RED SOX: 89-73 Injuries to Price and Pomeranz drop them below 90 wins, but the lineup still propels them to AL East title.

BLUE JAYS: 88-74 Ironically its pitching that powers the Jays to a Wildcard birth, not hitting. That rotation is sneaky good. 

ORIOLES: 84-78 Offense is one-dimensional, but man can they swat the longball. Top end rotation could actually be quite good and Britton’s is un-hittable. 

YANKEES: 80-82 Other prognosticators are hotter on Yanks than I am. Can Sanchez do it for a whole year? Can Bird stay healthy? Can CC stay productive? Lots of “ifs”.

RAYS: 79-83 Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: Rays can pitch, but they just can’t hit…



INDIANS: 95-67 Encarnacion fills a HUGE power need. Healthy Salazar is essential. Healthy Carrasco would be nice. Healthy Brantley would be gravy. 

TIGERS: 86-76 This team is stuck in the good-but-not great category for another year. The bullpen continues to hold them back. 

ROYALS: 78-94 The window has closed. Outside of Duffy the rotation is simply not very good, and no one fears their bullpen anymore. 

WHITE SOX: 68-94 This team will rake in 2019, but this year is going to be miserable. Fire sale come June — Everything must go!

TWINS: 65-97 There are sprinkles of talent in the lineup, but they are very raw, and that rotation is simply hideous. 



MARINERS: 88-74 M’s swoop in and surprise with upgraded speed and defense. Gallardo and Smyly bounce back to contribute, too. 

ASTROS: 88-74 Their lineup is primed to put up silly-good numbers, but you can’t win every game 10-8. 

RANGERS:  87-75I like pieces of this team but not the whole. Depending on Choo and Gomez to be healthy and productive seems far-fetched and the back end of the rotation is a mess. 

ANGELS: 80-82 The same can be said here. This team is 2-to-3 arms away from relevance, but not as terrible as people think. 

ATHLETICS: 72-90 No one in their right mind would call the A’s good, but there are some promising arms here. That’s about it. 



NATIONALS: 90-72 Injury concerns abound, but this team is deep and talented. That bullpen is the Achilles heel. 

METS:  86-76 Speaking of injury concerns…If 3/5ths of the rotation can stay upright and the bats continue to hit homers, they will hang around the playoff discussion.

BRAVES: 81-81 For a rebuilding team these guys are gonna be downright respectable. 

PHILLIES 80-82 Better-than-you-think Phillies hang around the .500 mark. 

MARLINS: 74-88 An already thin rotation is made thinner by the tragic death of Fernandez. There’s just not the quality arms here to make a run. 



CUBS: 96-66 Everything went right for my beloved Cubbies last year, but there’s no way they enjoy that much good health in the rotation again. 

CARDINALS: 87-75 Losing Reyes for the year is a killer, but they’re still a well-oiled machine down in STL and squeeze out a wildcard berth. 

PIRATES: 84-78 McCutchen bounces back and everyone in Pittsburg takes a collective deep-breath, but even that’s not enough to cope with pitching deficiencies. 

BREWERS 71-91 A long, slow rebuild defines the future in Brew-town. 

REDS: 65-97 Well…at least they’re not the Padres. 



DODGERS: 90-72 A great lineup for sure, but i have some real durability and performance concerns about that rotation past Kershaw. 

GIANTS: 88-74 I like the rotation obviously, and picking up Melancon is a plus. Outfield looks a little spotty. 

ROCKIES: 82-80 I had these poor guys slotted for a wildcard spot before the rash of injuries. Buzzard’s luck in the mountains. 

DIAMONDBACKS: 82-80 Last year everything that could go wrong did. This year, some things go right…just not enough things. 

PADRES: 59-103 Wow. A whole different level of bad for these guys. Can you name a Padre outside of Wil Myers?













CUBS over GIANTS in 4







CUBS over DODGERS in 5



INDIANS over CUBS in 6




Francisco Lindor - Indians



Nolan Arenado - Rockies



Chris Sale - Red Sox



Clayton Kershaw - Dodgers

Posted on April 2, 2017 .




  1. CAVALIERS 60-22 The champs bring back the whole gang, and barring injury (certainly possible with Irving and Love) a return to the finals is a foregone conclusion. 
  2. CELTICS 54-28 Horford provides the missing piece to a young, talented, deep team. 
  3. PACERS 53-29 People are overlooking a talented Pacers team that got better with additions of Teague and Young. 
  4. RAPTORS 51-31 Air Canada will fly high again with the core intact, but Celtics and Pacers got better while Raptors stayed the same. 
  5. PISTONS 47-35 Drummond is the most dichotomous player in basketball: The best rebounder (14.8 per game) and the worst free-throw shooter ever…literally (35.5% last season)
  6. HAWKS 43-39 A healthy Howard is a defensive upgrade over departed Horford, but an offensive downgrade. Schroder is promising, but losing Teague still hurts. 
  7. WIZARDS 43-39 This is shooting the middle: Assuming Beal/Wall/Porter miss only 25% of games with injury. Depending on health, win total could skyrocket or plunge. 
  8. HORNETS 41-41 Batum is a stud, but I’m not as hot on these guys as some. Front court is extremely unproven. 
  9. BULLS 40-42 Different cast same result; Bulls miss the playoffs again. Why sign odd assortment of non-shooting veterans, instead of launching full rebuild? 
  10. KNICKS 37-45 Bulls 2.0: Another bizarre arrangement of past-their-prime players when they should clearly be rebuilding youth around Porzingis. 
  11. BUCKS 33-49 Loss of Middleton KILLER for an ultra-athletic young team that struggles to score. 
  12. HEAT 31-51 The Big 3 are all officially gone and so are the Heat’s chances of being competitive. 
  13. MAGIC 29-53 When you are trying to build around your talented young power forward and center you pick up…another power forward and center? 
  14. NETS 22-60 The Nets have the longest, slowest rebuild of any team: no control over their top pick until 2019. 
  15. 76ERS 14-68 Loss of Simmons is a heartbreaker. The front court is stack—the back court not so much. 




