Trevor Ariza: The 10th Circle of Hell

Trevor Ariza burning in the pits of Hades

FACT: Hell is real and you go there if you do bad things.
FACT: According to the authoritative Wikipedia, there are 9 layers of Hell as described in Dante’s “Inferno”.
FACT: There is a 10th layer of Hell and it is reserved for friends who trade other friends Trevor Ariza in fantasy basketball leagues and it is a mix of the previous nine layers plus an extra layer of imps and demons and Beelzebubs.
Damn, you Greg Snider.  See you in Hades.
• The nine circles of Hell
o 2.1 First circle (Limbo)
o 2.2 Second circle (lust)
o 2.3 Third circle (gluttony)
o 2.4 Fourth circle (greed)
o 2.5 Fifth circle (anger)
o 2.6 Sixth circle (heresy)
o 2.7 Seventh circle (violence)
o 2.8 Eighth circle (fraud)
o 2.9 Ninth circle (treachery)

Also, note to self: It is not a good sign when trade negotiations go like this:

G Snide: Do you want Trevor Ariza?  He is freaking terrible.

BG: No, not really.

G Snide: I mean, I will give him to you for nothing.

BG: OK, I will give you–

G Snide: Sold, done, send it through.

BG: I haven’t even said anybody’s name yet.

G Snide: Don’t care, just  send it.  Send it, send it, send it.

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Best Indie Rock of 2010

Ladies and Gents, Your Winners

That time of the year again, amigos.  2010 was good in some ways, bad in plenty of others but it was a solid year as far as the musics go, right?  As usual we’ll be looking at music that is actually good…none of this challenging, art-for-art’s sake type of stuff with an emphasis always given to radical songwriting and destructive guitars.  Anything from the latter half of 2009 that I missed when it first came out is up for debate too, so no nitpicking.  Also music that I got into this year that I just totally gassed on from the last few years would be lovely twangy rock of Drag the River (thank you Lisa Marie, I owe you for that one) and the truly genius and haunted strains of Bon Iver (watch that video for Wolves, you will flip).  That Justin Vernon kid is a genius; did you catch him on the new Kanye album?  That is when you know you’re big time.  Straight up.  Below are the best records of the year, listed in reverse order.  Oh, my jury is still out on Titus Andronicus, by the way.

