April 30, 2009

War Pigs

Not good times, and welcome back!

So TIME magazine's wanting us to not blame the pigs for the swine flu outbreak. Apparently Egypt's slaughtering all 300,000 pigs in country, even though there's no reported outbreak yet, according to the article. Personally? I say good. Now, you might say "Oh, it's just a mutant viral strain that crossed over, it was bound to occur eventually." Whatever. I know that the porcine population has finally begun to enact its evil revenge. I mean c'mon, look at their leader! For years, they've laid low, pretending to be cute and cuddly. But the pig got out of the bag a few years ago. We let the warning signs slip by, but we're ready to strike back. You may have Porky on your side, but we've got Yosemite Sam AND Elmer Fudd.

So be prepared, because we're sick of those Michael Jackson masks, and we've got the firepower to deal with you, you little mud-rollers!


Grandpa: My Homer is not a communist. He may be a liar, a pig, an idiot, a communist, but he is not a porn star.

April 25, 2009

NFL Draft Blog

Chris Berman just screamed "Are you ready for some NFL draft?" And I think he may have caused Mel Kiper, Jr.'s hair to move slightly, but I'm not sure.

Good times, and welcome back!

If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I'm wearing a Patriots jersey.

ESPN just ran a vaguely homo-erotic montage of some of the top prospects shirtless. This should be an interesting ride. Kiper's drooling at the thought of all of this "upside."

Keyshawn "I Swear I Used to be a Top-Flight Receiver" Johnson and Steve "Concussion" Young in the booth with Berman and Kiper. Can't wait for hilarity to ensue. Roger Goodell's trying to make humorous small talk to the drunken Jets fans in the crowd. This can't end well.

Let's start the nonsense…

1. Detroit Lions: the suspense is out of the pick, as the Lions have agreed to a guaranteed $41.7 million for an under-achieving quarterback from an under-achieving SEC team. My Lions fandom is off to a great start. He's gonna need that cannon of an arm…I sure hope he knows how to take a sack. Mel Kiper just backtracked on everything he's drooled out over the last 6 months, saying Stafford may not be Hall-of-Fame, but he could be good with proper coaching. Plus, my wife just asked how old Stafford was…15? Because an NFL team wants a quarterback that looks like he can't buy smokes yet. Great pick, fellas. You can make an average quarterback good with a solid offensive line, but stick a Pro-Bowler like Marc Bulger behind a patchwork line, and he can't stay on the field.

2. St. Louis Rams: What don't they need? With the loss of Orlando Pace, the Rams have a massive hole on the offensive line, Marc Bulger can't stay on the field, and they have maybe 3 viable defensive players on their roster.

The pick: Jason Smith, OT from Baylor. Predictable but solid choice. Smith should provide some stability, and if he sucks at left tackle, there's always right tackle, both guards, and the center, so the Rams have some flexibility. Which Marc Bulger doesn't have anymore.

3. Kansas City Chiefs: Another team that could use a number of positions, the Chiefs may go defense to shore up a unit that has sucked over the last few years. Herm Edwards is talking…what are the odds he talks too long and talks over the Chief's pick? But the Chiefs could easily go with Michael Crabtree to pair with new QB Matt Cassell and WR Dwayne Bowe.

The pick: Tyson Jackson, DE from LSU. Another strong choice. What am I going to make fun of if these GMs keep picking players who fulfill a need?

4. Seattle Seahawks: Putting my Streak for the Cash streak of 4 on the line here, predicting a quarterback to the Men in Blue to back up Matt Hasselbeck. Because we know what happens if he gets hurt again: See NFC West.

The pick: Aaron Curry, OLB from Wake Forest. Welp, there went my streak. Thanks, you Holmgren-less Bluehawks. Thanks a lot.

5. New York Jets from Cleveland Browns: No telling how they're going to screw this pick up. They may try and draft me, being stunned by my 5.2 40 yard dash in high school 10 years ago. Logically, Crabtree may land here, to try and give Anderson/Quinn another target alongside the soon-to-be-departed Braylon "Dropsies" Edwards.

