attention he’s looking for. Even this early in the season I’ve seen this come back to hurt teams, Now if there are runner on 2nd and 3rd with 2 outs they would probably walk the 8th place hitter to get to the pitchers spot anyway, but on a couple of occasions the pitcher has come up with the bases loaded and 2 outs. If this was an actual 8th place hitter there would be a chance for the team to score some runs, but with the pitcher up; he’s as close to an automatic out as there is in baseball. There are 3 pitchers with 3 hits so far this season, but would you rather have them at the plate or your regular 8th place hitter. Here’s hoping these teams wake up and stop trying to re-invent baseball and concentrate more on putting there teams in better positions to win.

The NBA playoffs get started this afternoon with the 1st of 4 games on the schedule today. The Washington Wizards and the Toronto Raptors kick things off today. They are followed by the New Orleans Pelicans against the Golden State Warriors. The 3rd game on the schedule today is the Milwaukee Bucks against the Chicago Bulls and the night wraps up with the Dallas Mavericks against the Houston Rockets. The other 8 playoff teams get started on Sunday and their schedule looks like this. It’s the Boston Celtics vs. The Cleveland Cavaliers to start the day. That game is followed by the Brooklyn Nets taking on the Atlanta Hawks. The 3rd game on Sunday is the Portland Trailblazers vs. The Memphis Grizzlies and the final game is the San Antonio Spurs against the Los Angeles Clippers.

Now I saw the odds that Las Vegas has put up on who will win the NBA title and they didn’t give the best odds to either of the #1 seeds in the conferences. It’s the Cavaliers who open as the 9 to 4 favorite to win the title. The Warriors are 2nd at 5-2 with the defending champion Spurs next at 4-1. The team with the best record in the Eastern conference Atlanta is 12-1 while the Bulls, Clippers and Rockets are all 14-1 odds. The Grizzlies are 25-1 odds while the Raptors and Trailblazers are 50-1 odds and the Mavericks and Wizards landing at 60-1 odds. If you like a long shot how about the Pelicans at 100-1 or at 200-1 you can have the Bucks, Celtics or Nets to win it all. So with the betting odds posted I figured I’d get Dan the Man and Schaumburg Stu along with myself to make our picks on who will win. Here’s what we came up with. Dan the Man has both of the #1 seeds going to the finals; so it’s Atlanta and Golden State for Dan with Golden State winning. Schaumburg Stu went with Cleveland out of the East and Golden State out of the West with Golden State winning the title. I like the Cavaliers to get to the finals out of the East and the Spurs to get to the finals out of the West with the Spurs repeating as NBA champions. Who do you have?

You can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

Listen to Sports Time Radio on http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com

Originally posted on Monarchs to Grays to Crawfords:

HOG

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) today announced the 2015 class of inductees into its Hall of Game. The announcement was made on the historic 95th anniversary of the founding of the Negro Leagues in Kansas City, Mo., by Andrew “Rube” Foster.

Established by the NLBM in 2014, the Hall of Game annually honors former Major League Baseball (MLB) players who competed with the same passion, determination, flair and skill exhibited by the heroes of the Negro Leagues. This year’s class includes stolen-base king Rickey Henderson, Hall of Fame pitcher Ferguson “Fergie” Jenkins, three-time All-Star Luis Tiant Jr. and defensive “wizard” Ozzie Smith. The four MLB greats will be inducted in ceremonies at the Gem Theater (1615 E. 18th Street, KC, Mo.) at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 25, and Hy-Vee, Inc., for the second consecutive year, will be the presenting sponsor.

The exciting…

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This is the first time we’ve tried this; so the results might be interesting to some. I sent Dan the Man, Mr. Fantasy and Schaumburg Stu stat lines for 5 Centers/Forwards, 5 Defenseman and 5 Goalies and asked them to rank them in order best to worse. A player got 5 points for being ranked 1st, 4 for 2nd, 3 for 3rd, 2 for 2nd and 1 for 5th. I also awarded .5 of a point for any player getting a 1st place vote to help break any ties. Now the NHL hands out quite a few awards, but we went with just three. We chose an MVP (Hart Trophy), a top defenseman (Norris Trophy) and the best Goalie (Vezina Trophy). Here’s how the voting turned out. I’ll put the players point total next to his name in parenthesis.

Most Valuable Player or Hart Trophy

Alex Ovechkin (14), Washington Capitals. Ovechkin played in 81 games, scored 53 goals, 28 assists for 81 points. He was a +10, had 25 power play points and 11 game winning goals.

The other vote getters. John Tavares (12) New York Islanders, Jamie Benn (11.5) Dallas Stars, Sidney Crosby (5) Pittsburgh Penguins and Jakub Vorachek (4) Philadelphia Flyers.

