Tuesday, June 30, 2015

US vs. Germany Women's World Cup Semifinals Preview

World Cup Semis:
Tu. 6-30-2015: 7p - USA vs. Germany (FOX)
W. 7-1-2015: 7p - England vs. Canada (FS1)
Think the American team has a strong attacking force, Germany is led by their leading goalscorers Celia Sasic (6) and Anja Mittag (5). US has kept the backline intact and the defensive effort is what has kept us in the World Cup. But, Meghan Klingenberg and co. will face their toughest challenge yet against Germany. As far as the formation, I think Jill Ellis should stick to a 4-4-2 diamond. Deploying Morgan Brian in a holding role will support the defense against the German attackers. Megan Rapinoe will be back at left midfield, but who will be on the opposite side. Kelly O'Hara may have played well enough last match to start, but it had been Lauren Holliday's slot before. Holliday and Rapinoe missed the China match due to yellow card accumulation. Morgan and A-Rod should go up front, with Abby Wambach ready to come off the bench when she is needed. Germany is the favourite to win, but, go go USA!

Monday, January 26, 2015

My Picks of some of the Super Bowl XLIX props

(Odds listed where applicable)
How long will Idina Menzel take to sing the National Anthem? Over/Under 2 min. 1 sec.
Idina Menzel is a widely successful Broadway performer and the voice of Elsa in “Frozen”. Enough reason to expect her the draw out the key notes of “The Star Spangled Banner”

Will Menzel omit or forget to say at least one word of the National anthem?  No ⅙, Yes 4/1
No, her experience in theater should mean she won’t make a mistake.

How many times will "Deflated Balls" be referred to during the game? Over/Under 2 ½
NBC’s top-of-the-line NFL broadcast should stray away from talk of Deflategate.

Which color will Bill Belichick's hoodie be? Grey ½, Blue 7/4, Red 7/1
Belichick is usually found wearing his grey hoodie, but of the few times he has wore the red hoodie once was in Super Bowl XLII.

Which song will Katy Perry perform first at Halftime? Firework 3/2, Roar 3/2, This Is How We Do 5/1, Dark Horse 12/1, E.T. 12/1, Wide Awake 12/1, Waking Up In Vegas 20/1
Yes, Firework. Yes, Roar. Hot N Cold as a dark horse *no pun intended* pick
What color will Katy Perry's hair be when she begins the Halftime show? Black/Brown 2/1, Pink/Red 3/1, Blue/Green 3/1, Blonde 4/1, Purple 5/1
Probably will be her natural black hair, but it has been spotted as plum-colored lately.

Will Al Michaels refer to the point spread, total, odds on who wins game or any prop bet? Yes 2/1, No ⅓
Yes, Michaels is well known for this (http://bit.ly/15JA3Mx)

What Color will the Gatorade (or liquid) be that is dumped on the Head Coach of the Winning Super Bowl Team? Orange 3/2, Yellow 5/2, Clear/Water 3/1, Red 15/2, Blue 15/2, Green 10/1
Orange has been poured 3 of the last 5 years.

Coin toss? Heads 20/21, Tails 20/21

What will be higher? Total Points scored by Michigan State Guard Travis Trice or Total 1st Half Points by the Patriots
I’m expecting Trice to show up against a lackluster Michigan team, while the Seahawks defense shuts down the Patriots.

Who will have more? Arsenal goals (v. Aston Villa) 31/20 or Tom Brady TD passes 4/7
Arsenal should have a field day against relegation-battling Aston Villa. See previous comment about Seahawks defense.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Don Kelly to Marlins + Scherzer is gone too

Don Kelly has signed with the Miami Marlins on a minor-league contract. Over the last six years, Kelly served the Tigers as a super-utility player. He played every position at least once, including catcher and even pitcher. Kelly is known for coming up in the clutch or just coming in to pitch when we are getting smoked by the Mets. Here are some of his greatest moments with the Tigers:

  • Don Kelly gets the last out of the 9th inning
    • DK was called on to spare another relief pitcher in a 16-9 loss to the New York Mets. Kelly got the last batter to pop-up to end the game, using an effective changeup to battle to a 2-2 count.
    • Video: http://m.mlb.com/video/v16433551/
  • Walk-off sacrifice fly in the playoffs against Oakland
    • It was pretty awesome.
  • He can use his glove, too
  • Solo home run in Game 5 of the World Series against the ALCS: 

Max Scherzer has signed a 7 year, $210 million mega-deal to pitch for the Washington Nationals. What a relief! He would have added so much money to our payroll. Now the Tigers can sign a couple players for the same price as Scherzer -- signing maybe David Price or a more average starter next year. Trading for Price last year was so he could replace Max's spot as the ace. Justin Verlander should bounce back this year as well.

