Wednesday, October 27, 2010

2010 World Series - TEX Rangers vs. SF Giants

The 2010 World Series begins tonight at AT&T Ballpark in San Francisco. The American League Champion, Texas Rangers take on the National League Champion, San Francisco Giants.

I still can't believe the Giants made it this far with the lineup they have. Some might not watch because the Yankees/Phillies or another big market team isn't in the playoffs but I think this is going to be an exciting series.

Game 1: at AT&T Park, 4:57 p.m. Wed.
Game 2: at AT&T Park, 4:57 p.m. Thur.
Game 3: at Texas, 3:57 p.m. Sat.
Game 4: at Texas, 5:20 p.m. Sun.
Game 5: at Texas, 4:57 p.m. Mon.*
Game 6: at AT&T Park, 4:57 p.m. Nov. 3*
Game 7: at AT&T Park, 4:57 p.m. Nov. 4*
*If Necessary

Cliff Lee and Tim Lincecum are taking the mound tonight in Game 1. This is a great pitching match-up and don't expect too many runs to cross the plate.

My Prediction: Rangers in 5
  • Their lineup hasn't been stopped all postseason. I don't know if the Giants will be able to handle Hamilton, Guerrero or Cruz.
  • They have Cliff Lee on the mound for at most 3 games, if they go 7 games and fall behind. I expect Ron Washington to start Lee on 3 days rest. It's the World Series.
  • Giants lineup don't score and the Rangers do.

 What Are Your Predictions for this World Series?

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

2010-2011 NBA Predictions

The NBA season tips-off tonight. Who will win it all this year?

Always an exciting time of the year for anyone who loves basketball. This is when your team has a chance.
Here are my predictions for the upcoming 2010-2011 season:

Most Improved:
Kevin Love PF - Minnesota Timberwolves
  •   Kevin Love averaged a double-double in his sophomore season last season. But now that Al Jefferson is gone, he will move into the starting power forward slot. The T-wolves will be an exciting team to watch this season and i can see Love averaging 20+ points and 10+ rebounds.
Sixth Man:
Jamal Crawford G - Atlanta Hawks
  • Jamal Crawford won the award last season and is the favorite to win it again. He's a key component to the Hawks bench.
Defensive Player of the Year:
Dwight Howard C - Orlando Magic
  • He's the best center in the game today. He's averaged almost 3 blocks a game the past 2 seasons. Don't expect anything different from him this year. Expect Howard to win his own three-peat.
Coach of the Year:
Doug Collins - Philadelphia 76ers
  • He's got some young talent to work with. I can see him helping them make the playoffs in the bottom half of the Eastern Conference.
Rookie of the Year:
Blake Griffin SF - Los Angeles Clippers
  • He's finally going to suit up and play during the regular season. He's looked great so far in the pre-season. He could help the Clippers make the playoffs, if they all play to their potential. 
Most Valuable Player:
Kevin Durant SF - Oklahoma City Thunder
  • With Lebron going to Miami, this opens up the gate for Durant. His numbers on the USA basketball team this off-season were amazing. He can score from almost anywhere on the court. Durant has great leadership that will get them out of the 1st round this season.
NBA Champions:
Los Angeles Lakers

  • The Lakers added some key players to solidify their bench. Steve Blake is a better point guard than Jordan Farmar and Matt Barnes is another great defender that can help out Kobe/Artest. The only thing the Lakers lack is having DJ Mbenga (My Favorite).
  • Kobe gets ring #6 to tie Jordan and Lakers get trophy #17 to tie the Boston Celtics.
  • Western Conference Finals: LA Lakers over Dallas Mavericks in 6
  • Eastern Conference Finals: Boston Celtics over Miami Heat in 7
  • NBA Finals: LA Lakers over Boston Celtics in 6
Who do you like this season?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Lakers Quest For 3-Peat Begins

It's about that time of the year again...

The Lakers quest for another 3-Peat begins tomorrow night at Staples Center against the Houston Rockets at 7:30 p.m. PST.

The last time the Lakers won 3 championships in a row was in 2000-2002 (The Shaq era). Phil Jackson going for his 12th ring as a head coach and 14th ring overall. He won two as a player of the New York Knicks.

Here's a look at the 2009 Lakers ring they received last season:

Who else is ready for another great year?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

UFC 121 Recap - Yes We Cain

New Heavyweight Champion Cain Velasquez
UFC 121 had a stacked lineup and didn't disappoint. From the prelims to the main event of the evening.

Brock Lesnar came running after Cain Velasquez once the bell rang and took him to the ground. But that was all Brock could do in this one-sided match. Cain worked his way back to his feet and then landed nearly every punch he threw. On the final knockdown, Cain just pounded him with elbows and punches to the face before referee Herb Dean put an end to this fight at the 4:12 mark.
Brock Lesnar after the fight
Brock was humble after the fight saying "He was better than me tonight."

