This goes against the usual topic discussed here at "Sports & Things", but I feel this is needed
With Halloween past us, that can only mean that election day is closing in. Now while 2013 elections may not seem important (municipal/local elections...Virginia and New Jersey gubernatorial races aside), they are just as important. State and national politicians always talk about "change", but as we know, change is hard to come by in regards to national government. The key to change, however comes from the local level, in cities and towns.
In terms of local elections, while Boston, New York City, among other big cities will be holding mayoral races, Wallingford,CT has a chance to make a big change, and that's with Jason Zandri for mayor.
Has Wallingford been running fairly smooth over these past 20+ years under Mayor Dickinson? Sure, but there is always room for improvement, and more importantly, a room to modernize, which the mayor seemingly refuses, sticking to the status quo. Whether its an unwillingness to look for help outside the town with projects, the mayor sticks by his same approach.
Wallingford can be even better than it already is with a new approach. For one, getting town hall online, applying direct deposit. Modernizing the town can even lead to savings.
Over the past 20years, Wallingford has played it safe, and stuck with that they know. It is time for a new approach. For one, Mr. Zandri is very well known in town (having saved the July 4th fireworks along with councilman Craig Fishbein).
It's time for a change Wallingford, and that's why "Sports & Things" endorses Jason Zandri for mayor.
Wednesday, October 23, 2013
The 2013 World Series is upon us, a contest between two storied franchises, the St. Louis Cardinals and Boston Red Sox. In this preview, I'll compare match-ups by position, including the projected starting fielders, pitchers, and then each team's bench and bullpen as a whole.For the looks at individual players, I'll include their regular season and postseason stats (up until their final League Championship Series game).For any platoon position, I'll use the player that seems to be getting the most time (i.e Red Sox LF).
C. Jarrod Saltalamacchia Yadier Molina
regular: 14HR 65RBI 68R .273/.338/.466 12HR 80RBI 68R .319/.359/.477
post: 0HR 5RBI 1R .231/.259/.269 1HR 2RBI 4R .256/.356/.359
Saltalamacchia (Salty) has shown a lot of growth this season as he enters a contract year, both at the plate with a consistent season as well as behind. While Salty will surely see a nice payday come the offseason, there is really no competition here. You could call Molina the MVP of this Cardinals purely for what he does behind the plate. Its nearly impossible to run on him, and he's one of, if not the best pitch caller in the game.
1B. Mike Napoli Matt Adams
regular: 23HR 92RBI 79R .259/.360/.482 17HR 51RBI 46R .284/.335/.503
post: 2HR 3RBI 5R .242/.342/.515 1HR 4RBI 5R .268/.333/.390
Mike Napoli has shown glimpses of what he can do in October, especially during his key HR's in the ALCS versus the Detroit Tigers. He hasn't had any hip problems over the season due to his Avascular Necrosis, and has shown his typical pop, amid cool streaks throughout the season. Adams has stepped up this year, among many in part of the Cardinals youth movement, putting up solid numbers, and he will certainly see some NL Rookie of the Year votes (NL ROY). In this instance though, I prefer the veteran in this case.
Edge: Red Sox
2B. Dustin Pedroia Matt Carpenter
regular: 9HR 84RBI 91R .301/.372/.415 11HR 78RBI 126R .318/.392/.481
post: 0HR 6RBI 3R .256/.311/.308 0HR 2RBI 5R .167/.250/.262
The unofficial captain, Dustin Pedroia is the spirit of the Red Sox, whether his consistency getting on base or his top gold-glove at second. Some may call him "scrappy", but I would say that he's just determined, no matter the circumstances. Matt Carpenter had a solid sophomore campaign showing a little more pop than Pedroia did this season, however defense is the key here, and while Carpenter was average defensively for the average 2B (0.3 dWAR), Pedroia was extraordinary (2.3 dWAR).
Edge: Red Sox
SS. Stephen Drew Pete Kozma
regular: 13HR 67RBI 57R .253/.333/.443 1HR 35RBI 44R .217/.275/.273
post: 0HR 2RBI 1R .086/.111/.143 0HR 2RBI 2R .200/.333/.240
Despite Drew's pedestrian postseason numbers, he had a solid regular season from May onward, following a cold start to the season. Drew has a solid glove, while his bat can be streaky, but all it takes is 1 moment it seems to spark Drew. Kozma has been adequate at SS for the Cardinals, however they may still look for an upgrade come the offseason. He's pretty solid defensively (1.3dWAR), however his bat is really lacking.
Edge: Red Sox
3B. Xander Bogaerts David Freese
regular: 1HR 5RBI 7R .250/.320/.364 9HR 60RBI 53R .262/.340/.381
post: 0HR 0RBI 7R .500/.727/1.000 1HR 4RBI 3R .189/.250/.297
This is an interesting matchup. The Red Sox top prospect, Xander Bogaerts, was inserted into the lineup at 3B in the ALCS, sending Will Middlebrooks to the bench. In a brief sample size, Bogaerts' postseason performance thus far has been outstanding, putting up veteran-like at bats and drawing walks. Freese was the hero for the 2011 world series winning Cardinals during that Game 6, however he had a bit of a down year this season, putting up respectable numbers with his bat, but producing a -0.3 WAR and a -1.5 dWAR. Due to Freese's experience though, I'm calling this a toss-up
LF. Jonny Gomes Matt Holliday
regular: 13HR 52RBI 49R .247/.344/.426 22HR 94RBI 103R .300/.389/.490
post: 0HR 2RBI 6R .200/.259/.280 2HR 5RBI 6R .244/.261/.444
This is a platoon situation for the Red Sox, but Gomes has been seeing the most time recently. Gomes has had solid pop, getting clutch hits during the regular season, however he hasn't quite displayed that thus far in the postseason. Holliday on the other-hand has been nothing but solid for the Cardinals. What me may lack in defense he more than makes up for it with his bat.
CF. Jacoby Ellsbury Jon Jay
regular: 9HR 53RBI 92R .298/.355/.426 7HR 67RBI 75R .276/.351/.370
post: 0HR 5RBI 10R .400/.467/.525 0HR 3RBI 5R .206/.282/.206
Jacoby Ellsury had a healthy, consistent 2013, not showing the power he flashed in 2011, but bringing back the speed with 52 stolen bases. Ellsbury also played really solid defense with a 1.9 dWAR.Jay has been in a bit of a platoon with Shane Robinson in the postseason, but Jay has seen the most playing time. Jay had a respectable season as well with the bat, with about the same amount of pop as Ellsbury, but nowhere near the amount of SB (10), or defensive quality (-0.9 dWAR) as Ellsbury.
Edge: Red Sox
RF. Shane Victorino Carlos Beltran
regular: 15HR 61RBI 82R .294/.351/.451 24HR 84RBI 79R .296/.339/.491
post: 1HR 8RBI 4R .237/.341/.342 2HR 12RBI 5R .256/.383/.538
Shane Victorino proved the critics wrong, showing he was worth his contract this season as he returned to form with solid offense and defense. Victorino wasn't shy defensively, making spectacular catch after catch. Of course there's also his clutch grand slam in Game 6 of the ALCS. Beltran has just kept rolling on, showing that age is just a number. Especially during this postseason, Beltran's power has been a force. While he isn't close defensively to Victorino, in a tight match-up, I have to give the edge to Beltran.
DH. David Ortiz Allen Craig
regular: 30HR 103RBI 84R .309/.395/.564 13HR 97RBI 71R .315/.373/.457
post: 3HR 7RBI 5R .200/.349/.486 N/A (injured, added to active roster)
Big Papi is Big Papi, that's all there is to it. Just like Beltran, Ortiz is showing that age is just a number. He also continues to be clutch in the postseason, with his big grand slam in Game 2 of the ALCS. While Craig had a solid season, he's missed all of the postseason this far. The plan is for Craig to DH at Fenway and then re-evaluate him in St. Louis. There are a lot of question marks with Craig right now.
Edge: Red Sox
As I move onto starting pitching, we know the first 2 pitching match-ups, but not the last 2, so those will be purely speculation.
Jon Lester Adam Wainwright
regular: 213.1IP 15-8 177K/67BB 3.75era 241.2IP 19-9 219K/35BB 2.94era
post: 19.1IP 2-1 14K/7BB 2.33era 23IP 2-1 20K/1BB 1.57era
Lester returned to form in 2013, pitching more like the front-line starter he is, especially in the postseason thus far. Wainwright on the other hand will certainly garner some NL Cy Young votes, and he's continued his run of preventing walks into the postseason. Based on postseason numbers thus far its close, but advantage Wainwright.
John Lackey Michael Wacha
regular: 189.1IP 10-13 161K/40BB 3.52era 64.2IP 4-1 65K/19BB 2.78era
post: 12IP 2-0 14K/3BB 3.00era 21IP 3-0 22K/4BB 0.43era
The veteran versus the youngster in this case. Lackey has been more like the pitcher the Red Sox had been expecting when they originally signed him. Lackey received little run support during the regular season, hence his record, but he's been consistent. Wacha really came on this year to show he's MLB ready, especially during his near no-hitter during his last start of the regular season. He's continued this run into the postseason. At Fenway, however, I prefer Lackey, whose been excellent at home.
Edge: Red Sox
Clay Buchholz Joe Kelly
regular: 108.1IP 12-1 96K/36BB 1.74era 124IP 10-5 79K/44BB 2.69era
post: 16.2IP 0-0 15K/5BB 5.40era 16.1IP 0-1 13K/6BB 4.41era
This one is a bit of a wildcard. There have been some speculation regarding Buchholz's health, but the plan is for him to still start either Game 3 or 4. If Buchholz can avoid that 1 bad inning he's seemingly had so far in the postseason, then he could be a real game changer. Kelly, like Wacha, is part of that young Cardinals pitching movement. He issues more walks than one would like, but has been fairly consistent. Depending on which Buchholz you get (if he starts), I like the Red Sox here.
Edge: Red Sox
Jake Peavy Lance Lynn
regular: 144.2IP 12-5 121K/36BB 4.17era 201.2IP 15-10 198K/76BB 3.97era
post: 8.2IP 0-1 4K/3BB 8.31era 11.2IP 2-1 12K/7BB 5.40era
The Red Sox acquired Peavy for these type of starts, to give them some depth in the rotation. Besides a solid outing in the ALDS, Peavy has been really shaky. He was solid during the regular season though, with his era inflated due to pitching injured while with the Chicago White Sox and being left in games too much while the White Sox were showcasing him. Lynn has been a solid strikeout pitcher this season, however with some command issues. Those issues have risen up during the postseason, but I would take Lynn here given Peavy's lack of consistency in the postseason so far.
Now I'll just evaluate the teams' overall bench and bullpen, without evaluating each player.
Red Sox Cardinals
The Red Sox have a really strong bench, featuring Daniel Nava (who platoons with Gomes), Will Middlebrooks (recently displaced by Bogaerts), along with Mike Carp and David Ross, a solid veteran catcher. The Red Sox have a lot of pop and pinch hitting opportunities once they head to St. Louis, as Napoli will likely see the most time on the bench during the NL portion of the world series. The Cardinals bench contains Shane Robinson (who splits with Jay), back-up catcher Tony Cruz, along with guys like Daniel Descalso and Kolten Wong. While there are some nice players there, its not quite as deep as the Red Sox.
Edge: Red Sox
Red Sox Cardinals
Entering the season, Joel Hanrahan was the Red Sox closer with Andrew Bailey as the set-up, but when both went down due to injury, the role went to Koji Uehara, and he hasn't looked back. A bridge has also formed to Uehara with arms such as Junichi Tazawa, Craig Breslow and the rookie Brandon Workman. The Cardinals are currently working by closer by committee, although youngster Trevor Rosenthal has been getting most of the save work in the postseason. The BP also includes Edward Mujica, John Axford and Shelby Miller. While there's a lot of youth and flamethrowers, Breslow and Tazawa have shown they are capable of getting the tough out,so in a fairly even match-up, the edge goes to Boston.
Edge: Red Sox
Overall, the Red Sox have the advantage at 1B/2B/SS/CF/DH/Lackey/Buchholz/BP/Bench, while the Cardinals have the advantage at C/LF/RF/Wainwright/Lynn, with 3B being a toss-up. I think this will be a really close series that has the capability to go the distance. Its a world series where the rookies, young players are poised to make big moments. I'm going with the Boston Red Sox in 7.....with Xander Bogaerts as the world series MVP, with a clutch series and potential game winning hits.
Monday, October 14, 2013
Glee ran their tribute episode to Cory Monteith called "The Quarterback", and I just thought that I would also look say a few words about Cory and his character on Glee "Finn", as well as wading into the topic of addiction. Now I don't pretend to have any type of degree pertained to that, but I think its important to talk about.
But just beyond Glee, we lost a great talent. Cory had a solid voice with a lot of talent.
More importantly, you can tell that a lot of people cared about him, just from seeing the raw emotion in the tribute episode. Whether it was during Naya Rivera (Santana's) outburst at Coach/Principal Sue (Jane Lynch), the scenes between Kurt's dad and Finn's mom, or the final scene with Mr. Schue and Finn's jacket. You could sense the real emotion there. You could also feel it during the performances.
and especially with Lea's performance.
Getting at the bigger issue (and again, I'll point out that I'm nowhere near certified to go in depth on this), but addiction is a real disease/disorder, just as much as depression and panic disorder. While people may write it off that he "made the choice", to those with addiction, it isn't that easy. They feel a need of dependence, whether its alcohol, prescription drugs, etc. To simply write it off as a "choice" won't help us combat addiction. In order to deal with it as a society, we have to acknowledge it, and help those conflicted by it. We need to be there to support them, not chastise them or write them off. It can be tough, but it can be done. As the ending PSA the Glee cast did said immediately following the episode, even the most happy person you know could be dealing with addiction in the shadows. Addiction doesn't know happiness or love, fame or fortune, it has no prejudice and can strike anyone regardless. The important thing is to get help.
If you or a loved one needs help, call 1-800-662-HELP, or go to www.findtreatment.samhsa.gov
Thursday, September 5, 2013
As we approach the beginning of the season with the Ravens Vs Broncos on Thursday, its time to take a preview of the 2013 NFL Season. In this preview, I'll go through predictions of each division, the playoffs and the Super Bowl. First, lets start off with the AFC.
1) Denver Broncos: 13-3
2) Kansas City Chiefs: 7-9
3) San Diego Chargers: 6-10
4) Oakland Raiders: 4-12
The Broncos look poised to be a true Super Bowl contender with Peyton Manning entering his 2nd season in Denver. The offense was also able to add Wes Welker who could be a favorite of Manning throughout the season. The Broncos were also able to add to the running game drafting Wisconsin RB Montee Ball in the 2nd rd this year. The Broncos do have some questions on the defense, but the offense should be able to make up for it. Meanwhile, the Chiefs could be a bit of a mystery, adding QB Alex Smith along with head coach Andy Reid. The Chargers look poised to take a step back as they've been decimated with injuries at WR. As for the Raiders, it could be a rough go for QB Terrelle Pryor, who looks like he'll enter Week 1 as the starting QB.
1) Houston Texans: 11-5
2) Indianapolis Colts: 10-6
3) Tennessee Titans: 6-10
4) Jacksonville Jaguars: 4-12
I see a repeat of 2012 with the AFC South, with the Texans just edging the Colts for the division. J.J Watt is coming off a tremendous defensive season and the Texans were able to add an offensive weapon for QB Matt Schuab with WR DeAndre Hopkins in the 1st rd, who has looked like the real deal. It should bring pressure off of Andre Johnson. Andrew Luck shouldn't see much of a sophomore slump, in fact he could be a darkhorse MVP candidate (but not one of my picks). The Titans should be ok, and that's about it. Its tough to predict the type of year QB Jake Locker will have, but they do have a solid back-up in Ryan Fitzpatrick. And what to say about the Jaguars.....they should be involved in a lot of offensive shoot-outs, but a very young and raw team, I see them picking in the top 5 in the 2014 draft.
1) Pittsburgh Steelers: 11-5
2) Cincinnati Bengals: 9-7
3) Baltimore Ravens: 8-8
4) Cleveland Browns: 4-12
I see the Steelers having a bounce-back year in large part to what should be a top 5 defense. The defense will see a flux in youth, with James Harrison gone to the Bengals, and 1st rd pick Jarvis Jones seeing plenty of playing time. The running game could be a question-mark for the first few weeks without 2nd rd pick Le'Veon Bell, but the addition of Markus Wheaton (3rd rd) and a step-up from Sanders should make up for Mike Wallace's absence in the passing game. The Bengals should have a solid year, but just come up short in divisional games. The Ravens could take a step back this year with the absence of Boldin on offense, and Ray Lewis, Ed Reed on defense. And while Brandon Weeden has looked solid in the preseason for the Browns, well, they're still the Browns.
1) Miami Dolphins: 13-3
2) New England Patriots: 12-4
3) Buffalo Bills: 7-9
4) New York Jets: 5-11
That's right, I'm going outside the box here and predicting a big year for the Dolphins. They should have a stout defense with added pieces like 1st rd pick Dion Jordan and Jamar Taylor (2nd rd), as well as an added weapon for QB Ryan Tannehill in Mike Wallace, who could have a big year with a change of scenery. The Patriots should have an equally solid year, and in any other year would win the division, but I see a break-out year for the Dolphins. The Patriots will have a lot of youth at WR for Tom Brady, so we'll see how that plays out, and how the defense (particularly run-stop) improves. The Bills should have a fine year with E.J Manuel in his 1st season, but just that, fine, a season to build off of. And the Jets just look like a mess, with Geno Smith entering the year as the starting QB, despite a fairly poor preseason, and not a lot of weapons for him to work with.
Colts vs. Steelers: This would be a true test for 2nd yr QB Andrew Luck, but I think the Steelers D would be too much for Luck. Steelers
Patriots vs Texans: This would be a test for the Texans D facing Tom Brady and a fairly young offense, but I think the Texans D would be up to the task. Texans
Texans Vs Broncos: While the Texans D was up to the task with the Patriots, I don't see them matching up here with Manning and company. Broncos
Steelers vs Dolphins: Mike Wallace against his former team. All in all, I think this is where the Dolphins breakout season ends because of the steel curtain. Steelers
Steelers vs. Broncos: The Steelers D should be better than the last time these 2 faced off in the playoffs, except its Peyton Manning, and not Tim Tebow. The Broncos get back to the Super Bowl. Broncos
1) Dallas Cowboys: 11-5
2) Washington Redskins: 9-7
3) New York Giants: 9-7
4) Philadelphia Eagles: 6-10
I know, I know, it seems every year most pick the Cowboys to win the division, yet they always fall short, however I think this could be the year, As long as the Dallas defense stays healthy, the Cowboys offense should be able to lead Dallas to the top of the NFC East with Dez Bryant continuing to emerge, along with the addition of 3rd rd pick WR Terrance Williams. RG3 should have a decent year, but I could envision a few hiccups, with a chance of some rust during the beginning of the season as he looks to regain his early form from last season. The Giants are always a question-mark, sometimes they can look like one of the top teams in the NFC, other-times they can look simply like a .500 team. I see the Giants continuing to ride that roller coaster with some ups and downs to an average 9-win season. The Eagles will need some time to adjust to Chip Kelly's offense, hence a 6-win season.
1) Green Bay Packers: 11-5
2) Chicago Bears: 10-6
3) Detroit Lions: 8-8
4) Minnesota Vikings: 6-10
The Packers should continue on with their presence in the playoffs. An added running game via the draft, Eddie Lacy (2nd rd), Jonathan Franklin (4th rd) should help out Aaron Rodgers. However, right on their heals this year should be the Bears. A reinvigorated offense should give Jay Cutler the pieces he needs to go along with the Bears defense (minus Urlacher however). The Lions should bounce-back from a disastrous 2012, but in steps, with a .500 season. The Vikings are really tough to predict. It would be almost impossible for Adrian Peterson to replicate his 2012 season, and Ponder is always a question at QB. Their season really depends on those two pieces, and with the Bears re-emerging, I see a lowly 6-win year for the Vikings.
1) Atlanta Falcons: 10-6
2) Carolina Panthers: 6-10
3) New Orleans Saints: 5-11
4) Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4-12
I see a really down year for the NFC South. The Falcons will benefit from that, but with only a 10-win season. Every other team has real question-marks about them. For the Panthers, will Cam Newton finally rise up to his potential? Will Newton start relying more on his arm and receivers? As for the Saints, will their defense show up? The Saints offense alone won't be enough for the Saints as we've seen in years past. As while the Bucs defense should be vastly improved and be a real force, what about that offense led by Josh Freeman? Is Freeman the long-term QB for Tampa? This year could be the test for that, but I have my doubts on Freeman.
1) Seattle Seahawks: 13-3
2) San Francisco 49ers: 12-4
3) St.Louis Rams: 7-9
4) Arizona Cardinals: 6-10
The NFC West will come down to the Seahawks and 49ers, and I see the Seahawks just edging out San Francisco. Russell Wilson could emerge as a top 5 NFL QB (already just off the edge of the top 5). In their own right, the 49ers will have a strong year with Kaepernick entering his first full year as the starting QB. The question for the 49ers will be their secondary play. While the Rams added weapons in Tavon Austin (1st rd), it may take some time to get the offense to coalesce, especially with a top heavy division. While the Cardinals finally have a QB with Carson Palmer, there are some questions on defense, as well on the running game adding Rashard Mendenhall from the Steelers, who has his issues with fumbles.
49ers vs. Falcons: Will this finally be the time for the Falcons and Matt Ryan to march through the playoffs? Not versus the 49ers it won't be, another early exit. 49ers
49ers vs. Seahawks: This would be a really exciting match-up, Kaepernick vs. Wilson. All in all, in a close game, I see Wilson and the Seahawks marching forwards. Seahawks
Cowboys vs. Packers: This would be a tough match-up for Dallas. While they would hang in, I think the Packers end up advancing. Packers
Packers vs. Seahawks: The re-match of that controversial 2012 MNF game. A potential shoot-out, I think the Seahawks D would do enough to advance. Seahawks.
Broncos vs Seahawks: Chance for a high flying Super Bowl with Manning vs. Wilson. In the end, I think the experience of Manning would prevail....and the Denver Broncos will be your Super Bowl Champions.
Well, there you have it, a preview of the 2013 NFL Season. There should definitely be some shocks and surprises along the way, so now we just kick back, and wait for kickoff. Enjoy.