Thursday, April 30, 2009

Josh Smith Is Already Preparing For Next Year's Dunk Contest

Erik Spoelstra, head coach of the Miami Heat, is upset about Josh Smith attempting a dunk between his legs in the fourth quarter of last night's game. Spoelstra said “They kicked our butts in pretty much every way possible that you could in a basketball game and there at the end it turned into a highlight show, pickup game, highlight reel, really trying to embarrass us.”

I don't feel bad for the Heat at all. These are professional athletes. These aren't little kids. Josh Smith shouldn't be worried about hurting the Miami Heat players' feelings. If a team is running up the score or throwing down ridiculous dunks, maybe you should play some defense. Crying and complaining about these things after games is kind of pathetic.

Here's the play that everyone is whining about below. I think it was great that Smith attempted it. We need more players that can entertain like this.

Monday, April 27, 2009

How My Team Did at the Draft: Seattle Seahawks Edition

Round 1, pick 4: Aaron Curry, OLB, Wake Forest

Before the draft started, I was just hoping the Seahawks wouldn't take Mark Sanchez and hoped they would take the safe pick of an OT assuming Curry was off the board. I absolutely did not expect Aaron Curry to fall in our laps like he did, but I'm so glad they didn't screw it up. Curry was considered by most to be the safest pick in the draft, and with good reason. The guy is an absolute beast who ate up the ACC for 4 years; not to mention the fact that he oozes class. He invited a cancer-stricken kid to come with him to the draft! How awesome is that!? Welcome to Seattle, Mr. Curry. Please enjoy your extended stay.

Round 2, pick 17: Max Unger, C, Oregon

I like this pick because Unger is so versatile. Our offensive line is getting more and more questionable, so we really need Unger to step in and make a difference.

Fun Fact: He played high school football at Hawaii Preparatory Academy in Kamuela, Hawaii.

Round 3, pick 27: Deon Butler, WR, Penn State

Of course I was hoping we would end up with Crabtree somehow (the Raiders are idiots), but I would take Curry over him every time, especially since we signed Houshmandzadeh. The Seahawks moved up to take Butler who was a standout at Penn State where he finished with the record for most receptions (passing former Seahawk Bobby Engram).

Fun fact: Butler spent the summer of 2008 as an intern with the Philadelphia Police Department's Crime Scene Unit, observing several homicide crime scenes, and augmenting his degree with valuable field experience.

Round 6, pick 5: Mike Teel, QB, Rutgers

Fun fact: On December 4, 2008, Teel had a career night in the final home game of his college career, completing 21 of 26 passes for 447 yards and seven touchdowns with no interceptions as Rutgers routed Louisville 63-14. The yardage and touchdown totals were single game school records as the Scarlet Knights finished their schedule at 7-5.

Round 7, pick 36: Courtney Greene, S, Rutgers

Round 7, pick 38: Nick Reed, DE, Oregon

Round 7, pick 39: Cameron Morrah, TE, California

I honestly don't know enough about the last 3 picks to offer any analysis, but I do know that they all filled team needs (except running back).

Undrafted signed free agents:

Michael Bennett, DE, Texas A&M
Tony Fein, LB, Mississippi
Dave Philistin, OLB, Maryland
Devin Moore, RB, Wyoming
Andre Ramsey, OT, Ball State
Tyler Roehl, RB, North Dakota State

We ended up with a couple running backs after all. I've heard good things about Devin Moore, so we'll see what he can do, plus Tyler Roehl is like a legend here in North Dakota so I really hope he takes it to the next level, it would definitely help the local market to pick up some Seahawks games.

Overall, I love what the Seahawks did in the draft, and that usually doesn't happen, they usually find a way to screw something up. I'm ecstatic that we got Aaron Curry, plus a trade with the Broncos gives us their 1st rounder next I'm really counting on Denver to suck.

This was a little bit of a head scratcher, because I felt that Seattle still needed a running back to throw into the mix and there were still some viable options on the board. Teel's alright, but we already had a clipboard holder in David Greene and I'm afraid that Teel's headed to the same fate. I really hope I'm wrong because I know of a couple other 6th round quarterbacks that had their fair share of doubters.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Jerome Beasley, Movie Critic

The 2003 NBA Draft class could possibly be the best draft class of all time. Some of the NBA's biggest superstars were drafted in 2003: LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Bosh, and Dwyane Wade being the best of the bunch. Just recently I was reading a book called The Macrophenomenal Pro Basketball Almanac and, to my surprise, one of the most obscure and forgotten players from this draft was mentioned (on page 207). The player mentioned was Jerome Beasley. The reason I find this so interesting is because I see this guy around all the time. At the bars, in stores, and at movies. My favorite Jerome Beasley moment actually happened at a movie theater after me and some friends just saw The Dark Knight. Someone in the bathroom said "Yo, JB, what did you think of the movie?" and Jerome Beasley responded with "that shit was excellent." I couldn't have said it better myself.

Jerome has played pretty much everywhere since being cut by the Miami Heat. He was an amazing player in college and I guess he just didn't take his game to the next level. What makes Jerome's career more depressing is that he ended up back in Grand Forks, of all places.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Kevin Durant is the Irrelevant MVP

The voting is finally over and Kevin Durant is the Irrelevant MVP. He had a great season while leading his team to only 23 wins. In only his second year, Durant averaged 25.3 points per game. Durant also had a great All-Star Weekend. He led the Sophomore team to victory in the Rookie-Sophomore game while putting up 46 points. He then followed that up by winning the HORSE competition the next day.

The Thunder had a dismal season but having Kevin Durant makes them a team to watch out for. They only need a couple more pieces and their puzzle will be complete. Who knows what the offseason has in store for the Thunder. We might be seeing them in the playoffs sooner than we think.