Norris Trophy, best Defenseman.

P.K. Subban (15), Montreal Canadiens. Subban played in 82 games, scored 15 goals with 45 assists for 60 points. He was a +21 had 8 power play points and scored 5 game winning goals.

The other vote getters. Erik Karlsson (10) Ottawa Senators, Brent Burns (9) San Jose Sharks, Oliver Ekman-Larsson (8.5) Arizona Coyotes and Keith Yandle (4) New York Rangers.

Vezina Trophy, best Goalie.

Carey Price (16.5) Montreal Canadiens. Price was our only unanimous choice. He played in 66 games and went 44-16-6. His Goals Against Average was 1.96 with a Save Percentage of .933 and had 9 shutouts.

The other vote getters. Marc-Andre Fleury (9), Pittsburgh Penguins. Devon Dubnyk (9), Minnesota Wild, Braden Holtby (8) Washington Capitals and Pekka Rinne (4) Nashville Predators.

There you go agree, disagree? You can leave a comment or let me know on Twitter @Burketime

You can listen to the Sports Time Radio podcast on http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com

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The NFL draft is just 15 days away. Remember it starts on Thursday now and runs through Sunday. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers have the #1 pick and they should take a quarterback. It still appears that they’re leaning towards Jameis Winston the former Florida State quarterback. There has been a couple of reports that Tampa Bay may go with the Heisman Trophy winner Marcus Mariota over Winston, but I think they’ll take Winston #1. While there is no question at all that Tampa Bay is keeping and using there pick the same can’t be said about the #2 pick in the draft. That #2 pick belongs to the Tennessee Titans and the  rumors are beginning to fly on who wants that pick and what they might give up to get it. Let’s just work our way down the draft order and try to cover who might move up to #2. The New York Jets have the #6 pick and I heard a report that the Jets would deal that pick along with a 2nd rounder and a couple of their defensive players to move up to the 2nd pick. The Chicago Bears have the #7 pick and there have been reports that the Bears would trade that pick along with quarterback Jay Cutler and a 3rd round draft pick to move up to the 2nd pick. The St. Louis Rams have been mentioned, but I haven’t seen any reports on what the Rams might have to give up to move up to #2 in the draft. The Rams own the #10 pick in the 1st round, but did acquire Nick Foles from the Philadelphia Eagles this off season; so I don’t know why they’d be interested in moving up to #2. The Cleveland Browns have two 1st round picks; the 12th and the 19th pick. I heard a report that the Browns might be willing to deal those two 1st round picks plus a 2nd round pick in 2016 too move up to #2. The San Diego Chargers have the 17th pick in the 1st round and I heard yesterday that Phillip Rivers may be on the trading block. You’d guess the Chargers would have to send Rivers, the 17th pick and maybe another draft pick to Tennessee if they wanted to move up to #2. Then we get to the Eagles who have the 20th pick in the 1st round, but I heard a report that Chip Kelly may be willing to give up 3 1st round draft picks to move up to #2. That’s quite a few rumors and if Tennessee is interested in trading the #2 pick it doesn’t look like they’ll have any trouble finding a trade partner. I guess the question would then become are Winston or Mariota worth that price tag and would they turn into the franchise quarterback that a team would be moving up to get. There is good reason not to be sold on either of these guys; so I’m not at all sure why a team would give up that abundance of picks to move up to get one of these guys. Instead of dealing away a boat load of draft picks to move up teams might be better off sitting tight and see if a quarterback like Brett Hundley from UCLA, Bryce Petty from Baylor, or Garrett Grayson from Colorado State is your draft board come the 2nd or 3rd round. I’ve even heard some draft experts say that Sean Mannion out of Oregon State may turn into a good pro quarterback and he should be on the most teams draft boards in the 4th or 5th round. I guess if your advanced scouting has Winston and Mariota as franchise type quarterbacks then it would make sense to give up the draft picks you’d have to give up to move up in the draft and get your guy. I actually think the team that doesn’t make that deal might be just as well off drafting a quarterback in one of the later rounds. Whatever happens come April 30th the big winner here is Tennessee.

