Sunday, January 22, 2012

NFL Conference Championship Week Picks

This is my favorite weekend of the NFL season. Usually there are good games with great teams with championships at stake. And none of the excess of what will come in 2 weeks.

Also, I'm reminded of the old NFL and AFL championships. Pre-merger. If I have one criticism of the NFL to mention today, it's that there's too much interleague play. I prefer a thicker conference boundary.

The Giants appear to be the NFL's version of the 2011 Cardinals. They got in the playoffs on the final day of the season and appear to be the hottest team left. They also have already dispatched the best team in their league in the playoffs.

For that reason I'm picking them today, against all my instincts to pick the 49ers.

And I just don't see the Patriots losing, although I'd like them to do so.

So, unfortunately, I foresee a NY-NE Super Bowl. Again.

But I'm rooting for a San Fran-Baltimore match up.

New England.
New York.

ESPN Experts here.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

NFL Divisional Round Picks

I split four games last week. I'll take that. Even though I lost the game, it was hard not to root for the Broncos last week.

And even harder not to this week. They're definitely my second favorite team now.

But that doesn't mean I'm picking them.

ESPN Expert picks here

New Orleans.
New England.
Green Bay.

Sunday, January 08, 2012

World Series Game Six And The Calls Of History

This is one of those posts that has been over 2 months in the making.

For baseball's most famous home runs, most are associated with one particular announcer's call. Even though more than one person would have called these games on TV and radio. It's just that the others are largely forgotten.

For example:
Bobby Thompson in 1951- "The Giants Win The Pennant!"- Russ Hodges
Carlton Fisk in 1975- "There It Goes...A Long Drive...If It Stays Fair...Home Run!"- Dick Stockton
Ozzie Smith in 1985- "Smith Corks One Into Right Down The Line, It May Go...Go Crazy Folks, Go Crazy!"- Jack Buck
Kirk Gibson in 1988- "This Is Going To Be A Home Run...Unbelievable!...A Home Run For Gibson...And The Dodgers Have Won The Game 5-4...I Don't Believe What I Just Saw!"- Jack Buck
Kirby Puckett in 1991- "And we'll see you tomorrow night!"- Jack Buck
Joe Carter in 1993- "Well Hit Down The Left Field Line...Way Back And Gone!"- Sean McDonough

Does anyone remember any other announcers calls of the above? Probably not. Although a few might remember Vin Scully's call of Gibson.

In the aftermath of the 2011 World Series, I figured Joe Buck's call on Fox would probably be forever associated with David Freese's Game 6 walk-off.

However, the past two months I have been scouring YouTube for videos of the Game 6 miracle, and I've found several calls of Freese's home run that are from various broadcasts of the game.

Feeds from ESPN Radio's broadcast, ESPN's TV broacast outside the US, the BBC, ESPN Deportes, and ESPN Brasil.

Which one will go down in history? Probably Buck's. I like it, but that doesn't mean it's my favorite.

Here's Buck's again:

Here's the ESPN Radio call from Dan Shulman:

Here's Gary Thorne's call on ESPN's world wide TV feed:

Here's the BBC's Simon Brotherton! Great stuff here:

Here's ESPN Deportes Ernesto Jerez:

Now comes the epic calls from ESPN Brasil. Does anyone speak Portugese?

I have know idea who these people are, or most of what they are saying, but they sure know how to capture the excitement of the World Series! I couldn't find a call just of David Freese's 11th inning blast, so you have to sit through a couple of innings, starting with the Freese's 9th inning heroics. But it is SOOOO worth it! The color man especially, is like Brazil's answer to Mike Shannon!

These last two videos just go to show you that baseball has it's own language- you don't have to speak the announcer's language to understand the thrill of it all.

So, I'm sure Joe Buck's call will stand the test of time. But there is no way, NO WAY, that these others should be forgotten. I wanted to make sure they were preserved for posterity.

(And for those of you who appreciate the Brazilian announcers like I do, here are all of their calls of all the Game 6 scoring. The internet doesn't get any better than stuff like this!)

Saturday, January 07, 2012

NFL Picks Wild-Card Weekend

So, congratulations are in order. To me!

Last week's 13-3 record led to my finishing this season in 1st place amongst the humans, with a 168-87 overall record. It's my first "championship" in my head to head against the ESPN Experts, something I've done for a number of years now.

Thank you. I finished a game in front of Schlereth and Wickersham. Okay, so the computer did the best and Schlereth has forgotten more about football than I'll ever know, but who cares about that?

Now comes the playoffs. Always the hardest part of the season to predict. The games are for the most part a toss-up. A coin-flip, if you will.

And you know what that means! Just in time for the playoffs, it is the return of my trusty quarter to see if it can best me.

Who'd have thought we would ever have seen playoff games featuring Houston against Cincinnati and Detroit against New Orleans? And yet, today it is happening.

My quarter likes:
New Orleans.

I like:
New Orleans.

ESPN Experts like:
Go here. But why bother? I can pick better than those guys!

Sunday, January 01, 2012

NFL Picks Week 17

Happy New Year!

Last week I was 11-5, making my record 155-84 for the season. ESPN records here. I'm just two games out of first place. So anything could still happen. Their are 8 games in which I have picked differently than the two leaders.

Last weeks are hard to predict. Some teams are resting starters, others desperate to make the playoffs, and others ready to go home.

It's hard to believe we've come to the end of another football season. The Bears were eliminated last week, which means they have absolutely nothing to play for this week. Except to escape any more injury. Let's hope they escape and look forward to training camp this July.

It's really a shame because of what might have been had Cutler and Forte not been hurt 6 weeks ago. The Bears defense isn't getting any younger and neither is Devin Hester. The window of opportunity just got smaller, and with the rise of the Lions this year could possibly have slammed shut. The Lions will gain playoff experience this year and should get better, while the Bears really needed to put it together this year.

In other words, this may have been their best opportunity for the foreseeable future. And now its over.

There's a little drama heading into the last day. There are a few playoff scenarios to be played out. But for the most part, it's on to the playoffs.

Which start tonight for the Cowboys and Giants. Loser goes home. Just like the playoffs.

Anyway, I did far better this year than I could have ever imagined. I actually have 8 more victories than I managed last year. Not bad.

New Orleans.
New England.
San Francisco.
Green Bay.