This is a great record for a lot of reasons but possibly the main one is that your girlfriend will like it since it’s super dancey and it works for a fun car drive and also makes you want to shake it on the dance floor.
You take the singer from The Shins and the DJ from Danger Mouse and you get a hit record.  At least I think this was a hit, wasn’t it?  I think so.  It should have been, at least.  James Mercer has a lot of soul for a white guy and this albums works as a great backdrop to your next dinner get together.  Because you’re always looking for music for those sorts of things, aren’t you?
The folk bug is rolling around Santa Barbara at the moment—with lyrics like these and some twangy ass guitars can you really do better?  I say no.
I don’t know one person that has watched this video and not been impressed.  Wait, I saw these guys this year, did I ever write that up?  Let’s check…yep, here you go.  And you’re welcome.
Better than their last one (which wasn’t bad at all) and another glitzy record with everything you’d expect from them, and even a random F-bomb which sort of surprised me.  There’s the harmonies you’d expect and the sneakily incendiary guitar riffs lurking.  Jimmy Eat World is sort of the Chipotle of the Indie rock world and I mean that as a positive.
Two Gallants will forever be one of the greatest bands of all time and Adam’s solo act is right there.  In the hands of a lesser artist anger sounds like nothing more than anger…Adam elevates his feelings somewhere far north of that, achieving a mix of wistful rumination blended with smoldering self-loathing.  Just take a listen to this version of Second Mind and you’ll see exactly what I mean.
Classic Wolf Parade.  Can something be classic when it’s only been around for like 5 years?  In 2006 were we saying, “49 HRs, 137 RBI, .431 OBP…classic Pujols”?  Yes, I think we were.  “Expo 86” has a strong contender for song of the year in Yulia and enough of your precious indie rock mayhem that you’ve got to listen to it about five times before you start hearing everything there is to hear.
For whatever reason they released Those Lungs and the incredible Kick Rocks as B-sides but they might be two of the better songs on the album.  But still, Off the Map and Dine, Dine My Darling are worth the price of admission alone.  This extends their consecutive streak of being awesome to infinity, just for the record.
You know how I know this is a good album?  I don’t know any of the song names.  Why bother to learn which song is which when the whole album kills it?  Just about any other year this would be an easy choice for #1 on a Best Of list and this is coming from a guy who didn’t even think their first few albums were that impressive.  Just a totally amazing record from start to finish that doesn’t go down the maudlin route some of their older tracks are guilty of and the songwriting has gotten crisp like an overcooked tortilla (I’m making Mexican Tortilla Soup tonight if any of you are interested, by the way—the trick to good soup is Chelada beer but keep it like a secret).  I can’t tell you sick this album is: big, gritty guitars and some of the raddest harmonies you’ll find anywhere.  Really, random internet guy who gave this a 3 star review?  You should have your internet privileges taken away.
The Arcade Fire “The Suburbs”
You know you’ve done something right when you’re an indie and you move one million units.  And are nominated for a Grammy.  Not that Grammies are cool but still, that is worth something.  Will you hear a better song than Half Light II (No Celebration) this year?  No.  No you will not.  In fact you would be lucky if you ever heard a song even half as good.  And while you can sit around and play is-this-song-better-than-that-song until the cows come home the bottom line is this is the best concept album since Bloc Party’s “A Weekend in the City” which is a top 5 album of all time so draw your own conclusions.
Am I forgetting anything?  Yeah, probably.  I’m not totally sure about the Mumford & Sons record that everybody flips for but there’s a chance that it makes my list for next year, along with the news of the new Bright Eyes out in February which is of course a shoe in.  Bust of the year goes to Kele’s solo record which is probably the biggest letdown of the year, followed closely by Blitzen Trapper’s “Destroyer of the Void” which is flat out hippie and Band of Horses’ “Infinite Arms” which is softer than the Houston Texan’s secondary.  I’m not linking to those busters because I don’t want to funnel any traffic their way, google them for your own damn self if you are really curious.
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Dodger 2011 Hot Stove, Shopping List v.1.0

There is bad, really bad, terrible and then this unnamed layer of hell

The hot stove league is heating up for just about everybody with the obvious exception of the Dodgers.  Let’s take a quick look at the top FAs on the market and also at a few of the names dangled as trade bait and see exactly why the Dodgers won’t/can’t get involved.  Below is a quick rundown of Free Agents or pieces that might be available in the order that I think represents the best to the worst with a serious emphasis on hitters since we’ve established that the rotation actually looks solid…congrats to the braintrust on the Kuroda and Garland signing too, a combined $17MM for two quality innings-eaters isn’t terrible.  Still though, where was this last year?  At the start of last season we all knew the Dodgers lacked pitchers but their hitting was good enough.  After the inking of Kuroda the attention should have been turned to the offensive side of the equation but today the word out of LA is the Garland signing, which again I’m fine with but really, why now?