There are 14 games on the NBA schedule tonight and it’s also the last day of the regular season. Now 14 of the 16 playoff spots are locked up, but there are 4 teams in contention for those last 2 playoff spots. In the Eastern conference the Indiana Pacers are 38-43 and hold a 1 game lead over the Brooklyn Nets who are 37-44. Indiana won 99-95 over the Washington Wizards last night in double overtime and now they have to turn around and play Memphis Grizzlies. The Nets have an earlier game against the Orlando Magic; so the Pacers will know that outcome before they take the court tonight. Of course the team that ends up with the 8th seed draws the Atlanta hawks in the 1st round of the playoffs. Over in the Western conference it’s the New Orleans Pelicans who are holding onto the 8th spot right now. New Orleans and the Oklahoma City Thunder have the same record of 44-37, but New Orleans owns the tiebreaker and would take the 8th seed if both teams end the season with the same record. Oklahoma City is playing the Minnesota Timberwolves tonight. The Timberwolves have the worst record in the NBA at 16-66; so it’s a game Oklahoma City should win. New Orleans on the other hand is matched up against the defending champion San Antonio Spurs tonight. San Antonio is currently in the 3rd spot in the Western conference and you have to wonder if it is important to them to even move up to the 2nd spot. There is a chance that San Antonio will rest it’s starters and just get ready for the playoffs. The Oklahoma City and New Orleans games tip off at the same time; so neither team will know the outcome of the others game until they’re done. Should make for an interesting night of basketball for some NBA teams.

The NHL playoffs get started tonight (Wednesday) with 4 games on the ice. Here’s the match ups for tonight it’s the  Montreal Canadiens vs. the Ottawa Senators. The New York Islanders vs. the Washington Capitals. The Chicago Blackhawks vs. the Nashville Predators and the Calgary Flames vs. the Vancouver Canucks. The rest of the series get started tomorrow (Thursday with the Pittsburgh Penguins vs. the New York Rangers. The Detroit Red Wings vs. the Tampa Bay Lighting. The Winnipeg Jets vs. the Anaheim Ducks and the Minnesota Wild vs. the St. Louis Blues. The NHL always seems to have some upsets in the 1st round; so which top seeds may fall? While my predictions haven’t been all that great as of late I’m going to give it another shot here. I’ll take the Tampa Bay Lighting in the Eastern conference and even though it’s a huge homer pick I’ll take the Chicago Blackhawks out of the Western conference. Who’s going to hoist Lord Stanley’s cup at the end of the playoffs well I have to go with the Blackhawks to bring the cup bacl to Chicago.

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How was your Week?

Posted: April 11, 2015 in sports

Even though it’s a short week for baseball I decided that we’d have a Sports Time Radio fantasy player and pitcher of the week. Even though most teams have 4 or 5 games in it was surprisingly easy to pick a player of the week. Our 1st ever fantasy player of the week is Adrian Gonzalez, 1st baseman Los Angeles Dodgers. In 4 games Gonzalez is 11 for 16 with 2 doubles, 5 home runs, 7 RBI’s and he also scored 7 runs. I don’t think it’s even possible to continue at this pace, but it was a heck of a start to the season. It was a little more difficult to find a pitcher since no starter has made a 2nd start this week; so I went with a closer., Aroldis Chapman of the Cincinnati Reds is the 1st Sports Time Radio fantasy pitcher of the week. Chapman appeared in 4 games covering 4 innings. Chapman picked up 1 win and saved 2 games while allowing 2 hits and striking out 7 batters. Chapman didn’t walk a batter and his WHIP starts off at 0.500.  There you go our first two award winners. Do you agree with our picks?

We hardly if ever talk about golf on the podcast, but it’s Masters weekend in Augusta Georgia and through 2 rounds Jordan Spieth is leading the tournament by 5 shots going into Saturday’s round. Charlie Hoffman is 2nd at 9 under par while 3 golfers Justin Rose, Dustin Johnson and Paul Casey are each 7 under par, but find themselves 7 shots behind the leader Spieth. Spieth went out on Thursday and put up a 8 under par 64 then he followed that up with a 6 under par 66 to get to 14 under par and give himself a lead that may be insurmountable. Spieth has made 42 birdies, 56 pars and 3 Bogeys on his way to 14 under par. Spieth finished 2nd last year in this tournament and he’d be the first golfer since Ben Crenshaw to win the Masters the year after finishing 2nd. Since we’re talking about golf we have to mention Tiger Woods who is playing in this weeks tournament. Woods shot 73 (+1) on Thursday and then cane back with a 69 (-3) on Friday to get to 2 under par and is tied for 19 place going into today’s round. 

It’s always kind of fun to look at the early season standings and see the teams at the top that no one thought would be there. Now these teams probably won’t be there in the end, but at least they got off to a good start. In the American League there are 2 teams with 4-0 records. The Kansas City Royals and the Detroit Tigers got their seasons off to quick starts, but I don’t think anyone if surprised these two teams where able to do that. Now in the National League 3 teams jumped out to a 4-0 start and their names that most experts didn’t think would be at the top of the standings even with this few games being played. The Atlanta Braves, Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies have all jumped out to that 4-0 start. Who knows how long these wining streaks will last they could all lose their games today or maybe they’ll make it through the weekend undefeated. Now on the other end of the standings there are 2 teams still looking for their 1st win. Those 2 teams are the Milwaukee Brewers and the Chicago White Sox who are both off to 0-4 starts. The standings don’t mean anything at all right now, but you never know when one of these wins or losses might mean something when the season is all said and done.