  1. WARRIORS 69-13 Weird quirk where a team is actually better but has a worse record than the previous year. Statistics say some of those close games bounce the other way. 
  2. SPURS 64-18 Duncan was still valuable but rapidly fading—they won’t miss him as much as you think. It’s the Leonard/Aldridge show now. 
  3. CLIPPERS 56-26 This team has a punchers chance of surprising anyone if they can stay healthy come playoff time. 
  4. JAZZ 45-37 New PG Hill carries youthful Jazz to the playoffs—and then some. 
  5. BLAZERS 43-39 Great guard tandem raining from outside would suggest the Warriors mold…but they lack the Draymond Green part of the blue print. 
  6. GRIZZLES 43-39 There is no possible way they can be as injured as last year…can they?
  7. THUNDER 42-40 Westbrook and Co. are better than you realize…just not quite good enough. 
  8. TIMBERWOLVES 40-42 Super-talented young ‘wolves get first taste of playoffs. Unfortunately it’s against the Warriors. 
  9. ROCKETS 39-43 Injury-prone additions do little to help Harden from their place in street clothes at the end of the bench. 
  10. MAVERICKS 38-44 I get it—it’s hard to know when to hang it up and start rebuilding, but seriously the core of this team is eligible for the AARP. 
  11. PELICANS 37-45 Davis is so good it’s terrifying, but management just can’t seem to cobble together the right pieces around him. 
  12. SUNS 28-54 Talented guards aside, this is a very incomplete team. They should probably deal Knight for some front court help. 
  13. NUGGETS 26-56 There are pieces to like here, but just not enough of them. Who will carry the torch when Gallinari goes down?
  14. KINGS 26-56 Through all the disfunction that is the Kings, there is some talent here (even beyond Cousins), but not nearly enough to field a competent team. 
  15. LAKERS 23-59 They gave Timofey Mozgov 64 million dollars for some reason. Anyone got an answer for that? 





Cavaliers def. Celtics in 6



Warriors def. Clippers in 5


Warrios def. Cavaliers in 6



Russell Westbrook

Posted on October 25, 2016 .



Astros 94-68 The most talented group of youngsters not named the Cubs. They have few weaknesses; they hit, they run, they defend, and they pitch. 

Mariners 85-77 Addition of Lind/Aoki's OBP compliments M's power and look for big improvements from young hurler Walker, but they fall just short. 

Rangers 83-79 I'm not as hot on the Rangers as others; they are depending on a lot of older players to repeat and injured players to get healthy. Not a good recipe for October. 

Angels 79-83 Yes Trout is awesome, and there are some decent pieces around him, but that rotation has more question marks than The Riddler's suit coat. 

Athletics 72-90 They aren't as bad as last year's record would suggest, but they are still the worst team in the American League. 



White Sox 87-75 Sale/Quintana/Rodon are going to mow opposing batters down right and left, and the additional bats will be just enough for them to snatch the division.

Royals 86-76 The champs can hit, and their pitching is golden from the 7th on, but who's going to pitch the first 6 innings? The starting pitching is all kinds of bad. 

Tigers 86-76 The rotation is suspect, and the bullpen, while better is far from fixed. But this is one of the best offensive clubs in baseball, period. 

Indians 84-78 The exact opposite of the Tigers; the arms are elite, but they just won't score enough runs. The loss of Brantley for several months is killer. 

Twins 77-85 They are stacked with young talent, but last year was a aberration. They are still a few years (and a few pitchers) away. 



Blue Jays 89-73 They will swat their way to another division title. That collection of bats is historic levels of awesome. The rotation is mediocre, but enough. 

Red Sox 85-77 Without a doubt they are better, but who pitches after Price? If you believe any of those guys will be healthy or effective you are delusional. 

Rays 83-79 Their arms are the envy of the league. Their bats are improved, just not improved enough. 

Orioles 82-80 They will hit a bunch of homers and also give up a bunch of runs. Lots of 8-6 losses in their future. 

Yankees 78-84 There is no way in hell you get the production from A-Rod/Tex/Beltran you got last year. Everyone here is old, fragile or both. 




Giants 92-70 New pitching additions help, and Span is true leadoff man they've always needed. Ultra-balanced Giants will go as far as Cueto's elbow allows.

Diamondbacks 89-73 There is huge talent here, but the depth is paper thin. Assuming the new arms and familiar bats stay healthy, this is a playoff-level team. 

Dodgers 87-75 The loss of Grienke hurts obviously, the loss of Brett Anderson is salt-in-the-wound. I'm not sure Pederson can hit for average or Puig can, well, stop being Puig.

Padres 72-90 Cashner and Ross bounce back, which means they are dealt at the deadline. Will Myers ever be healthy? 

Rockies 70-92 Those bats are stellar, but their pitching is the worst in a lot. 



Cubs 98-64 Unreal talent. One of those weird quirks where the team is significantly better, but doesn't show in the record much due to some natural regressions.

Pirates 89-73 People are overlooking this team due to losses on rotation. Don't. There are arms in the pipeline and they have the best outfield trio in baseball. 

Cardinals 87-75 The pitching is very, very good, even if they are due for a regression to career norms. The bats are going to struggle, especially with the injury to Peralta. 

Brewers 68-94 The "loser" in the NL Central race-to-the-bottom. Their pitching is slightly less awful than the Reds. 