The pick: Trade to New York Jets, who take Mark Sanchez. Solid choice, but Kellen Clemmons is looking over his shoulder. And by that, I mean looking over Sanchez's shoulder at the field. The announcers just said for the 3,658th time that you can't win without a quarterback in this league. Really? You have to field someone to catch the snap? Just letting the ball roll around until someone on your team hopefully picks it up isn't a valid strategy? Thanks for that nugget, fellas.

6. Cincinnati Bengals: Looks like Andre Smith's family just gave away the pick. The OT from Alabama could be a decent pick, if he decides to stay on the field.

The pick: Smith, who's smiling like Fat Albert.

7. Oakland Raiders: No telling here, absolutely none. My guess? Al Davis drafts a new tracksuit and signs it to a $100 million guaranteed contract.

The pick: Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR from Maryland. WHAT? Even I expected Davis to fully take Crabtree here, since he thinks he can run a 4.4 40 on crutches. It's too bad DHB won't have any passes to catch, with JaMarcus Russell "throwing" him the ball. At least I have someone to make fun of now. Thanks, Al.

8. Jacksonville Jaguars: Crabtree. I'm bound to get this right if I keep projecting him, right? Pair him with new addition Tory Holt, and MC can both learn AND impact a team in desperate need of solid wide receivers.

The pick: Eugene Monroe, OT from Virginia. C'mon, I'm a huge proponent of drafting linemen. I can't work with this stuff. Mel Kiper just went down a list of which former NFL linemen Monroe isn't. Great work, Mel, you're telling us Eugene Monroe is Eugene Monroe, not Anthony Munoz? How does this man make a living?!?!?

9. Green Bay Packers: With Dom Capers switching the team to a 3-4, the Pack are sure to go defense, probably B.J. Raji. Unless Brett Favre declares himself eligible though a loophole.

The pick: Raji, DT from Boston College. Guess Favre is staying retired this time.

10. San Francisco 49ers: My streak is palpitating. Crabtree's on the board, and would give whoever the hell the 49ers trot out at quarterback an actual option aside from Vernon Davis.

The pick: Crabtree, WR from Texas Tech. Although he only 'slid' to 10th, if he stays healthy, Crabtree could be the steal of the draft. Either Shaun Hill or Alex Smith's tiny hands just became a valid fantasy quarterback.

11. Buffalo Bills: Aaron Maybin's on the phone, looks like the DE may be the next pick. With the recent pick up of Terrell Owens, the Bills' offense should be dynamite for 6 weeks, so the defense is a no-brainer pick.

The pick: Maybin, DE from Penn State. Hey, at least he's not a PSU running back, so he's got a chance to be productive.

12. Denver Broncos: Broncos. NFL draft. Get ready for a running back, likely Knowshon Moreno.

The pick: Moreno, RB from Georgia. Not a bad pick, but he won't be the next Herschel Walker, folks. Plus, Robert Ayers can continue taking his head off in practice. Good times.

13. Washington Redskins: who knows, with Snyder calling the shots. They've tried to get rid of Jason Campbell twice this offseason, so they'll probably take a safety.

The pick: Brian Orakpo, DE from Texas. Not a big name, so I'm not sure what Chainsaw Dan Snyder's going for here. But in the NFC East, strengthening your defense is never a bad idea.

14. New Orleans Saints: DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE!!!!

The pick: Malcolm Jenkins, DB from Ohio State. Now hopefully the Saints can try and stop people instead of winning games 42-38.

15. Houston Texans: I'm predicting the Texans draft a new name here. You're named after the state you're in? Brilliant, guys, just brilliant. I heard the University of Tennessee is changing to the UT Tennesseans, next year.

The pick: Brian Cushing, LB from Southern California. Another logical pick, the Texans beefing up a needy defense to go with a growing offense.

16. San Diego Chargers: Wide receiver? Corner? New distributor for Shawn Merriman?

The pick: Larry English, DE from Northern Illinois. Crap. I really can't make fun of this draft. The Chargers needed an end to help an aging defense, and got one.

17. Tampa Bay Buccaneers from Cleveland Browns from New York Jets: Kiper thinks they're going defense, so I say offense, maybe Chris Beanie Wells from Ohio State. They need another injury-prone running back.

