The Series That Saved Baseball

The 2017 World Series has dazzled fans for 5 games.  Each game has had its own storyline that has entertained even the most novice fan.  As we enter game 6 no matter who is the winner we have seen something that may spark fans interest in a game that many people consider boring.

Game 5 of the World Series had me on the edge of my seat throughout the night. A game that no one ever felt was over, back and fourth we saw the two best teams in baseball throwing punches at each other to see who could reach down deep and show that no matter how hard you get hit, it is about how you recover. This series has shown what makes baseball great,  no matter how much you are down even the smallest and least likely player can make a huge impact.

Justin Turner was a journey man utility player that was basically given away by two teams, Jose Altuve was laughed at when he showed up at his first tryout, Brad Peacock was a 41st round pick,  Chris Taylor was traded from Seattle so they could make roster space.  These players have shown up and given us our passion back.  Baseball is the most unpredictable sport in the world, on any given day we can see something we have never seen before.

Tonight we see Justin Verlander go against Rich Hill, who was playing for a team called the Long Island Ducks just two years ago.  While we all see a clear advantage for the Astros, how can we say this is a given.  This series has given us the excitement we all watch sports for.  Who will be the hero? Who will make the play that we will be watching twenty years from now?  Jack Bucks famous line “I don’t believe what I just saw.” still gives me goosebumps.  So far this series has been that call played out in front of us.  As this series comes to it’s conclusion I hope that we as fans understand that the passion we have seen in this series is why baseball is such a great sport.  Youth and Veterans have come together and given us a show.

No matter how this night plays out I ask that you all stand up and appreciate what we have seen.  Baseball at its finest. No wild card flukes, no gimmicks needed.  This is baseball and this is sport.

2017 First Half ALL-Frustration Team

As we enter week 8 of the fantasy football season, fantasy leagues are beginning to separate themselves as the top dogs in there leagues.  On the other hand some owners still lost in the shuffle of what they need to do to make that last ditch effort.  We at “I Talk Sports and That’s It” are excited to announce our first ever All- Frustration Team.  These are the players you know you can’t pull from your lineup but they continue to let you down.  You can’t drop these guys because your know as soon as you do they will turn it around.  Congratulations to these men for making owners around the world scream cuss words at your TV as if that would help.

 Quarterback: Matt Ryan (Honorable Mention: Marcus Mariota)

At the beginning of your draft If I told you that Trevor Siemain, Jacoby Brissett and Josh McCown had more fantasy points then Matt Ryan through week 8 I am pretty sure you would laugh at me.  Ok so Ryan has has a buy week and a few injuries to receivers but excused are like buttholes… you know the rest.  Week after week we think he is going to break out and have a big game. Week after week we are let down.  But sitting out the MVP just isn’t something a fantasy owner can live with.  Ryan still has time to turn it around in a division that has some extremely poor defenses but as for now he is our man at the helm of this hair pulling squad.

Runningback: Jay Ajayi (Honorable Mention: Adrian Peterson)

Ajayi beats out the future Hall of Famer because he has had the carries.  Going into your draft the question was whether or not you draft Ajayi in the first round or not.  Well if you did I feel your pain.  Problem with Ajayi is that we have seen what he can do it if gets going.  Last season I really enjoyed having him on my bench for his first 200 yard game of the year. With a Dolphins passing attack that features “studs” like Jay Cutler and Matt Moore as your QB we would assume that it would be a run heavy attack, but no it really has not worked.  Did I mention he has as many touchdowns as I do this season?  Congrats Jay you cost us all a top 20 pick.

Wide Receiver: Terrelle Pryor Sr (Honorable Mention: Sammy Watkins)

Terrelle Pryor Sr. is going to have a breakout year. He gives Kirk Cousins a real weapon on the outside. You better draft him early.  That’s what we all thought going into the season.  Pryor Sr. looked like a star in the making while in the cesspool that is the Cleveland Browns organization.  All he needed was a consistent Quarterback that can get him the ball and he will go to the next level.  Well that turned out to be false.  Getting draft mostly in the 3rd or 4th round as a number1 or high2 receiver it is hard to accept taking him out of the lineup. It’s hard to believe that Chris Thompson and Josh Doctson are going to continue to get all the throws so we are going to continue to start Pryor.

