April 6, 2009

What a wonderful weekend

by Dan Bilicki In: Baseball, Basketball, Picks

Last night was the Opening Day game before Opening Day. There’s nothing like seeing that first pitch of the season and having warm memories of the boys of summer all come back. Knowing the limitless potential that the season holds and getting that feeling that anything can happen — just look at the Rays last year. Even just last night we got to see the joy on the face of young Jordan Schafer who, like few others, hit a home run in his first career at bat. And who would have believed that Derek Lowe would pitch two-hit ball for eight innings on his way to defeating the defending champs at home to open up the season. This should be a great season.

And for the record, I don’t like the two Opening Days thing, but at there wasn’t three like last season’s mess in Japan.

Then there was Saturday night’s Final Four games, which I think hardly lived up their billing. While UConn-Michigan State was close — and I guess you could consider it an upset — there just wasn’t the same hype and greatness  I expected. UNC walked all over a Villanova team that was clearly outmatched and, after reading Rick Reilly’s piece on Hasheem Thabeet and how soft he is, it was difficult to imagine him leading his team to glory. Tonight’s final should be better than the semis with North Carolina’s complete team facing the essentially home town Spartans. If I had to pick a winner, I’d go with North Carolina — as I should have in my bracket.

And for those who care, last night was Wrestlemania 25. I remember when the WWE (or WWF for the older fans) was a force and Wrestlemania was a must-watch. Now, they’re a monopoly and there’s not motivation for them to push themselves and create big stars and write great story lines. Throw in the steroid scandals and amount of young deaths that past wrestlers suffer and the WWE looks to be heading down a dark road. I obviously couldn’t watch the event last night (because who has the cash to throw down a PPV any more?) but I hope the show lived up to it’s past standards.

I’m seriously starting to doubt that the Cavaliers will lose at home again this season — and playoffs. After spanking the Spurs yesterday, I’m seriously beginning to doubt the ability of anyone to take a game in Cleveland. It’s beginning to look like a certainty that the Cavs will be the East’s representative in the NBA finals and the Lakers, ironically the only team to win at Quicken Loans Arena, are looking destined to be their opponents. The biggest opposition to a ridiculous 41-1 home record is Boston, who will be in Cleveland next Sunday. That should be a gem.

Finally, with the real Opening Day for MLB today (and already a snow out), here’s my final picks for the now-arrived MLB season. For a complete breakdown, check the past few days in the archive.

AL East: Boston Red Sox
AL Central: Chicago White Sox
AL West: California Angels
AL Wild Card: New York Yankees
AL Champ: Boston
AL MVP: Mark Teixeira
AL Cy Young: Roy Halladay
AL Darkhorse: I’d pick Cleveland but somehow they’re favourites to win the AL Central.
NL East: Philadelphia Phillies
NL Central: Chicago Cubs
NL West: Los Angeles Dodgers
NL Wild Card: St. Louis Cardinals
NL Champ: Philadelphia
NL MVP: Albert Pujols
NL Cy Young: Johan Santana
NL Darkhorse: San Francisco
World Series Champion: Boston Red Sox


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