Reds 66-96 Believe it or not, there are teams that are worse than the Reds in baseball: See the NL East...



Mets 92-70 This is assuming all the young flame-throwers stay healthy. If one of these guys goes down they are in trouble, because the lineup is just okay. 

Nationals 90-72 Outside of Harper, the offense is injury-prone and unreliable. But the rotation is already very good, and there are pitching prospects on the way. 

Marlins 82-80 The only team in the NL that isn't either really good or really bad. They have excellent pieces, but not enough talent to support them. 

Braves 62-100 Good gracious, this team is bad in every phase of the game. A painful rebuild is on the way, but they got a king's ransom for Miller from the D'Backs. 

Phillies 58-104 As terrible as this team is, the future is bright. Their farm system is getting restocked and they have some studs just entering the MLB level. 



Tigers over Royals



Pirates* over Nationals

*Pirates win play-in game over Diamondbacks



Astros over Tigers in 3

Blue Jays over White Sox in 4



Cubs over Pirates in 4

Giants over Mets in 5



Astros over Blue Jays in 6

Giants over Cubs in 7



Astros over Giants in 6



1) Carlos Correia, Astros

2) Mike Trout, Angels

3) Manny Machado, Orioles

4) Josh Donaldson, Blue Jays

5) Francisco Lindor, Indians



1) Paul Goldschmidt, Diamondbacks

2) Anthony Rizzo, Cubs

3) Bryce Harper, Nationals

4) Nolan Arenado, Rockies

5) Andrew McCutchen, Pirates



1) Chris Sale, White Sox

2) Felix Hernandex, Mariners

3) Danny Salazar, Indians

4) Chris Archer, Rays

5) Carlos Carrasco, Indians



1) Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers

2) Matt Harvey, Mets

3) Gerrit Cole, Pirates

4) Madison Bumgarner, Giants

5) Jacob deGrom, Mets

My Favorite Love Story: Leaving Las Vegas

This was originally posted at  a culture blog based in my hometown.  It's been a year, so I feel justified in posting it to my site. 

Love stories aren't my area of expertise.  I write about gods, demons, and fascist governments.  Nicholas Sparks, I ain't.  However, even surly speculative fiction writers can be touched by a well-written, thoughtful examination of human connectedness.  That's why Leaving Las Vegas is my favorite love story.  I am referring to John O'Brien's novel, however, the film adaptation from 1995 is a pitch-perfect retelling, and has great merit in its own right.  

    Within a few pages of Leaving Las Vegas I was transported to the seedy underbelly of Vegas.  It was 2am and I was standing on the strip, watching the flashing lights reflected in puddles of beer and the glazed eyes of junkies.  Like the city itself, the book is loud, abrasive, shameless and ultimately heart-breaking.  But unlike the city, Leaving Las Vegas cuts through the neon and soiled bedsheets and asks "now what?"

    The book examines two self-destructive lost souls: Ben, a successful-guy-turned-drunk in the final stages of alcoholism, and Sera, a weary prostitute on the downside of her prime.   They arrive in the city at different times, with different agendas, but a chance encounter brings them together.  

    Leaving Las Vegas is the most moving, powerful love story I have ever read for a few reasons.  For one, there isn't a shred of falseness, cliche, or candy-coating in the book.  They are two people who have destroyed their lives beyond repair, that briefly find existential meaning in a relationship with each other.  It doesn't fix them.  It doesn't make them industrious, tax-paying citizens.  They share a period of peace and togetherness in their otherwise lonely, rudderless lives.

    The love between Ben and Sera takes root in the most toxic soil.  Two broken people with nothing to offer momentarily grasp something pure and divine. Their love is a flower growing in the trash of a Las Vegas gutter.  Its beautiful because it wasn't potted or cared for.  It flowered in spite of the poison all around it.  

    If you read the book, be prepared to be offended, disgusted, and depressed.  But also be prepared to be moved by the most unlikely of characters and knocked flat by the transcendence of love.  

Confession Corner: Damn That Bieber!

At first I thought it was a passing aberration. What Do You Mean? would come on the radio and I would begrudgingly notice the little pan flute part was catchy as hell. I would find myself whistling the tune at work, and freeze—terrified someone would recognize the song and all my credibility as a music connoisseur would be destroyed. 

Then Sorry hit the airwaves and I knew there was something seriously wrong with me. It wasn't just one little part, it was the whole damn song! I was panicked. I listen to Minor Threat. I listen to The Doors. I don't listen to Justin Bieber. 

The clincher was when Love Yourself started its rounds. I would catch myself singing—lets be real, belting—"My mama don't like you, and she likes everyone one" in the shower. That was when I realized it. I'd gone native with the 12 year old girls. There was no coming back from this. I liked Justin Bieber, God help me. 

I am considering starting a support group for grown-ass-men-who-usually-have-good-taste-in-music-but-accidentally-started-liking-Justin-Bieber and our families. I think I'll call it GAMWUHGTIMBASLJB - ANON. The only way we can heal is if we come out of the shadows. 


NBA Predictions 2015-2016:




RAPTORS 48-34Stole DeMarre Carroll to add to stacked back court. Front court talented but thin.  

CELTICS 43-39Adding Lee/Johnson smart move.  Not sure how all the pieces fit together, but there is talent here.  

NETS 42-40Stuck in neutral; too good to tank, but too bad get past first round of playoffs.

KNICKS 22-60Better than last year, but that's not saying much.  Phil is stick in the 90s;  The triangle is irrelevant in today's NBA, let it go.  

76ERS 21-61 Noel and Okafor are imposing front court, but this team is young, raw and will take their lumps.  




CAVALIERS 64-18The bugs have been worked out.  Barring injury, this team dominates.  