Tightend: Coby Fleener (Honorable Mention: Austin Hooper)

Tightend was a tough position to pick this year.  At times we wanted to give this distinction to Jimmy Graham but his recent relevance has sadly cost him this distinction.  I am excited to announce our all frustration tightend is Saints Coby Fleener. Saints constantly throw the ball but where have you been Coby?? Fleener was able to catch a touchdown two straight weeks to start the season so we all believe he can bounce back, so we start him.  Four weeks of under five points continues to deflate owners.  But you can’t let him go because he is just waiting to make you regret it. Thanks for the two weeks of success Coby.

There you have it.  The first ever “I Talk Sports and That’s It” All-Frustration team.  These guys cause more excess drinking on a Sunday then a Monday holiday.

Stop Complaining

My senior year at Missouri State University I needed an internship to graduate.  Being the sports fan that I was I targeted the Springfield Cardinals minor league baseball team.  I walked into the interview excited for the chance to work in sports.  The Cardinals GM sat down and the first thing he said to me was, “We don’t pay because we don’t have to.” A bit shook I laughed and just told him I was happy for the opportunity.

Sports is a privilege, sometimes I feel that professional athletes don’t understand that.  Recently we have had to endure the complaints of players like Martavis Bryant and Eric Bledsoe about why they don’t want to be somewhere.  They have used media platforms to make sure the world knows they are unhappy. While I understand the frustrations of losing and the frustration of losing your starting spot I don’t understand the acceptance of these antics. I applaud Suns GM Ryan McDonough telling Bledsoe to go home, for every complaining player there is one that will die on the field/court for you. While these players may not have the talent you possess they have the characteristics and maturity that we should all value.

9 time pro bowler Jason Peters injured his knee in the Monday Night game against the Redskins.  As he was being carted off the field his entire team came out to show support.  The ENTIRE team!  Peters was an undrafted Tight End that converted to a pro bowl lineman, he originally took a five thousand dollar signing bonus just to get a chance to make something of himself in the NFL.  He is the definition of what a pro athlete needs to be, he earned his way to where he is.

Next time a player wants to complain or say they want to be moved they should be forced to talk with Joe Thomas for a whole day about what it means to be a team player.

World Series 2017 Preview

The Los Angeles Dodger and the Houston Astros are set to meet in what can be called the World Series of Sabermetrics. Two teams that were built around sabermetric strategy will meet in what should be an entertaining and exciting series.

Reasons why the Astros win.

Justin Verlander

Justin Verlander has not only been the most dominant pitcher in baseball since his trade, he has us reminiscing about the MVP Justin Verlander that took the world by storm in 2011. He has taken control of this team and with his leadership guys like Charlie Morton and Lance McCullers have shown not only great pitching ability but an intensity that is infectious to the team while they are on the mound.

Vets stepping up

Brian McCann and Evan Gattis came through in game 7.  Verlander has become a leader on the mound.  Carlos Beltran sits waiting for his opportunity to strike.  The Astros are looked at as this young team built over years of depressing seasons but that isn’t the case. They have a solid core of veteran players that are looking for rings and they will do anything and everything to do it. At 27 years old Jose Altuve has developed into a team leader.  He reminds me of Dustin Pedroia in 2011, he entered his 4th full season with the Red Sox and had developed in a vocal leader that also took care of business on the field. With Altuve’s leadership and a strong core of vets around him, this could be the year that the Astros win that first championship.


Reasons why Dodgers win.


Most managers in Major League Baseball have plans going into a game on what or who they are going to have to stop in order to be victorious.  With the Dodgers you don’t have that luxury.  Whether it is Austin Barnes, Kiki Hernandez, Charlie Culberson, or Justin Turner, you don’t know who is going to beat you on a given night.  Dave Roberts, who was the ultimate bench player during his career seems to have the ability to know who has going to be on or not.  The inability of an opposing manager to make a game plan can cause mistakes and any mistake in the World Series can mean the end of your run.


The Astros may have the hottest starter in baseball right now with with Justin Verlander but the Dodgers sport maybe the most imposing pitching staff in the MLB.  With four quality starters and a bullpen that can be trusted as soon as the 6th inning, Dave Roberts will be able to be comfortable in any situation to make a move and with Kenta Maeda looking lights out so far out of the bullpen Roberts can have the added depth that he needs to eat up innings and not over use guys like Kenley Janson and Brandon Morrow.  Some pitching is good, but when you have more pitching it is always better.