The pick: Josh Freeman, QB from Kansas State. A semi-risky pick, especially as John Gruden loves old quarterbacks. But this may actually give them a chance to grow on offense, and with Kellen Winslow now taking up the tight end spot, this offense could be dangerous fast. But I was closer than Kiper. Time to apply to ESPN.

18. Denver Broncos: Somewhat akin to the Saints, the Broncos need DEFENSE, DEFENSE, DEFENSE!!!!

The pick: Robert Ayers, DE from Tennessee. I may be biased here, but this easily passes the 49ers getting Crabtree as the steal of the draft. The Broncos once took a defensive standout from Tennessee by the name of Al Wilson, who became one of the fiercest hitters in the NFL. Good job, Coach "Patriots Cast-off" McDaniels. P.S. Robert, destroy Knowshon in practice daily, please.

19. Philadelphia Eagles: Say it with me now, kids, Wiiiii-duh Re-see-vurrrr…unless they can swing a deal for Anquan Boldin.

The pick: Jeremy Maclin, WR from Missouri. Hey, if he can do what DeSean Jackson did (minus the pre-touchdown ball-spike), the Eagles may have added another dimension to a lacking vertical game. Plus, he's white, and we always need more quality white receivers in the NFL.

20. Detroit Lions: So many holes, so few picks. Does it really matter? Offensive line might be the best way to go here, but the defense needs serious work. Maualuga?

The pick: Brandon Pettigrew, TE from Oklahoma State. Apparently the Lions have decided to go all offense with key early picks. Pettigrew may actually be a good fit, as I've heard he's adept at both blocking and pass catching, providing an additional threat for Stafford to throw to when Calvin Johnson's eleven-tuple covered.

21. Cleveland Browns: The Browns may need a replacement for Braylon Edwards, if they're able to unload his Butterfingers.

The pick: Alex Mack, OC from California. I'm not sure what an 'OC' is, but I'm assuming it's a center. And that's never a bad pick, especially when you need to keep your two young quarterbacks upright.

22. Minnesota Vikings: Get a quarterback! Get a quarterback! Get a quarterback! Get a quarterback!

The pick: Percy Harvin, WR from Florida. Another standout wide receiver from Florida sure to follow in the footsteps of other greats such as…um…well…Jabar Gaffney?

23. Baltimore Ravens from New England Patriots: Late trade I didn't catch, so no snarky comment(s).

The pick: Michael Oher, OT from Ole Miss. Blah. Nothing to say here.

24. Atlanta Falcons: Can they keep rising and soaring? A terrific rookie quarterback, Michael "The Burner" Turner, and new addition Tony Gonzalez could lead the way back to playoff relevance.

The pick: Peria Jerry from Ole Miss. Two Runnin' Rebels in a row? Who knew Ole Miss even had two players eligible for the draft? And I'm not talking academically, I'm talking athletically.

25. Miami Dolphins: Whoever the hell they pick, Bill Parcells will turn him into a Football Player. Because Bill Parcells is a Football Genius.

The pick: Vontae Davis, CB from Illinois. A strong pick. Especially in the AFC East, with Randy Moss, Terrell Owens, and Wes Welker in the division.

26. Green Bay from Baltimore Ravens: Beanie Wells may go here, with the Ravens looking to shore up some questionable running back depth. And believe me on this one, I had all 632 Ravens running backs on my fantasy team at some point last year.

The pick: Clay Matthews, OLD from Southern California. Matthews' clan has pre-made T-shirts. He might want to turn it into a heavy, heavy sweater for the Green Bay weather. With Raji, Matthews may lead to a new era of Packer defense. (Resisting packing 'joke' here…fighting urge…fighting…moving on to next pick…)

27. Indianapolis Colts: The Colts could use some offensive line help, as Jeff Saturday isn't getting any younger. If he was, he'd be a rich, rich man, because he'd have discovered the fountain of youth. But you figured that out already. Defense is a concern, too, because there are only so many transplanted bionic body parts for Bob Sanders to have implanted. Look for Maualuga to go off the board here.

The pick: Donald Brown, RB from UConn. Surprised the Colts went offense here, with their needs on defense, but Brown may provide an additional boost for a Colts' offense that is sneakily getting older.