Now stats kind of fit into the same boat as the standings right now, but what jumps out is the fact 4 teams are already over 40 strike outs and only 1 team has struck out less than 20 times. The Pittsburgh Pirates and the San Diego Padres have 45 strike outs, but to be fair to the Padres they have played 5 games while Pittsburgh has gotten to that number in just 4 games. On the other end of the strike out ladder it’s the Kansas City Royals who have struck out just 16 times in 4 games so far this season. I know that strike outs don’t really factor into the new baseball sabermetric era and here locally Chicago Cubs general manager Theo Epstein has even dismissed them as unimportant. I’m not as sold on this as some of the new stat guys are. How many times during a season is a guy going to strike out with a runner on 3rd base and 1 out. A fly ball or a ground ball should get your team a run home, but a strike out leaves him standing at 3rd base. I would think putting the baseball in play would be better than striking out. Maybe you hit a ball an outfielder losses in the sun or a ground ball an infielder can;t handle or throws away and you find your way on base because of it. Maybe it’s just me here and I’m nuts, but I’d think almost any other outcome of putting the baseball in play would be better than a strike out.

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The Washington Nationals were pretty much everyone’s pick to win the National League east and the World Series this season. Now there’s no real concern after a 3-1 opening day loss to the New York Mets, but what may become an issue are the Nationals injuries. The Nationals are starting the season with 4 players on the disabled list. Denard Span has been out since March when he had core muscle surgery. Span was the engine that got the Nationals offense rolling last season and there’s a big hole at the top of the order with him out. Span may return at the end of the month, but it may also take him a while to get into game shape against major league pitching. Span missed a big chunk of spring training and you have to wonder if a minor league rehab stint will be needed to get him back on track. Jayson Werth is still recovering from the shoulder surgery he had in January. Werth did hit in some minor league games at the end of March and it shouldn’t be too much longer before he’s able to return to the Nationals line up. Just like Span; you have to wonder how far behind Werth will be since he’s been out for 4 months. Washington needs Werth’s bat back in the middle of their line up and they may get it about the middle of this month. Nate McLouth would’ve been the guy to fill in for Werth, but he’s out as well. McLouth had shoulder surgery in August of 2014 and has a difficult time returning from it. McLouth may be back this month as well, but hiss absence has been twice as long as anyone else and you have to wonder how far away he is from being ready to hit major league pitching. Casey Janssen was brought in by the Nationals to provide a some bullpen support and take some pressure off of closer Drew Storen, but Janssen landed on the DL with right shoulder tendinitis. Janssen is another Nationals player who may return this month, but it’s his throwing arm that’s the issue and you have to wonder if this will hang around all season long with Janssen. Storen had some injury issues as well during spring training, but didn’t end up on the DL. With Janssen out and Storen having some issues; what kind of shape is the Washington bullpen in? Anthony Rendon was talked about as being the break out player of 2015, but his year has started on the DL with an MCL sprain in left knee. When Rendon first got hurt it was reported as minor and that he would miss a few days. Then the report changed to Rendon would miss the rest of spring training, but he should be good to go for the start of the season. Then as the season was getting ready to start Rendon went on the DL with his time table being set for a possibly April return. Rendon has avoided knee surgery and the Nationals are right to be very careful, but they’re also missing a huge piece of their line up. On the plus side for the Nationals none of their starting pitchers have ended up getting injury. That may be enough to keep them in games and get them some wins early in the season, but with Soan, Werth and Rendon’s bats on the sidelines they’re going to have to find ways to score runs. There’s nothing that can derail a teams run more than injuries to their key guys.

NASCAR took the week off last weekend, but they return Saturday in Texas for what has to be Dan the Man’s favorite race. the Duck Commander 500 at the 1.5 mile Texas motor speedway. Chris Olmstead from http://www.BeyondtheFlag.com will join our podcast Friday night around 10:30 p.m. to preview this race for you. It’s a full weekend in Texas for NASCAR. On Thursday from 4:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. there’s NASCAR Xfinity practice. The Xfinity drivers return from 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m. for their final practice. Friday has a full day of activity starting at 11:30 a.m. with NASCAR Sprint Cup Series practice. At 2:00 p.m. the Sprint Cup drivers hit the track again for their final practice. At 4:45 p.m. it’s time for NASCAR Xfinity Series Coors Light Pole Qualifying. After the Xfinity guys qualify the NASCAR drivers get back on the track around 6:45 p.m. for their qualifying runs. Friday night wraps up with the NASCAR Xfinity Series O’Reily Auto Parts 300. Then on Saturday night the Sprint Cup drivers will go 334 laps or 501 miles in the Duck Commander 500.