This is going to be a fun World Series.  With exciting young players and veterans that are looking for their first ring, this world series will be full of intensity and emotion.  Every fiber in my being is saying that the Astros have to much starting lineup power.  They have more then one guy that can hit the long ball and a red hot started.  Not to mention the most likely AL MVP.  I want to see Carlos Beltran win his first ring.  But it won’t happen this year.  Dodgers pitching and Dave Roberts decision making will be to much for the Astros to overcome.  AJ Hinch has a serious lack of confidence in his bullpen and that will cost him games.

Dodgers in 7

The Clutch Gene: it always wins.

What if I gave you the option of two different pitchers one was 14-5 with a 3.69 ERA, the other was 10-1 with a 1.69 ERA. Who would you take? The obvious answer is the 10-1 with a 1.69 ERA. But really there is no correct answer because it is a trick question. Both of these numbers belong to C.C. Sabathia . In game 3 the ALCS C.C. Sabathia showed the world why he signed a 7-year 161 million dollar contract back in 2009. Six innings of shut out ball against one of the toughest lineups in baseball and in one of the most hitter friendly parks in baseball. That 10-1 with a 1.69 ERA, those are Sabathia’s numbers after a Yankees lose in 2017. Sabathia throughout his career has shown the ability to pick up his team when needed most, I like to say the Sabathia has the “Clutch Gene”.
In sports there are just certain players that come to mind when you say “clutch”, instantly I think of Tom Brady, Derek Jeter and Micheal Jordan. These are the guys that when the lights shine brightest they perform. Sure these guys are some of the best ever to play the game, but what makes sports so amazing is the even players that can be considered mediocre or average can still have the ability to come through in times that analytically they should have no chance. Something that can’t be measure is a players ability to not only perform in the big games but make the play that no one else believed they could make.

Pablo Sandoval: World Series Career .426BA
Career: .286BA
Robert Horry: 7 NBA Championships, 4 game winning shots

Eli Manning: 8-4 Two Superbowls

Three players that are statistically not hall of famers but find ways to out perform better players. These are the type of players that will never have statues outside of of stadium. They will most likely never be considered the best in the game at any point, but they perform at the highest level possible when their team needs them.

In a sports world that is so statistically driven, this is a lost commodity. There is no way to scout the clutch gene. You either have it or you don’t. I picked the Astros in 6 games in the ALCS and I will stay with that pick but in game 3 of the ALCS C.C. Sabathia showed that even if the team on the other side has more ability, more depth and momentum, one person can change all of that with the ability to shine when needed.

Why not the Celtics?

On Tuesday the 2018 NBA season will begin with the match up that we have all been looking forward to since Kyrie Irving did the unthinkable, asking to be traded away from the Kingdom. What was once a marquee match up of the two best teams in the East has quickly turned into a soap opera sponsored by social media.

Celtics vs. Cavaliers is the only matchup that is worth a fans time in the 2018 Eastern Conference regular season. The Cavaliers open up as 3 point favorites at home. My prediction is that they cover the 3 points (contingent on Lebron playing) in game that will have a lot of back and forth moments early that will have fans wondering which team is truly the class of the conference.

While I see the Cavaliers winning on Tuesday night I do not see them running away with the Eastern Conference. Cavaliers fans see the additions of Isaiah Thomas, Derrick Rose, Dwayne Wade and Jae Crowder as replacements for Kyrie Irving. Asking Rose and Wade play at the level of Kyrie Irving is not realistic at this point in their careers. This is 2017-18 the wear and tear on both wade and Rose is very questionable. The inclusion of Isaiah Thomas gives a scoring punch that many would say can replace Kyrie. Remember that Isaiah Thomas was playing on a Celtics team that relied on him to handle all the decisions. Not only will he have a late start to the season but it is unlikely he will have much time with the ball especially in the 4th quarter. If Lebron has the willingness to hand over the reigns of the ball handling late then I believe Thomas can make an impact. But let’s be serious, that is not happening nor should it happen. I will predict at one point during the season there will be some unhappy comments in the media from one of these players.

So why not the Celtics? Athletes all over the court. The additions of Kyrie and Hayward give them a legitimate star power. Wings like Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will make people forget about Jae Crowder if they haven’t already. With the Cavaliers going smaller in the starting lineup, it plays right into the hands of a Celtics team that doesn’t have the depth in the center spot defensively. I do think that depth is problem for the Celtics. While I like their bench, the players on their bench are their for a reason. They are strictly role players. Barring an injury I think that the Celtics have a legitimate shot at dethroning the King. I see the Celtics losing Tuesday night but I also see a young hungry team with great leadership. This could be a year or two early but for now I believe the Cavaliers should be worried about their Eastern crown.