Dan Uggla: Would have been a perfect answer for the lack of infield pop on the Dodgers.  Sure it would have been a (possible) one year rental and the Dodgers don’t have much of value they could have pawned off on the Marlins still, would have been nice.
Cliff Lee: Way, way out of the their price range.  When you shop at Target it doesn’t matter what Williams-Sonoma is hocking.
Adrian Gonzalez: Everybody knows he’s going to Boston, either this off-season, before the trade deadline or through Free Agency next winter.  Any way you look at it the Dodgers aren’t ending up with him.  Just for the record he would be awesome though.
Carl Crawford: Another great fit…a shutdown defender who would patrol a ton of space in the huge outfields in the NL West and a legit top of the order bat who a power-starved team like the Dodgers could shoehorn into the 3rd/4th slots if pressed.  Of course, way out of the budget.
Prince Fielder: A prototypical 40-120 first baseman on a team in desperate need of one, we’d think there could be a fit here if it weren’t for the Scott Boras factor.  Boras never signs extensions which means when Fielder’s contract expires in 2011 he’ll be a free agent and if you get him for this year it’s likely going to be just this year.  Would the Dodgers give up Billingsley and Loney for Prince?  Would the Brewers even want that in return?  I say no all around and even though he’s expected to age poorly he’s not exactly old now, making a multi-year offer sheet something the Dodgers should look at after the 2011 season.
Adam Dunn: LA would be a fine landing place for Dunn.  Dunn seems to want a 4 year deal which means the AL makes the most sense for him so he can leave his glove in the trunk of his car for the last few years of his deal.  Of course everybody said the same thing about Manny a few years ago but that didn’t stop the Dodgers from offering him more than anybody else on the market.  Still don’t see The BrainTrust opening their wallets for multiple years when they have a semi-serviceable James Loney at first.  Again, I think Loney is fine on a team that has extra power from other nontraditional sources but Loney is a slap hitter on a team mostly full of slap hitters so if we could move him favor of a legitimate slugger I’d be all for it.
V-Mart: And he’s gone but not somebody the Dodgers would be able to do anything with anyway, unless they wanted to stick him at first but then they’d still need a catcher so really, what’s the point.  Oh, and they’re not going to afford him anyway.
Jayson Werth: Somebody is going to overpay him but it’s not going to be the Dodgers.
Adrian Beltre: See above.
Paul Konerko: Couldn’t you see Ned giving Konerko a 2 year $30MM deal and then convincing James Loney he’s the new leftfielder?  I can.  We’ll say this doesn’t happen though.
Jeter: I’d rather have Jeter’s 2011 than Raffy Furcal’s but we both know that’s not going to happen, even if it would be fun to see him at Third for the Dodgers.
Juan Uribe: Ned just loves him some low OBP guys that show a few flashes of above-averageness but he’s already locked into a 3B who fits that profile exactly and it’s another year before the Furcal boondoggle is cleared so that’s not happening.
Orlando Hudson: I appreciate his defense as much as the next guy and I’m sure he’s worth a few wins over the Theriot/Belliard two-headed-monster so let’s offer him something marginal and see if we can have a second goaround here.
Magglio Ordonez: Now we’re talking.  Scrap heap, baby.  We bury him in LF where he can’t be any worse than Manny was and pray that his body doesn’t fall apart.  Let’s go 1 year at $10MM with some kind of option for year 2.
So, as you can see there weren’t a lot of infielders there doing us a lot of good once Uggla was off the table.  Signing Hudson and Ordonez would at least give us this lineup, assuming health which is something this creaky group of vets would struggle with, and I’m not going to count Jay Gibbons as a real player here but as a 4th OF and platoon caddy for Andre Ethier…oh, that’s right, Gibbons is a lefty.  Great.
1. Raffy Furcal – SS (S)
2. Orland Hudson – 2B (S)
3. Matt Kemp – CF (R)
4. Andre Ethier – RF (L)
5. Magglio Ordonez – LF (R)
6. James Loney – 1B (L)
7. Casey Blake – 3B (Neither, just kidding R)
8. Catcher to be named later (Neither, not a joke, that will be true)
9. Kershaw, Billingsley, Lilly, Kuroda, Jon Garland
Does that lineup work?  Sort of.  Does it strike terror into the hearts of men?  No.  The defense should be adequate with a very stingy right side of the infield.  At the plate there’s enough there to put them in the conversation to improve on last year at the very least.  It’s really easy to see them signing NOBODY and rolling with Jay Gibbons in left and having the worst 5-9 hitters in all of baseball.
Look, nobody (outside of Yankee fans) expects their team to contend each and every season.  We understand there will be lean years and even the odd (we hope) rebuilding year.  I don’t want to see management overspend for an overpriced veteran (which is most of them, again showing that building through the draft/minor leaguers is the best option) that will get us from 80 to 83 wins.  I want to see a solid torrent of talent in the minor leagues like Kansas City, Tampa Bay and San Francisco have.  Barring that, I want to see something exciting.  No more leading the league in sacrifice hits, no more entire innings where I can flip to something else with the 6-7-8-9 hitters are due up.  Give me something to believe in, LA.
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Santa Barbara Hikes: Weekend Review