28. Buffalo Bills from Philadelphia: With the Bills' early defensive pick, they may look to continue to beef it up with Maualuga or Laurinaitis. Or they could go offensive line to address the loss of Jason Peters to the Eagles.

The pick: Eric Wood, C from Louisville. They just showed his picture, and I think he was Chunk from The Goonies. Plus, we just got a great commercial with Drew "The Devil Incarnate" Rosenhaus. Good times, again.

29. New York Giants: WIDE RECEIVER. With the loss of Plaxico Burress, Elisha Manning now has no one to consistently catch his errant passes. Look for Hakeem Nicks here.

The pick: Hakeem Nicks, WR from North Carolina, and The Radio City Buffoons are in full force. Plus, I called another one. Admittedly, I didn't do that prior to the draft, but what good does that really do?

30. Tennessee Titans: Defensive minded, I don't see the Titans changing course here. There isn't really a standout wide receiver left to give to Collins/Young, so they'll probably go with Maualuga or Lauranaitis. And who painted on Sal Paolantonio's eyebrows? Those things look like caterpillars on steroids. Even my eyebrows are jealous of the guns on those things. Plus, the announcers just set a record for "Jeff Fisher" references in the span of 30 seconds at somewhere around 5 million while mentioning Anquan Boldin. I'm about to have a heart attack. A lot of Beanie Wells talk for a team with Shake and Bake. I mean Smash and Dash. Or fat and fast. Whatever.

The pick: Kenny Britt, WR from Rutgers. A 6'3 receiver from Jersey. Britt may be able to help the Titans' passing game, but rookie receivers have a history of needing at least one or two years to fully adjust to the NFL.

31. Arizona Cardinals: The defending NFC Champion Cardin…what? Oh yeah. The defending NFC Champion ARIZONA CARDINALS need help fending off the coming locust hordes and raining frogs. Chris 'Beanie' Wells may be able to provide protection from both with help from his rehabilitation equipment.

The pick: Chris Wells, RB from Ohio State. At least disappointment won't be new to him in the desert, so he should fit right in with the 'Cards.

32. Pittsburgh Steelers: Look for another solid pick from one of the most consistent franchises in sports. Think Maualuga or Lauranaitis. One of them is bound to go first round…

The pick: Ziggy Hood, DT from Missouri. A big body's always good for the defensive line to be able to take up space and create piles. Plus, I get to make a joke I'm sure is all over the internet already. But that's what you're paying me for, people. You want better? Gimme a raise.

Detroit Rock City

Good times, and welcome back!

As we're now mere moments away from the 2009 NFL draft, I'm going to venture into territory that is probably bound to bring me serious flack from friends, and perhaps family, but bear with me. Additionally, I don't know how exactly this is going to work out, but I have legal backing from a sports authority, so I feel confident I can make this happen. I am attempting to turn myself into a Detroit Lions fan. Now, I know some may call me a sports bigamist for chasing this dream, so I can cite precedent: ESPN's Bill Simmons lays out the groundwork in his 2002 column, Rules for Being a True Fan:

Rule 19, bullet-point 2: You grew up in a city that didn't field a team for a specific sport -- so you picked a random team -- and then either a.) your city landed a team, or b.) you moved to a city that fielded a team for that specific sport.

Okay, my reasoning/thinking (if you can call it that):

I didn't grow up near a professional team. When I was a kid in Knoxville, I didn't have a "favorite" team other than the Bills, and I don't really have a good reason why. I was always logo-oriented as a lad, and would root for some teams simply because they had a cool freaking lightning bolt on their helmet, or I could semi-accurately draw the classic red bison that seemed so imposing. Admittedly, I probably did bandwagon jump the Bills when they made their first Super Bowl run in 1989/1990 before falling to the Giants, but I've stuck with them to wavering degrees ever since, even when my aunt was calling them the Buffalo "Puff-Tuffs", nearly bringing me to tears.