Now normally on the podcast it’s Dan the Man who comes up with the conspiracy theories, but I actually have one of my own. Yesterday the St. Louis Cardinals and the Chicago Cubs had a night game schedule at Wrigley Field. Just a little after Noon I turned on the MLB Network to catch some updates and on their crawler at the bottom of the screen there was an announcement saying the Cubs/Cardinals game had been postponed. They where siting the weather that they predicted would hit the Chicago area. While it would’ve been a tough night to play baseball the rain and wind that was being forecasts to hit Chicago area didn’t. These two teams have another game scheduled for this afternoon and the weather outside is just as bad as it was last night and there is rain in the forecast. So the question is; will they play today’s game? Now there was no make up date announced for yesterday’s day and why do I have a feeling that the date will be after the construction at Wrigley Field is done. I’m pretty sure you can see what I’m implying here. I wouldn’t be shocked at all if today’s game ends up being called off because of the predicted weather. Even though Wrigley Field didn’t look bad on television Sunday night it obviously isn’t in the condition the team would like it to be. Not to mention the more games they can play after construction is done the more people they can squeeze into the ballpark. All you have to do is remember that Cash Rules Everything Around Me!

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The baseball off season was very exciting in Chicago. The Cubs went out and signed the top starting pitcher on the market (Jon Lester) to a 6 year $155 million dollar deal. They also signed Jason Hammel to a 2 year $20 million dollar deal to round out the starting rotation. The Cubs also sent Dan Straily and Luis Valbuena to the Houston Astros to get centerfielder Dexter Fowler. Now not to be out done the White Sox added 3 players of their own. They signed left handed power hitter Adam LaRoche to a 2 year $25 million dollar deal. They also inked Melky Cabrera to a 3 year $42 million dollar free agent deal. Then the White Sox sent Rangel Ravelo, Chris Bassitt, Josh Phegley and Marcus Semien to the Oakland A’s for starting pitcher Jeff Samardzija.

Now after these signings and deals most if not all fans of Chicago baseball where looking forward to opening day. Well opening day was Sunday night for the Cubs and yesterday (Monday) for the White Sox. Both teams lost their opener. The Cubs 3-0 to the St. Louis Cardinals and the White Sox 10-1 to the Kansas City Royals. Now what surprised me was how after each of these losses was how quickly the excitement that was there in the off season quickly turned to negativity and dislike for each team.

We have two radio stations in Chicago that cover sports 24/7. There’s the one that offers national coverage with a couple of local shows added in; this is the one Dan the Man listens to. Then there’s the station that focuses on just Chicago teams and that’s the one I listen to. I was actually caught off guard with some of the callers to the overnight show I was listening to after both games. I heard everything from wait until next year to the Cubs wasted their money on Lester and the White Sox made a bad trade for Samardzija. It was just 1 game. There are 161 more games left this season.

The Cubs had some good scoring chances and just didn’t get that hit when they needed it. Do fans really think the Cubs will go 0-13 with runners in scoring position every game. They should also factor in that the pitcher they where facing was Adam Wainwright; who is a Top 10 or maybe even a Top 5 pitcher in baseball. Now Lester didn’t have a great outing, but he found a way to limit the damage when he had to. Remember that Lester had some dead arm issues towards the end of spring training and he has to work his way through that. There where 2 things that concerned me with the 1st Cubs game. Lester not being able to make pick off throws to the bases is one. Now he he doesn’t let any runners get on base this won’t be an issues, but you’d have to think that any team who gets a runner on against him would take a shot at stealing a base. The other one was the batting order. I’ve heard all of the reasoning for hitting the pitcher 8th and they always sound like excuses to me. It came back to bite the Cubs a little as Lester came up with a runner in scoring position and 2 outs. Now 1st base was open and they could’ve worked around a guy to get to Lester anyway, but there was no decision involved with Lester at the plate because he was in the 8th spot. I think this move was Joe Maddon trying to prove he’s a wacky guy and he’ll go against the grain. Or it was just a sad cry for attention.

