Monday, March 31, 2008

2008 MLB Preview - Part 2: American League

Rather than bombard everyone with my standard MLB breakdown of the impending season (you know the type… six divisions, postseason predictions, takes me two weeks to write and takes you three days to read – though most of you probably realize how stupid I sound after about twenty minutes), I’ve decided to break this year’s preview up into two separate posts.

So… uh… here we go!

Today’s post – the American League. Click here to read all about the NL in 2008

American League East

Boston Red Sox (94-68)

New York Yankees (88-74)

Toronto Blue Jays (84-78)

Tampa Bay Rays (75-87)

Baltimore Orioles (64-98)

As much as I would like to do it, I cannot in good conscience come out and endorse the Red Sox as the best team in the American League. They didn’t do anything to make their team better in the offseason (ahem… Johan Santana anyone?) aside from bringing in whatever is left in Bartolo Colon. And more importantly, their top two starters are starting the season on the shelf. Josh Beckett will probably only be laid up for a couple of weeks, but how his body responds when he returns is a big question. Perhaps more importantly, Curt Schilling won’t even consider returning to the rotation until after the All-Star Break, and maybe later. So with all of that, how can I possibly pick them to win the division? Because they still have the best overall team in the AL East. If they can manage to either hold a slim lead or even be just a game or two back by the time Schilling returns, they’ve got the horses (and the trading chips) to make a push and take the division for the second year in a row.

Another year, another year older. Nice way to explain the Yankees. They’re not getting younger at any major positions including the rotation and closer spots. A-Rod isn’t in a contract year this season, so to think he’d duplicate last year’s numbers is probably asking a lot. And to top it all off, they’ve got a new manager in this, the final season of Yankee Stadium, meaning even more expectations and emotions all season long. They can never be counted out of a season before it even starts, but I’m just not sure they’ve got enough to compete all year long. (Side Note: On the Free Agent Tracker, they list the dollars spent by a team in the offseason… the Yankees gave out nearly $400 Million in guaranteed money this year. I mean… that’s Monopoly money.)

Toronto has done a decent job overhauling what they had going last year. They moved Troy Glaus for Scott Rolen, and brought in Rolen’s infield mate in David Eckstein from St. Louis. Last season, the Jays had everything in place to make a solid run at the AL East. But losing both their #1 & #2 starters, plus their closer, plus about a third of their position players to injuries at various times in the year kind of derailed their season before it ever really started. This season they’ve got all their pieces back in place, and lost only Josh Towers from last season’s roster. They should be able to hang around all season long, and if either Boston or New York gets out of the box a little slow, the Jays will be right there to make a move.

Every season, I look at the Rays (no longer the Devil Rays) and wonder “why can’t this team get it together?” They’ve got decent pitching, a pretty solid lineup, but they’ve never been able to put it all together into one winning season. This season, they’ve found another solid young starter in James Shields to pair up with Scott Kazmir. If Carlos Pena can come anywhere close to last season’s numbers, they could have a legitimate threat in the lineup to drive Carl Crawford home 100-120 times. And no matter what they do on the field, there will be about 3500 Rays fans in the stand to watch it happen.

Last season the Baltimore Orioles almost managed to finish in the basement of the AL East, but somehow they stayed three games ahead of the Rays to end the year a stellar 69-93. This year, they won’t be so lucky. They traded away their best pitcher and best hitter in separate deals with Seattle and Houston. They got nice young players in return… who won’t contribute much for the next three to five seasons. They signed one free agent – 37-year old Steve Trachsel, who happened to be their own free agent, and a pitcher that likely had one or maybe two other suitors, at best. The Orioles might be the biggest joke in the majors, narrowly edging out the Royals & Pirates for “current worst franchise in MLB”. I never thought it would be possible, but Peter Angelos’ ownership has turned one of the best baseball cities in the country into a bunch of displaced Nationals fans.