The Oilers moved from Houston to Nashville when I was a junior in high school, living about an hour away. After high school, I moved back to Knoxville for college, where I pretty much only followed the Vols and Peyton Manning's career. By the way, he did complete that pass, thanks to his laser-rocket arm. And how are those amazing Florida quarterbacks doing now? Shane Matthews? Danny "The Awful Waffle" Wuerffel? Chris Leak? Rex Grossman? And before you Gator fans start (not that you can read this blog): Peyton, Todd Helton, Andy Kelly. One Super Bowl MVP, a first baseman who flirted with .400 multiple times, and the greatest Arena League quarterback
ever. But I digress.

By my count, I lived two years with the Titans before ending in Chicago. Now, I never really had any desire to be a Bears fan, and never made an attempt. Nothing against Da Bears, but I just couldn't follow a team knowing I was destined to leave the town.

Things going in my favor:

The Lions were 0-16 last year. So I can't be called a bandwagon
fan. But no matter the not-so-current
state of affairs, the team has a great
history. And great potential. I'll be living in the Detroit metro area. And most importantly, I want a hometown NFL team to cheer for. But to all my fellow Preds fans, get this right: I will NEVER cheer for the Red Wings, though. THAT ain't gonna happen. Seeing as I'll be living in Detroit for the rest of my foreseeable future, I figure I'll need a local team to root for, and the Lions are the best bet. I've got my baseball team, and my hockey team, so football's the way to go. Plus, I can get my lumps in early.

Here's your title track:

Detroit Rock City by KISS

And for your semi-relevant, blog-closing Simpsons quote:

Homer: Aw ... The Denver Broncos !?!
Marge: I think owning the Denver Broncos is pretty good.
Homer: Yeah, yeah.
Marge: Well, explain to me why it isn't.
Homer: You just don't understand football, Marge.

April 16, 2009

Interested in Subscribing?

Just a quick note on how to subscribe to my blog if you're not familiar with the process and interested in doing so. The easiest way to follow my ramblings is to scroll to the bottom of the page, click on "Posts (Atom)" and then choose "Live Bookmark". You can then choose "Bookmark Toolbar" from a drop down menu, make a new folder, name something like RSS/Blogs/Whatever you want, and have easy access to any sites you follow that offer RSS (really simple syndication) feeds.


In honor of the new baseball season, here are some quick links to some entertaining diamond videos. Enjoy!

Switch-pitcher. That's right, a switch-pitcher in the minors.

Insane, behind-the-back pitch by Japanese pitcher. Somehow, it's called a strike, but this seems to be "set-up," as there are no people in the stands, and the batter isn't wearing a helmet. But it's still freakin' cool.

Droperatta Fairly funny clip set to operatic music. A good waste of about a minute.

Japanese Dropped Third Strike I'm not sure if Japanese rules are exactly the same as U.S. rules, but in the States this would not count, as there were both two outs (ending the inning) and first base was covered by a base runner. But still kind of funny to watch.

Denis Leary Announcing and ripping on Mel Gibson. After Denis finds out Kevin Youkilis is Jewish, he begins ranting on Mel, to hilarious results.

Here's your relevant YouTube video:

Centerfield by John Fogerty

And of course, you can't have baseball with the Simpsons:

The Softball Song from Homer at the Bat

Real American…No More

This can't end well...

Oh, how the mighty have fallen. I was not a huge professional wrestling fan, but I always enjoyed the rare Saturday morning growing up when I would get to watch a match with Hulk Hogan, Andre the Giant, or Bret 'The Hitman' Hart. I enjoyed it much more later on in my high school life in the late '90s, and actually got into a weekly routine of watching RAW at a buddy's house during the Degeneration X/Edge and Christian/Hardy Boyz/Stone Cold versus The Rock versus Vinnie Mac days. But those days are long gone. And for some reason I could never figure out, the former wrestling ICON…and he was HA-YUGE in the 80's/90's for you kids who don't know…always seemed to have an odd affinity for feather

Hulk, I'll leave you one piece of advice: don't do it. You might have thought it was cute or whatever to say you "understand" OJ, but the world won't care if you're just being cute and referencing Chris Rock. Spousal abuse is not a laughing matter. Unless delivered by Chris Rock. By the way, that link is vintage CR, so don't click if you are offended by blue material.