BULLS 54-28Trying to catch Warrior Magic, Bulls bring back same team with new coach, hoping to get over the hump.  

BUCKS 51-31 This team is stacked, I mean STACKED with young talent.  East Finals not out of the question.  

PISTONS 31-51The Jackson/Drummond connection is good, but they don't have much on the wings.  

PACERS 28-54The front court is going to be eaten alive by, well, everyone.  




HEAT 51-31A full season of Dragic/Wade/Deng/Bush/Whiteside should be much better.  

HAWKS 50-32 No knock on the Hawks, their starters are good and their coaching is great, but they will miss Carroll.

WIZARDS 47-35Young, talented, fragile guards will miss leadership and scoring of Pierce.

MAGIC 30-52Talented youngsters just can't quite pull it all together, but they will improve. 

HORNETS 29-53Jefferson is good, but Walker is one of the least efficient scorers in the league, and Batum has injury problems.  









SPURS59-23The next "Big Three" (Leonard/Greed/Aldridge) might be better than the last one.  Scary. 

ROCKETS 56-26They are actually better than last year, but record won't show it due to stout division.  And some guys named the Spurs.  

PELICANS 52-30Davis and Co. get first taste of playoff success.  

GRIZZLIES51-31Grizz keep doing what they do; playing great D, giving other teams headaches in the playoffs, but falling just short.

MAVERICKS 42-40 Sort of the Nets West, not bad by any stretch, but not really good either.





THUNDER 57-25KD and friends fatten up on bad division.  Crazy talent, but as last year showed, not deep enough. 

JAZZ 43-39I'm not as high on this "sleeper" as some folks are, but I do think they are good enough to take the 8 seed.  

TIMBERWOLVES 24-58Young talent starts to pay small dividens.  The tide is turning, albeit slowly.

NUGGETS 23-59 How much will the Nugs miss Lawson?  Try finishing behind the T'Wolves on for size.  

TRAILBLAZERS 20-62The painful rebuild starts.  That being said, Lillard is a good centerpiece to build around.  




WARRIORS 62-20Most well-coached team not named the Spurs in the league.  

CLIPPERS 58-24The Clips added much-needed depth and are a strong dark horse for the title.  

SUNS 39-43They have a few nice pieces, no nothing collectively that is enough to compete in the West.  

KINGS31-51Cousins is really, really good.  Rudy Gay is no slouch, but the rest of this roster is kind of a mess.  

LAKERS 25-57 Russell and a healthy Randle make for intriguing future, but the present is ugly.  




CAVS def BULLS in 6.  LeBron continues to ruin my basketball season by eliminating the Bulls.  Again.  Perhaps you have seen this before.  


SPURS def WARRIORS in 7.  Epic series ends with Spurs beating the champs on their own court.  


SPURS def CAVS in 7.  Spurs break the collective hearts of Cleveland by denying them a title again.  


MVP:  James HardenLeBron's healthy, talented support cast actually hurts his numbers a bit, whereas Lawson's presence allows Harden to score even more. 

Posted on October 27, 2015 .

Being Crappy: My Experience as a Writer Lacking Brains, Talent and Formal Writing Education


f there is one thing I've learned from writing fiction for ten years it's that I'm a crappy writer.  I use infinite-verb pharses.  My diction swings from colloquial to formal in nonsensical patterns.  My narrative distance is schizophrenic; in someone's head one minute, a million miles above them the next.  My grammar stinks.  My syntax is worse.  


In all of my failures in the literary field I have learned that my ideas are hackneyed, underdeveloped cliches and my writing is stilted, clunky garbage.  As I analyze the reasons for my continual artistic face-plants, I have come to the conclusion that every successful writer has at least one of these three things: Superior intellect, prodigous talent, or a formal education in writing.  


I certainly don't have superior intellect.  My ideas would be dismissed as infantile and absurd in the hallowed halls of academia.  I can't even understand some of my intellectual friends' facebook posts, much less the philosophy, economics, or physicsthat they study.  


I also lack prodigous talent.  Some people integrate all the mind-numbing rules of what makes good writing into their collective literary voice as if it is the most natural thing in the world.  And for those with prodiguous talent, it is the most natural thing in the world.  For me, it is a constant battle between flat, boring prose and stilted, flowery abstractions.  Somewhere, between those two things is good writing.  Or so I hear.  


Some writers can attain proficency via formal education.  While I do have a Master's Degree, it is in a completely unrelated field.  Sorry to say, there is not a lot of synergy between Social Work and Creative Writing.  


So what make me think I have anything to say? Why do I have a right to self-publish my innane drivel and take up space on the internet with my dopey blog?  The answer, it turns out, came from my son.  


My wife handed me a blue piece of paper when I got home from work one day.  On it was a lopsided circle.  In the circle were two asymmetrical dots and a squiggly line underneath.  There were two parallel lines sticking out of the bottom of the lumpy circle.  After a moment I saw what it was; a person.  It was my three-year-old's first concrete concept, rendered in way that you could discern what it was.  It moved me so deeply, I started crying.  I could see the labor and passion he had put into it.  I could see his creative spirit channelled into a tangible work.  It was art.  Beautiful, touching, powerful art.  


I had an epiphany when I saw his drawing.  It didn't matter that it wasn't revolutionary avant-garde Cubism that was going to define American art for generations.  It spoke to me more than any other piece of visual art ever had.  It was a genuine expression of all the physical, psychological and spiritual things that make him who he is, filtered through his fingers.  


That's when I realized that, no matter how crappy my writing is, it still has the ability to speak to someone.  There is no person who has the exact same make-up of life experience, principles, faults, emotions, knowledge, or even gaps in knowledge that I have.  There is no human like me, or you, or the kid next door. Therefore the art that we create is a unique confluence of innumerable factors, brought together in a synethesis that is unlike what anyone else has created, ever.  