Sunday, October 26, 2014

2014 MHSAA High School Football Playoff Pairings

Here are the playoff pairings from MHSAA.com. Okemos travels to play Flint Carmen-Ainsworth.
2014 Pairings
R = Region
D = District
All Games Times Will Be Announced Monday October 26.

Games will be played Friday October 31 or Saturday November 1.

Division 1
R1-D1: Traverse City West (5-4) 62.111 at Rockford (7-2) 93.889
R1-D1: Hudsonville (5-4) 62.778 at Holland West Ottawa (5-4) 68.000

R1-D2: Grandville (5-4) 65.000 at East Kentwood (8-1) 97.333
R1-D2: Grand Ledge (6-3) 67.667 at Hartland (7-2) 88.222

R2-D1: Oxford (6-3) 73.444 at Clarkston (9-0) 117.333
R2-D1: Romeo (6-3) 73.556 at Lapeer HS (9-0) 105.778

R2-D2: Livonia Stevenson (6-3) 72.000 at West Bloomfield (8-1) 100.444
R2-D2: Waterford Mott (6-3) 80.000 at Walled Lake Central (7-2) 92.000

R3-D1: Northville (6-3) 72.222 at Canton (7-2) 93.000
R3-D1: Plymouth (7-2) 84.889 at Livonia Churchill (7-2) 88.333

R3-D2: Westland John Glenn (6-3) 69.556 at Saline (8-1) 95.381
R3-D2: Dearborn (6-3) 75.333 at Monroe (6-3) 75.444

R4-D1: Utica Eisenhower (5-4) 71.556 at Macomb Dakota (7-2) 91.333
R4-D1: Clinton Township Chippewa Valley (6-3) 74.667 at Sterling Heights Stevenson (7-2) 89.778

R4-D2: Fraser (6-3) 64.778 at Dearborn Fordson (9-0) 116.000
R4-D2: Warren Mott (5-4) 66.333 at Detroit Cass Tech (9-0) 114.667

Division 2
R1-D1: Traverse City Central (6-3) 74.778 at Midland Dow (9-0) 104.889
R1-D1: Caledonia (7-2) 94.222 at Mona Shores (8-1) 104.667

R1-D2: Mattawan (6-3) 69.500 at Battle Creek Lakeview (7-1) 95.444
R1-D2: Portage Northern (6-3) 70.972 at Portage Central (7-1) 91.778

R2-D1: Lansing Everett (6-3) 68.889 at Flushing (7-2) 85.667
R2-D1: Okemos (6-3) 71.222 at Flint Carman-Ainsworth (7-2) 83.222

R2-D2: Farmington Hills Harrison (7-2) 87.778 at Fenton (9-0) 112.889
R2-D2: South Lyon (8-1) 99.889 at Walled Lake Western (8-1) 101.889

R3-D1: Southfield (6-3) 74.111 at Detroit Martin Luther King (8-1) 101.444
R3-D1: Farmington (7-2) 85.000 at Oak Park (7-2) 87.667

R3-D2: Ypsilanti Community HS (6-3) 65.444 at Brownstown Woodhaven (9-0) 110.222
R3-D2: Ypsilanti Lincoln (6-3) 68.778 at Wyandotte Roosevelt (7-2) 80.778

R4-D1: Warren Cousino (5-4) 62.667 at Birmingham Brother Rice (9-0) 115.556
R4-D1: Berkley (6-3) 67.667 at Birmingham Groves (6-3) 69.444

R4-D2: Detroit East English (6-3) 66.778 at Port Huron (7-2) 84.000
R4-D2: Warren DeLaSalle (6-3) 66.889 at Grosse Pointe North (6-3) 72.667

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Some Soccer Thoughts On This Chilly October Day

Arsenal GK Emiliano Damian Martinez make a save while training in
Belgium for Wednesday's fixture against Anderlecht

Who is this guy?