But I can't leave on a sour note, so here's something a little sad, but from someone who's given football fans hours upon hours of enjoyment.

Say it ain't so, Jo(hn)

So the great John Madden's retiring after forty years in the NFL? I'm blaming the breakout success of Frank TV. An all-time legend, Madden's career, once defined by a Super Bowl ring with the Raiders and a wonderful broadcasting career, came to a semi-sweet end after his video game franchise blasted through the roof. Madden's play-by-play ability seemed to go downhill after he became convinced he was constantly recording voice-overs for the game, and kept repeating "BOOM!" after "BOOM!" even though Pat Summerall kept attempting to tell him it was live, and he didn't need to keep saying "Brett Favre, Brett Favre, Brett Favre" on end for hours at a time. Which was probably what drove Pat to drink.

But on a more serious note, I'd like to announce I have signed my own contract with Electronic Arts to introduce my very own video game: EA Sports' Jared Hefley TV Watching 2014. And if you think that's exciting, wait until the 2015 version: it's rumored to include enhanced beverage control. That's right. Getcha popcorn ready!

So now, without further ado, here's you post-title related video:

Real American

And of course, your Post Dose of the Simpsons!

Homer: Weaseling out of things is important to learn. It's what separates us from the animals ... except the weasel.

April 6, 2009

Re-Birth of the Cool

Good times, everyone, and welcome back.

While you're reading, why not listen to U2's Mysterious Ways? An all-time personal favorite, but don't watch it on acid, as I'm sure you might find a way to jump off of a cloud into a 40 foot marshmallow.

But to the crux of today: we have important, important things to discuss today before I head to the Laundromat. It's April 6th, spring is somewhere around the corner sneaking a cig before coming back late from its lunch break, the NCAA Championship is tonight, the NFL draft is soon, and in about a month, we get NBA and NHL playoffs. But most importantly, it's baseball's Opening Day.

Although the NHL playoffs probably will not include my Nashville Predators and I'll be forced to endure another offseason of my wife reminding me that her Red Wings won their 3,481st championship, to quote ESPN Sports Guy Bill Simmons, "I'm convinced that's why we have to pay taxes in April -- it's the government's way of tainting the best month of the year." It only makes sense. So I'll break down some quick thoughts for the new month, point by point in a new segment I like to call, "No One's Reading this Far, So I Don't Have a Name for this Portion of the Blog Yet."

No One's Reading this Far, so I Don't Have a Name for this Portion of the Blog Yet


Draft season is coming, which means get ready for Mel Kiper, Jr.'s massively over-sprayed coif, and an army of reporters and "experts" telling you who every team's going to pick. I don't know, they don't know, and no one knows, because the 0-16 Detroit Lions own the first pick of the draft, and they may attempt to draft Charles Rogers. Again. I hear he's itching to play professional football again, and man, do the Lions love a big wide receiver. But in reality, they'll probably take a quarterback, and, as I'm mulling over the possibility of adopting the Lions as my hometown football team (which I'll chronicle in greater detail later), I will beseech the Lions brass to NOT take Matthew Stafford. He's a Gunslinger with a cannon, and iffy decision-making skills. Plus, he played at Georgia, so again, I can never fully root for a player from the SEC that didn't "graduate" from UT. Just like every other blogger in the Earth-region of the Milky Way, I'll be putting up a mock draft eventually, so I'll save that for later.

NHL Playoffs

I'm not entirely sure what this "hockey" sport is, as it's never televised in the U.S. on a channel that more than 5 people can watch at the same time, but I hear its fascinating. Grown men on skates? Yeah, that sounds like fun. Commish Bettman, please let them fight! I always loved going to a fight as a kid and having a hockey game occasionally break out. My favorite memory of the Knoxville Speed/Ice Bears was the rivalry between them and the Asheville 'Crack' Smoke*ers*. During one infamous game, the Asheville goalie skated up behind a Knoxville forward slow getting back down the ice and cracked him across the back of the head with his stick. In the only intelligent decision I've ever seen a referee make, they didn't see the play happen, but saw the guy on the ice, managed to figure out what happened (thanks to the 2000 or so fans screaming bloody murder) and kicked that j-off out of the game. Huh? What was that you say? The NHL? Umm…bet on Pittsburgh and King Crosby. My only hope is that the Red Wings don't win their second straight Stanley Cup, as this will surely lead to my first divorce.