Even if you write the most cliche vampire romance novel, nearly indesernible from the thousands, maybe millions of novels just like it, there is something unique about it because of its creator's subjective interaction with the world.  There is also someone out there who is bound to me moved, touched, entertained, or amused by it.  


Art is a subjective experience.  Try as we might to apply concrete principles and therefore create "objective" criticism, it is an act of futility.  What one person finds boring, mindless, inscrutable, shallow, arbitrary, or self-important, another person is going to be riveted by.  Or it will make them laugh until they pee their pants at the library.  Or it will remind them of their first love and mystify them with nostalgia.  Just as the elements that make up the artist are a unique sequence of traits, so too are those that make-up the reader.  The themes of any one piece are bound to communicate themselves effectively to someone out there who has the necessary make-up to be touched by just such a piece.


So that is why I keep writing my crappy stories, and why I encourage other crappy writers to keep writing their crappy stories.  Because they are purely our own, imperfect as the persons who created them, mined from a psyche made of endless possibilities.  And the outcome of this expedition-of-the-imagination is bound to speak to someone, infinite-verb phrases and all.  

Posted on October 19, 2015 .

NFL Predictions: 2015


* indicates widlcard



RAVENS 11-5:  A well balanced team that can pass, run and defend comes out atop rugged divison

*BENGALS 10-6 Another season, another playoff trip.  Is this the year they finally win a playoff game?

STEELERS 9-7 The Iron Curtain is showing a lot of holes. This D can't stop anyone, but man can Ben pass!  

BROWNS: 5-11 On D these guys are no slouches, but that offense...Yikes!



PATRIOTS 10-6 With Brady and Co. the victors in the "Deflategate" Saga, it will be business as usual.

JETS 10-6 Fitz is better than Geno anyway.  Defense keeps Jets within an eyelash of making the playoffs. 

DOLPHINS 10-6 Tannehill is the most underrated QB in NFL, but the man needs a suppoting cast.

BILLS 9-7 If Taylor is legit NFL QB and McCoy is healthy, these guys could be 11-5. Don't count on it. 



COLTS 13-3 Colts fatten up on dreadful division.  But that doesn't mean they aren't for real. 

TEXANS 5-11 Losing Foster for significant time is killer, though D is still stacked.  

JAGUARS 4-12 Team is slowly turning the ship around, but its a long, slow process.

TITANS 3-13 Mariota enters tough situation; no real weapons and spotty line protection



BRONCOS 10-6 Peyton's last hurrah is another good team who falls just short

*CHARGERS 10-6 Chargers could always pass and addition of Gordon will help the run.

CHIEFS 9-7 Good-but-not-great Chiefs sputter because of mediocre pass game (again).

RAIDERS 6-10 There are very promising pieces here, but they are still a few years from relevance. 



PACKERS 11-5 Loss of Nelson hurts, but not enough to derail Rodgers and Co.

*VIKINGS 10-6 Promising Bridgewater gets his first taste of playoff football with help from AP.

LIONS 8-8 Yes they can pass, but what else can they do? They won't be the same without Suh

BEARS 5-11 D is bad, but can't be as bad as last year, but Loss of White makes O worse.



COWBOYS: 9-7 'Boys worse than last year but stil good enough to win mediocre division. 

EAGLES 9-7 Bradford gets hurt (big surprise) but Sanchez effective in Kelly system. D if awful, though.

GIANTS 7-9 They will pass well, run poorly and play little to no defense.  

REDSKINS 4-12 What a mess football in the Capital is these days.  



SAINTS 9-7 The D is not as good as '13 but not as bad as '14. Brees still Brees.  

PANTHERS 8-8 Cam is for real, but loss of Benjamin is killer on thin receiving corp.

BUCCANEERS 6-10 Winston has some nice weapons and will have a respectable rookie season. 

FALCONS 6-10 Another team that can pass but can't do much else.  



SEAHAWKS 14-2 Jimmy G. added to this team? That isn't even fair.  

*CARDINALS 9-7 It all depends of Palmer's health. Coaching, D, and Receivers great, but not enough without QB.

RAMS 8-8 Foles true ability somewhere between great '13 and mediocre '14

49ERS 4-12 Worse offseason ever results in dismal showing.  




(6) Bengals def (3) Patriots - The Bengals end their playoff W drought in style by beating champs in Foxboro

(4) Broncos def (5) Chargers - Peyton delivers carries his team for another deep run

(3) Cowboys def (6) Cardinals - Too much talent in pass game for Cards to handle

(5) Vikings def (4) Saints - Peterson runs over soft Saints D to the tune of 150+ yards



(1) Colts def (6) Bengals - The Bengals put a scare in the top seed but ultimately fall

(3) Broncos def (2) Ravens - Broncos avenge double overtime thriller loss of a few years ago

(1) Seahawks def (5) Vikings - Seahawks give young Vikings a lesson in playoff football

(2) Packers def (3) Cowboys - Last year's rematch, same result.



(1) Colts def (3) Broncos - the torch officially passed from Manning to Luck

(1) Seakhawks def (2) Packers - Stop me if you've heard this...last year's rematch, same result.


Seahawks def Colts - Luck continues to improve every year and make it one round farther, but Seahawks just too good on both sides of the ball for anyone to beat.  

Posted on September 7, 2015 .





Orioles 87-75 Healthy Wieters and Machado ease loss of Cruz. Rotation is better than you think

Blue Jays 86-76 Losing Stroman for season hurts, but Jays sneak into Wildcard with bats. 

Red Sox 80-82 Popular pick to take division will hit well, but that rotation is godawful.  

