10-9-09: Peek at the Picks - Fin & DFTU

Hello again everybody...

We've reached the end of the week. And it's the end of my last Monday through Friday week for the foreseeable future.

They say the only true constant in life is change. Yet somehow it still manages to sneak up on us all once in a while. So my work schedule is changing. At this point, I don't see any reason that should affect my writing. If that changes, I'll let you all know.

Speaking of things that have come to an end, the baseball playoffs are under way. And that means the regular season standings need examining. So today I'll bring you the final results of my 2009 picks.

Of course, Friday means we've got some DFTU-ing to get to!

Let us away...

”If a man will begin with certainties, he shall end in doubts; but if he will be content to begin with doubts he shall end in certainties.”
Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626), English philosopher, statesman, scientist, lawyer, jurist, and author

There were a lot of doubts about some of my picks. Some of them were well founded. Would I improve on last year's numbers?

Let's find out!

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Peek at the Picks, Final

AL East

Final Standings: New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox (whom I hate) -8, Tampa Bay Rays -19, Toronto Blue Jays -28, Baltimore Orioles -39

Dan's Picks: Boston (whom I hate), Tampa Bay, New York, Baltimore, Toronto

Kelley Formula Results: 13 of a possible 20 points

Analysis: One of only two division winners I got wrong. We've seen the Yankees spend big money in the off-season before, but apparently this year it had it's desired effect. Sabathia turned out to be a Cy Young candidate and Mark Teixeira is in the MVP discussion. After the Big Papi steroid revelation, Boston was revealed to be good, but not great. Tampa hung in til the final couple of months before internal strife killed their season. Baltimore was perhaps my biggest disappointment in the division. I really thought their young talent would start to gel. Maybe next year.

AL Central

Final Standings: Minnesota Twins, Detroit Tigers -1, Chicago White Sox -7.5, Cleveland Indians -21.5, Kansas City Royals -21.5

Dan's Picks: Minnesota, Cleveland, Chicago, Kansas City, Detroit

Kelley Formula Results: 12 of a possible 20 points

Analysis: It took an extra game to get it done, but the Twins came through for me. Obviously I was way off on the Tigers. Though they're not a great team, I think we can fairly say that 2008 was an aberration for them. Chicago was about what I figured. Cleveland was many people's pick to win the division and was so awful they got their manager fired. Kansas City? Yeah, they're still the Royals.

AL West

Final Standings: LAAAGOCRCUSPE, Texas Rangers -10, Seattle Mariners -12, Oakland Athletics -22

Dan's Picks: LAAAGOCRCUSPE, Texas, Seattle, Oakland

Kelley Formula Results: 16 of a possible 16 points

Analysis: As my buddy Drew would say, “Boo Yah”! I nailed it. I'd feel a lot better about that if it wasn't the only 4-team division in the league. But perfect is perfect, and I'll take it! LA overcame the death of a player to win the division, and I really don't think that can be overstated. Texas gave it a go, but injuries took their toll again. Seattle improved from last year, but never really contended. And Oakland was pretty much as bad as I predicted (and many others didn't).

NL East

Final Standings: Philadelphia Phillies, Florida Marlins -6, Atlanta Braves -7, New York Mets -23, Washington Nationals -34

Dan's Picks: Philadelphia, New York, Atlanta, Florida, Washington

Kelley Formula Results: 16 of a possible 20 points

Analysis: Flip-flop the Marlins and the Mets and I would've nailed it. The Mets had one of those seasons where everything that could go wrong pretty much did. But kudos to the Fish for once again proving the doubters wrong. Now that their ballpark issue is settled, if they can add a free agent or two, they'll be dangerous. The Nationals continue to thank the Pirates for making Washington only the second-worst franchise in baseball.

NL Central

Final Standings: St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs -7.5, Milwaukee Brewers -11, Cincinnati Reds -13, Houston Astros -17, Pittsburgh Pirates -28.5

Dan's Picks: Chicago, Houston, Milwaukee, St. Louis, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh

Kelley Formula Results: 16 of a possible 24 points

Analysis: Whiffed on this one pretty good. I just couldn't see St. Louis scoring enough runs to win the division. And I'm still not entirely sure how they managed it. Chicago fell apart and still managed to finish second. Which unfortunately says a little something about the performance of that team to my east. Sorry Brewer fans. I took a chance that Houston's veterans would make them contenders. I was dead-wrong. Thankfully Pittsburgh is still Pittsburgh.

NL West

Final Standings: LA Dodgers, Colorado Rockies -3, San Francisco Giants -7, San Diego Padres -20, Arizona Diamondbacks -25

Dan's Picks: Los Angeles, Arizona, San Francisco, Colorado, San Diego

Kelley Formula Results: 14 of a possible 20 points

Analysis: I got the winner right. After that? Things got a little dicey. Obviously Arizona was the big disappointment here. I didn't expect them to make the playoffs, but I certainly expected them to contend. And boy did they suck! San Francisco hung in longer than I thought they would. And what can you say about the Rockies? They were dead and buried one-third of the way into the season. But then they fired Clint Hurdle, gave the reins to Jim Tracy and played their way into the Wild Card. Phenomenal.