Oooooooooohhhh man, did I ever have a long weekend.  Since my work was originally founded by the Gestapo and their views on holidays and vacation time are unenlightened I’m forced to burn 10 days between now and the end of the year or risk losing them forever.  Obviously, this is sort of a good problem to have and I opted to skip out last Friday and Monday and bum around the greater SB area.  While the surf didn’t quite cooperate at least I didn’t get totally skunked any of the days.  I also managed to break in my new boots with a few treks around the surrounding mountains.  It was fun.  Slightly better than work.

And of course no weekend of small surf would be complete without some grainy ass photo of some kind of sea creature so here is a random crab that I saw while out on the rounds.

There’s a lot to like about hiking pretty much anywhere but for any of you planning a visit it’s a great way to spend a few hours (or longer, if you are crazed), especially if you’re fogged in at the coast.  Trails run anywhere between 1 to 9 miles and the only recommendation is to start a little earlier than you think you should since the sun sets pretty early in the canyons this time of year.  Next post will be Dodger talk and how they should totally, totally trade for Dan Uggla/kill themselves.

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Making Omlets and Breaking Eggs

As a semi-avid cook I can tell you the difference between making a winning dinner and a hot dog with a side of white rice and potato chips starts with a decent shopping list.  Theoretically any idiot can throw something together with a decent recipe and a trip to the grocery store.  Today we’re going to look at our Dodger recipe (this is a boringass metaphor) for getting back above .500 and later this week we’ll actually start filling our cart.  And, as you are well aware, we’ll be on a tight budget.

Recipe: To win more games you either need to score more or allow less.  Run prevention wasn’t a huge problem for the Dodgers but the offense had a real knack for disappearing for weeks on end so our solution is pretty simple: let’s score more runs (13th in the NL in scoring last year).  The Dodgers had the sad misfortune of leading the league in sacrifice bunts last year which obviously speaks volumes about their lack of pop and complete inability to move runners around the basepaths with any sort of efficiency.  You can blame a few losses on Big Jon Broxton but pobody’s nerfect you know what I mean?

Shopping List:
It’s going to be easier to sum up what we DON’T need at this point.
–CF: We heard so much about Matt Kemp vs. the organization last year but come on, 5 tool outfielders under team-friendly contracts don’t grow on trees, let’s pencil him in and expect a bounceback 2011.
–RF: Might as well pencil in 25 HRs and 100 RBI now.  If not for his mid-season injury (look at the pre/post ASB splits) Andre looked like he was ready to make the leap from Good to Great.  A right-handed caddy would be nice though, the Giant batted a paltry .233/.294/.333 vs. lefties last year.
–A #1 starter.  We’ve got one of those in Kershaw and a pair of 2s in C Bill and Lilly.  The backend is once again going to be a hodgepodge with a possible return of John Ely buffeted by some other schlubs.  It looks like Kuroda will sign elsewhere and they don’t have any arms close to the big league level in the minors.  But at least the top of the rotation will start off the season looking good, unlike last year where the hole left by Randy Wolf was never filled.
–The Bullpen.  You can go to war with Kuo, Brox, Kensley and a few spare parts.

What remains is what we need.  Circling the bases: Russ Mart is gone, Loney’s an atypical first baseman who provides close to nothing in the power department which would be fine if anybody else on the infield did but the expletive-producing Mount Rushmore of Ineptitude Theriot, Furcal, Belliard, and Blake produced Little League numbers the entire season.  And, of course, left field is a total mystery spot as (thank Buddha) Scotty Pods has declined arbitration.  The Dodgers did offer a small offer sheet to late season call up Jay Gibbons so we can assume they’d like to add him into the LF slot but at $400k even the penny pinching Dodgers might be quick to turn the page if he gets off to a slow start.