Yes, an injury-plagued Arsenal squad turns to 3rd string goalkeeper Emiliano (now goes by Damian) Martinez for their Wednesday tilt against the Belgian side Anderlecht. Wojciech Szczesny was sent off against Galatasaray and it was announced today that backup David Ospina is out for another two to three months with a thigh problem that developed this summer. 17-year-old Ryan Huddart will slot in as the backup goalkeeper. All I will say is expect him to probably give up a goal to the Jupiler League leaders. The Gunners defense is mangled, but I expect a comfy 3-1 win.
Projected Starting XIs and Injuries from WhoScored.com:

The emptiness caused a bit of a surreal scene at today's UCL
 Game. 600 fans where still able to get in...

No Fan Zone

UEFA ordered CSKA Moscow to not admit fans to Tuesday's Man City game due to extremely racist behavoir at prior matches. Of course, about 600 fans made it in anyway and CSKA got an awful penalty call in the 86' and tied it on the PK. And Bayern Munich played AS Roma and what was supposeto be a close match, but Roma was crushed like a grape in the 7-1 loss. Arjen Robben scored twice in a majesterial win for FC Bayern. It was an overall outburst of goals on this match day ~ a Champions League record of 40.
Full Matchday Highlights are available from Fox Sports: http://www.foxsports.com/soccer/video?vid=345943619966

Friday, August 15, 2014

Tigers Talk: Sure as Scherzer

14 K for Max Scherzer yesterday! All is good for Detroit! We're going undefeated in the playoffs! (Thus concludes the overeaction.)
The Tigers are on a two game winning streak after losing 7 of 9 on the road trip, and I'm going to the Mariners game tonight!!

Tigers of the Week

Nick Castellanos is one of the Tigers of the Week by a wide margin. His wRC+ of 284 was 81 points higher than the next Tigers hitter. He hit .450 with 7 RBI and 2 home runs in the last week. Casty has slightly underperformed expectations this year and his -10.2 Ultimate Zone Rating (UZR) ranks third-worst among the 25 major league third basemen. That is still an improvement over Cabrera though...
Max Scherzer is the other TOTW. Scherzer had two starts, pitching 16 innings, giving up only one run, and striking out 25 batters. He ranks quite a bit behind Felix Hernandez and only .2 ahead of Corey Kluber for second in the Cy Young Predictor.

"Tiger"(s) of the Week

Joe "Papa Frita" Nathan and Phil Coke combined stats this year: 88 IP, 4.81 ERA, 25/31 SV, 5-5, 79 K

Looking Ahead

The Tigers battle the Mariners (65-55) at home for the second wild card before heading down to St. Petersberg, FL to take on the Devil Rays (60-61).
  • 8-15 vs. Mariners 7:08p (FSD, MLBN-alt) I'll be at the game!!!
  • 8-16 vs. Mariners 7:08p (FSD)
  • 8-17 vs. Mariners 1:08p (FSD, TBS)
    • TBS commentators: Ernie Johnson (PxP), Ron Darling (Analyst)
  • 8-19 at Devil Rays 7:10p (FSD)
  • 8-20 at Devil Rays 7:10p (FSD)
  • 8-21 at Devil Rays 1:10p (FSD, MLBN-alt)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Why should Americans watch soccer?

