Posts Tagged ‘MVP’

Football, Jamilton and Announcements

May 25, 2012

I swear, I’m not just talking football today out of a semi-depression that my Dodgers lost to the ASTROS yesterday. Again. With Clayton Kershaw on the mound. Sigh.

I’ll forget the fact that we have been outscored 15-1 by Houston in our last two meetings combined. And just talk about something exceptionally exciting: the San Francisco 49ers, my hometown football team. My Dodgers of the NFL.

And that they are coming off a 13-3 season that was two muffed punts away from turning into a march to the Super Bowl. And that they are better this year. And the whole top-ranked defense is back. And our rookies are going to be game-changers. And we have brand new wide receivers. And we have no Chilo Rachal. And we have a healthy (finally) Michael Crabtree, who oh by the way, put up ELITE numbers in the second half of 2011. And we have a full off-season under Jim Harbaugh (also known as God, in my circles) for the players to learn his playbook and gel even more as a team.

All I have to say about that, is watch out everyone. If there is still any doubt in a fan’s mind that the 49ers are to be taken seriously as one of two or three legitimate Super Bowl contenders at this point in the summer, said fan is insane. Or a Raiders fan. Okay, so definitely insane.

Can you tell I’m excited?

As for dominant teams and players, I’ll stray away from the Dodgers for once. Remember, they lost to the Astros last night? Yeesh.

How about the Texas Rangers? Again. They dropped 14 runs today and Nelson Cruz had 8 RBI. That’s all the attention Nelly will get from me though. I’m here to talk about their best player, and possibly the best player in baseball: Josh Hamilton.

I’m not going to heap praise on the guy, I just want to ask one simple question: Can Jamilton hit 62? After hitting one today, he’s got 19 on the season in less than 50 games. I’m no math whiz, but considering there are 162 games in a season, I’d have to say he’s on pace for approximately 60.

Who’s to say he can’t go on another ridiculous streak and bomb 8 in one week? He’s certainly got the eye, the strength and the swing to do more damage. My only problem is he hasn’t played a full season…ever? Chances are, Hamilton will miss a chunk of about 15-20 games, which could greatly hinder his home run chase.

My verdict: Hamilton goes nuts this year. But not nuts enough. I’ll give him an average well over .300, 52 homers and 145 RBI. Those numbers will earn him the MVP and two of the three Triple Crown categories. But the home run record will remain Roger Maris’.

Suck on that, Barry, Mark and Sammy.

Last on the agenda today, a sad announcement. Jam Shots will be moving to a weekly format, instead of daily. I’ve been writing this (almost) daily since January 23rd, a span of 130 days by the end of this month. This is my 113th post, out of 125 days.

I’m impressed with myself. That’s like…like…a .900 batting average! Unheard of! Incredible! Hall of Fame worthy!

Alas, I can’t keep up. I’m hanging up my keyboard and going into more of a player/manager role. I do anticipate a couple of things: my weekly blogs will be even MORE epic. And, I get to also post weekly on my old blog, Jamblin’ Man! That one won’t be about sports, so 90 percent of my audience will actually read them. If you like my sports, stick with Jam Shots. Otherwise, be ready for the revival of an old friend.

And there will just be so much more room for activities.

Jam Shots will be strictly for sports, posted once a week. Jamblin’ Man will show off my freelance writing SKILLZ, with just thoughts, ramblings, poetry, travel writing, creative writing and everything in between. And of course…that will be posted once a week as well.

Thanks to everyone who has clicked my silly links every day in 2012, and hopefully, when June rolls around and this baby goes weekly, you’ll stick with me and continue to read.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman!

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Albert Whojols?

May 12, 2012

The Jam Shot du jour is all about Albert. I figured it was only appropriate, given that I left St. Louis three days ago and am now a mere 300 miles away from Los Angeles. Westward we go!

Sure, I’m making the same trek Pujols made in the offseason, only I’m not being paid as much to do it. And I’m probably more valuable sitting in my boxers in a sketchy Arizona hotel than Albert has been to his new team.

As of his first at-bat in today’s game, Pujols is hitting .191 on the season. Meanwhile, back in St. Louis, the 1st-place Cardinals are reaping the benefits of one Carlos Beltran, Pujols’ replacement.