Cain Velasquez became the first Mexican heavyweight champion in MMA history and improved his record to 8-0.

Jake Shields made his UFC debut by defeating Matt Kampmann in a split decision. Most of the fight was on the ground. Shields looked exhausted towards the end of the 2nd round but managed to pull off the victory somehow. Kampmann was in control for most of the fight but the judges saw it differently. This victory for Shields could put him up for a title shot against the winner of George Saint-Pierre and Josh Koschek happening in December.

Diego Sanchez came back to win his fight with a unanimous decision after losing the first round to Paulo Thiago. After starting his career with 23 straight victories, Sanchez lost back to back fights and needed to get back on track. It was vintage Sanchez during the last 2 rounds.

Matt Hamill defeated his former coach from "The Ultimate Fighter," Tito Ortiz. He won by unanimous decision and gave Ortiz his 4th loss in his last 5 fights. Should be interesting to see what happens to Ortiz in the near future.

Brendan Schaub also had an impressive win over Gabriel Gonzaga. He landed some big punches in every single round. All three judges scored this fight, 30-27 for a unanimous decision. Frank Mir could possibly be the next opponent for Schaub in the heavyweight division.

Amazing night of fights!

UFC 122: Marquardt vs. Okami
November 13, 2010
Free on Spike TV (7 p.m. - tape delay)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Texas Rangers Making World Series Debut

Game 6 Winning Pitcher, Colby Lewis
Congratulations to the Texas Rangers. They beat the New York Yankees 6-1 to earn their first ever World Series appearance. Josh Hamilton was named 2010 ALCS MVP.

Last week, the Rangers finally won their first ever postseason series and then in Game 2 of the ALCS, they won their first ever home playoff game.

Ron Washington had a decision to make before the start of Game 6. Would he send out Cliff Lee or Colby Lewis? He made the correct choice and picked Lewis. Saving Cliff Lee for Game 1 of the World Series against either the San Francisco Giants or Philadelphia Phillies.

Colby Lewis went 8 strong innings, giving up only 3 hits, 3 walks and struck out 7. Neftali Feliz came into the game in the bottom of the 9th inning, recording a perfect 1-2-3 inning. Lewis earned his 2nd victory over the Yankees in the ALCS.
Nelson Cruz crossing home plate.
Leading the offense for the Rangers was Vladimir Guerrero and Nelson Cruz. Vladdy drove in the first 3 runs of the game and Cruz hit a 2 run shot in the bottom of the 5th inning to make it 5-1.

The Rangers are still waiting to see if they face the Giants or Phillies. Since the National League won the All-Star game back in July, Game 1 of the World Series will be played on the National League's homefield on October 27th at 7:57 p.m. EST.

The Seattle Mariners and Washington Nationals are now the 2 remaining teams without a World Series appearance.

The Texas Rangers have played great throughout the playoffs and I see them winning it all no matter who they face.

Fernando Nation - Must Watch

I had the privilege to attend the screening of ESPN’s 30 for 30 “Fernando Nation” last night.

“Fernando Nation” Premiere Dates/Times:
ESPN Deportes - October 24 at 6 p.m. PST
ESPN – October 26 at 5 p.m. PST

Make sure to read my earlier post about the film (link)

It was a great event and a day I would never forget. When I first arrived, I was able to walk around and talk to others. I was really nervous because it was my first time attending a media event. I brought my dad with me and he was just as excited as I was. He grew up watching Fernando Valenzuela and quickly became my dad’s favorite athlete.

The screening took place in the Stadium Club at Dodger Stadium. If you haven’t had the opportunity to visit the bar/restaurant, please make sure you do. The set up was nice and they had 3 televisions set up behind the bar for everyone to watch. From my view, I could only see 2 of them but that wasn't a problem:

The whole night was dedicated to Fernando Valenzuela. From the moment he walked in, there were people surrounding him. He had to do a couple of interviews throughout the night.

As we waited for the movie to start, there were waiters and waitresses walking around with appetizers. They also had free beverages and Dodger Dogs! I didn’t expect that.

My favorite part was listening to the mariachi band perform during the waiting period. Fernando even took pictures with them.
The documentary was amazing. It gave great insight about the highs and lows of Valenzuela’s career with the Dodgers, but mainly focusing on his rookie season. Definitely helping a younger generation of baseball fans like me understand the legacy of Valenzuela, since I wasn’t around when he pitched. It also talks about how Dodger Stadium came about. It was fascinating to learn about what happened in the last 50’s between the Hispanic community and Dodgers owner, Walter O’Malley.

I don’t want to give away anymore of the storyline so I'll leave it at that.

