Play Ball!

The SEVEN
1 April 2013

I. Get Well Kevin

Naturally everyone’s best wishes and prayers are going out on behalf of Kevin Ware of Louisville, whose leg was broken during Louisville’s win over Duke which sent them to the final four. The surgery is said to have gone well and hopefully Kevin will recover and be better than new…but the interesting thing is that the whole story – including the fact that while he lay on the ground with the broken leg he was imploring his team to win the game – has made the overall number one seed the sentimental favorite as opposed to the one people might want to see knocked off.

II. Rough Side Of The Mountain

There was a hit gospel song from several years back entitled “Rough Side Of The Mountain” in which the vocalist states, “I’m doing my best to make it in.” Right now the Los Angeles Lakers are in Rough Side mode, tied for the eighth seed with the Utah Jazz but not really tied since the Jazz own the tiebreaker over the Lakers. So essentially that means that the Lakers are a game behind Utah with 8 to play, with five of those games against Western Conference playoff teams still fighting for best possible position and without the injured Metta World Peace, the best defender on the team. It’s going to be rough, and doing their best – with what they have – may not enable them to make it in.

III. Top Of The Mountain

In the midst of this difficult season Kobe Bryant is indicating that he will decide this off-season if next year, the final one of his contract, will be his last. I’ll believe that when pigs fly.

I will be very surprised if Kobe Bean Bryant does not attempt to leave the game as the top scorer of all time, and he will need at least a couple more seasons beyond next year to accomplish that. I would have believed that before last weekend, but now after having finally seen the movie “Mr. 3000,” I am more certain that he will play on beyond 2014.

IV. Go West, Young Man!

It’s April…and MLB is back! Shout out to the Houston Astros, winners of their first game in the American League last night. They are joining the AL West, where they hope to escape the cellar that they inhabited in the NL Central…though it may be hard. On the surface the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim would seem to be the favorites, especially after adding the former MVP Josh Hamilton, but manager Ron Washington always manages to have the Texas Rangers in the hunt at the end.

In the AL Central the Detroit Tigers look to be the overwhelming favorites, followed by the improving Kansas City Royals and the Cleveland Indians.

V. Al East

The two eastern divisions are the best in baseball, and the AL East is probabaly the best from top to bottom, in that any of the teams could finish first or last. Of course, the New York Yankees’ ownership – even without the late George Steinbrenner – will not let them hit the cellar without an infusion of talent if needed, considering their massive early season injuries.

If forced to make a prediction, I will go out on a limb and pick the Toronto Blue Jays…but again, it could be the Orioles, the always tough Rays, the sure-to-rebound Red Sox, or the Yankees. It will be fun to watch.

VI. NL East

There are three teams with a great shot at winning this division. The young and talented Washington Nationals, the reloaded Atlanta Braves with the Upton brothers joining Jason Hayward in the outfield, and the perennial leaders, the Philadelphia Phillies, who will be trying to make a last run with their core of MVPs/Cy Young award Winners/veteran stars. Two things are for certain:

The Miami Marlins will be nowhere near the top. And neither will the New York Mets…but at least the All-Star game will be at Citi Field.

VII. Best Of The Rest and the West

The NL West will feature a battle between the San Francisco Giants, winners of two out the last three World Series, and the Los Angeles Dodgers, going into a full season with their reloaded roster. In the NL Central I’m going to really go out on a limb and predict a playoff spot for the Pittsburgh Pirates, albeit a wild-card spot. The Cincinnati Reds will be favored, and don’t count out the St. Louis Cardinals.

Play Ball!