Rays 77-85 That rotation is still really good.  The bats are still really not.  

Yankees 74-88 This team is old, injury-prone, and lacking in talent.  Period.  



Tigers 89-73 Even with an aging Martinez and Cabrera, still the team to beat in the Central

White Sox 84-78 Savvy offseason moves addressing needs puts southsiders just short of playoffs

Indians 83-79 A legitimately talented team that is just a few pieces short.  

Royals 81-81 KC brass follows up World Series appearance with...letting talent walk and no big signings. 

Twins 69-93 The prospects are developing, but a few more woeful years are in the cards for Minnesota. 



Mariners 90-72 Cruz and Jackson the missing pieces.  Oh yeah, and they have some guy named "Felix Hernandez" too

Angels 87-75 Don't get me wrong, Trout's a stud, but Hamilton and Wilson are a mess, and Richards is hurt.  

Astros 79-83 Young pitching is legit.  Young bats are getting there.  This is what progress looks like.  

Rangers 70-92 The injury bug strikes again: Darvish out for the year on an already thin rotation.  

Athletics 69-93  I think Billy Bean's a genius.  With that said, I have no idea what he was doing in the offseason. 



Nationals 102-60 The last guy who doesn't make the rotation on this team could be an ace elsewhere.  They are that good. 

Marlins 87-75 Stanton/Ozuna/Yellich might be best young outfield in baseball.

Mets 73-89 If you believe Mets pitching is going to stay healthy I have ocean front property in Kansas I will sell you.

Braves 70-92 Plunging headlong into rebuilding mode.  Wise choice, but makes for painful season. 

Phillies 64-98 Just now dipping toes in rebuilding process they should have started 4 years ago. 



Cardinals 89-73 Cards continue to churn out competitive teams every year.  Ho-hum. 

Pirates 88-72 Great bats and just-enough pitching to get into the wildcard round again.

Cubs 83-79 My beloved Cubs will be better, but temper expectations; depending on prospects a recipe for disappointment.

Reds 83-79 They will be better simply due to 3 quarters of their lineup not being on the DL this year. 

Brewers 76-86  Better than record would suggest, but stuck in a now-stacked division. 



Dodgers 92-70 The only thing holding them back is the back half of their rotation. 

Padres 86-76 New faces lead to more success...just not quite enough for October baseball

Giants 84-78 Champs take their odd-year hiatus.  This time because of missing bats and aging arms. 

Rockies 76-86 There are some crazy good hitters on this team, but their pitching is the worst in baseball

Diamondbacks 71-91 The desert will be a lonely place again this summer.  




Angles def Blue Jays

Marlins def Pirates




Angels def Mariners in 4

Tigers def Orioles in 4


Nationals def Marlins in 3

Dodgers def Cardinals in 5




Tigers def Angels in 5

Nationals def Dodgers in 6




Nationals def Tigers in 5



Mike Trout - Angels



Giancarlo Stanton - Marlins



Felix Hernandez - Mariners



Madison Bumgarner - Giants

Posted on April 2, 2015 .

NBA Predictions 2014-15



Raptors - 51-31  Talented core returns and fattens up on a bad division.  Lowry shows he's worth every penny.  

Nets - 40-42  Wily old vets limp into playoffs and give better seeds a scare.  But still lose.  

Knicks 38-44  It will take a while to adjust to the triangle offense.  It was take longer to get good players around Melo.

Celtics 30-52 They actually have some exciting young players, but they will take their lumps...again.  

76ers 15-67 Like the Celtics, talent young players, but they will take even bigger lumps.  HUGE lumps actually.  


Bulls 60-22 So deep they could field 2 teams.  2 playoff teams even.  

Cavaliers 56-26.  The most talented starting five in the NBA but it will take them a bit to gel.  

Pistons 39-43 A formidable front court is derailed by Brandon Jennings chucking up 25 shots a game and making 7 of them.  

Pacers 34-48 A team that was going to struggle to score by losing Lance Stephenson now loses their remaining scorer, Paul George for the year due to a broken leg.  That's rough.  

Bucks 28-54 Parker and the Greek Freak are legit, but too young to avoid a last place finish.  The future is bright, though.  


Hornets 49-33 His histrionics aside, Stephenson can play, and adds the 3rd scoring option they need to win a division with lots of good teams, but no great teams.  

Heat 48-34  Without LeBron, they are merely mortal, but don't pronounce them dead yet.  There is still a lot of talent here.  

Wizards 46-36 Losing Beal to injury puts them in a hole they have to climb out of.  But this a team no one wants to face in the playoffs.  

Hawks 45-37 They have a lot of talent, but I'd wager a starter or two will be in a cast on the bench every night.  

Magic- 29-53  Oladipo is going to miss time.  They will miss Affalo.  More growing pains to come.  




Clippers 58-24 This team is loaded with talent that has played together for a long time.  This is the year they break through.  

Warriors 56-26 Just an eyelash behind the Clips on talent.  Will continue to be stuck behind the slightly superior team.  

Suns 41-41 They've got a ridiculous amount of talented guards, but I'm not sure about that front court.  Think they overachieved a bit last year.  

Kings 34-48 Rudy Gay is good.  DeMarcus Cousin's is great.  But they can't get over the hump without better guard play. 

Lakers 30-52 Kobe is old and broken down.  The rest of the cast is made up of misfits and castoffs.  The Clips are officially the real show in town.  


Thunder 52-30 Very talented but not very deep team feels the loss of their star for first few months but bounces back to win the division.  

Trailblazers 51-31 Puts a scare in the Thunder, but comes up just short.  

Nuggets 42-40  In the Eastern conference this team is playoff material, but not in the rugged west. 

Jazz 32-50 Don't get me wrong, I like Hayward a lot.  But that contract is just silly on a team that's probably still a ways from competing.  