Do you see this team scoring more runs than last year?  Figure we get a full season from Ethier and Kemp rebounds to 2009 form and Furcal stays healthy enough to give a productive 120 games (which seems to be the best we can hope for at this point).  Doesn’t this look like a lot of sac bunts to you?  Sure does to me.  Later this week we’ll look at the FAs available and see if there’s anybody that might fill a need or two we can lock down for the 2011 season.

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It Was the Best of Times, It Was the Worst of Times

Sigh.

My phone buzzed pretty much all last night…first it was G Snide calling to tell me we’d won high points in our football league (I had no idea since footy was an afterthought this week) but all night I got a variety of messages and emails from the various Giant and Dodger fans sprinkled throughout my phone book.  Here’s a random yet representative sampling:

This is lowest of the low for us- Doctor J.
I think I am still rooting for the Giants – My dad
I just wet myself- Nick G.
How can you root for the Giants?  I was taught to hate the Giants – the girlfriend
The Giants win the World Series, The Giants win the World Series- G Snide
And the photo to your left/above from Newby.

Nice going, gents.  And of course I’m still (mostly) happy you San Franciscans even though for most Dodger fans this is Armageddon times the Apocalypse times a rectal exam but at the moment I feel like a nutter standing on the street corner with one of those THE END IS NEAR signs and I couldn’t be happier.  If the 2010 Giants can win a World Series then literally anybody can.  No, neither the Rangers nor the Giants are small market clubs but that Giant payroll suddenly looks a lot more skimpy when you deduct Barry Zito and Aaron Rowan’s bloated figures (dropping from a mid-tier $96M to a Washington Nationalesque $66M according to Cot’s).   The lesson, as always: spend to develop good young pitching, don’t throw money at pricey veterans that have a terrible ROI, get hot at the right time and get really, really lucky.

Oh, and just in case you think I’ve gone soft…nope.  Just jealous, that’s all.  And in case you need a little ammunition for the off-season and a reason to rekindle the NorCal hate, here’s a random sampling from Rob Neyer’s ESPN chat earlier today:

Conversation_page duuuder commented on Chat with Rob Neyer

haha bitter dodger “fans” havent even seen your franchise play in the WS since 88 and the Giants have played in two world series in the past 8 years and are World Champions read em and weep dodger “fans”

Today at 2:25 PM

So congrats, NorCal friends-you’ve earned it.  Go flip a car over or something.

Coming up later this week: Dodger’s offseason needs and shopping list.

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On the Outside Looking In: 2010 Dodgers vs Giants

The Sac Fly Heard 'Round the World

As a Dodger fan how were you supposed to feel when Aubrey Huff slid across home plate with the winning run last night?  Growing up it was always a zero sum game between the two teams–what was good for the Dodgers was bad for the Giants and vice versa.  If you were a Giants’ fan and you couldn’t win the NL West then you wanted to either finish ahead of the Dodgers or at least play the role of the spoiler.  We Dodger fans loved reveling in Barry Zito’s contract and Bonds’ steroid saga–sure they had the nice stadium and the well-heeled fans but we had at least a few World Series memories and a team that seemed poised to sit somewhere near the top of the West for a while and (almost as importantly) certainly ahead of those all-pitch-no-hit Giants.  But now?  Now I’m happy for the Giants and (gulp) rooting for them.