Now go ahead and enjoy this mix of Durant highlights.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Schrempf Scampi's 2009 NBA Playoff Predictions


Cleveland over Detroit ( in 5)
Atlanta over Miami (6)
Orlando over Philly (6)
Boston over Chicago (5)

Cleveland over Atlanta (6)
Orlando over Boston (7)

Cleveland over Orlando (7)

East champ: Cleveland

LA Lakers over Utah (6)
Portland over Houston (7)
San Antonio over Dallas (6)
Denver over New Orleans (7)

Lakers over Portland (6)
Denver over San Antonio (5)

Denver over Lakers (7)

West Champ: Denver

NBA Finals:

Denver over Cleveland (6)



Detroit over Cleveland (in 6)
Miami over Atlanta (in 7)
Orlando over Philly (in 5)
Boston over Chicago (in 6)

Detroit over Miami (in 6)
Orlando over Boston (in 6)

Orlando over Detroit (in 5)

East Champ: Orlando

LA Lakers over Utah (in 5)
Portland over Houston (in 4)
Dallas over Spurs (in 7)
Denver over NO (in 6)

Lakers over Portland (in 6)
Denver over Dallas (in 7)

Lakers over Denver (in 6)

West Champ: Lakers

NBA Finals: Lakers over Orlando (in 5)



Cleveland over Detroit (5)
Atlanta over Miami (5)
Orlando over Philly (6)
Chicago over Boston (7)

Cleveland over Atlanta (6)
Orlando over Chicago (5)

East Champ: Cleveland (7)

LA over Utah (6)
Portland over Houston (5)
Dallas over Spurs (6)
NO over Denver (5)

Portland over LA (6)
Dallas over NO (7)

Portland over Dallas (7)

NBA Finals: Portland over Cleveland (7)


Cleveland over Detroit (in 5)
Atlanta over Miami (in 7)
Orlando over Philly (in 6)
Boston over Chicago (in 6)

Cleveland over Atlanta (in 6)
Boston over Orlando (in 7)

Cleveland over Boston (in 6)

East Champ: Cleveland

LA Lakers over Utah (in 5)
Portland over Houston (in 5)
Dallas over Spurs (in 6)
Denver over NO (in 7)

Portland over Lakers (in 7)
Denver over Dallas (in 7)

Portland over Denver (in 6)

West Champ: Portland

NBA Finals: Portland over Cleveland (in 7)



Lakers over Utah (5)
Nuggets over Hornets (6)
Spurs over Mavericks (5)
Blazers over Rockets (7)

Cavaliers over Pistons (4)
Celtics over Bulls (6)
Magic over 76ers (4)
Hawks over Heat (5)

Lakers over Blazers (5)
Nuggets over Spurs (7)

Cavaliers over Hawks (7)
Magic over Celtics (4)

Lakers over Nuggets (6)
Magic over Cavs (6)

Lakers over Magic (6)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

For Sale: Pistons Allen Iverson Jersey

What the hell was I thinking? I would like to say that my excuse was that I thought it was a Chauncey Billups jersey without looking at the name on the back, but sadly that's not the case. I'm a bit of an impulse shopper and I was trying to decide between a Chris Paul jersey shirt and an Iverson Pistons jersey (the pickings were pretty slim at this particular store). Being a Pistons fan, I figured the jersey would be a much better could the Allen Iverson experiment possibly go wrong?!

Well now I'm that guy with an Iverson Pistons jersey... I no longer want to be that guy. It represents one of the most painful seasons in recent Pistons history which will probably end with LeDumbass sweeping us right out of the playoffs. That jersey represents pure evil and I have to get rid of it. Someone please take it off my hands. It's large, red, screened, and awkward... the bidding starts at 1 penny.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Where Are They Now? - Isaiah Rider

Today's edition of WATN belongs to the master of the East Bay Funk Dunk. Rider bounced around from team to team and was always getting in some kind of trouble. When I was eleven years old, I bought a Timberwolves jersey of Rider. Soon after, Rider got in trouble for possession of marijuana. He lasted 9 seasons in the NBA and then faded away. In 2006, Rider's name reappeared in the media. This time it was because he was arrested on kidnapping charges. And I bought this guy's jersey? I want my money back.

So where is Rider now? Well, last year he was arrested in Los Angeles for investigation of auto theft. I can only imagine he's still up to no good.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

The Rest Of The Eastern Conference

Stuff (Orlando Magic)

Check out Stuff's blog. If you have time, read it. If you don't have time, then just do what I did and look at the awesome pictures. However, I did skim through it and found a few good lines...
· To the guy in the Jose Calderon jersey (who apparently forgot he was in Orlando, and therefore soaked up an entire arsenal of my silly string): it was NOT an accident!
· To 7’1” Primoz Brezec (on the Raptors bench, because he never plays): I haven’t forgotten what you did, and I still think you are a punk. Dragons never forget, so beware or you might get burned.
Harry the Hawk (Atlanta Hawks)

Harry was selected 1st in the NBA draft over notable players Larry BIRD and Patrick eWING. He is also "good" at musical chairs.
And as a bonus, here is the second Atlanta Hawks mascot
Skyhawk is a world record holder. Fan mail can be sent to:
Bird's Eye Bungalow
Above the Rim
Philips Arena

Burnie (Miami Heat)
Burnie was sued in 1994 during an exhibition game in Puerto Rico. Burnie selected a woman from the audience and danced on the court with her during a time-out. The woman turned out to be the wife of a Federal Judge. The woman pulled away from Burnie and fell. Incredibly, Burnie faced 20 years in jail after being charged with aggravated assualt and battery. Burnie was also sued for US$1 million for emotional distress. The media ridiculed the case and the wife repeatedly on late-night TV. The case was settled for $50,000.

