March 2007

Sports picksMarch 30, 2007

In honor of the start of the upcoming Major League Baseball season, I thought I would pay tribute to America’s Game by listing my top 10 most favorite baseball movies. I have included a little explanation as to why each film made this list, and if your favorite diamond flick didn’t make the list, then I apologize for your bad taste in baseball movies. No really, please feel free to add to this list and we will see just what sports bettors like about silver-screen web gems.

Please note that there are hundreds of baseball-themed movies, and I am only ranking the ones that I have personally seen and enjoyed. I have purposely left-off baseball documentaries and histories to include only baseball flicks with strictly entertainment value. Otherwise, this list would begin and end with Ken Burns’ epic documentary “Baseball,” and HBO’s “When it was a Game.” 

The Lineup.

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Sports picksMarch 27, 2007

This year’s seed selection for the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament is, in all respects, bulletproof: take a look at the teams that have advanced to the Final Four and you’ll see two overall No. 1 and No. 2 seeds. It is important to note that something like this hasn’t happened in 14 years, when three No. 1’s and a No. 2 advanced; all four top seeds made it to the final. The committee must be in their offices doing cartwheels right about now. 

Not only was the committee right on point when it came to its seed selection, but most analysts and journalists were in tune as well, making the teams that are now in the Final Four rank in the top 8 in terms of selections. So, after a very exciting month of pure, unfiltered basketball we have the teams everyone picked in advance to be where they are now: Florida, Ohio State, UCLA and Georgetown will see a lot of action very, very soon.

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Basketball picksMarch 27, 2007

The tournament, in what seems like warp-speed fashion, has now played itself down to the best of the best. The Final Four. It will be the lowest total combined four seeds (1, 1, 2, and 2 for a total of 6) since 1993 when the total of the seeds was five. It will also mark the second year in a row without an ACC team, something that hasn’t happened for over 20 years – the 1984-85 tournaments. Florida will have the rare opportunity to capture back-to-back

Tourney Titles. The last to do it was Duke after the 1991-92 seasons. The Big 12 will not get an opportunity to end their drought as they have not won the tournament since 1988 when they had both teams in the final with Kansas besting Oklahoma.

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Sports picksMarch 23, 2007

Spring Training Results Matter?

We are nearing the advent of another Major League Baseball regular season and some will have increased expectation because of the off-season moves that perhaps have made the team look improved. Expectations may also be evoked by a stellar spring training season a team is having, and it is hoped to carry forward into April when the games really count.

The question is do spring records count and offer a sign of what is to come? The cold hard truth? It means everything to the rookie trying to earn a spot on the 25-man roster. It means everything to the pitcher that had off-season surgery. It means everything for the career journeyman looking for a team to squeeze out yet another year. It unfortunately, means absolutely nothing for expectations for the coming year. It means a lot to those of us betting preseason baseball, building a bankroll for the regular season.

Spring results are just that, spring. Let’s take a look at some proof, and for those inspired by your team having a great spring, sorry! For those rooting for teams having a rough spring? There is still hope after all! The ’99 Kansas City Royals gave high hopes to their fans, as they had a stellar spring going 22-9. They ended up in disappointment as the Royals finished 64-97 in the regular season. Baltimore went 20-9 in the spring of ’02, only to finish 67-95. Detroit was the biggest disappointment of all in ’96 going 20-10 in the spring, but finishing just 53-109!

Teams that have had a bad spring, like the Yankees in ’01 may have had their fans a bit on edge, but finished at 95-65. The Braves in ’97 closed out the spring with a 10-18 mark, only to go on and win 101 games. The Giants in ’01 left camp with an abysmal 9-21 mark, but claimed 90 wins in the regular season.

The facts are pretty revealing. Teams that have outstanding springs over a 12-year period or so, have combined to win about 51% of their regular season games, and teams that have had horrible springs, also win about 51% of their games. The only lesson here, is that hope springs eternal, not the record of your team in the spring.


Basketball picksMarch 12, 2007

Some Hall of Fame familiar faces will be missing from the NCAA tournament this year as Syracuse and Jim Boeheim and UCONN and Jim Calhoun will be wall flowers, left without a dance partner. But, the biggest crash and burn of any season in recent memory belongs to Clemson. Clemson sitting atop the polls at 18-0 and dreaming of a #1 seed, got their wish. Well, sort of. They are the #1 seed, but it’s in the NIT.

It is Christmas in March for the basketball junkie with rapid fire games, buzzer beaters, Cinderellas, and the usual disappointments as well. It simmering comes to a boil all through the month, until it all boils down to the Final Four, and who will have earned the right to recall a song from awhile back, “Save The Last Dance For Me.”

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Football picksMarch 7, 2007

I am still ready for some football, and so are the free agents.Is it just me or has anyone else noticed how active the start of the NFL season has been? I mean sure they’re aren’t any games being played, but for me the season starts with the start of the free agent signing period and so far it has been a good one. So far we have seen teams shock the sports world by releasing what we all thought were the backbones of their systems. Joey Porter gets released outright by the Steelers and gets snapped-up by the ‘Fins in Miami. Jake Plummer puts the kibosh on a trade that would have sent him to Tampa Bay, by, of all things, filing his retirement papers. You can’t make this stuff up.

Speaking of the Bucs, John Gruden is hording quarterbacks down there and collecting names like a nine-year-old sucks-up Pokeman cards. Just a few short months ago Gruden and the boys in Tampa sign embattled QB Chris Simms to a contract extension not knowing if he will be able to recover from a horrific ruptured spleen injury. They already had Bruce Gradkowski who was drafted in the sixth round of the 2006 draft, they then sign Plummer (or try to), and within hours turn around and ink former Philadelphia Eagles backup Jeff Garcia. Is it possible the Bucs have put out a call to Steve DeBerg?  I mean they have been looking for veteran leadership.

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