The NFL is split into eight divisions, and every year each of these divisions is required to crown a champion. It is a given that the best team in the division will have earned the right to host a playoff game, but with the state of the NFC East, it is not only difficult, but also absurd to label any of the four teams a champion. The NFC East currently has three teams tied for first place, and the forth team is only one game back, that seems reasonable until you realize that all four of these teams have more losses than wins this season. The NFC East has been plagued with poor play and damaging injuries, and while some teams have managed to play relatively solid football, huge mistakes have cost this division many crucial games. I personally have a stake in the outcome of this division because my favorite team, the Giants, happens to be mired in the mess of “contenders” for the title. The Giants are quite possibly the most frustrating team in the NFL, as they have lost five games this season while holding a lead within the last 72 seconds. I understand that anything is possible when it comes to sports, but the NFC East has given football fans all over America a reason to shut off their televisions in disgust. The football season is winding down, and as this awful division fights feebly to decide a champion, all of the other NFL teams and fans will be left with the realization that a team with a losing record will be awarded with home field advantage for at least one game in the playoffs.
The Kansas City Royals are the 2015 Wold Series Champions. This scrappy bunch of players finally completed the goal they planned to accomplish in the 2014 season, and that was to bring home a world championship. It is rare these days for a team to make it to the World Series two years in a row, but the Royals defied the odds, and managed to not only make it once again, but to win it all. Last year, the Royals were eliminated in dramatic fashion during the final game of the World Series, so this year they managed to leave little room for the same outcome. The Royals won in five games and made sure each win showcased the strength of their late game bats. In my World Series preview post, I said the Royals must keep the Mets score low in order to allow for their usual late game heroics, and that is exactly how they managed to win the series. The Royals were trailing in every game played during this series, but their “never say die” attitude caused them to be able to defy the odds, and be crowned champions. I definitely want to congratulate the Royals on a stellar season, and as a Yankee fan, thank them for saving me from hearing the Mets fans of New York berating my team. The Royals are a very good team, and now they have a trophy to show for it. With the talent the Royals possess, I imagine that they will be playing in the championship series for many years to come.
The Major League Baseball World Series will finally begin tomorrow night. In this seven game series the two best teams in baseball will face off to see who is worthy of raising the championship trophy. The team that is representing the NL is the New York Mets, while the AL will have the Kansas City Royals as their representative. Both of these teams are very talented and they both seem to be on an unquenchable hot streak, but unfortunately one of these teams must lose. The Mets are coming into this match up with some of the best young pitching talent that has ever been seen in the playoffs, and along with the stellar batting performances of Daniel Murphy, they have been defeating teams before the game reaches its half way point. I expect the Mets to continue to pitch well, but I just can’t see Murphy keeping up this pace of hitting throughout the playoffs. The Royals have a couple of great pitchers, but their strength comes from their hitting. There have been countless times during the playoffs when the Royals have had their backs against the wall, only to be saved by the clutch bats in their lineup, and they will likely need a few clutch performances to defeat the Mets in the World Series. I can’t make a pick for this series since both teams are extremely talented, but what I can say is that in order for the Mets to win, they need to pitch well early and keep hitting late in the game. If the Royals want to win, they have to keep the score low, and force the Mets’ relief pitchers to try and contend with their generally hot late inning bats. Tuesday night marks the beginning of the end of the MLB season, it has definitely been an interesting one. I’m sure this World Series will be like sweet frosting on top of the already appealing MLB season.
It has been 107 years since the Chicago Cubs last won a World Series Championship, and despite the team’s persistent futility, they always seem to have enough fans willing to root them on year after year. The Chicago Cubs have the longest drought between championships that any active professional team has ever seen, and whether it is by a curse, by error, or by act of fan, this team has managed to lose in seven World Series since their last. I am a Yankee fan, and I am relatively young, so I honestly don’t know what it feels like to go more than ten years between championships, but I can imagine that Cubs fans are elated to see that their team is literally eight games away from finally winning once again. The Cubs are quite possibly the hottest team in baseball at the moment, I know there are only four teams left, and that all four are playing incredibly inspired baseball, but the Cubs have one thing that all of the other team’s lack, and that is a “mad genius” manager in Joe Madden. Madden has seemed to find a way to galvanize this young and talented Cubs team to a level that has them believing they are not just capable of winning it all, but also into believing that whoever wants to win must go through them. Aside from the talent on the field, the Cubs also now have the general manager who was responsible for breaking the 86 year “curse” on the Red Sox and bringing them a World Series title so I would say history is on their side. If all of the facts about the Cubs don’t quite make the case for their possible World Series Championship, we also have the fact that the movie Back to the Future II predicted that they would finally win it all in this, the year 2015. I am fully on the bandwagon of the Cubs, they are a fun team to watch and a talented bunch. I would be glad to see the misery end in Chicago, and a World Series Championship trophy raised high in the north side of the Windy City.