Rufus Lynx (Charlotte Bobcats)
Rufus's favorite book is "The Cat in the Hat."

G-Man (Washington Wizards)
G-Man from...Wes Unseld School of Dunks.
The Hawks aren't the only team in this article with two mascots. However, they are the only good team with two mascots.

Gilbert Arenas and Caron Butler believe that G-Wiz is that special ingredient that sparks super special energy that separates them from their opponents. Well...they definitely were separated from their opponents this year. They finished 13 games behind the New York Knicks, the second worst team in the Eastern Conference. Maybe this special energy will help them during the draft lottery where they will have either a 17.7% or 17.8% chance for the first pick, depending on a coin flip against the L.A. Clippers.
Moondog (Cleveland Cavaliers)
Moondog has numerous all-star appearances. He is best known for his behind the back half-court shot. Recently when Moondog was asked what Whammer, the Cavs old mascot, was up to these days he responded "He e-mails the braintrust of the Cavs about twice a week trying to get his old job back. I throw him a bone occasionally and invite him back, mostly to mock him. Finally he's good for a laugh." Moondog is also friends with Hot Dog, Bratwurst, and Polish on myspace.

Benny the Bull (Chicago Bulls)
On July 2, 2006, Benny's portrayer, Barry Anderson, was arrested by an off-duty police officer while performing at the "Taste of Chicago" food festival. Dressed in the Benny the Bull costume, Anderson drove a miniature motorcycle through the festival, although he did not have a permit to do so. When the officer, who was providing security at the event, identified himself as a policeman and called on Anderson to stop, Anderson fled. The officer pursued on foot, and when he caught up with Anderson, Anderson allegedly attempted to punch him in the face, breaking the officer's watch and knocking off his glasses. Anderson has subsequently claimed that the actions were performed in "character", and that he did not intend to cause injury to the officer. He was arrested and charged with battery and driving within the parkway. After Anderson was arrested and charged, his costume was returned to the United Center. The charges were later dropped after Anderson agreed to pay the cost to fix the officer's glasses.

Hooper (Detroit Pistons)

Some of Hooper's stunts include rappelling off the roof of The Palace of Auburn Hills to breaking bricks with his own hoof.
Bowser and Boomer (Indiana Pacers)
Bowser works for a salary of 365 dog bones a year. Boomer's hobbies include dunking with ease, making people smile, and driving his custom go-cat-cart.

Bango (Milwaukee Bucks)
At the 2009 Mascot Challenge, Bango was climbing on the backboard when one of the other mascots shot a ball which hit him in the groin area. Shortly after he was hit, Bango decided it would be a great idea to stand on the rim. While standing on the rim, Bango's right leg slipped through the hoop, got caught on the rim, and he fell through the basket entirely. Bango tore his ACL due to the fall but is still working through the injury, often using crutches or a wheel chair at the Bradley Center.

Friday, April 10, 2009

March Madness Might Be Over...But Mascot Madness Is Just Beginning

Mascot Madness is going to be a little segment posted every other third day or more likely when I have some spare time. Basically I'll just show you what everyone wants to see...awesome mascot pictures. Some mascots are well-known, while others are soon to be well-known. So without further introduction, here's what I got...

Lucky the Leprechaun (Boston Celtics)

Lucky's favorite book is "Green Eggs and Ham."

Hip-Hop (Philadelphia 76ers)

Check out Hip-Hops Rabbit Hole. If I were a Sixers fan, and I'm not, my dream car would definitely be the Hare-A-Van.

Sly and Mini Sly (New Jersey Nets)

These two are quite similar to another famous duo.

The Raptor (Toronto Raptors)

The Raptor has a career dunking percentage of .989

Maddie (New York Liberty)

Since the New York Knicks don't have a mascot, I was forced to go to the WNBA. This is a good note to end on. I would also like to point out that Rashanda McCants was drafted by the Minnesota Lynx. I bet Rashad wishes he was still a Timberwolve now.

More to come next time. This is only the beginning.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Today's Thumbs Up & High Five Awesomeness Award Winner...

Lakers guard, Kobe Bryant. Bryant is ready to retire after last night's game against the Kings after witnessing a vicious dunk by teammate Sasha Vujacic. Kobe said "I've seen it all. Sasha dunked on somebody. I'm ready to retire now."

Kobe Bryant is such a great guy that he is going to retire before the playoffs start and give someone else in the Western Conference a chance. Congrats Kobe. Nobody deserves this TUHFAA more than you.

Here's the ridiculous dunk below..

Sunday, April 5, 2009

2009 MLB Season Preview

Its baseball season again! Here is a complete divison by divison MLB preview that will surely make me look stupid by the end of the year.

AL East

1. Tampa Bay Rays
The Rays are the defending AL Champs. They won 97 games last season and have almost the same team returning in 09’. They should be even better after acquiring DH Pat Burrell, who will give this very young and complete team yet another weapon. It will be hard for the Rays to stay atop the AL East with the two money bags behind them, but this young team should only get better and I think they’ll be up to the challenge again in 2009.
Player to watch: B.J. Upton – Had 24 HRs in 2007 but only 9 in 2008 due to a shoulder injury. Look for the power to return this season. He also stole 44 bases in 09’.