With the White Sox it looks like it was a bad outing for your pitchers. Samardzija really struggled through 6 innings giving up 5 runs on 6 hits while striking out just 1 batter. Samardzija had some control issues as well as he walked 3; hit 2 batters and uncorked a wild pitch. The fans will dump all of the blame on Samardzija since he was the big guy they picked up in the off season, but the 2 pitchers who followed him weren’t any better. The White Sox picked up Dan Jennings to help shore up the bullpen and get lefties out. Jennings struggled on opening day just like Samardzija did. Jennings pitched 2/3rds of an inning gave up 3 runs on just 1 hit while walking 2 (1 intentionally) and striking out 1. Kyle Drabek was the next White Sox pitcher out of the bullpen. Drabek pitched an 1 1/3rd giving up 2 runs on 6 hits with 1 strikeout. Call it opening day jitters or just a bad outing, but don’t forget that the Royals are the defending American League champions and while they haven’t gotten a lot of respect from the baseball experts this off season maybe they’re better than people thought. Maybe you could add in that Yordano Ventura was the Royals opening day starter and he’s an up and coming pitcher in the game of baseball. Ventura along with Kelvin Herrera, Wade Davis and Ryan Madson held the White Sox to 5 hits, but 1 of them was a Jose Abreu home run. If yoou noticed last season that’s the Royals formula for winning. 6 innings out of the starter and an inning each out of 3 relievers to wrap the game up. Hopefully White Sox fans can let this game go unless you think Samardzija is as bad as he was on opening day.

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S.T.R. 2015 MLB Predictions

Posted: April 5, 2015 in sports

And away we go into the start of the 2015 baseball season. As the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals kick things off tonight in Wrigley Field our group here at Sports Time Radio is throwing out our predictions on who’s going to win what this season. It is of course Dan the Man, Mr. Fantasy, Schaumburg Stu and The Big Jack making these predictions. Will start with the divisions and then looks at their choices for the individual awards.

A.L. East
Stu has 1) Boston 2) Baltimore 3) New York 4) Toronto 5) Tampa Bay

Dan has 1) Baltimore 2) Boston 3) Toronto 4) New York 5) Tampa Bay

Mr. Fantasy has 1) Toronto 2) Boston 3) Baltimore 4) New York 5) Tampa Bay

The Big Jack has 1) Boston 2) Toronto 3) Baltimore 4) Tampa Bay 5) New York

A.L. Central
Stu has 1) Detroit 2) Chicago 3) Cleveland 4) Kansas City 5) Minnesota

Dan has 1) Detroit 2) Cleveland 3) Chicago 4) Kansas City 5) Minnesota

Mr. Fantasy has 1) Detroit 2) Chicago 3) Cleveland 4) Kansas City 5) Minnesota

The Big Jack has 1) Chicago 2) Cleveland 3) Kansas City 4) Detroit 5) Minnesota

A.L. West
Stu has 1) Los Angeles 2) Seattle 3) Oakland 4) Texas 5) Houston

Dan has 1) Los Angeles 2) Seattle 3) Oakland 4) Texas 5) Houston

Mr. Fantasy has 1) Seattle 2) Los Angeles 3) Oakland 4) Houston 5) Texas

The Big Jack has 1) Seattle 2) Los Angeles 3) Oakland 4) Houston 5) Texas

A.L. Wild Card teams
Stu has Baltimore and Seattle, Dan has Cleveland and Boston, Mr. Fantasy has Los Angeles and Boston and The Big Jack has Toronto and Cleveland.

N.L. East
Stu has 1) Washington 2) Miami 3) New York 4) Atlanta 5) Philadelphia

Dan has 1) Washington 2) New York 3) Miami 4) Atlanta 5) Philadelphia

Mr. Fantasy has 1) Washington 2) Miami 3) New York 4) Atlanta 5) Philadelphia

The Big Jack has 1) Washington 2) Miami 3) New York 4) Atlanta 5) Philadelphia

N.L. Central
Stu has 1) St. Louis 2) Pittsburgh 3) Chicago 4) Milwaukee 5) Cincinnati

Dan has 1) St. Louis 2) Pittsburgh 3) Chicago 4) Milwaukee 5) Cincinnati

Mr. Fantasy has 1) St. Louis 2) Pittsburgh 3) Chicago 4) Milwaukee 5) Cincinnati

The Big Jack has 1) St. Louis 2) Chicago 3) Pittsburgh 4) Milwaukee 5) Cincinnati

N.L. West
Stu has 1) Los Angeles 2) San Francisco 3) San Diego 4) Colorado 5) Arizona

Dan has 1) San Francisco 2) Los Angeles 3) San Diego 4) Arizona 5) Colorado

Mr. Fantasy has 1) Los Angeles 2) San Diego 3) San Francisco 4) Arizona 5) Colorado

The Big Jack has 1) Los Angeles 2) San Francisco 3) San Diego 4) Arizona 5) Colorado

N.L. Wild Card teams
Stu has Pittsburgh and San Francisco, Dan has Los Angeles and Pittsburgh, Mr. Fantasy has San Diego and Pittsburgh and The Big Jack has Miami and San Francisco.

