MLB Preview: Philadelphia Phillies and (For Now) Projected Standings

Well, I wanted to get all the previews up before tonight’s opening game, but at that point I hadn’t really anticipated having a pair of jammed fingers from playing basketball. I’m usually able to type pretty quickly, but then again, I’m usually able to type using my right middle finger and, should the situation require it, thumb.

That being said, I’m going to try to fire out the rest of these previews tonight, particularly since I also have another article to write tomorrow for my actual job, which, naturally, is also about baseball. Gloriously, there is no escape.

I had anticipated to once again let my East Coast Bias shine through in this post, since I’m more familiar with a few of these teams than, say, the San Diego Padres. Anyway, no promises now — we’ll see how the digits hold up.

So let’s dive into the Senior Circuit, starting with the WFCs.

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2009 MLB Preview: American League West

Seeing as how tonight is Opening Night, I guess it’s pretty important that I spring through the remaining previews.

Luckily, the AL West only has four teams, and only three of them have experienced any intriguing offseason changes.

We’ll start with last year’s division champs:

angels

The Angels had the best regular season in franchise history a year ago, finishing with a 100-62 record and looking in the eyes of many like the favorites to represent the American League in the World Series.

Then they encountered the Boston Red Sox in October, and it was the same old story.

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2009 MLB Preview: American League Central

We’ll continue the previews with the AL Central. It’d make sense for me to jump to the NL East from here, what with their games beginning on Sunday night with the Phillies hosting the Braves, but hey, whatever.

Like the last post, the teams will be previewed in order of their appearance in the year-end standings a year ago, with my official predictions coming at the end of the six preview sets.

This will probably not be as exhaustive as the AL East preview, on account of my not being quite as familiar with these teams.

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2009 MLB Preview: American League East

As Opening Day 2009 fast approaches — a little faster than I’d like considering what I’m trying to accomplish here, though I’m more than fine with it otherwise — I thought I’d take a more expansive look at the upcoming Major League Baseball season. For those who don’t care to read my exhaustive rambling, I produced an easy-to-digest version of this all-you-can-eat buffet of baseball-related banality right here.

With that out of the way, let’s not even pretend that I don’t contribute, however little, to the dreaded East Coast Bias.

Yep, it’s AL East time. Teams appear in order of last year’s finish.

rays

The defending American League Champion Rays stunned just about everyone who follows baseball last year (with the possible exception of my friend Brian, who claims that in his sleep-deprived haze during last year’s A’s-Red Sox opener in Japan he had the foresight to tell me that the Rays would win the American League. I was too busy cursing Daisuke Matsuzaka’s constant nibbling and J.D. Drew’s wonky back to notice or care) when they made the leap from perennial punching bag/disgrace to a fairly great team that merely plays in an unspeakably disgraceful venue.

Whereas the question a year ago at this time in the eyes of the people who had given the Rays any respect was if they’d finally manage to win at least 82 games, the question today is can the Rays repeat as champions of the AL East and the American League? The best answer is, they can, but they’re going to need to catch quite a few breaks.

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Guitar Hero Debuts New Ad Featuring Unlikeable Personalities, Bobby Knight

Somewhat appropriately, Rick Pitino remains primarily in the background while Bobby Knight, Coach K and Roy Williams all bust out varying degrees of awesome. I have to say, I particularly enjoyed the stunned expression on Roy’s face when Metallica had the nerve to interrupt them. Krzyzewski’s performance is pretty great, too.

I also wonder if the inherent irony of anyone from Metallica calling somebody else “Pops” in 2009 was deliberate. It almost has to be, doesn’t it?

More fine work from the people who also managed to make A-Rod and Kobe relatively likeable in their last set of ads.


This’ll Be Hard To Top For Best Shot Of The Tournament

Marcus Denmon delivering a gut punch before halftime with a buzzer-beating shot from about 65 feet to put Mizzou up by 13 at the half:

Hopefully the NCAA doesn’t get too enthusiastic about deleting this. (So far, so good.)


Newspapers One Step Ahead Of The Internet, Because You Can’t Eat The Internet

Say what you will about the lumbering dinosaur of an industry in which I currently work, but nobody can accuse them of not thinking outside the box. Who else would’ve come up with something as needlessly idiosyncratic AP Style? Who else would’ve thought to lay off entire workforces for weeks at a time to save on the bills? Who else would’ve thought to give their content away for free and then expect people to still pay for that content at a later time? Who else would’ve thought, in a time when ad revenue was in steep decline due to the simultaneous deaths of the industry and the U.S. economy, to start selling edible ad space?

Imagine opening a Sunday newspaper and amongst the coupons is an advertisement for a new sports drink imploring you to lick it for a sample. Sound like an early April Fools’ Day joke? Well, it isn’t. In fact the marketing folks at newspaper ink giant U.S. Ink Corp. think it is one of the few things that can save the newspaper industry from oblivion.

Other ideas: A 10,000 percent price increase, or asking people nicely to stop using the internet to get their news and opinion pieces.

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