Look, they’ve got a team of lovable misfits and castoffs that’s not too far removed from the sorry-ass ’88 Dodger team; a lineup that when you look at it you wonder how it’ll ever possibly manage to eek out more than a random run off of some improbable hit batsman, sacrifice bunt, throwing error chain of events.  But with Cody Ross channeling his inner Albert Pujols (note to Phillies pitchers and catchers: don’t throw him any inside fastballs) and The Great Buster Posey anchoring the middle of the lineup there’s a lot more firepower here than there was at the beginning of the season.  But so what, right?  What’s any of that got to do with the Dodgers?  Look, the NL West is a pretty decent division but it’s still filled with parity; a big season from a few unexpected sources and you’re looking at making a run.  This year’s Andres Torres and Buster Posey could easily be next year’s Chris Young and Stephen Drew or Dexter Fowler and Jorge de la Rosa.  Of course the Dodgers aren’t blessed (thank you Frank and Ned) with young pups bursting with upside and will once again go as far in 2011 as Matt Kemp and Andre Ethier will take them (not to say that Kemp doesn’t have upside but he’s the ONLY regular with superstar potential).
It doesn’t take much to compete in the West.  A few additions (two of the Giants best hitters are Burrell and Ross who were both claimed off of waivers), a few career year blips and some good luck will actually take you pretty far.  If a team with resources as vast as the Dodgers (assuming Franky stops treating them like an ATM) can’t compete and all of us in SoCal end up watching a giddy bunch of San Franciscans and East Bayers parading down Union Square I think that would be the straw that broke all of our collective backs.  I will personally hand out the pitchforks on Topenga so we can raid Frank’s mansions and get him the hell out of town.  With a solid enough pitching base it’s not like a drastic overhaul of the lineup is necessary (but would be appreciated) but some tweaks are certainly in order.  Over the next week we’ll do some Free Agent shopping and see how we can judiciously build this sub-.500 club into a contender.  Who knows, maybe with a little luck we can reach the Giants’ lofty heights.
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West Coast is Where the Heartbreak is

Dodgers Stadium in October.

So the San Francisco Giants’ Game 1 victory over the Philadelphia Phillies today got me thinking.

When was the last time a West Coast team was even in the World Series?

Well, that’d be the last time the Giants were there, with Barry Bonds and Co. falling to the Anaheim Angels in seven games in the 2002 classic  — which I predicted, for the record, in seven, in newsprint that fall. But yeah, that was waaaaay back when people actually read newspapers. Remember those days, Pembertonian?

Since 1990, when the Oakland Athletics were swept by the Cincinnati Reds , there’s been only one other Series with a West Coast bias … and that one was a snoozefest, with the San Diego Padres getting swept aside by the New York Yankees in 1998.

At least the Giants-Angels series was a good one, probably the best series since given it was the last one to go the distance.

Sad.

What ever happened to the good ol’ days? When people read newspapers. Tommy Lasorda shot out of the dugout with fists in the air. And I had nothing to worry about outside the stale bubblegum in my latest pack of Topps Traded. Life was good back then, hitting the jackpot (50 whole cents!) on my schoolyard bet with Kevin Crawford when Kirk Gibson hit that memorable shot against the Oakland Athletics.

Look at this West Coast representation in the Series back in the 70s and 80s.

1972            Oakland A’s 4, Cincinnati Reds 3
1973            Oakland A’s 4,  N.Y. Mets 3
1974             Oakland A’s 4, L.A. Dodgers 1
1977            N.Y. Yankees 4, L.A. Dodgers 2
1978            N.Y. Yankees 4, L.A. Dodgers 2
1981            L.A. Dodgers 4, N.Y. Yankees 2
1984            Detroit Tigers 4, San Diego Padres 1
1988            L.A. Dodgers 4, Oakland A’s 1
1989            Oakland A’s 4, S.F. Giants 0

What in Gibby’s name happened after that?

1. The Dodgers went in the crapper.
2. The Yankees got good again.

So when our homey Beau-C last night sent the text, “We’re on our way to the World Series!!!” I couldn’t help but reply …

“Sounds like you’re on your way to crazy town.”

“The looney bin.”

“ASH.”

But maybe the craziness will happen. Heck, all of us Left Coasters could use something to cheer for … even if it is for the Giants.

I mean, have you looked at our football teams? California is 4-11 in the NFL this season, and the 49ers (everyone’s pick to win the NFC West) are still 0-for five games in.

There isn’t a Southern California team in a title hunt in anything right now, so this is all we got.

Get it done Giants.  Don’t make me start rooting for the Los Angeles Galaxy. Shit, the Beckhams just lost tonight in the MLS playoffs too. Awesome.