This documentary was another perfect selection for the 30 for 30 series. If you haven’t been watching them, you’re missing out. You can purchase the DVDs from Amazon (link)

After the film was over, there was some time for Q&A with Fernando Valenzuela and Cruz Angeles.

Cruz mentioned that he regretted not putting in the story about how Fernando learned to throw the screwball. He felt it was an essential part of why Fernando was so dominant. It's tough when you only have 50 minutes to work with. I also learned that it only took 5 months to complete the entire documentary.

I want to thank the Dodgers and ESPN for hosting the event. Also, a special thank you to Angie from Conexión, for the invite.

ESPN 30 for 30 (link)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Lakers Shooting Guards Are Engaged

Shannon Brown & Sasha Vujacic have found their significant other.

Shannon and R&B singer, Monica, began dating several months ago. They first met on the set of Monica's music video "Love All Over Me". Shannon proposed over the weekend. This is Monica's third engagement.

We found out earlier today that Sasha proposed to Maria Sharapova on their one-year anniversary. He was interviewed by John Ireland, reporter for the Lakers, and said, "I had to do it like a gentleman. It was good, she was happy. The answer was 'yes' so I think she liked it."

I would like to welcome Monica & Maria Sharapova to the Laker family.

The Pac-12 South/North Divisions

They have just released the information of the new divisions for the Pac-12 football.

Pac-12 North:
California Bears
Oregon Ducks
Oregon State Beavers
Stanford Cardinals
University of Washington Huskies
Washington State Cougars

Pac-12 South:
Arizona State Sun Devils
Colorado Buffaloes
Univeristy of Arizona Wildcats
University of California Los Angeles Bruins
University of Southern California Trojans
Utah Utes

No divisions for the other sports, just football. There will still be 9 conference games for each team.

The most exciting part is there will be a Championship game. Home team will be the higher ranked team.

UCLA Bruins @ #2 Oregon Ducks Preview

Thursday Night Primetime Game:
UCLA Bruins @ #2 Oregon Ducks (ESPN 6 P.M. PST)

Which Bruins will show up for this match-up? They haven't played well against any Pac-10 opponents this season. They had a 14 point victory over Washington St. but that was a close game until late 4th quarter.

Almost a month ago, the Bruins shocked the nation with a 34-12 upset on the road against Texas, who were ranked #7 at the time. This was the second week in a row they defeated a top 25 ranked team. But it all came crashing down when the Bruins faced off against the California Bears. They were throttled 35-7, giving the Bruins their second worst lost of the season.

The Oregon Ducks come into this game undefeated with an overall record of 6-0 and conference record of 3-0. They Ducks offense hasn't been stopped all season and don't expect anything different tonight. They are averaging 54.3 points per game which is best in the entire nation.

The Bruins are having a tough time scoring any points this season. Their running game has been amazing so far but if the Ducks can control the backfield, it will be a long game. Their passing game is ranked last and Kevin Prince is probably going to miss the game because of a sore knee. Expect Richard Brehaut, 19 year old sophomore, to start in his place.

For the Bruins to have a chance for another upset, Akeem Ayers needs to step up on the defensive side and Johnathan Franklin has to run all over the Ducks defense.

Make sure to tune in and watch!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Starting NBA Franchise: Pick One Player To Build Around

Getty Images                                                                       

The NBA season is exactly one week away.

Los Angeles Lakers ready for another 3-peat, the Miami Heat hoping to go undefeated, and Boston Celtics trying for one last run at the title.

The hot topic already is who will win the MVP award this season? The back to back reigning MVP, Lebron James, left the Cleveland Cavaliers to play with Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami. Maybe the move will open up the door for Kevin Durant or Dwight Howard.

ESPN recently had a discussion about the player they would start a franchise today. The top 4 players included Kevin Durant, Lebron James, Dwight Howard, and Dwyane Wade. Some would still say Kobe Bryant because of leadership and desire to win. When picking a franchise player, it’s smart to pick some in their early to mid 20s. You want someone who wants to win, hard-worker, and likeable.

Lebron James has shown the world what he brings to the table. He single handily turned the Cleveland Cavaliers from a lottery team to championship contenders during his first 7 years. No doubt that Lebron is a special player and has top 3 talent in today’s game. Lebron could have averaged a triple-double during the regular season if he tried. The one main factor as to why he isn’t the player that should go first is because of his performance in the playoffs. It seems like he quits on his team when it matters the most. Why have a player that won’t give it his all on the main stage?

Dwyane Wade showed very early in his career that if you put talent around him, he can win a championship. Shaq definitely helped shape Dwyane into the player he is today. He’s got the skills to do pretty much anything on the basketball court. His defense is outstanding for a small shooting guard. The only thing about Wade is that he can’t do it alone and needs another superstar. Shooting guards need a big man to help win a ring, just ask Allen Iverson, Tracy McGrady or Reggie Miller.