American League Central

Detroit Tigers (100-62)

Cleveland Indians (97-65)

Chicago White Sox (81-81)

Minnesota Twins (78-84)

Kansas City Royals (65-97)

Of all the teams in MLB, no one did more to improve their team than the Detroit Tigers. Someone obviously poked owner Mike Illitch to remind him that he was in charge of both the Red Wings and Tigers, as he has opened the wallet and turned into the Mark Cuban of the Major Leagues. This season, the Tigers brought in an All-Star shortstop in Edgar Renteria, as well as a former #1 starter in Dontrelle Willis (who will probably end up being a #3 or #4 when it’s all said and done in the AL) and Miguel Cabrera, one of the best young third baseman in the game. No one knows how all these moves will affect the Tigers, but they can’t hurt. Detroit now sports one of the deadliest lineups in the American League with Granderson, Renteria, Cabrera, Ordonez, and Sheffield, and one of the deepest rotations with the D-Train moving into the #3 starters role. Ladies and gentlemen… your 2008 Best Team in Baseball – Regular Season Edition.

For the first time in about a decade, I’m convinced that the Wild Card is not coming out of the East or West. The Indians came on strong at the end of the season in ’07 as the Tigers faltered, then managed to give up the AL Pennant to three straight Red Sox victories in the ALCS. They might be the “hungriest” team in the American League this year. Throw in a contract year for their #1 starter, a bullpen that cannot possibly be worse than it has been the past two years, and a lineup that works well from top to bottom, and they’ve got no reason not to make the playoffs this year.

I can only imagine that last season was an abberation for the White Sox. In 2005, they won a World Series. In 2006 they won 90 games… and finished third in this division. Then last year, they dropped to 72 wins and a fourth place finish. Something about that just doesn’t make sense. They should be at the very least a .500 club, and they’ve still got most of the important pieces from the ’05 club that went the distance. They might even surprise everyone and break out another 90-win campaign, but I’m not optimistic about it. I’ll give them a .500 season, and see if they can beat expectations.

As a New Englander and a fan of all Boston sports teams… I’m certain most people from Minnesota hate us. Kevin Garnett. Randy Moss. And almost Johan Santana. But as far as this year’s Twins team goes, I just can’t see how they can be competitive in that division. They traded away two of their top three pitchers from 2007, and allowed the third to walk in free agency. They lost their only recognizable face in the field when Torii Hunter hit free agency and took a mega deal from the Angels. They still have a solid closer in Joe Nathan and a former MVP in Justin Morneau, as well as whatever Francisco Liriano can give them coming back from Tommy John Surgery… but not much else. A .500 season would be a victory this year. Of course, it’s the Twins – they always seem to outperform expectations.

Finally, the Kansas City Royals. In all honestly, without looking it up I don’t think I could name more than four Royals players. Gil Meche. Zack Grienke. Tony Pena. Mark Teahan. What’s even sadder is that while typing this part of the preview, I’m watching the Royals/Tigers opening day game. Which should tell you everything you need to know about the Royals. Even if they manage to sneak out a .500 season, nobody is going to notice. They need to suddenly turn into the 2003 Marlins – young team, no expectations, just having fun and coming out of nowhere to grab a playoff spot – before anyone outside of Missouri begins to pay attention. And even then, it will be more for the spectacle than the substance.

American League West

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, Orange County, California, United States of America, North America, Earth (94-68)

Seattle Mariners (89-73)

Texas Rangers (78-84)

Oakland Athletics (72-90)

The Angels lost three players from last year’s roster, and brought in only two. They let Bartolo Colon and Dallas McPherson go to Boston and Florida, respectively, and imported Torii Hunter via free agency from the Twins and Jon Garland from the White Sox in a trade for Orlando Cabrera. Hunter fills the position in the outfield that they thought Gary Matthews Jr. would take last season, and provides them with possibly the best defensive outfield in the major leagues whenever Matthews plays left field in place of the slowly calcifying Garrett Anderson. They’ve got one of the best lineups in the bigs, with power and speed up and down the card. Unfortunately, the starting rotation is beginning the season with 40% of the pitchers on the shelf. John Lackey and Kelvim Escobar will be on the DL when the year begins, with Escobar likely to miss most if not the entire season. Much like Boston, the Angels need to simply hang around near the top of the division until they get all their pieces healthy, and they should be able to take it home down the stretch.