Combined Kelley Formula Result: 87 of a possible 120 points (72.5%)

Volume 4's CKFR: 89 of a possible 120 points (74.1%)

2008's CKFR: 86 of a possible 120 points (71.7%)

Analysis: One point. 120 possible points, and I improved my results by one stinking point. I'm not even sure I can call that an improvement. I mean when you take a .8% step, isn't that as much a statistical anomaly as anything?

That being said, I guess I'd rather be better by a point than worse by a point. Plus I managed to nail 4 of 6 division winners. Whiffed on both Wild Cards though.

It was an interesting season. We had our third-straight Game 163. And thank heavens we did, or I probably would've been worse by a point!

So what does it all mean? Bottom line, I can't wait to get after it again in 2010 and improve by at least another point!

Dan's Favorite Teams Update

It's time once again for everybody's favorite segment...

Minnesota Twins: The Twins finished 87-76 and won the American League Central Division. They're currently down 0-1 to the New York Yankees in the American League Division Series.

I mentioned it Wednesday, but if you didn't see Game 163, you missed out. It wasn't quite Game 7 in 1991, but it was about as close as you could get.

It was so dramatic a game, and the Twins' comeback as a whole was so improbable, that for me? Anything from here on out is gravy. That doesn't mean that I don't want to see the boys knock off the Bombers. But come on! Morneau, Slowey, Liriano, Bonser, Crede, Neshek. These were all guys the Twins were counting on at the beginning of the year, and all of them missed significant time with injuries.

There's no way I would've expected the Twins to win the division given those losses. But that's exactly what they did. That's a credit to the players who stepped up to fill the holes. And (though my Uncle will deny it) it's a credit to the manager. Somebody told me the other day that if Ron Gardenhire doesn't win Manager of the Year, they ought to stop giving the award out. Unfortunately, I think Gardy's going to miss out again. When you have a player die in the first month of a season, and your team comes together to win a division by 10 games, you're probably going to get the MotY award. I certainly can't argue with Mike Scioscia winning the award. But Gardenhire did a masterful job. Don't forget, this guy's won 5 division titles in the last 8 years. Can you name 5 other managers who've done that recently? I can't.

Game 2 of the ALDS comes your way tonight at 5pm central time on TBS. Burnett vs. Blackburn. I have no idea what'll happen. At this point, I'm just enjoying the ride.

Wisconsin Badgers: The Badgers are 5-0 (2-0 in the Big Ten) and tied for the conference lead.

On Wisconsin, On Wisconsin, on to victory...

So begins the Badger Fight Song.

And so far, it's been the mantra of the 2009 Wisconsin season. Last week's win against the Gophers was a little tighter than I would have preferred, but I'll take it.

Quarterback Scott Tolzien's been a pleasant surprise and had another solid game. And finally John Clay broke out as the Badger running game woke up and gashed Goldy for nearly 300 yards.

But what made me happiest was the improvement that the defense showed. Yes, they still got beat for some big plays, but I'd argue that a team with Eric Decker at wide receiver is going to beat pretty much any defense for big plays.

Wisconsin's defense frustrated Minnesota for most of the day, and when they absolutely had to have a stop, they came up with a huge turnover.

This week, it's off to Columbus, Ohio, where Bucky is a 16-point dog against the Buckeyes. I said it Wednesday and I'll say it again: no way. I'll admit my bias. I'll admit that Ohio State may be a better team. But until they beat Wisconsin by 17+, you're not going to convince me that Bucky should be a 16-point dog.

I hope I'm not creating unrealistic expectations, but I really think Wisconsin has a shot at the upset here. And if they get this game, look out.

They get Iowa and Michigan at home, and the rest of their games are all against teams they should beat.

I'm not making predictions yet, but this is a huge game in determining the result of the 2009 campaign for the Badgers.

Kickoff is at 2:30pm on ABC.

Minnesota Wild: The Wild are 1-2-0, good for 2 points and a tie for fourth place in the Northwest Division.

You didn't think I forgot about my favorite NHL team did you?!

The Wild are going to be interesting to watch this year. They've got a new General Manager, a new Head Coach, a new system, and plenty of new talent.

Of course, their minus a future Hall of Fame coach and the franchise's leading scorer.

Needless to say, there are plenty of challenges. Made all the more challenging by the number of injuries they suffered in the pre-season. Most of those have sorted themselves out, but Pierre-Marc Bouchard is still suffering headaches that have kept him out of the first three games.

It's hard to say what to expect from the club this year. Yes, they could contend for the playoffs. But that's far from a given.

If new additions Martin Havlat and Peter Sykora can stay healthy, and if Shane Hnidy and Greg Zanon can free up Kim Johnsson and Nick Schultz to have bigger impacts on offense, then this team can absolutely contend.

But those are a lot of “if's”. Hang on Wild fans. 3 down, 78 to go.

The Wild's road-trip continues tomorrow night as they travel to San Jose, then it's three days off before they take on the Ducks at the Pond.

Feel sufficiently updated? I thought you might.

That's all for today. Have a happy and safe weekend and I'll return on Monday with more Sports Take goodness for you.

Until then, thanks for reading!

1 comment:

  1. If you're thinking of the lyrics to the venerable On Wisconsin, the second phrase is actually "Plunge right through that line!"

    That's what happens when you transfer to UWEC. ;)