2. Boston Red Sox
The Red Sox come into the 2009 season with an absolutely stacked team. As usual, the Sox have an explosive offense led by reigning AL MVP Dustin Pedroia, Jason Bay, Youk, and Big Papi. Most importantly, the Red Sox re-acquired catcher Josh Bard from the Padres…. He still can’t catch a knuckleball.
Player to watch: Jacoby Ellsbury – The young centerfielder from Oregon State stole 50 bases last season.
3. New York Yankees
The Yankees spent $441 million doll hairs this offseason as they try regain dominance in the East. However, all this spending doesn’t guarantee them anything. The Yankees haven’t won a World Series since 2000 so they shoudl know that money doesn’t buy you happiness (Or I guess a playoff berth)? They also are opening up a new billion dollar stadium, which I’m sure will be pretty. Let’s not talk about A-Rod.
Player to watch: Robinson Cano – My prediction is 100 RBIs for Cano as he picks up A-Roids slack this season.

4. Toronto Blue Jays
Here’s a fun fact for you: the Blue Jays play in the first ever retractable roof dome. Here’s another fun fact: the Blue Jays are the ugliest team in baseball. The offseason acquisition of Kevin Millar not only should help the Jay’s poor offense (maybe), but it also made them a lock for the baseball’s grossest team award and increased the amount of deer piss in the Toronto club house by 100%.

Player to watch: Roy Halladay – He is man. The big horse every teams needs as an ace. Halladay won 20 games last year with a 2.78 ERA.

5. Baltimore Orioles
2009 looks to be better year in Birdland as the Orioles look to improve on their abysmal 68 win season. Brady Anderson and his mysterious 50 homerun season aren’t coming through that door! (Just look at his HR totals) Neither is Billy Ripken (the good Ripken) for that matter. Anyway, with a nucleus of solid players like Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis, Aubrey Huff, Melvin Mora, and Adam Jones the O’s have potential on offense. The pitching, on the other hand, should be rough. Jeremy Guthrie and the extremely flat brim of George Sherrill are about all Baltimore has in the pitching department.
Player to watch: Nick Markakis – The right fielder is the best player you don’t know, but should. He had 48 doubles last season and should drive in over 100 runs in 09’.

AL Central

1. Minnesota Twins
The Twins lost the division crown last season in their 163rd game to the Chi Sox. This year they bring back the same young team with the addition of the third baseman Joe Crede in their final season in the Metrodome. The Twins are led by two-time batting champ Joe Mauer, stellar slugger Justin Morneau, and twitchy Joe Nathan. They boast one of the best young pitching rotations in the game and an offense that doesn’t hit many homeruns but was still 4th in the league in runs scored in 2008. If the defense and bullpen improve they should win the Central.

Player to watch: Matt Guerrier and Jesse Crain – These two need to step up in the bullpen after a shaky 2008.

2. Cleveland Indians
The Indians finished 2008 with a .500 record, which is respectable considering they lost their ace (C.C. Sabathia) and their three and four hitters (Victor Martinez and Travis Hafner) for most of the season. Cliff Lee established himself as their new ace and took home the AL Cy Young award with 22 wins. By getting healthy and by adding a few new faces (Kerry Wood and Mark DeRosa) the Indians could be a force in AL. Also, they have Grady Sizemore, who is possibly the best centerfielder in the game.

Player to watch: Matt LaPorta – Keep an eye on this top prospect to see if can crack the everyday lineup in Cleveland.

3. Kansas City Royals
The Royals open up the 2009 season in the remodeled Kauffman Stadium. They have a few new faces in centerfielder Coco Crisp, first baseman Mike Jacobs, and setup man Juan Cruz. The Royals are headed in the right direction, but the pitching rotation is iffy at best after Gill Meche and Zach Greinke. The Royals also possess one of the best young closers in the league in Joakim Soria (42 saves in 08').
Player to watch: David DeJesus – The leftfielder is a solid player who gets very little credit. He plays solid defense, always hustles, and bats third for the Royals.
4. Chicago White Sox
The Pale Hoes currently have the dumbest slogan in baseball: “There are traditions and there are WHITE SOX TRADITIONS.” I wish I knew what are referring too. All of this comes one year after they claimed “We Are Chicago Baseball.” I think the Cubs and their cute losing ways win that battle. With poor broadcasting, and an abundance of garbage blowing around their field expect Chicago to drop to bottom half of the division on 2009.

Player to watch: Alexi Ramirez – This skinny bugger hit 21 HRs in 2008 look for big things from him as he moves over to shortstop.

5. Detroit Tigers
The Tigers acquired Adam Everett to be their everyday shortstop this season. With that said, they receive an automatic last place vote. Seriously, Adam Everett was terrible for the Twins in 08’. He didn’t even play defense, which is the one thing he has to offer. Anyway, we know the Tigers can hit, but will they pitch? I doubt it.
Player to watch: Justin Verlander – As a starting pitcher he can consistently hit 100 mph with his fastball. He also has a nice mustache.

AL West

1. Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim
After a busy offseason where the Angels saw Mark Texiara and record setting closer Frankie Rodriguez leave for the Big Apple, the Angels are still set for another year of dominance in the AL West. They are anchored by their large pool of outfielders, which consists of Vlad, Torii Hunter, Bobby Abreu, Gary Matthews Jr., and Rueben Rivera. With the first four being owed roughly $57 million this season, I think it is an appropriate time for us to compare the Angels fetish for outfielders to the Detroit Lions obsession with receivers.
Player to watch: Kendry Morales – Should be the starting first baseman for LA, he has some big shoes to fill.

2. Oakland Athletics
Oakland has new a look this season with the additions of freak-show leftfielder Matt Holiday, Orlando Cabrera, Nomar, and the return of steroids (Jason Giambi) to the Bay. Will Eric Chavez be healthy this year? Meanwhile, look for them to challenge LA for the division crown, and if that doesn’t happen look for Billy Beane to have a fire sale at the deadline.