Timberwolves 28-52 Move suffering in Minnesota, but with a silver lining.  Wiggins will be the ROY.  


Spurs 55-27 Tim and Co. continue to do their thing.  Almost 2 decades of playoff appearances?  All in a days work.  

Pelicans 49-33 Ultra talented young Pelicans surprise everyone but me by making the playoffs.  And not just squeaking in, either.  

Mavericks 47-35  Geriatric Mavs still compete.  Chandler a nice defensive addition, for the brief periods he plays between injuries.  

Rockets 44-38 Could have been championship material but they struck out in every conceivable way in free agency.  Harden/Howard still keep them in the playoffs...barely.  

Memphis 43-39  Another western conference casualty.  This team is a 4-5 seed if its in the east, just based on its defense.  


Cavaliers over Bulls in 7.  A series for the ages, but starting talent wins out against depth on this occasion.  

Clippers over Spurs in 6.  Clippers surprise Spurs, who's age finally catches up to them.  


Cavaliers over Clippers in 5.  Cavs win in a gentleman's sweep.  Clips can't handle the wing play of Lebron or the "stretch 4" play of Love.  




Posted on October 26, 2014 .

NFL Predictions 2014




Packers: 11-5.  Great QB, improved run game, but unreliable O line and defense keep them from being elite.  

Bears: 11-5 An impressive array of offense weapons and a better (but not great) defense returns Da Bears to Da Playoffs

Lions: 8-8 Man can they pass and stop the run, but inability to stop pass in passing league a killer. 

Vikings: 5-11 AP is still AP, but QB is still QB.  In that they don't have one.  Also can't stop the pass.  



Eagles: 10-6. An incredible offense and terrible defense, is enough to win a bad division. 

Redskins: 8-8. Offense is good but not as dynamic as Eagles. Defense is just awful. 

Giants: 6-10. Eli was dreadful last year, but even if he is better, who runs the ball? The championship window is officially closed.  

Cowboys: 4-12.  Good offense, but aging/injured Romo, oft-injured Murray and historically bad D equals Jason Garrett pink slip.  



Saints: 12-4 The offense is incredible.  The defense is solid now.  Sleeper for the Superbowl.  

Falcons: 9-7 Injuries sunk their season last year.  This year they are better, but run game and D keep them out of the playoffs.  

Buccaneers: 7-9 There is talent on this team, but the question at QB is a big concern. McCown success was product of good Trestman system. 

Panthers: 7-9 Losses to receiving core and injury questions about Newton make for a step back.  Great D keeps them in games though. 



Seahawks: 11-5 Still Young and freakishly talented.  How does anyone score against them? 

49ers: 11-5 Identical model to Seahawks makes this a tossup. Flip a coin on who wins division. 

Cardinals: 9-7 The sad irony of the NFL; a team that is more talented than last year has a worse record because of a brutal schedule.  

Rams: 4-12 I didn't believe in the Rams with Bradford, and I sure as heck don't believe in them without him.  



Bengals: 12-4 Perpetually underrated team gets within a game of Superbowl.  Great O and D, what's not to like? 

Steelers: 7-9 The defense is too old.  The offense is too 1 dimensional. Storied franchise struggles again. 

Ravens: 6-10 See Steelers.  Same problem.  

Browns: 4-12 They are headed in the right direction but suspension of Gordon is a killer. 



Patriots: 11-5 Pats fatten up on bad division. Better secondary certainly helps their cause. 

Bills: 7-9 They have some pieces in place and I think Manuel has promise, but they are still not there yet. 

Jets:  7-9 The defense is still good, but Geno was very erratic last year. Decker was only good because Manning was throwing to him. 

Dolphins: 6-10 Tennehill has promise too, but O line is still a mess, and Moreno won't be healthy. 



Colts: 10-6 Another good-but-not-great team who wins a weak division.  Run game is a mess. 

Texans: 8-8 They make a nice turnaround by destroying opposing QBs, but fall short of playoffs. 

Titans: 7-9 Locker has serious promise but serious health issues too.  Not enough support cast even if he is healthy.  

Jaguars: 2-14. Jones-Drew is gone. Blackmon is in legal trouble. Any other roster as bereft of talent as this one?  



Broncos:  13-3  Offense is still elite.  D should be better.  Scary team.  

Chargers: 10-6 Team that really gelled late last year comes back in tact.  Rivers still a stud.  

Chiefs: 9-7 Smith is steady.  Charles is great.  Defense is still good.  They will be back in the playoffs. 

Raiders: 3-13 A funhouse of awful.  Multiple large contracts for declining vets. Who runs this team and how do they still have a paycheck?  






(6) 49ers defeat (3) Packers

(5) Bears defeat (4) Eagles

(3) Patriots defeat (6) Chiefs

(5) Chargers defeat (4) Colts




(1) Saints defeat (6) 49ers

(2) Seahwaks defeat (5) Bears

(1) Broncos defeat (5) Chargers

(2) Bengals defeat (3) Patriots



(1) Saints defeat (2) Seahawks

(1) Broncos defeat (2) Bengals




Broncos defeat Saints

Posted on August 27, 2014 .

The 5 Douche-iest Instruments in the World

It never fails.  You are driving through campus on move-in weekend and you see a  douche-bag in a horizontally-striped tank top outside his frat strumming one for a circle of sorority girls.  Or you are working on your novel in a coffee shop and a white-guy-with-dreds douche is pounding one and reading free verse poetry.  They are the dreaded douche-y instruments.  Try as you might, you can't escape douche bags, nor can you escape the fact that they all play one of these five instruments, and invariably always have it with them, ready to be played.  I want to talk about the 5 Douche-iest instruments in the world.  

