Thursday, March 30, 2017

2017 MLB Preview: AL Central

After four days out towards the coasts, we're finally back in the nation's heartland as I continue my series of MLB previews. Sunday night sees the start of the Major League season, while Monday is the beginning of the MLB Tournament of Champions, my very ambitious project for the year.

As we make our final geographic move, let's swap leagues again and take a look at the AL Central. Let's note though, that both wild cards are taken.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

2017 MLB Preview: NL West

We're halfway through our baseball predictions for the upcoming year, and just a few days from the start of the season. We're also only a few days from the start of my latest ambitious project in the MLB Tournament of Champions, which you can find out more about here.

On Day 4, we're swapping leagues again while staying on the coast. as we move to the National League West.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

2017 MLB Preview: AL West

Happy Tuesday! We're onto Day 3 of MLB previews. We're less than a week from the start of the season, though a few teams will officially kick off the year a week from today. A week from today is also the second day of the MLB Tournament of Champions, which I hope you'll check out.

We're going from one coast to the other, as we swap leagues again and preview the AL West today.

Monday, March 27, 2017

2017 MLB Preview: NL East

My series of MLB previews soldiers on for its second day. Most Major League teams open their seasons a week from today as they prepare for another campaign. A week from today is also the official start of the MLB Tournament of Champions, which you can find out more about here.

As has been my custom, I alternate leagues daily, so today we stay out east but switch over to the National League.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

2017 MLB Preview: AL East

We're just a week away from the start of the 2017 Major League Baseball season, which means I need to start doing baseball predictions again!

The 2017 season will run alongside the MLB Tournament of Champions for about three and a half months up until we hit time for that postseason. You can read up on more about that here.

As is my custom, I preview each division individually, going with one each day. I alternate leagues, and always end with the division containing the defending champion. So finally, I get to end with the one I've always wanted to. But for now, we start in the American League, and we'll start out east.

MLB Tournament of Champions Preview

I just can't help myself.

The past four years, I've run some form of Tournament of Champions here on Confessions of a Sportscaster. Three of these four have been of the NBA variety. I need to take a break from doing the NBA though, just because trying to pull one off with 75 teams is just too much, and I need a new one. Fortunately, I have a reason to do a baseball one.

With the Cubs finally getting their long awaited championship this past fall, now seems as good a time as any to see how they stack up historically compared to the champions of the past. But I'm changing this tournament up compared with how I've run tournaments in the past.

There have been over 100 World Series played in history. That's a lot of baseball games to try and simulate through. Of course, I may have just made things harder on myself with my possible solution. In an effort to make sure every franchise is represented, I have gone back in time to try to find among the best representatives from each of the 30 Major League teams to represent their franchise. There are two stipulations: one is that they must be at least somewhat modern (I allowed 1964 to be my arbitrary cutoff point as my dad's birth year, but also because by then integration has happened, we allow for some aspect of globalization, and this way I could still get Sandy Koufax into the Tournament of Champions). The sad part is that this means no Murderers' Row. The second stipulation is that every representative must have attained a championship of some sort, and the representative must represent the highest championship its franchise has attained. This means any teams with a World Series win since 1964 must have a World Series champ take its place in this tournament. Anyone without must have a pennant winner come forward, and franchises without a pennant in that span (read: the Washington Nationals and Seattle Mariners) must have a team that at least made the playoffs (I almost gave the spot to the '94 Expos. Maybe next time).

That was it for qualifications. I did allow for a few instances of teams from the same year out of necessity with this, and having multiple teams from the same year isn't a big deal. To help narrow down my selections, I used FiveThiryEight's Complete History of MLB, which shows the historical ELO of every team. I sought to grab the highest point possible for every team, with the above requirements taken into account. It helped when I was narrowing down franchises with multiple titles. So, after deliberation, here are the 30 teams that will take part in this tournament.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

2017 NCC Men's Basketball Recap

I spent a decent chunk of my Saturday playing the What If game. I knew it was a very long shot, but there was a possibility that I would end up back at the microphone in Gregory Arena this coming weekend. Unfortunately, Hanover College had other plans.

The host Panthers knocked off North Central 64-63 last night in the second round of the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Sweet 16. The Cardinals shot just 38 percent from the floor and surrendered a 15-4 run late in the second half that give Hanover control, though the Cardinals were in it until the very end. But Erwin Henry missed a baseline jumper in the closing seconds that would have tied the game, and North Central comes home having advanced a round farther than they did last year, but still not as far as they would have liked to advance.

It closes out North Central's season with an 18-11 record, which is a lot of losses for an NCAA Tournament team. But the Cardinals overcame a shaky stretch early in the season and made a ton of noise in late January and February, and this team has nothing to hang its head about at the end of the day.