The Seattle Mariners made one of the biggest moves in the offseason, adding Eric Bedard to their rotation alongside Felix Hernandez to give them one of the nastiest 1-2 punches for the foreseeable future in the majors. Bedard has been nothing short of dominant pitching in the far tougher AL East for the last three seasons, and now the 28-year old lefty moves away from the Red Sox and Yankees and into pitcher friendly Safeco Field. There’s no reason to think he won’t be able to duplicate or exceed his numbers from the past two seasons when he went 28-16 with 392 K’s pitching for a much worse Orioles team. If the Mariners can get anything out of their overpriced, underperforming offense, they can make a serious push to the top of this division.

The Texas Rangers have the unfortunately distinction of playing in Coors Field East (or… Central). The Ballpark at Arlington is possibly the least pitcher-friendly park in the American League, and the Rangers team ERA over the past few seasons reflects it (4.75 in 2007, 4.60 in 2006, 4.96 in 2005, 4.53 in 2004… see a pattern?) Normally, teams without any chance of winning through pitching will keep as many big power hitters around as they can find. But the Rangers traded away their best power bat in Mar Teixeira last season, and imported only Josh Hamilton this year. Not exactly a formula for success. If there is a silver lining, it’s that they only have to beat three other teams if they happen to get hot at the right time in order to make a surprise surge in the division. It won’t happen, but at least it’s positivity…

Finally, the Oakland A’s. In 2007, they had the worst offense in baseball. This year, they’ve done nothing to get better, and they traded away their best starting pitcher in Dan Haren to the Diamondbacks. They might be the first team in a very long time to struggle to break 400 runs scored in a single season, and it’s pretty safe to say that the playoffs are still a few years away. They are relying on a rotation that’s now anchored by Rich Harden – he of the combined 13 starts since 2006 – and a batting lineup sporting only two regulars that have ever hit 20 home runs in a season.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

2008 MLB Preview - Part 1: National League

Rather than bombard everyone with my standard MLB breakdown of the impending season (you know the type… six divisions, postseason predictions, takes me two weeks to write and takes you three days to read – though most of you probably realize how stupid I sound after about twenty minutes), I’ve decided to break this year’s preview up into two separate posts.

So… uh… here we go!

Today’s post – the National League

Let’s be honest right out of the gate here. Aside from the Mets, no National League team has a legitimate shot at winning the 2008 World Series. Not the Cubs. Not the Dodgers. Not the Rockies. Nobody. So why even bother writing the whole preview out?

Well, to paraphrase a very annoying and overhyped ESPN “personality”, that’s why they play the games.

National League East

New York Mets (97-65)

Philadelphia Phillies (90-72)

Atlanta Braves (84-78)

Washington Nationals (70-92)

Florida Marlins (66-96)

Very simply put, the Mets won the lottery this offseason. They brought in the best left handed starting pitcher in baseball, and all it cost them was a handful of prospects, and a massive contract extension. They lost their #3 starter from 2007 in Tom Glavine, and somehow managed to have three catchers signed away by other teams. But when it comes right down to it, they’ve managed to get a dominating pitching staff to compliment an overpowering offense, and if everyone stays healthy for 85-90% of the season, they should run away and hide with the division by August. And considering how last year ended, the earlier they can clinch the better.