Player to watch: Starting rotation – The ace of the Oakland pitching staff, Justin Duchscherer, is going to miss roughly six weeks of the season. That leaves Oakland with a very young and inexperienced rotation to begin the season.

3. Texas Rangers
As usual the Rangers will have a great offense. Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, and Josh Hamilton provide star power at the top of the order. If the Rangers can get any kind of pitching they could become a decent team, however that’s been the same story for ten years now and I wouldn’t expect it change now. PS, thank you Texas for scrapping these ugly things.

Player to watch: Ian Kinsler – He was every bit as spectacular as AL MVP Dustin Pedroia while getting 150 less at bats. Look for a huge year from the Rangers leadoff man.

4. Seattle Mariners
To say the Mariners were a disappointment in 2008 is an understatement. What a year for Seattle sports! It other news Junior is back! I bet he is wondering where the rest of the gang is. He’s confused on why that skinny shit A-Roid isn’t batting in front of him and why that Edgar Martinez cat isn’t around to bat fifth behind him. Instead he has Adrian Beltre and Jeff Clement to sandwich him. Poor Griffey, you should’ve never left. Take away all the injuries and he’s the best player we’ve ever seen.

Player to watch: King Felix – We all know he has the stuff to be a Cy Young candidate.

Wild Card: Boston Red Sox
ALCS: Rays over Angels
AL MVP: Justin Morneau – Minnesota Twins
AL Cy Young: Roy Halladay – Toronto Blue Jays
AL Rookie of the Year: Matt Wieters – Baltimore Orioles, Catcher

NL East
1. Philadelphia Phillies
The Phillies are the defending World Series champs. They brought in Raul Ibanez from Seattle to take over in left for Pat Burrell. Ibanez can hit like crazy, but now the Phillies are very left handed in the heart of their order (Utley, Howard, Ibanez), it probably won’t matter. Chase Utley’s hip might be a concern.
Player to watch: Jayson Werth – Hit 24 homers and drove in 67 runs last season. He will need to produce again and give the Phillies some right handed production.

2. New York Mets
The Metropolitans come into the 2009 season with very high expectations as they open their brand new ballpark Citi Field. They are clearly one of the most talented teams in the league with the dynamic duo of Jose Reyes and David Wright. The Mets also had a busy offseason by bringing in record setting closer Frankie Rodriguez, who broke Bobby Thigpen’s record of 57 saves in a single season in 2008. Thigpen was never the same after all that wear and tear on his arm, so we’ll have to keep an eye on K-Rod. One final thing, check out this ugly patch they decided to wear on their uniforms this season. It's terrible.

Player to watch: K-Rod – Will last season’s wear and tear catch up to Frankie? Let’s hope not. K-Rod is fun to watch and he could be the missing piece the Mets have needed all along to win the East.

3. Atlanta Braves
The Braves success in 2009 will be riding on their pitching staff. The addition of Derek Lowe will help counteract the absence of ace (and former Auburn slugger) Tim Hudson. Young right-handers Jair Jurrjens and Tommy Hanson could be the difference. Meanwhile, Chipper Jones and Brain McCann (quietley one of the best catchers in the league) will anchor a dangerous Braves offense.
Player to watch: Jeff Francoeur – Big Jeffry batted only .239 last season so an offensive turnaround for Francoeur is vital to Atlanta’s success.

4. Florida Marlins
The Marlins once again are a team loaded with young talent that nobody has heard of. Hanley Ramirez is a superstar and will be one the most exciting players in the league to watch. CF Cameron Maybin is a ROY threat and could be the teams leadoff hitter allowing Ramirez to bat third and drive in more runs. The Marlins also boast one of the most underrated pitching rotations in the league led by 15 game winner Ricky Nolasco. If this young team develops during the season they can some noise in the NL.
Player to watch: Hanley Ramirez – I expect his homeruns (17) and RBIs (59) in 2008 to double as he moves to the number three spot in the batting order.

5. Washington Nationals
The Nationals landed a big free agent fish in Adam Dunn during the offseason, but it probably won’t matter. Rumor has it that Dunn just wanted to wear this unique outfit all season. It hurts my head to think about this team so I’m going to stop. Go back to Montreal.
Player to watch: Lastings Milledge – Had respectable numbers (14/61/24) in his first full season and should only get better. His new number is a little confusing and looks pretty stupid.
NL Central
1. Chicago Cubs
The Cubs won 97 games last season, but still couldn’t get over the hump. Surprisingly, the Cubs limited their offseason spending (compared to the New York teams). They brought in psycho outfielder Milton Bradley and Kevin Gregg to be the closer, replacing Kerry Wood who they sent packing to Cleveland. I expect the story to be the same in Chicago this season: another solid regular season followed by a historic choke. I hope I’m wrong.
Player to watch: Milton Bradley – Will he stay healthy or will he tear his ACL arguing with an umpire?

2. St. Louis Cardinals
The Cards finished 11.5 games behind Chicago in 2008 despite an MVP season by Albert Pujols. It should be the same story again this season unless the pitching staff comes through. Chris Carpenter returns to the rotation, but who knows what to expect after sitting out all of last season. Adam Wainwright should be solid as the team’s ace but after that there are questions. St. Louis is also hosting this year’s midsummer classic.

Player to watch: Rick Ankiel – The former pitching phenom is making a name for himself in centerfield for the Redbirds. Had 25 homeruns last season.