Let me give you a disclaimer:  Not all of these instruments are inherently douche-y.  Many of them (except for 1 notable exception) can be used to make wonderful music, that is not in the least bit douche-y.  However, for whatever reason, these instruments draw a disproportionate amount of douche-bags who are eager to impress woman or generally appear cool.  Thus, they are the 5 douche-iest instruments of all time.  

  #5 The Mandolin

The mandolin's douche-yness is a relatively new development.  For many decades it was simply a cute little twanger used along side slide guitars, and stand-up basses.  It was like a less-redneck banjo.  But with folk and blue grass music's meteoric rise in popularity over the last 10 years, the collateral damage is that mandolins have fallen into the hands of douche bags.  The type of douche most likely to play a mandolin is an urban hipster who has romanticized rural-southern culture and has purposely and self-consciously dressed himself in the signature style of blue grass musicians.  This is not to be confused with the non-douchey southern guy who just genuinely likes folk music.  They both have beards and wear flannel shirts, but you can tell the difference when the douche bag says "Merle who...?" when asked about Merle Haggard.  

#4 Moog/Synthesizer/Keyboards

I am pointing the finger directly at myself on this one.  This instrument can add a unique variety of sounds to any song.  Unfortunately, untalented douches like myself will sometimes join bands under the guise of being the "keyboard player" when in truth they are the unskilled-but-well-liked friend to the band.  The real band members will tolerate the keyboard player because he is nice, or is a pretty face or has engaging stage presence.  While there are many talented piano players that play the keyboard/synthesizers in rock bands, there are many more people like me who just pretended to play an instrument to trick people into thinking they are musicians.  

#3 Steel drums

Perhaps the most regrettably douche-y instrument on the list.  Some great bands have used steel drums periodically.  Bob Marley.  The Clash.  The Police.  Unfortunately the steel drum has been hijacked by douche-nozzles ranging back to OAR in the early part of the centry to Magic! and their particularly douche-influenced song "Rude".  This would be an example of bad bands trying to appear relevant by absconding a psuedo-obscure instrument for their own pop music ends.

#2 Acoustic Guitar

The level of douche-yness increases significantly with this entry.  Some of the greatest signer song writers have twisted our hearts in knots with nothing but an acoustic guitar.  And some of the biggest douche bags in the universe have tried to imitate them in cringeworthy performances around a fire.  Or on a beach.  Or while sitting on the hood of their car.  Or at the farmer's market.  Or...

#1 Bongos...dreaded bongos.  

Simply the douche-iest thing on the planet.  Unlike the other instruments on this list which have redeeming usages throughout the history of music, bongo drums have exclusively been used by douche bags 'round the world for millions of years.  I am sure the earliest cave-douches spiked up their hair with wooly mammoth fat, popped the collar on their animal pelt shirt and started playing bongos to impress the woman he planned on hitting over the head with a club later.  As college campus's seem to be hot beds for douche activities, bongos can be found everywhere...on the quad, on the porch of the frat house, or just outside the Sculpture and Painting building.  It takes no talent.  It makes a bland sound.  It looks good paired with a soul patch...It is the DOUCHIEST INSTRUMENT IN THE WORLD!!!


Posted on August 26, 2014 .

Whimsy throughout the Galaxy

If Star Wars wasn't busy taking itself so seriously, it would be Guardians of the Galaxy.  This is not to say that Galaxy is a better movie, but simply to say the playful tone is refreshing.  

The sci-fi landscape is littered with ultra-bleak movies and books (mine included, which, by the way, is called The Charlatans and you can buy it for the low low price of 2.99 on amazon.  I'm not above shameless self promotion) or space operas rife with "serious" love stories that come across pretty clunky.  Guardians on the other hand, revels in its whimsical story-telling, quotable one-liners and 70s pop soundtrack.  

The basic premise is nothing special.  Peter Quill is abducted by alien space pirates in 1988 on the night his mother dies of cancer.  Yondu, the lead pirate becomes a tenuous father figure to the young man.  

The film's charm shows through when we meet Quill 28 years later on Morag, where the childish-but-lovable thief has been sent to steal a mysterious orb.  Chris Pratt is perfectly cast as the charismatic dope who is trying to find notoriety throughout the galaxy by calling himself "Starlord".  When the orb turns out to be more than it appears, Quill has fame thrust upon him in a way he hadn't bargained for.  

Quill inadvertently draws together a band of hilarious oddballs and misfits, as well as drawing the ire of several evil-but-oh-so-cool villains.  

The movie works well because it blends elements of space opera (unique alien races, vivid landscapes, politics and subterfuge) with elements of farce (humor, self-awareness, snappy dialogue) in a seamless, even tone.  It's exciting, funny, visually stunning and, while no one is going to get it confused with a nuanced character study, the heroes have a little depth to them.  

Additionally, the heroes have great chemistry, and quirks that make for fun, memorable scenes. Bradley Cooper's genetically-altered raccoon is a constant stream of sarcasm, while Dave Bautista's Drax character can only understand things in literal terms, which makes for some of the funnier parts of the movie.  While there a bit too many baddies in the movie, they are stylish and scary, as good space opera villains should be.  

The film does fall flat a bit in places.  The scene with Quill's mother dying is quite cheesy, and there are a few parts where it is trying too hard to be funny and it just doesn't work.  These flaws are minor and easy to overlook in light of all the things there are to like about the movie.  

Overall, Guardians of the Galaxy is a highly entertaining, easy-to-digest piece of summer fare I would encourage anyone to go see.  Along with Edge of Tomorrow it gets my "Summer Movie of the Year" award (Honorable mention to X-Men: Days of Future Past).    Final Grade:  B+  

Posted on August 9, 2014 .