A.L. Winner
Stu has Los Angeles, Dan has Los Angeles, Mr. Fantasy has Toronto and The Big Jack has Seattle.

N.L. Winner
Stu has Washington, Dan has Los Angeles, Mr. Fantasy has Washington and The Big Jack has Washington.

World Series winner
Stu has Washington, Dan has Los Angeles (Dodgers), Mr. Fantasy has Washington and The Big Jack has Seattle.

Now their picks for the individual awards.

Manager of the Year
Stu has Joe Madddon in the N.L. and Robin Ventura in the A.L.

Dan the Man has Don Mattingly in the N.L. and Mike Scioscia in the A.L.

Mr. Fantasy has Matt Williams in the N.L. and John Gibbons in the A.L.

The Big Jack has Mike Redmond in the N.L. and John Gibbons in the A.L.

Rookie of the Year
Stu has Kris Bryant in the N.L. and Rusney Castillo in the A.L.

Dan the Man has Kris Bryant in the N.L. and Steven Souza in the A.L.

Mr. Fantasy has Jake Lamb in the N.L. and Francisco Lindor in the A.L.

The Big Jack has Joc Pederson in the N.L. and Daniel Norris in the A.L.

Cy Young award
Stu has Jon Lester in the N.L. and Chris Sale in the A.L.

Dan has Madison Bumgarner in the N.L. and Felix Hernandez in the A.L.

The Big Jack has Henderson Alvarez in the N.L. and Clay Buchholz in the A.L.

Most Valuable Player award
Stu has Giancarlo Stanton in the N.L. and Robinson Cano in the A.L.

Dan has Buster Posey in the N.L. and Jose Abreu in the A.L.

Mr. Fantasy has Giancarlo Stanton in the N.L. and Josh Donaldson in the A.L.

The Big Jack has Bryce Harper in the N.L. and Jose Abreu in the A.L.

There they are; let’s see how we do. Listen to Sports Time Radio at http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com

How was your Week

Posted: April 4, 2015 in sports

So are you willing to pay $99.95 for the biggest fight boxing has had in I can’t remember how long. That’s what it’s going to cost you on pay per view to see the Floyd Mayweather vs. Manny Pacquiao fight on May 2nd. It’s looking like this will be the highest grossing event in pay per view history; at least that’s what’s being predicted. If this fight would’ve happened 5 year ago I’d be a lot more excited about it. The two camps could never agree to terms and boxing fans where left wondering what if and now 5 year down the road I’m not sure any of those questions will be answered. Mayweather comes into the fight undefeated at 47-0 with 26 wins by knockout. He’s the pound for pound the #1 ranked fighter in the world along with being the WBC and WBA welterweight champion. Pacquiao comes into the fight with a record of 57-5-2 with 38 wins by knockout. Pacquiao is ranked as the #6 pound for pound fighter in the world and is the WBO #1 welterweight contender. Mayweather has won his last 5 fights by unanimous decision while Pacquiao is 3-2 in his last 5 fights, but has also won his last 3 fights by unanimous decision. It’s been interesting listening to people pick a winner in this fight. Every expert I’ve heard has said Mayweather will win this fight by no surprise here unanimous decision. Oddly though a lot of them have said they’re opening rooting for Pacquiap to win this fight. What are the chances this fight ends in a draw and we don’t find out who the better fighter is. Would there be a Mayweather vs. Pacquiao #2? Estimates have said this fight will make over $400 million dollars. I can tell you that they won’t be getting my $99.95 to watch the pay per view. I forgot to mention it’s $99.95 for the HD pay per view; you can save $10 dollars if you order the non HD pay per view.

If you’ve listened to the Sports Time Radio podcast you know that I’m a fan of Johnny Manziel. This week there was an article that came out by one of the experts at the Mickey Mouse network saying the Cleveland Browns where 90% done with Manziel. Manziel was the 22nd pick in the 1st round of last years draft. He played in 2 games last season and he wasn’t good. 18 for 35 for 175 yards with 0 touchdowns and 2 interceptions. Manziel also ran the football 9 times for 29 yards and scored 1 touchdown. This is a pretty small sample size for a team to give up on a 1st round draft pick. Manziel has an interesting skill set at quarterback that can be difficult to coach at the NFL level. If you’re old enough he should remind you a little of Fran Tarkenton. Now I’m not saying that he’ll ever be as good as Tarkenton was, but he has a similar skill set. The Browns gave up the 26th overall pick last years draft along with a 3rd round pick; the 83 overall pick in last years draft to move up and draft Manziel. While Cleveland didn’t pay a huge price to move up in the draft and get Manziel, but I’m not sure Cleveland knows what they have in Manziel. Now I’m not saying that this is the case here, but the Mickey Mouse network has speculated on stories before then one of their other shows have then picked up and reported as actual news and you’ve got yourself a story. I haven’t heard anything from the Browns organization on this; so we’ll have to wait and see what they actually do, but if you’re a fan of the Browns wouldn’t you have to question the draft process for wasting a 1st round pick on a guy who you didn’t get anything out of.