Fantasy football is a fickle little game. I posted before about how fantasy football has gained a significant following in recent years, and along with that following has come the online gambling that is weekly fantasy games. Weekly fantasy football leagues are the heavily advertised and not at all regulated flavor of the week. If you have ever watched any sporting event or even turned on a television show that is geared towards millennials, you probably have seen the countless ads for Fanduel and Draftkings, which are the two competing fantasy for money websites. These companies advertise a chance to win millions for dollars, by simply picking your favorite players and enjoying the games you love, but this week both companies have come under fire for the actions of their employees. An employee of Draftkings won $350,000 from Fanduel after leaking sensitive information about player ratings, then using that data to his benefit. The knowledge this employee had on players and the similarity of the two companies gave this individual a distinct and unfair advantage over his competition. Both fantasy companies have since barred their employees from playing on either site, but there are more issues with these games than just “insider trading.” The problem with these fantasy sports betting sites is that they are completely unregulated. I am not the biggest fan of government regulation, but these companies are controlling way too much money to be able to freely share data with employees who have a chance to make a financial gain from it. Many people have called these websites the new stock market, I just hope this whole fantasy sports betting thing doesn’t get out of hand. Too many people have too much at stake when it comes to sports betting and this whole ordeal may run them the wrong way. I expect some sort of regulation to come out of this mess within the next few months, but until then, I would be wary of putting money into fantasy sports.
The Major League Baseball season has finally come to an end. The longest season of all major sports in the USA has now made way for one of the most interesting postseason starts in sports. While the MLB season has 162 games, there is a very important one game playoff that takes place as soon as it ends, in order for two wildcard teams to make it into the real tournament. This year’s games feature the Yankees, the Astros, the Cubs, and the Pirates, four teams that have played as hard as any this season. The NL matchup for the wildcard pits two teams, that are extremely familiar with each other, in a nine inning winner take all showdown. The Cubs and Pirates are in the same division, so they have played a whopping 19 games against each other this season, with the Cubs winning 11 times. Although the Cubs have a history with the Pirates, season series records don’t mean much in the playoffs since it is up to the players and the fans to bring enough energy to get their team to another game. The Yankees and Astros have played a few games this season, but neither team has managed to show that they are truly superior to the other, I am a Yankee fan so my allegiance is set, but this game looks to be a tough one for both teams. The MLB wildcard games are the most exciting games of the season, four teams enter with only nine innings to show that they belong in the playoffs, I can’t wait to see who comes out on top as these teams will definitely give it their all in the hopes of reaching the championship round.
Wimbledon is one of the most prestigious competitions in all of sports, the tournament was being played throughout this week, and it has come to its exciting conclusion. Wimbledon is one of the four Grand Slam tournaments of professional tennis, and the oldest of the group. During this tournament hundreds of men and women compete for the chance to bring home the title, but this year’s tournament ended with some familiar faces on the championship side. Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic managed to raise the trophies in their respective singles divisions after defeating formidable opponents in the finals and throughout the tournament. Wimbledon was full of excitement, as fan favorites played strong games and several new faces burst their way into the world of tennis by taking sets from the game’s best. There were several amazing moments in this tournament, from the unforgettable matchup of the Williams sisters, to the tenacious play of hometown favorite, Andy Murray, in his losing effort, but there were two moments that caught my eye and have ranked as the best of the tourney. The first of my favorite moments was when Serena Williams won the final set of the championship match, she was so shocked at how quickly it ended that it seemed like the victory didn’t actually register until about five minutes later. The other moment of the tournament that really stuck with me was the men’s championship match, while Djokovic won this match, it seemed like Federer was making every single point a battle. This tournament was extremely entertaining from start to finish. Tennis may not be the most popular sport in America, but with the stellar play that went on at Wimbledon, I’m sure the upcoming U.S. Open will surely bring in a large crowd of new fans.