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Only 136 More Days Until Pitchers & Catchers Report

Well, that went by fast, didn’t it?  It seems like only a little bit ago we were talking about how bad Manny sucks and how terrible the pitching staff has been.  Oh, right, that was just a little bit ago.  On the plus side it’s only about 20 weeks until pitchers and catchers report, so at least we’ve got that.  And really, this was a great, great year for baseball.  Unless you were a Dodger fan, of course.  Better times are ahead for the Red Sox and Cardinals, the Dodgers are the only big market team that looks to be in a shambles next year as well so excluding them there’s going to be some serious hot stove action this winter.

So let’s look at our projections and see how we did:  Wow, actually pretty good.  Go wcbias.com.  The AL predictions were flat out money and of course I whiffed on the Reds winning the Central and the Giants in the West but I did come up with Atlanta winning the Wild Card which has got to be worth something.  And while I’m at it here’s my playoff picks:

Philly over Cinci
San Francisco over Atlanta
Tampa Bay over Texas
Yanks over Twins

Philly over Giants
Tampa Bay over Yankees

Tampa Bay over Phils in an upset

And let’s look at a few semi-sports things that we’ve done over the last few weeks.
1. Kickball.  0% fun.  Seriously no fun at all.  You use a ball that is more medicine ball than anything else so it goes nowhere, you play ELEVEN people in the field that is about the size of half a basketball court and lends itself onto to bunting.  Oh, and 26 people are on each team so you play every-other-inning and likely only get one at bat.  Quitmastered after only one game and joined another softball team instead.
2. Hiking in Yosemite.  This was good times, close to 100% fun probably I would say.
3. Fantasy football…Ray Rice I hate you with the burning passion of 1,000 suns.

And that is all.

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When Does Basketball Season Start Again?

Hollywood up to no good: Is that smog, or is the gloom just following us everywhere?

Well, WCBias has been extremely quiet of late, with BSlim cheating on us with a new site, www.BallHyped.com, B.G. mourning Joe Torre bouncing and the Dodgers sucking, Pembertonian spending weeks in San O. doing nothing but waxing his stick, and Ryantific breast feeding his newborn.

I blame it on L.A., because this is the first time in forever that we’ll have a fall without any of LA’s teams competing for a postseason spot. Dodgers and Angels have faded. The … oh wait, we don’t have a pro football team, but even if we did, it’s not like Calif. football is anything to write home about (the Niners and Raiders continue to be the worst franchises in the league).

USC isn’t in the BCS picture thanks to some BS from Reggie BuSh. UCLA is UCLA.

If not for San Diego, the SoCal sports scene would be a total embarrassment. Check that, the Padres just lost again, SoCal is a wreck.

So, I guess it’s time to look ahead to the NBA season.

And just like that, the odds have been released … and guess who’s favored to win the NBA Finals this coming season?

You guessed it. The Miami Heat haven’t even played a game and they have 20-1 odds to win it all. Might be a good time to throw a few bucks down on the Celtics, with 12-1 odds (it’s the only good bet on the board, even though it’s bound to be Heat-Lakers unless something crazy happens).

We’ll say it now, not hoping to jinx anyone, but injuries will be the difference this year. The Heat are one injury away from being the No. 3 team in the NBA … and until they play together, they’re not 20-1 odds to win it all. I’m sorry. I’ve haven’t forgotten how LeBron shut it down in the playoffs when things didn’t go his way.

But that’s where the money is, so I can’t say I blame Las Vegas.

Guess we’ll find out soon enough. Heat vs. Celtics on Oct. 26. Heat vs. Magic Oct. 29. Heat vs. Lakers on Christmas Day.

Here are the odds to win the NBA Championship this year, according to MGM Resorts International:

Miami                        20-1
L.A. Lakers                 3-1
Boston                        12-1
Chicago                      18-1
Orlando                       5-1

Here’s how WCBias readers voted the 2010-11 season will turn out (cast your vote in the sidebar):

Who will win the NBA title next season?

  • Los Angeles Lakers (38%)
  • Miami Heat (24%)
  • Boston Celtics (13%)
  • Chicago Bulls (9%)
  • Oklahoma City (9%)
  • Someone else? (7%)
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