Baseball Preview

Because I'm actually excited for baseball season this year, I'll give you a treat: a semi-sincere rundown with predictions:

AL East

Look for the Yankees and their $500 trillion dollar payroll to make a resurgence. With the newly acquired C.C. Sabathia and the oft-injured AJ "Burn for Leaving Toronto" Burnett leading the rotation, the Yanks should have a solid pitching staff to go with a stocked lineup that now includes Mark Texeira and Alex Rodri- oops, that's right, A-Rod's out for a bit. The circus that will come around once A-Rod returns should manage to distract the team enough for my Blue Jays to at least sneak in close to a Wild Card berth, but ultimately fall short as the Red Sox and Rays take the top two spots in the division, with the second-place team taking the WC. And Baltimore will probably still suck.

AL Central

Sorry, Midwest folks, but the AL Central may take the award for most boring division. Minnesota, Kansas City, Chicago, Cleveland, and Detroit. I fell asleep just typing that. The Twins catcher, Joe Mauer, apparently no longer has what is known as a "working back," so he probably won't hit .500 this year, no matter how many Twins fans think he's Jesus on a baseball field. And that's the religious Jesus, not the one that lives next door to me. Heck, Holy Jesus could probably only hit .346 with Mauer's back, and that may a little generous. If the Tigers don't at least make a push for the playoffs, Detroit may erupt in their yearly riot ahead of schedule. With Ken Griffey, Jr. back in Seattle, the White Sox's average age is now back somewhere around the 20's instead of 76 like last year, so they may make a run at the division pennant too. But Kansas City seems to be a trendy sleeper pick, so I'm going to pick Cleveland due to the fact that Jacob's Field is a beauty.

AL West

Another snoozer of a division. The Rangers, like always, are most likely going to be short on pitching and long on hitting, so the young batters are due to get tired of carrying the team, and I expect a mid-to-late-season swoon. Seattle? Doubt it. And even though the Oakland Athletics have a penchant for hanging around, I still say it's the Los Angeles Juevos of Berlin's (or whatever they're calling themselves now) division until someone proves otherwise.

NL East

Probably one of the more potent divisions in baseball, the defending champion Phillies, New York Sheffields, and Atlanta Braves will fight for the crown. Don't count out the continuously rebuilding/championship contending Florida Marlins from making a serious effort, either. But the Washington Nationals are playing like George W. Bush is managing the team. So I'll go with the Braves to sneak out the minor upset, with the Mets (really?) taking the wild card spot.

NL Central

Some ESPN "pundits" are expecting the Chicago Cubs to come back to Earth after last year's dream season/nightmare ending. But with a White Sox fan in the White House, do you really think the Cubbies need any more incentive to end their 100 year title drought? Albert Pujols (pronounced "Poo-holes") and a healthy Chris Carpenter can potentially carry the St. Louis Cardinals to a wild card berth, but asking Carpenter to stay healthy is like asking Dick Cheney to aim when he shoots. Not gonna happen. The Milwaukee Brewers will miss Sabathia's wins, but with the fat man no longer hogging the post-game buffet, the rest of the team will soon pack on 50 pounds each and get thrown out at first waaaay too often to win consistently. The Houston Astros will be the Houston Astros and not win the division. Cincinnati will languish at the bottom of the division and look towards next year.

NL West

Boooooriiiiiing. The Los Angeles Dodgers take this one easily, but Arizona may try to put up a fight. The Rockies? As much as I would love for Todd Helton to sniff the playoffs this year, it ain't gonna happen. The San Diego Padres? At least they're in San Diego and will have beautiful weather when they miss the playoffs.

Divisional Playoffs

Red Sox over Angels

Tampa Bay over Cleveland

Cubs over Braves

Mets over Dodgers

League Championships

Red Sox over Tampa Bay

Cubs over Mets

World Series

Cubs over Red Sox

There. And yes, I'm well aware that I'm certifiably insane for picking the Cubs to win. Why not sue me to get your subscription money back?