Not only does Beltran have 12 home runs (including three games in which he’s hit two – double Albert’s total for the whole season), but he’s presenting a legitimate challenge to Matt Kemp for NL MVP.

So is Pujols toast? Sure, other sluggers are also struggling right now (Jose Bautista, where have you gone?!). But none have the talent, aura, nor quantity of offseason headlines like number five does.

That being said, slumps happen. Even very, very terrible ones at incredibly inopportune times. And Albert Pujols is a future Hall of Famer for a reason.

While I won’t maintain my pre-season prediction that the Angels would win the West, I do think the Angels are a playoff team.

And I really do believe Pujols will hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs. He will probably hit .320 also, because that’s what he does.

This is a testament to how good a hitter Pujols really is. He has been mashing the ball for a big chunk of the year, just right at people. Once he gets comfortable, watch out world.

Our dear old friend Albert will be back in full force and he’s not going to be gentle. Don’t get too cozy, Rangers fans.

When that bat comes alive and your division lead is suddenly in question, I’ll be somewhere in a shitty hotel in my boxers saying I told ya so.

Don’t forget to follow me on Twitter @Jamblinman!

Tonight’s Forecast…A Freeeeeeeese!

April 8, 2012

So…this Freese guy. Goes by David. Plays for the Cardinals? Big hit in the World Series? A few of them actually? Still confused? Get the hell out of my blog then.

I couldn’t decide if he was a one-hit (no pun intended because it doesn’t make statistical sense) wonder, because hot streaks are common in baseball. Now he’s busted out of the gates in 2012, hitting just under .500 through the first four games. 

Ruh-roh. All my skepticism, gone. PUBLIC skepticism on podcasts, in blogs, in conversation all pointing towards my belief that it might have been a fluke. 

All the while, ignoring my girlfriend’s (diehard Cardinals fan) desperate plea: DAVID FREESE IS GOOD. YOU WATCH.

And as much fun as I’ve had telling her that I’ll only be impressed if he goes 5-for-5, I’m starting to crack. How can I hate on a guy who plays so hard, hustles so long, and is that damn clutch? The fact is, I can’t.

But the question remains: Is he legit? Is David Freese the real deal? I don’t know. Four official games does not an MVP make, but I am starting to enjoy watching him play. He plays in the same fashion that I modeled my game after in high school. Good defense, timely hitting and lots of hard work. 

Okay, so he’s a hell of a lot better. But, still…

This season will be a great measuring stick for last postseason’s mystery man. Talk to me in a couple months, and if he’s still a catalyst in that St. Louis lineup, I will consider. CONSIDER. Saying that tonight’s forecast is, in fact, a Freese.

Until tomorrow, don’t forget to keep your eye on the ball!

Opening Day Predictions

April 4, 2012

Okay, okay. I know the A’s and Mariners played in Japan and the defending-champion Cardinals already defeated the Marlins at the new stadium earlier tonight. But a big slate of games is finally set for tomorrow, and I couldn’t be more excited. 

We’ve got seven games lined up for tomorrow, capped off with reigning Cy Young winner Clayton Kershaw and my Dodger squaring off against the Padres in San Diego. Without further adieu, here are my predictions for tomorrow’s games:

Boston Red Sox at Detroit Tigers: This is the first of the great pitching matchups we’ll see over the first weekend of play, but it might just be the best one. Jon Lester will take the hill against last year’s Cy Young and MVP winner, Justin Verlander. Normally, I’d expect a pitcher’s duel, but Lester is a notorious slow starter, so look for a big game from Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder and the Tigers to take the home opener 5-2. (Side note: Jose Valverde will get his 51st straight save, creeping slowly towards the record of 84)

Atlanta Braves at New York Mets: I like this pitching matchup for a number of different reasons. First of all, I really enjoy watching Tommy Hanson pitch. If he’s healthy for Atlanta this year, it’s going to be huge for their playoff aspirations. But the real story here is Johan Santana’s return to the hill after a multitude of injuries have crippled the former Cy Young winner. I’m going to take my first upset, but don’t expect the Mets’ winning streak to last long. Give me the Mets 3-2.