The Phillies made an impressive run to the postseason last year after Jimmy Rollins more or less guaranteed that they would win the division before the year started. He and the rest of the Phillies backed up the talk, and they came out of nowhere to take over the NL East in the final two weeks of the season. This year, they’ve done little to advance their team aside from trading for troubled closer Brad Lidge and signing a handful of mid-level veterans (who else is shocked by the news that So Taguchi is almost 40?). They lost their starting centerfielder with Aaron Rowand’s Free Agent departure to San Francisco, but it has opened up a spot for Shane Victorino to showcase his five-tool abilities. And they still have one of the scariest lineups in the league, with Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard and Pat Burrell. But they just haven’t done enough in this offseason to make me think they’ve got the tools to overtake the Mets again this year.

Atlanta lost Andruw Jones and Edgar Renteria from their starting lineup this offseason, one via free agency (Jones to the Dodgers), the other via a trade (Renteria – A.K.A. “E-6” – to the Tigers). They brought back Tom Glavine to finish up his career where he belongs, in a Braves’ uniform. And if they can get any kind of consistent contribution from Tim Hudson & Mike Hampton (admit it – you thought he was dead too…) they might just be a late season Wild Card contender. With an offense anchored by switch hitters Chipper Jones and Mark Teixeira, they should be able to score some runs. But the rest of their team is largely comprised of unknowns and up-and-comers, so there’s no way to know how they will pan out. 90 wins isn’t out of the question. Neither is 70.

With a move into a new stadium upcoming, the Washington Nationals needed to make a big splash in free agency this season to fill up the seats. So of course, the natural move was to bring in Paul LoDuca and Aaron Boone. They also made moves to bring Lastings Milledge and Elijah Dukes into the fold, presumably to figure out just how crazy a Major League Clubhouse can be before there is a homicide committed. And to top it all off, the Nats have decided that a pitching rotation anchored by “#1 Starter” Shawn Hill (probably the first and only time those words will ever be put into a sentence in that order) should be enough. I can only wonder how long it will be until they ship a disgruntled Chad Cordero and Ryan Zimmerman out for a bag of baseballs and a year’s supply of Capitol Dogs. Needless to say, I’m not very high on their chances this year.

And finally, the Florida Marlins. Major League’s Baseball version of a “Big Lots” closeout sale. Back in August, I built a case for them to, at the very least, entertain offers for Dontrelle Willis and Miguel Cabrera this offseason. Somehow, they managed to include both players in a trade with the Tigers, netting them a handful of midlevel prospects along with two top-tier players in Andrew Miller and Cameron Maybin. But as is the Marlins’ prerogative, they have once again gutted their top players in favor of rebuilding for three years down the road. They brought in no one of great consequence, aside from 40-year old outfielder Luis Gonzalez to be the fourth man in the outfield. They have a fantastic young team, that should come together and make a nice playoff run… in about 2011.

National League Central

Chicago Cubs (90-72)

Milwaukee Brewers (87-75)

Houston Astros (84-78)

Cincinnati Reds (81-81)

St. Louis Cardinals (78-84)

Pittsburgh Pirates (68-94)

The Cubs were the best team in the NL Central last season, and they lost nothing aside from Cliff Floyd in terms of major production for this season’s roster. To replace him, they brought in Kosuke Fukudome (go ahead – try to say it without laughing) to play the outfield and fill in the hole in the lineup. After a handful of unproductive seasons of unfulfilled promise, Mark Prior has left Chicago to start over in San Diego. However, Kerry Wood has resurfaced and is the leading candidate to be the Cubs’ closer – sort of an older, more injury plagued version of Jonathon Papelbon. He’s still got that silly curveball, and recent reports have him hitting 96-98 on the radar gun with his fastball. If he can stay healthy (how many times have we said that about Kerry Wood?) he could be dominant. But most importantly, while the Cubs seem to have gotten better, no other team in the division has made any major moves to catch up.