I am about a day late on this, but I have to congratulate the U.S. Women’s National Team for their World Cup victory. The U.S. team managed to dismantle Japan in the finals, as they coasted to a 5 – 2 victory behind the power of an early hat trick by Carli Lloyd. The final game was surprisingly watchable, considering how ugly it was early on, the U.S. Team managed to score four goals in about 15 minutes. The scoring in this game happened so quickly that I didn’t even have time to turn on a television before the U.S. was up 3 – 0. I have to commend Japan for staying in the game and keeping it competitive even though they were down by four, there were even times in the game that I thought I would see a comeback, but the U.S. wisely held their lines and kept to the game plan. The major story of this year’s Women’s World Cup was gender equality. The women who played in this tournament not only played as hard as the men, but they also put on just as good of a show. I watched quite a few games if this tournament and I can honestly say that soccer is a sport in which the intensity of the women’s game often surpasses that of the men. FIFA needs to take a close look at what went on this summer in Canada, and they need to start paying the women better and treating the athletes with more respect. I know that women’s sports in general does not get the level of coverage of the male variation, but I believe that this World Cup, and the way all of the qualifying teams played, has done a great job in showing just how competitive and exciting women’s sports can be.
The NBA season has come to an end, and it was quite an exciting finish. The Warriors defeated the Cavaliers in a matchup for the ages, and as I predicted they managed to do it in only six games. I was thrilled by the play of both teams but what really caught my eye was the play of Lebron James. He showed that he is worthy of the title of best player in the NBA, but unfortunately he had to face off against the best team in the NBA. The Warriors won against all odds, as their staring lineup was absent of a tall center piece, and they managed to play their brand of basketball without worrying about what the analyst considered to be the most important aspect. I have said plenty of times, even within this blog, that I am not a big fan of basketball, but I think I may finally waver on that stance after watching this exciting series. Every moment of the every game during this NBA finals was exciting, I found myself glued to the screen as I watched the world’s best players on the leagues biggest stage. While the Cavaliers lost, they have much to look forward to next season, the team is young, talented, and hopefully still the home to Lebron James. If the Cavs can stay healthy and learn to play better as a squad, they will be championship contenders next year. The Warriors, a team full of young stars, managed to win this title, and based on their skills and fluidity they may become the NBA’s next dynasty. I am excited for the future of the NBA and I hope to see more teams emerge as championship competitors in the coming years.
The NBA finals starts tonight, in this evening’s game the Warriors will face off against the Cavaliers as they start a seven game series. Both teams are extremely talented but this game is highlighted by the presence of the league MVP, Stephen Curry, and the league’s former MVP and best player, Lebron James. The Cavaliers have been running on all cylinders this season, as the return of Lebron James has made this once terrible team a solid championship contender. Lebron is a unique basketball player, he is much faster and more athletic than players his size, and he has a basketball IQ that rivals the greatest players who ever graced the court. It would be hard for any team to face such a daunting task as neutralizing Lebron James, but I honestly think the Warriors have exactly what it takes to succeed. The Golden State Warriors are a team on a mission to disprove the doubters, they were the best team in the NBA this year, and they have the MVP, as well as one of the runner ups for the defensive player of the year award on their team, but they are still not recognized as the favorite to win. In each series the Warriors have played during the playoffs, television analysts gave reasons why they wouldn’t win. The Warriors are a team of shooters, they tend to play outside of the paint, and they don’t have a dominant big man, they basically lack what a “championship caliber” teams has, but they are primed to break the mold. Stephen Curry is a fantastic player, his skill set is not exactly unique, but the aptitude he has for the game makes him one of the best players I’ve ever seen. Curry has the ability to dribble the ball out of tight coverage, and shoot from anywhere on the court, unless the Cavaliers make Lebron guard Curry all game, they will have an difficult time winning this series. These games are going to be competitive, and both teams will be sure to play their hardest in order to take home the trophy, but I have to choose the Warriors to win in seven games. The Warriors have shown they are tough, and they play team basketball, every player on the team knows his place and they have been successful for it, I expect that this team solidarity will be the X-factor in the series and the Warriors will find a way to win a tough last game by a small margin. The teams are set and the starting whistle is about to be blown, I look forward to an exciting end to the NBA season and I hope to see the Warriors come out on top.