Philadelphia Phillies at Pittsburgh Pirates: Another former ace takes the hill on Opening Day, hoping to rebound. Erik Bedard won’t have as much success as Johan does in New York, although I do expect an above average season out of the lefty in 2012. Roy Halladay is going to be too much for the young Pirates offense, and the Phils take it on the road 5-0.

Washington Nationals at Chicago Cubs: Raise your hand if you’re as excited to see Stephen Strasburg on the mound tomorrow as I am! He takes on the re-tooled Cubs and Ryan Dempster at Wrigley. And I’m sorry Cubbie fans, but the curse will continue, starting with an ugly loss at the hands of the Nats. I’m going to enjoy watching Strasburg go 8 innings with 10 strikeouts in a 7-1 win.

Toronto Blue Jays at Cleveland Indians: This might be the most underrated pitching matchup of the day. If you like young, up-and-coming stars on the bump, this is the game for you. Ricky Romero is my dark horse candidate for A.L. Cy Young this year, and Justin Masterson for Cleveland isn’t far behind. I think this is going to be the best pitching duel of the day. Toronto takes it 1-0 on a late solo homer by Jose Bautista.

Miami Marlins at Cincinnati Reds: One of the Marlins’ big free agent acquisitions is opening this series, and Mark Buerhle can certainly be trusted to give a quality outing. Johnny Cueto gets the ball for Cincy and two very strong offenses will have their respective hands full. Give me the wily veteran for the new-look Marlins’ first win in a 4-3 game.

Los Angeles Dodgers at San Diego Padres: You know this is the one I’ve been waiting to talk about. You’ve gotta like the young lefty Kershaw to start defending his Cy Young title with a pretty dominant win at Petco Park. I think the Dodgers put up a five spot on Edinson Volquez early and chase him from the game. I want to give the Padres a pity run to sound unbiased, but they just aren’t a good enough team to score against Kershaw. Final score: 6-0 Dodgers.

That’s all folks! Call in sick tomorrow, ditch school, and watch MLB Network all day to see my picks put into motion. Happy baseball! Peace.

All Apologies

March 11, 2012

I’m ashamed. The ruling is in…GUILTY! For the first time since starting Jam Shots, I’ve failed to post. Yesterday will be forever empty on the calendar. “Daily relapse of a raging sportsaholic,” huh? Apparently not.

I blame the daylight savings time change. I blame the steroids. I blame the Germans. Hopefully you will all forgive me. I know I’ve let you down immensely. But we can shake hands, move on, and I’ll rock your world from now on. I solemnly swear to never miss a day again.

Okay, the truth is…I was having a good ol’ college Saturday: Drinking with the roommate and the parents (on their tab – oh, the joys of still living at home!). Can’t blame me for that, can you?

Back to my old habit – sports talk.

First, let’s talk podcasts. Later today I am recording episode two of Three Up, Three Down. If you missed it last Monday, you missed six incredibly knowledgeable, smooth-talking baseball fans spewing news and analysis at you. You don’t want to miss it this time. We’ll be talking divisional news, Yu Darvish, and maybe even some predictions for you. Look for it tomorrow at this somewhat famous website (yeah, we’re that good), and while you’re waiting, give us a follow at @3u3d on Twitter.

Also, I’ve been invited to co-host FanvsFan.com’s weekly live national podcast, MLB Inside the Numbers. Friday was my first go at it, and I’m actually listening to it right now. I gotta say…it went well. It was a lot of fun, having guests on air and debating with a couple of guys who really know their baseball. Feel free to check it out HERE and tune in at 6pm Pacific Standard Time next Friday for the next episode.

Although I won’t be there next week. Bad timing. I got a cool Fan Caver to show the Bay Area to. Listen either way.

Speaking of baseball, did anyone see what I saw in Spring Training yesterday? Yeonis Cespedes hitting the ball to Cuba from Arizona? Check this out – he turned on a high and outside pitch and hit it at least 700 feet to left field. No doubt. Okay not really. But if you’re an A’s fan, you’ve gotta love the start. Two for two, a home run and two RBI? Looks like an MVP to me.