I can’t figure out the Brewers. They were the “surprise” team last year (unless your name was “Vinny”), squeaking out 83 wins and staying in the Wild Card race right up until September. But this offseason, they let Geoff Jenkins and Francisco Cordero walk in free agency, replacing them with Mike Cameron and Eric Gagne. Wha?!?! They’ve got a great young team, with some serious future All-Star potential in Prince Fielder, Ryan Braun, JJ Hardy, Corey Hart, and even Rickie Weeks. But they’re making lateral moves instead of trying to get better in the immediate future. As always, the health of their pitching staff – namely Ben Sheets, Chris Capuano and Yovani Gallardo will be the primary concern. If those three can manage 25 starts each, the Brewers could make some serious noise in the National League.

The Astros made a lot of minor moves this offseason, cutting ties with a handful of veterans and bringing in another handful to replace them. They brought in Kaz Matsui to play second base with super-utility man Mark Loretta. But they also made three major trades, acquiring Miguel Tejada, Jose Valverde and Michael Bourn in separate moves with the Orioles, D-Backs and Phillies, losing only two players from last years team – Brad Lidge and Luke Scott. (Side note: Not sure how it looks, but when you search for “Miguel Tejada” on, you get the player card page, and the first link in the “News” section is to the Mitchell Report. Just wondering…) The Astros still need help in the pitching rotation, but they seem to have shored up the offense tremendously behind Lance Berkman and Carlos Lee – Bourn is a fantastic leadoff man who could threaten a .300 AVG / 10 HR / 90 R / 35 SB line for the year, and we all know what Tejada and Valverde are capable of.

The Reds made a couple moves this offseason to try and improve. They brought in a new manager with a history of making the playoffs by riding his stud starters. They have started bringing up the prospects to supplement the stars they already have in their lineup. And they went out and spent on the position that caused them so much trouble last season by bringing in the best available closer in Francisco Cordero. All of this should lift them up by a handful of wins, and might even have them among the Wild Card contenders for most of the season. And if they are in contention at the deadline, they might even have the chips in the minor leagues to go out and get the piece that puts them up and over the top.

St. Louis looks to be regressing at an astounding pace after their World Series title in 2006. Their best player is playing with a major arm injury, their pitching staff is, at best, in shambles and relying on the return of two stars both coming off major surgeries, their offense was already anemic last year allowing 104 more runs than they scored, and they’re relying on a former pitcher to slide into the cleanup spot and protect the best hitter in the National League. If they finish above .500 for the season without full years from Chris Carpenter and Mark Mulder in the rotation, it will be amazing.

And finally, the Pittsburgh Pirates. Listen, I spent last season living in Pittsburgh. There is no more depressing place in this country for a baseball fan and yes – that includes Kansas City. Not only is the team terrible, but the majority of the people in the area simply don’t care about them. Where else could a team market shirts that read “Rebuilding since 1992” and have their fans consider it a quirky gimmick? More importantly, where else could a team sign seven free agents for a combined $1.85M and consider it a good offseason? They’ve actually got a couple of good young players who are wasting away on the Pirates, but if history is any indicator, they’ll find a way to trade them for ten cents on the dollar, or just let their contracts expire outright and wish them well.

National League West

San Diego Padres (92-70)

Arizona Diamondbacks (89-73)

Los Angeles Dodgers (88-74)

Colorado Rockies (81-81)

San Francisco Giants (72-90)

Last season, the NL West had four of five teams above .500. Only the Giants were sub-par, and they still broke 70 wins for the year. Of course, last season the Rockies also managed to reel off about 302 straight wins to finish their season and run to the World Series, so who knows what to make of the final records.

I honestly believe the Padres are the best team in this division as currently constituted. They brought in a couple of veteran bats to shore up the lineup and provide a little pop off the bench. They took a 1-year, $1M flyer on Mark Prior and his ability to bounce back and give them anything at the back of the rotation. They still have Jake Peavy & Chris Young at the front end, and Trevor Hoffman (his end-of-season problems notwithstanding) anchoring the bullpen. They still need to go out and get at least one more bat before they can be considered a legitimate contender – Ken Griffey Jr. anyone? – but they’ve got the pitching to keep them in just about every game they play.

