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I will make today a “Baseball Friday” as our top story of the day came from Queens as the Mets beat the Phillies 3-1 to take the NL East lead with nearly 60 games to go in the season.

I will not talk about this game much, but what I will do now is give you my official predictions for the divisions and the postseason.

I am a man who loves credit when I am right, but also admits when I am wrong. In March, I predicted the following:

NL East: Braves
NL Central: Cubs
NL West: Dodgers
NL Wildcard: Padres

AL East: Yankees
AL Central: Indians
AL West: Mariners
AL Wildcard: Tigers

Boy, did I ever strike out with the Padres and Mariners and my entire AL prediction list is a complete mess.

But anyway, find me a guy who picked the Rays and I will find you a liar, so here are my picks for the final 60 games of the year.

NL East: Phillies
NL Central: Brewers
NL West: Rockies
NL Wildcard: Cubs

AL East: Red Sox
AL Central: White Sox
AL West: Angels
AL Wildcard: Yankees

NL Champ: Brewers
AL Champ: Angels
World Series Champ: Angels

If it is indeed a Brewers/Angels Fall Classic, what a pitcher’s treat. CC Sabathia has been lights-out since moving to Milwaukee and with he and Ben Sheets going against the fabulous Angels bullpen, baseball fans will be in for a treat.

Just as a bonus:
NL MVP: Ryan Howard – Sure, the dude will strike out 200+ times and sure, his average is below .250, but there is no one that means more to their club’s success than Howard does and his hot streak will help the Phillies hold off the choke-artist Mets.

NL Cy Young: CC Sabathia – This one is a stretch, but hear me out. What spells value more than a dude who is 4-0 with a 1.36 ERA in four NL starts? If Sabathia sniffs 10-11 wins in the NL and keeps his ERA below 2.50, voters will have to consider him for the award.

AL MVP: Josh Hamilton – This is the lock of all locks. Hamilton’s story combined with his home run derby performance makes gullible sports writers like myself attracted to this kid, even though his team will be out of contention the last two months of the season.

AL Cy Young:
Mike Mussina – Again, the Moose will probably not win the award, but there is no one pitcher who means more to their club than Mussina. Without Mussina’s 13 wins, the Yankees would be 10-11 games back and would be sellers at the trade deadline. Instead, they are peaking at the right time and are ready to make a push for the postseason.
We had a football-heavy slate yesterday, so I breezed through Football Thursday. But today, our depth chart preview is back and today we are breaking down the linebackers.

The LSU linebacker crop is very talented at the top of the depth chart, but they can not afford to suffer any long-term injuries as LSU has very inexperienced backups.

But if healthy, there will not be a more athlete group in the nation.

Starting Outside Linebackers:
Perry Riley

6’1 225 junior

Riley will finally get his place in the sun after playing as a reserve for the past two seasons and serving as one of LSU’s primary special team players. The Ellenwood, GA native recorded 24 tackles this past season, including a team-high seven against Louisiana Tech. Riley will be relied heavily upon for the first time in his career, but he has passed every test given to him as a reserve.

Kelvin Sheppard

6’3 228 sophomore

The “other 11” is the only 11 this season after spending this past season as one of LSU’s best special team players. Sheppard playing sparingly this past season after backing up Ali Highsmith, but made plays when called upon, having 21 tackles with two forced fumbles and pass deflections on the season.

Others vying for playing time:

Kellen Theriot 6’1 228 freshman
Ryan Baker 6’0 210 freshman
Shomari Clemons 6’2 215 freshman
Ace Foyil 6’3 229 junior

Starting Middle Linebacker:

Darry Beckwith

6’1 225 senior

Beckwith is not only the captain of the LSU linebackers, but he is one of the captains of the entire roster, having started in 23 games in the past two seasons. Beckwith was one of many Tigers slowed by injury at the end of the 2007 season, but despite playing in pain, one can argue Beckwith is the reason the Tigers won the National Championship this past season as the Baton Rouge native intercepted an Erik Ainge pass with the Vols driving deep into LSU territory in the SEC Championship Game.

Others expected to receive playing time:
Jacob Cutrera 6’4 225 junior
Kyle Prater 6’1 208 freshman

Cutrera will receive a lot of playing time for LSU this season at all the linebacker spots as he is LSU’s most experienced reserve linebacker.

Yesterday our MMA list took care of a future Hall of Famer in the sport and today we get into the Top 7. Today we move from a proven commodity to a youngster in the sport.

No. 7 best pound-for-pound Mixed Martial Artist: Urijah Faber

Faber is the current WEC Featherweight Champion and has been arguably the best fighting champion in all of MMA having successfully defended his crown five times in the past 18 months with three of his five defenses ending in the first round.

In his most recent bout, Faber gained more “street cred” in the sport, dominating Jens Pulver by unanimous decision to again retain his title.

Many pundits have Faber higher on their pound for pound lists because of how well he has controlled the Featherweight division, but we chose to keep Faber a little lower on the list because he has yet to dominate multiple classes like some of the other stars higher on the list.

We will give you No. 6 tomorrow.


10 players, one coach suspended in WNBA brawl
– All-in-all, what a joke. Candace Parker starts a fight and gets one game. Lisa Leslie tries to break up a fight and also gets one game? Get real. If the NBA tried to pull shenanigans like this . . ., then they would have ratings like the WNBA does.

Pack may put off retiring Favre’s jersey – Ya think? I think the ceremony loses some of its luster, especially if Number Four is suiting up for the Packers’ opponent, the Vikings in Week 1.

Warriors re-sign Ellis to $66M deal
– Good get for the Warriors as Ellis has long been one of the most underrated players in the league. With BD gone, this becomes Ellis’ team and I expect big things from the former high school star.


YouTube Video of the Day:

Remember these guys? The closest thing to them play an exhibition tonight on ESPN against Canada. I will be watching. This team got game.


That’s it for me. TGIF to you all!

Flickr Photos

July 2008