3. Milwaukee Brewers
The Brewers have a great offense, but after the departures of Ben Sheets and C.C. Sabathia, I have a tough time believing they can have the same type of season as they did in 2008. New additions include Jorge Julio, Braden Looper, and all-time saves leader Trevor Hoffman. Looper can make an impact if healthy, Julio is iffy, and Trevor Time and his bugs bunny changeup send me into cardiac arrest in the ninth inning. The Brewers offense will have to keep Bernie the Brewer busy on his slide this summer if they are going to contend.
Player to watch: Yovani Gallardo – The new ace of a shaky pitching staff will need to return to 2007 form where he had 3.67 ERA.

4. Cincinnati Reds
This season could be exciting in Cincy with the abundance of young talent the Reds possess. Jay Bruce, Joey Votto, Brandon Phillips, and Edwin Encarnacion can provide some punch with the benefit of the Great American Smallpark. Edison Volquez is nasty at the front end of the rotation, but the Reds will need more from their pitching staff to compete.
Player to watch: Joey Votto – ROY runner-up in 2008 with 24 homeruns. Could hit 30 and drive in 100 in 09’.

5. Houston Astros
The Big Puma, El Caballo, and Miguel Tejada (lied to Congress) create a three-headed monster on the offense. Roy Oswalt is stud at the top of the rotation, but after that Houston is in big trouble. Shane Reynolds isn’t walking through that door!
Player to watch: Roy Oswalt – Quietly had a good campaign in 2008 by winning 17 games.

6. Pittsburgh Pirates
It should be another rough year in Pittsburgh. This is terrible team. Nate McLouth was the lone bright spot last season. The centerfielder won a Gold Glove, hit 26 bombs, and drove in 96 out of the leadoff spot. Check out Nyjer Morgan sweet socks.

Player to watch: Nate McLouth – Also had 46 doubles and 23 steals in 2008.

NL West
1. Los Angeles Dodgers
Joe Torre’s Dodgers are the favorite in the West after falling just short of the World Series in 2008. The Dodgers better stack up on gummy bears and Gameboys because Manny is back. Young stars Matt Kemp, Andre Ethier, Russell Martin, and James Loney give the Dodgers a relentless attack around Man Ram and a solid foundation for the future.
Player to watch: Chad Billingsley and Jonathan Broxton – These two are huge keys to success for the Dodgers. Billingsley is now the ace and Broxton needs to be solid as the team’s closer.

2. Arizona Diamondbacks
The Diamondbacks are paced by the wonderful duo of Brandon Webb and Dan Haren as they combined for 38 victories in 2008. Arizona has a slew of young and talented position players, whose development is critical to their success. Here’s a disturbing fact: third baseman Mark Reynolds led the league in errors and strikeouts in 2008. Yikes.
Player to watch: Justin Upton – Has an absolute hose in right field. We could see some massive numbers out of this young man if he stays healthy.

3. San Francisco Giants
Tim Lincecum was a nice story in 2008. The former Oregon State star won the NL Cy Young whole winning 18 games and averaging 10.51 strikeouts per nine innings. The Big Unit has also arrived in the Bay giving the Giants a solid pitching rotation. This also makes Barry Zito the highest paid number four start in baseball history.

Player to watch: Matt Cain – Over the last two seasons Cain has won 15 games and lost 30. Yikes. He will have to be much better in 2009 for the Giants to contend in the West.
4. Colorado Rockies
Every day is no longer a Holiday in Denver after the Rockies traded left fielder Matt Holiday to Oakland for Houston Street this offseason. The Rocks will score runs as usual, but the pitching staff once again is a question mark. There are rumors floating around that Dante Bichette, Andres Galarraga, and Vinny Castilla are all coming back.
Player to watch: Troy Tulowitzki – Can he return to his 2007 form where he hit 24 bombs and batted .291? He’ll need to.

5. San Diego Padres
This winter was a tough one for Padres fans. They saw their beloved Trevor Hoffman, baseball’s all-time saves leader, sign a contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. Later, they watched as the franchise tried to trade away their ace Jake Peavy. Things look rough for the Pads in 2009 as they begin a definite youth movement. It’s going to be extremely sad not hearing “Hells Bells” blaring during the ninth inning. Thankfully there will be another Kevin Kouzmanoff Koozie night.
Player to watch: Adrian Gonzalez – One of the league’s best at first base. Hit 36 homers and drove in 119 without literally any protection at all while playing in a huge ballpark.

Wild Card: New York Mets
NLCS: Cubs over Mets
NL MVP: David Wright, New York Mets
NL Cy Young: Roy Oswalt, Houston Astros
NL Rookie of the Year: Colby Rasmus, St. Louis Cardinals, Outfielder
World Series: Rays over Cubs

Schrempf Scampi's 2009 MLB Predictions

The entire staff was asked to make predictions about who will make playoffs and who will win what awards. We will check back on this during the season so we can make fun of how wrong we will inevitably be.


East Champ: Rays
Central Champ: Indians
West Champ: Angels
Wildcard: Yankees

ALCS: Rays over Yankees

MVP: Evan Longoria
Cy Young: Felix Hernandez
Rookie of the Year: Matt Wieters

East Champ: Braves
Central Champ: Cubs
West Champ: Dodgers
Wildcard: Phillies

NLCS : Cubs over Phillies

MVP: Aramis Ramirez
Cy Young: Tim Lincecum
Rookie of the Year: Tommy Hanson

World Series Champ: Rays over Cubs

Bold, Random Prediction: Oakland is out of contention at the trade deadline and deal Matt Holliday to the Rays for prospects. Holliday leads the Rays to their first world series victory and is named world series MVP. ((The following offseason he signs with the Yankees for 108 million)
Vanilla Gorilla:

East Champ: Yankees
Central Champ: Indians
West Champ: Angels

ALCS: Angels over Indians

MVP: Grady Sizemore
Cy Young: John Lackey
Rookie of the Year: David Price

East Champ: Phillies
Central Champ: Cardinals
West Champ: Dodgers
Wildcard: Braves

NLCS : Dodgers over Phillies

MVP: Manny Ramirez
Cy Young: Johan Santana
Rookie of the Year: Jeff Samardzija

World Series Champ: Angels over Dodgers

Bold, Random Prediction: The Braves' team ERA returns to the top 2 in the NL with the help of the offseason acquisitions-which help them return to the playoffs for the first time in 4 years

East Champ: Yankees
Central Champ: Indians
West Champ: Angels
Wildcard: Twins

ALCS: Angels over Yankees

MVP: Vladimir Guerrero
Cy Young: CC Sabathia
Rookie of the Year: Matt LaPorta

East Champ: Phillies
Central Champ: Brewers
West Champ: Dodgers
Wildcard: Cubs

NLCS : Dodgers over Phillies

MVP: Manny Ramirez
Cy Young: Johan Santana
Rookie of the Year: Jeff Samardzija

World Series Champ: Angels over Dodgers

Bold, Random Prediction: Francisco Liriano wins 20 games.

East Champ: Rays
Central Champ: Royals
West Champ: Athletics
Wildcard: Twins

ALCS: Rays over Twins

MVP: Justin Morneau
Cy Young: Joakim Soria
Rookie of the Year: Matt Wieters

East Champ: Marlins
Central Champ: Cardinals
West Champ: Diamondbacks
Wildcard: Braves

NLCS : Cardinals over Braves

MVP: Hanley Ramirez
Cy Young: Jake Peavy
Rookie of the Year: Colby Rasmus

World Series Champ: Rays over Cardinals

Bold, Random Prediction: Gil Meche and Zach Greinke each win 20 games; Jose Reyes steals 100 bases.

East Champ: Red Sox
Central Champ: Indians
West Champ: Angels
Wildcard: Rays

ALCS: Angels over Indians

MVP: Josh Hamilton
Cy Young: Roy Halladay
Rookie of the Year: David Price

East Champ: Mets
Central Champ: Cubs
West Champ: Dodgers
Wildcard: Phillies

NLCS : Mets over Dodgers

MVP: Hanley Ramirez
Cy Young: Johan Santana
Rookie of the Year: Cameron Maybin

World Series Champ: Mets over Angels

Bold, Random Prediction: The Royals will miss the playoffs by just a couple games and compete all year for a spot.

East Champ: Boston Red Sox
Central Champ: Cleveland Indians
West Champ: Oakland Athletics
Wild card: New York Yankees

ALCS: Red Sox over Indians

MVP: Grady Sizemore
Cy Young: Josh Beckett
Rookie of the Year: Matt Wieters


East Champ: Philadelphia Phillies
Central Champ: Chicago Cubs
West Champ: Los Angeles Dodgers
Wild card: Florida Marlins

NLCS: Marlins over Cubs

MVP: Hanley Ramirez
Cy Young: Tim Lincecum
Rookie of the Year: Cameron Maybin

World Series Champ: Red Sox over Marlins

Bold, Random Prediction: Brad Penny contends for the AL Cy Young

Today's Thumbs Up & High Five Awesomeness Award Winner...

Brian Dawkins, former Eagles defensive back. Long story short, Dan Leone, an Eagles game-day stadium employee complained about the trading of Dawkins on his Facebook page, the wrong person saw it and that resulted in his firing. The status:

"Dan is [expletive] devastated about Dawkins signing with Denver. . .Dam Eagles R Retarted!!"

Okay, the status is pretty ridiculous...but whatever happened to that little freedom of speech thingy? Why would the Philadelphia Eagles care that one employee, who is assumedly a long-time Eagles and Brian Dawkins fan, complain about trading one of the most popular players in Eagles history. Of course that's going to happen, they're idiots to think otherwise...uh oh, sorry Eagles front office, are you gonna shut our blog down too?

Now onto the part where Brian Dawkins shows he's a classy dude. He heard about the story and felt really bad about Mr. Leone's firing and, even though he nothing to do with it directly, Dawkins decided to give him a pair of tickets to the Eagles-Broncos game in Philly. I genuinely love stories like this where athletes go out of their way to show their appreciation to fans. Great work Brian Dawkins, this TUHFAA's for you!

Saturday, April 4, 2009


Final Four Predictions and Analysis
For me, the 2009 NCAA Tournament has been a disappointment. I cheer for underdogs over big dogs, mid majors over majors, no hype over hype. I can pick Pittsburgh to win it all, then cry when they beat East Tennessee St in the final minutes in the first game. So even though Cinderella is absent from the final four for 3 years in a row, that doesn’t mean I won’t be cheering for Michigan St. and Villanova like they are the American Eagles. For analysis and predictions, I will put my objective hat on and sort through the matchups to decide who will be holding up the trophy next Monday.
1. Connecticut vs. 2. Michigan St
This game features the grind it out style of the Big Ten regular season champs and the bruising Big East style of number one seeded UConn. Ring the bell, but take the boxing gloves off, this will be a game you want to make sure you don’t let your kids watch alone.
Why Uconn could win: Dominance inside. When you have 7’3” Hasheem Thabeet, 6’9” Stanley Robinson, 6’7’’ Jeff Adrian starting and 6’9” Gavin Edwards coming off the bench, saying you have a good front line is like saying Ndaya Suleman enjoys having kids. Edwards would start and star at almost every mid major college in the nation, and he’s their FOURTH big guy? Even though AJ Price and Kemba Walker can pull their own weight, the Uconn big men time and time again clean up their misses around the rim. They also allow Walker and Price to gamble more on
defense, knowing there are goliaths behind them backing them up.