One last thing – a little breaking news. According to BleacherReport.com’s push notification on my phone JUST NOW, the San Francisco 49ers are working out Randy Moss. Before Niner fans freak out, think about it. We are in the same situation as the Patriots were. If we don’t like his attitude or work ethic, cut him. But if he’s ready to be part of this team, he will immediately become the best receiver on the field. Helloooooo Super Bowl!

Well, I have to get ready for the aforementioned Three Up, Three Down podcast. Please tune in! You won’t regret it.

Remember to follow the blog, listen to the podcast, follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!

Until tomorrow…

Wednesday Top Ten!

March 7, 2012

Like how I throw that title up there as if this is a regular thing? I’m not going to lie…it’s because I’m wholly unmotivated to be creative today. Instead, I’ll just blow you away with insight and analysis. So ladies and gentlemen, put on your best snuggies and let’s get rollin’.

Today’s top ten will be all about baseball. Because it’s the best sport. Feel free to argue with me on that point, just don’t complain when this happens. You’ve been warned.

I want to discuss the ten best pitchers in baseball. There’s a helluva lot of them. The San Francisco Giants and Philadelphia Phillies could probably make a top ten list by themselves. But we’re going to do it anyway. I’m feelin’ crazy. By the way, I’m a Dodgers fan. So you can guess who number one will be. Muahaha!

10. Dan Haren, Los Angeles Angels – Oh boy that rotation in Anaheim is going to be scary in 2012, ain’t it? Haren is the best of the bunch, and the first pitcher on the list who doesn’t have a Cy Young to his name. He should, he could and he might before his time is done, but time will tell. Six seasons of 14 + wins ain’t too shabby though.

9. Chris Carpenter, St. Louis Cardinals – Okay, really? If Carp is ninth on this list, you know it’s gonna rock your socks off. This big righty has dominated for the Cards and has two rings and a shiny Cy Young (2005) to show for it. He’s got one of the best curveballs in the game and is possibly the most dominant postseason pitcher on this entire list.

8. Felix Hernandez, Seattle Mariners – It’s tough to NOT feel bad for King Felix. Stuck on the Mariners his whole career, he hasn’t racked up huge numbers. Just imagine what the 2010 Cy Young winner’s numbers would look like on a team that could actually score runs.

7. Tim Lincecum, San Francisco Giants – How can a two-time Cy Young winner (2008-2009) only be eighth on this list? Easy – he’s on the Giants and he went to University of Washington and I’m a spiteful, Dodger and Washington State-lovin’ bastard. So that says something that I felt compelled to still include The Freak on this list at all.

6. Cole Hamels, Philadelphia Phillies – Hamels is the first of a trio of Phillies to appear on my list (how is that even fair?) and the second who doesn’t have a Cy to his name. Yet. He’s still got plenty of time. What Hamels does have is a mean fastball, some filthy control and a World Series MVP. Not too shabby.

5. Cliff Lee, Philadelphia Phillies – Hamels’ southpawtner in crime DOES have that Cy Young award (2008) but less postseason success. Lee dominated last year, going a cool 17-8 with a 2.40 ERA for Philly. And his awesome birth name (Clifton Phifer Lee) boosted him at least three spots alone.

4. C.C. Sabathia, New York Yankees – The lefties just keep on comin’. I have a special appreciation for Sabathia, because he hails from the Bay Area like me. That’s not the end of our similarities though. I’m ALSO a 6’7″, 290-pound black man with a Cy Young (2007) and World Series ring…By the way, C.C. has 176 wins at age 31. Don’t tell me 300 isn’t viable for him.

3. Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies – Finally, the Philadelphia onslaught comes to a merciful end. But there is no doubt in my mind that Doc Halladay is the best of the bunch. The 8-time all-star and 2-time Cy Young winner (2003 and 2010) has been so dominant for so long that it’s just a foregone conclusion he’ll put up 15+ wins every season. Oh, did I mention that no-hitter in the playoffs? That’s impressive I guess.

2. Justin Verlander, Detroit Tigers – Last year’s Cy Young and MVP winner in the American League has finally reached the height of his potential. And I don’t think he’s planning on regressing anytime soon. Verlander’s 24-5, 2.40, 250 strikeout 2011 was far and away one of the best individual pitching seasons I’ve ever seen. And the scary thing is he’s only 28.