Millions of American kids play organized soccer every year. But will Dad watch it? Will your Great Aunt Suzy watch it? People who grew watching their favorite baseball, football, or basketball team refuse to enjoy soccer because it will eat away their sports popularity. Well, we already have four big televised sports and NASCAR, and the population is only growing. I believe the following people and events are key to increasing soccer interest and recruiting other fans:
  • People age 34 and under
  • Hockey fans ~ It's kind of the same concept
  • The soccer players and teams themselves ~ Do more community work, partner with other sports teams in the same city, etc.
  • STOP FLOPPING SO MUCH! ~ Lots of people hate the NBA because of this, but in soccer it's even worse
  • Bring the top international club teams to the US
    • ICC
    • Friendlies
    • 2022 World Cup
  • Recruit more of the top international players into Major League Soccer
    • People don't want to get up for a 7am EPL game on a Saturday
    • People want to root for an American club team, but the quality of MLS play isn't on par with the English Premier League, German Bundesliga, Primera Division, etc.
So you want to become a soccer fan? Their are books like Soccer for Dummies that explain it well. You need to learn the different "tactical" formations (the starting lineup), the different leagues, why teams play a "friendly", other tournaments besides the World Cup. I still don't understand offsides and I started watching the English Premier League (EPL) last August.
Last August I started watching the EPL. I basically became an Arsenal fan from a quiz on NBCSports.com. I also pulled for Hull City (Tigers!) but they were the cellar dweller. Most of these international leagues don't have playoffs, but a champion in the top level and leagues below. In a future article I can explain the promotion/relegation system.
Interested in watching some games now? The World Cup runs through July 14, and you can watch the MLS this summer. Here is a rundown of game you should be able to watch on a basic cable or satellite package.
Rebecca Lowe
  • 2014 Men's FIFA World Cup on ESPN/2/ABC ~ This is obviously the most exciting time when the top countries in the world meet up every for years. The announcers are great (Ian Darke) and most are British (Ian Darke), and you can catch it in Spanish on Univision. Go Go USA! Thry July 14
  • Major League Soccer (USA + Toronto) on ESPN2/NBCSN/ABC ~ Most diehard soccer fans believe that the MLS is much lower on the pyramid than the top European leagues. Sadly, this is true. Most top American players play overseas and international players usually arrive at the twilight (David Beckham, David Villa) of their careers. Their are some exceptions, such as US stars Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley. Watch it if you please, but this on not the top level. The MLS All-Stars will probably be thumped by Bayern Munich in the MLS All Star Game. March to October
  • English (Barclays) Premier League on NBCSN/NBC ~ This one of the "premier" leagues in the world and the title sponsor is currently Barclays. This is where Robin Van Persie, Wayne Rooney, and  play. NBCSN generally airs games 7a and 10/11a Saturdays and Sundays, with NBC airing a Noon game one of those days. Their are often a couple 3p games on NBC during the week. This is pretty much the best you can get, in soccer, and in hosts (I  Rebecca Lowe). Go Arsenal! August to May
  • 2015 Women's, 2018 Men's, 2019 Women's, and 2022 Men's World Cup on Fox Sports 1/2/Fox ~ US women's team is still really good and will have a shot at winning 2015 (in Canada!). Who knows about the men's team. Qatar may not be ready for 2022 and the US could be hosting it. Fox is grooming Gus Johnson to be lead commentator. Gus is a great basketball and football announcer and he's from Detroit. His enthusiasm does not overshadow that his soccer commentary needs quite a bit of work. Most of Fox's other announcers are OK at best. This could be disaster.
  • International Champions Cup on FS1/Fox ~ Top European teams such as Arsenal and Real Madrid play games across the United States. Liverpool and Real Madrid have a match at The Big House on August 7th. This is not a recurring event. Mid July to Late August 2014
  • Other Stuff on Basic Cable: CONCACAF Gold Cup (top North/Central Am. nat'l teams), CONCACAF Champions League (top N./Cen. Am. club teams), World Cup Qualifying, Friendlies (Games played between national and national or club and club teams)
So what I want to be taken away from this article is:
  1. Watch a game, see if you have any interest
    1. Watch a non World Cup game
  2. Start watching the EPL with a team your rooting for
  3. Recruit other people
  4. Watch Spanish broadcasts on Univision, Telemundo, Mun2, UniMas, Galavision or ESPN Deportes. (you probably get Univision, and one to three others)
  5. If you wake of early on Saturday for a 7am game your hooked.
  6. Get the FIFA game for your Phone, Tablet, Xbox, or PlayStation.
  7. If you don't watch at all or only the World Cup, that's OK
  8. Check out my future articles for the new soccer fan which will be tagged "Soccer for the American Sports fan"

Search This Blog


Popular Posts