SportsCrack Blog

Monday, March 30, 2009


The Chicago Blackhawks learned their lesson. Don't ever punch the goalie. Especially when his name is Roberto Luongo.

Seriously, who the fuck pulls hair in a fight? Somebody get that guy a tampon before he bleeds all over the ice.


With just under a week till the opening pitch I finally decided to get off my lazy ass and start writing some baseball previews. I'm starting off with the National League East because the reigning World Series Champs reside in this division. The Phillies shocked a lot of people including myself by winning their first ring since 1980. Can they repeat? It's doubtful since they will have a large target on their back and with the Braves, Mets, and Marlins all suppose to be better this season. Let's take a look.

Atlanta Braves:
After losing 90 games in 2008 and missing the playoffs for the third year in a row the Braves went on a mission to improve an aging and disabled list riddled starting rotation. They did just that after thankfully striking out in the AJ Burnett sweepstakes. Signing free agent Derek Lowe was enormous. Sure they overpaid but they needed a solid #1 or #2 starter and Lowe is pretty much a guarantee to pitch 200 or more quality innings. They also signed Japanese star Kenshin Kawakami who has been impressive so far in Spring Training. The trade for innings eater Javier Vasquez could be the key to whether or not the Braves contend for a division title this year. If Vasquez and Lowe can both win 15 plus games each then they should be in the thick of the race. Kawakami should baffle a lot of hitters at least this season since he is unknown. Smoltz is gone but the Braves did resign dickface Tom Glavine to a one year, please pitch like Jamie Moyer and not 2008 Glavine contract. The kid I'm really looking forward to seeing pitch is Tommy Hanson. He will start off at AAA Gwinnett (just got my opening day tickets yesterday) but should be up to Atlanta by May if all goes as planned. Tommy K, Hanson Heaters, whatever you want to call him is the best pitching prospect to come out of the Atlanta system since Smoltz and Glavine.

The batting lineup has a ton of question marks. Chipper Jones is the anchor but can he stay healthy? It's doubtful he will play more than 130 games with his wide range of injuries but when he is the lineup the Braves are a completely different team. They will need a big rebound season from fallen star Jeff Francoeur. Frenchy was so atrocious last season he earned himself a demotion. If he could learn not to swing at every fucking pitch like his good buddy Brian McCann then he still has time to be a productive right fielder. If not this season then he needs to be traded. Garrett Anderson was an interesting pickup and should drive in some runs in the middle of the lineup. Middle infielders Kelly Johnson and Yunel Escobar both need to step up their games and have All-Star numbers. Their time is now as both are entering their prime seasons.

The Braves season will come down to pitching. Last year their pitching was terrible and it showed in the loss column. This year they appear to have a solid starting five but will the bullpen be effective? If the bullpen comes together as well as I think the starters will do then the Braves can compete with anybody. It's a big IF though.

Florida Marlins:
The Marlins surprised pretty much every baseball writer by winning 84 games in 2008. They have a ton of young talent including the best shortstop in the game in Hanley Ramirez. Ramirez is signed long term and should be the face of the franchise when he isn't throwing a hissy fit over grooming policies. Center fielder Cameron Maybin will be their leadoff hitter and is expected to steal over 30 bases.

The Marlins are focused on pitching, speed and defense but their payroll limits their effectiveness. They will once again have the lowest payroll in the majors and all though it isn't a precursor to success it would be nice to know they could add some expensive pieces if they are in contention midseason. I just don't see it happening. The Marlins are built to be solid contenders in 2010 and beyond.

New York Mets:
The Amazing Mets, or shall I say Mess, did it again last season letting the Phillies past them in September thanks to a horrible bullpen. They went out and remedied the situation by signing K-Rod to close out games and trading for J.J. Putz to be the setup guy. Putz and K-Rod are 100% better than that shit eating dog of a bullpen they had last year.

David Wright and Jose Reyes remain the focal points of the offense. Both are superstars and Met's fans should be thankful they got two young studs on the left side of their infield. As an Orioles fan I am extremely jealous of the Wright-Reyes combo. Carlos Delgado and Carlos Beltran are both capable of driving in a lot of runs so the offense should be of little issue in the new Citi Field Park. The starting pitching has question marks after Johan Santana. Santana is probably the best pitcher in the game right now but I don't know how much faith you can have in new guys Tim Redding and Freddie Garcia. Not to mention John Maine and Oliver Perez are both capable of bad stretches. I don't see why the Mets try to sign Pedro Martinez. Pedro still has some gas in the tank and if anything could come out of the bullpen too.

Philadelphia Phillies:
This shirt says it all for the Phillies in 2008: PHUCKING PHANTASTIC. The Phillies won it all in 2008 and have pretty much their entire team back minus skirt chaser Pat Burrell. They have legitimate superstars in Cole Hamels, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, Jimmy Rollins and Brad Lidge who all are in their peak seasons. Ageless wonder Jamie Moyer will again be throwing Wills Park junk (I played little league at Wills Park in Alpharetta, GA) that nobody can hit. They even have a wife beater on their team in Brett Myers who could win 18 or more games in 2009.

The worst thing that could happen to the Phillies this year is complacency. Some teams lose their fire after they get their ring. Phillies fans will let them know it if they think they are taking some days off. Complacency shouldn't be an excuse in a city like Philadelphia where their fans are as gunho as a teenager touching their first vagina.

Washington Nationals:
I hope the Nationals fans are prepared for the Adam Dunn experiment. He will hit you 40 plus home runs but he will also miss as many fly balls. Big Donkey is a hit or miss type of player that I could see wearing out his welcome real fast in D.C.

The Nationals didn't acquire much talent this offseason. They got 6'9 headcase Daniel Cabrera for their rotation and Marlins castoff Scott Olsen also. Both will more than likely have horrible seasons. Jordan Zimmerman is a future stud in the rotation who is scheduled to make his major league debut on April 19th. The Nationals have the #1 pick in this year's draft and are expected to take Stephen Strasburg who could be in their rotation by the summer if he signs quickly. Strasburg is being advised by Scott Boras who reportedly wants $50 million for him which is insane. A future rotation of Strasburg and Zimmerman is something to be excited about.

2009 on the other hand isn't. The Nationals should struggle most of the season behind a stagnant offense and some really bad pitching. It would help if they could get a decent GM because they have money to spend on players.

Sportscrack NL East predictions:

1. Philadelphia Phillies

2. Atlanta Braves (Wild Card Winner)

3. New York Mets

4. Florida Marlins

5. Washington Nationals

MVP: Hanley Ramirez
Rookie of the Year: Tommy Hanson
Coach of the Year: Charlie Manuel


I have a feeling Tiger Woods is playing this song today after that clutch performance yesterday in the Arnold Palmer Invitational. Tiger is back and there is little doubt he will compete for the green jacket in Augusta in less than two weeks. If anybody wants to help a brother out with Masters tickets then you know where to reach me. I am willing to barter some PUKE or A-Roids shirts. It's an even trade. No need to do the math. Anyways here is your Monday morning jam...