A Fan of the Game

Sports Talk, Straight Talk

And It All Comes Down To This…

With the summer coming to an end and all the hype about the upcoming fall lineup, let’s not forget about what baseball fans consider to be the best time of the year. On September 1st, teams across the MLB will call up young prospects and players who they feel will help their push for the pennant, as the rosters increase from 25 players to 40 players. With all but one division up for grabs, who knows what the month of September could entail for the avid baseball fans.

In April, no one could have predicted that on August 26th the Rays would be leading the AL East and that the Marlins would be only 5.5 games out of first place in the NL East. With the Rays being lead by a mix of young up and coming athletes and those veterans that have stuck around while there were more players on the field than fans in the stadium, and the Marlins, who after losing Miguel Cabrera were basically overlooked by everyone at the beginning of the season, the state of Florida as witnessed one of the most improbable summers. The Rays are second in power rankings and have won more games this season than any season before, and the closer we get to October, it looks like Tropicana Field is going to be able to host its first playoff game in team history. The Marlins are being lead by the left side of their infield. Jorge Cantu, replacing the departed Miguel Cabrera, and Hanley Ramirez, who together have 50 home runs and are both batting close to .300 on the season, have led the Marlins just 5.5 games back of the East leading Mets. With 6 games left (3 home, 3 away) with both the Mets and the Phillies, the next 5 weeks are gonna be of much importance to the Marlins. A series sweep to either team, and you can possibly count the Marlins out.

The one question that remains to be asked is if the title is coming back to Chicago. Both teams currently lead their respecitive divisons, and right now the Chicago Cubs are the front runners in the National League. Having won 8 straight series, and the Brewers and the Cardinals meeting up in St. Louis this week, the Cubs have a good chance of extending their division leading record over both the Brewers and the Cards. The Chicago White Sox are locked in a battle with the Minnesota Twins. The White Sox need to take advantage of the Twins extended road trip, the longest in some 39 years. The White Sox need to win as many games now because starting on September 15th, the White Sox head for a 10 game roadtrip, which include their last stop at Yankee Stadium for a four game series, and a quick stop inside the Metrodome, with a series with the Royals in between. Saying both Chicago teams are going to make it into October is a stretch, but odds are, at least one of them will.

Out west, the Angels have their division wrapped up. All three teams in their division, are over 15 games out of first place, and with their pickup of Mark Teixiera, its safe to say the Angels are in the playoffs. The Dbacks and the Dodgers have been flip-flopping back and forth all season long. The Dbacks picked up Adam Dunn and the Dodgers picked up Manny Ramirez, so expect both teams to be competing long into September.

Sports fans, its time to sit back and relax as we are getting ready to hit the most exciting time of the MLB season. Lets see if the Rays can hold onto their division lead, and get used to hearing Steve Goodman’s “Go Cubs Go” because simply, the Cubs are unbeatable at the friendly confines of Wrigley Field, and are basically a lock to be playing late into October.

-Nathan

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August 26, 2008 Posted by | Baseball | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Virginia Tech Put On Backburner

With the new college season fast approaching, expert predictions are in full swing, and reactions to the AP poll everywhere. As usual, the experts focus on the national championship race and the top 5 teams. To address the AP poll first, starts with Georgia being ranked #1. Undoubtedly this has something to do with the massive 41-10 victory over Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. I think they are getting to much credit though. But truthfully it does not matter who starts off #1 because if the last few years have told us anything the preseason #1 is going to lose at some point during the season.

Getting back to the point of this article, many ‘experts,’ like Kirk Herbstreit of ESPN, have discounted Virginia Tech from the Atlantic Coast Conference race. Clemson seems to be the proverbial favorite to win the conference, easily winning the Atlantic division. While some have Virginia Tech pegged as the winner of the Coastal division, some believe Miami has a chance to dethrone the Hokies, and Wake Forest and UNC are considered dark horses.

This loss of confidence in Tech has come from the loss of key defensive players such as Xavier Adibi and Vince Hall. Make no mistake though, MLB Brett Warren played very well in Hall’s absence last season and is ready to step up as leader of one of the best defenses year in and year out. CB Victor “Macho” Harris also returns after deciding he did not want to leave for the NFL draft. He will give the Hokies leadership at cornerback after Brandon Flowers’ departure.

Offense is a different story. Things do look good though. Sophomore Tyrod Taylor looks to be redshirted this season leaving redshirt senior Sean Glennon with the full load. Glennon showed maturity last season having to deal with being pulled constantly for Taylor during games. There should be much less careless errors by Glennon, keeping the Hokies in more games.

The questions on offense come from the running back and wide receiver positions. With Branden Ore’s release from the team and almost all the Hokie WR starters going to the NFL gaping holes are left. Freshman RB Ryan Williams was looked on to step up, as was RBs Jahre Cheeseman and Kenny Lewis, Jr. However, Cheeseman and Lewis were lost to injury in the spring, giving way for Williams and redshirt freshmen, Josh Oglesby and Darren Evans. All three will probably be used throughout the season unless one truly stands out.

Tech’s presumed starting WR Zach Luckett was suspended this August following a DUI arrest. This leaves the door open for true freshman Xavier Boyce and Dyrell Roberts. It will be interesting to see how QB Glennon will deal with these young receivers. If they can get some sort of rhythm, there is no reason why Tech can’t regain the ACC title and be in another BCS Bowl game.

-Ray

August 26, 2008 Posted by | Football | , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment