Friday, October 29, 2010

All Time Baseball Lineups

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-Digger's Daily-

All time baseball lineup feature is nearing an end. It's been fun reminiscing and researching players stats from days past. Next up...

Minnesota Twins
1B- Kent Hrbek
2B- Rod Carew
3B- Gary Gaetti
SS- Leo Cardenas
LF- Harmon Killebrew
CF- Kirby Puckett
RF- Tony Oliva
C - Joe Mauer
DH- Paul Molitor
PH- Jose Morales
Bench: Lyman Bostock, Torii Hunter, Justin Morneau, Butch Wynegar, Dan Gladden, Dan Ford, Roy Smalley, Tom Brunansky,
Rotation: Bert Blyleven, Dave Goltz, Jim Kaat, Jim Perry, Johan Santana.
Relievers: Rick Aguilera, Mike Marshall, Juan Rincon, Matt Guerrier.
Set Up: Eddie Guardado, Juan Berenguer.
Closer: Joe Nathan

St. Louis Cardinals
1B- Albert Pujols
2B- Tom Herr
3B- Joe Torre
SS- Ozzie Smith
LF- Lou Brock
CF- Ray Lankford
RF- Stan Musial
C - Ted Simmons
PH- Bake McBride
Bench: Keith Hernandez, Todd Zeile, Jack Clark, George Hendrick, Vince Coleman, Reggie Smith, Terry Pendletom, Jose Oquendo, Ren Reitz.
Rotation: Bob Gibson, John Tudor, Chris Carpenter, Adam Wainwright, Darryl Kile.
Relievers: Jason Isringhausen, Ken Dayley, Jeff Lahti, Ricky Horton.
Set Up: Todd Worrell, Al Hrabosky.
Closer: Bruce Sutter

California Angels (Los Angeles)
1B- Rod Carew
2B- Bobby Grich
3B- Doug DeCinces
SS- David Eckstein
LF- Garrett Anderson
CF- Fred Lynn
RF- Vladmir Guerrero
C - Brian Downing
DH- Don Baylor
PH- Darin Erstad
Bench: Tim Salmon, Jim Edmonds, Wally Joyner, Jim Fregosi, Chone Figgins, Reggie Jackson, Chili Davis, Gary Pettis.
Rotation: Nolan Ryan, Frank Tanana, Chuck Finley, Geoff Zahn, John Lackey.
Relievers: Don Aase, Andy Hassler, Scot Shields, Bryan Harvey
Set Up: Francisco Rodriguez, Dave LaRoche.
Closer: Troy Percival

Florida Marlins
1B- Derrek Lee
2B- Dan Uggla
3B- Mike Lowell
SS- Hanley Ramirez
LF- Jeff Conine
CF- Juan Pierre
RF- Miguel Cabrera
C - Ivan Rodriguez
PH- Jim Eisenreich
Bench: Greg Colbrunn, Luis Castillo, Carlos Delgado, Todd Zeile, Edgar Renteria, Gary Sheffield, Charles Johnson, Kurt Abbott.
Rotation: Josh Beckett, Josh Johnson, Alex Fernandez, Al Leiter, Dontrelle Willis.
Relievers: Matt Lindstrom, Antonio Alfonseca, Jay Powell, Joe Nelson.
Set Up: Braden Looper, Dennis Cook.
Closer: Robb Nen


In Case You Missed It...

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-Digger's Daily-

In case you missed sports news this week...

It didn't take the Yankees long to negotiate a deal to keep Joe Girardi as manager. Reports surfacing suggest Joe is set to receive $9 million for 3 years plus incentives. Don't expect to see any grass growing under GM Cashman's feat this off-season. Winter of 2009 was a virtual bust. New York will be busy and it begins with their skipper. Next up? Jeter? Rivera?

Speaking of busy, rumors swirling about the Yankees going hard after Cliff Lee. However, and this is a BIG however, apparently Lee's wife was heckled terribly at Yankee Stadium during the ALCS. 1970's fans must have shown up. Nasty, below the waste, New York at its' worst, greeted Lee's wife including objects thrown and obscenities hurled. Cliff Lee and CC Sabathia are close friends from their Cleveland days. CC the recruiter to the rescue? Lee will have many suitors. He'll end up playing for whoever he wants in 2011. Maybe he'll choose Boston just to get back at New York fans.

The New York Times ran a story claiming Major League Baseball strongly recommended San Francisco drop Jose Guillen from their playoff roster. The Giants claimed Guillen was nursing a neck injury. Either way, he's not on San Francisco's playoff roster. Guillen has been linked to a Federal investigation of performance enhancing drugs. Shipments of HGH (human growth hormone) were said to be shipped to Guillen's wife. Come on Jose. With spotlights everywhere looking to nail HGH users/suppliers....? This move reeks of stupidity. Fed probe breaking silence probably means a bust is imminent.

New York Knicks and New Jersey Nets are undefeated! Opening game wins for both is a nice way for two of the NBA's biggest losers of a year ago. The 70 loss Nets took down Detroit 101-98 while New York's new cast of characters snuffed out Toronto 98-93. Miami's big 3 were dealt a quick defeat by Boston on opening night 88-80. Dwayne Wade, LeBron James & Chris Bosh flamed out as Boston controlled most of the game.

World Series 2010? Any northeastern readers missing the World Series on tv? I'm one of Cablevision's hundreds of thousands blacked out from watching the Giants destroy Texas. Fox went dark on Cablevision October 16th. Effectively, this shut down NFL, NLDS & NLCS games. Throw in all their other shows and customers are miffed. We all know rates are soon to skyrocket no matter how these two corporate giants conclude their standoff. Customers to get screwed. So, why not turn on the game before the President turns you guys into political fodder? MLBN will replay games one day later. Cablevision subscribers can also watch on the internet via for a refundable $9.99. (Side ramble) Remember the days of television antenna's? UHF? VHF? Funny how rates are screaming higher for citizens now that digital is the only way to view television. Rural communities forced to get satellite dishes or converters or new televisions altogether to comply. Taxes may or may not soon rise in our country. Government intervention is destroying savings accounts for the majority of Americans. No matter what... the cost of living is rising no matter how you slice it. Food, clothing, gas, television, cell phone providers, heat, oil, gas... and yes, tickets to your favorite sporting events!

So, what have we missed in World Series action? It's been all Giants. National League Champion San Francisco Giants 11-7 and 9-0 thrashings of American League Champion Texas Rangers. No one expected this king of offense from the Giants. Not against Cliff Lee and C.J. Wilson. Hmmm. Wasn't that said of the 1954 New York Giants vs Cleveland Indians? 2010 teams are a far cry from the 1954 games but the story line back then was all about the Cleveland starting rotation. In 2010, it's been about Rangers' Cliff Lee and Josh Hamilton. Tim Lincecum, 2008 & 2009 NL Cy Young Award winner, was almost an afterthought in the backdrop of Lee's post-season success story leading into Game 1. The Giants wasted no time getting to Lee and shelling Texas' staff for 11 runs. Game 2 featured Wilson vs Cain. Cain hadn't allowed an earned run in two prior playoff starts. He shut down the Rangers for 7.2 innings. Giants bats erupted for 7 in bottom of the 8th thanks in large part to wild Rangers relievers. It's hard to imagine Texas coming back with Sanchez tossing next game. Rangers bullpen has been an absolute misery so far. After Game 2's performance confidence is thin and butterflies became birds.

The Heismann Trophy watch has picked up steam. A clear number one candidate has emerged. Auburn (8-0) QB Cameron Newton is shredding defenses. 1364 yards passing, 13 TD, QB rating 172.08. Not impressed? Throw in 1077 rushing yards (6.9 ave) and 14 more touchdowns. If you haven't caught his game then tune into ESPN2 on Saturday to watch vs Mississippi. Kellen Moore (Boise St, 6-0) has 16 TD passes (only 1 int) on 1,567 yards. There are a few other names in the mix but these two are the front runners with Newton holding a big edge right now.

Undefeated teams are getting picked off one by one. Of the top 8 ranked teams, 7 are yet to lose. Oregon (8-0), Boise St (6-0), Auburn (8-0), TCU (8-0), Michigan St (8-0), Missouri (7-0), Utah (7-0). Guess what? 4 of 7 have very tough match-ups this weekend. Will we see a major shakeup in BCS rankings again next Monday? The way football season has unfolded in both college and pro's... get ready for a new top 5.

Brett Favre has started 291 consecutive NFL games. Is this where the streak ends? 292 will be difficult. Minnesota Vikings (2-4) offense has struggled. Favre & Co. have committed many mental errors and turnovers. Brett has two breaks on his left ankle (plant foot for throwing) described as a stress fracture in the ankle as well as an avulsion fracture in the heel bone, where a fragment has been torn away by a tendon or ligament. Doctor's have given a green light for Favre to return when he wants. Minnesota needs a change of direction even if just for one game. Plus, all streaks come to an end. Irony? The streak began playing for Green Bay and might end due to a tackle by a Green Bay player. At this juncture Favre needs to think of team first. So does their head coach. Rest Favre. Allow his ankle to heal. Start capable Tarvaris Jackson and see what happens. 4 losses in 6 games with only sporadic results on offense begs for a shake up. Two broken bones in a 41 year old's ankle begs for rest from aggressive NFL defenses. If necessary, Favre can relieve for a little two minute magic. No brainer. He's got to sit.


Thursday, October 28, 2010

All Time Baseball Lineups

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-Digger's Daily-

We're getting closer to the finish line. Not too many teams left unless I decide to tackle defunct franchises.

Chicago Cubs
1B- Bill Buckner
2B- Ryne Sandberg
3B- Ron Santo
SS- Ernie Banks
LF- Billy Williams
CF- Rick Monday
RF- Andre Dawson
C - Jody Davis
PH- Larry Biittner
Bench: Mark Grace, Don Kessinger, Dave Kingman, Derek Lee, Leon Durham, Gary Matthews, Keith Moreland, Randy Hundley, Aramis Ramirez.
Rotation: Greg Maddux, Ferguson Jenkins, Ken Holtzman, Rick Sutcliffe, Rick Reuschel,
Bullpen: Lee Smith, Ryan Dempster, Mike Proly, Warren Brusstar.
Set Up: Carlos Marmol, Paul Assenmacher.
Closer: Bruce Sutter

Seattle Mariners
1B- Tino Martinez
2B- Harold Reynolds
3B- Jim Presley
SS- Alex Rodriguez
LF- Phil Bradley
CF- Ken Griffey, Jr.
RF- Ichiro Suzuki
C - Dan Wilson
DH- Edgar Martinez
PH- Ken Phelps
Bench: Jay Buhner, Richie Zisk, Al Cowens, Omar Vizquel, Adrian Beltre, Leon Roberts, Raul Ibanez, Mike Blowers.
Rotation: Randy Johnson, Mark Langston, Felix Hernandez, Jamie Moyer, Chris Bosio.
Bullpen: Eddie Guardado, JJ Putz, Jeff Nelson, Ed Vande Berg.
Set Up: Mike Schooler, Arthur Rhodes.
Closer: Kazuhiro Sazaki

Colorado Rockies
1B- Todd Helton
2B- Eric Young
3B- Vinny Castilla
SS- Troy Tulowitski
LF- Matt Holliday
CF- Juan Pierre
RF- Larry Walker
C - Charles Johnson
PH- John Vander Wal
Bench: Andres Galarraga, Walt Weiss, Chris Iannetta, Charlie Hayes, Mike Kingery, Ellis Burks, Neifi Perez, Mike Lansing, Brad Hawpe.
Rotation: Ubaldo Jiminez, Jeff Francis, Aaron Cook, Brian Bohanon, Shawn Estes.
Bullpen: Curt Leskanic, Steve Reed, Jerry DiPoto, Justin Speier.
Set Up: Brian Fuentes, Bruce Ruffin.
Closer: Hudson Street

Cleveland Indians
1B- Jim Thome
2B- Carlos Baerga
3B- Al Rosen
SS- Julio Franco
LF- Albert Belle
CF- Kenny Lofton
RF- Manny Ramirez
C - Ron Hassey
DH- Andre Thornton
PH- Mike Hargrove
Bench: Toby Harrah, Buddy Bell, Eddie Murray, Brook Jacoby, Duane Kuiper, Omar Vizquel, Grady Sizemore, Brett Butler.
Rotation: Sam McDowell, Luis Tiant, Bert Blyleven, Orel Hershiser, Bartolo Colon.
Bullpen: Bob Wickman, Paul Shuey, Rafael Betancourt, Eric Plunk.
Set Up: Paul Assenmacher, Steve Olin.
Closer: Jose Mesa


NFL Predictions: Week 8

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-Digger's Daily-

The wacky 2010 NFL season continues. Quarterbacks beware... NY Giants defense will leave you seeing stars... and a MRI machine. Brett Favre's (injured) record starting streak appears to be over unless Minnesota does something stupid. Turbulent division races have a few long shots starting to believe they have a shot. NFC Championship Game teams Minnesota and New Orleans are in danger of missing the playoffs. Injuries taking a toll on many key players at key positions.

Hold onto your money. Underdogs keep winning. Favorites keep floundering. Another so-so 7-7 week makes for a 52-48 season record.

WEEK 8 (home in CAPS)
Redskins 31 LIONS 24
Jaguars 28 COWBOYS 17
Dolphins 27 BENGALS 23
CHIEFS 30 Bills 28
RAMS 27 Panthers 10
Broncos 26 49ERS 17
JETS 24 Packers 23
Titans 31 CHARGERS 20
Buccaneers 20 CARDS 13
PATRIOTS 30 Vikings 24
Seahawks 23 RAIDERS 20
Steelers 26 SAINTS 24

COLTS 36 Texans 34
Bye: Atlanta, Baltimore, Chicago, Cleveland, NY Giants, Philadelphia.


Wednesday, October 27, 2010

All Time Baseball Lineups

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-Digger's Daily-

It must be getting closer to signing up for a Classic Baseball team. Here's a few more from my collection.

Pittsburgh Pirates
1B- Willie Stargell
2B- Bill Mazeroski
3B- Richie Hebner
SS- Honus Wagner
LF- Barry Bonds (pre-BALCO)
CF- Al Oliver
RF- Roberto Clemente
C - Manny Sanguillen
PH- Mike Easler
Bench: Dave Parker, Bill Madlock, Andy Van Slyke, Jason Thompson, Matty Alou, Richie Zisk, Bill Robinson, Tony Pena, Omar Marino.
Rotation: John Candelaria, Jerry Reuss, Doug Drabek, Rick Rhoden, Doc Ellis.
Bullpen: Grant Jackson, Enrique Romo, Roy Face, Rod Scurry.
Set Up: Dave Giusti, Ramon Hernandez.
Closer: Kent Tekulve

Boston Red Sox
1B- Carl Yastremski
2B- Dustin Pedroia
3B- Wade Boggs
SS- Rick Burleson
LF- Ted Williams
CF- Fred Lynn
RF- Dwight Evans
C - Carlton Fisk
DH- Jim Rice
PH- Bernie Carbo
Bench: George Scott, David Ortiz, Manny Ramirez, Rico Petrocelli, Bill Buckner, Reggie Smith, Jerry Remy, Marty Barrett.
Rotation: Luis Tiant, Bruce Hurst, Roger Clemens, Pedro Martinez, Bill Lee.
Bullpen: Bill Campbell, Tom Burgmeier, Dick Drago. Tim Wakefield.
Set Up: Bob Stanley, Sparky Lyle.
Closer: Jonathan Papelbon

Atlanta Braves
1B- Fred McGriff
2B- Martin Prado
3B- Chipper Jones
SS- Rafael Furcal
LF- Jeff Burroughs
CF- Dale Murphy
RF- Hank Aaron
C - Brian McCann
PH- Mike Lum
Bench: Darrell Evans, Bob Horner, Rowland Office, Claudell Washington, Ken Griffey, Sr., Ron Gant, Andruw Jones, Terry Pendleton, Rico Carty.
Rotation: Greg Maddux, Warren Spahn, John Smoltz, Phil Niekro, Tom Glavine.
Bullpen: Tom House, Greg McMichael, Rick Camp, Steve Bedrosian, Cecil Upshaw
Set Up: Gene Garber, Mike Remlinger.
Closer: John Smoltz

Chicago White Sox
1B- Dick Allen
2B- Ray Durham
3B- Robin Ventura
SS- Ozzie Guillen
LF- Carlos May
CF- Chet Lemon
RF- Harold Baines
C - Carlton Fisk
DH- Frank Thomas
PH- Lamar Johnson
Bench: Greg Luzinski, Paul Konerko, Jim Thome, Lance Johnson, Magglio Ordonez, Jorge Orta, Carlos Quentin, Bill Melton.
Rotation: Alex Fernandez, Mark Buehrle, Jim Kaat, Jack McDowell, Floyd Bannister.
Bullpen: Rich Gossage, Don Pall, Bobby Jenks, Terry Forster.
Set Up: Roberto Hernandez, Scott Radinsky
Closer: Bobby Thigpen


Tuesday, October 26, 2010

All Time Baseball Lineups

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-Digger's Daily-

All time lineup theme continues rolling along. Keep your comments flowing. They've been great to read and I've posted your team requests below. For first timers, keep in mind these lineups are mostly from my generation (1970+) with a few exceptions based on players I always wanted to watch from prior years. Most of the following have been assembled as per my favorites. Don't be surprised if a few big name players didn't make the cut. Enjoy.

Detroit Tigers
1B- Norm Cash
2B- Lou Whitaker
SS- Alan Trammell
3B- Travis Fryman
LF- Willie Horton
CF- Chet Lemon
RF- Al Kaline
C - Lance Parrish
DH- Mickey Tettleton
PH- Tony Clark
Bench: Darrell Evans, Kirk Gibson, Ron LeFlore, Jason Thompson, Cecil Fielder, Magglio Ordonez, Rusty Staub, Aurelio Rodriguez.
Rotation: Jack Morris, Frank Tanana, Justin Verlander, Mark Fidrych, Mickey Lolich.
Relievers: Aurelio Lopez, Mike Henneman, Dave Rozema, Fred Scherman.
Set Up: Todd Jones, John Hiller
Closer: Willie Hernandez

Los Angeles Dodgers
1B- Steve Garvey
2B- Davey Lopes
SS- Rafael Furcal
3B- Ron Cey
LF- Pedro Guerrero
CF- Tommy Davis
RF- Reggie Smith
C - Mike Piazza
PH- Manny Mota
Bench: Brett Butler, Shawn Green, Joe Ferguson, Jeff Kent, Dusty Baker, Andre Ethier, Steve Yeager, Eric Karros, Steve Sax.
Rotation: Sandy Kofax, Orel Hershisher, Tommy John, Bob Welch, Fernando Valenzuela.
Relievers: Paul Quantrill, Jim Gott, Terry Forster, Scott Radinsky.
Set Up: Steve Howe, Tom Niedenfuer.
Closer: Jay Howell

Toronto Blue Jays
1B- Carlos Delgado
2B- Roberto Alomar
SS- Tony Fernandez
3B- Kelly Gruber
LF- George Bell
CF- Devon White
RF- Shawn Green
C - Ernie Whitt
DH- Paul Molitor
PH- Cliff Johnson
Bench: John Olerud, Jessie Barfield, Joe Carter, Shannon Stewart, Lloyd Moseby, Ed Sprague, Willie Upshaw, Jose Bautista.
Rotation: Jimmy Key, Dave Stieb, Roy Halladay, Dave Stewart, Pat Hentgen.
Relievers: Paul Quantrill, Roy Lee Jackson, Mark Eichhorn, Scott Downs.
Set Up: Duane Ward, Dan Plesac.
Closer: Tom Henke

Houston Astros
1B- Jeff Bagwell
2B- Craig Biggio
SS- Miguel Tejada
3B- Doug Radar
LF- Jose Cruz
CF- Jimmy Wynn
RF- Rusty Staub
C - Craig Biggio
PH- Terry Puhl
Bench: Cesar Cedeno, Bob Watson, Derek Bell, Kevin Bass, Bill Doran, Enos Cabell, Glenn Davis, Denny Walling, Dickie Thon,
Rotation: Nolan Ryan, JR Richard, Mike Scott, Bob Knepper, Roy Oswalt.
Relievers: Larry Andersen, Joe Niekro, Brad Lidge, Bill Dawley, Xavier Hernandez.
Set Up: Dave Smith, Billy Wagner.
Closer: Joe Sambito


Football Shuffle: NCAA & NFL Power Rankings

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-Digger's Daily-

What a crazy and wacky NFL season. Dallas has wasted its' way to a 1-5 beginning. Seattle, Tampa Bay and Kansas City are 4-2. Number one is not a safe place to reside in college rankings just yet. Top teams have been getting picked off all year long.

Top 10 Ranking time.

1 - Auburn
2 - Oregon
3 - Boise State
4 - Missouri
5 - TCU
6 - Michigan State
7 - Utah
8 - Alabama
9 - Wisconsin
10- Oklahoma

A few big college games soon to determine teams' fate. Heismann Trophy is up for grabs. It's been a great 2010-11 season.

1 - New York Jets
2 - Pittsburgh Steelers
3 - New England Patriots
4 - New York Giants
5 - Baltimore Ravens
6 - Tennessee Titans
7 - Atlanta Falcons
8 - Indianapolis Colts
9 - Kansas City Chiefs
10- Washington Redskins

When will the Dallas Cowboys pull the trigger? Come on Mr Jones, Wade Phillips system hasn't worked. Jason Garrett is one of the NFL's worst play calling offensive coordinators. Tony Romo was probably lost for the season during Monday Night Football vs Super looking New York Giants. Minnesota has personnel decisions to make regarding banged up and mistake prone Brett Favre.

Every division is up for grabs. Upsets in the making every week. Should we even call certain losses upsets? Perennial upper echelon teams are becoming desperate to find winning formulas. Underdogs striving for respect... and winning.


Monday, October 25, 2010

2010 World Series: Texas Rangers vs San Francisco Giants

"All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

2010 World Series Preview
Texas Rangers (90-72) vs San Francisco Giants (92-70)

Heading into 2010 regular season action the usual cast of characters were heavy favorites to reach the World Series. New York Yankees, Philadelphia Phillies, Tampa Bay Rays and Boston Red Sox were favored as teams to beat. Now, here we are. Texas and San Francisco won their League Championship Series and now go to battle attempting to win their first ever World Series titles.

Texas can finally celebrate. It took nearly 50 years for this franchise (formerly Washington Senators) to win their first American League pennant. 2010 post-season has been filled with firsts for Texas. Their first playoff series victory (vs Tampa Bay). First trip to ALCS (vs New York). First ALCS win. First World Series appearance. Can they win it all?

The Giants haven't won a World Series since their New York days. The 1954 champs were soon to pack up their bags and move to San Francisco in 1958. San Francisco lost all 3 previous World Series appearances.
Who will win? It's a toss up. These teams counter balance each other well.

Starting Rotation
Texas #1 starter is playoff phenom Cliff Lee. Giants counter with two time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum. They'll square off Wednesday night. Game 2 starters haven't been announced but figure to be another toss up Wilson vs Sanchez. Hunter or Lewis take on Cain. EDGE - EVEN.

Texas offense took it to Tampa Bay in ALDS and New York in the ALCS. Baseball's top hitting team (.276) sports a clutch lineup 1 through 9. Rangers smashing the ball, 22 doubles, 17 home runs, .281 team batting average. Four Series games might be played in San Francisco due to National League winning the All Star Game and securing home field advantage. Manager Ron Washington has a quandary. How to get DH Vladmir Guerrero's bat into the lineup in Games 1 & 2? (No DH in NL parks). Vlad shouldn't be viewed as a defensive liability when inserted into RF (former regular RF).
San Francisco came through with big hits in crucial situations to dethrone Philadelphia. Giants hitters found a way to produce vs Phillies star 3-man rotation (Halladay, Oswalt, Hamels). On paper, Texas is stronger. No slouch San Fran didn't get here by accident and now add a DH for at least Games 3 & 4. EDGE - RANGERS.

Rangers hold a tremendous edge in bench depth affording Washington plenty of lethal late inning replacement options. Rangers power advantage could change games on a dime. EDGE - RANGERS.

Texas committed 32 more regular season errors (105) than Giants (73) fielders. The slate is wiped clean so don't let be fooled. Texas is a very aggressive team. Rangers outfielders sport cannon arms. Range is probably even. No speedsters in either LF or RF. Around the horn Rangers have better range, arms and instincts. They're key for pitching success this series. EDGE - RANGERS.

Starting Rotation
Pitching is the key to success for both teams. It's been the Cliff Lee show for Texas. This guy turns it on when it matters most leaving hitters completely baffled. Look at these stats from 3 playoff games. 3-0, 24 innings, 13 hits, 1 walk and 34 strikeouts. Career numbers: 7-0, 1.26 ERA in 8 game starts. Good luck Giants. It's hit or miss with the rest of the Rangers rotation. Wilson, Lewis and Hunter. They can be great, adequate or get bombed. Command of the strike zone will be key.
Giants counter Cliff Lee with a star of their own. Game 1 starter is 2 time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum (2-1, 1.93). It's a classic opening game match-up worthy of every ounce of recognition.
Giants advantage comes with Sanchez and Cain who have been very tough. Cain hasn't allowed an earned run in 13.2 playoff innings. Wilson and either Lewis or Hunter will round out Rangers front 3. Wilson is tough but got roughed up vs Yankees in ALCS Game 5. Lewis and Hunter have enjoyed playoff success but take a backseat to Cain and Sanchez. EDGE - GIANTS

It's hit or miss for arms in both bullpens. Giants relievers have posted better numbers in playoff action. Rangers have been erratic. EDGE - GIANTS

Giants closer Brian Wilson is getting the job done. 5 Saves, 0.00 ERA, 9 IP, 12 K. Neftali Feliz hasn't saved any of the Rangers playoff victories as of yet thanks to great run support (non-save situations). His 100+ miles per hour fastball has been a bit erratic (5 walks in 4.2 innings). EDGE - EVEN.

From strictly a personal point of view a seven game epic World Series with each game being decided in late innings would be sensational. Two teams fighting tooth and nail over every pitch trying to earn their first World Series title. Lee vs Lincecum is one for the ages.
What I think... Who wins or loses the 2010 World Series rests squarely on Texas hitters vs San Francisco starting pitchers. Rangers bats will own the day. They might even get to Lincecum. They're hitting everything. Now, if they can get Vlad to stop swinging at dirtballs??? I'm amazed how little self discipline Guerrero brings to the batters box. In present day, and especially in World Series play swinging at crud a foot off the plate isn't going to create success. Wait for a pitch to hit Vlad.. then drill it! There's no easy out in Rangers lineup. Giants lineup doesn't bring fear to the table. However, don't take them lightly. SF seems to do just enough to win.
RANGERS in 6. 


Fox vs Cablevision: World Series Blackout?

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-Digger's Daily-

Fox vs Cablevision feud continues. Subscribers are getting the short end of the stick. Regular Fox programming (and select affiliates) are no longer being broadcast to Cablevision viewers. As of October 16, no NLCS, no NFL and no popular tv shows. Both sides finger pointing at each other does nothing to ease rising dissatisfaction among thousands who've been raped by cable tv companies for years. The ultimate insult will begin on Wednesday, October 27. Opening night of the World Series.

Does either company have the nerve to deprive the public of watching the World Series?

What's the fight about? Money. If anyone cares... Fox wants Cablevision to pay its' fair share to retransmit programming. Cablevision claims Fox wants more from them than collected from other providers. Cablevision has looped a message stating willingness to have the dispute settled by binding arbitration. Allegedly, Fox is not willing. No winners in this mess. Plenty of losers including untold monthly increases coming down the pike for subscribers.

Will the Grinch's steal the World Series? A Halloween trick or treat? Where does Major League Baseball stand on this issue? It was very upsetting MLBNetwork didn't televise the NLCS once disruption began. There's no way even a single second of the 2010 World Series be blacked out. MLB has juice, money and holds the rights for transmitting baseball games. All possible leverage should be levied by MLB to force both companies into televising the Series. Future television contracts should have special clauses for these types of situations. Perhaps, they already do? Whatever the outcome, Fox Sports should be barred from contract considerations during the foreseeable future.


Sunday, October 24, 2010

All Time Baseball Lineups

"All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

It's been hard to resist piecing together all time lineups. Memories from great games, performances or what I was doing on a particular day come to mind leading to more lineup creations. Encouraging emails for more siting viewers personal family experiences has been motivational too. Thank you.

Back to the show. These were fun while challenging my memory.

Montreal Expos
(not Washington Nationals)
1B- Andres Galarraga
2B- Mike Lansing
3B- Tim Wallach
SS- Mark Grudzielanek
LF- Tim Raines
CF- Andre Dawson
RF- Larry Walker
C - Gary Carter
PH- Terry Francona
Bench: Vladmir Gerrero, Ellis Valentine, Rusty Staub, Moises Alou, Mike Jorgensen, Larry Parrish, Bob Bailey, Jose Vidro, Warren Cromartie, Chris Speier.
Rotation: Pedro Martinez, Steve Rogers, Bill Gullickson, Steve Renko, Dennis Martinez
Relievers: Elias Sosa, Stahn Bahnsen, Dale Murray.
Set Up: Woody Fryman, Jeff Reardon
Closer: Tim Burke

San Diego Padres
1B- Steve Garvey
2B- Tim Flannery
3B- Craig Nettles
SS- Gary Templeton
LF- Greg Vaughn
CF- Steve Finley
RF- Tony Gwynn
C - Terry Kennedy
PH- Kurt Bevacqua
Bench: Dave Winfield, Brian Giles, Carmelo Martinez, Cito Gaston, Adrian Gonzalez, Wally Joyner, Nate Colbert, Benito Santiago.
Rotation: Randy Jones, Jake Peavy, Andy Benes, Eric Show, Dave Dravecky.
Relievers: Rollie Fingers, Jose DeLeon, Craig Lefferts, Dave Tomlin.
Set Up: Goose Gossage, Gary Lucas. John D'Aquisto.
Closer: Trevor Hoffman

Kansas City Royals
1B- John Mayberry
2B- Frank White
SS- Freddie Patek
3B- George Brett
LF- Willie Wilson
CF- Amos Otis
RF- Danny Tartabull
C - Darryl Porter
DH- Hal McRae
PH- Steve Braun
Bench: Al Cowans, Lou Piniella, Jermaine Dye, Bo Jackson, Joe Randa, U.L. Washington, Kevin Seitzer, Willie Mays Aikens.
Rotation: Brett Saberhagen, Dennis Leonard, Larry Gura, Paul Splittorff, Kevin Appier.
Relievers: Steve Mingori, Al Fitzmorris, Doug Bird, Steve Farr.
Set Up: Al Hrabosky, Jeff Montgomery.
Closer: Dan Quisenberry

Milwaukee Brewers
1B- Cecil Cooper
2B- Paul Molitor
3B- Sal Bando
SS- Robin Yount
LF- Ben Oglivie
CF- Gorman Thomas
RF- Sixto Lezcano
C - Ted Simmons
DH- Hank Aaron
PH- Don Money
Bench: Larry Hisle, Rob Deer, B.J. Surhoff, Darrell Porter, George Scott, John Briggs, Prince Fielder.
Rotation: Ted Higuera, Mike Caldwell, Lary Sorensen, Bill Wegman, Cal Edred, Moose Haas.
Relievers: Eduardo Rodriguez, Chuck Crimm, Bob Wickman, Jerry Augustine.
Set Up: Dan Plesac, Ken Sanders.
Closer: Rollie Fingers


Saturday, October 23, 2010

All Time Baseball Lineups

"All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

Here's my second list of all time lineups. Today's installment features a few great teams I followed during the 70's & 80's. It's always fun watching old clips on MLBN and local team stations. Batter up!

New York Mets
1B- Keith Hernandez
2B- Felix Millan, Joel Youngblood.
3B- David Wright
SS- Jose Reyes
LF- Cleon Jones
CF- Tommy Agee
RF- Rusty Staub
C - Gary Carter
Bench: Darryl Strawberry, Lee Mazzilli, Wally Backman, Edgardo Alfonzo, Jerry Grote, Ed Kranepool, John Milner, Dave Magadan.
Rotation: Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman, Jon Matlack, Dwight Gooden, Sid Fernandez.
Relievers: Tug McGraw, Jesse Orosco, Ray Sadecki, Armando Benitez, Terry Leach.
Set Up: Billy Wagner, Roger McDowell
Closer: John Franco

Cincinnati Reds
1B- Tony Perez
2B- Joe Morgan
3B- Pete Rose
SS- Barry Larkin
LF- George Foster
CF- Eric Davis
RF- Frank Robinson
C- Johnny Bench
Bench: Joey Votto, Dave Concepcion, Ken Griffey, Lee May, Brandon Phillips, Dave Parker, Bobby Tolan, Chris Sabo, Joe Oliver.
Rotation: Jack Billingham, Don Gullet, Mario Soto, Jose Rijo, Tom Browning.
Relievers: Rawley Eastwick, Clay Carroll, Will McEnaney, Pedro Borbon, Wayne Granger.
Set Up: Rob Dibble, Randy Myers.
Closer: Francisco Cordero

Oakland Athletics
1B- Mark McGwire
2B- Tony Phillips
3B- Sal Bando
SS- Bert Campaneris
LF- Joe Rudi
CF- Rickey Henderson
RF- Reggie Jackson
C- Gene Tenace
DH- Jimmie Foxx
Bench: Bill North, Carney Lansford, Terry Steinbach, Matt Stairs, Dave Henderson, Troy Neel, Miguel Tejada, Claudell Washington, Dwayne Murphy.
Rotation: Catfish Hunter, Vida Blue, Dave Stewart, Bob Welch, Ken Holtzmann.
Relievers: Darryl Knowles, Paul Linblad, Andrew Bailey, Jim Corsi
Set Up: Dennis Eckersley, Rick Honeycutt.
Closer: Rollie Fingers

Baltimore Orioles
1B- Eddie Murray
2B- Bobby Grich
3B- Brooks Robinson
SS- Cal Ripken, Jr.
LF- John Lowenstein, Gary Roenicke.
CF- Al Bumbry
RF- Frank Robinson
C - Rick Dempsey
DH- Ken Singleton
Bench: Brian Roberts, Boog Powell, Brady Anderson, Fred Lynn, B.J. Surhoff, Chris Hoiles, Doug DeCinces, Paul Blair.
Rotation: Jim Palmer, Mike Mussina, Jimmy Key, Mike Cuellar, Scott McGregor.
Relievers: Mark Williamson, Grant Jackson, Tim Stoddard, Eddie Watt,
Set Up: Stu Miller, Tippy Martinez.
Closer: Greg Olson


Friday, October 22, 2010

NBA 2010-11 Predictions

"All World All Sports"

-Digger's Daily-

Los Angeles Lakers enter the new season as defending NBA Champions. There's a long list of talented teams ready to take dead aim at winning the title. Many players changed teams via free agency and rumors are swirling of another blockbuster deal in the works.

2010-11 might go down as one of the NBA's most competitive ever. All divisions may not be decided until the final game. The league has never been filled with so much talent at the same time. Highlights films will dazzle.

The NBA's future is now. Looming in the not too distant future is a potential lock-out or strike next year. NBA owners and players association have been meeting trying to figure out a new collective bargaining agreement. Both sides are very far apart on serious issues.

So, who's going to win it all? MVP? Rookie? Defensive standout? Scoring champ?

All World All Sports NBA 2010-11 Regular Season Forecast:

1- Boston*
2- New York
3- Toronto
4- Philadelphia
5- New Jersey

1- Chicago*
2- Milwaukee*
3- Indiana*
4- Cleveland
5- Detroit

1- Orlando*
2- Miami*
3- Atlanta*
4- Charlotte*
5- Washington

1- Oklahoma City*
2- Utah*
3- Portland*
4- Denver*
5- Minnesota

1- Lakers*
2- Phoenix*
3- Clippers
4- Golden State
5- Sacramento

1- Dallas*
2- San Antonio*
3- Houston
4- Memphis
5- New Orleans

MVP: Dwight Howard (Orlando)
COACH: Scott Brooks (OKC)
FINALS: Lakers over Orlando

Thursday, October 21, 2010

NFL Predictions: Week 7

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-Digger's Daily-

Picking winners hasn't come easy in 2010. 7-7 last week runs the season total to 45-41. NFL schedule features a few key games in Week 8. Cincinnati @ Atlanta, Philadelphia @ Tennessee, Pittsburgh @ Miami, New England @ San Diego, Minnesota @ Green Bay followed by Monday's Giants @ Cowboys. Big time make or break weekend for a handful of NFL hopefuls.

Time to predict the winners...

WEEK 7 (home team in CAPS)

Bengals 24 FALCONS 20
Redskins 27 BEARS 21
49ers 27 PANTHERS 6
RAVENS 33 Bills 7
Eagles 28 TITANS 26
CHIEFS 23 Jaguars 21
Steelers 30 DOLPHINS 13
SAINTS 24 Browns 10
SEAHAWKS 17 Cardinals 14
Patriots 42 CHARGERS 24
BRONCOS 31 Raiders 20
Vikings 28 PACKERS 27

Giants 33 COWBOYS 27


Wednesday, October 20, 2010

All Time Baseball Lineups

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-Digger's Daily-

MLB Playoffs bring back memories of yesteryear. Sitting here this afternoon watching the Yankees trying to keep the ALCS alive vs Texas gave me inspiration for putting together a list of all time lineups.

The following teams are composed by level of personal preferences based on a wide range of criteria. Players have been selected not necessarily by whether or not they were the best. A few qualify as fan favorites from platoon players to one year wonders. A large portion made the grade based on my generation (1965+) so get ready for a few classic slugging old timers, fire-ballers or juicers to be left off. By the same token, a few old timers I never had the privilege of watching could sneak in too. Hundreds of possibilities have been condensed into 30 player teams.

Since we're in baseball's version of the final four... let's begin with teams currently playing in the Championship Series.

New York Yankees
1B- Lou Gehrig
2B- Robinson Cano
3B- Craig Nettles
SS- Derek Jeter
LF- Roy White
CF- Bernie Williams, Mickey Mantle, Joe DiMaggio.
RF- Babe Ruth
C - Thurman Munson
DH- Don Mattingly, Reggie Jackson.
Bench: Reggie Jackson, Yogi Berra, Paul O'Neill, Scott Brosius, Hideki Matsui, Jorge Posada, Tino Martinez.
Rotation: Andy Pettitte, Whitey Ford, Ron Guidry, Mel Stottlemyre, Mike Mussina.
Relievers: John Wetteland, Graham Lloyd, Jeff Nelson.
Set Up: Dick Tidrow, Sparky Lyle.
Closer: Mariano Rivera

Texas Rangers
1B- Rafael Palmeiro
2B- Julio Franco
3B- Buddy Bell
SS- Toby Harrah
LF- Al Oliver
CF- Josh Hamilton
RF- Jeff Burroughs, Richie Zisk.
C - Ivan Rodriguez
DH- Larry Parrish, Frank Howard.
Bench: Jim Sundberg, Michael Young, Ian Kinsler, Claudell Washington, Tom Grieve, Bump Wills, Pete O'Brien.
Rotation: Nolan Ryan, Ferguson Jenkins, Cliff Lee, Charlie Hough, Kenny Rogers.
Relievers: Jeff Russell, Steve Comer, Darren Oliver.
Set Up: Jeff Zimmerman, Paul Linblad
Closer: John Wetteland

Philadelphia Phillies
1B- Dick Allen, Ryan Howard
2B- Chase Utley
3B- Mike Schmidt
SS- Jimmy Rollins
LF- Greg Luzinski,
CF- Richie Ashburn, Shane Victorino
RF- Chuck Klein
C - Bob Boone, Carlos Ruiz.
Bench: Jay Johnstone, Johnny Callison, Tony Taylor, Bake McBride, Pete Rose, Bobby Abreu.
Rotation: Robin Roberts, Jim Bunning, Steve Carlton, Jim Lonborg, Curt Schilling.
Relievers: Jim Konstanty, Warren Brusstar, Don Carmen, Gene Garber, Ryan Madson.
Set Up: Ron Reed, Brad Lidge.
Closer: Tug McGraw

San Francisco (New York) Giants
1B- Willie McCovey
2B- Jeff Kent
3B- Darrell Evans
SS- Rich Aurilia
LF- Kevin Mitchell
CF- Willie Mays
RF- Mel Ott
C - Bob Brenley, Buster Posey.
Bench: Chris Speier, Gary Thomasson, Bobby Thomson, Jack Clark, Will Clark, Bobby Bonds, Juan Uribe, Matt Williams.
Rotation: Juan Marichal, Carl Hubbell, Tim Lincecum, Gaylord Perry, Jason Schmidt.
Relievers: Scott Garrelts, Tim Worrell, Gary Lavelle, Greg Minton, Rod Beck.
Set Up: Randy Moffitt, Brian Wilson.
Closer: Rob Nenn

I have a few more teams in mind for the coming days. A lot of great 70's players from Baltimore to Cincinnati to Oakland. Let me know some of yours. Might have to send away for Strat-o-Matic baseball game sets or hunt down a good online old timers simulation game. Stay tuned... more to follow...


Did ESPN Ask Coaches to Call Time Outs for Cash?

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-Digger's Daily-

Question of the day... Did or didn't ESPN instruct Monday Night Football refs to encourage Tennessee Titans and Jacksonville Jaguars head coaches to call time outs late in the game to secure additional advertising revenues?

You've got to be kidding? NFL Commissioners Office really needs to cut this practice off. Tennessee was leading 23-3 and attempting to run out the clock after the 2:00 warning. Supposedly, the refs first went to Titans coach Fisher asking him to call timeouts so the networks can go to commercial. Fisher rightfully refused. His team was up by 20 and looking to run out the clock. If the story is true, refs then approached Jags head coach Del Rio. Jags called timeouts, down by 20 with under 2:00 remaining. Titans proceeded to score the games final td on a Chris Johnson 35 yard run.

Quoting from the "TitanInsider", coach Fisher joked after the game....
"“Jack used his timeouts,” Fisher said. “My understanding is they needed network timeouts, and that's why Jack used his timeouts. They came over and asked me to do it, but I said, 'I was hoping to get a first down and kneel on it.'
“At the end of the game like that, you don't kick a long field goal, you don't, you hand it off.”
So, why are networks now allowed to interfere with game play? NFL protocol incorporates official time outs (commercial breaks). Allowing a network to dictate closing moments opens the potential for a can of worms in need of discussion.

First off, networks are not the NFL. Who sent word to refs asking them to approach NFL coaches? ESPN or NFL executive(s)? There's a big problem here if ESPN has the juice to contact refs directly during a game. Bigger problem presents itself when refs actually listen! If the word came from the league then how does the NFL justify arm twisting coaches to call time outs by way of referee messengers?

Second. NFL already has broadcasting policies. They need to move swiftly to negate this sort of activity. Obviously, revenues are very important. So, why not just add a 15 or 30 second spot to the 2:00 minute warning? At the end of a quarter? Halftime? After opening kickoff? Don't stall a game in closing moments.

Third. Allowing networks to influence games can open doors to further disturbances. Officiating could easily attract those looking to unjustly influence games for whatever reason. What would stop a powerful network from applying pressure on refs to throw a flag here or there so a team generating greater viewership won games? Perhaps reaching a bit far here? Perhaps not. We're living in challenging times. Individual households are spending more than ever for less and saving fewer and fewer dollars thanks to Washington bureaucrats. During challenging times some might take actions never thought of during good times. It's something to be considered and all appropriate precautions taken so this situation never comes to light.

Give the fans a break. Give the players their due. Show the game some respect. Do not cheapen professional football by letting television network time outs factor into how games are played in the closing minutes. It's a no brainer.


Tuesday, October 19, 2010

NCAA & NFL Power Rankings Shake Up

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-Digger's Daily-

Nasty hits were the talk of the town after last weekend's games. NFL had it's share of heavy hits. A handful of players were on the receiving end of body jarring tackles creating moderate to severe concussions. NFL officials will be handing down fines and suspensions resulting from illegal tackles (head first and against defenseless receivers). Concussion issues have been prevalent all season. It looks as though the league ready to start getting serious with how they will treat offenders.

Rutgers Scarlett Knights' Eric LeGrand was severely injured making a special teams tackle. LeGrand is paralyzed from the neck down and has a very difficult road to recovery. Good thoughts, prayers and well wishes from fans across our great country will be needed to help this young man remain strong with life's new challenge.

Once again, we had another week of surprises in both college and pro's. Teams have been shifting up and down power rankings all year long. There's plenty of season left to go.

All World All Sports Top 10:

1- Oregon
2- Oklahoma
3- Boise State
4- Auburn
5- LSU
6- TCU
7- Michigan State
8- Utah
9- Missouri
(Official BCS Ranking)

1- Steelers
2- Jets
3- Patriots
4- Giants
5- Eagles
6- Ravens
7- Saints
8- Falcons
9- Titans


NLCS & NFL Blacked Out

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-Digger's Daily-

It's a black out. No National League Championship Series. No Sunday NFL games. No regular programming of any Fox show (except news). Millions of sports fans on the East coast are furious at both Fox News Corp and Cablevision. Hardest hit are residents in New York and Philadelphia. We're being denied viewership due to a contractual dispute between two television/cable super powers. Who wins? Nobody. Who loses? Millions of paying subscribers.

I'm not really interested in the delicate intricacies of negotiations between the companies. It isn't the first time Fox pulled channels during negotiation efforts having done this before vs DISH Network. It's not the first time Cablevision has showed blank stations during contract renewals. Fees keep climbing. Service keeps deteriorating. Timing couldn't be much worse for sports fans. East coasters attempting to view games via internet were blocked too.

Once again, it's the public getting shafted. Does it matter who's right or wrong? Once the dust settles and tempers simmer both sides will hammer out a deal. They'll both win big. Losers, once again, will be subscribers soon to be hammered with increased monthly fees. Wasn't it a good idea the bozos in Washington forced digital service on America? Is anyone else missing the old rabbit ears antenna's?


Saturday, October 16, 2010

National League Championship Series Preview

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-Digger's Daily-

Philadelphia Phillies vs San Francisco Giants

Do the Giants have what it takes to tame the Phillies starting rotation? Roy Halladay become the second pitcher is Major League baseball history to toss a post-season no hitter (Don Larson, 1956 World Series perfect game). Cincinnati never had a chance. San Francisco took advantage of nearly every break Atlanta threw their way in NLDS. Giants hurlers must come through with career games if they're to have any chance of knocking off NL Champ Philadelphia. Don't bet on it.

The best of 7 NLCS begins tonight. Time to break it down...

Starting Rotation: EDGE PHILLIES
Game 1: Halladay vs Lincecum (in Philadelphia)
Game 2: Oswalt vs Sanchez (in Philadelphia)
Game 3: Hamels vs Cain (in San Francisco)
Game 4: Blanton vs Baumgarner (in San Francisco)

Tremendous edge to Phils. Top 3 starters all capable of tossing complete games. An epic pitching match-up in Game 1 featuring Cy Young candidate Halladay's first start after no hitting Reds vs back to back Cy Young winner Lincecum. Every baseball fan should tune in for this one! Oswalt and Hamels will be too much for Giants inconsistent lineup to handle. Blanton should be skipped if Giants win any of first 3.

Batting Order: EDGE PHILLIES
Howard, Utley, Werth, Rollins, Ibanez, Ruiz, Victorino. Phils lineup weaknesses? None. They'll take it to Giants pitchers all series long. All clutch performers. SF got a late season boost acquiring Ross & Burrell. Don't take Giants lineup lightly. Posey, Uribe, Huff, Burrell could stroke some damage. I'd bet they won't see many run scoring situations. When opportunities arise... these guys better step up because there will be no second chances vs Phils.

Defense: EDGE EVEN
Both defenses are solid and make big plays. Phils (NL's 4th best) .986 fielding percentage. Giants .988 (NL's 3rd best). Rollins leg may limit ability to snag hot shots up the middle.

No player from either team is feared off the bench. These squads feature mostly role players expected to perform when their number's called.

Middle Relief: EDGE GIANTS
No need for Phils long relievers unless control issues pop up for Oswalt (or extra innings). Relievers are Philadelphia's one weak spot. You never know what you're going to see with this erratic crew. Romo, Casilla & Ramirez were lights out during regular season for SF.

Closers: EDGE EVEN
Phillies Lidge and Giants Wilson will keep local fans biting their finger nails off all series long. Nothing is easy with these fellas. Their managers are hoping for more than one run leads before comfortably calling either hurler.

Prediction: The Phillies will win their 3rd straight NLCS. I can't picture any scenario favorable for San Fran to win 4 games. Not against Halladay, Oswalt & Hamels. Phillies dominate all 4 games.

Phillies in 4.


Friday, October 15, 2010

American League Championship Series Preview

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-Digger's Daily-

New York Yankees vs Texas Rangers.

Get ready baseball fans. 2010 ALCS is set to begin tonight in Arlington. Playoff history couldn't be more different for these squads. Defending World Series Champion New York Yankees have won 27 Fall Classics. Yankees players dominate playoff record holders in nearly every meaningful category. Texas won their first playoff series ever against Tampa Bay.

Wipe the slate clean. The best of 7 ALCS begins tonight. Yesterday is history. Today is all that matters.

Time to break it all down.

Starting Rotation: EVEN
Game 1 - Sabathia vs Wilson (in Texas)
Game 2 - Hughes vs Lewis (in Texas)
Game 3 - Pettitte vs Lee (in NY)
Game 4 - Burnett vs Hunter (in NY)

Interesting pitching matchups. CC should be able to out-duel Wilson. Yankees bats are ferocious. CC is used to big game pitching. Game 2 is a toss up. Hughes got lucky throwing fastball after fastball right down the middle vs Minnesota but the Twins couldn't get anything going. If Hughes repeats, then Texas will score at will. Pettitte vs Lee. Pettitte's post-season success is legendary. Lee dominated as a Phillie last year and owned the Twins in ALDS. In Game 4, it'll be surprising if either Burnett or Hunter survives 5 innings unscathed.

Batting Order: EDGE YANKEES
Yankees hitters have big game experience. Yankees hitters own a few playoff records. 1-9 there's no easy out vs LHP or RHP. Robinson Cano is AL MVP candidate. The off days should help Yanks players (Posada, Swisher, ARod, Jeter) get strong and healthy. Jeter slumped after the All Star break. He's been hitting everything hard lately. 2009 playoff hero ARod has yet to get it going but he's primed to tear apart his former team.

Rangers are packing Texas heat at the plate. AL MVP candidate Josh Hamilton was a pitchers worst nightmare until a rib injury sidelined him for most of September. He's back, but his swing isn't. Vlad Guererro has been every bit as important to this squad. 7 quality hitters. Good base runners and plenty of pop. Interesting note... Texas has yet to win a 2010 home playoff game.

Huge advantage to Yanks when it comes to team defense. New York committed 36 fewer errors in 2010. Yanks MLB best 69 team errors and .988 fielding percentage. 19 errors by starting infield (ARod 7, Jeter 6, Cano 3, Teixeira 3). Good luck getting one by these guys.

Berkman, Thames & Kearns lead the way and could play large rolls. Thames slugs lefties is scheduled to DH vs Wilson and Lee. Berkman's been turning it up and will start vs righties.

Middle Relief: EDGE RANGERS
One never knows what kind an effort Yanks relievers will deliver. They're good when avoiding falling behind in the count. It's always easier to perform ahead 0-1 or 1-2 than it is behind 2-0 or 3-1. Can't give powerful Rangers hitters any chances to excel or they will. Rangers middle relievers have been great. All they need to do is leave the butterflies behind in the bullpen.

Mariano Rivera is the All Time everything when it comes to Playoff pitching. 0.72 ERA in 91 career playoff games. Rangers have a flame thrower in Feliz. Don't take him for granted but he's been having control issues lately. Feliz cannot afford to give one of the all time greatest come from behind playoff teams any second chances or extra at bats.

Prediction: Throw out who's better on paper. Games are always decided on the field. 27 World Championships to Zero carries a lot of weight but the games will be won pitch to pitch. Hughes & Burnett could get lit up by an aggressive Rangers attack. If the Rangers can pull off a Game 1 victory vs CC then they'll own an emotional and rotation edge. If CC shuts down Texas then there won't be any stopping New York.

Yankees in 6.


Thursday, October 14, 2010

NFL Predictions: Week 6

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-Digger's Daily-

Maybe it's time I try cutting up 28 little pieces of paper containing team names. 6-8 last week. This is officially my worst season of predicting teams since junior high school. Upset city has visited NFL teams in 2010. Bookies and legit sports books are cleaning up. 38-34 season total leads me to refrain from normal one line commentary accompanying predictions.


SUNDAY (home team in CAPS)
BEARS 27 Seahawks 13
PACKERS 33 Dolphins 17
Chargers 38 RAMS 10
PATRIOTS 27 Ravens 26
Saints 31 BUCCANEERS 14
GIANTS 36 Lions 21
Falcons 17 EAGLES 16
STEELERS 23 Browns 17
TEXANS 24 Chiefs 20
Raiders 26 49ERS 21
BRONCOS 34 Jets 24
VIKINGS 24 Cowboys 23
REDSKINS 26 Colts 24

Titans 30 JAGUARS 28
BYE: Arizona, Buffalo, Carolina, Cincinnati.


Power Rankings Movers & Shakers

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-Digger's Daily-

Who's number one? Yankees or Phillies? How about those Texas Rangers? Ohio State or Oregon? Washington or Detroit? Seasons are changing. Baseball is fading as the Fall Classic is only days away. Football is going full steam. NBA & NHL are on the launch pad.

Top 10

1- Phillies
2- Yankees
3- Rangers
4- Giants
5-10 season over
(Playoff previews later this week).

1- Lakers
2- Magic
3- Celtics
4- Heat
5- Mavericks
6- Suns
7- Spurs
8- Thunder
9- Bulls
10-Trail Blazers

1- Ohio State
2- Oregon
3- Boise State
4- Oklahoma
5- Auburn
6- TCU
7- Nebraska
8- LSU
9- Michigan State

A tremendous season in progress.

1- Jets
2- Ravens
3- Steelers
4- Bears
5- Falcons
6- Patriots
7- Chiefs
8- Giants
9- Redskins
Team will be moving up and down this list all season long.

1- Capitals
2- Red Wings
3- Sharks
4- Maple Leafs
5- Canucks
6- Flyers
7- Bruins
8- Lightning
9- Blues


Monday, October 11, 2010

Can You Believe It? (NFL)

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-Digger's Daily-

NFL 2010 has been a wacky one. Many a fan has been scratching their head. In Las Vegas, hundreds angrily tear up losing betting slips. It's been a season of "I can't believe they won... or... I can't believe they lost" moments. 90% of the league can be considered within striking distance of becoming division winners or wild card reps.

This season has a great new feel. A select few labeled as losers are putting up early wins. Big favorites stunned by upset losses. Games decided by crazy plays in closing minutes. New York Giants domination of Chicago's front line for 9 first half sacks. 2010 has produced a few shockers...

Here's a few of my "Can You Believe ...?"

Can you believe..... New Orleans (3-2) trails Tampa Bay (3-1) in NFC South after Week 5 ?

... All AFC South teams are tied at 3-2? (Houston, Jacksonville, Indianapolis, Tennessee).

... San Francisco is 0-5?

... Kansas City and Tampa Bay are 3-1?

... Randy Moss traded to Minnesota?

... Buffalo QB Ryan Fitzpatrick (99.9 - 7th) has a higher passer rating than Drew Brees, Tony Romo & Aaron Rodgers?

... 12 kicks returned for touchdowns? (on pace for 38).

... Miami Dolphins special teams implosion vs New England on Monday Night Football?

... Upsets. Houston beat Indy, KC beat SD, STL beat Washington, Seattle stunned SD, Cleveland beat Cincy, Jacksonville beat Indy, Tampa Bay beat Cincy, Washington beat GB... wow!

... 1st, wondering how Chan Gailey was ever offered a head coaching job in Buffalo? 2nd, that he still has a job coaching the lowly 0-5 Bills. It's almost like Buffalo is tanking teams so they can escape to Toronto?


Thursday, October 7, 2010

Baseball's Best of 2010

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-Digger's Daily-

Baseball's regular season has concluded. What a fine season it was. No hitters. Surprise division champions. Great wire to wire pennant races. Comeback players. Disappointing players. Legendary players and managers hanging up their spikes (retiring). New stadiums. Rising stars. 2010 had it all.

I've pieced together my version of an all pro team. These two rosters are assembled of the best run producers and hurlers of 2010 position by position. Note, these are not predictions or recommendations for MVP or Cy Young. (ex. Felix Hernandez had terrific numbers but isn't my Cy Young pick).

"BEST OF 2010"

1B - Miguel Cabrera (DET) .328, 38, 126
2B - Robinson Cano (NYY) .319, 29, 109
3B - Adrian Beltre (BOS) .321, 28, 102
SS - Alexi Ramirez (CWS) .282, 18, 70
LF - Carl Crawford (TB) .307, 19, 90 (62 XBH, 47 SB)
CF - Josh Hamilton (TEX) .359, 32, 100
RF - Jose Batista (TOR) .260, 54, 124
C - Joe Mauer (MIN) .327, 9, 75 (.402 OBA)
DH - Vladmir Guerrero (TEX) .300, 29, 115
SP - Felix Hernandez (SEA) 13-12, 2.27 (232 K)
MR/SETUP - Joaquin Benoit (TEX) 1-2, 1.34 (0.68 WHIP, 75 K)
CL - Rafael Soriano (TB) 3-2, 1.73, 45 of 48 Saves
MGR - Ron Gardenhire (MIN) 94-68
ROOKIE - Austin Jackson (DET) .293, 4, 41 (48 XBH, 27 SB)
COMEBACK PLAYER - Francisco Liriano (MIN) 14-10, 3.62

1B - Albert Pujols (STL) .312, 42, 118
2B - Dan Uggla (FLA) .287, 33, 105
3B - Ryan Zimmerman (WAS) .307, 25, 85
SS - Troy Tulowitzki (COL) .315, 27, 95
LF - Carlos Gonzalez (COL) .336, 34, 117
CF - Colby Rasmus (STL) .276, 23, 66 (.859 OPS)
RF - Jason Werth (PHA) .296, 27, 85
C - Buster Posey (SF) .305, 18, 67
SP - Roy halladay (PHI) 21-10, 2.44
MR/Setup - Hong-Chin Kuo (LAD) 3-2, 1.20
CL - Heath Bell (SD) 6-1, 1.93 47 of 50 Saves
MGR - Dusty Baker (CIN) 91-71
ROOKIE - Buster Posey (SF) .305, 18, 67
COMEBACK PLAYER - Tim Hudson (ATL) 17-9, 2.83


NFL Predictions: Week 5

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-Digger's Daily-

Week 4 was a wild one in the NFL. Upsets, last minute victories, trades and firings caught everyone's attention this week. One quarter of the 2010 season is history. Overachievers try to remain hot. Underachievers attempt to get back in divisional races. Week 5 games may go a long way determining just where players and teams stand. Bye week couldn't have been better timed for Miami and their new special teams coordinator.

An 8-5 record last week was better then previous predictions but still isn't great. Season total now stands at 32-26. Here we go....

Week 5

SUNDAY (home teams in CAPS)

Jaguars 27 BILLS 10 Jags flying high after upsetting Indianapolis.
BENGALS 26 Buccaneers 6 Owens 222 yard day wasn't enough in last weeks loss. Cincy bounces back.
Falcons 30 BROWNS 23 Atlanta better not take Cleveland for granted.
Rams 23 LIONS 20 Both playing for respect. Detroit remains winless.
COLTS 31 Chiefs 24 Chiefs ground game could tear apart weak Indy D. Could become the upset game of the week.
Packers 28 REDSKINS 17 Packers big plays doom 'Skins.
Bears 17 PANTHERS 16 Bears win an ugly mistake filled contest.
RAVENS 23 Broncos 20 Don't be surprised if Denver's passing attack scores a few points. Ravens too good to bet against.
Giants 31 TEXANS 30 Giants D had a monster game vs Chicago. Houston's offense is not Chicago. This is a must see game.
Saints 34 CARDINALS 13 Saints roll.
Chargers 35 RAIDERS 21 Rivers to Gates has produced 286 yards and 6 TD.
COWBOYS 40 Titans 21 Cowboys exploit weak Titans secondary.
49ERS 20 Eagles 16 San Francisco finally wins a game.

Vikings 31 JETS 17 Huge game for Minnesota. Jets need win to stay in 1st.

Bye: Miami, New England, Pittsburgh, Seattle.


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Random Rumblings: Sports Eye Poppers

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-Digger's Daily-

Plenty of sports news making waves this week. Baseball playoffs. NFL upsets and last minute game winning drives. USA's Ryder Cup fiasco. NBA & NHL teams fine tuning their pre-season rosters prepping for the new regular season. USA teams playing in Europe safeguarding themselves due to international travel alerts. Every day has produced new feature stories. Here's a few eye poppers that may have flown below your radar....

Philadelphia Phillies Roy Halladay hurled a no hitter in Game 1 of the National League Division Series vs NL's top hitting team, Cincinnati. This eye popper didn't fly below radar's. Yet, I'm guessing many non Philadelphia and Cincinnati citizens missed out on a gem due to the game's late afternoon start time (especially those of you on the west coast). Halladay was masterful. One first pitch strike after another. Reds hitters were defenseless. Halladay's pitches were dancing all around the plate. He even contributed a key two out RBI single. There's only been one other post-season no hitter in baseball's entire history. Don Larson's perfect game vs Brooklyn Dodgers in the 1956 World Series. Get this. Halladay had a perfect game earlier this season. Today's no-no was his second of 2010!

Sad news from the NFL as legendary 83 year old George Blanda passed away. Blanda holds the NFL record for longest career (26 years), most extra points 943 (and attempts 956), first ever to score over 2000 points and a few others. He played for Chicago Bears, Houston Oilers and Oakland Raiders. #16 played his final game in 1975 at age 48. 26 years of highlights. NFL Films and ESPN have shown countless games from when Blanda played. So, what kind of farewell tribute does ESPN air? Initially it was a clip of #16 throwing an 80 yard touchdown to Kenny King during Oakland's 27-10 Super Bowl XV victory over Philadelphia. Did you figure it out yet? #16 in 1980 was Jim Plunkett. NOT George Blanda (retired 1975). Ooops. ESPN really fumbled it away. They're usually pretty good but talk about bad timing.

New England Patriots trade Randy Moss! For a draft pick? Great move by the receiver starved Minnesota Vikings. Brett Favre has a new number one go to guy. Minnesota's offense has been stuck in neutral. Now maybe they'll find a rhythm? Why did New England dump Moss after 50 TD catches in 52 Patriot appearances? New England cut him loose for a 2011 3rd round draft pick. Wow. Now that's an eye popper. Reports out of New England were all courteous. No apparent rifts. Just a bit shocking even though Brady hasn't been looking Moss' way with any sort of regularity in quite some time. Get ready Randy. Favre will be looking for you on every passing play!

Did everyone watch New England blow up Miami's special teams on Monday Night Football? Never before have I watched a special teams unit get thoroughly beaten up. Patriots return specialist Brandon Tate had a 103 yard kickoff return. Patriots blocked a punt to set up a touchdown. And, they returned a blocked field goal attempt 35 yards for another score. Guess who was promptly fired? Miami Dolphins Special Teams Coordinator John Bonamego was dumped Tuesday morning.

Nobody in New York was shocked when Mets fired GM Omar Minaya and Mgr Jerry Manuel. The Mets have been going backwards every since Carlos Beltran took strike 3 called in the NL Championship Series vs St. Louis in 2006. New York has suffered through bad free agent signings, shoddy team atmosphere, lack of leadership, injuries and poor draft picks. Who will the Wilpon's hire? All's quiet right now. Barely a rumor beyond Wally Backman. Do the Mets really want Backman managing the big league club? Seriously? Nothing against Backman but why hire someone with no big league managerial experience? Especially in New York! Bobby Valentine's name had been brought up ever since he retired from managing in Japan. He may not be the best strategical manager but he brings plenty of positive energy which has been sorely missed since '06. The Mets need to clean house. Dump all coaches on the big league club from batting to pitching and even trainers/doctor's.

Stay tuned....


Monday, October 4, 2010

Playoff Time: 2010 Road to the World Series

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-Digger's Daily-

Baseball's regular season has concluded. It was a season to remember. It took all 162 teams to determine the final playoff teams (final 2010 regular season standings).

Defending champion New York Yankees gave away the AL East in late September thanks in large part to manager Joe Girardi's decision to rest players rather than fighting for the division crown and home field advantage. Will this come back to bite the Yanks?

San Francisco won the NL West on the final weekend vs San Diego. The Padres seemed destined for playoff with a 6.5 game lead in late August before dropping 10 straight games to let the Giants back in the race.

Atlanta beat Philadelphia 8-7 in game 162 to finish one game ahead of San Diego as the NL Wild Card. Can the Braves get hot enough to advance into the World Series? Manager Bobby Cox is retiring and the Braves would love to win another championship for their famed skipper.

A couple of surprise teams won their divisions. Cincinnati slugged their way to the NL Central crown. Texas took home the AL West crown. Minnesota survived key injuries and the Giants came out of nowhere to stun NL West foes.

Time for a quick preview and predictions for the opening best of five Division Series round.

Texas Rangers (90-72) vs Tampa Bay Rays (96-66)
Texas pitchers need to step up against a balanced Rays attack. Rangers will trot out Lee (4-6), Wilson (15-8), Lewis (12-13) and Hunter (13-4) vs Tampa's Price (19-6), Garza (15-10), Davis (12-10) & Shields (13-15). Texas lineup boasts power. Tampa does it all with a good balance of speed, base running, small ball and power. Rays won season series 4-2 but anything can happen in a short best of 5 round.
Rangers have the power edge. Pitching and defense favor Tampa.

Prediction: Tampa Bay in 4.

New York Yankees (95-67) vs Minnesota Twins (94-68)
Defending champs Yanks will have their hands full in this series. New York usually bashes Twins pitching and had better bring the big lumber again if they're to win this series. Yanks pitching staff is struggling. Girardi's plan of resting starters and relievers for playoff action handed the AL East to Tampa Bay and did little to wake up slumping arms. They'll be going with Sabathia (21-7) in Game 1 then it's anyone's guess. Pettitte (11-3) and Hughes (18-8) seem likely game 2 & 3 starters. Minnesota counters with Liriano (14-10), Pivano (17-11), Duensing (10-3) & Blackburn (10-12).

Twins have been short handed most of the year and will be without Justin Morneau who was having an MVP type season until suffering a concussion. Minnesota still managed to blow away competitors but their pitchers don't match up well vs a powerful Yankees attack. Key to this series rest on Yanks pitchers. Even Rivera has been off lately. If Yanks starters falter then this series could be over in 3.

Prediction: Yanks bats blast Twins starters. Yanks sweep.

Cincinnati Reds (91-71) vs Philadelphia Phillies (97-65)
Intriguing series. Reds Dusty Baker did a fantastic job guiding Cincy to the NL Central crown. Cincy scored the most runs in NL (790) and needed every one of those runs to support a mediocre but surging pitching staff. Reds bats are hit or miss. If they're hitting then balls will be flying out of the park. Don't expect it against Phillies Cy Young caliber starters. Philadelphia survived many key injuries to run away with the NL East.
Key entering this series is starting pitching. On paper, Phillies starters are far superior. They'll send out Halladay (21-10), Oswalt (7-1) & Hamels (12-11) vs Reds Volquez (4-3), Arroyo (17-10) & Cueto (12-7).

Key: Phillies power pitching may post 3 shutouts against free swinging strikeout prone Reds lineup. Reds luck runs out here. Phils won 5 of 7 regular season head to head battles.

Prediction: Philadelphia sweep.

Atlanta Braves (91-71) vs San Francisco Giants (92-70)
Probably the most evenly matched opening round series. Braves stumbled down the stretch but did just enough to win wild card honors. San Francisco had a great September (18-8) to wrestle the NL West away from San Diego. Both teams have solid pitching and flaky hitters. Defensive edge favors Atlanta. Rotation match up favors Giants as Braves #1 will not be available before the series third game due to end of season pennant race (Hudson started final game). It'll be Lowe (16-12), Hanson (10-11) & Hudson (17-9) going for Atlanta vs Giants Lincecum (16-10), Cain (13-11) & Sanchez (13-9).

These games will all be tight and might come down 9th inning heroics.

Prediction: Braves prevail in 5.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

NFL Predictions: Week 4

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-Digger's Daily-

This is the first week of bye games. Dallas, Kansas City, Minnesota and Tampa Bay are off. The season has been anything but predictable. Many expected San Francisco (0-3) to make their stand. Instead, they've yet to win and quickly fired their offensive coordinator.

A few interesting must see battles headlining Week 4 featuring Donovan McNabb's return to Philadelphia against his former mates and a red hot Michael Vick. Baltimore and Pittsburgh bang heads in a big early season divisional game. The Giants try snapping out of funk against undefeated Chicago at home. Capping the week off Monday night is New England visiting Miami.

Week 3 was nothing to be proud of. An 8-6 week brings my anemic season total to a less than stunning 24-21 record. My crystal ball has been tossed. Time to get serious....

Week 4 (home in CAPS)

Jets 24 BILLS 3 Killer Jets D vs terrible Bills.
SAINTS 40 Panthers 14 Brees has a big day.
RAMS 23 Seahawks 17 Ugliest game on paper will be close.
Bengals 20 BROWNS 16 Bengals offense not clicking yet.
Ravens 20 STEELERS 13 Big hits will be plentiful. Roethlisberger back next week.
TITANS 23 Broncos 20 Titans secondary not playing well.
PACKERS 34 Lions 10 Pack attack too tough.
FALCONS 28 49ers 10 Niners fading fast.
Colts 31 JAGUARS 24 Manning picks apart Jags.
Texans 33 RAIDERS 14 Houston bounces back after disappointing loss to Dallas.
EAGLES 21 Redskins 16 Vick has been electric. McNabb hasn't lit up scoreboard.
CHARGERS 38 Cardinals 3 SD romps. Gates has beaten double teams all season.

DOLPHINS 26 Patriots 24 Miami looking to avoid back to back divisional losses. Big game in South Florida. If running attack fails it will be a Patriots slaughter.

A funny thing happened this weekend. Week 4 picks were to auto-post on Saturday at noon. Apologies for the delay.