1. Clayton Kershaw, Los Angeles Dodgers – You want to talk about incredible seasons at a young age? How about the next coming of Sandy Koufax (I think I just heard you gasp from here…)? Kershaw cruised to the pitching Triple Crown in the National League last year, and won the Cy Young as a result. Here’s the thing though. Kershaw is 23 years old. Like, my age. What the HELL!

That’s my list. Thanks for helping me kill time. Comment below and tell me why I’m absolutely right-on with all my picks. Or if you must, disagree and make suggestions. I’ll probably ignore you, but hey, it’s worth a shot!

And I ammmmmmm outta here!

And the Oscar Goes to…

February 27, 2012

…Angelina Jolie for her skeleton-in-a-dress outfit! Yay for jokes that are already old. But seriously, when did she go from being super hot to just kinda creepy-looking? Way to go, Brad.

I hate Mondays. We all do. While I was laying in bed this morning after being woken up by this glorious song (daily routine – try it, you’ll love it…money-back guarantee), I was brainstorming what to write for Jam Shots today. And by brainstorming, I mean my brain was starting like a car in the snow. Enough to keep me breathing, basically. And after I valiantly wrestled (and lost) with the idea of calling in sick to work due to exhaustion/Monday morning blues/nomotivation-itis, it dawned on me.

I can write an entertaining, sports-related blog that is timely because it is formatted after an awards show. And it will be fun and easy. Like I need Mondays to be. So, here goes:

Best Supporting Actor – LeBron James: I love the guy, and he’s the best athlete in the NBA, but let’s be real here. He’s not the go-to guy. Every player, coach and fan in the Miami Heat organization wants the ball in Dwyane Wade’s hands with the game on the line. I didn’t watch the NBA All-Star Game this weekend (nor the dunk contest…I was watching water boil instead. I found it much more exhilarating), but even Amish folk must have heard that LeBron passed up a game-winning shot with Kobe prodding him on.

Best Director – Davey Johnson: Okay, this is a completely unjustified selection. But so was Nick Nolte not winning best supporting actor for Warrior at the real Academy Awards. I don’t care that I haven’t seen the performances of the other four actors in that category. Good for that old dude for winning, but Nolte is old too. And he made me cry multiple times in that damn movie. Oh, right…Johnson. He’s the manager of the Washington Nationals. So this selection is based on my prediction that the Nats take home the N.L. East title this year. That’s an accomplishment that will undoubtedly win Johnson a Manager…er Director, of the Year award.

Best Actor – Kevin Durant: I’m just using simple logic here. The All-Star Game pits the best players in the game against each other. The MVP is the best player in a given league. If A + B = C, and B + C = A, then…oh, hell. I don’t know. But Durant took home the MVP honors in yesterday’s All-Star Game, therefore making him the best player in the NBA. It doesn’t exactly work like that, but he may be on track to lead the league’s best team to the NBA Finals. He’s going to be a front-runner for MVP and deservedly so. The Durantula is super fun to watch, and has an awesome nickname.

Best Picture – Moneyball Baseball: Yes, baseball in general. We’re fully into Spring Training. Which means we don’t have to pretend to care about the shortened NBA season or the Sharks lookin’ like a bunch of bums out on the ice. With the brief exception of March Madness, the next 8 months is all about the diamond. Fresh grass, sunflower seeds, incredibly uncomfortable jock protection, and fuzzy, green mascots. If we’re really talking films, take this into consideration. Some dude on Twitter last night during the Oscars had the balls to Tweet to Jermaine Dye that Moneyball was the best baseball movie ever made. I about fell out of my chair. I’m going to hunt that Tweeter down and shove a copy of The Natural (or The Sandlot. Or A League of Their Own. Or Field of Dreams. Or Bull Durham. Or The Rookie. Or Hardball, even. Get the point?) up his ass.

My version of the Oscars has four awards. Sorry I’m not sorry. And sorry it’s only men. I don’t know enough about women’s sports. But I presume Meryl Streep would be nominated in every category and I hope Octavia Spencer would win one of them, because her speech was awesome. Okay, bye now.


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