Arizona lost their workhorse starter in Livan Hernandez, and traded away their closer to the Brewers. No worries. They brought in one of the most promising arms from the American League in Dan Haren. Plus they might have a healthy Randy Johnson returning as the #3 starter. So why do I have them dropping a couple wins in the standings? Well, simply put, no one knows what to expect out of Randy Johnson, and if you look at the track record of Oakland A’s starters getting traded to National League teams – Tim Hudson, Mark Mulder – they don’t exactly have a great history. The D-Backs should still be a tough team to beat, and a definite contender for both the division and Wild Card titles. Just not so sure they have enough to make a run all the way to the series.

On the complete opposite end of the spectrum, the Dodgers imported players from all over the world, literally – Andruw Jones and Hiroki Kuroda among others. They brought Joe Torre in from the Yankees to manage a veteran group of players. And the only pieces they lost to free agency were Luis Gonzalez and Randy Wolf. They’ve got some solid prospects in James Loney, Russell Martin and Matt Kemp who will finally be seeing serious time this year, and they’re returning veterans like Nomar, Jeff Kemp and Rafael Furcal. Plus the rotation is actually pretty good – Brad Penny, Derek Lowe and whatever Kuroda provides could be a potent 1-2-3. They’re stuck in a good division, but the top three teams are all close enough that any one of them could sneak into the top spot when all 162 are done.

Everything fell into place for the Rockies last season, but after a miracle run like that to not only make the playoffs, but sweep their way into the World Series (before being swept away…), I just don’t see anyway that everything repeats itself. They didn’t really add much to the team, and lost a few bit parts from their bullpen. But look at what it took for them to finish at 89-72 before the 1-game Wild Card playoff last year; they finished the year 13-1, with 12 of those wins against division opponents. How insane is that? Even if they had finished the year going 7-7 over the final 14 games, they would have ended up six games out of the playoffs! You can’t tell me that this was a true “playoff” team last year. They were a .500 team that got hot at the right time, caught a streak, and rode it all the way to the World Series. And this year, I think they’ll fall right back to where they should have been in ’07.

The Giants shed themselves of Barry Bonds, his head, ego, and all the baggage that comes along with having him in their uniform. That alone should have bought them 10 more wins just in good karma alone. But here’s the list of San Francisco Giants free agency signings this offseason. Ready? Aaron Rowand – 5yr/$60M. That’s it. One guy, to replace the main player they lost. Now, don’t get me wrong – I like Rowand. I like his intensity, I like his hitting ability, and I like the way that he doesn’t seem afraid to step in and try to make the Giants his team. Other than that, the Giants still have Barry Zito and his comic book curveball atop the rotation… and nothing else. They’re relying on four unproven starters to fill in behind Zito, and what has to be one of the oldest everyday starting lineups in the field. Omar Vizquel, Ray Durham, Rich Aurilia, Bengie Molina… these guys would have been good as everyday starters 10 years ago. But in 2008? I’d be shocked if any of them reached 140 games played, and for at least two of them I’d say that 110 would be good.

So that’s it for the National League. Short, lacking any real insight, basically what you’ve come to expect from me. If all went according to plan, I’ve managed to insult fans of every National League team aside from the Mets, Cubs & Padres. And after anointing the Mets as the obvious choice to represent the National League in the 2008 World Series, I’m sure I’ll be receiving hate e-mails from all my Mets-fan friends within the hour.

I’ll be back later this week or early next week with the American League Preview. As in 2005, expect a whole lot of blatant drooling over the Red Sox, even if I’m not 100% convinced that they’re the team to beat in the American League…


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Tuesday, March 04, 2008

I owe you an explanation...

