MLB Preseason Outlook: NL East

Stephen Strasburg and the Washington Nationals look in good position to challenge for the division title this season.

The Eastern division of the National League will provide an entertaining race this season.  With the NL East featuring the wheeling-and-dealing Washington Nationals, the new look Miami Marlins, and the sideshow organization that is the New York Mets, you’d be hard pressed to find a dull moment in this division this season.  The Philadelphia Phillies ran away with the division last year with the best record in baseball, and the Atlanta Braves had their shot to get into the playoffs as a Wild Card, but let an 8.5 game lead slip as the St. Louis Cardinals stole the playoff berth.  All said, the Braves finished 13 games behind the Phillies, and the Nationals finished 8.5 games behind Atlanta.  This year could produce a different story as a result of the numerous offseason moves in the division.

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Baseball Season’s Underway

Baseball fans, get ready for a brand new day: spring training has begun in Arizona and Florida for all thirty MLB teams.  As a baseball fan, I’ve been counting down the days until pitchers and catchers report to their respective camps; it is here where questions and speculations get answered.  Who’s going to lead the rotation?  Who’s going to play first base on opening day, and who’s going to start the season in AAA?  Who’s going to bat leadoff?  Will Yoenis Cespedes measure up to the hype?  All of these questions will be answered by the end of March when the spring training games have been played, but for now, the players are gathered only for team workouts.

For these first few weeks, it’s just players taking their cuts in the cage for batting practice, and pitchers limbering up throwing off the mound, but for fans, this is enough.  The baseball season ended in October (September if you’re a Braves or Red Sox fan, May if you’re an Astros fan), and through the winter all that was available to talk about was what happened in the season, what your team needed to do over the offseason, and then count down the days until spring training started.  And now, the days made for nine inning escapes from the daily grind are back.

Baseball is a special sport because it never stops.  If games aren’t being played, then teams are trading players, and when teams are trading, fans have something to talk about. With the start of spring training, we now sit at the start of the cycle, which holds all of the hopes and none of the crushed dreams that the end of the regular season holds.  At this point, the division is still winnable, the League Championship Series can still be reached, and the World Series can still be captured- in theory, of course.

So sit back and enjoy the promise of the season ahead. Your team is still in first place, and your seat in the stadium is waiting to join with the masses in singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

After Capello, England wonders what’s next

By: Kiran Balan

With the sudden resignation of Fabio Capello, the English Football Association has been left scrambling for a replacement. According to press reports and rumors, the F.A. prefers a manager who is English, but is England ready to give another Englishman a chance after the failures of Steve McClaren?

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Return Of The Kick Off

*No punches were pulled in the recording of this podcast*

This week, we covered Arsenal’s 7-1 victory of Blackburn, Chelsea’s 3-3 draw with Manchester United, and we also discussed the various pitch invaders from over the past few weeks of matches around the world.  This week’s podcast is one that you won’t want to miss!  If you have questions that you’d like for us to answer on the podcast in the future, leave them in the comments below.  Enjoy!

 

The Kick Off #3 (Right click to download)

Team/Player of the Week: 2/5

By Kiran Balan and Joe Ballard

It was another terrific weekend of soccer in the EPL, and while our team of the week was a simple choice, there were so many great individual performances we couldn’t limit the award to just one player. So have a look at DB20′s first ever player(s) of the week as well as a team who “gunned” down their opponents this weekend. Read more of this post

Super Rematch In The Circle City

On February 3rd, 2008, the New England Patriots met the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII in Glendale, Arizona.  The two teams played at University of Phoenix Stadium in what I’ve ranked as one of the top three best football games ever played in that dome, the other two being the Chicago Bears’ rally to beat the Arizona Cardinals in 2006, and the 2007 Fiesta Bowl between the Oklahoma University Sooners and Boise State Broncos.

In that season, the Patriots entered the Super Bowl as the first team to go 16-0 in the regular season, and were looking to become the first team to go 19-0 over the entire season with a win in the Superbowl.  The Giants were able to ruin New England’s plans with help from an exhilarating third and long play late in the fourth quarter that had Eli Manning spinning out of the grasp of multiple Patriot defenders and heaving a pass downfield that was caught by (now former Giant) David Tyree.  That play in turn set up the game winning touchdown pass from Manning to Plaxico Burress with 39 seconds left, leaving the Patriots’ hopes of a perfect season dashed.

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Four years later, the same teams will meet again in Indianapolis in America’s biggest game, and while a lot of changes have been made to the squads, the core players from 2008 remain, and most importantly, the quarterbacks are the same. Read more of this post

How Do You Solve A Problem Like De Gea?

Mark Bosnich, Massimo Taibi, Fabien Barthez, Andy Goram, Paul Rachubka, Raymond Van der Gouw, Ricardo, Tim Howard, Roy Carroll, Edwin Van der Sar, Ben Foster, Tomasz Kuszczak, Ben Amos, Anders Lindegaard, and David De Gea. These are the 15 goalkeepers who have started for Manchester United since the legendary Peter Schmeichel retired in 1999. Whereas Newcastle had Shay Given, Blackburn had Brad Friedel, and Bolton still has Jussi Jaaskelainen, it’s been something of a circus in the United goal for the majority of the last 13 years (the Van der Sar years aside). Read more of this post

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