It’s being reported that ESPN or as we call it on the podcast “The Mickey Mouse Network” has agreed to buy a stake in the daily fantasy site DraftKings. ESPN has agreed to invest hundreds of millions of dollars for up to a 20 percent stake in DraftKings. The major investment will be part of the daily fantasy sports operator’s next round of venture capital financing in May. In return for their investment DraftKings will sign a three-year advertising commitment that will, in turn, pay hundreds of millions back to ESPN. It appears that ESPN chose to work with DraftKings after executives for both DraftKings and FanDuel pitched their companies and their business prospects to senior ESPN executives, including President John Skipper.It looks like ESPN went with DraftKings over FanDuel is a less cluttered and conflicting ownership structure. DraftKings’ last round of financing, a $41 million Series C last summer, was led by venture capital groups such as The Raine Group and prior investors such as Atlas Venture and Redpoint Ventures. FanDuel, by comparison, already has media partners among its investor group as Comcast Ventures and NBC Sports Ventures participated in its $70 million Series D that closed in September, and Rick Cordella, NBC Sports Group senior vice president of digital media, is a board observer for the company. Daily fantasy sites like DraftKings and FanDuel are trying to find a way to distance themselves from being considered online gambling. Both companies have worked with the major sports themselves and now DraftKings is working with one of the top if not the top sports network in the world. Can or will an agreement like this separate these sites from the comparisons they continue to get online poker.

Thanks to Sports Business Daily for providing me with the monetary numbers and company names involved in the deal between ESPN and DraftKings.

Tomorrow (Sunday) I will post our predictions for the 2015 baseball season.

Listen to Sports Time Radio on BlogTalkRadio.com and you can follow me on Twitter @Burketime

The Best: Craig Kimbrel, Atlanta Braves. 4 straight seasons of 42 or more saves for Kimbrel puts him at the top of the list. While his streak of 42 or more saves may end this season, but not because of Kimbrel himself. The Braves don’t look like they’ll be a very good team this season; so that might end the streak. There is a chance that with the Braves rebuilding on the fly they might deal Kimbrel which would be a big plus for his fantasy owner. While Kimbrel’s value may be a little down this season from the last few he’s still the best closer in baseball and should be the first closer selected in any draft.

Underrated: Huston Street, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. It’s tough to believe that you can be underrated after getting 41 saves, but you never hear Street’s name mentioned among the top closers in the game. Street is entering his 11th season and has 275 career saves. Street picked up 24 saves with the San Diego Padres and had an ERA of 1.09 before being traded to the Angels. With the Angels he added 17 saves and posted an ERA of 1.71. Street doesn’t strike out a lot of guys and that may be why experts look past him at times, but he’ll get your fantasy teams saves. How many of you remember that Street was the 2005 RoY while closing for the Oakland A’s.

Bounce Back: Koji Uehara, Boston Red Sox. Uehara’s save total did go up last season from 21 in 2013 to 26 in 2014, but his ERA also went up from 1.09 in 2013 to 2.52 in 2014; he also pitched less games in 2014 64 to 2013 when he pitched in 73 games. With the A.L. East wide open this season the Red Sox need Uehara to be a top closer and approach the 35 to 40 save range. Uehara had some health issues last season; so he’ll need to make sure those are in the rear view mirror as the 2015 season opens. If you think the Red Sox will contend in the A.L. East this season Uehara is a good pick for you. If your thinking the Red Sox won’t be a factor in the A.L. East race you may want to look for another closer.

Stay Away from: Jonathan Papelbon, Philadelphia Phillies. There is actually nothing that Papelbon has done to end up in this category, but it’s the team he’s on that’s the issue. It looks like the Phillies might lose 95 to 100 games in 2015; so how many save opportunities is Papelbon going to get. While Papelbon has lost some velocity on his fastball he has learned how to get major league hitters out with his other pitches and can still close games. If the Phillies decide to move on from Papelbon and he gets dealt to a contender his value as a closer will rise, but as long as he’s closing for Philadelphia look somewhere else for your fantasy saves.