Contrary to popular opinion, I am not in fact dead. Nor have I given up blogging after four and a half years. I do realize, however, that it has been exceptionally long since last we spoke (OK, let's be honest - I'm rambling, you're reading. Not like we're having a civilized conversation and following Robert's Rules or anything).

There's a couple of good reasons for that. First, let's face it - it's a pretty slow spot in the sports world right now. I'm still not completely recovered from watching Ellis Hobbs do his best turnstile impression as a football sailed over his head and into Plaxico Burress' waiting arms. And as much as people love sitting around and disecting 40-yard dash times, the combine just doesn't interest me all that much. So that leaves free agency which, though interesting, usually fizzles out within the first week. This year, after Randy Moss & Asante Samuel, there haven't really been that many big names looking to cash in. Zach Thomas? Javon Walker? Lance Briggs was probably the only other "name" out there, and he stayed put. Boring.

And as much as I've professed my love of College Basketball in the past on these pages, I will admit I have been pretty lax this year in keeping up with the teams. I know Duke, Kansas, UNC, UCLA, Memphis & Tennessee are all the legit contenders, with Texas, Indiana, Michigan State and a couple others lurking in the second tier. Personally, I think UCLA/Duke would be entertaining to watch. But I haven't paid enough attention, so for now, I'm not going to write 2000 words about something that I probably wouldn't be able to carry on a five minute conversation about.

NBA? NHL? Wake me up in June. And that's coming from someone who's been a fan of the Celtics since birth. This season, of all the others, I should have been rabid about the NBA - the C's first legitimate title contender since I was seven years old. But... well, I stopped watching the regular season of the NBA about five years ago. When the playoffs kick in, I'll be back. Ditto for the NHL.

So that leaves baseball. My bread and butter. And yes, I am working on this year's MLB Preview post(s). And yes, with the Red Sox as defending World Series Champions again, you can probably expect a 10,000 word opus, with about 9,723 of those words devoted to the champs. That's coming in the next few weeks, and I may even try to have a couple friends write the previews for their own personal favorite teams (that includes a couple of you reading this right now - you know who you are).

Finally, a quick life update completely (well, partially) un-sports related. As I mentioned about 6 weeks ago, I've left Pittsburgh (THANK GOD - no offense to Sean) and returned to Massachusetts. And I've made a decision.

For the past 26 years, I've sworn that I wanted to retire by the time I was 30. Without help from the Powerball Gods, that's not happening. But I've decided that until such time as I either burn out completely or run out of money, I am at least going to "work" doing what I want to do and not wasting my life at a 9-5 that I don't enjoy.

No, that does not mean I've decided to become a full-time, unpaid blogger. I think my absence from these pages for the past 2 weeks is a pretty obvious sign of that. I've decided to return to the only "job" that I've actually enjoyed for the past five years, playing cards. specifically, various forms of poker.

I did this for nine months after college, and it successfully paid my bills and kept me happy. I'm returning to it now because I've gotten tired of waking up at 6am every morning to goto jobs that I hate and worse, resent. I've never felt the world owed me anything, but I've also never felt I owed anything to the world. So if I can scratch out a decent living playing cards, pay all my bills and have enough left over to go out drinking with my buddies a couple times a week, that's fine by me. Who knows - maybe I'll even turn out to be better at this than I thought.

As for what that means for this page... well, I'll continue to update this throughout the year with sports-related thoughts. As always, Baseball & Football will take precedent over just about anything else. I've got plenty to say about things like Lil' Stein and his thoughts about Red Sox Nation (Hank, it's real. They've got membership cards and elections and everything. Doesn't mean it's not completely ridiculous, but it's real.) and the complete overhaul by the Detroit Tigers.

So look for the preview in the coming weeks. And if you are a fan of a team not hailing from Boston, I might tap you to write something for me. Makes it easier to post a bunch of previews when I can spend more time at the tables and letting you guys do the work for me... :)

As always, see you all again soon.


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