Why Michigan St could win: Playing their way. Michigan St held Louisville to 52 points. I’ll write that again: Michigan St held Louisville to 52 points! Have you seen Louisville play?! They put up 103 on Arizona. I don’t care if it’s Arizona and a 12 seed, they still play in the Pac 10 with 2 or 3 potential lottery picks on their team. Louisville wanted to play fast, and the Spartans simply did not allow it. They used the shot clock and rarely turned the ball over. The Spartans have the Big ten player of the year in Kalin Lucas and the Big Ten defensive player of the year in Travis Walton (Exhibit A: Terrence Williams, 2 points). They have one of the best coaches in the nation, plus they have something else going for them: Home Crowd. State is less than 90 miles from Detroit, and even though teams get the same amount of tickets allotted I have a funny feeling that the stands will look more green and white than blue. If Michigan St can do what they do best, keep the game low scoring and make timely shots, don’t be surprised to see the crowd get behind them and pull an upset in the first game Saturday.

UConn X Factor: AJ Price. Thabeet gets the hype, but when the game is on the line Price gets the ball. He was hurt last year leading to a first round upset against San Diego leading to extra motivation this year. Against Missouri, Kemba Walker took over the show as Price deferred. Now, it’s Price’s turn.
Michigan State X Factor: Durrell Summers. The only way Uconn is going to get beat is if Michigan St hits outside shots. Even if Goran Suton plays like he did against Louisville, someone else needs to hit shots. Summers hit big shots against Louiville, and Michigan St is going to need him to do the same against Uconn.
Prediction: Michigan St plays well, but Uconn is too tough down low, even for the Big Ten Champs. Uconn in a nailbiter. CONNECTICUT 65, MICHIGAN ST 62

1. North Carolina vs. 3. Villanova
It seems like everyone and their grandma has North Carolina in the Final Four, and most people picked them to win it all. Out of spite, I had them losing to Gonzaga (Whoops). I was privileged enough to watch them live in the sweet 16 and elite 8. They are the best team in the tournament, no doubt about it. Sometimes, though, the best team doesn’t always win.

Why North Carolina could win: Ty Lawson. He’s the best guard in the country, and the best player in the country not named Blake Griffin. At least when we watch him, we don’t have to see 4,329 shots of his parents in the stands (I feel like I personally know the Griffins). Anyway, I was amazed at what I saw when I watched Lawson. He’s unguardable. He’s the quickest guy on the court AND the best shooter on the court (sorry ellington and green). Lawson just doesn’t miss open shots. He creates for teammates and doesn’t turn the ball over. Check out his tournament stats so far: 20 for 35 from the field, 7 for 11 from the 3 point line, scored 23, 19, 19, dished out a total of 20 assists and 2 turnovers, and 6 steals. Are you kidding me? This guy is talked about all the time and he isn’t talked about enough. As Tyler Hansborough was showing why he won’t make it in the NBA against Oklahoma, Lawson was showing why he would be a top 10 point guard… Right now. As in, if he played for the Kings tomorrow. He’s what makes North Carolina go, and he’s the reason UNC will win or lose.

Why Villanova could win: Mental Toughness. When you play North Carolina, you can’t let the awe and admiration of the team get to you. They have multiple future NBA players, Villanova might have none. When they make a run, you can’t fold or give up. I felt like watching the Gonzaga game they were admiring North Carolina more than playing against them. Oklahoma definitely played nervous and scared. I doubt these wildcats will come out scared, and they need to treat this like any other game. The wildcats need to play their brand of basketball: get every loose ball, attack the offensive glass, not let Carolina get out in transition. They can’t let Carolina get off to a big lead either. There’s a lot of things that have to go right for Villanova to win, but in basketball that happens sometimes.

North Carolina X Factor : The “other” big men. Psycho T gets all the credit, but Deon Thompson and Ed Davis are the two guys that really hurt opposing defenses. Teams need to focus on stopping those guys too. It’s tough to stop UNC when Davis is making 10 foot jump hooks and Thompson consistently knocks down 15 footers. If that happens in this game, Villanova will be in for a long night.

Villanova X Factor: Rebounding. Villanova is a team comprised of small guards , and athletic big men. However, there big men are wing players. They don’t have a true post presence. Dante Cunningham and Dwayne Anderson like to shoot outside more than inside. The key to the game for Villanova is limiting North Carolina’s chances. Even though they are undersized, they have to rebound well. North Carolina doesn’t miss much so when they do, there better be a wildcat getting the board. If Villanova limits North Carolina to one shot, and get some loose balls/offensive rebounds of their own by utilizing their quickness, their chances of winning the game increase exponentially.

Prediction: The game is closer than people think. It’s a five point game with 3 or 4 minutes left, and North Carolina pulls away at the end.

Championship game prediction:
1. Connecticut vs. 1. North Carolina
Just what CBS wants. A showdown of two gigantic programs in college basketball. It’s been well documented that Uconn played its regionals in Arizona in 1999, 2004, and this year. They won the championship in those two prior years. Although some people might point to that as destiny, it just reminds me of the 1999 game when a heavily favored Duke team took on Connecticut. Connecticut won that match up, and I feel this one is going to be the same. UNC doesn’t hit as many shots while Uconn kills them on the glass. Everyone plays well for Uconn. That’s what it took 10 years ago, and that’s what will happen this year. Uconn in a classic.
Connecticut 76 North Carolina 72

Important Disclaimer: Shrempf Scampi is not responsible for any lost wagers made based on these picks.