An amazing young player that finally caught the attention of NBA fans around the world is Kevin Durant. Played one full season at the University of Texas and got the most out of it. He can score almost on demand and watching him win the scoring title last season was great. He gave the Lakers a tough challenge in the first round last season, even with a young core of teammates. He makes all of his teammates better. He might not have the assist numbers but he’s a great rebounding forward. He’s only 22 years old and would be a great choice to start a franchise around.

The player I want on my team if I’m starting a franchise today would be Dwight Howard. It’s very rare to find a dominating 7 foot center in the NBA. We haven’t seen a young center this great since Shaquille O’Neal. Dwight has been the Defensive Player of the Year for the past 2 seasons. He’s only 25 years old and has already led his team to a NBA championship appearance. It’s only a matter of time before his scoring numbers begin to rise. It’s very important to have a good center or you’ll have trouble winning. Every championship team had a great big man and without one, you won’t survive.

So if you’re starting a franchise, who do you build the team around?

Also featured on Bleacher Report

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dodgers Extend Ted Lilly thru 2013

The Los Angeles Dodgers have agreed to terms with pitcher, Ted Lilly. No details on the money amount of the contract but the length is believed to be a 3 year deal. Lilly would have became a free agent after the World Series but decided to remain with the team.

Lilly won his first 5 starts with the Dodgers after he was traded on July 31 for Blake Dewitt and two minor leaguers. He finished the year 7-4 with an ERA of 3.52 in 12 starts.

Dodgers are trying to re-sign Vicente Padilla and Hiroki Kuroda. But there are rumors that Kuroda might want to return to Japan. Dodgers still need to find that #1 pitcher to add with Kershaw, Billingsley, and Lilly.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

ESPN's 30 for 30: Fernando Nation

Naiti Gomez                                                               
Fernando Nation” is coming to a television near you. It will be premiering on ESPN Deportes, October 24 at 6 p.m. PST*

I was too young to see Fernando Valenzuela pitch in a Dodgers uniform. But I did get the privilege of witnessing him pitch at Dodger stadium. It was 1994 and Valenzuela was a member of the Philadelphia Phillies.

At the time, I had no idea the impact Fernando had on the Los Angeles fanbase during his time with the Dodgers. The game was a sellout and my dad bought tickets right next to the opposing team’s bullpen. I remember the media interviewing my dad, grandma, and aunt about the impact Valenzuela had on them. There is even a photo of my dad on the front cover of a newspaper that is no longer in existence.

I’m certain that, director, Cruz Angeles did a phenomal job with this documentary about Fernando and those who were too young to see the impact of “FernandoMania” will appreciate it. One of a few ESPN 30 for 30’s that I’m excited about.

Get those DVRs ready.

*For those without ESPN Deportes, they will re-air it on October 26, on ESPN at 5 p.m. PST.

Johnathan Daniel/Getty Images                                       

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

MLB 1st Round Predictions

Texas Rangers vs. Tampa Bay Rays
This matchup should be exciting throughout the entire series. I just don’t think the Rangers have the pitching to keep up with the Rays. They have Cliff Lee, but he’s been on/off this season and David Price has been a Cy Young candidate all year for the Rays. Josh Hamilton will be back in the lineup so that should give them the edge with the lineup. Everyone knows that pitching usually wins championships these days.
Prediction: Rays in 5

New York Yankees vs. Minnesota Twins
The Yankees are just better than the Twins in every aspect of the game. Mariano Rivera is still in the bullpen closing out games. Alex Rodriguez finally figured out how to hit in the playoffs last season and with the same core of guys from their championship run last season, it’s just the obvious choice. The twins won’t have Justin Morneau and went into the playoffs struggling.
Prediction: Yankees in 4

Cincinnati Reds vs. Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies’ pitching rotation has to be the best coming into the postseason. With the Roy’s as the 1, 2 punch it’s going to be difficult to beat this team. Their lineup is all healthy again and they’ve been to the World Series the past 2 seasons. Reds haven’t been in the playoffs since the early 90s and they lack the experience. I wouldn’t be surprised with a sweep but I’ll give the Reds a game.
Prediction: Phillies in 4

San Francisco Giants vs. Atlanta Braves
There are two teams that haven’t been to the playoffs in a couple of years facing off in the first round. It’s a great story to see Bobby Cox make the playoffs for the final time in his career. With the comeback player of the year, Tim Hudson, pitching in the 3rd game of the series, it could be a problem. He won’t be able to pitch twice in the series if it goes 5 games. The Giants have a phenomenal rotation that most haven’t heard of. These should be all low scoring games this series but exciting nonetheless.
Prediction: Braves in 5